Wednesday, October 1, 2014


A picture is worth a thousand years: The ugliness of the dictatorship of progressive Catholics and the beauty of Catholics inspired by tradition:
These two things might not seem related but they are. Some blogs are reporting on what happened to a traditional Catholic, who despite the hardship of doing so on a cold, hard floor, chose the legitimate option of kneeling to receive Holy Communion at Seattle's Cathedral.

This is what he reports:

“In the Seattle Cathedral I was just denied communion kneeling and made a scene of.  He [priest or EMC?] eventually, after a minute standoff scoffed, said I ought to learn obedience, and then threw the Sacred Host sideways into my mouth.”

In his blog, Fr. Z or Zed quotes the following rubric for receiving Holy Communion:

Redemptionis Sacramentum states:
[91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.
In our pew missalettes, we have an attachment which states: "Standing for Holy Communion is the norm in the USA; kneeling is the exception. Bot are allowed and the choice is yours."

As a parish which strives to be hospitable, we provide kneelers for those who choose the "exception." And while the norm in the EF Mass is to kneel, no one is forced to stand or derided for doing so at Communion time.

Progressive, ill-informed ideologues will state that having people receive Holy Communion kneeling or standing is divisive! How ridiculous and how ideological! We allow all kinds of options for people at Holy Communion which could be considered divisive if we were all ideologues. For example some people receive on the tongue, others in the hand and when receiving on the hand there are a variety of styles, some licit and others not. Then there is the chalice. When it is available, some choose to receive from it and other don't. By extension, some stand, some don't! What's the big deal? The problem is that so many progressive Catholics and some traditional are ideologues about how Holy Communion is received.Of course there are right and wrong ways, licit and illicit, but kneeling or standing are not among the wrong or illicit ways nor are either of these divisive!

Fr. Z also quotes the following: God compelled the devil to show himself to the Desert Father Abba Apollo.  He was ugly, black, skinny limbs and had NO KNEES to adore God on.  Pope Benedict said: “The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical”.

But there is an ugliness to the dictatorship of progressives as noted above and seen below. Tradition keeps beauty and restores it where it has been lost:

My final comments: In terms of the restoration of Holy Name, I would have placed the sanctuary up three steps instead of two. Everything only two steps high from the nave disappears in a full church. It is unfortunate that an altar railing wasn't included in this marvelous restoration.

Finally, with the glorious traditional altar with reredos and altar-table it is redundant to have a flimsy although marble and fixed free standing altar. It would have been better to have the table part of the older altar separated from the reredos for easy circulation around it and for Mass facing the congregation in either direction. It would still appear to be a single unit as is the case for the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta which sliced the altar-table away from the reredos allowing for both ways of celebrating the Mass:

After and before the altar table was separated from the reredos:

It is difficult to tell that the altar-table has been brought forward allowing for celebration of the Mass in either legitimate direction! I oversaw this restoration and the altar and reredos were both completely dismantled, left lying on the sides of the sanctuary, the reredos was pushed back toward the back wall and there is ample space between it and the altar-table and ample space in front of the altar table for ad orientem Masses. The marble altar railing replaced the wooden one in the early 1900's. The hanging ambo (pulpit) was removed (and destroyed?) in the 1950's! The large crucifix hanging on the right side has had various locations over time since 1863.


rcg said...

That is par for the course in Seattle. Same thing happened to my friend in the same place, but he was denied communion. This was on Easter. This is going to be a big fight. The parish Carol and I attended had all kneelers removed so that no one would ever kneel. For some reason kneeling is a major conflict with quite a few clergy and religious.

JBS said...

I only ever hear bad things about the Church in Seattle. The city itself has always struck me as a geographical anomaly. That part of the USA just doesn't seem to be the sort of region to host a significant city, certainly not one with such a depressive high culture. It should have turned out more like Cheyenne or Fort Worth.

John said...

The schism is on. Our "music minister" is adding a drum and drummer to the piano she plays into an amped-up microphone. Naturally, this unholy assemble is situated just slight distance from the altar table. (Small church.) The net result is that a very large piano and assorted instruments immediately adjacent to the sanctuary dominate the altar table.

Likewise, the singing piano player becomes the lead actor in the liturgical drama. The Priest (alter Christus) has become the supporting player. The Mass has been degraded to an excuse for a very stilted musical happening on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There is absolutely no reason for an ensemble to be in the sanctuary or near the altar. We have two new churches being built in the diocese and both will have choir lofts. Positioning the choir in the front does not help lead the music of the congregation nor does it situate the choir as a member of the congregation. Rather it creates a performance environment similar to a concert except concerts usually have good music.

The parish next to mind has the choir directly confrontational to the congregation and for what reason? They have a choir loft that isn't used but could well be re-utilzed by the choir and music ministry thus avoiding them being a distraction to the actions of the Liturgy.

The only set up I think that is liturgical is the choir hidden from view behind the sanctuary or the Anglican style. But in the Anglican style, strict discipline must be observed by the choir members who are usually robed in cassock and surplice.

JusadBellum said...

You know, if I were a partisan of the 1970 school of architecture, music, homilies, rubrics, CCD instruction etc. and I genuinely believed my methods and means were superior to the 'old ways' and by superior I mean "more conducive to attracting the young and retaining the old" as active participants in the liturgy, in the Catholic moral universe etc.... I would be absolutely depressed by the effects.

But does anyone get the impression that people are chagrined and embarrassed and apologetic for their mistakes? No.

If anything one gets the impression that they blame the past Popes and others for keeping their magic from really working and having its full effect.

So can one be blamed for suspecting that their goal and the project they undertook was not to grow the Church but to gut it?

Anonymous said...

Check out Father Z. He said Holy Name of Jesus will offer the TLM.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,
The choir loft in our church building (circa 1983) was built because of the far-sighted subterfuge of our building committee and against (I am told by a still-living member of that committee) the wishes of our then-bishop, Raymond Lessard. It was slipped into the plan as an upstair "storage" area and then the front wall just wasn't built full height! I know you were there at the dedication Mass back then but I don't know if you knew that Bishop Lessard got a surprise when he looked out from the new sanctuary and saw that loft!

Sad to say, it is not used as a choir loft (never really has been) and, about 25 years ago, a cabinet for organ pipes was installed at the front center of that loft (there is some room behind it and on either side but those pipes just seem to "cry out" to be arrayed against the back wall of that loft and the cabinet dismantled). I even once wrote the company that installed those pipes about the feasibility of such a project and they replied that it was very do-able.

Unfortunately, our organ console and "Anglo" choir is on the Epistle side down front and the Spanish Mass choir (more of a small family guitar and vocal ensemble) has an ugly tangle of mike stands and wires always standing on the Gospel side right next to our antique Baptismal font. It's a real mess . .

I have heard lame excuses from past pastors that we couldn't use the choir loft for choir because of "insurance reasons." Obviously, I don't buy that.

Which two new parishes in our diocese will have choir lofts? I would just love to broadcast that to as many people as will listen in my parish and let then know just how hopelessly behind the times we are here!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

the new parish churches are St. Teresa's in Grovetown (Augusta) and St. Anne in Richmond Hill.

Anonymous said...

"Positioning the choir in the front does not help lead the music of the congregation nor does it situate the choir as a member of the congregation. Rather it creates a performance environment similar to a concert except concerts usually have good music."

Indeed, my experience in numerous parishes over five decades indicates that either a loud choir or a bellowing cantor up front virtually insures that they choir will not sing as participants, but will watch as an audience. Whereas a choir in the loft backs up the people and encourages their participation. To me, it follows that a pastor's true desire for active participation (or not) is shown by the placement of his choir? When I see performers up front, I conclude that no one cares.