Sunday, July 17, 2016


The great divide in the Church since Vatican II is over orthodoxy and orthopraxis symbolized by the style in which the Liturgy is celebrated and the piety and spirituality of the Liturgy and of Catholics. Style includes the orientation of the Mass but much, much more. It also refers to how Catholics practice their faith, from spirituality and piety to morality (Faith and Good Works).

Much of the 1970's mentality that has returned to the forefront of the Church today focuses on helping the poor and marginalized with little attention paid to the manner in which the Mass is celebrated and the forms of spirituality and devotion that flow from it or are a part of it.

Helping the the materially poor and marginalized is at the core of human goodness and is not exclusive the Catholicism. Secular (godless) governments are better at it than many of the institutions of the Church. To make helping the poor the core of Catholicism seems to miss the point as it is the core of humanity created in the image and likeness of God regardless of religious persuasion or spiritually.

The right beliefs and practices of Catholics, though, flow from the proper celebration of the Mass and the other formal liturgies of the Church as well as private and public devotions.

If the Mass is too otherworldly and focuses to much on the fluff or rigidity--it becomes like the liberal Anglican tradition that has no basis in orthodoxy as it concerns morality but glories in the liturgy that is cotton candy, sweet to the taste but of no substance. High Anglican Liturgy is more Catholic that the Catholic version of high Liturgy but there is no resemblance in right practice between the two in real life.

What has polarized the Church as symbolized by Cardinal Sarah, hung out to dry, and Cardinal Nichols of London, is Catholic verses Protestant sentiments when it comes to the style of the Mass. It appears that the Holy Father disciplined Cardinal Sarah at the promptings of Cardinal Nichols.

Thus the 1970's is momentarily triumphant over Pope Benedict's quite sober "reform in continuity" not to be confused with the "reform of the reform." Reform of the Church must go back to what Vatican II actually envisioned and not to those after the Council who hijacked it and turned it into something else altogether as symbolized by the wrong reform of the Tridentine Mass as celebrated today in most parishes. By wrong reform I refer to the Order and rubrics of the Mass but also to the banal and creative ways the reformed Mass is celebrated which is even more insidious.

Thus reform is required if one is faithful to the Magisterium of the Church and to an ecumenical Council, but for Pope Benedict and his school of thought of which I am a card-carrying member, that reform is in continuity with the Church of the past not in rupture with it. Catholic identity hinges upon it.

Thus the way the priest faces the altar or the congregation is paramount in the proper implementation of what the Council sought to do in continuity with what the Church practiced at the time of and during the Council itself.

Ad orientem is a symbol of "reform in continuity" with the Tridentine Mass and the modest reforms that Sacrosanctum Concilium desired. So we go back to the Tridentine Mass and reform it as Sacrosanctum Concilium actually requested and what you get is Mass celebrated ad orietem with some vernacular for the changing parts of the Mass and noble simplicity which of course is open to wrong interpretations.

But the clamor for the return of the old Mass exclusively to the Church is doomed to failure although living with the two forms even in the same parish is quite desirable, possible and non-divisive if implemented in the correct way.

But why this conservative/liberal polarization?

Because the reformed Mass is celebrated so poorly in most (not all) parishes in the world.

1. sloppy celebrations with no attention to detail, the dress of lay participants and lacking in choreography (artistic implementation)

2. music that has nothing to do with the traditional spirituality or piety of the Mass or of Catholicism's devotional life

3. Lack of attention to the right practice of the Faith out of an abundance of political correctness

But music I think is the greatest culprit that can compromise the Catholic spirituality and piety of Catholics.

In many Catholic parishes Protestant hymns are sung at Mass. Some of these, especially from High Anglicanism and some from the Methodist tradition are quite compatible with Catholic hymns and pious sentiments.

Most evangelical or Baptist hymns are not Catholic in orthodoxy, piety or sentimentality.  Two hymns in particular that symbolize this are Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art. I personally like the "soaring sounds" and sentiments of both the lyrics and melody, but these are in no way Catholic. They drip with Protestant (Baptist) sentimentality in their syrupyness. These are symbols of Protestant piety not Catholic piety, Protestant syrupyness not Catholic syrupyness.

Catholics should be as aghast to hearing these at Mass or in a Catholic devotion as a Protestant would be hearing "O Beautiful Mother" or "Ave Maria" or "Tantum Ergo" in their churches.

From the devotional, piety and spiritual point of view there is a distinctive identity in these hymns and one knows where that identity is.

Apart from Protestant music's sentimentality and devotion, other music used in the Mass, like worship and praise as well as contemporary sounds more in tune with Broadway melodies are as insidious to Catholic piety, sentimentality and spirituality not to mention morality.

So, let's get on with Pope Benedict's brilliant analysis of the crisis in the Church. It isn't Vatican II or its documents, but the right implementation of these which should have been and could still be "reform in continuity" not the "reform of the reform!"


Anonymous said...

Father, the thing is that the majority of Catholics who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass find no fault with it and are quite happy with the Mass as it is except for the addition of new saints since 1962. It was only modernists at the time of the Council and perhaps some conservatives who found fault with the Mass and so decided it should be brought into line with Protestant services and that was done.

The numbers of conservatives attending the Ordinary Form of the Mass are now very, very small, hence Cardinal Sarah being "hung out to dry" as you say.

It is quite clear that - unless priests are prepared to take the initiative and offer the Ordinary Form of the Mass ad orientem - there isn't going to be any official change to the Ordinary Form for some years to come, if at all.

For those conservatives left it will probably become a choice between accepting the Ordinary Form of the Mass as it is or attending the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Anonymous said...

Humble opinion; more important than the direction the priest faces is that the Mass and the church it is said in is recognizably Catholic, complete with and emphasizing Catholic devotions and customs. What Vatican 2 should have recognized are all of the liturgical details that are unique and essential to Catholicism. Many of the defining Characteristics of my religion disappeared so long ago that I scarcely remember them. I remember reading somewhere that the reason the Catholic school system was set up in this country was because bishops were afraid Catholic devotion would become lost in a Protestant United States. Catholic schools were set up to preserve catholic identity, and Vatican 2 and those who implemented it tried to destroy the same. The new great fear is what will happen as the Untied States shifts from Protestant to Pagan. The direction the priest faces is only the tip of an extremely large iceberg. Thirty years ago I would have never thought a US citizen would be persecuted for being Catholic, yet this is precisely my reality today; and my greatest persecutor is my government.I fear what my future holds.

Anonymous said...

No one who's read in "God or Nothing" how Card. Sarah stood up to (and was marked for death by) a brutal dictator and sadistic torturer in his native Guinea--one who combined the worst features of Kim Jon-un and Papa Doc Duvalier--thinks he will be bothered by his current treatment by contemptible petty tyrants and their sycophantic minions.

TJM said...

Henry, sounds like you're describing the Roman Curia!

Catholic Mission said...

Their faith and my faith : Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit
I have e-mailed the faculty at the Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit posts from this blog on the debate between Bishop Sanborn and Dr.Robert Fastiggi, professor of theology.I invited their comments.This is quite some time back. I had also sent reports to the Rector of the Seminary. Also to Ralph Martin who is on the faculty.
Ralph Martin's book was displayed by Christine Niles on a Download program.But that book has a flaw.
It assumes that hypothetical cases of the baptism of desire and blood, and being saved in invncible ignorance refer to objective cases in the present times. Then it is further assumed that these cases exclude the baptism of water.Then it is concluded by Ralph Martin that these hypothetical cases are exceptions to the traditional teaching on exclusive salvation in the Catholic Church.
So Ralph Martin does not affirm the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus nor Ad Gentes 7 and Lumen Gentium 14 which says all need faith and baptism for salavtion.
This is the understanding of 'Church' for the rest of the faculty and also the Archbishop of Detroit.
How can we know of someone saved without the baptism of water in the Catholic Church in 2016 ?. How could any one in the past also know of someone saved without the baptism of water, who would be an exception to EENS, in the present times. For example how could Cardinal Francesco Marchetti who issued the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 assume that the baptism of desire as a known case, explicitly visible without the baptism of water, for it to be an exception to the Feeneyite interpretation of EENS?. He could not know!If there was such a case it would only be known to God.
Similarly the faculty of the Catholic seminary in Detroit cannot know of an excepton to the dogma EENS in 2016.So this was the flaw in Martin's book.
The book was praised by the Archbishop Augustine Di Noia at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Ecclesia Dei. Di Noia when asked about extra ecclesiam nulla salus, by Edward Pentin, in an interview, said he knows of some Protestants/Anglicans who will be going to Heaven outside the Church.How is this possible? How can he know someone who will not commit a mortal sin before death,Catholic or Protestant?. How can we judge the soul of someone and say he will be going to Heaven without entering the Catholic Church or he has gone to Heaven without being a Catholic ?
So it was understandable that Di Noia would read Martin's books since both of them were using philosophical subjectivism.They were judging invisible cases of the baptism of desire which is impossible. Then then conclude that these cases are known in real life and would be exceptions to traditional EENS.

So now we have two faiths at Holy Mass.We have Archbishop Di Noia, Ralph Martin, Dr. Fastiggi and the Rector of the seminary attending Holy Mass assuming there are exceptions to EENS, while I attend Mass knowng there are no explicit exceptions to EENS. These are examples of two different belief systems. Differences in doctrine. Differences in Catholic faith at the same Mass.
Then they all assume that Vatican Council II (LG 16 etc) is a break with the dogma EENS while I assume it is not.Again we see differences in doctrine. It is the same liturgy that we can both attend but our faith is different.
They interpret EENS and Vatican Council II with the premise of hypothetical cases of the baptism of desire being explicit in 2016 while I avoid this premise.
So is it the same Catholic faith? No.
Their position reflects the innovation in the Church, from the second part of the Letter(1949) which has been accepted by the contemporary magisterium.My position reflects the first part of the Letter ( 1949) which is a continuation of the traditional interpretation of the dogma EENS, according to the pre-Council of Trent magisterium.
If they avoid the premise and the non traditional conclusion they could attend Mass with the old faith, with my faith.
-Lionel Andrades

Anonymous said...

Once again this pope publicly humiliates a Catholic prelate who dares to express a traditional Catholic position.

John Nolan said...

The idea that Cardinal Nichols put pressure on the pope to discipline one of his dicasterial prefects who is also a cardinal, and whom the pope himself appointed not long ago, is preposterous. All Nichols did was to circularize his diocesan clergy to remind them that there was no requirement for them to change orientation come Advent. Nichols comes across as rather petulant at times, and is aware that many English Catholics are disappointed with his record; he also remembers that Benedict XVI delivered a thinly-disguised reprimand to the English hierarchy for tolerating dissent. Benedict had the measure of the English bishops; Francis hasn't much of a clue. However, he (Francis) resisted pressure to replace Archbishop Mennini as Nuncio (Mennini was the first Nuncio in years not to be a catspaw for the over-mighty Bishops' Conference). Nota Bene: the USCCB is far less despotic than the CBCEW.

Dom Alcuin Reid has also vigorously countered implications that Cardinal Sarah was in effect lying when he said (before the London conference) that Francis had asked him to continue the 'reform of the reform'. Lombardi seems to have been the culprit here.

And the CBCEW is no longer the liberal self-perpetuating oligarchy that it was ten years ago, when it was aptly termed the Magic Circle.

Carol H. said...

The focus of the EF is sacrifice. We worship God, and we offer ourselves in a sacrificial way in union with Christ's sacrifice on the cross. We sacrifice our will and unite it with God's will and accept that He knows what is best even if we don't understand why. We live our lives accordingly.

The focus of the OF is family gathered around a table for a meal. We speak to each other and shake hands. We have our own opinions and live by them. We consider what the others around us have to say, but in the end it is up to us. We eat the meal placed before us because it is the one thing we all have in common and it unites us as one. Church rules were imposed on us by a bunch of men so we don't have to follow them if we don't want to. We will get the Church to change them eventually.

The focus of the Mass changes EVERYTHING. Ad orientum is a big step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

"Teacher What Must I Do"
God in his Mercy did not create Robots. He gives us intellect and free will to make our choices.
Today I choose
1. To Worship God and only him do I choose
2.I will remember that the name of the Lord is Holy
3. I will remember that today is The Lord's day and Keep it Holy
4. I will love my mother and father
5. I will not kill... not even with my words
6. I will be faithful to my marriage vows
7. I will not steal
8. I will tell the truth
9. I will not covet I will be grateful for what I have
10 I will not desire what others have.
As a modern day Eve I choose today to try my best not to take a bite out of the apple.
Make it a Holy Day or not. The Choice is yours.

Michael said...

I would suggest that the problem isn't music, but priests and bad priestly formation - and I mention this because you, Fr. McDonald, being a priest, don't often have to see Mass "from the pews," so such a perspective may not come readily to your attention.

But so many priests - most of the ones I've seen, aside from many of the young ones now and the ardently traditional ones otherwise - have no sense of "Ars Celebrandi" at all. The edification factor of the Mass significantly plummets as a result. The priests I'm referring to might not even be obvious in their avoidance of rubrics, but it's little things: they don't bow their heads when mentioning Jesus, Mary, or the day's saint. They *do* look at the congregation while saying the prayers. They don't bow low while saying the words of Consecration. They don't keep track of their hands (how / when they're joined, for example). They don't genuflect when entering and departing the sanctuary, when the Blessed Sacrament is present, and they don't genuflect when passing the Tabernacle outside of Mass, opting for the profound bow instead (because of a confusing set of passages in the GIRM, I imagine). And on and on.

None of this is to comment on the holiness of these priests. Many of them are quite holy and devoted men, but they likely weren't taught the importance of minding the finer details of the Mass. That, I think, is one of the biggest issues at the moment.

Anonymous said...

The August/September issue of First Things magazine features an article: DEATH OF GOD by M.Rose. The article was extensively discussed on Rod Drehers's blog also. The gist of the article is that protestants in their theology have lost or are on the way to loose the Trinitarian God or the God of Abraham and devolved to a cultural christian association. Whereas before the axis of worship for Christians of various sorts was the Cross, for today the axis is universal human rights have taken its place.

This trend in theological thinking has gaining among progressivist theologians in the Catholic Church as well, not among the traditionalist but certainly Vatican 2 has formally veered in a protestant direction. With the latest news from the Vatican on impending changes in leadership at the CDF where Cardinal Schoenborn might replace Cardinal Miller raises possibility that the CCC might be up for renewal in this Papacy also. If that should come about the problems we have now would be multiplied beyond what we now ask for: a reform of the reform.

Anonymous said...

Michael - Regarding the bow at the words of consecration, the General Instruction says, "In addition, the priest bows slightly as he speaks the words of the Lord at the consecration." "Slightly," not "low," or, as the Instruction says, "profound."

We should mind the finer details, but the details as they are prescribed.

Michael said...

Anonymous @4:27 PM, you're correct there. But even then, many priests don't do that, opting instead to look at the congregation as they say, "Take this, all of you..."

And BTW, lest my last comment be misinterpreted, music *is* a problem. I absolutely agree about that. I just wouldn't say it's the main one.

Mark Thomas said...

Showdown in Arkansas over “Ad Orientem”

published 17 July 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

"SEVERAL PEOPLE have sent me copies of a letter dated 14 July 2016. This shocking letter — sent to all priests and deacons in Little Rock by BISHOP ANTHONY B. TAYLOR — orders that Mass “will always be celebrated facing the people in our diocese.”

Here is the link to the letter in question:


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

We have sung "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art" at our parish in Georgia's "other" diocese (hint, it ain't Savannah), though just occasionally. Ironically, one time I heard the former was at the same Mass where the Epistle of James was read (faith without works is dead)! Our pastor more or less lets the organist choose the hymns. My biggest complaint is we almost never sing an entire hymn, just enough stanzas to get the celebrant to and from the altar. In most Protestant churches, you don't have to wonder if you'll sing all the stanzas, even if that means 8 stanzas of "For All The Saints"

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anonymous - Alas, for too many priests the hymns have become "music To Accompany" something, and should end when that "something" ends. So, the opening hymn becomes travelling music - just enough to get the priest to the altar. The recessional is, likewise, music to get him out the door.

Although we say that music is integral to the liturgy, we don't act that way. I do what I can to promote the better way.

Gene said...

"Amazing Grace" is a Calvinist Total Depravity song which has been over done to death. "How Great Thou Art" is a subjectivist, all-about-me hymn that has naturalistic elements and which is almost predicating God's existence upon my awe and emotional reaction to nature. The theology of "Amazing Grace" is fine if you are a Calvinist, and even a Catholic can affirm that grace is amazing. But, Catholics do not like the "wretch like me" stuff, plus it tends toward the protestant emotional experience of salvation to the diminishment of the whole Church experience of being "in the Church" from birth until death.

Gene said...

There are, however, some fine protestant Christological hymns that Catholics would like and which are good theology...for instance, "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross," with such wonderful lines as,

"Near the Cross, O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me,
Let me walk from day to day,
With its shadow o'er me."

And, of course, "A Mighty Fortress", which, though written by Luther, is powerful theology, and quite Catholic except, perhaps, for the last verse. There are a few others, but there is a lot of emotionalism in most protestant hymns. Some of the best songs of the Faith are the old Blue Grass gospels and Southern traditional hymns that are not generally in hymnals. These focus on the need for the individual sinner to seek Christ and repent, or they focus on our hope in Him and the rejection of earthly solutions to spiritual problems.

Robert Kumpel said...

I HAVE been aghast at hearing these songs at Mass for some time, but my wife and several other people I know think that there is something wrong with me and that I am too uptight because I don't like using Protestant hymns at Mass.

I just don't understand why we have so many great traditional Catholic hymns that have been canned for the last 50 years.

Anonymous said...

Father I believe that what we are experiencing is a lack of understanding for active Catholics today.
Many of the church members today (including me) were born after the mass changes, or have converted to the faith with RCIA instruction during the 1970's. When you speak of how your heart wants the mass celebrated, the type of music etc many of us have never even experienced that type of service.

I must say and it makes me sad that my RCIA instruction classes were lacking. The mass that so upsets you today is the only type of mass that I have experienced until you came to St. Joseph. I mean no disrespect but once the mass became so formal, the music changed and many practices changed it was like a church that I had never known. It was well above my head, different from what my children had known. Many Catholics today have not been taught proper ways. We were not raised Catholic, we did not attend Catholic schools Many of the things that posters here worry about or are offended by actually shocked me because I did not know that this or that was not proper.

It is also very confusing when you travel. We always go to mass even on vacation. In traveling you see guitar music, people in shorts, almost a completely different service from what will happen in the next church that we attend. Some hold hands, some are offended by that. Some play guitars and wave their hands some are offended by that. It is hard to understand what to do.

I became a Catholic because I know it to be the Church with the complete teachings of Christ. I thought that unlike many other churches that I attended that there would be a structure that would not change as the priest changes. So many churches today completely change when the minister changes. That is what I did not like. The personality or the opinion of the minister changed and you almost had a different church. I am very sad that it appears to be the same situation with us. The mass in Florida is nothing like the mass at St. Joseph.

I think that when we disagree we are not being disrespectful we simply have not known the church to be the formal church that you so love. Now in Florida it will always be a casual mass and the folk mass is one that is most attended. When you are a catholic today you really need to ask What kind of Catholic? The people in Florida with flip flops would not even think that they were in the same faith if they should go to a Latin Mass at St. Joseph. People just have not been taught the traditional way and each priest and district is completely different.

Anonymous said...

Gene the most holy moment of my father's funeral mass was when bagpipes played Amazing Grace.
The most holy moment at my mother's funeral was when children sang "How Great Thou Art"
Your comments make me so sad.

Anonymous said...

These two songs were played at my parents funerals. The saddest day of my life. They were my parents favorite songs.
After reading this statement I know now that I am no longer going to be a Catholic. I guess I never was a Catholic. And yes I am crying.
It is just so insulting and very painful.
I can't be like these people.

Jenny said...

Carole H @ 1:04,
Exactly so.
We had the privilege to assist today at the first EF Mass celebrated here locally in over seven years following just one celebrated previously right after Pope Benedict's SP (then squelched thereafter). I had really given up hope locally. I didn't think I would assist at another here before I passed into eternity. Today at 2 pm the Angels sang, and the reverence was palpable and ethereal. Thanks be to God and to the local hero who prevailed with the Deanery through all these years of rejection. And, most especially, thanks to the Celebrant who cooperated with God's plan for us. He traveled many miles and arranged it all perfectly with local help.
Finally, while hidden, I believe our blog host may have helped work this miracle with his prayerful (active?) intervention. Thank you Father for all you do to assist our Church in saving souls.

Anonymous said...

Father McDonald
Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art were both hymns played at my parents funerals.
They were very meaningful to our family and we were Catholic.
If in your opinion and also in Gene's opinion that Catholics should be "aghast" that these songs are played in
the Catholic Church then I know that I have made the correct decision to terminate my membership in the
Catholic Church. As you yourself have questioned "signs" (for example when you first moved to Richmond Hill and the storm broke) Then I am free to take this as a sign that the Catholic Faith that I joined is no longer that Church. For me after
a long search to return to the faith (When our Bishop in Savannah during Easter asked "Catholics Come Home") perhaps God has allowed my parents to send me a "sign"that this church is not for my family. How odd that the two hymns you mentioned represent to me my Mother and Father.
Gene may say along with John Nolen that my post is not up to their "educational level" as they have insulted me many times on this blog. I am very grateful to the Catholic Ladies who suggested this blog so that I might be encouraged to "Come Home"
Perhaps with my last post Gene and John can figure out my lame attempt to explain myself when I write. These two individual Catholics have helped me seal the decision. I will visit Father Cuddy and give him a hug and tell him Good Bye.
Teacher Angie

Tony V said...

Gene beat me to it--spot on, for both hymns (I'm not sure I'd call 'How Great Thou Art' a hymn; it's more like a show tune).

Two of the big failures of both Vatican II and its implementation was that it didn't allow for the possibility of failure of the novelties (which in many cases were of course presumed to be restorations) and it imposed wholesale, disruptive change instead of simply permitting alternatives to various parts of the old rite. We've seen the results. It's kind of like the old New Coke/Old Coke experience, except that senior managers at Coca-Cola soon realised they weren't infallible and admitted they'd got it wrong.

We need to be honest, however, about GIRM, which really does take the more Protestant-oriented view that Fr McD talks about. There's a lot of discussion floating around certain places on the internet about the "quod clause" in the Latin text of 299 being 'mistranslated' in the English version. This is, I'm afraid, wishful thinking. I won't burden this thread with the linguistic details, but when I get to it this week I shall post something on it on my own blog--I use it to (occasionally) post my comments that get censored from other blogs. (Up till now, those censors have always been the 'progressive' blogs.) Until I get around to that, I'd encourage people not to jump on the 'mistranslation' bandwagon, as it impugns the credibility of us all, and to ponder instead another relative clause that's rather a propos: Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.

And hats off again to Fr McD for allowing a range of opinions and discussion in his comboxes.

John Nolan said...

Father Kavanaugh

It isn't often you post about music, so it's interesting to have your views. Hymns are rarely integral to the liturgy of the Mass, as opposed to the Office - exceptions would be the Pange Lingua on Maundy Thursday and the Crux Fidelis on Good Friday. Yet both of these accompany an action; in the first case the procession to the Altar of Repose, and in the second the 'creeping to the cross'.

Some of the Mass Propers accompany an action, such as the Introit, Offertory and Communion. These can be lengthened or shortened to suit (see the Praenotanda to the 1974 Graduale Romanum) by including or omitting psalm verses.

The idea that liturgical action must pause when anyone sings anything is a strange one and runs counter to both the spirit and letter of the Novus Ordo. When all join in with the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei they are of course participating fully in the liturgical action, not impeding it.

Whatever one thinks of the Novus Ordo (and I, for one have serious reservations) it was clearly designed to be sung, not recited as a sort of vernacular Low Mass with hymns added on. The priest now has the chants for his parts in the Missal, and we are finally getting simple vernacular settings of the Mass Propers.

There is no 'recessional' in either form of the Mass, and in Advent and Lent it is appropriate if everyone leaves in silence. In other seasons a hymn or an organ voluntary would not be out of place.

rcg said...

Mark T. I also heard that the Inroductory Hymn will always be "The Fishing Hole" as long as he is bishop.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 11:20 pm, The fact that those hymns do not reflect Catholic theology does not diminish their meaning for those who love them. Any devotional hymn or prayer can become a vehicle for God's grace and mercy. Quit looking for reasons to be offended.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 11:17 pm,

Thank you for such an expressive and sensitive post. To a convert like myself--back we went through an intensive period of one-on-one instruction (by a rightly formed priest) in "the faith of our fathers"--perhaps the saddest current reality is that so many Catholic parishes exhibit little recognizable resemblance to the Catholicism of Christian history, and so many in the pews--despite no culpability of their own--really have little idea what Catholicism is or what it means to be a Catholic. They have been cheated of their rightful heritage.

TJM said...

There is a simple solution to the dilemma regarding funerals. Use music that was intended to be used at Mass, i.e., plainchant (whether Latin or English) and save Amazing Grace and the like for the cemetary. We did that for both of my parents funerals and it worked very well.

Anonymous said...

Gene - Quit giving people reasons to be offended.....

Victor said...

There is a great divide in the Church and it is very deep as you intimate. To further illustrate this chasm between Africa and the Enlightened West I bring up this issue of material poverty, and consider what Cardinal Sarah has said on this in his God Or Nothing. It is heresy for Christians in the West to say that eliminating all poverty is anti-Christian. Yet Catholics are not called to eradicate poverty, but to eliminate destitution. Poverty is a value as his Eminence notes. If you eliminate poverty, you eliminate most of the Catholic priesthood, and almost all the monasteries. Jesus said that the poor will always be with us. Has the issue of poverty become so prominent because of sentimentality or guilt when God seems so far away, so theoretical that the priest must even face the people because there is nothing else to face anymore?
In Africa there is still great spirituality despite the pressures of the West, particularly with the forceful colonialisation through American ideology. God's work is seen everywhere, through His miracles. Like in the so-called middle ages creation is seen as a theophany, as a revelation of God. God is not a theory as He has become in the west, but continually experienced in every day matters. Compare that to the West which has accepted Enlightenment principles that reason and science can explain all phenomena, that miracles are figurative, leaving little place for God. How can these folks understand what it means to look to the East in Worship?. Worse still, much of the West is now turning to postmodernism, that selfist sentimental notion that truth and its universe centres around me. The Novus Ordo fits in perfectly with selfism when the priest faces the people, because he becomes a wishful reflection of themselves.

Anonymous said...

At the last Novus Ordo funeral Mass I attended, the music was provided by the local Latin Mass schola (instead of the usual parish choir). They sang largely (though not entirely) vernacular music, but there was nothing to complain about--from any side.

It seems that, just as celebrating EF Mass teaches a priest what the Mass is about, singing EF Mass teaches a choir what sacred music is about. Observation of many priests and many choirs might suggest that--in either case--there is no other way.

TJM said...

Henry, excellent observations.

John Nolan said...

Tony V

I don't know your credentials as a Latinist, but I hardly think that neither Reggie Foster who is hardly a conservative, nor the dicastery which added the 'quod' clause and subsequently clarified what it referred to (i.e. the movement of altars), were indulging in wishful thinking, even if you impute this to Fr Hunwicke who is by any measure an eminent classical scholar.

Your interpretation of the Latin text is a minority opinion. Since encountering the French translation of GIRM 299 I have since read the German version which concurs with it - as apparently does the Polish translation, although I am not competent to pronounce on it.

John Nolan said...

Teacher Angie

You appear to be suffering from the delusion that the Catholic Church needs to conform with your ideas, feelings and inchoate opinions whereas it is you who need to conform yourself, in all humility, with the Church. The idea that being ticked off by the likes of me and Gene would destroy your faith merely indicates that it wasn't all that strong in the first place.

Anonymous said...

John at 3:49 Did you read what the lady said? You and this Gene were the final straw.
She came here for help and your insults did not reflect the type of people she wants to worship with.
Your insulting attitude and know it all behavior are what appears to us to be delusional.
You are offensive to women and this blog.

Anonymous 2 said...


I feel sure that God will bring you to the spiritual home where you need to be. However, I hope you will not give up too soon on a possible return home to the Catholic Church. In particular, I hope that you will not allow the more extreme and sometimes intemperately expressed views on this Blog to deter you in your quest. Although some of these views may represent a legitimate position within the Church, they are certainly not representative of mainstream Catholicism or mainstream Catholics. Although you likely cannot talk to Father Cuddy about these matters, even if you can give him hug, there are many other priests with whom you could talk, perhaps even including Father McDonald and Father Kavanaugh even though they no longer live in Macon.

I will keep you in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Reading all who post here, many of you seem to forget what is asked of us.
John 21: 15-17
While you whirl away at parsing words in song, arguing over nuances of Mass direction, your sheep starve.
As a member of St. Anne,and when the parish began, we had no organ, we had nothing. We thrived on our faith, and what we could provide musically.. God asks us to do with what we have, not what we want. Jesus says... " feed my sheep" PLEASE tend to your flock.

Carol H. said...

Teacher Angie,

It appears that the devil is trying to control you with your feelings. He is the only one who has anything to gain if you leave the Church.

Please consider praying the St. Michael prayer when you feel conflicted- it is a minor exorcism. I will keep you in my prayers.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 5:28, Get a life. She came here to whine and try to get attention. Then, she tries to make others feel guilty for her own inadequacies. I do not play those games.

Anonymous said...

A2 and Carol,
I am so glad I checked this one more time. Thank you for your kind words.
I am struggling but I would never leave God or not go to Church. God has
always been a very important part of my life since childhood. I really do
believe God called me to the Catholic faith However I think I was taught
that faith by a wonderful priest but we only had a few classes. I don't really know
that I knew all the details of the faith well enough to join. The church changed a great
deal in Macon and it did not seem to be the church I had joined. Not good or bad but
different. I know many do not follow all of the rules but I am the type of person that
if it is a rule I will follow it. I think that is my biggest conflict : I want to follow the
rules but many of the rules are contrary to what the Protestant church taught me. When
I would question these things in RCIA classes I would be greeted with a smile and
told to "just do the best I could and God would honor my intent". There are just
several issues that I just don't agree with (the treatment of Gay people for example)
divorced people not being able to have communion, etc. These situations do not
apply to me but still they bother me in my soul. I came to this blog on the advice
of a Catholic who thought it would help. Instead I found More rules and I did several
times become very angry at the responses to my questions.... even down to how to
vote using your conscience. The response if it is possible to hear emotion in written
text was always some name calling, insult to intellect, or "Go to Confession" I would
not treat my child that way if they had questions. I do feel for me that I will go
back to my childhood church. And by the way that church has been made fun of on
this blog (Episcopal Church) So I think God now leads me down a different path to
a different church. I just will be more comfortable and more at home. But.... I do
Love Love the Catholic Faith. I have a library of over 1,000 Catholic books and
encouraged all 4 of my brothers to enter the church in Fla. For me Retirement will
be on an Island with the Episcopal Church that I grew up in and where I got
married. Thanks so much for listening. You two and Father K are Christian People.
This was good for me I found my answer and Carol I do pray the St. Michael prayer
every single night of my life. Im glad I checked this blog one more time. I won't again.
I feel complete peace and know God smiles. Angie.

Gene said...

Did Teacher Angie just say something?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:40
Please dig deeper to better understand those Catholic viewpoints you disagree with...yo might just discover them to be not so disagreeable after all, once you fully understand them.

And I hope you protestant church has the Eucharist.

I'll pray for you.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 5:40
You are 100% Correct.
Im with you.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 5:40, At the end of that passage, Jesus says, "Follow me." Following Him also includes fighting for the Faith, right belief, and right worship. It does not mean becoming the sheep and lying passively about, grazing on whatever is fed us by post Vat II modernists.

rcg said...

FWIW, I greatly enjoy John and Gene's posts. They remind me of family gatherings when I was a child. My mother's family had a tradition of reading a great deal, many attended universities and some of the elders, grandfather's era, read and spoke Latin and Greek. Sundays were usually discussions very much like this and one had to be prepared the explain and defend a position, not merely have it. I was the outlier, more adept with numbers and formulae than words and music. But I managed to learn that there were great literature and music that had a religious mode that was was not appropriate, not fit, for sacred application. Yet those things of meaner state, like banjos at Mass, can be gentled by the manners of the person doing it. I do not mean 'softened'.

So the apparent contradiction of loving a secular tune and being inspired by its words is not incompatible with our dedication to our Faith. Humans have the ability to contain conflicting ideas and survive. When one considers the beauty of the universe and that Satan is allowed to exist in it begs the question: is that not how we are most in the image of God?

If you want example of this wonderful contradiction go to the website for my parish,, and take the virtual tour. On the right side of the nave is a stained glass window of Christ crowning His Holy Mother; while holding a banjo.

Anonymous said...

Gene- How presumptuous of you to make an assumption that we don't fight for our faith. To build a church community, in a predominate protestant area from nothing to what we have now, in a matter of 50-60 years, is proof that we do and we have. You no nothing of us, and your arrogance and self righteousness is astounding.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gene at 9:02 Yes Teacher Angie did say something. She said Goodbye
And also good bye from me as well.
Baptist Sarah

John Nolan said...

I suspect that both Teacher Angie and Baptist Sarah chose the the wrong forum on which to post. Angie thought it was appropriate to attack a regular commentator (Jan) in a diffuse and solipsistic rant which was extended to include anyone else who did not share her prejudices, and then had the cheek to complain that she was being personally vilified. Sarah asked a lot of questions to which she could easily have found out the answers for herself, but was obviously convinced that the narrow view of Christianity espoused by the Baptist 'church' was the truth.

I am reminded of the following vignette:
'My name is Roger and I'm an alcoholic.'
'Uh...Roger...this is the yoga class.'

I hope that both these confused ladies can find a blog wherein their egos can be sympathetically massaged.

Anonymous said...

Good Bye From a Ladies Study Group As well..
Teacher Lee
OS African American Catholic
JM Seeker

And Angie and Sarah were members as well.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan this group of ladies sought support as they planned to return or convert to the Catholic
Faith this Easter. Yet with the exception of only three or four posters we could not find the answers
that as a group we could not agree upon. We will continue our search and devotion to Jesus and yes
you are correct this blog was not the appropriate place for us. You won't be bothered with us again.
As for Jan that you defend she told one member that the person was a "fake Catholic" thus the attack.
We found it interesting that only a few of you and we think you use multiple names think you know
all the answers to God and his Salvation. You need to follow the kindness of Father K, Anonymous 2, and Carol
if you wish to learn an appropriate Christian way to reply to people. God in our opinion cares very little on
how much you "Know" about the mass and Catholic procedures if you fail to practice Love. We see now
that a poster from St. Anne's will be the next person on your list to attack. The biggest disappointment thus far
has been the insulting attacks, vulgar language, that has been expressed. To the St. Anne' poster... they
will only knock you down. They do not care to "Tend" the sheep. It is not worth the distress. Just Pray.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous @ 1:19

Sentimental and sanctimonious twaddle. Is this what RCIA does to people? Ask me a genuine question and I will attempt to answer it if I can, and I have never claimed to have all the answers.

The sooner you understand it is not about you, your preferences and your emotions, the better. I'm not even sure that the Catholic Church you encounter is the genuine article, rather a fabricated 'church of nice' which can't distinguish 'luurve' from Christian charity.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I was so incredulous of rcg's claim that a stained glass window in the church where he worships depicts Our Lord holding a banjo while crowning Our Lady as Queen of Heaven, I had to go see for myself. Upon close inspection of the photo of the said window, I believe Our Lord is holding a scepter, although I don't know what the round object under His hand would be (that does look like the resonator of a banjo). :-)

Banjo indeed! :-)

God bless. ~ Bee

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Unfortunately, yes. I remember years ago going to a baptism "class" in preparation for one of my new-born daughters. With 4 priests living at the rectory at the time, lay people taught the class. They talked about love, love, love, and nice, nice, nice. I piped up and asked when we were going to discuss the sacrament of baptism. They were not amused.

Anonymous said...

John and Jan are the same people from England. That is why they so defend each other.
They just try to trip you all up. They have nothing else to do
but play on the computer. St. Anne parish Good luck to you.

TJM said...

Anonymous @3:38

You sound like a typical, liberal troll. John and Jan are hardly the same people. If you have any powers of discernment you would know that. By by

Gene said...

Bee, you must understand...rcg ain't right.

Anonymous said...

Baptism should be about love love love. What do you think Jesus died for?
Interesting those that claim to know it all about the faith and they know nothing about Love. In fact, they make fun of Love.
How very very sad. You just made the saddest remark I have ever heard a Catholic state Oh wait, maybe you have never heard that God is Love. And I am not a troll I am a Catholic who knows about love.

Anonymous said...

And John and Jan are the same people as TJM. Just using different names. Thats why they trade places with a response and back each other up. You never hear from one without the other.

Anonymous said...

Gene you must understand that you "aint" right.
Is there one person on this blog that you don't insult?
With the exception of the other names you use to post comments.
If you don't insult a poster then we know you are the poster
How many different names do you use?
You must have nothing to do but play on the computer all day.
Leave rcg alone. He is a lot brighter than you are.
Previous minister huh????? Doubt that.

Anonymous said...

It must have been from a head injury during a martial arts class.

Flavius Hesychius said...


John Nolan said...

I have only one alter ego, a medieval chronicler called Wipo of Mainz. He hasn't posted for some time so I'll ask his opinion. He of course writes in Latin, but I will translate him for the benefit of those whose medieval Latin is a bit rusty.

Anonymous 2 said...

“To evangelize, then, we must be open to the action of the Spirit of God, without fear of what He asks us or where He leads us. Let us entrust ourselves to Him! He enables us to live and bear witness to our faith, and enlighten the hearts of those we meet. . . .

We should all ask ourselves: how do I let myself be guided by the Holy Spirit so that my witness of faith is one of unity and communion? Do I bring the message of reconciliation and love that is the Gospel to the places where I live? Sometimes it seems that what happened at Babel is repeated today; divisions, the inability to understand each other, rivalry, envy, selfishness. What do I do with my life? Do I bring unity? Or do I divide with gossip and envy? Let us ask ourselves this. Bringing the Gospel means we in the first place must live reconciliation, forgiveness, peace, unity, love that the Holy Spirit gives us. Let us remember the words of Jesus: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35).”

– Pope Francis, May 22, 2013

Gene said...

Anonymous@11:02, RCG and I are friends. It is a I see the affirmative action crowd is now represented here. I recognize them from the grammar.

Gene said...

To Sarah, "Teacher" Angie, Ladies group, etc, If I have had some small part in your decision to leave the blog, I am grateful to God for the opportunity. Bye now...

Gene said...

Baptism is not about "love." That is a careless theological statement. Baptism is about obedience and belief, the gift from God of our participation in Christ's Sacrifice for our salvation. Love has become a meaningless mantra for faux Christians who use the term incorrectly and as a means to manipulate others.

rcg said...

Anon, thank you for backing me up, but Gene and I have been "associates" as far back as ~1974. Although during the early years we were essentially unknown to each other we reacquainted through martial arts. I deeply respect him and am honored that he would jab me, figuratively or physically. I count him among my friends.

TJM said...

Anonymous must have received her mistaken notions about baptism from RCIA. The Sacrament of Baptism is about removing the stain of original sin, receiving sanctifying grace which provides an indelible mark on the soul and makes us children of God.

Jenny said...

Interesting article about this topic:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:38 Everyone here is aquatinted with John Nolan.
His love of Latin is your clue. Beware St. Anne

Anonymous said...

Ah Indeed A name adopted from european travels Perhaps a small village in England. The owner of an antique shop impressed the shopper. Thus the adopted name.

Anonymous said...

rcg Indeed Martial Arts Participants pinning each other down. Interesting.

John Nolan said...

'Everyone here is aquatinted (!) with John Nolan'. Can you identify the water-colourist who produced this group portrait?

Anonymous said...

1 John 1:7

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene says:

“Love has become a meaningless mantra for faux Christians who use the term incorrectly and as a means to manipulate others.”

It may have become a cliché in our sophisticated and jaded times, but it is no less true for that:

1. If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,

5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,

6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.

9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially,

10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

11When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.

12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

– 1 Corinthians 13

John Nolan said...

Anon 2

'...caritatem autem non habeam' - if I have not charity. At least English does have a Latinate noun to make up for the fact that its one word 'love' has at least three words in Greek with different meanings.

'Amoris Laetitia' was jocularly translated as 'The Joy of Sex' by those of us old enough to remember Dr Alex Comfort. Now that I learn that most of it was penned by a dodgy Argentine called Fernandez I am even less inclined to give it my attention, along with anything else that emanates from this 'calamitously dysfunctional' papacy - not my words, incidentally, but those of someone far more qualified to comment than I.

Anonymous 2 said...


I agree that the word “love” covers a multitude of sins as it were. However, whatever term we use (love or charity or caritas or agape), St Paul identifies its critical features/aspects/associated virtues. Thus, struggle though it may be for all of us sometimes, we must endeavor to be patient and kind, and try not to be rude, etc, etc. Moreover, we are told that without this central virtue, everything else is in vain. So, while acknowledging the potential risk of misplaced sentimentality, I do think that the good ladies who courageously posted here about love were perhaps on to something rather important, don’t you?

So, by the way, was Father John Cuddy when he was pastor at St. Josephs for so many years. God’s love for us was perhaps_the_overriding and defining truth for him and one that he never failed to mention in every single homily—so much so that it made one smile at his almost childlike simplicity. But then our Lord said something rather positive about little children as I recall.

Gene said...

I Cor. 13 is the most cliched and over-used verse in Scripture. Now, consider, first, that Paul is exhorting Christians how to behave among themselves. Paul's writings are actually tempered with quite a few condemnations of non-Christians, cautions about unbelief, and serious warnings regarding this world and it powers and principalities. It is typical of "proof texting" pedants and half-baked products of public education and Biblically illiterate churches in metal buildings by the frontage road to righteously pick and choose Biblical texts in a way that supports their trepidated and manipulative lives. Now, toss me that viper...

rcg said...

"Love" and "poverty" are very difficult concepts, IMO, and are even more so if you allow them to be influenced by the modern popular meanings. I think that I am almost coming to grips with a working understanding of 'poor' and 'poverty'. I have a way to go with Love, but it seems to require the entire Trinity to make sense.

This is where my grandfather would begin a Nolan-esque exploring of various Latin words that might mean 'love', get interupted by his brother-in-law with Greek words and concepts. Both would be shut down, Gene-like, by (great) Grandmother banging out a ragtime vaudeville bawdy on the piano.

This place seems completly normal to me.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 10:55, You obviously know nothing about martial arts, which goes well with all the other things you know nothing about. We do not "pin" each other in karate. We kick and punch each other and learn how to break bones and draw blood. We are taught to be tolerant of morons and smart mouths, as well, so you are in luck.

Alter Anonymous said...

Y'all are missing the point when you discuss the role of love. The problem is that (as John Nolan comes close to saying) "Love" must be defined. I'm sure that people who promote euthanasia believe it's an act of love. Probably at least some mothers who kill their unborn children do so out of a misunderstanding of love--"I wouldn't want my Down's Syndrome child to have to live this way" or "I wouldn't want my child to live without a father and with so many economic and social disadvantages," etc.

This emotional "All you need is love" '60's stuff is worse than useless. It's dangerous. As Walker Percy and Flannery O'Connor implied, this sort of love simply leads to the gas chamber.

Gene said...

Love is an act of is not a passive acknowledgment or a kind emotion. Love is leads people to weep and grieve, to celebrate in joy, and to kill and go to war. Love requires a commitment of the whole person in a daily renewal of the will to exist for and with another. Christ's Incarnation and Sacrifice represent the most perfect act of the Divine will and of Jesus of Nazareth's
completely self-less act of will. I don't know that any of us completely understand that act of will or the will that acts in our own loves...perhaps the mother who dies so her newborn can live or the soldier who willinhgly dies to save his comrades. I do know that love has been cheapened in our own culture to the point of absurdity. Hollywood and the media cannot separate it from sexual titillation or the physical act, pop theology and shallow preaching have made it trite (like mindlessly quoting 1 Cor 13), and modernism/progressivism have raised cynicism to a new height. We forget the power inherent in the will to love...Augustine says that our wills are not free until enslaved to the will of Christ...this means that we are called to make that act of will to be His slaves, tho give ourselves completely over to His will. Who among us can rightly will that? The Saints, perhaps. John Calvin believed it was so impossible for humans to truly will to love God that God must over power us with His will in order to capture our's. You may not like that "totalitarianism of Grace," as it has been called, but it does begin to get to the root of what it is to will to love...God or anyone else.

Anonymous 2 said...

Alter Anonymous:

I don’t think we are missing the point at all. As I said, the word/concept of Love covers a multitude of sins and runs the risk, too, of a syrupy sentimentality. All that said, however, . . .

One can perhaps begin with C.S. Lewis’s classic on the topic The Four Loves:

As the blurb says:

We hear often that love is patient and kind, not envious or prideful. We hear that human love is a reflection of divine love. We hear that God is love. But how do we understand its work in our lives, its perils and rewards? Here, the incomparable C. S. Lewis examines human love in four forms: affection, the most basic, general, and emotive; friendship, the most rare, least jealous, and, in being freely chosen, perhaps the most profound; Eros, passionate love that can run counter to happiness and poses real danger; charity, the greatest, most spiritual, and least selfish. Proper love is a risk, but to bar oneself from it--to deny love--is a damning choice. Love is a need and a gift; love brings joy and laughter. We must seek to be awakened and so to find an Appreciative love through which "all things are possible."

Anonymous 2 said...


I have just seen your post—lots to think about there. Thanks.

rcg said...

Gene's gonna make me cry.

Life begins at conception, as we know. But it cannot continue until the tiny, struggling dot reaches the mother's womb, touches it and asks to be held. Life continues when the mother's womb embraces the child. Perhaps Calvin understood we could not love and embrace God enough to make salvation work on our own. "but as many as received Him gave He the power to become sons of God."

Alter Anonymous said...


I stand by my original statement, but whatever. Too much heat and not enough light here for me. Y'all go on and duke it out. What a cesspool this blog has become.

Anonymous 2 said...

Alter Anonymous:

“What a cesspool this blog has become”

Please explain.

Anonymous said...

Prayers to St. Michael and Prayers for Father Cuddy gave us the answer that we sought.
To all of you who helped we thank you. To Gene and John Nolan and those we possibly
offended we ask your forgiveness. To Father McDonald thank you for this blog.
None of the Ladies in this group will return to the Catholic Faith.
God Bless You All
We really did have a powerful answer.

Anonymous said...

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound.
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I am found.
Was Blind but now I see.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 9:54, Ya'll aren't gone yet?

Marc said...

If you received a message that you should not return to the Catholic faith, then you can be assured that you have received a message from a demon.

Return to the Catholic faith. Go to Confession. Receive our Lord in the Eucharist. Have recourse to our Lady by praying the Rosary. Pray for the gift of final perseverance.

John Nolan said...

I've no doubt that Magda Goebbels loved her children, yet she murdered them rather than have them grow up in post-war Germany. Ironically, they would probably all have had happy and fulfilling lives in the democratic West Germany of the Wirtschaftswunder.

To the Ladies' 'study group': it would be interesting to know why you left the Church in the first place. You are not going to change her teaching on faith or morals; not even the Pope is competent to do that.

Being asked by people I don't know to forgive them for offences they haven't committed is weird. Why should I be offended by someone else's obvious confusion?

Anonymous said...

With humble and holy hearts let us be very careful when we offer our opinions to those who seek. This would indeed be appropriate when the individual is unknown to us personally. It is common for any individual during specific stages of their lives to question their faith or the beliefs of a particular faith. Often these searches lead to deeper understanding and love for Christ. With respect I think we should be very careful when we respond to individuals seeking that they could possibly be lead by a demon. Those who question are not led by demons they are led by a searching heart. We must be careful with our words. We perhaps may not understand the psychological emotions behind the search. We must be very careful indeed so as to not deepen emotional harm by suggesting that those who question or even make decisions that are not in keeping with our church that the reason for this is a demon. To suggest a demon or prayers for "minor exorcism" is quite harmful. We must choose our words carefully. Rev. R Kelley

Gene said...

R. Kelley, some only "seek" attention and the opportunity to curry sympathy through phony outrage.

John Nolan said...

Rev. R Kelley

More inchoate pietistic twaddle. What is it about you people that makes it impossible for you to speak clearly and definitively? Were I seeking the truth I would certainly avoid your lower-case 'church', whatever that is.

Fortunately I was baptized a Catholic and properly catechized so any doubts I might have had were overcome by intellectual enquiry. Not subjective emotions, psychological or otherwise.

Marc said...

Those who question are certainly not led by demons. But when the answer to the question is an interior response that one should leave the Catholic Church, then that answer has come from a demon. Christ desires that all men enter the Catholic Church and be saved -- that is, after all, why the Second Person of the Holy Trinity became incarnate.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry son but I disagree. If a member of my church feels led to the Catholic church I do not tell them that this call is due to a demon. Should a person contact me and wish to enter my church and leave the Catholic Church I do not say that a demon is leading them to my church. RK

Gene said...

What are you doing on a Catholic blog? Shouldn't you be out whacking on a Schofield Bible somewhere?

Marc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcg said...

I was kind of sympathetic to the church ladies until they decided to quit en mass. That seems cultish in the bad way. For example, the Credo was, for years, recited as "WE believe." This always struck me as odd and a little scary. Now it is corrected back *I*. As there are no athiests in foxholes there there is no democracy in faith. I can't imagine commiting to the Church by vote.

I also sympathize with Reverend Kelly as he no doubt often deals with people in a fragile state (but that whole 'Closet', I don't know). Seriously, at face value he is right but individual intellectual inquiry can only take you so far. You need guidance to make it work and you have to have faith not only in God, but in the great people who have successfully gone before to keep you moving in the right direction. You can inquire yourself right into a heresy in you aren't careful.

John Nolan said...

A member of RK's church may be saved due to 'invincible ignorance'. The same cannot be said for Catholics who, after due diligence, embrace heresy out of their own volition, thereby incurring latae sententiae excommunication.

Anonymous said...

I was led to this blog after a Christ seeking soul entered my office in great emotional distress. When in such a state matters of changing our faith should not be taken lightly. She told of verbal abuse simply because she asked questions. Her questions were an attempt to realize that the way that she was treated in her personal church were not in fact the way in which most in her faith members would treat a person. I thought her to be full of exaggeration. She was exactly correct in the abuse that she found here. I am quite shocked at the treatment she has received.I am especially shocked that a Catholic Priest would allow such insults on a Christian Blog. I by the way am not a Protestant. The members on this blog are no more than cult seeking souls who would even today burn someone at the stake. She has simply not found the correct support to remain in the Catholic Church. She will tho find the support she needs to return to the church with my help and with the help of God. She will learn from me that the Catholic Church is a church of love. Rev. R Kelley

Anonymous said...

Marc You son spend your time correcting Catholic Priests on this blog. Your joy is disagreement. Be careful son who you accuse of heresy. You are perhaps young and finding your way. Your enemies are not Catholic Priests.

Marc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George said...

I thank God I was baptized as a Catholic shortly after my birth, and some years later confirmed in our Holy Church. I know I have not always been as mindful or thankful of that as I ought to have been...or to my parents who, by the grace of God had me baptized in the Church.

Gene said...

Kelley, If you are not protestant, what are you?

John Nolan said...

'If a member of my church feels led to the Catholic church ...'
'Should a person contact me and wish to enter my church and leave the Catholic Church ...'

The person who penned these lines cannot be a Catholic.

'... the way that she was treated in her personal church ...'

An individual might have his (or her) personal opinions or beliefs, which may or may not reflect Catholic teaching, but what constitutes a 'personal church'?

The wackiest comment on this thread (Anonymous, of course) was posted on 18 July suggesting that Gene and myself had driven someone out of the Church because we did not reflect 'the type of people she wants to worship with.' Well, tomorrow I shall be in the congregation for the Solemn Mass at the Oxford Oratory; I have no idea who my fellow-worshippers will be, and quite frankly I couldn't care less. However, those with a sensitive disposition are warned to stay away and might also wish to avoid the London and Birmingham Oratories which I occasionally frequent, and the sung EF Masses at SS Augustine and Gregory (Oxford), Holy Trinity (Hethe) and Our Lady (Chesham Bois) where I am likely to be in the choir loft.

Mr Kelley talks of blog contributors insulting his clients and then insults orthodox Catholics by calling them 'cult-seeking souls who would even today burn someone at the stake.'

The topic of this thread was Catholic spirituality, orthodoxy and orthopraxis. It included some remarks about hymns and songs in the context of Catholic liturgy. The fact that two of the hymns which were singled out for criticism happen to be liked by some people is immaterial. That it should trigger the hysterical and quite frankly irrational response - 'I am crying. It's just so insulting and very painful. I can't be like these people' is simply embarrassing. Gene responded sympathetically but the commentator was no longer open to argument.

I have contributed to this blog for some years. Most of the commentators are orthodox Catholics; they are usually well-informed, and sometimes disagree with each other and indeed with Fr McDonald. This is the first time we have been subjected to grossly over-the-top rants from people who are clearly emotionally disturbed.

Mr Kelley has waded in with his own brand of insults. Rather than pour oil over troubled waters he adds fuel to the fire (forgive the mixed metaphors). If you have questions, discuss them in a rational way with a spiritual director who is also an orthodox Catholic.

Anonymous said...

One of the ladies said: "I would question these things in RCIA classes I would be greeted with a smile and told to "just do the best I could and God would honor my intent". There are just several issues that I just don't agree with (the treatment of Gay people for example) divorced people not being able to have communion, etc. These situations do not apply to me but still they bother me in my soul."

Your comments proves just how inept the RCIA is at bringing people into the Catholic Church. "The ladies" if they are truly Catholics seem to me to have never given up their protestant beliefs. That is the problem and where they are finding a conflict. To "convert" means to change from something you once were to adopt something that you wish to become. At a minimum the RCIA program should have taught you the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion, homosexuality etc. It seems absolutely strange to me that you would have to find out from a blog like this that that is the Church's teaching. St John Paul II The Great made it quite clear in many talks he gave around the world that the Church upholds the right to life at all stages of life and also that the Church cannot admit practicing homosexuals to communion.

In my opinion, "The ladies" are in fact all protestants masquerading as Catholics and challenging the Catholic Church's teaching. I think their names "Baptist Sarah" and "Teacher whoever", typifies the way that protestants term themselves. Even the way they have asked questions is not as Catholics would ask them, nor would they seek advice from a blog. Catholics would go first to a priest. The way Baptist Sarah and "Teacher whoever" have approached this is very similar to the leaflets that get shoved in the box by proselyting protestants, particularly Seventh Day Adventists, who I suspect they really are. Go back to your door knocking, ladies, you may have more success than on a Catholic blog ...

rcg said...

A couple of thoughts came to me this morning while meditating on the previous week and my errors. When I came back to this very successful thread I was dismayed to see that both John and Jan had beat me to most of them. It had occurred to me how odd it was that a pastor, who is not Catholic, would be willing to be, essentially, a broker for other faiths. I can concieve of a group of inquirers contacting. Priest for information. It seems illogical to go to non-Catholic for information about the Church.

As far as the cordiality of this blog: there are some pretty intelligent people here and they have reason to think what they think. They are not above correction and there is evidence of that in the history of the blog. It may sound odd but those of us that come here should willing to put up with stern responses when dealing with such people because we are often living in convicted bliss with our errors. I have had the good fortune to work with truly elite people in many industries and in every case they behave this same way. They suffer us as much as they can and sometimes must state the point clearly and in context of the person asking.

John Nolan said...

This blog is like a civilized discussion group of ladies and gentlemen who are mostly of the same mind but look at things from different angles and might disagree with each other; but at least they argue rationally and understand the principles of debate - there is indeed 'joy in disagreement'.

Suddenly the door bursts open and a stranger enters. At first it appears that she has genuine questions and is seeking honest answers. But it soon becomes evident that she is so preoccupied with her subjective feelings, so inward looking and solipsistic, so anxious to pin the blame for her own inadequacies on others, so quick to pass judgement on others without even bothering to read what they have to say, so quick to take offence when no slight has been offered - that the assembled concourse has reason to doubt her sanity.

Next through the door is someone styling himself 'Reverend' (which is incidentally not a form of address) who claims to speak for the subject but then has the insolence to insult the assembly (none of whom he has ever met or engaged with) for holding views that none of them actually have, so as to attempt to claim some sort of moral high ground.

Sorry ladies, sorry Mr Kelley, we are intelligent people without too many hang-ups and we don't want yours thrust upon us. I have some sympathy for the confused ladies but none at all with the Mephistopheles who manipulates their ignorance and confusion for his own dubious ends.

Let's hope we've heard the last of you.