Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Somehow this isn't very inspirational except to a Mason!

When good churches go bad--what were they thinking in this renovation? Masons must have been in charge!

"We don't know what the heck this is, no continuity with anything whatsoever. I went to drive-ins in the trunk of cars as a child that were more artistic than this big screen! Or maybe it is a football goal post that can't be taken down by fans after their team wins, or before they win since it is as ugly as sin!"

The True Hermeneutic of Continuity!

Real Continuity


Drastic Rupture!

Now, does this look like the Masonic Meeting Space above. The photographer is simply sitting in the presider's chair in the Masonic hall above as he clicks this picture. He could have done the same in the picture above below. Yikes, what are liturgical architects thinking today when they design churches? Are they Mason's? Is it a colossal joke on us? Or are they denigrating us on purpose? One has to wonder:

As many are already aware, the newly constructed chapel of the North American seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denton, Nebraska, will soon be consecrated by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, the bishop of Lincoln, in the presence of His Eminence, William Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- who will himself preach at the Solemn Pontifical Mass which will be celebrated following the consecration. Now if they can do this why can't the rest of the Church?

This is really inspirational and stunning. The law of prayer is the law of belief! What kind of faith do you get from praying and worshipping in a Masonic hall-like Catholic Church? Not much!

Let me say it again, the law of prayer is the law of belief! The Second Vatican Council never mandated the departure from this type of liturgical architecture. It certainly didn't mandate Masonic-like architecture for our churches!

On a post in the National Catholic Reporter, Tom Roberts has finally gotten with the program of hermeneutics! He writes among other things in a brief editorial article the following:

"* Hermeneutic of discontinuity (sometimes referred to as the hermeneutic of rupture) is used to refer to those who think the council represented a distinct change from the past, and is used often to disparage those who speak of a pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II church.
* Hermeneutic of continuity or renewal refers to those who would hold that very little actually changed at Vatican II, that it was a “reaffirmation” of all that went before only cast in new language so as to be understandable to the modern era.

Dividing people into hermeneutic camps has become a favorite tactic of conservative commentators and some bishops, especially those who most want to downplay the idea that the council altered the teaching or attitude of the church in any significant way. Others, however, see the categories as artificial and overstated, attempts at marginalizing as extreme anyone convinced that Vatican II ushered in important changes."

I think most of us who espouse what the Second Vatican Council actually taught, therefore embracing the "Hermeneutic of Continuity", understand that the Second Vatican Council was a "pastoral" Council and complimentary to the First Vatican Council which didn't quite finish its work due to some "geo-political" considerations.

The First Vatican Council focused on the primacy of Peter and the Magisterium of the Church. The Second Vatican Council sought to engage the world in order to evangelize it not through "anathemas" but rather kind and gracious dialogue. Vatican II also taught about the laity and their important role in this dialogue with the world, not to capitulate to it, but to engage it in order to bring the world and all that we consider to be "worldly" to Christ and the Church. In this regard, the laity have had successes and failures. The failure sticks out like a red flag, all those pro-choice Catholics in American politics and throughout the world who have capitulated to the "spirit of the world" not the Spirit of Christ. I won't name names but there are many!

In terms of the Liturgy, the Second Vatican Council only had some modest proposals. The actual post Vatican II reforms went way beyond the hermeneutic of the Council. Suffice it to say that in either the EF or the OF Mass, the Church is present, entirely. Some would have you believe that in the EF only the ordained priest counts. This is false. Some would have you believe that the OF Mass highlights better the role of the laity in the Church, a renewed ecclesiology sought by Vatican II. This is a red herring! The laity had active roles in both periods of Church history, before and after Vatican II. But the role of the laity in the world was truly emphasized and this has yet to bear the fruit desired, especially as it concerns family life, employment and government activities.

But with that said, there were no doctrinal or moral teachings of the Church changed whatsoever. But those who believe the Second Vatican Council did open the door to the hermeneutic of rupture believe that doctrinal and moral changes can and will happen if people simply follow this rupture, what is called the "spirit of Vatican II."

The hermeneutic of rupture envisions changes in moral teachings and doctrines usually in these following areas:

1. Women priests--thus a dramatic change in the doctrine of Holy Orders and the Mass and other Sacraments
2. Priesthood of all believers to the exclusion of the unique role of the ordained male priest--which leads to a Christian Unity thus accepting Luther and other Protestant Reformers belief that there are only two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion.
3. Morality--make it up as you go and what you feel--do good, avoid evil--practice artificial birth control, have sex outside of marriage with whomever and whatever and marriage between two or more people who love each other. Death penalty for convicted criminals on the same level as abortion which kills the innocent without a trial.
4. Ecumenism and Interfaith relations that are based on all things being equal, no superiority in what God has reveal to the Church and what other denominations or religions might embrace on good faith.
5. The Mass, make it as simple, stripped down and easy so that nearly 80% of the people in 2010 don't even attend anymore because they wonder why it is worth it. It looks so Protestant they say, why not go to a Lutheran service or Episcopal service, no difference is there?

The Hermeneutic of Continuity is what the Second Vatican Council represented. Only those who want some other kind of denomination in Christianity opt for the hermeneutic of rupture. That's sad indeed. We have enough division in Christianity as it is.


Templar said...

Father, where is that second altar picture from? The top is obviously our beloved St. Joseph, but the second is not. It looks lovely.

Oh, and the blog is spot on. I've lost count of the friends, and family, who don't even want to engage on the subject. They just put up their hands and shake their heads and say "the Church changed all that", or "that was then". It's hard enough to engage faithful Catholics to convince them that their PoV is one of rupture; it's impossible to try and engage Catholics who don't even understand that they don't even understand!!!

Gene said...

A significant number of devout and doctrinally aware Protestants are coming to the True Church...most notably, a couple of years ago, one of the premier Lutheran theologians from Chicago and 19 Lutheran seminarians left the Lutheran church and entered Catholic seminaries or simply joined the Catholic Church. I know and communicate with some of these people. Although theological and doctrinal reasons are behind their move, these theological/doctrinal reasons are intimately tied to the fact that Catholic worship embodies both the contemplative and devotional aspects of worship in a way that Protestantism never has been able to fulfill. They all speak of a heightened sense of Presence, the Sacred, and a devotional life they heretofore had never experienced. Most of them also feel that Protestantism, with its inescapable ties to German Idealism and analytical philosophy, can only become more secular, more post-modern, more compromised. None, zero, zilch, are coming to the True Church because of the so-called "Spirit of Vatican II," with its secularizing and egalitarian playing footsie with culture. The "last straw" for many, is the fact that most major Protestant denominations are tacitly supporting abortion, gay marriage, and the ordination of women. This should tell us something if we are willing to, the Church was right all along!

Gene said...

Fr., those abominable pictures of kinky churches, or whatever, you are posting are causing me to use swear words. Paul says you are not supposed to tempt a brother to fall. Shame!

Anonymous said...

Ummm... your last picture is that of a Masonic hall.

kiwiinamerica said...

Damian Thompson over at the Daily Telegraph (UK) in an article about the consecration of the new FSSP chapel in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, has a picture which you will just love (scroll down)!!

It's a picture of the chapel at Hinsley Hall , the HQ of the Diocese of Leeds.

To call it "minimalist" is an understatement.

I believe it's based on the "dentists waiting room" model although Damian thinks it takes its inspiration from Scientology. All that's missing is a few magazines on the table.....excuse me......altar!!

Robert Kumpel said...

I too noticed the Masonic hall. Why is it that there are so many Catholics who refuse to see and admit the obvious: This has been the basic design used for new church buildings in the "post Vatican II" era. There is no denying the influence of this arrangement. There is no denying the goal of freemasonry. It is up to us to deny them attaining that goal.

Pater Ignotus said...

You often confuse, Fr. McDonald, "continuity" with your own personal taste. "De gustibus non est disputandum."
One wonders how many drippingly baroque candlesticks were on the table in The Cenacle, or how may winged babies were painted on the ceiling in Lazarus' tomb?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To Pater, I'm very blessed as I believe you to be blessed in the same fashion in a very traditional church. My home parish in which I grew up, St. Joseph in Augusta, was far from this. It is now the parish hall to a new church building. But when it was a church, there was no mistaking it "catholicity" and the ambiance it had for the Mass up to 1965 and the Mass after 1965. I loved that little Church and found my vocation there. Fr. McDonald

kiwiinamerica said...

Pater Ignotus: I seem to detect a marked similarity between Father's "personal taste" and the "personal taste" of the Holy Father so I think he's on the right track. It's a "personal taste" which is also shared by increasing numbers of Catholics.

Over time, "personal taste" will in fact, define the shape of the future Church now that the Extraordinary Form is once again available. Those who prefer felt banners, minimalist decor, polyester vestments, banal hymns and churches which do not reflect the gravity of the Sacred Mysteries will be drawn to the increasingly empty hootenanny barns while those who wish to contemplate the Sacred Mysteries and enter ever more deeply into them will be drawn to churches which lend themselves to the contemplation of the Divine.

Funnily enough, we've been burdened with the yoke of "personal tastes" in matters liturgical for 4 decades now, after a clique of liturgists foisted a completely new liturgy upon us in blatant violation of the Vatican II documents.

As for the Cenacle, I imagine it was indeed lit up by a heavenly light and surrounded by choirs of angles for the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The Cenacle was a simple room because Jesus himself chose it in keeping with His simple life and death. This is an example of the personal humility of Jesus. However, the humility of Jesus should not be confused with disrespect and lack of reverence for the Body and Blood of Christ. Christ humbled Himself but we, in gratitude do not treat Him like some crust of bread to be tossed on a bare wooden bench and consumed in drab and banal surroundings. Christ is King and who would receive a king in wooden outhouse? Baroque candles are the least we can provide for such an inestimable gift.

Gene said...

Just as in Chemistry or Physics, where a quantitative change, at some threshold, becomes a qualitative change, so in matters of "tatste." At what threshold do changes in "accidents" become changes in essence? Since our architecture and modes of worship are outer reflections of inner states, these questions need to be asked.

Jody Peterman said...

When I first converted, I use to think many traditionalist were paranoid. Then several years later I begin to realize that many of the same Priest who detested the TLM and preferred the stripped down Church, also openly supported pro-abortion politicians and told their parishioners at confession that it was ok to practice birth control. Are the freemasons? probably not, but they have allowed themselves to be instruments of the devil.

Pater Ignotus said...

Kiwi: You cannot one the one hand decry "personal taste" and then, on the other laud it.
No one's personal taste, neither Fr. McDonald's nor Pope Benedict's, is the norm or rule for the liturgy.
Too often people confuse the the likes/dislikes of the person holding the office of the pope with the functions of that office.
Popes and pastors come and go; the Tradition and the always evolving rubrics endure.

Gene said...

So, Pater, you are arguing for the Tradition? Just how would you define "Tradition?" Is it not fair to say that the TLM, with all of its rituals and gestures that you seem to disdain, is more traditional than some of the latter day abominations we have seen and are still seeing? Would not the new Missal be more truly traditional than what we have? Also, tradition implies continuity...perhaps the real future of the Church lies in recovering its past, or "Tradition.'

kiwiinamerica said...

Ahhh yes, "rubrics". If only they were obeyed.

"Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia". The Pope's views on the liturgy are far more than "personal taste". Bugnini's hash of a liturgy in violation of Church documents was "personal taste". This was not "evolution". This was revolution. Father Bob's improvisation of the Eucharistic prayers is "personal taste". Ripping out the altar rails is "personal taste". Decorating the sanctuary with balloons and felt banners is "personal taste". Not mine, of course, but somebody's. We know all about "personal taste". We've suffered from the plague of "personal taste" for over 40 years. The Mass as entertainment is "personal taste".

I was simply taking your term and pointing out that "personal taste" cuts both ways. We've suffered from it and now the pendulum is swinging the other way. Ironic, no? I didn't hear these wails about "personal taste" when Latin was tossed out the window. It was all about "moving with the times" and "getting with it". Did I miss something?

In fact, the term "personal taste" is yours. You labeled Father's views on the liturgy "personal taste". Wrongly, IMHO. His views are right in line with the Tradition of the Church to which we are now returning after a 40 year "silly season".

There is a certain ......what shall we say.........karma about all of this. We've been told that Vatican II was all about empowering the laity. Well the empowered laity is now asking for Traditional liturgy and Churches. Not what the "spirit (small "s") of Vatican II crowd had in mind but there ya go.


kiwiinamerica said...


You're missing something quite fundamental.

The Mass of Pius V promulgated with the Bull "Quo Primum" in 1570 and which was given to the Church "in perpetuity", as well as traditional church architecture are both to be considered esoteric, "personal taste".

The new liturgical construct given to us at the end of the swingin' '60s is "Tradition".

Black is white and night is day.

Get it?

Neither do I.

Gene said...

Indeed...I appreciate your comments. NO, I don't get it. Just not hip, I guess. Gene

Anonymous said...

Then the hermeneutic of continuity needs to be enfoced. Rules as to Church architecture and prayerful environments must be intoduced or what is there, enforced. It is unacceptable to walk into a Catholic Church and for it to feel like a community center. And in the end these bitter monstosities often cost just as much if not more than renovations of an existing Church or building something as was done in Nebraska. No wonder more than half the Mass going people have stopped going. In my Church after many years I still marvel at the walls, ceiling and beautiful imagery all around me. I find something new to focus on all the time before Mass starts. It should be like this for all Catholics.

Anonymous said...


The Baroque dripping was organic development over centuries. Would you classify these last few decades as enduring architecture that will inspire us for generations to come? Or will it be torn down in a few decades and replaced and forgotten? Father's appreciation for history is guided and grounded in the right place. If you prefer Lazarus's tomb environment, perhaps Leeds, or Los Angeles Cathedrals are the right place for you.