Friday, August 19, 2016


 The music in this video from Saint Monica Church in Santa Monica California attracts people to Mass, the church appears full. But what does it do for Catholics in the long run and how many Catholics don't attend Mass because of this music? It is performed well, sounds contemporary, but does it honor the Latin Rite's Catholic ritualistic spirituality and its patrimony? I report; you decide:

We all know the sobering statistics about Catholics who are less engaged in their parishes or have opted not to be engaged at all. Some still consider themselves Catholics, but many are now calling themselves "nones" spiritual but of no religion. Some aren't even spiritual. They are pagans.

For 50 years now, the Magisterium of the Church has called what has happened to the Mass and the declining number of people who attend Mass, "renewal." They are like the legend of the ostrich, who buries its head in the sand rather than see reality. Well, I learned that ostriches don't actually do that; not sure how the legend began; but how much more true is it of the human bishop, even symbolically, to bury his head in the sand and not say "Rome, we have problems" with the so-called renewal of the Mass!

Here are some money quotes from

'We need to make our worship better,' Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik: 

  The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh must focus on “better homilies, better music and more people” as its six-county territory attempts to reverse a series of “sobering” trends... (my question: what is better music and does he mean how it is sung, meaning it is more appealing, or dealing with the elephant in the room, music performed well, but has no place in the liturgical spirituality patrimony of the Catholic Church's Latin Rite?)
Since 2000, weekly Mass attendance has dropped by 40 percent — for almost 100,000 fewer regular churchgoers; K-8 Catholic school enrollment fell by 50 percent; and the number of active priests plummeted from 338 to 225. 
By 2025, if trends hold, the diocese projects that just 112 active priests will remain. (Of course, we have to take into account that Pittsburgh is a part of the "rust belt" and people are left the area. But more striking is the time frame of 2000 to today. The sex abuse crisis, or rather, its non ending reporting, at times unfair, as well as the humiliation rank and file Catholics feel about it, must be taken into account too. It is liturgy but also leadership, meaning BISHOPS, need to be better leaders and deal with priests who in any other profession would have been fired or sent to prison. 

My final lament:

We fixed a liturgy which in the minds of 99% of the clergy and laity of the early 1960's wasn't broken. Liturgical theologians and some bishops told us, insisted on it, that it was broken and that if only the Mass was fixed, then there would be a springtime of renewal in the Church.

All we heard for the past 40 years after Vatican II was about fixing the liturgy, harassing Catholics to active participation (not actual participation) and alienating not a small number from the Church by making them feel like second class citizens if they preferred the liturgy to remain unchanged. 

I fear, too, that we continue to insist that Catholics do this, that or the other to be considered good Catholics, all institutional sorts of things, like being a lector, a communion minister, heading a committee and doing all the churchy things that is required for RCIA, Confirmation for children as well as Holy Communion.

It is all divorced from life in the public square be that at home, work or play where Catholics spend the majority of time.



Rene said...

"We fixed a liturgy which in the minds of 99% of the clergy and laity of the early 1960's wasn't broken."


2147 bishops voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium, which called for changes, revisions, updating of the liturgy. 4 voted against.

Doing the math - and I am entirely open to correction here - that's 0.0001% of the bishops who thought things "weren't broken."

TJM said...

Our bishops (and priests) fit the Einstein definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We gave versus populum a try now let's give ad orientem a shot!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Those bishops voted for Sacrosactum Concilium, a very sober, conservative document that simply call for maintaining the Latin but allowing some vernacular, more lavish use of Scriptures and "noble simplicity" and eliminating useless repetition (such as more than one collect at any given Mass and perhaps the double confiteor at the PATFOTA as well as the double communion rites for priest and laity.

There was no vote on Consilium's document from the committee Pope Paul VI organized that gave us the 1970 missal with a revised order to the Mass and the dumbing down of the Church's liturgical patrimony.

But worse yet, was the control that liturgical theologians exerted on the implementation of this missal which in no way resembles what Sacrosanctum Concilium envision!

Marc said...

The collects were reduced in the 1962 Missal, so that had already been accomplished. They weren't repetitious, anyway. I would suggest that no bishop outside the false liturgical movement would've suggested reducing the double Confiteor since they all knew the reason that it was doubled. The issue of the Communion Rites was not an issue since the people's communion had already been moved to within the context of the Mass by the mid-20th Century.

In sum, the idea for eliminating "useless repetition" is a particular idea of Bugnini, as is evidenced by what he tried to do to the Rosary.

The Roman Rite is noble in its simplicity, as anyone who has attended the Eastern Rites can attest. There is no flaw in the Roman Rite so any suggestion that it needed anything added or removed is absurd.

The bishops voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium because they trusted the pope. After the string of popes the Church had seen to that point, no one could've known how terrible the conciliar popes were. We know it now with hindsight -- it was not as clear then that they were trying to destroy the Church. This is similar to our current time where some people can see that Francis is a destroyer, while others (including every bishop in the world save 3) go along to get along.

Dialogue said...

VCII proposed some very helpful liturgical reforms, such as vernacular readings, simplification of rubrics, etc., reforms likely inspired by the Holy Spirit. The implementation of those reforms, however, was a disaster, a disaster likely inspired by another spirit.

There is one gift from God that everyone prefers to ignore or explain away, but is the one gift that can save the Roman liturgical tradition: fear of the Lord. Once bishops have fear of the Lord again, they'll promptly begin putting a forceful end to the liturgical madness of the last fifty years.

Dialogue said...

There is certainly a lot of repetition in the EF Mass, although little of it places any direct demands upon the participation of the congregation. "Do this for a commemoration of me" is a command to adopt at least some kind of ritual repetition. Christ is not being slaughtered again as the Lamb of sacrifice, so what else could He have meant if not ritual repetition, repetitive rituals that effect our participation in His Sacrifice?

"Useless repetition" does seem to have crept in over the centuries, such as the priest quietly reciting the same prayers that the schola was singing. But the 1962 missal already provided a way out of this. The extra collects of commemoration were not repetition, since, obviously enough, they didn't repeat anything. Each collect was different, which was the whole point of adding others.

NO D said...

'Rene said...
2147 bishops voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium, which called for changes, revisions, updating of the liturgy. 4 voted against.
Doing the math - and I am entirely open to correction here - that's 0.0001% of the bishops who thought things "weren't broken."'

Sacrosanctum Concilium called for 'changes', but faithfully accepted that the Church uses 'change' prudently to enhance the beauty, clarity, fidelity or dignity of Catholic worship. This, as past precedent had long suggested, meant a removal or change in hymns, for instance, that failed to meet the high standards demanded by that form of worship; this is not what happened, indeed that prudent type of change is more necessary today than 50 years ago (though, I admit, even then it was required). Therefore, the Fathers of the Council (vague as they were about their texts and visions),in a great majority, voted not so much for change for the sake of change, and that simply confected on the spot, per se - which exactly what was imposed - rather the simple fact that 'some changes have become necessary to adapt them to the needs of our own times' that is the now long gone Post-War Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis/ Vietnam Conflict, State-Controlled, Sputnik/ Telstar right-in-your-living-room novel experience (which was itself a very different world to our own, today, with once great empires crumbling or disappeared over night, racial stereotypes finally challenged and defied, and the end of what had been the 'modern world' - as Romano Guardini had pointed out about the certainties of the then still-basic 19th century models of government, authority, liberty, education, employment and reason).

'The Council also desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigour to meet the circumstances and needs of modern times.' Sacrosanctum concilium, Introduction.

This means that singing the lovely lilting Omni die dic Mariae (Daily, Daily Sing To Mary)as if part of Holy Mass was to be replaced or changed for something more liturgical, not because it was unworthy, of mythical, or even old-hat, but because it was not part of the Mass in general (no moreso than a chirpy All Things Bright And Beautiful or the druggy Shine Jesus Shine or a captivating Thomas Tallis type of Greensleeves). Excluding a Marian hymn before or after the Liturgy was not part of the 'revision' advised, or even considered, only that Singing the Mass meant .. Singing the Mass, as set, in its various parts (chiefly with Plain Chant et al); pious devotion was not meant to be discarded or even destroyed (though it was). The astoundingly wonderful Musica Sacra site presents what I mean - and what the Church Fathers (and indeed the Catholic Liturgy) required at that time and your own (in being Televised into your personal space, and perhaps that of people who have no idea of or regard for the Faith):

Victor said...

"We fixed a liturgy which in the minds of 99% of the clergy and laity of the early
1960's wasn't broken"
I don't know about 99% of bishops, even though it was perhaps more like 99.999% of the laity. The gnostic Liturgical Movement was fomenting their ideological changes to the liturgy after the first world war, and it got really agressive after the second. By then it knew where and how to manipulate the right people to obtain the changes.

Mark Thomas said...

What Bishop Zubik said isn't new..."we have to make our worship better." We have heard that for decades. What has prevented Bishop Zubik from having done so within his diocese?

We need to make our worship better. Been there, heard that...heard that a millions times.

June 29, 2008 A.D., Bishop Zubik's first pastoral letter to his flock in Pittsburgh:

Sections 73-81 deal with the Eucharist.

78. "...we must take in making the celebration of Mass the best possible experience it can be in every one of our parishes and all of our faith communities."

81. "It falls to the priest as presider of the Eucharist to insure that the Liturgy be celebrated properly. He should guarantee that music be most appropriate to the celebrations and that proper resources be set aside to make it such;"

More than eight years later, Bishop Zubik has repeated that which he said on June 29, 2008 A.D.

Enough talk about the need to revitalize the Roman Liturgy. Just do it.


Mark Thomas

Anon-1 said...

With faith all is possible...however, we have heard said also that we have been badly catechized. So, the way we pray is the way we believe (and vice versa) and since our faith is weak and our commitment is uncertain can we expect a better result than what we have at present?

I do not think we can. We must pray to have a Pope who will appoint faithful priests as bishops. Until then the current spiritual paralysis of leadership will continue.

TJM said...

The irony is the Mass has its own music built into it already. There is no need for the 4 hymn sandwich. Although I am more attached to the Latin liturgy, I have been to a vernacular Mass where everything was chanted by priest and congregation and the effect was electriying. Our goal should be to put Marty Haugen and the other composers of the insipid music out of business.

Anonymous said...

"2147 bishops voted for Sacrosanctum Concilium"

And these bishops who improved it included Ab. Marcel Lefebvre who had been assured by his expert advisor that the document envisioned only an organic renewal of celebration and meaningful participation in the ancient liturgy, not a wholesale revision. He later established the SSPX only after he and the other bishops who had attended the Council found that their intentions has been betrayed by the liturgical activists who hijacked and sidetracked the implementation of SC.

No one who reads the accounts--available in Giampietro's "The Development of Liturgical Reform"--of the 50+ meetings of the Council gets a sense that the bishops thought they were fixing a Mass that was "broken", nor that that they intended the disastrous remedy that was later inflicted on the faithful.

Dialogue said...

Father Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., prior of the Benedictine monastery at the ancient home of Saint Benedict himself, provides a detailed history of how Pope Paul VI was tricked into permitting multiple Eucharistic canons. This trickery was part of an overall method of convincing that poor pope that the majority of bishops and laymen approved of various proposals to radically change the Roman rites, even the Roman Mass.

Mark Thomas said...

Part 1 of 2

Father McDonald, I hope that the following contributes to the discussion at hand.

March 2011 A.D., By Arthur C. Sippo. (Arthur C. Sippo, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is a physician and specialist in aerospace medicine who has written and lectured as a Catholic apologist for over thirty years. He writes from southern Illinois.}

The Development of the Liturgical Reform: As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948 to 1970. By Nicola Giampietro. Roman Catholic Books. 348 pages. $33.75.

Excerpt from Dr. Sippo's article:

To people who have taken a keen interest in liturgical reform and have read about it both from the perspective of those who support it and those who do not, this volume helps put everything into perspective, separating the wheat from the chaff.

This is especially true with regard to the claims of “radical traditionalists,” who allege that the 1970 missal represented a Protestantization of the liturgy and a wholesale break with tradition, and that the 1570 missal was an organic outgrowth of the Church’s life.

Cardinal Antonelli’s memoirs show that this was not the case, and that, for good or for ill, the reform basically achieved what it set out to do, although many of the changes went far beyond what most of the liturgical experts in the pre-Vatican II era would have expected or desired.

The Novus Ordo Missae has been referred to mistakenly as one of the “fruits of the Second Vatican Council.” In fact, the history of liturgical reform that led to the promulgation of the New Mass predated Vatican II by several decades.

In 1570, in the wake of the Coun­cil of Trent, Pope St. Pius V pro­­mulgated a common missal based on the practices in the Roman Church, which he intended to be the norm throughout the Latin rite. He permitted requests for the preservation of some older rites, but the Holy See’s desire was to establish full conformity with the 1570 missal in the West.

This missal emphasized the solemn aspects of the Mass as a sacred ritual and as a re-presentation of the fruits of Calvary on the altar.

The rubrics were from an age when royal courts had highly stylized rules, and it seemed only right that similar pomp and circumstance be used in the most sacred of all religious rituals.

With the rise of the Baroque over the next century, the rituals became even more solemn and distant from the people, so that the words of the priest and acolytes could no longer even be heard by the congregation.

The liturgy effectively became cleri­calized, with the people practically excluded from active outward participation. They were relegated to spectators who often practiced private devotions unrelated to the ceremonies occurring on the altar.

This is not some concocted liberal myth; it is a historical fact. The only time the congregation focused on the altar was at the consecration, which was signified by a series of bells to get their attention, and at communion.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Part 2 of 2

March 2011 A.D., By Arthur C. Sippo. (Arthur C. Sippo, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is a physician and specialist in aerospace medicine who has written and lectured as a Catholic apologist for over thirty years. He writes from southern Illinois.}

The Development of the Liturgical Reform: As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948 to 1970. By Nicola Giampietro. Roman Catholic Books. 348 pages. $33.75.

Excerpt from Dr. Sippo's article:

By the 1950s, when I trained as an altar boy, the Mass was celebrated pretty much as it had been for the previous three hundred years. We no longer said the prayers of the Mass in Latin — we said them in mumbles and very fast.

The congregation prayed rosaries or novenas, read religious books, or practiced other devotions in total silence.

We did have what were called “Dialogue Masses,” in which someone from the congregation would lead the people in saying some of the prayers from the missal in English, but it was always independent of what was going on at the altar and stopped with the bells at the consecration. This was something new in the U.S. at the time and was a foreshadowing of what was to come in the next decade.

Most Catholics did not know that for almost thirty years a revolution had been brewing among scholars that has come to be known as the Liturgical Movement. These scholars found that the modern state of the liturgy did not conform to either the form or the spirit of worship from the patristic and early medieval Church.

By the 1940s the movement had made an impression on Pope Pius XII, and he explored their work informally. In 1948 he convened the Commission for the Reform of the Liturgy with the intention of using the new scholarship to investigate a reformation of the liturgy.

Its first true accomplishment was a reformation of the Holy Week liturgy, which was im­ple­mented in 1955. Contrary to the claims of radical traditionalists, this was not a mere evolutionary development.

As Giampietro makes clear, the commission recognized that the Easter vigil as practiced at that time occurred during the daytime on Holy Saturday when many of the faithful had to work.

To increase the laity’s ability to attend, the vigil was moved to the evening. The commission also thought that the lighting of the new fire was more symbolic when done in a darkened church at midnight than in a daytime ritual.

These were actually restorations of the patristic practices that had been defunct for nearly a millennium. They also restructured the ceremony to make it more accessible and relevant to twentieth-century Catholics and permitted reception of Communion on Good Friday, which until that time had not been permitted.

The exact details of the com­mission’s work had not been made public before now. When Archbishop Annibale Bugnini wrote his book La Riforma Liturgica (1948-1970) in 1980, he devoted only eight pages to the entire pre-Vatican II liturgical reform, from 1948 to 1960, which reformed not only the Holy Week liturgy but the Divine Office and the Psalter as well.

In short, the pre-Vatican II reforms were no mere organic development but a carefully constructed reform that tried to create a relevant modern liturgy and consciously used elements of the Church’s past practices. Giampietro makes clear that serious liturgical reform did not start with Vatican II, but long before it.

It is also clear that Pope Pius XII took the Liturgical Movement very seriously and clearly understood that the liturgy of the Catholic Church, as beautiful as it was, needed reformation in certain respects to meet the changing needs and lifestyles of the faithful.

So radical traditionalists’ portrayal of Pius XII as a defender of the liturgical status quo is inaccurate. He was much more forward-thinking and open to change, albeit a more deliberate and slow-paced change than what would happen in the decades following his death.


Mark Thomas

goober said...

Mark offense....but you talk WAY too much....

Victor said...

Dialogue: If you are referring to Folsom's artile in Adoremus, I do not see how Paul VI was tricked, but rather he seems to have been complicit in the whole thing.

Michael A said...

It doesn't help matters when you have priests (and our Pope) promoting evil secular powers over the Church. When you have priests who claim to be puzzled about the current election and wonder out loud about for whom to cast their vote then don't be surprised when you get leadership that foments ridicule and hatred for Christianity. Or when you have a pope who cozies up to politicians who dedicate their lives to doing the devil's work because he imagines that man made global warning is more serious than homo-marriage or abortion. The abandonment of Christ's principles is linked to the rejection of faith and a love for God in preference for the embrace of government. No amount of traditional liturgy by itself is going to reverse the 500 year trend of modernism. If we don't get clergy able to expose the false promises made by those who want to expand the power of government over what should be the responsibilities of individuals we'll continue to sink to new lows. We will continue to lose if we restrict our debate to what music and liturgy style is best to bring people back into the the pews. This is no more than 50% of the issue.

Anonymous said...

You know its 50 years later and we are still talking about the same things, better music, better this and better that, folks there was nothing wrong with how Holy Mass was offered prior to the Council, The TLM was and is the TRUE MASS OF ALL TIMES, let's continue with it's recovery as our Holy Father Benedict the XVI tried to do. Pray for the S.S.P.X., F.S.S.P., Institute of Christ the King and ALL orders that offer the TRUE MASS OF ALL TIMES.

John Nolan said...

I would recommend that anyone who has the time should visit Youtube and check out the Pontifical Masses celebrated in Cologne Cathedral which they have (very professionally) uploaded. I was particularly interested in one because Gerhard Müller preached and a splendid sermon it was, too. However, even for those who have no German, a Pontifikalamt in a German cathedral is an authentically Catholic experience.

For a start, the Gloria etc. will be sung in Latin, as will at least some of the Propers. Cologne has a large men and boys choir which is proficient in Gregorian chant but can also sing anything from Palestrina to Rheinberger. There is also a large girls' choir which is superb and often accompanies Mass on major occasions. Also the cathedral can call on the services of an orchestra when required.

The vernacular parts of the Mass are sung, even parts of the Eucharistic Prayer. This adds greatly to the solemnity of the occasion. Say what you like about German bishops, but they are not shy of singing their parts, in Latin as well as German. And the German translation is far more dignified than what we had to put up with for nearly 40 years. There are hymns, but very traditional ones. Pius XII allowed vernacular hymns in Germany even at Solemn Mass.

There are some aspects which may seem a bit foreign to us. Very long processions with a plethora of birettas. In Cologne, two thurifers carrying big beasts that generate vast amounts of smoke throughout the Mass.

Everyone here knows my liturgical views. Yet to attend the High Mass (Domamt) on a Sunday morning in Regensburg or Bamberg and then repair for lunch to the nearest Biergarten is as nearest to heaven as it gets.

Wipo of Mainz said...

Ne obliviscaris Mogontiacum!

rcg said...

He's back! My brain already feels stretched.

TGIF said...

Well....while we were all looking to get back to our roots within the liturgy- they surprised us. I went, as usual, on Monday to great Mother church of the Diocese in Savannah to attend the noon mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Much to my bewilderment there was Gregorian chant being played through the sound system of the church - and not faintly, I might add. This went on until 5 minutes before Mass. Now some might say that this helps put people "in the mood"- whatever THAT means. But some do come to church to find solitude and silence that is absent in many people's lives today but I guess that sitting in silence may become a thing of the past also.
Mother Teresa said "Listen in silence because if your heart is full of other things you cannot hear the voice of God. But when you have listened to the voice of God in the stillness of your heart, then your heart is filled with God. "
I am heartbroken to have such a great church now become like a retail outlet with background music. What should a prayerful Catholic do ???

John Nolan said...


The habit of playing background music in churches at quiet times originated in continental Europe, esp. France and Belgium. It is objectionable not least because Gregorian chant is not 'mood music' and should not be treated as such. In fact this is seen as its only function, since when the liturgy begins and the recording is turned off, the last thing you will hear is Gregorian chant.

One morning I was in ND de Paris and could hear chant in the background. Investigating further I reached an iron gate guarded by a formidable old dragon who was turning away tourists. I said to her 'Pour la messe, madame' and she smiled and waved me through. At the extreme apse end of the cathedral a bishop was celebrating Mass accompanied by a small schola singing from venerable chant books. There were about twenty-five people in the congregation.

No doubt the tourists just assumed it was on the sound system!

Gene said...

Wipo!!!! Great to see you back. Give us some wisdom...

Me said...

TGIF and John Nolan:

The practice of using Gregorian Chant as overture/mood music was obviously instituted by the sort of people who believe that Phantom of the Opera is opera. (And I say that as someone who likes Phantom of the Opera.) I wonder how many of them are liturgists. Would explain a lot.

Anonymous said...

When I go to a church, my own parish or another, my first thought is not, "What they are doing is not to my taste," or, "What is happening here isn't what I want," or, "I find this disturbing."

Where else do we walk in with the expectation that this place, which is not mine, which is visited by hundred of others each day, should be so arranged as to meet all my personal expectations? The doctor's office? The car repair shop? The Walmart or the Publix or the Kroger?

Going to Church isn't about you or your wants.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous @ 3:52

I assume your comment was not meant to be ironic, although it certainly comes over as being so.

Catholics do not 'go to church', they 'go to Mass', and they have every right to expect that the liturgy be properly celebrated. A mere 55 years ago this would not have been an issue. Why should it be now? Who insisted that the Mass should vary from place to place (even in the same diocese) to suit the transient taste of the presider and the congregation?

Your whole argument is arse-about-face and if not ironic is indicative of a profound ignorance at more than one level.

Anonymous said...

Catholics most certainly do "go to church."

When I go to a church, my own parish or another, whether for Mass or for some other reason, my first thought is not, "What they are doing is not to my taste," or, "What is happening here isn't what I want," or, "I find this disturbing."

"...they have every right to expect that the liturgy be properly celebrated." Indeed. And Mass is properly celebrated in English or Latin, in the Ordinary or the Extraordinary form, with music or without, with chant or with hymnody, with Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist or without.

No one has a right to expect that his or her expectations will be met in each and every Catholic Church everywhere in the world. A Mass celebrated in the vernacular is as much the Mass as Mass celebrated in Latin. A Mass celebrated ad orientem is as much the Mass as one celebrated versus populum.

"I don't care for this" or "This is not what I prefer" are not valid arguments.

rcg said...

Anon at 2:06pm I see what you mean as a subjective demand, but don't you think it is not only right but proper to demand that Mass be offered properly? We can argue personal taste in vestments, music, and architecture but can meet where the Mass is offered in the best and most respectful manner available to the community.

For example, my parish is very 'old world' in appearance as it was built by Italian and German artisans in the early Twentieth Century. It is quite beautiful. But I like the architecture of St Anne Church in flat Richmond Hill as a good 'American' style of structure. I detest polyester, than damn stuff doesn't even burn properly. When I see those sort of vestments I am concerned that the parish cares for the priest or that he cares for the Mass.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous @ 2:06

When people visit a retail outlet they do so in order that their expectations will be met (and it was you who made the comparison with Walmart etc. so if I pursue the analogy, don't blame me). If they aren't, they go elsewhere. If they are sold shoddy goods they can obtain redress. They don't say 'I came in for a shirt and I got a shirt and the fact that one sleeve was longer than the other and the stitching came apart the first time I wore it is immaterial.'

You appear to be arguing against yourself. If you concede that people have the right to expect the liturgy to be properly celebrated, then they have the right to feel short-changed when it is not.

I prefer the Mass to be in Latin and ad orientem and know where to go to find it; but neither I nor anyone else expect it to be so everywhere, although this would have been the expectation of all Catholics prior to 1965.

Anonymous said...

rcg - I'm sorry, but if you think polyester is the key to understanding how a parish cares for a priest and how a priest cares for the Mass, there's something wrong.

And again, I see the "It doesn't fit my personal taste" measurement being employed. There's nothing inherently wrong with polyester. And if, in a hot, muggy climate, vestments must be cleaned often, polyester goes right into the washer/dryer at a fraction of the cost of dry cleaning wool and/or silk.

rcg said...

Anon, my last paragraph was intended to show that I segregate my personal preferences from my goal when attending Mass. Although, as Samuel, I will take what the Lord gives me, I anticipate the ruddy and vigourous. My point about the vestments is this: when one becomes aware of how much money is available to the typical suburban American Parish it is shameful that the priest is not vested beautifully, the building in good repair and the local poor provided for. And polyester, I can relate from personal experience, is not fit for any climate, especially hot ones. Properly fitted wool and silk has the almost magical quality of ventilation and warmth and wears like iron.

John Nolan said...

This unprecedented situation has only arisen since the 'disintegration of the liturgy' (Ratzinger's words) which resulted from the ill-judged 'reforms' of the 1960s. As I pointed out to Anonymous (above), the wide variation in the way the liturgy is celebrated is due to priests imposing their own tastes and preferences, not to mention their personalities, on the liturgy. Cardinal Virgilio Noè (1922-2011) maintained that Paul VI's famous 'smoke of Satan' remark was directed at vainglorious clerics.

The oft-heard phrase 'our parish liturgy' is symptomatic, as is the willingness of some parishes (mostly north American, it has to be said) to post their highly idiosyncratic 'liturgies' on Youtube. Some might say that to celebrate the Novus Ordo in Latin, ad apsidem, with chant and sacred polyphony is similarly exercising personal preference, and it is certainly using one of the many options provided; however, the motivation (to conform more closely to the traditional Roman Rite) couldn't be more different.

Anonymous said...

rcg - How can you say you, "segregate my personal preferences from my goal when attending Mass," and then turn around and say, "When I see those sort of vestments (polyester) I am concerned that the parish cares for the priest or that he cares for the Mass."

You just KNOW when that terrible, awful polyester shows up that the parish and priest are alienated from one another and that the priest is going to be sloppy or disrespectful or heretical.

Your personal preferences regarding vestment fabrics should be parked in the lot with your car, not toted into the church where you use them to make rash judgments about others.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Amen. The problem you are having here is that you are engaging in a discussion with poorly formed Catholics who have been "educated" by poorly formed priests. What I mean by poorly formed is that they have not been educated in what it truly means to be Catholic. You are spot on, but they just don't get it and sadly, never will.

John Nolan said...


Thank you for your support. A couple of years ago I was in conversation with a Catholic gentleman of at least my age who couldn't understand why former Anglican married priests could be ordained in the Catholic Church whereas Catholic priests who had resigned to get married could not be reinstated. He had asked a priest about this but the priest thought it was because the latter had broken their promise to remain celibate.

Now I am no canon lawyer, but I do know that Holy Orders are a diriment impediment to matrimony, and that the sacrament of Holy Orders is permanent; therefore any marriage contracted by a priest or deacon is invalid. The priest is therefore living in open concubinage which itself is reason for laicization. If, however, he puts aside his concubine, makes a full confession and is given absolution, then technically the way is open to him to return to active ministry.

Check out the combox of the National Catholic Reporter (if you have a strong stomach) and you will read comment after comment from people who identify themselves as Catholics but don't have a clue about what being a Catholic actually means. Their ignorance is frightening. Oculos habent, et non videbunt; aures habent, et non audient.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Alas, you and I are of a generation when the Faith was still being taught. My younger siblings unfortunately came of school age as the Council was ending and it is astounding how little they know about the Faith.

I have from time to time, looked at the combox at the National Anti-Catholic Reporter and am always astounded by the vitriol and general ignorance displayed. Where is the love, the charity, the tolerance? Maybe Pope Francis could direct them to show a little "mercy."

Anonymous said...

Two angry old men have found each other. Kanpai!

Wipo of Mainz said...

Ad eum cujus scriptiones sine nomine manent:

From what I can infer the two gentlemen write more in sorrow than in anger. Sunt milites Christi, qui contra ignorantiam et haeresem constanter fortiterque pugnant. And although not in flore juventutis, they are not yet in aetate decrepita.

They seem to have found, not each other, but a spiteful little goblin, forsan daemoniacum.

Sed quid scio? Modus saeculi XXI mirus.