Tuesday, March 8, 2016

GOOD RENOVATIONS GONE WILD AND BECOME WRECKOVATIONS!

No one in 1965 when modest changes to the liturgy began thought this could happen to churches and the Church:
No one in 1965 when modest changes in religious life began, especially for women, thought this could happen to women religious:



Initially, the changes after Vatican II seem good, benign and actually steps in the right direction.

For most lay Catholics there were two areas where the changes were first felt and in a positive way.

1. The Liturgy was slightly reformed and the vernacular was allowed for the changing parts of the Mass. This was good and most Catholics liked the minor adaptations.

What proved to be bad was what would follow.

a. Music went off the rails as new idioms were chosen for chants and more hymns allowed with Protestant hymns that had a Protestant devotional character and spirituality and often with heterodox Protestant theology.

b. What was bad was when horrible ironing board altars were placed in front of beautiful older altars with the traditional set-up to include the tabernacle only to see older altars and tabernacles ripped out and tabernacles placed in obscure, less than lofty locations and the priest's chair dead center.

c. It soon became evident that the vernacular could be manipulated by narcissistic celebrants and facing the people placed way too much emphasis on the physical looks of the priest and his pious prayer looks.

2. Religious life's initial reforms seem quite good especially for sisters/nuns. The modified habits looked more comfortable and practical especially for active orders. Archaic rules about how nuns conducted their lives in monasteries and convents became more human.

What proved to be bad is what followed what seem to be minor common sense change:

a. There was the outright rebellion that soon occurred in religious life when psychology replaced doctrine and spirituality and the rule of life for religious.

b. Nice modified habits were tossed for secular clothing.

c. Nuns began to live alone in apartments and to disengage from their traditional teaching and nursing apostolates, often choosing to work secular jobs to make big bucks for their orders and then for themselves which was odd for nuns vowed to poverty. This was the beginning of the end.

If only the initial slight renovations had not turned into an all out wreckovation, I wonder where the Church, the Liturgy and Religious Life would be today?

29 comments:

TJM said...

Boy that's "vibrant" group of women that any, young faithful Catholic woman would be dying to join. NOT!

gob said...

Here's an idea for another set of photos for this group....Show a priest in a proper black cassock...then...then in black suit and roman collar...then waving from the back of a convertible wearing a brilliant pink sport coat....I'm sure you've heard about fair for the goose, fair for the gander

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As a child of Vatican II, I do resemble that remark. Some say I have the right complexion for pink. Never wore a cassock though, not that I'm opposed in principle.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Cassocks were rarely worn as street clothes in the US.

"I would like to remind everyone though that the cassock is not the proper street attire for priests in the USA. Just look to the Council of Baltimore in the US. It has simply never been the practice of the secular priest to wear a cassock out an about."

"The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 284, hereby decrees that without prejudice to the provisions of canon 288, clerics are to dress in conformity with their sacred calling. In liturgical rites, clerics shall wear the vesture prescribed in the proper liturgical books. Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric."

If, however, one wears a standard cut black suit, the priest is in violation of the particular (national) legislation of Baltimore III which states, "All observe the law of the Church, and that at home or in the church they shall always wear the cassock, which is proper to the clergy. When they go out for duty or relaxation or on a journey, they may use a shorter dress, which is to be black in color, and which reaches to the knees, so as to distinguish it from the dress of the laity. They should reject the more elegant and worldly styles of garments, which are found today. We enjoin upon our priests as a matter of strict precept that, both at home and abroad, and whether they are residing in their own diocese or outside of it, they shall wear the Roman collar."

"Which reaches to the knees"......! Where might a law-abiding cleric find a frock coat these days?


TJM said...

I assume the Decree by the Council at Baltimore was in response to the rampant anti-Catholicism at that time in our nation's history. It was probably done for the protection of the priest. However, the cassock is proper on Church grounds and it is nice to see younger priests reverting to its use.

Is "gob" an acronym for "Ghost of Bugnini?"

Dialogue said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

The complementary norm you mention replaced the Baltimore legislation. So, you can relax. Personally, I like the idea of priests wearing the cassock, but I would not routinely wear one in public, mainly because they're too hot and a little too prominent for my introverted personality.

Dialogue said...

gob,

I reluctantly admit that you make a good point. It's easy to say religious sisters should wear the full getup, but how many of us would wear such uncomfortable clothing?

gob said...

Thank you Dialogue. How many of you other sartorially resplendent clerics would be eager to wear one of the outrageous habits that some of the Nuns wore...or a cassock...or a black suit and Roman collar all day every day?

TJM said...

gob,

Except many priests do wear a cassock or their religious habit every day. It is not about them. We had women religious in our family and they all have said it was easier wearing the habit and they could spend their time focusing on their vocation and work rather than what they looked like. Many of them felt pressured by the loonies in the order to stop wearing the habit.

I know it is an attitude difficult for many 21st century folks to grasp

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, GOB sets up a straw man. We have three Franciscans (two priests one brother) in Macon and they wear their habits everywhere too. No problema. My former polish parochical vicar wore his cassock everywhere too.

I don't wear a cassock but I am in my clerical garb at least 90% of the time and usually the only day I am not is my day off.

Athelstane said...

I can't say that the "modified" habits of the mid-60's are an improvement...

I do not think it is a coincidence that the flourishing conservative and traditional orders of women religious that are actually getting decent numbers of vocations employ traditional full habits. Even the Missionaries of Charity - a role-up-yours-sleeves, down in the trenches order if there ever was one - wear a simple but very full habit. No exposed legs to see.

Macon Millie said...

Well, your former Polish parochial vicar didn't wear his cassock "everywhere." When I encountered him at Barnes and Noble, at the Cherry Blossom Festival Arts and Crafts day, and that the movie theater, he was in mufti.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - I doubt if anti-Catholicism was the cause. One is hardly less recognizable in a black suit with clerical collar than one is in a cassock.

If protecting priests was the motivation, the decision would have been made to dress in wholly civilian garb.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

If this was the 1950's I would go to a movie in my clerical garb. But since movies today are so, how shall I say it, filled with all that priests should avoid, for me to go in clerical garb would not be the best and I would be very self-conscious that if I laughed or show interest that all would be looking at me rather than the movie.

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, but during that era a priest would have looked like a typical protestant clergyman by wearing a frock coat and collar instead of the cassock. The No-Nothing period was a dangerous time for the Church. The Archbishop of New York posted sharp-shooters at St. Patrick's in New York with orders to shoot to kill.

TJM said...

Fr. McDonald you really need to upgrade your clerical attire and wear a cassock on Church grounds as part of re-establishing our Catholic identity. I'm actually surprised you don't wear one. Must be a generational thing, a carryover from the 70s

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Shoot to kill" orders? I doubt that....

gob said...

The problem (in my opinion) is not that I think priests should wear some "uniform" or "costume" or "clerical garb" all the time, but that many priests (MEN) have the option of dressing as they wish, but are so self-righteously adamant, convinced, insistent, positive that the absence of "habits" on nuns (WOMEN) has practically caused the destruction of the entire Church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There is incontrovertible evidence that nuns who went secular are lone Rangers and their rich orders are soon to be extinct. The CSJ's formerly in Augusta are a prime example. Habited nun's orders are thriving on the other hand such as the conservative Dominican orders.

TJM said...

Father Kavanaugh, here's some history on Archbishop Hughes of New York. He doesn't sound like the fluffy, weak-kneed bishops we have today.

"on the heels of the school controversy came Hughes' third battle, which showed him at his feisty best or worst, depending on one's point of view. In May 1844 anti-Catholic Nativist rioters in Philadelphia burned down two Catholic churches in several days of violence that cost a dozen lives. The Nativist leaders then announced their intention of coming to New York City to stage a large public demonstration that almost certainly would have precipitated anti-Catholic riots. Bishop Hughes placed armed guards around his churches and warned the mayor that "if a single Catholic church were burned in New York, the city would become a second Moscow." John Hughes' tough talk paid off. Under pressure from him and other civic leaders, the Nativists canceled their rally."

gob said...

I'd love to see your "incontrovertible evidence". Try looking this up: Correlation does not imply causation".

Here's a line from an old Kingston Trio version of the even older western song "Streets of Laredo: "I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy. You can see by my outfit that I'm a cowboy too. We can see by our outfits that we are both cowboys. GET YOURSELF AN OUTFIT AND BE A COWBOY TOO." For "cowboy", one can substitute Sister, Padre, Bishop, Cardinal, Pontiff....get it? It really isn't just about the "outfit".

Jan said...

Interestingly, some of the younger priests here who do offer the OF Mass do where a cassock around the church and grounds. Of course, all the traditional priests where the cassock.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

GOB, again you are part of the problem and certainly not the solution. For most religious orders on the brink of extinction,the dinosaurs that remain in leadership continue to believe that what they did to their religious orders in the 1960's and 70's and the same old ideologies they hold was renewal. Denial runs deep and so does a lack of common sense about what has led to this decline and also fueled the rampant secularism that is opposed to a communal way of life and sacrifice and sign.

Let's take the CSJs in Augusta. What a wonderful order of nuns they were prior to their decline and fall. In Augusta they founded a wonderful school and hospital. The hospital up until the time of Vatican II and shortly afterwards had close to 30 sisters and the schools they staff brought in even more. There were up to 12 Franciscans in Augusta and several Mercy Sisters at Sacred Heart. Across the river at N. Augusta, OLP had several sisters of a different Franciscan group and in Aiken the same.

The common thread in the decline and fall of all of these orders is a complete loss of religious identity and mission, bachelor lifestyles devoid of community and religious habit, a lifestyle that most single women can have in the Church without calling themselves religious.

I know for a fact that the CSJs allowed elderly sisters who were beyond the ability to care for themselves to remain living alone, one even falling and breaking her hip and not found for a few days. Another was so angry at her order's progressiveness that she still wore a veil while living alone and refused any intervention by her order into her life.

Augustans knew all of this and what girl in her right mind would want to join a religous order like this?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - Archbishop John "Dagger John" Hughes may have placed armed guards around his churches. That's not quite a "shoot to kill" order, now is it?

There are not a few churches today that hire armed, off duty police officers to stand guard at their properties from time to time.

Does your history include the "shoot to kill order," or is that a product of your wishful imagination?

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, I assume you are familiar with the Napoleonic wars and hence the phrase turning New York into another Moscow? There was burning and killing and shooting. I stand by the spirit of my statement. He didn't say he would have his men hit them with their "pursies."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - I am familiar with lots of things. What I'd like to be more familiar with is the source of your claim that Archbishop Hughes gave "Shoot To Kill" orders to the guards he placed around his churches.

Or, you can just say "I stand by the spirit of my statement" and thumb your nose at anything that smacks of accuracy and authenticity.

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, just pretend I am a Novus Ordo priest who tinkers with the language of the Mass on Sunday, and you will see that my statement is very, accurate. Comme le prevoit?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - I will find your statement to be "very accurate" if and when you provide a source, outside your own imagination, for it.

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, well in your imagination you're a Catholic priest.