Saturday, August 13, 2016


Ay Caramba! If you want to open a time capsule and find out what has caused the Liturgy Wars since the 1960's it is this little ditty from Rita Ferrone over at Praytell. I thought I would "puke" if I can be so indelicate, when I read it. I am of this generation, but have no nostalgia for it, although nostalgia for it is a fad today, but with people my age! They, not me, are trying to recapture their adolescence and liturgical narcissism not to mention the "touchy-feely" generation that helped to create such a mess in the Church from sexual exploitation of adults to the sexual abuse of minors by the adolescent mentality of grown men and women in the Church that used the "touchy-feely" fad of the 1960's for their own corrupt and depraved purposes.

Here are some money quotes from Rita and one from a commenter. YIKES and YUCK!

(I should give credit where credit is do as Rita is referring to someone else's article, but in complete agreement with it. You can read the whole thing here.)

America magazine has published a first-person account by religious educator Lisa Middendorf Woodall, describing how the guitar Masses of her childhood provided a spiritual touchstone for her life. In “Confessions of a Guitar-Mass Catholic” she writes:
I pondered and prayed over what I would do if I actually had a hammer, what the sounds of silence were and what it was that I could teach my parents. It would be many years before I no longer looked forward to going to Mass, because what I experienced each week in that old church was a solid sense of peace and wholeness.
She also describes some powerful memories of the old church of her childhood, which was later torn down after a new one was built. The older Classical-Acoustic-Guitar-vector28445church and the guitar Masses do not stand in tension with one another in her memory. They are both part of the one gift and enchantment; they are both claimed as her own:
I loved being in that old church. I loved its creakiness, its heaviness. I loved the vestiges of the personal histories that lived in there. The familiar family names glazed into the stained-glass windows, the sturdy spring clips on the backs of the pews that had held a thousand hats and purses, and the little frames that had at one time reserved certain pews for a certain few contributors. Mostly, I loved the memories of voices singing together, thoughtfully and joyfully, to the warm and inviting music of the guitar Masses, everyone holding hands and people actually smiling during Mass.
I didn’t simply feel as if I belonged to that church, I felt that the church belonged to me.
I think her account speaks for an experience that is sadly drowned out by the contentious arguments of the so-called “liturgy wars.” Does her story resonate with your own experience? Why or why not?

And for the cogent nostalgic comment!

 I read that article yesterday, as I was preparing for this weekend – a trip back to my undergraduate university where I am celebrating a 40+ year reunion with companions from our Newman Club. The reason this article struck me so vividly is that I was selecting music for our informal liturgy together from the songs we shared at that time and thinking how important they were to our faith. We sang a lot from Godspell. We, too, thought about wielding that hammer. Was it John Denver that gave us “Friends, I will remember you”? 

These songs pulled us together into a community of faith that we can re-enter 40 years later. We have become theologians, liturgists, lay ministers, parents and spouses, professionals of all sorts…people living our faith. I am proud of who we are and we all admit the importance of our Newman experience, centered around liturgy, in our lives.

As I was working on music, I thought how negatively I would feel about choosing this music for a parish Mass today. I suppose our music choices are better now, but there was a special power in the feelings that “inappropriate” music evoked in young people of the time.



TJM said...

Ferrone and most of the folks at Pray Sniff are delusional. The reforms chased out exponentionally more people than it brought into the Church - and the "reformers" rationalizations are almost comical, if the results hadn't been so dire.

Gene said...

It seems to me that the secularization of the Church is continuing pretty much unabated. All over the world, pastoral practice and preference are trumping doctrine. The liturgy is still a joke most places, and there are no significant voices from Cardinals and Bishops to indicate that anything is going to changer. Just look how many on here rush to apologize for or praise the likes of Kavanaugh and Anon 2, when they should nave been condemned outright by every believer on here and booted off the blog by Fr.
Folks, I don't believe any of you, with the exception of a handful on here, have anything near what it will take to change anything. Most of you may express concern or try to rationalize things, but you will ultimately either go along to get along or just leave the Church.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD, when I saw your first comment about wanting to "puke" I thought it was hyperbole. By the end of the article, yes, I wanted to join you.

Besides the sickeningly sweet sentimentality of tone of the article, all I could think is that I had the same experience of unity, joy and belonging, but not as a result of guitar Masses, but as a result of participating in the senior play in high school, or after attending basketball games (the sense of joy that came from cheering for a winning team with your fellow students, then singing the school song at the top of your lungs on the bus all the way home...yep, hard to beat that feeling of joy.)

I myself was in a Catholic high school during the guitar Mass era, and attended many of them. I didn't care for any of it much. For me, it was not a unifier, but made me kind of uncomfortable. First, many of the musicians, though well meaning, either lacked musical skill, or musical voice, and second, the content of most of the songs was sort of trite. I never, ever imagined if I had a hammer, or what the sounds of silence were, or God forbid, what I could teach my parents! (I get it. I know the songs she's referring to. All of them, ahem, stupid.) I got much more from reflecting on the faith of our fathers holy faith and the promise to be true to it 'til death, or how holy God is that we praise His name and bow before Him and how all on earth His scepter reigns, or at that First Eucharist before He died our Lord prayed that all be one in Him.

The Vatican II changes came when I was in late grade school, and to tell the truth I was hurt that suddenly there were no more Marian devotions done at the parish, or Benediction, or any kind of other reverence. Then priests started wearing longish hair and mustaches to "be hip" or something, and I felt like we lost something. But when they lost the organist, and began with the guitar music, it just never was reverent enough for me.

To be nostalgic for the innocence of your youth is one thing, but to think your feelings of unity and well being at that age were because of the way liturgy was celebrated, and not due to the very nature of group activities when you are a teen, well, I think it begs for some self reflection on the part of the author.

And Fr. McD, good thing I was able to control myself and not puke, although I wanted to, because I didn't want to have to clean it up. :-)


TJM said...


Please do not despair. If you had told me in 1975 that someday there would be almost a dozen Churches in Chicago offering the EF each Sunday and most weekdays I would ask you what you were smoking. In my old home diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, there have been 4 or 5 newly ordained DIOCESAN priests in the last couple of years whose first public Mass was the EF. That was unthinkable a mere 10 years ago!!! Brick by brick

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene said: “[T]he likes of Kavanaugh and Anon 2 . . . should have been condemned outright by every believer on here and booted off the blog by Fr.”

Ode to Gene (by Himself):

“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall
Who is purest of them all?”
I abide no defection
From my reflection
Being more perfect than Paul.

Cletus Ordo said...

I've railed against the Novus Ordo Culture and the embarrassingly bad liturgical pedigree of the 60's and 70's that won't go away too many times on this blog. So today, I'll add another sad observation.

About four weeks ago, our diocesan newspaper The Southern Cross ran a beautiful story about the Traditional Latin Mass. Keep in mind that this Mass has been available in Savannah and Macon for at least 10 years, and only now, in 2016 do we get an article. The diocese even once refused to allow advertising to promote these Masses. Yet, somehow, we actually got a POSITIVE article, FINALLY! I was even more pleasantly surprised when, two weeks later, several letters were published, all of them reflecting positively on each writer's experience with the EF. But wait! I got happy too soon! I forgot I was in a diocese that was dominated by those 70's priests!

Yep, sure enough, another two weeks went by and a long letter was published by a local priest who, ever so politely, denounced the EF, complaining that "it never inspired him". A little research revealed that he was part of that entrenched generation of older priests who just can't let go of their liturgical revolution. So in the Diocese of Savannah, the last word still goes to those who prefer the hippie Mass. And of course, that would be a priest.

The more things change. the more they stay the same.

Gene said...

Anon 2, Anon 2,
Have you any will?
Yes sir, no sir,
I can't tell.

Anon 2 Horner sat in a corner
Eating a Christmas pie.
He reached in his thumb
And pulled out a plum
And said, "Now, why is this plum in here and what is the motive of whoever put it in here? Should I eat it...well, maybe not because it might not taste good, but then, again it may be very good, but if it is good, should I enjoy it or spit it out and if I spit it out will that be littering and what is littering, anyway? Maybe a natural act like spitting, though rude, is no truly littering and then, if I swallow the plum will it give me indigestion or stick in my teeth, or maybe I might choke on the seed, and am I overlooking the remainder of the pie by just focusing on the plum when there are many other things in the pie that are also good and am I depriving the poor starving masses by eating this pie myself when I could be giving it out to the poor and just how much should I sacrifice to the poor and how do we define poor, or rich for that matter, and then I have to wash my hands because all that sticky stuff might breed germs and germs are bad...well. maybe not bad in the categorical sense, but certainly in the immediate sense with regard to how it affects me, and is that a selfish thought or merely sensible self-preservation and is the drive to self-preservation an actual sin or merely a natural drive and, if a natural drive I guess it is ok, but I am not certain because many books have been written on this matter I can quote them if you like and then there is what to drink with the pie...I think milk is good but, then, some calf may be deprived of nourishment and milk comes from cows who may not have been fed an organic diet, which probably contributes to global warming, which may or may not be man-caused, but I think it is man caused because Obama said so, and there are the giant sequoias that might have to be cut down to provide the pasture for the cows and then somebody will build an Interstate highway through the forest to deliver milk and then animals will get run over and I may be somehow responsible for this and then we need to discuss responsibility and how it is to be understood I think Aristotle believed in individual responsibility but I am not sure about Augustine deep down and then there is Calvin and who knows what he thought about it and then Pope Francis said something about not judging but what is that supposed to mean and then there are the questions about racism and sexism which no one really understands and then we need to talk about economics before we eat this pie which cost somebody money to put in the ingredients and then they had to bake it blah, blah, blah.

Anonymous 2 said...

“Blah” does not rhyme.

John Nolan said...

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
'You are, Sir, without a doubt.'
Thank you, mirror. Roger. Out.

rcg said...

Gene, listen to TJM. Same cor you, Cletus. The thing I struggle with the most is the concept of Mass how it should be; not so much the VO (EF) but with pews packed. The hum of distracted people before Mass and the people walking out right after Communion, the specious theological arguments after Mass over coffee will be part of the game. Another way to put is that if the right people show up for Mass I will definately need to lock the doors to my car during Mass.

This blog is sort of the same thing. There are people who are here who need to air their ideas being more confident of them than they should be.

Cletus, interesting coincidence: there was an article on our Latin Mass community in the local paper and a letter to the editor response from a local priest unhappy with it in the very next issue. This same priest helps coordinate the Friday Night Steak 'Fry' at the local Knights of Columbus to drive home the point that we are allowed to eat meat on Friday. So I coordinated a meatless Friday dinner in the Hall with the young men of our Parish not only to drive home the point but to create irritation, an itch that must be scratched. To paraphrase the song "we say grace and we say M'am, if you ain't into that as a Knight of Columbus I do give a damn."

Gene said...

Anon 2, with you, it is always free verse.

Anonymous said...

Hillary is responsible, Gene, for using an unclassified server ... no wonder she short circuited and her head almost swivvled 90 degrees. And for the sake of Anonymous 2, I'll put a link ... bound to be a conspiracy story ...

John Nolan said...

Ah, bless them! When I was at university (1969-1972) one could join CathSoc and sit on beanbags strumming guitars. There might have been an opportunity to meet some nice ex-convent-school girls (who were usually 'up for it' as the saying went) but even that allurement would not have compensated for the fact that I had grown out of pop music three years previously. (I don't dislike all of it, by the way, and indeed listen to some of it; I simply can't take it seriously.)

Those were the best days of my life - back in the summer of '69.

Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume, labuntur anni, nec pietas moram rugis et instanti senectae adferet, indomitaeque morti ...

And yet you will weep, and know why.


James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father, I was a child in this era, but I remember it well. Our "folk-rock" band had the following:

1. Two pianos (one real and the other electric keyboard)
2.) Three -four flutes
3.) Two acoustic guitars
4.) Stand up bass on occasion
5.) Trumpet - later years
6.) bongos
7.) tambourine

They played a lot of stuff from Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cat Stevens, the Beatles, Judy Collins, the Byrds, John Denver and Sister Margaret Meade's version of the Our Father. Sure, it was nice, but did the older kids really "dig" it? No most would rather drink, smoke some weed, and listen to Led Zeppelin or Captain and Tennille. This so called youth music could not hold a candle (and was not worthy of a lit cigarette lighter at a concert) to secular music that it competed with. The author of the article is delusional, most of her generation would not want to go back to that, folks would rather hear the Rolling Stones from their album Aftermath sing "Mother's Little Helper." By the mid 1980s, all of that stuff was the source of endless jokes among my fellow Catholic college students. Heck, I would rather hear "Tommorrow Never Knows" from the Beatles Revolver Album than go back to that drivel.

I suppose for the writer and Rita Ferrone they should pop one of those little yellow pills and say, "What a drag it is getting old."

Anonymous 2 said...


You just go from bat to verse.

Anonymous 2 said...


“[B]ound to be a conspiracy story”

Thank you for the link. Here is the Snopes analysis of the issue:

Anonymous said...


Did you mean from "BAD to verse"?

When Gene commented:

"Anon 2, with you, it is always free verse."

Was that supposed to have liberal social welfare connotations?

RSC+ said...

As I commented there at the time, the folk Mass just makes me want to listen to folk music. The real thing is always better than the image or imitation. Thus the Mass should transcend, as should its music. Why would I want "Peace is Flowing Like a River" when I can have "Pange Lingua"? Why " Here I Am, Lord" when there is "Deck Thyself My Soul With Gladness"?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2, I wonder what Snopes made of the latest conspiracy theory - link provided: