Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT SOMETIMES TRADITIONALISTS CAN BE LIKE A WRECKING BALL WHEN IT COMES TO IMPOSING NEW ORDER IN A PARISH GONE WILD--GO SLOW, SLOW, SLOW AND DON'T ALIENTATE THOSE WHO WILL BE THERE LONG AFTER THE PRIEST IS GONE

Catholic priest whose style split NC mountain parish is leaving

The Charlotte Observer 17 hours ago

37 comments:

Victor said...

Unfortunately, such problems arise because of what had already happened before. A so-called progressive pastor is assigned to a parish, over time all the orthodox faithful leave, and the pseudo-Catholics remain. Then an orthodox replacement pastor is sent with a revolt taking place, only to have the problem blamed on this orthodox pastor, not the previous one who caused the mess in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Did you note the name of the parish?

There is another such parish closer to us just as divided and just as dreaded by most priests in this diocese.

Joseph Johnson said...

It sounds like he is a priest we could use in the Diocese of Savannah. Maybe he just needs to reflect on how better to win peoples' hearts and minds over to the more traditional Catholic practices which he advocates. I will remember him in my prayers and wish him well.

rcg said...

I feel like I am being trolled by this post. ­čĄö

In all seriousness, this can be a problem in any insular community, and they exist even in urban settings. We had a Polish priest in my backward mountain community. Fortunately he liked barbeque and drinking so we got along fine. He did tell me about similar issues in bigger cites like Chicago and Montreal where parishes of immigrants didn't adjust to 'foreign' priests.

In this case I think this is a good test of the needed reform of the reform and how we will lead the people back out of the wilderness. There was a parishoner here in Dayton (a Yankee) who threatned to leave the Church unless he was guaranteed communion in both species. He was in need of a vigourous catechesis. There cultural aspects to this situation, too. As much as I love playing my banjo, fiddle, and mandolin and singing Stanley Brothers and Doc Watson tunes there is no place for it in the nave. I would not sing them on parish grounds but with significant changes to the lyrics. I do think we should have the folk music in the parish hall (with the lyric changes). We are even having a barn dance in the gym later this summer. Watching these tall German Midwesterners dance is like watching a horse walk on ice.

Gene said...

People are clawing over each other to be first to the gates of Hell....

Gene said...

RCG, I've never seen a barn dance, but I have seen a board walk.

Anonymous said...

Well, it is an example of the divide between church and state (or city). Charlotte the diocese has a conservative reputation but the city itself (and Mecklenberg County) has become very liberal---a generation ago, Charlotte was known to be Republican, or at least Republican-leaning---Reagan handily won it in 1984---but those days are long gone; Clinton beat Trump there by about a 2-1 margin last year. YEs, you get a lot of Catholic growth in the diocese, but a lot of it is from...up North, you know the places that have elected the likes of Teddy Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, Chris Dodd, John Kerry---well, you get the point I'm sure!

Atlanta (my diocese) I guess is more middle of the road, but in a large urban area like ours (6 million+--and a metro area that voted for Obama twice and Clinton last year), there is no conservative majority.

Anonymous said...

You nailed it, Victor. The parish in this diocese that shares the other parish's name was mishandled for years by priests with exactly that mindset.

I can think of at least two nearby parishes in this diocese that are destined to go through a serious crisis, as the effects of faux-Vatican II practices by "progressive" (read "apostate") priests for the last several decades have bred congregations that are comfortable, entrenched and, fortunately, aging quickly. The vast majority of younger priests are not willing to cave into perpetuating the 60's and most are not palatable to the lay mafias that think they own these parishes. It's going to be very interesting to watch how it all plays out. The bishop can't make ALL of these young priests hospital chaplains!

Joseph Johnson said...

These things happen in the Diocese of Savannah too. We got a new pastor about four years ago (more or less coinciding with the election of Pope Francis). He reserves the right to change the words of the Mass when it suits him. The most notable and regular example is that, at the end of every Mass, he says (with enthusiasm): "The Lord IS with you!" Based on his theological principles he rarely (very rarely--like only on Holy Thursday) uses the Roman Canon. Also, based on similar principles, he does not like to use a chalice which differs from the EMHC's Communion cups. He regularly starts of his homilies by singing a verse from one of his favorite "Glory and Praise" style songs. To his credit, he does continue to allow us to chant the Latin version of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei at Sunday Mass.

Last week, in his homily, he made the statement that, apparently, "the Administration" doesn't care about protecting the environment (because the President withdrew us from the Paris accord which was entered into by the previous President with no Senate approval). I visibly shook my head in disagreement when he made this assertion (both because it was inappropriate as a part of a homily and because it is not a factually true statement. Once can care about the environment and still believe that Trump made the right move--there are other and, arguably, better ways to accomplish that goal).

A significant number of our parishioners have started attending at a neighboring parish about 30 miles away (where our immediate previous pastor, who has a more traditional bent--but not radically so, is assigned). There are also others who have simply stopped attending. Sometimes, about once a month or so, even I will "take a breather" by attending that neighboring parish (I live about 20 miles from my home parish and about 20 miles from that neighboring parish) or by trekking two hours each way to Savannah for the EF Latin Mass.

Joseph Johnson said...

To follow up: The reason I don't leave my home parish outright is because: !. It is the parish in which I was baptized and grew up. 2. I have a 19 year old daughter who attends college locally and works most Sundays (before and after Mass) at a local veterinarian (a vocation she plans to pursue herself). I want to attend Mass with my daughter while she still lives with me (it won't be too much longer before she will need to live elsewhere to continue her education). 3. I am the parish council president. 4. Culturally I am a Southerner and (though a Roman Catholic with a love for the Latin liturgical tradition) tend to be very attached to the region, locale, and culture of the land of my birth. 5. I am praying and waiting for better times (liturgically speaking).

My ideal is the EF Mass in a rural Southern setting!

Anonymous said...

Joseph: I WAS talking about parishes in the Diocese of Savannah.

ByzRC said...

This reads like people so deprived of authenticity that they did not recognize their spiritual inheritance when it was placed before them. Having looked at the photo albums on the parish's website, by all appearances, Father was attentive to his parishioners spiritual needs while also supporting cultural and social activities. In this day when vocations in so many places are few in number, it would seem that the people should have been grateful to have been given a younger pastor. Though difficult to judge without actually having been there, it seems possible that the people were much more 'rigid' than Father would have ever been.

ByzRC said...

Addendum. In the interest of being fair, I should have referenced SOME of the people at this parish. It is likely that Father was embraced and his efforts were appreciated by many. In the end, it is unfortunate that the 'rigidity' of the few effected all. To me, reading tiresome stories such as this makes my appreciation and respect for the Divine Liturgy and Extraordinary Form grow.

Jose Soldado said...

I don't like the homilies. I leave the parish.

I don't like the pastor's choice of music. I stop giving to the parish.

I don't hear the "Roman" Canon often enough. I post snarky comments online.

I don't like my pastor's choice of chalices. I rejoice that he will die - soon.

I don't like the way my community voted in the last few elections. I whine and moan about the departure of a divisive traditionalist priest from a parish. (Note: When a priest isn't working in his own diocese, when an order priest is operating on his own with little or no connection with his superiors, watch out, something's not right.)

Being Catholic, folks, isn't about getting what you want, what you prefer, or what makes you feel good about your prejudices and predilections. Being Catholic also isn't about waiting for the perfect priest to show up before you get your behinds in gear advancing the Kingdom of God.

As long as you maintain that crappy me first attitude, you ARE going to be unhappy. Why not choose to do the work of the Lord and the work of the Church and be at peace?

Joseph Johnson said...

Anonymous:
Was your reference to a city with more than one Catholic parish or a "one priest town" like where I live (30 miles to the next nearest Catholic parish?

Stephen Conner said...

https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/postponednc-parishioners-demand-removal-of-pastor-for-defying-spirit-of-vat

Anonymous said...

Joseph:

The biggest problem parish is about an hour west of you. Again, look at the name in of the parish in N.C.. This parish is such a headache that most priests in this diocese would rather have the bishop send them to Iraq than to this parish. It has 2 priests and various transitional deacons and visiting priests.

The other problem parish is another hour to the west of the first one. They just sent their pastor packing and he will be an assistant at the first parish mentioned. He was too traditional and too orthodox for them. However, with poetic justice, the bishop is sending THAT parish a replacement from Ghana and those African priests tend to be more strident than most liberal lay members can tolerate.

The younger generation of priests have no attachment to the 60's. The lay-empowerment-moral-relativist seniors who think they run these parishes are sooner or later going to have to make a choice: Convert and be Catholic or be honest and join a protestant sect.

Joseph Johnson said...

Anonymous,
Yes, I've been aware of the liberal atmosphere at that parish about an hour southwest of me for some time. I didn't know of the issues at the one further west. Maybe I will try to catch one of the Masses being offered by that new assistant about an hour west of me---sounds like my kind of guy. I wonder if he would ever dare offer the EF?

Joseph Johnson said...

But "Jose"---while it's one thing to "option" certain parts of the Mass out of existence by never using them it's entirely another matter for a priest to change the words of a part of the Mass (like "The Lord IS with you!"). While I may not personally like what he is doing I was not being snarky--I was just stating the facts as they are.

Joseph Johnson said...

Jose,
I'm sorry, I just don't think it's too much to ask to be able to come into church on Sunday morning and be able to kneel down and say prayers before Mass only to be interrupted by the tinkle of the bell when the priest processes in to begin the Mass with a simple sign of the Cross (no "welcoming announcements" by the priest before he rushes back to re-enter by procession).

I also have a hard time seeing why it's too much to ask to be given the opportunity of recite the Confiteor and chant or recite the simple version of the Kyrie each week during Ordinary time.

And, yes, when you practically never get to join in the Canon that you know almost by heart from your youth--?

I probably wouldn't have taken note of the chalice so much except for the fact that the pastor made it a point explain why HE doesn't want to use a priests' chalice that differs from the EMHC cups. It sounds like more liturgist stuff I used to hear in the 70's and 80's which is so unnecessary---just use a chalice and don't try to make a point with it!

I am still fairly active in my parish and I don't plan to leave.

If it is your judgement that I am selfish and snarky then that is your opinion, whatever...

Henry said...

Fr. Riehl is a fine young Knoxville priest who took a leave for an early pastorate in NC. I think the following additional info is accurate:

https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/faithful-n.c.-priest-resigns

Apparently a majority of the parish there supported his re-Catholization efforts, and pertinent numbers were up.

I was personally involved in a previous situation where an young priest, orthodox but very personable and pastoral--perhaps a younger model of our genial host here--encountered a small ultra-liberal clique that had previously ruled the parish. They dug in their heels, and eventually burned him out. But he has been universally, even wildly popular with the people in subsequent parishes. I was sorry at Fr. Riehl's departure and will be happy at his return.

Jose Soldado said...

Joseph - What stops you from learning and joining the Canons other than the Roman? It's only your pig headedness. "Me First."

What makes you so special that you have to be "given the opportunity of recite the Confiteor and chant or recite the simple version of the Kyrie each week during Ordinary time."? "Me First

Is HE doesn't want to use a chalice different from the others, what makes that an issue for you., It's HIS call, not yours. "Me First" doesn't determine the priest's choice of chalice, nor should it.


Anonymous said...

Joseph:

The priest we speak of indeed knows the EF. Fr. McDonald worked with him in Macon and he was trained in his native country. Of course, if he tries to introduce it at his new parish, they might have to call an ambulance for all the apoplexy that will break out.

ByzRC said...

It is good for us to reflect, as guests in Father's living room blog site, on the possibility of raising a counter opinion without lecturing, accusations, judgements or, insults. Debate has two sides with debaters bringing to the table a multitude of experiences based on place, person and experience/wisdom. The aforementioned should be welcomed and respected if our true intent is to peaceably do the work of the Lord!

ByzRC said...

Joseph Johnson - A wise (and young) priest once told me that as Catholics, we are entitled to good liturgy. What you are describing sounds like a careless regard for the liturgy, misuse of the homily and the elevation of a personal agenda. I'm reminded of a placard that used to hang in our sacristy reminding the priest to celebrate the mass as it if was his first mass, his last mass, his only mass.

I applaud your efforts to stay and perhaps outlast a particular personality and hope you take comfort in the respectful attitudes had by the younger priests coming up through the ranks. How fortunate we are to have the gift of the EF where such deviations aren't possible!

Joseph Johnson said...

Jose,
Is it HIS call to change the words of the approved English translation of the Mass?

Joseph Johnson said...

Jose,
As to "joining in" the other canons, (which was my in-artful way of saying that I try to unite myself to the priests prayers at Mass) I do try to unite myself to the intentions of all the canons---it's just that I heard the "Roman" Canon (which is what the missalettes, at least used to, call it) so many times growing up that I can almost quietly say it in my mind word for word as it's being said.

You say I'm pig-headed, that I said something in a snarky way, and have a "me-first" attitude and you are entitled to your opinion. It just troubles me and tends to make me feel that there was an agenda going on when the Novus Ordo was drafted by the Consilium (and the Roman Canon was almost thrown out---but for Paul VI's insistence that it stay) and then, in actual practice, it is almost never used by many priests--effectively "optioning it out of existence." Thus, a prayer that was the only one used in the Roman Rite for, probably, 1400-1600 years has likely never been heard by many Catholics (certainly so rarely said that many are not familiar with it as I am---could we say that most Catholics rarely get to hear Eucharist Prayer II? I don't think so) . Changing the way we pray is changing the way we believe.

Is that the agenda?

Jose Soldado said...

"Agenda" is a vastly overused word hereabouts.

That you have a "Me First" outlook when you hear Mass isn't an opinion. Look at your own posts, dear boy. YOU want this, YOU want that, YOU are not happy when this prayer is used and that prayer is not.

It's not about YOU and what YOU want or prefer...

Joseph Johnson said...

Jose,
Ok, so I should be completely uncritical and not notice or express any opinions about how any priest celebrates Mass. What about a priest changing the approved words of the Mass---you haven't spoken to that observation (is that all about ME too?).

Jose Soldado said...

You are entirely free to be critical and express whatever opinions you might hold.

You are also free to realize that your "wants" are just that - YOUR wants. YOU want to hear chant, YOU want to hear the Roman Canon, YOU want........

This reveals the "Me First," or "My Wants Should Be Decisive" attitude, which is nothing more than childish behavior. The world doesn't revolve around you and what you want.

ByzRc said...

It would seem that Mr. Johnson's wants are consistent with what the Council intended and what the GIRM demands. Seems reasonable to me.

Joseph Johnson said...

Jose,
I take it that you choose not to comment on a priest changing the approved English words of the Mass . . .

Joseph Johnson said...

Because the current Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) Mass has so many options with its different parts, (eg. Penitential Rite, Canon, etc.) and it seems to be solely within the priest's discretion as to which options will be used (and which options will not be used, if ever), it appears that, in fact, each priest is the "editor" of what version of the Ordinary Form a group of worshipping Catholics with get to experience. This is true even if that priest is faithful to the approved formulas for the Mass contained on the pages of the Missale Romanum. This is the lawful liturgical regime that the Church operates under (in the Ordinary Form). I am a critic of this situation and believe that we should return to a Mass with less options more along the lines of the EF. Then Mass would just be Mass--no options to prefer or argue about.

Beyond that, some priests will also "edit" what the Church has approved in that OF Missal and change the words of the prayers as they think best. Isn't there some "me first" and "my wants (and opinions) should be decisive" going on with the priests who do this?

ByzRC said...

Joseph Johnson - Agree. Too many options. Too many ways for someone to inflict their own personal style upon the mass almost creating their own version of this prayer. Yes, these options are valid but, they potentially lead to the creation of a cult of personality, ad-libing, pitting priest against priest (Ex. "Fr. 'A' is not with the times, he always chooses to say all the longest prayers. Thank goodness he only says mass every third week!") etc. I'm fortunate where I live that many priests are more traditional therefore, the confeitor isn't banished to lent/advent, the Kyrie is sung, the canon is regularly recited on Sundays and appropriate octaves. Yes, there are many who rarely deviate from the alternate 'penitential' rite and I'm convinced that all the pages surrounding EP II must be glued together in the altar missal when they celebrate but, that is their option and enough priests do not do this that it is tolerable.

The EF demands discipline, attention to detail, supplication....all the things we should do to humble ourselves before our Lord, giving our absolute best and not participating in Mass as entertainment or, political statement. This when coupled with Ad Orientem posture leaves us with a priest celebrating mass...it doesn't matter if it's the Pope, a Bishop, Parish Priest, a Monk whomever...it's a priest celebrating and supplicating himself, not a personality who risks celebrating himself and those around him.

Joseph Johnson - Your comments are valid, not self-centered or, me/my driven. Perhaps your reflections are rooted in experiences that have frustrated many within the church over the last 50+ years. If yes, that is understandable as all we want to do is glorify and supplicate ourselves before our Lord, not man, with focused prayer. Last, as I have never cared for bullying, should my statement and my support open me up to the unsolicited ridicule, judgement, correction and agenda by another who has been posting here, so be it.

Joseph Johnson said...

ByzRC,
I'm 56, so yes, my reflections are rooted in experience. Thank you so much for the support and kind words . .

Robert Kumpel said...

I am not an expert on the Liturgy, but at 57, I am old enough to remember what the Mass used to be and, sadly, how I and many others felt when it changed. I was in a Catholic elementary school and most of my classmates, eager to be hip in all things, thought the Novus Ordo was great. I, to be honest, was almost insulted by it. It was so obvious to my 10 year-old brain that the Mass had been dumbed-down and I felt pandered to every time our newly dis-habited nuns encouraged the kids to break out the guitars and sing such putrid delights as "Sons of God" or "Joy is Like the Rain". I participated in the Traditional Mass. I followed the prayers because the English/Latin Missal had them side-by side. The sense of something deeply holy was present. The Novus Ordo simply told me that we were in the presence of something deeply casual.

When I finally attended a Traditional Latin Mass for the first time in years, sometime around 1989, I was astonished. I had completely forgotten everything. I didn't know when to stand or kneel and I wasn't even sure what was going on at the altar. But I also felt like I had come back home and just needed to adjust. We were lucky, because we had the first indult Mass in the US after Pope John Paul II granted the indult and the mausoleum where we had Mass was packed. Hundreds of people in their Sunday best were there. I expected old people with nostalgia. Instead, I found hoards of young families with well-behaved children. An old priest from my high school stayed in a side chapel hearing confessions throughout the beginning of Mass. Some of these people had driven down from Los Angeles and were making the trip every week.

The Traditional Mass takes more effort. I have to work to follow it, but I am inspired to do so. The Novus Ordo has made me lazy. I don't even have to think to go through the motions. I know this sounds "judgmental" or "intolerant" but I think the Traditional Mass is superior in every way. I don't get many opportunities to go anymore. Savannah is three hours from me and once a month the Mass is offered in Tallahassee. But I know where my heart is. All the improv and sloppiness of the Novus Ordo is something I've learned to tolerate. But God demands a holier, more formal style of worship and God will not be mocked. The regime of hipdom that has now become the Geritol regime of enforced 60's culture, will not last forever. It will probably take something cataclysmic, but I believe that the proper order of worship will one day be restored. I may not live to see it, but I believe it will come.

Bill Meyer said...

As Henry wrote, Fr. Riehl is a fine young priest. From the homilies I heard from him before he left the Knoxville diocese, he was actually rather mild. But then, his pastor... well, I will refrain from any specifics, but imagine how challenging it might be to be a traditionally minded and reverent young priest in a parish where the pastor is at odds with all that you believe.

Fr. Riehl also seemed to me to have a great love for and skill with the liturgy. I have little doubt that before his resignation, those who appreciated him felt blessed to have him in their parish. The others might be more at ease in a Protestant mega-church.