Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Pope Francis has set new priorities for his pontificate. Another pope will do the same in the future. We live in the Church one pope at a time, one bishop at a time and one pastor at a time. The Liturgy wars are far from this pope's agenda. He has other things more important that arguing about the liturgy. This is good.

The world, as always, is engulfed in the battle of good and evil. Today seems to have a more striking form of that battle and shows forth how cruel the devil can be when he possesses people and incites them to violence.

Thugs, the enemies of God, who claim religious validation for their obscenities, but use religion to promote their thuggery and evil, are to be feared. They not only film and photograph their obscene murders but use new tactics to terrorize the good. We've almost become desensitized to beheadings captured on video so they turn now to burning their victim alive and making sure it is well documented on film for the world to see in all its pornographic horror.

It is obscene. 

And then there are the liturgy wars. It reduces many Catholics, some on this blog, to shrills and individuals who do not witness to faith or the hope and love that God demands in Christ. Denigration of ideas and people is what rules the day. The monstrance, the Mass and even the Church are a blunt instrument of violence although the printed word is what is used.

The Church is clear that there are now two forms of the one Latin Rite, one the normative the other the exception. While equal, one takes precedence over the other.

Each are governed by the General Instructions contained in each missal along with their own special rule or rubrics.

While Catholics are free to have a preference for one or the other or a preference for different types within the same category of Liturgy, Catholics have normally not denigrated the well-celebrated by the books liturgy because in doing so, one could slip into the sacrilege of denigrating what occurs in the Mass, the intersection of the divine and the human and the Real Presence of Christ related to His eternal sacrifice on the Cross.

Prayer, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in whatever form and what ever rite, west or east, is the surest defense against evil. Evil never wins although it will have many victims before the final battle is completed on earth and the Lord returns to raise the dead and judge the living and the dead.


Anonymous said...

Beginning this Sunday I will never attend a Novus Ordo Mass again. I am tired of working all week just to get up on my day off to attend some sloppy, pseudo protestant service presided over by a priest who could care less and a half empty church with people who believe nothing the Catholic Church teaches. I will only attend the Traditional Mass, and if I can't attend one then I am not going to Mass. It is better not to go to Mass then sit at a Novus Ordo Mass and be aggravated by the sloppiness, liturgical abuse, irreverance etc. I'm done. I'm a Catholic without a pope, and I'm getting use to that. I just ignore everything that man says, it's the only way to deal with a pope like Bergoglio. So I will be a Catholic without a parish. I will live the faith as it has always been lived and practiced. So you keep your altar girls, your heretical bishops, your pro abortion nuns, your eucharistic ministers, your Glory and Praise, your polyester vestments and fake candles and your empty churches, convents, monasteries etc.

Gene said...

And, many cannot see that the liturgical battles are for the soul of the Church…that there is a direct relationship between the destruction of our traditions, symbols, and rituals (resulting in a loss of belief) and the theology (belief) embodied in them and events such as are going on in the world and in this nation right now. We are not fighting meaningless battles over trivia…fix the liturgy, fix the Church…fix the Faith, fix the culture.

Anonymous said...

Well said Father. I think if we would read Benedict XVI's Caritas in Veritate and take it to heart we would all be better off. While I agree with much of what is said here by those who love the EF Mass, the shrillness of some overshadows the message.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the shrillness has largely come from those that have pushed the Novus Ordo on largely unwilling and unwitting congregations. As regards the fact that there are two legitimate forms of the Mass and that we are entitled to have a preference, why then is the Ordinary Form of the Mass - when it is allowed at all by many bishops - still largely only permitted in chapels on the outskirts of town at the most inconvenient of times? Why are those who attend the Ordinary Form of the Mass largely treated as second-class Catholics with no rights at all? Why are Catholics being driven to groups like the SSPX? It seems to me it is because they feel unwelcome in the Church.

And, pardon me for saying, but unless I am completely blind the majority of those posting here in support of the OF of the Mass do so in moderate terms and if there is any shrillness I am sure it is because people are tired of being subjected to dreadful music, dreadful sermons and no catechesis because what goes on in your parish, Father, is unfortunately far from the norm.


Marc said...

It's a false dichotomy. In my Chuch, the bishops, clergy, and laity are able to have (1) ancient liturgy, (2) the teaching of the Apostles handed down with exactness and fullness, and (3) concern and love for others and for the world.

Robert Kumpel said...

I guess I will have to disagree with Anonymous and Gene. While I find many of the uncalled-for innovations that our "modern" liturgy seems burdened with, it is still the Mass. If I have to listen to unpleasant music or a bad homily or witness liturgical abuses, I simply offer it up to God. He owes me nothing and I owe Him everything. If I have to live in a time period where this kind of stuff takes place, then that is the time period God wants me in. If I can help make things better, fine. Making things better does not mean hating those who disagree with me or mocking those who I think don't know as much as I think I might know. I long for reverent liturgies and a return to so many discarded Traditions, but God decided that I am not fit to be a priest, bishop, pastor or pope, so I will trust Him and try to realize that HE knows what he is doing even when I feel confounded. Like I said, God owes me nothing. I, however, have an obligation to worship Him as a matter of justice. He didn't promise me that worshipping Him would always be exhilarating or rewarding all the time or that I would enjoy the music and always be edified by the good words and examples of the priests. Sometimes these good things happen. Most of the time, it's a compromise. My obligation is to attend and pray. That's all that matters.

Fixing the liturgy is a great, worthy goal. I want to help contribute to that goal. I am not contributing by being angry all the time and looking to stick my finger in the eye of all who disagree with me.

Anonymous said...

It is one thing to offer up your own distaste for heretical hymns and irreverence, but it is another to subject young impressionable children to same. Lord of the Dance as a Communion hymn is a hindrance to worship for even an 8 year old. If proper catechesis is not reinforced by proper celebration of the Mass, EF or OF, even children recognize the hypocrisy. I once read of a Muslim attending Mass and saying "I do not believe that your God is truly present because you do not act like He is truly present." Children see more than you think. Priests, thank you for your reverence and respect. It makes parenting easier when all those celebrating or actively participating in Mass are held to a high standard.


Anonymous said...

“He has other things more important that arguing about the liturgy.”

What could be more important than restoration of liturgy focused on God rather than man? If the liturgy is not on the pope’s agenda, than how can any of his other efforts can be fruitful?

Gene said...

Robert, That is a nice thought and, perhaps, the feeling of many…too many.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - In the Catholic Church - not "my" Church - laity are able to have (1) ancient liturgy, (2) the teaching of the Apostles handed down with exactness and fullness, and (3) concern and love for others and for the world.

JusadBellum said...

Symbols are very important markers in peoples' lives. Flags, wedding rings, bumper stickers, subtle jewelry or lapel pins... they might seem like trifles but the loyalties and relationships they represent to the carrier are very real and precious indeed.

Just as we would feel unease at a politician who showed disdain for the flag or didn't hold his hand over his heart at the National Anthem - not because the gesture per say is a big deal but because of what it means about a whole raft of too while certain rubrics or liturgical details are also 'relatively' minor they also telegraph a lot about people, their faith, their values and the hierarchy of what is important.

So the Mass is more than the sum of the parts of liturgical signs.

St. Francis Assisi attended the Latin Mass. All the great martyrs and saints celebrated the Latin Mass. All the great innovators, caregivers, lovers of the poor...they all worshiped God through the Latin Mass.

But without Latin as the language, it remains that great awe and reverence for the Lord in the Mass has remained a hallmark of great awe and reverence for human beings.

If you claim to love the poor but don't show any concern to worship God with can we be so sure your 'love' of the poor is true love?

If you claim to love educating children but show no concern to spend time before the Lord in adoration, no concern to expose children to the Lord in can we be sure you are honestly seeking their best good?

What we are seeing is a huge division, cognitive dissonance between people who claim one thing but then don't show credible signs of being serious, even while they are indisputably professional. Other people, a remnant perhaps are serious but they're not professional or part of the nomenklatura of the 'institutional' Church (and never did see the Church as merely an institution, they saw it and see it as a mystical body.)

Jdj said...

You say "shrill", a word that apparently covers all sorts of bad blogging behaviors. Please read Cardinal Newman's take brought forward:

Mea culpa...

Marc said...

Michael, I'm curious about your need to disassociate yourself from the Catholic Church by refusing to use the possessive. I don't, though, feel the need to debate the rest of your statement. Suffice it to say, I disagree with you.

John Nolan said...

'While equal, one takes precedence over the other'. This is a contradiction in terms. Equality of esteem is one thing, but if precedence is to be given to one form over the other, then it logically belongs to the older and historically more grounded form (prae+cedere).

Given the way that the so-called OF is usually celebrated, it is perfectly understandable that your first commentator should wish to shun it. It's all very well for some of us to say 'OK, it's a fabricated liturgy, but there's nothing in its texts that is obviously heretical, the GIRM assures us that its theology is the same as that defined by Trent, and it can be celebrated in Latin with the traditional music and most of the traditional ceremonial' but, let's face it, you would have to travel a long way to find it done so.

There is in reality a serious rupture in liturgical tradition which Benedict XVI identified and spoke about. This is why the idea of strict Sunday obligation is anomalous. It belongs to a time when there was a uniform Latin liturgy and a uniform Eucharistic belief. Neither applies any longer.

I can understand why some modern (i.e. post-Vatican II) clerics have a deep antipathy to the traditional Mass. It undermines all their cherished assumptions, and suggests that their new 'ecclesiology' might be at best a misinterpretation and at worst without foundation. It also highlights their own philistinism; they can't chant, have little or no Latin, wouldn't recognize a rubric if it hit them, and presume to castigate those who do possess some historical and liturgical knowledge as being obsessed with trivia and mired in the past.

Anonymous (6:47) won't be the first or the last person to vote with his feet.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - It's not "my" Church. I don't own it, I didn't start it, I don't sustain it.

The Church I belong to, the Catholic Church, is not about "me," so I don't say it is "my" Church.

I also don't have to distinguish it from "your" Church, because it is THE Church established by Christ.

Suffice it to say...

Православный физик said...

Before we can bring Christ to the world, we must know who He is. Ad intra before ad extra. The battle for the Liturgy is at the very soul of the Church. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our is essential that the Church get her worship correct. By no means is it a silly thing.

Gene said...

Notice Kavanaugh's word play here…he refuses to understand the possessive pronoun "my" as simply a term of endearment, indicating an affection and commitment for the Church. He must chop logic and play games in an effort to appear "selfless"…something that, from his history on this blog, he clearly knows nothing about. His response is typical of his arrogant, phony, replies to everyone since the beginning of his posting here.
So, I suppose instead of saying, "this is my wife," married men should say, "this is wife." Gee, how warm, how endearing…what an indication of love and commitment. I wish Priests could marry for one day just so I could see Kavanaugh interact with a woman in a relationship. Talk about prime time comedy…and pathos.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan,

“This is why the idea of strict Sunday obligation is anomalous. It belongs to a time when there was a uniform Latin liturgy and a uniform Eucharistic belief. Neither applies any longer.”

Anachronistic rather than merely anomalous? An interesting thought for discussion, perhaps its own thread? (Though I’ve never myself thought that that one might justifiably miss Mass on this account.)

“I can understand why some modern (i.e. post-Vatican II) clerics have a deep antipathy to the traditional Mass. It undermines all their cherished assumptions, and suggests that their new 'ecclesiology' might be at best a misinterpretation and at worst without foundation. It also highlights their own philistinism; they can't chant, have little or no Latin, wouldn't recognize a rubric if it hit them, and presume to castigate those who do possess some historical and liturgical knowledge as being obsessed with trivia and mired in the past.”

Wow! What a penetrating explanation in one brief paragraph of the attitude of so many priests of a certain generation who are so frequently seen maltreating the liturgy and their parishioners (as well as denigrating traditional liturgy and belief at blogs like this).

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - You and Marc display a similar misunderstanding of the relationship of members to the Church. You both see it as something that must conform to YOUR expectations, that must represent YOUR prejudices, that must express itself in YOUR terms, and that must be "clear" according to YOUR definitions.

That's why I don't share Marc's view of "his" Church.

The Catholic Church, with Christ as the Head, possesses me. It is not "mine" - rather, I am the Church's.

YOU dismiss as communists the bishops who teach what you don't want to hear.

YOU reject the pope, saying you would follow him only out of curiosity because he teaches things you don't agree with.

YOU respond to quotes from the Catechism with your dismissive "LOL."

And Marc does much the same.

It's not word play. And it's not about you.

Marc said...

Michael, you don't know me at all. I humbly submit to the teachings of the Church, founded by Christ, and to my bishop, a successor of the apostles.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, if you spent as much time laying bricks as you spend deliberately, energetically, and calculatingly missing the point you would have built several cities the size of NY.

WSquared said...

Well said, Father. The OF is still a valid form of the Mass, and complaining endlessly is a waste of time. I'm of the mind that Catholics should know both, instead of making everything about their preferences. Robert Kumpel is spot on re both sides: offer it up.

Anon @ 6:47AM: "It is better not to go to Mass then sit at a Novus Ordo Mass and be aggravated by the sloppiness, liturgical abuse, irreverance etc. I'm done."

Are you suggesting that you would rather give up life eternal if you can't have Mass Just The Way You Like It? Unless Father does something during the consecration to make that Mass invalid, that's still Jesus. The reason why we should want to see Mass celebrated well is so that others may recognize Christ's action in the Mass, spiritually and materially, and not because this is what we "like."

The liturgy is immensely important, and of course needs the reform of the reform. But we live in a culture to whom the liturgy is unintelligible. The task of Catholics, it seems, is to draw connections between the liturgy and everything else, and not make the liturgy one's favorite comfort zone to sit and stew. It'll probably be like multitasking: we can't fixate only on the liturgy to reform the liturgy, so to speak, counter-intuitive or odd as that sounds. It's more like a feedback loop of connectivity. There is a "lex vivendi" that goes with the "lex orandi, lex credendi." Most Catholics will be weaker in one or more of those areas, but all three are required for any and all Catholics.

Our choir sang Thomas Tallis's "If Ye Love Me" at the Novus Ordo recently, and we're a choir of varying talents-- we can't all sight sing, and some of us can't read music. We're hoping to do more along those lines, and yes, we get positive feedback.

Anonymous said...

Wsquared, at the risk of misinterpreting you . . .

“Unless Father does something during the consecration to make that Mass invalid, that's still Jesus.”

To me, this makes it sounds almost like the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is nothing but a communion service. So that if I receive the real Body of Christ, then nothing else matters. Is this uncomfortably close to saying that “It’s all about me”?

“The reason why we should want to see Mass celebrated well is so that others may recognize Christ's action in the Mass, spiritually and materially . . . “

Rather, isn’t it so that our worship of God be the most perfect and pleasing to Him that we can offer up? Since the objects of our worship in the Holy Sacrifice are adoration, propitiation, thanksgiving, and impretration offered up to God. So that it’s really about Him, not about me—about what we owe him, rather than what he gives us.

While our actions in the world are inevitable fruit of our worship in the liturgy, it is not my belief that the principal purpose of the liturgy is our edification or sanctification for the betterment of the world, or of others.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - When you say "I humbly submit to the teachings of the Church" you are referring to the Orthodox Church, no?

When you were Catholic, you rejected the Catholic Church's teaching in the Catechism, saying that you would not use the Catechism of the Catholic Church to teach from because you found it less than faithful.

I have no reason to believe that you will not seek to control the Orthodox teaching in the same when when it does not meet your standards.

Gene - They're your own words. No one is missing the point.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, the issue was not about my statements, which I do not deny or have any problem with. It is about YOUR'S, which continue to be disingenuous and slippery…just like you.

John Nolan said...

I would agree with WSquared that the liturgy is unintelligible to modern culture. Ironically, the more it has been made 'accessible' through vernacularization, deritualization, simplification and adaptation to the norms of popular culture, the less intelligible it has become. Every word of it may be audible and superficially understandable, but the mystery at the centre of it has receded to the extent that even the minority of Catholics who regularly attend Mass are hard pushed to identify it.

By contrast, Englishmen and women of the fifteenth century lived the liturgy in a way that would be inconceivable to us today; Eamon Duffy's seminal work 'The Stripping of the Altars' makes this clear and effectively demolishes 500 years of Protestant propaganda. The fact that it was in Latin and highly ritualized was not a disadvantage; in fact the advent of a non-ritualistic and vernacular liturgy in the sixteenth century made it less relevant, not more.

This is what the academic liturgists who held sway in the 20th century and who were given their head after Vatican II signally failed to recognize. Their historical sense was a purely abstract one; it took little account of the faith of ordinary men and women and how they related to the liturgy. Dom Gregory Murray, the progressive English Benedictine knew full well in the 1960s that the laity did not want liturgical change. He said in effect 'we don't give them what they want, we give them what we know is good for them'.

Therein lies the current crisis, which extends further than the liturgy, important as the liturgy is. Fr Kavanaugh and his ilk are in denial. They would like us to believe that they represent 99.9% of Catholics and that their 'mass' is so obviously superior that it's a modern fighter jet compared with a Sopwith Camel.

Jdj said...

Careful, John Nolan--Mr. Kumpel will be after you for naming names... I was chastened into an apology on an recent thread here of the same ilk!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I did not compare the Sopwith Camel with the EF mass. Although this has been explained to you clearly, you continue to misrepresent intentionally what I said.

The mystery of the mass has not changed with the switch from Latin to the vernacular. It has not changed with the switch from ad orientem to versus populum. It has not changed with the inclusion of Extraordinary Ministers of communion.

The OF is not "non-ritualistic" as you suggest. It is simplified ritual when compared with the EF, and I suggest that is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh is correct in saying that the mystery of the Mass has not (in itself) changed with vernacularization and simplification of ritual. However, as a result of these changes (and others), the vast majority of pew-sitting Catholics, as well as many or most priests, are completely oblivious to this inherent mystery, while prior to these changes, virtually all Catholics—whether good, bad, or indifferent ones—were fully conscious of the majesty and mystery of the Holy Sacrifice, whether or not they were fully conscious liturgical participants.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh

You would have us believe that you were not making an analogy when you used that aeronautical metaphor. The only alternative is that you were simply telling us that you would not choose to engage in modern aerial combat in a hundred-year-old aeroplane, which is a point hardly worth making.

Whenever challenged, your stock response is along the lines of 'that's not what I said, you are deliberately misrepresenting me'. It's also noticeable (and others on the blog have also noticed it) that when faced with a difficult question, or presented with an argument which you are unable to refute, you change the subject and answer a different question. This is the standard ploy of the politician; he knows he's being dishonest, and that any discerning person will see through him, but he doesn't care since he counts on discerning people being in a minority.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I already explained your misunderstanding. Here's what I originally said: "I also do not "despise" the old rites anymore than I despise a Sopwith Camel. However, I would not choose the Camel were I to engage in air to air combat in the 21st century."

That statement contains no reference to the EF. Plainly I was not comparing the two.

I already corrected your misunderstanding: "John - I did not compare the EF with the Sopwith Camel. I compared the CHOICE to fly a Sopwith Camel into air-to-air combat today with the CHOICE to fly, for example, an F-22 Raptor into combat today."

Got it now? Surely a non-philistine such as yourself can understand that there is no comparison. Why would I - or anyone - compare the Camel to the EF? It makes no sense, and that's not what I did.

Your ploy is to misrepresent intentionally what I say in order to make your position seem more credible.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh

'I also do not despise the old rites anymore (sic) than I despise a Sopwith Camel.'

This is what is known in English as an analogy, i.e. an agreement or correspondence in certain respects between things otherwise different. The only possible inference that can be drawn is that the 'old rites' were fine in their day but are no longer fit for purpose, in a word obsolete.

You may well believe this, and your many previous comments would certainly suggest it is your view; however, it is not the Church's view. 'What was sacred for our ancestors remains sacred and great for us.' (Benedict XVI)

Also, to say that your statement 'contains no reference to the EF' is beside the point, since the 'old rites' presumably include what is now referred to as the EF. 'Why would I - or anyone else - compare the Camel to the EF? It makes no sense, and that's not what I did.' It makes no sense if taken literally, but as an analogy it makes perfect sense, otherwise why make the analogy in the first place? My contention is that it is a highly inappropriate analogy to make, although it fits the mindset of a certain faction in the Church.

I believe my arguments can stand on their own merits. To suggest that I need to misrepresent you intentionally in order to give them substance is risible.

WSquared said...

Henry, of course the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass matters, and is worth celebrating well. But what I was trying to get at is that the beauty and care of the celebration itself does not make the Mass valid, just as a sloppily celebrated Mass doesn't make the Mass invalid, unless of course Father omits the consecration or ad libs the Eucharistic prayers or something like that. What a thoughtful, careful, and beautiful celebration does, though, is to more accurately communicate what Mass is and what's going on-- and therefore, what our disposition should be.

The thing is, every Catholic is commanded to go to Mass, period: my answer to Anon was based on the fact that without Christ we can do nothing, unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we have no life within us. So we can't say that "unless Mass is celebrated beautifully, I'm not going to go to Mass; I'd rather not go to Mass at all than go to something so sloppy!" The Anglicans have a beautifully celebrated liturgy. But it's still not the Mass: nothing that they do there gives them a valid Eucharist. By contrast, the way many suburban parishes celebrate the Mass sadly doesn't come close. But it is nonetheless the Mass.

Ideally, of course I would love a beautifully celebrated Mass in either form. But if I had to choose between a valid Mass that is unfortunately ugly and no Mass at all, I'd rather have the ugly Mass, even if I'd be trying hard not to cry (and yes, that did happen: we ended up at a Teen Mass once, and while the kids were well meaning, the music was so loud that it was intrusive. It was literally pressing down on me. I cried, because it was better than spending Mass seething with anger at them). But when it comes to Masses that aren't as well celebrated, the EF has helped me tune out an awful lot, and I do try to remember that a lot of these folks likely don't know any better, and are trying their best.

Moreover, the way I often put it to OF-only folks who don't know the EF and are coming from the other direction is: "yes, that's still Jesus, because it's a valid Mass. But precisely because that is Jesus, why do we celebrate Mass in such a sloppy way?" It's absolutely true that in some areas of the world, Catholic can barely even go to Mass, so who are we to constantly bicker over the liturgy? But precisely because our persecuted brethren suffer in ways that we don't have to at the moment-- and nowadays even get killed AT Mass-- it is beyond rude to treat Mass the way we often do. Priest holes did not exist because Christians were "dying to have fun."

Gene said...

It is no longer possible to parody kavanaugh...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - You would not choose to fly a Sopwith Camel in air combat today. Why? Because in air combat today the Sopwith Camel is ineffective.

Everything about air combat, except air, is different. That is what renders the venerable Camel ineffective.

Venerable as the EF may be, it is not needed. Wanted, yes, but not needed. It has not brought the masses back where it is celebrated. It is not going to lead us back to the Catholicism of the 1950's when 90% of Catholic's in the USA attended mass. If is not going to lead us back to the 1650's when the Church's missionary activity was blossoming. It is not going to restore "reverence" in our churches, schools, homes, and society at large. It is not needed to correct the "abuses" that some experience in celebrations of the OF. It is not needed to help priests "understand" the true meaning of sacrifice.

If you can show me where I am wrong, please do.

I know this may put me at odds with what many think was Pope Benedict's vision for his novel "two forms of one rite" in the Latin Church. I think that vision was far too Euro-centric and far too academic to be practical or effective.

I do not despise the EF as you have stated. That is simply false. I do believe it is not needed.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fr. Kavanaugh you are too smart to be so ignorant of new movements and intentional Catholicism which recent popes have supported.
It would do you well not to be so narrow minded on this as it pertains to the EF Mass and communities of intentional Catholics who desire it from their pastors, including you.

Intentional Catholicism, no matter the venue, EF, charistmatic or any of the many other new movments such as Catholic home schooling all have more children and these communities are highly committed to the Catholic faith. The point of truth is intentional.

I don't disagree with the dismal experience so many have with a poorly celebrated OF Mass that is neither transcendent or an experience of heaven and earth together. Catholics have been malformed not necessarily through a well celebrated OF Mass but precisely by its poor celebration.

Bishops [and Former PI] need to wake up to this truth and the truth of intentional Catholics in all of the variety of the new movements I mentioin, which includes the EF!

In another post, I made this comment.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

'It [the EF} has not brought the masses back where it is celebrated. It is not going to lead us back to the Catholicism of the 1950's when 90% of Catholic's in the USA attended mass. If is not going to lead us back to the 1650's when the Church's missionary activity was blossoming.' It is not going to restore "reverence" in our churches, schools, homes, and society at large.'

Probably true, sadly. The deterioration in faith and liturgy over the last 50 years is too great for any single quick solution.

'It is not needed to correct the "abuses" that some experience in celebrations of the OF. It is not needed to help priests "understand" the true meaning of sacrifice.'

Definitely false, sadly. In the short run, at least, until a couple of generations of deficiently trained priests are replaced.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - By your own admission, restated many times, your theological and liturgical formation was dismal. As a result, you are learning now through the EF what you should have learned growing up and in seminary.

My formation was very good, theologically and liturgically. As a result, I am not now looking around for ways to "get" what I did not get earlier.

I suspect that had your formation been up to snuff, had your own appreciation for the theology and celebration of the OF been properly formed in seminary, and had you developed a deeper appreciation for it, you would not now be "discovering" the truths you were deprived of in your sub-standard formation.

If having lots of kids is a sure sign of Catholic devotion, we are in trouble as a Church.

Anonymous said...

"If having lots of kids is a sure sign of Catholic devotion, we are in trouble as a Church."

The Church is certainly in trouble, but the fact that the most faithful are generally the most fecund is a glimmer of hope for the future.

Gene said...

kavanaugh, for you to speak of yourself (which you just love to do) as theologically well-formed is laughable…for you to criticize the theological formation of anyone else is a gut slammer...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Henry - I heartily disagree with your assertion that "the most faithful are generally the most fecund."

Many of the most faithful Catholics I have known in almost 30 years of being a priest and 20 as a pastor have had small families. From these smaller families come the "regulars." The folks who are in church every weekend and Holy Day. The ones who serve on parish councils, who serve as lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, who contribute generously to the BAA and to the parish. They work in soup kitchens and clothing pantries. They are as faithful as any Catholics I have known.

I have no doubt that some with large families are exceptionally faithful, but the size of a family is no sign of faithfulness or lack thereof.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - From a person whose theological "acumen" leads him to assert that the New Testament teaches that slavery is part of the natural order, I take your latest criticism to mean that I am, theologically, on the right track.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh

'Wanted, yes, but not needed'
'I do believe it [the EF] is not needed.'

Actually, 'need' and 'want' in English are practically synonymous; both imply a desire for something that is lacking. You are therefore making a false dichotomy. If someone tells me he does not need or want (say) Shakespeare or Beethoven I have to take this at face value, although his life will be undoubtedly poorer without them. What he is not qualified to say is that Shakespeare and Beethoven are 'not needed'.

Similarly, a belief that the older Rites are 'not needed' is patently false; the most anyone can say is 'they are not needed by me', and even this is not necessarily true. I can say with some truth that I don't need algebra, but I can't say that algebra is not needed. It's not likely that my life will depend on my ability to solve a quadratic equation, but one never knows.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I think that, while there may be confusion among many, there is a world of difference between need and want.

John Nolan said...


'There is a world of difference between need and want' Not according to the dictionary (I prefer Chambers). However, you have dodged the main issue, viz. that 'I don't need X, ergo X is not needed' is a) solipsistic and b) illogical.

Of course, you speak for 99.9% of Catholics, so I must be the one in a thousand capable of joined-up thinking.

Gene said...

kavanaugh, again you twist and deliberately mis interpret people's words. I did not say that the NT "teaches that slavery is a part of the natural order." I p;ointe out, as have many NT scholars, that the NT, notably Jesus and Paul, accept slavery as a given and look to the coming of the Kingdom to put everything right. As for racial/ethinc differences…the same. Check out the story of the Syro-Phonecian woman to get a view of Jesus' views on ethnicity. Christ's point is, again, there is salvation through Him regardless of race or social class. He did not come to create a utopia on earth, change social structures, pass affirmative action laws, or support the ACLU.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - Here's what you said: " is interesting (and maddening for libs) that both Jesus and Paul accept both slavery and ethnic differences as givens and part of the natural order."

Jesus and Paul do not "accept slavery" as part of the natural order. By nature, all humans have the dignity that comes from being created in the image and likeness of God. Slavery is directly repugnant to that dignity; therefore, it is not part of the natural order.

Your assertion that Jesus and Paul accept slavery as party of the natural order is wrong.

You want it to be part of the natural order to support your racist claim that African-Americans are a "feral minority." It is you who are twisting the New Testament, Jesus, and Paul, to lend credence to your twisted views.

I'll give Flavius another chance to chortle: "Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design."

"Must be curbed and eradicated" certainly means that we are to work, to devote ourselves as Christians, to change social structures.

Gene said...

kavanaugh, again, you deliberately misunderstand and misinterpret. Jesus' and Paul's views (or lack thereof) on slavery and ethnicity were a favorite topic of discussion in grad schools and seminaries in the 70's. I studied under a couple of pretty renowned NT scholars who lamented that neither of them spoke directly to the issue, rather accepted social strata and slavery to be a part of the fallen order and only to be put right with the coming of the Kingdom. Does that mean we should not work toward social justice…NO…depending upon your definition of "social justice." But, you cannot cite the NT as a program for social change, liberal socialist policies, or happy-clappy feel good social reformers. You betray, once again, a liberal/progressivist view of the NT which is not supported in fact…or history.

Unknown said...

It's funny, Mr. Kavanaugh, that the same church responsible for the destruction of the Aztec religion should proclaim 'Every form of... discrimination on the grounds of... or religion must be curbed and eradicated'.

In fact, I'd be willing to hypothesise that if the tlamacazqui were still sacrificing people to Huitzilopochtli (and then eating the sacrifice, to boot) in the Templo Mayor, the Catholic Church would not have this idea.

But, of course, that is no longer possible, as an enormous cathedral currently sits on top of the Templo Mayor.

John Nolan said...

Slavery was taken for granted in the ancient world, and was not immutable; slaves could be freed by manumission and while the freedman (libertinus) still had the stain of former slavery (macula servitutis) his progeny were free men and free women.

Christianity did not attempt to overthrow class distinctions, it simply stressed that all humanity was equally enslaved to sin and was therefore in need of redemption. Therefore we were all slaves in a real sense since the fall of Adam; our manumission was through baptism and the saving merits of Jesus Christ.

Since the Second Coming was regarded as imminent, existing social divisions were in a large measure irrelevant.

Gene said...

Flavius, stop it, you're killin' me…LOL!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - Who you had as teachers has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not slavery is part of the natural order as you have claimed, citing Jesus and Paul as your New Testament homeboys on this.

The "fallen order" is not the natural order. And we do not wait around for the Second Coming to put things right. We work here and now to advance the reign of God which means, much to your disgust, that we oppose sin and those sinful social structures that cause human suffering.

Slavery is not and has never been part of the natural order. The result of sin, a distortion of the natural order, slavery is directly repugnant to the dignity of men and women created in the image and likeness of God.