Saturday, October 30, 2010


Our scroll of the faithful departed from November 1, 2009 to October 31 2010

Requiems and odds and ends

The month of November is dedicated to remembering our “Faithful Departed.” Tuesday, November 2nd is “All Souls Day.” For a second year in a row at 7:00 PM, we are happy to celebrate this Commemoration of the Faithful Departed as a Solemn High Sung Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Our choirs will once again perform the Fauré Requiem. Last year’s performance was quite moving and very beautiful. If you have never attended the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in Latin, this will be a wonderful opportunity for you to acquaint yourself with the beauty, majesty and spirituality of this form of the Mass. Fr. Daniel Firmin our former parochial vicar and now the Chancellor for the Diocese of Savannah will be the celebrant and homilist for this Commemoration of All Souls.

The Extraordinary Form of the Mass for the Dead does not mask the reality of death or the Church’s prayer that the faithful departed are in need of purification as they face the judgment throne of God. This form of the Mass of the dead also includes the singing of the “Dies Iræ” or “Day of Wrath” as a sequence following the reading of the Epistle. It does not mince words about the fear we anticipate and experience at the judgment seat of God and our eventual purification. This is no canonization ceremony as seems to happen so often in our Funeral Masses in the Ordinary Form!

For Christians, the denial of death and grief is a psychological mask which covers our authentic feelings, although temporarily suppressed immediately after a loved one dies. The Church teaches us that if we have died in Christ, we will live forever with Him in heaven. While this moderates our expression of grief, since we believe in the afterlife in heaven and therefore we do not mourn like those who have no faith, we should be encouraged to come to terms even in a public liturgical way, with our sense of loss and the desolation this can or will bring. There is no reason why we should not symbolize our grief with the moderate use of dirges and other somber symbols. This can be quite cathartic in the long-run, for it allows the true grief that might well be suppressed to bubble forth, like lancing a wound.

Finally, we must rediscover not only the sacredness of life, but also the sacredness of our body, both in life and in death. The strange cultural phenomenon we see today where people mutilate their bodies with tattoos and piercings should be a cause for some alarm. After death, this contempt for the body shows itself in a variety of ways. As Catholics we must buck the trend to disregard the human body both in life and death.

In the past the Church did not allow for cremation because non-Christian cultures which use cremation did so because they did not view the human body as sacred and also denied the resurrection of the body. They have no doctrinal belief that in baptism, the body becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Christians bury bodies in cemeteries as a symbol of our belief that our bodies are sacred and await the resurrection of the body at the end of time when Jesus shall return in a visible way to judge the living and the dead. Cemeteries are actually blessed sacramentals of waiting for the advent of the Second Coming. Even though the Church now allows for cremation, Catholic Church law still expects that the remains of cremation be given a proper Christian burial or entombment in a cemetery columbary to wait the day of the resurrection. Scattering ashes on land or water, as well as keeping them on a fireplace mantle or worse yet, in some closet or attic does not show the proper reverence we should have for the dead or our anticipation of the resurrection of the body at the end of time.

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Requiescant in pace.

Friday, October 29, 2010


St. Joseph German, Mexican, Irish Church, San Antonio
This was on the cover of Paesano's Italian Restaurant menu on the Riverwalk
The workshop I have attended on the new English translation of the Mass is over. It was quite good and I can't wait until the First Sunday of Advent 2011 to implement it, although I'll be a year older by then, and certainly many pounds wiser.

What most of the priests here are saying is that it will help us to bring about the authentic liturgical renewal envisioned by Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council. It will return us to a more formal approach to God in prayer and worship and the reverence due him from us! Somehow and this is really unbelievable to me, we as Catholics lost the profound sense of the sacred that we are noted for as Catholics especially in our worship. The prayers were simplified and lost so much of their dignity that was and is in the current Latin.

In the late 1960's, the Vatican approved a method of translating that allowed not for a literal translation, but for one of equivalancy. So the Mass we have in English today is actually a "dumbed down" paraphrase of the original Latin, lacking precision and beauty.

That's all changing and for the better with the new translation based upon a literal translation of the Latin, not in an obsessive, unbendng way, but in a way that keeps the dignfied character of the Latin Mass in English. This is a result of a Vatican Document shortly after the turn of the century that required translators to use a literal model of translating the Mass. Paraphrased English Mass are out as well as dumbed down simplicity and outright irreverent, non sacral, non-self depracatory language. There's a lot of self-depracating in the new English and this puts us in our place before God! That's a huge step forward.

But not all is well with the world. I fly back to Atlanta tomorrow amidst the terror threats in the skys, suspicious packages with explosive materials. I guess security will be high at the airports! Thank God for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that enables us to enter into the only means of salvation from sin and death, the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever.

My last supper in San Antonio will be Tex/Mex. Yum!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


The tex/mex food is great, the weather is wonderful. But what will next week in North Dakota be like? Northerners all seem to have brain freeze when it comes to the Church, I think it is the ice and snow that so compormises their common sense.

Vatican II and Sacred Music not the Problem, its wrong implementation is!

Of all the catastrophes of the last 45 years in the Mass, music and its wrong implementation has been the problem, read why at the link below the quote which is next:

"In retrospect, it does seem a sad business, and I can’t quite get to the bottom of all the shenanigans which nearly scuppered the new Mass setting. I had to pinch myself on occasions when I was being accused of obscurantism. Were they right? But I rehearsed the work on many occasions with ordinary people in the pews in various parishes. They all picked the music up gradually. Not all parishes in Scotland could introduce the setting, I suppose. It requires competence in the accompanist and music leader. But this was a papal Mass – it had to be special. But I can imagine it being used enthusiastically in many countries around the world. There is a different “sound” to the new setting, which perhaps owes something to my love of chant, traditional hymnody and authentic folk music, and nothing at all to the St Louis Jesuits and all the other dumbed-down, sentimental bubble-gum music which has been shoved down our throats for the last few decades in the Catholic Church. And therein might lie the problem…"

Liturgical music has and is the problem with much liturgy over the last 45 years, click this sentence to read about the Scottish problem in preparation for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's Pontifical Mass celebrated recently in Glascow!

Monday, October 25, 2010


San Antonio boots

San Antonio Riverwalk where my Holiday Inn is located!

Bismarck, the capitol of North Dakota, a hot bed of political intrique!

Minot, North Dakota, Oh what fun!

I'll be in San Antonio until Saturday attending a workshop on the glorious new English translation of the Holy Mass. So I won't be abloggin until I get back and then the following Tuesday I have to go to Bismarck and Minot, North Dakota to give presentations on Catholic Stewardship to the priests of that diocese. Burr! Never been there!


Well, if you are in heaven, despite what you might have been on earth, you are a Catholic. But all kidding aside, can non-Catholics be saved? That's a question I get all the time in RCIA and other adult catechetical programs. Usually, though, the question is asked if non-Christians can be saved without converting to Christianity.

Fr. Z at "What Does the Prayer Really Say" has a great answer. You can read his take on it by pressing this entire sentence.


An extremely well celebrated and faithful experience of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, which had some Latin, including the Introit, Gloria and Credo!

An extremely faithful and well celebrated Extraordinary Form of the Mass which encourages the laity to sing and say all their parts and together with the priest, such as the Gloria and Credo, as well as the Scriptures in the vernacular and facing the people to whom they are proclaimed without them also being read in Latin.

Twelve years ago, October 23-26, 1998, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger gave a speech on the ocassion of the 10th anniversary of Ecclesia Dei, which allowed a more generous celebration of the Tridentine Mass. You can read the whole speech by pressing this sentence to its link.

One of the things that I have been waiting for is more clarification on what it means to celebrate the older Roman Liturgy, the Missal of 1962, now known as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and how Vatican II's document on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium impacts its celebration. As well, how does an authentic interpretation of Sacrosanctum Concilium impact upon the organic reform of this 1962 missal as it concerns the revised Roman Missal which we will receive in Advent of 2011? What about more use of Latin in the OF Mass and some use of the vernacular in the EF Mass? What are Cardinal Ratzinger's insights and does he still hold them as Pope Benedict XVI?

Critical to both forms of the Mass is a proper understanding of the ordained or ministerial priest, who chosen from the laity, called by God and the Church through the bishop, acts in the person of Christ to offer Christ's one Sacrifice to the heavenly Father. Now that I celebrate both forms of the Mass, it is clear to me that the OF Mass has reduced the ministerial role of the priest as expressed in the order and form of the EF Mass to one of a mere actor of function as the priest faces the people, speaking prayers directed to God the Father as though these prayers are directed to the people's hearing of them. The EF is truer to whom and what a Catholic priest should be in the celebration of the Mass. I hate to say it so bluntly, but the OF's rubrics are intrinsically flawed in this regard (not so much the authentic post-Vatican II understanding of Holy Orders, "the priest" or the priest celebrating the Mass or the other sacraments.) I believe that the "ad orientem" position of the priest would help recapture the true essence of the priest in the OF Mass and even the silent praying of the canon of the Mass without changing anything else about it. Read What Cardinal Ratzinger says:

Amongst a number of modern liturgists there is unfortunately a tendency to develop the ideas of the Council in one direction only. In acting thus, they end up reversing the intentions of the Council. The role of the priest is reduced, by some, to that of a mere functionary. The fact that the Body of Christ as a whole is the subject of the liturgy is often deformed to the point where the local community becomes the self-sufficient subject of the liturgy and itself distributes the liturgy's various roles.

While properly emphasizing the unique and indispensable role of the ministerial priest in the Mass, the EF Mass does have a tendency to reduce the laity to a parallel liturgy, where their and the priest's parts, such as the Gloria, Credo and Sanctus are independent of one another, espeically in sung Masses. The laity are not encouraged to speak aloud or sing aloud all the parts that are theirs as well as the priests, even in "Dominus Vobiscum" and "Et cum spiritu tuo!" The OF Mass certainly can influence the EF Mass in this regard. Read what Cardinal Ratzinger says:

On the other hand, it must be admitted that the celebration of the old liturgy had strayed too far into a private individualism, and that communication between priest and people was insufficient. I have great respect for our forefathers who at Low Mass said the "Prayers during Mass" contained in their prayer books, but certainly one cannot consider that as the ideal of liturgical celebration. Perhaps these reductionist forms of celebration are the real reason that the disappearance of the old liturgical books was of no importance in many countries and caused no sorrow. One was never in contact with the liturgy itself.

Celebrating both forms of the Liturgy by the book and with the insights of Sacrosanctum Concilium would show little divergence when "saying the black and doing the red." If both Masses were ad orientem or facing the people there would be convergence in this regard. The problem with the OF Mass is not so much its official structure and rubrics, but the failure to follow these and imposing creativity and rupture upon the Mass and its environment. Read what Cardinal Ratzinger says:

An average Christian without specialist liturgical formation would find it difficult to distinguish between a Mass sung in Latin according to the old Missal and a sung Latin Mass according to the new Missal. However, the difference between a liturgy celebrated faithfully according to the Missal of Paul VI and the reality of a vernacular liturgy celebrated with all the freedom and creativity that are possible - that difference can be enormous.

Why in the world can't parts of the OF Mass be said or sung in Latin and this be seen as very normal? Pope Benedict certainly models this when he travels and celebrates international Masses. But why in the world can't the EF Mass employ some vernacular and not as a repeat of the Latin? The 1965 Roman Missal certainly is a good starting point in this and in line with Sacrosanctum Concilium! Read Cardinal Ratzinger's take on this:

The contradictions and oppositions which we have just enumerated originate neither from the spirit nor the letter of the conciliar texts. The actual Constitution on the Liturgy does not speak at all about celebration facing the altar or facing the people. On the subject of language, it says that Latin should be retained, while giving a greater place to the vernacular "above all in readings, instructions, and in a certain number of prayers and chants" (SL 36:2).

This is why it is very important to observe the essential criteria of the Constitution on the Liturgy, which I quoted above, including when one celebrates according to the old Missal. The moment when this liturgy truly touches the faithful with its beauty and its richness, then it will be loved, then it will no longer be irreconcilably opposed to the new Liturgy, providing that these criteria are indeed applied as the Council wished.

I firmly believe that Pope Benedict still holds to all of his presuppositions as illustrated above. The problem is that he hasn't celebrated the EF Mass publicly since he allowed it to be celebrated freely by all priests of the world. Therefore he doesn't model some of his insights about the EF Mass for us as he has with the OF Mass.

Holy Father celebrate the EF Mass and frequently! Show us the way!!!, Your humble servant, Fr. Allan J. McDonald

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Click once or twice on photos to enlarge them!

I scratch my head on this one, not because of the location, obviously it is a special Mass in an auditorium for a convention of Marriage Encounter couples. But why in the world drag in "devotional" hand raising and hand signs of this movement during any part of the Mass. What's that all about? I scratch me head on this one!

This is a photo of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at the recessional. While I have no problem with that aspect of the photo, what jumps out at me is that there is a second altar in front of the original altar, what some would call the pre-Vatican II altar. It is brought down many steps from the original altar, is pretty, but closer to the congregation and much lower, probably making it impossible for people to see in a full church even if you are three or four rows behind someone on the front. You can only imagine what those in the back see of this new altar, nothing! But they can still see the higher original altar in all its glory. All its accoutrement are to bring you eyes to it, as it should be. The new altar is an after thought and in no way compares to the original. Thus the symbolic statement being made is that Mass on the new altar is downgraded compared to Mass on the High Altar. We've dumbed down the Mass and the new altar is a symbol of it. But the new Mass could have just as easily been celebrated on the High Altar and ad orientem. Liturgists, not church documents, demanded what you see here with the new altar.

Holding hands in private or devotional prayer came in vogue in the ecumenical 1960's and through the Charismatic movement. Prior to that, it was not a Catholic custom to hold hands when praying, one's hands were folded together. Then someone got the wise idea that wouldn't it be just "neato" to hold hands during Mass, in particular at the Our Father and to show our unity even join the two sides of the church by crossing the aisle. How awesome! But no where in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal is this novelty to be implemented. What is the liturgical significance of this during the Our Father? I scratch my head!

On this one, I look more at the architecture. Evidently the congregation sits on three sides of the altar meaning that two groups view the altar from its side. But look at the "Lincoln Blocks" construction of the altar and ambo (behind the altar). I wonder how the ambo appears when one is seated directly in front of the altar? The altar is a table emphasizing "meal" but the primary aspect of our salvation is the "Sacrifice" which seems to be diminished in this photo.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I don't know about the parish you attend, but in my parish both with some of our school parents and parents of our CCD children, there is a failure to bring their children to Mass every Sunday. It is a sad malaise! I believe it to be a part of the causality we have been discussing in the previous posted blogs. We haven't handed on our Catholic principles and moral perspective as we should have. People have lost a sense of sin, altruism, and authentic love for God when they absent themselves from Sunday Mass and the other sacraments of the Church.

So, hot off the press, I copy to you the letter that I am writing for our school's November newsletter. You are seeing it before them! What do you think?

Dear Parents,

The proper Christian moral development of a child will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Psychologists tell us that the first stage of moral development is the law and order stage. Rules are to be followed and punishment for failure to follow the rules will occur. Most children until their teenage years are in this stage. Rules are made clear and just punishments for breaking rules must be clear also.

Later, as we mature, the next stages of moral development should lead us to internalize these rules, follow them altruistically out of love for God and neighbor. In other words, we are capable of doing good and avoiding evil not just from the point of view of the consequences of punishment that follow if we break the rules.

As we advance in our moral development, we never eliminate an earlier stage, but build upon it. Sometimes in difficult situations in moral choices we might have to revert to an earlier stage, doing the right thing based on rules and out of the fear of punishment.

For example, we teach our Catholic children that it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday. We’ve taught that from time in eternity! We teach them that a mortal sin is a serious offense against God. To avoid punishment, we must repent of our sins, confess them to a priest, and receive penance and absolution and avoid the sin in the future. Failure to do this could result in eternal punishment if one dies unrepentant.

We teach our elementary school children that if their parents are not bringing them to Mass as they should, which is a very serious obligation every Sunday of the year as well as Holy Days of Obligation, that the mortal sin is not theirs, but their parents. We encourage them to beg their parents to take them to Mass every Sunday if this is not occurring in their Christian home.

So I ask you parents reading this. What stage are you in your moral development and Christian pilgrimage? Have you abandoned even the first stage for something bogus in terms of moral decision making or are you making progress in maturing in your moral decision making and teaching your children by word and example to progress as well?

The highest form of moral development in terms of Mass attendance and all other forms of Christianity is to do what needs to be done out of love for God rather than fear of damnation. But evidently, many people have a corrupt understanding of love, not only for God but for others. It is far from altruistic and other oriented. It is narcissistic. In these cases, one’s skewed understanding of love corrupts one’s moral decision making. It is intrinsically flawed. Therefore one is incapable of making moral decisions solely out of love for God and must resort to fear of hell in making the right decision.

The traditional “Act of Contrition” is very wise in acknowledging the corrupt motives of the confessing sinner:

O MY GOD, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

Attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation with your children. Hopefully you will do so out of love for God but if that doesn’t work for you, dreading the loss of heaven and the pains of hell is a great motivator as well.

God bless you.

Father Allan J. McDonald



The Catholic Magazine, Commonweal, has an article by Peter Steinfels who also writes/wrote for the New York Times religion department. He has also written several books and is a practicing Catholic. It is a long article, but well written and with a bit of a different perspective than my rantings in posts below this one, but what he writes is certainly related and does seem to speak of causality, but his causality is a bit different. He speaks of the sex abuse scandal as the nail in the coffin of the Church in Crisis. He blames the hierarchy for not addressing what the people want or ignoring it altogether. I'm not sure where he stands on all the hot button issues that are besieging our Church, the two greatest being the Church's exclusion of women from Holy Orders which thus makes the Church in the eyes of the world to be archaic and anti-women and the Church's teaching on homosexuality and marriage as between one man and one woman only and for a life time, which thus makes the Church look to the world like bigots and anti-gay, fomenting violence against them psychologically and socially. Catholics who are feminists and progressives in terms of the "rights" of "gays" will not participate in the Church if the Church IN THEIR EYES is presumed to be fundamentally flawed and prejudiced in these areas. Your can read the whole long article by pressing the words below to the Commonweal link.

October 22, 2010
Further Adrift
The American Church’s Crisis of Attrition
Peter Steinfels
An excerpt:

"Liturgical language, decorum, and participation. Quality of homilies. The shortage of priests. Celibacy. The role of women and their ordination. Transparency and consultation in church governance at every level, from the parish to the Vatican. Anti-Catholicism in the media. Religious identity and the role of the hierarchy in Catholic higher education and health care. Monitoring of Catholic theology. Abortion and same-sex relations, and the even more combustible demand that Catholic citizens and civic leaders be answerable to episcopal judgments about laws regarding these matters."

When Pope Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, he would say that in our current hyper-secular culture which has little or no use for traditional, historic Christianity based upon Scripture and Tradition, that the Catholic Church of the future will be a smaller but purer Church, meaning we'll have Catholics who are believing, practicing Catholics bringing their faith, morals and ethics unabashedly, but peacefully, to the secular world. This may in fact be what is occurring if Peter Steinfels is current in his assumption.

I have terrible mixed emotions about this smaller but purer Church. The Catholic Church has always been like the "dragnet" of Jesus' Gospel parable, collecting all kinds of people which our Lord will sort out at the Last Judgment. Those 70 to 80 percent of Catholics who no longer practice their faith and may in fact describe themselves in terms of the religion as "NONES" need to be with us, to experience God in our worship and to allow God to crack them open to His love and way of life.
How do we do it? Is it hopeless? I think not. We should not be so myopic to think that all has failed and wallow in doom and gloom. But we must be realistic about the smoke of Satan, the secularizing influences in the world, the mass media as the preachers of the Gospel of Secularism and their great success in this, with their news programs and socially progressive television and other media programs. These influence those who watch them more than the Church, the Bible and Tradition.

Friday, October 22, 2010


My previous two posts are related to this one as well. Fr. Andrew Greeley who is a controversial figure in the Church and not always a friend of the clergy and hierarchy in his criticisms directed our way, does believe that the loss of the traditional understanding of mortal sin as leading to the possibility of hellfire and damnation contributed to the phenomenon of Catholics no longer believing that it is a mortal sin to miss Mass. If you are not going to go to Hell for missing Mass, why go? Even appealing to a higher moral response such as suggested by the infamous Fr. Hans Kung, that one should want to go to Mass for one's love of God rather than the fear of damnation doesn't motivate the nearly 70% of Catholics who today who do not attend Mass regularly, after a very steady decline from the early 1960's of almost 90% of Catholic who did attend Mass. Fear of hell has its place within Catholicism and some Catholics. And if you don't have the fear of hell, the proper understanding of sin in general and mortal sin in particular, you then have 70% of Catholics on any given Sunday not attending Mass!

My contention is that in the early days of the post Vatican II, spirit of Vatican II cultural revolution in the Church led by a very profound and corrupted clericalism both in Holy Orders and Religious Orders, that the true meaning of Vatican II was hijacked and something else altogether detrimental to Catholic identity and culture was substituted. It is not too far fetched to accept Pope Paul VI's evaluation that the "smoke of Satan" had entered the Church of this period.

The loss of the sense of sin was fomented by clergy and religious who had over the past century earned the respect and admiration of the laity. The laity were authority oriented to the hierarchy in the areas of faith and morals and to miss Mass intentionally on Sunday was understood precisely as the Church taught, an personal act of the free will to disobey God and His precepts which thus had consequences, similar to taking a gun and pulling the trigger. The only antidote was the Sacrament of Penance or confession. It is no wonder then, that even the Sacrament of Penance has suffered a decline in those who make use of it since those days when clericalist priests, nuns and brothers distorted the true teachings of the Church and the true message of Vatican II.

The outright disobedience of the clergy and religious of the immediate post-Vatican II period and the power these renegades still had over naive pre-Vatican II Catholics encouraged many in the rank and file laity to openly question their faith, disagree with the Church in the areas of sexual morality, in particular the ban on artificial birth control and to make decisions of conscience independent of clear Catholic moral principles in variety of areas with no fear of actually committing a mortal sin if one's decision of conscience went against the faith and morals of Church teaching. This is a rather profound theological and sociological shift. Now, today, you have this same clericalism in some priests and nuns who suggest that it is not a sin to advocate for same sex marriage, procure an abortion, sanction fornication between heterosexuals or homosexuals, and disregard the Holy Father in terms of him having no authority whatsoever to ordain women into Holy Orders. Outright disobedience and advocating such for the laity is the hallmark of the fruit of the post-Vatican II revolution based not on what Vatican II actually taught, but what this renegade clericalism in the Church wants to dictate and the authority they wish to usurp.

When smaller issues of Church law were changed, such as relaxation of the Lenten fast, and Friday abstinence from meat, many Catholics both clergy and laity of an immature variety took this to mean that something that once was considered a mortal sin damning someone to hell, like eating a hot dog on Friday, was no longer a mortal sin and thus there was an injustice in the concept of mortal sin if all those hot dog eating Catholics prior to the change of law were still in hell. Mortal sin and its consequences went out the window.

Never mind that in the second grade in 1960, Sister Angela made it clear that going to hell because of eating a hot dog on Friday was not because of the hot dog, but the act of disobedience to the legitimate authority of the Church and the common penance that we were to do on Fridays in honor of the Lord's death on the Cross. She made it clear that when our mommy or daddy told us that we were forbidden to go outside and play and we did none the less, that the sin wasn't that we went out and played, playing is not a sin, but that we went out and disobeyed our mommy or daddy! We got it. Why didn't these adults get it?

Try telling a modern priest or nun that he or she should teach the concept of sin, in particular mortal sin to his or her students. They'll laugh in your face and say that you are so pre-Vatican II, the highest insult one can hurl against an orthodox Catholic, in their minds at least!

So the wholesale disregard for traditional Catholic morality, the triumph of the individualization in making moral choices in our Catholic culture, the lack of awareness of the need to attend Sunday Mass was caused in large part by the cultural revolution of the post-Vatican II spirit of Vatican II corrupt crowd which was not intended by the actual fathers of the Second Vatican Council or their particular documents, but by Vatican II hijacked by extremist, renegades in the Church in the clergy and religious life, the ultimate act of a corrupt clericalism. We are still experiencing the sins of these fathers and sisters to this day, three generations later.

Causality is certainly associated with the unintended, adolescent revoltuion in the Post Vatican II Church led by a clericalism mentality that has had a trickle down effect to this very day. I stand by my assertions!

Thursday, October 21, 2010



In my previous post, Philosophy Student questions the causality of the post Vatican II revolution in the Church and the subsequent decline in the Catholic Church measured by Mass attendance. There are numerous factors to account for this causality. My contention is that it was fomented by priests, nuns and brothers in parish and Catholic school settings of the 1960's and 1970's that challenged the laity, to ask questions, dissent from Church teaching (i.e. birth control and Humanae Vitae) protest the war and burn draft cards (Barrigan brothers)and offered the laity the most unusual forms of the revised Mass, on beach blankets, using coke and pretzels and other unusual ritual actions. In other words, they did little to help in a smooth and orderly transition to an authentic Post Vatican II Church, where the laity were inspired by priests, nuns and brothers to use their reason to understand some of the more challenging moral teachings of the Church regarding sexuality and birth control. Rebellion was the name of the game and the fruit of it has been handed on from one generation to the next.

On top of that there was a take over of the Catholic liturgy by radical liturgists who set forth a new iconoclasm, stripping ornate churches of altars, pulpits and art and substituting a Protestant decor. The tabernacle was dethroned and Eucharistic adoration ridiculed, popular devotions banned and devotion to Mary and the saints mocked. This was a clerical and sister/brother led phenomenon that led the laity into the malaise we now experience. Many of these priests, sisters and brothers then abandoned their vows/promises, left the Church, got married and joined the hippie movement. One cannot underestimate the destabilizing influence of this phenomenon on Catholics of the pre-Vatican II era who followed clergy, nuns and brothers scrupulously in religious matters and thought they were being led properly by the same after Vatican II>

To say that none of this impacted pre-Vatican II Catholics and their practice of faith based upon the authority of priests, nuns and brothers is not to know what pre-Vatican II Catholics underwent with radical priests, nuns and brother leading the way and undermining the faith with the drivel of the "spirit of the council" ideology that led a very huge number of these priests, sisters and brothers out of the Church.

For statistical evidence from the popular sociologist Father Andrew Greeley writing for America Magazine in 2004, press this sentence to find the LINK (FOR PHILOSOPHY STUDENT IN PARTICULAR).

Another point of view, with an additional link within the article, all supporting causality! PRESS THE SENTENCE!


Some images from the 1970's that I was exposed to in my parish growing up, in my seminary and elsewhere. This dying breed is rallying for the last hooray prior to their timely demise. But it won't work, view the last picture for the victory that awaits the patient.

This was actually one of our text books in our Spirituality class at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore in the 1970's. The author, Matthew Fox left the Church some years later. The cover of the book really does say it all and is a symbol for much of the stupidity of the 1970's that still is around today but dying.

While I have read this book and some of it is based upon St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore of the late 1960's and very early 1970's (before I got there (BIGT)it is much exaggerated in many places in the various chapters, but still offers some kernel of truth about that era and the silliness and decline and fall of a great number of seminaries. These once powerful seminaries are no longer, having shut their doors due to declining numbers and bishops who refused to send their men to these institutions and men who refused the priesthood and/or religious life because of the sullied reputation these once great institutions began to earn.

I'm a baby-boomer and experienced the "spirit of Vatican II" which began around 1966 in my neck of the woods in Augusta, Georgia. I would have been 12 years old and in the 7th grade when the Mass began to change. But it would be the late 60's and early 70's, my high school years, when silly experiences of the Mass really became in vogue, not only in Augusta, but around the world as reported in the various Catholic newspapers our parish had available to parishioners.

There are many in the blogosphere who dismiss the concept of causality. Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is a consequence of the first. These dismissive individuals in the Church usually are born post 1970's. They have no recollection of the Church prior to the "spirit of Vatican II" and pontificate on recent Church history from the 1950's until the present as though they have first hand experiences which of course they do not. They do not believe that the silliness in the Church of the late 1960's and 70's and the misinterpretation of the documents of Vatican II have anything to do with the decline in Mass attendance from its peak of about 90% of all Catholics in the 1950's to its current low today of about 25% of all Catholics involves any of the chaos that those who pushed the "spirit of Vatican II" during those years. They say there is no cause and effect in other words.

These people are not only naive,they are dead wrong. The intentional, informed liberals of the Church in the 1960's and 70's epitomized by that powerful minority who wrote/write for the National Catholic Reporter, are indeed the clique of individuals that oversaw and promoted the great "deconstruction" of the Catholic Mass, Catholic culture, Catholic religious orders and seminaries, Catholic unity and Catholic pride. They wanted/want an ecumenical Church where Catholic tradition and culture was purged that made us more palatable to the Protestant world. They want a "false egalitarian Jesus" where He was no longer believed to be the exclusive way to heaven, but just one way amongst many ways in the various religions and no-religions of the world.

The liberalism of those who promoted and continue to promote "the spirit of Vatican II" which has little or nothing to do with the actual documents of Vatican II and subsequent authoritative teachings of the popes since that time, has led to a loss of Catholic identity and culture that continues to afflict and divide Catholics today. It has led to lukewarm Catholicism, Cafeteria Catholicism, indiscriminate support for those who have apostatized from Catholicism but continue to demand that the Church change to their apostasy.

One symbol of displacing Jesus as the most unique figure in salvation history was/is the shift in the academic world of theology of using the terms BC and AD (Before Christ and In the Year of the Lord (Anno Domini). The newer term more palatable to our non-Christian friends and thus more interfaith and ecumenical is BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (the Common Era).

I intentionally single out the National Catholic Reporter because it was viewed as the "Palm Reader" of the future Church by a very large and significant number of priests and nuns (religious orders) of the 1970's. You were square if you did not subscribe to the National Catholic Order, I mean, Reporter and allow its editorial positions to become your dogma. The National Catholic Reporter had/has more influence on priests and nuns than any other newspaper, but their influence is on life-support today. I kid you not. This newspaper did and does have some of the most fringe, loony type contributors writing for its pages, except for John Allen who is sane and balanced in his writing and destined for greater things than what one blogger calls the National Catholic Fish-wrap, but I digress.

Today, these aging liberals, again epitomized by the National Catholic Reporter and their editorial positions, want to deconstruct the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Sacrament of Marriage to conform to the "false egalitarianism" of allowing people to redefine these sacraments according to their own political agendas, i.e. women priests, same sex marriage and sexuality not based upon chastity, but individualized amorality. They use sin and sinners in the institutional Church, which our Lord came to forgive and redeem, to undermine the authority of Pope Benedict and the bishops in order to promote the liberal's warped agenda. They dispise what they call "patriarchy," and the "out of touch" hierarchy of Rome and other places.

There are many hotspots of the cultural clash between authentic Catholicism and those who espouse a neo-liberal Catholicism. The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis is a prime example. There is a small, vocal minority of so-called liberal Catholics taking issue with the Archbishop in terms of the Church's teaching on the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman for a life time as well as other sexual issues of the day. You can read about it at the two following links, simply press the sentence:



This is what the neo-liberals in the Catholic Church fear the most, a revived traditional Catholicism with its distinct identity in our secular culture and a proud heritage that is embraced today.

Two excellent videos on the culture war the Catholic Church is fighting today as it regards the nature of marriage in our American culture:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Somewhere along the line, we've given the laity the mistaken notion that they should be able to pick and choose whatever they want for their class masses, wedding masses, funeral masses, etc. For this reason St. Joseph Church has very strict guidelines and I have empowered our music director to tell those planning weddings that only certain music can be sung or played. Read our guidelines for weddings by pressing the following sentence:SAINT JOSEPH WEDDING HANDBOOK

And this from the Catholic Church in Ireland, press the sentence to read the story:

Church to introduce tighter vetting for weddings

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka, a new Cardinal

His Eminence elect Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo,Sri Lanka, 62 wrote the following concerning his archdiocese:

1.We would also seek ways to renew our spiritual life and revitalize with a true spirituality in the Holy Eucharist and living out our pastoral responsibilities in line with the shepherdly love given to us in the Holy Eucharist,

2. Enhance a sense of reverence and veneration to the Most Holy Eucharist. Beautify the place and the atmosphere where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated. Prepare yourself well for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist devotedly and live a exemplary life based on the spirituality of the Holy Eucharist. Prepare your homilies and give an inspiring homily based on the Word of God on the day.

3. Invite the faithful to receive the Holy Communion kneeling, provide facilities for them to kneel at the Altar railings and help them to receive Holy Communion with reverence and devotion.

4. Except the Holy Scriptures, no other readings or readings of the founders of the congregations or any other non Catholic readings to be done in the Holy Masses.

5. No songs to be sung in the Holy Mass. The Priest is not to be a protagonist in celebrating the Holy Mass, but it is Lord Jesus who is present in the Priest while he celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist. Holy Eucharist is not the place to show off our talents, instruct your faithful to dress properly when they are coming to read the Word of God or read the intentions or when bringing offerings to the Altar. (A post below I make it clear that the Mass itself should be sung and to avoid hymns or secular songs that are superfluous to the Mass.)

6. The Vespers Services should be meaningful prayerful services and not ‘public shows’. Psalms should be sung in the Vespers Services and not popular hymns.

7. Prayers of the faithful ( intentions ) should be recited and not to be sung with popular tunes of songs. If needed, only the response to be sung with the common tune used in the liturgical services.

8. Whenver possible pray the Evening Prayer with the people. Strengthen the Hours of Adoration before the Eucharistic Lord in your parishes.

8. Therefore please adhere to the Liturgical norms of the Church in the spirit of renewing your spiritual life and the spiritual life of the faithful.


Click this sentence to view the Catholics Come Home website and various commercials that will be shown on local television!

Our Diocese will be launching a national program to reach out to Catholics who have stopped practicing the faith. During the Advent season there will be television and radio ads inviting Catholics who no longer attend Mass to return.

From you own experience what are some of the reasons why Catholics stop practicing their faith?

I know from what I have experienced from parishioners I know who stop coming to Mass, that divorce and remarriage outside the Church is a big factor as well as marrying a spouse who might be very strong in their own religious affiliation, strong then the Catholic is in theirs and the Catholic starts attending religious services with the more religious spouse.

A story on Catholics Come Home from Rome Reports:

Saturday, October 16, 2010


UPDATES WITH VERDI'S DIES IRAE WHICH YOU CAN LISTEN. IT IS MAGNIFICENT, BUT TOO DIFFICULT I WOULD SAY TO SING AT A NORMAL PARISH REQUIEM! So I've included the Gregorian chanted version which is the one that should be sung in a liturgical setting.

The Requiem Mass revised after the Second Vatican Council is a mere shadow of its former glory! I just heard and watched on the internet parts of a magnificent Requiem sung in the Pope Paul VI Hall at the Vatican today for Pope Benedict and hundreds of others. It was a concert Requiem, but the words of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form are truly sober, magnificent and awe inspiring. The current Mass of Christian Burial is banal, allows for too many options that eliminate the official prayers and chants. Today, our funeral Masses, in a nutshell, are a disaster including the sappy, saccharine music that we allow the grieving to select for themselves. Please look at the traditional Requiem Mass chant words below. They are magnificent. These should be mandated once again including the Dies Irae as the Sequence for the Mass!

Introit (Song at the Entrance or Processional Hymn) (Today many families choose "On Eagle's Wings" "Be Not Afraid" both of which are filled with touchy-feely sentimentality or they select some Easter Hymn which in no way actually prays for the faithful departed but rather implies canonization.)

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
A hymn becomes you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall a vow be repaid in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer;
to you shall all flesh come.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Kyrie Eleison

Then the Kyrie as in the Ordinary of the Mass is chanted in the EF Requiem. Unbelievably, the Kyrie is omitted in the OF Requiem and for no good reason. You would think praying for God's mercy would be central to the Introductory Rite of a Requiem!:

Kyrie eleison;
Christe eleison;
Kyrie eleison

This is Greek (Κύριε ἐλέησον, Χριστὲ ἐλέησον, Κύριε ἐλέησον) Traditionally, each utterance is sung three times.

Gradual (chanted after the Epistle reading)

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine :
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
In memoria æterna erit iustus,
ab auditione mala non timebit.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord :
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
He shall be justified in everlasting memory,
and shall not fear evil reports.

Tract (takes the place of the alleluia)

Absolve, Domine,
animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
ab omni vinculo delictorum
et gratia tua illis succurente
mereantur evadere iudicium ultionis,
et lucis æternae beatitudine perfrui.

Forgive, O Lord,
the souls of all the faithful departed
from all the chains of their sins
and by the aid to them of your grace
may they deserve to avoid the judgment of revenge,
and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.

The Dies Irae (sung after the tract, prior to chanting the Gospel)Post Vatican II Mass eliminated this and the requiem gradual and tract. The Introit may still be sung, but only as an option. Metrical hymns of a happy peppy type are more often chosen today. No one wants the Funeral Mass to make them feel sad. Shouldn't we call this attitude a denial of death and the grief that naturally follows such an event?

A sequence is a liturgical poem sung, when used, after the Tract (or Alleluia, if present). The sequence employed in the Requiem, Dies Irae, attributed to Thomas of Celano (c. 1200 – c. 1260–1270), has been called "the greatest of hymns", worthy of "supreme admiration".[3] The Latin text below is taken from the Requiem Mass in the 1962 Roman Missal.

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Day of wrath, day that
will dissolve the world into burning coals,
as David bore witness with the Sibyl.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando iudex est venturus
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

How great a tremor is to be,
when the judge is to come
briskly shattering every (grave).

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulcra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

A trumpet sounding an astonishing sound
through the tombs of the region
drives all (men) before the throne.

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura
Iudicanti responsura.

Death will be stunned and (so) will Nature,
when arises (man) the creature
responding to the One judging.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur
Unde mundus iudicetur.

The written book will be brought forth,
in which the whole (record of evidence) is contained
whence the world is to be judged.

Iudex ergo cum sedebit,
Quiqquid latet apparebit:
Nil inultum remanebit.

Therefore when the Judge shall sit,
whatever lay hidden will appear;
nothing unavenged will remain.

O tu, Deus maiestatis,
alme candor Trinitatis,
nos coniunge cum beatis.

O Thou, God of Majesty,
nourishing brilliance of the Trinity,
join us with the Blessed.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus?
Cum vix iustus sit securus.

What am I the wretch then to say?
what patron I to beseech?
when scarcely the just (man) be secure.

Rex tremendae maiestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis.

King of tremendous Majesty,
who saves those-to-be-saved free,
save me, Fount of piety.

Recordare, Iesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae:
Ne me perdas illa die.

Remember, faithful Jesus,
because I am the cause of your journey:
do not lose me on that day.

Quaerens me sedisti lassus:
redemisti crucem passus:
tantus labor non sit cassus.

Thou has sat down as one wearied seeking me,
Thou has redeemed (me) having suffered the Cross:
so much labor let it not be lost.

Iuste iudex ultionis,
donum fac remissionis,
ante diem rationis.

Just judge of the avenging-punishment,
work the gift of the remission (of sins)
before the Day of the Reckoning.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce Deus.

I groan, as the accused:
my face grows red from (my) fault:
spare (this) supplicant, O God.

O tu, Deus maiestatis,
alme candor Trinitatis,
nos coniunge cum beatis.

O Thou, God of Majesty,
nourishing brilliance of the Trinity,
join us with the Blessed.

Qui Mariam absolvisit
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Peccatricem qui solvisit
et latronem exaudisti,
mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Thou who forgave Mary [the sinful woman],
and favorably heard the (good) thief,
hast also given me hope.

Preces meae non sunt dignae:
Sed tu, bonus, fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.

My prayers are not worthy,
but do Thou, Good (God), deal kindly
lest I burn in perennial fire.

Inter oves locum praesta,
Et ab haedis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Among the sheep offer (me) a place
and from the goats sequester me,
placing (me) at (Thy) right hand.

Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.

After the accursed have been silenced,
given up to the bitter flames,
call me with the blest.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis:
Gere curam mei finis.

Kneeling and bowed down I pray,
My heart contrite as ashes:
Do Thou {, my End,} care for my end.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus:
Huic ergo parce, Deus.

That sorrowful day,
on which will arise from the buring coals
Man accused to be judged:
therefore, O God, do Thou spare him.

Pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem.

Faithful Lord Jesus,
grant them rest.

O tu, Deus maiestatis,
alme candor Trinitatis,
nos coniunge cum beatis. Amen.

O Thou, God of Majesty,
nourishing brilliance of the Trinity,
join us with the Blessed. Amen.

Offertory (this is never done in the reformed rite, but rather a sappy, sentimental hymn is chosen or Ave Maria). Custom in the EF Mass could still allow for an additional anthem or motet at this point but never by eliminating the official Offertory Antiphon.

Domine Iesu Christe, Rex gloriæ,
libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
de pœnis inferni et de profundo lacu.
Libera eas de ore leonis,
ne absorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum;
sed signifer sanctus Michæl
repræsentet eas in lucem sanctam,
quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory,
free the souls of all the faithful departed
from infernal punishment and the deep pit.
Free them from the mouth of the lion;
do not let Tartarus swallow them,
nor let them fall into darkness;
but may the standard-bearer Saint Michael,
lead them into the holy light
which you once promised to Abraham and his seed.

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine,
laudis offerimus;
tu suscipe pro animabus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus.
Fac eas, Domine, de morte transire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti et semini eius.

O Lord, we offer You
sacrifices and prayers of praise;
accept them on behalf of those souls
whom we remember today.
Let them, O Lord, pass over from death to life,
as you once promised to Abraham and his seed.


This is as the Sanctus prayer in the Ordinary of the Mass:

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth;
pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis. (reprise)

Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God of Hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. (reprise)

Agnus Dei (please notice the ending of each verse, eliminated in the reformed rite!)

This is as the Agnus Dei in the Ordinary of the Mass, but with the petitions miserere nobis changed to dona eis requiem, and dona nobis pacem to dona eis requiem sempiternam:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, grant them rest,
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, grant them rest,
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, grant them eternal

Communion (this is the official hymn, but bumped today for a metrical, sentimental hymn of some sort)

Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
et lux perpetua luceat eis ;
cum Sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.

May everlasting light shine upon them, O Lord,
with your Saints forever,
for you are kind.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and may everlasting light shine upon them.
with your Saints forever,
for you are merciful.

The Pie Iesu consists of the final words of the Dies Irae followed by the final words of the Agnus Dei.

Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.
Dona eis requiem sempiterna.

O sweet Lord Jesus, grant them rest;
grant them everlasting rest.

Musical Requiem settings sometimes include passages from the "Absolution at the bier" (Absolutio ad feretrum) or "Commendation of the dead person" (referred to also as the Absolution of the dead), which in the case of a funeral, follows the conclusion of the Mass. In the Ordinary Form this has been eliminated to what is now called the Final Commendation using prayers that have been emasculated without reference to judgment or possible condemnation, thus a liturgical denial of both of these theological possibilities, a denial that leads many Catholics today to believe that their loved ones enter the bliss of heaven immediately without the possibility of a severe judgment or even condemnation. The law of prayer is the law of belief for better or worse.

Libera Me

Libera me, Domine, de morte æterna, in die illa tremenda:
Quando cæli movendi sunt et terra.
Dum veneris iudicare sæculum per ignem.
Tremens factus sum ego, et timeo, dum discussio venerit, atque ventura ira.
Quando cæli movendi sunt et terra.
Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitatis et miseriæ, dies magna et amara valde.
Dum veneris iudicare sæculum per ignem.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,
when the heavens and the earth shall be moved,
when thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
I am made to tremble, and I fear, till the judgment be upon us, and the coming wrath,
when the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness,
when thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them.

In Paradisum (This is only optional today and most select a metrical recessional anthem of some kind. At St. Joseph Church, we require "In Paradisum" to be sung and do not allow a metrical substitution. We use a very beautiful contemporary English version, but also allow the traditional Latin if requested.)

In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

May Angels lead you into paradise;
may the Martyrs receive you at your coming
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of Angels receive you,
and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.


The culmination of Holy Week, AKA by some Christians as the Master's Week, which coincidentally shares the name of another "holy week" in golf, known as "Master's Week!" The Golf Master's Week is always the first full week of April. Last Year's Easter Sunday was April 4th, this year's Easter Sunday is April 24th except in the Orthodox world!

What many believe to be the true Holy Week which is always the first full week of April, also known in both traditions as "Masters Week!"

The Synod on the Middle East meeting at the Vatican has resurrected the idea of having a fixed date for Easter so that Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians would always celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord on the same date. The Vatican has never been opposed to this concept. In fact Pope Paul VI in the 1960's endorsed such a move. You can read the CNS story about this by pressing this sentence.

I have just two major concerns although I'm not opposed to it altogether. My first concern is that not all Protestant Churches would follow the lead of main line Protestant denominations who might agree to a fixed date for Easter. Thus in the USA, we would have a greater number of Christians having two dates for Easter whereas currently just a small minority of Christians, the Orthodox, normally have a different date for Easter. I wonder if we can get all the Protestant denominations that there are to agree to a fixed date.

Secondly, the fixed date for Holy Week and Easter must not be the first full week of April. That belongs to the Master's Golf Tournament in Augusta! The clergy always hated when Holy Week and Easter fell during the same week as Masters' Week which happens currently every few years. Augustans evacuate Augusta during Masters Week since all the schools are closed for that week, and many rent their houses to visitors. Holy Week really takes a back seat to Masters Week and that's sad.

Masters Week not withstanding, what are your thoughts on a fixed date for Easter? When would be best? In the south, the second week of April would be great because that normally is the peak of spring with all the azaleas, dogwoods and other flowering trees and bushes in all their glory!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Below my comments and highlights of Archbishop Ranjith of Columbo's prescrption for liturgical renewal in the ordinary Form in his diocese is his complete talk. Simply press the link.

All of the Archbishop's points caught my attention, but number eight seems very controversial:"(8) No songs to be sung in the Holy Mass. The Priest is not to be a protagonist in celebrating the Holy Mass, but it is Lord Jesus who is present in the Priest while he celebrate the Most Holy Eucharist. Holy Eucharist is not the place to show off our talents, instruct your faithful to dress properly when they are coming to read the Word of God or read the intentions or when bringing offerings to the Altar."

I'm not sure about the later part of this paragraph about being a "protagonist" but the first part I think is very important but might need some clarification. I don't know what the music culture of the Archdiocese of Columbo is, but there must be some problems as in the USA. What the Archbishop is asking is that the Mass, meaning its texts be sung, these are the "hymns" or "songs" of the Mass. One the things that most parishes in the USA do not do is to sing the texts of the Mass and to see the texts of the Mass as the actual hymns and music of the Mass. What most parishes do is to sing other hymns and songs at Mass which are not integral to the Mass, but "fillers" for other actions and "additional" music not integral to the Mass itself.

For example, the actual hymns of the Catholic Mass are: 1. The Official Entrance Antiphon also known at the Introit. I know of almost no parishes that actually sing the Introit in some form of Chant because the current rubrics of the Mass does allow for it to be "substituted" by an "appropriate" hymn. This was a grave mistake in my humble opinion and this mistake goes all the way back to 1969. 2. The Kryrie; 3. The Gloria; 4. The Creed; 5. The official offertory antiphon (this has disappeared altogether and is not even printed in the Roman Missal, but it does exist! 6. The Sanctus; 7. The Mystery of Faith; 8. The Great Amen; 9. The Lord's Prayer; 10. The Agnus Dei; 11. The official Communion Antiphon (we sing the refrain once at St. Joseph, but not the complete setting).

In addition to the parts above, the priest is encouraged to sing the entire Mass, beginning with the Sign of the Cross and Greeting, the opening collect and all other orations; the preface dialogue and preface, parts of the Eucharistic prayer, the embolism of the Lord's prayer, and the final blessing and dismissal.

Do you see hymns out of a hymnal in any of the above? Certainly though, pious custom has allowed additional hymns and motets and we have a rich treasury of these in our tradition. So in addition to what is highlighted above, I would have very little trouble with an additional metrical "Entrance hymn", motets at the offertory and at Holy Communion as well as a recessional hymn (which by the way is not even mentioned in the rubrics of the Mass.)

So what do you think?

By the way, in terms of what theologians suggest and what some bishops might permit, I would not be allowed as a lowly priest to implement kneeling for Holy Communion, because the norm in the USA and in our Diocese is to stand. I could not even encourage our faithful to kneel because of this "norm." Our bishop could offer us an indult to do so, but that's his decision not mine. However, no priest should ever refuse someone who does kneel for Holy Communion. I would say this is true also of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, where kneeling for Holy Communion is the "norm." No priest should refuse someone who stands at one of the Masses. We're still at the stage of talking not implementing. But in terms of the Mass and what to sing, the norms I highlight are the norms and what we should be doing or at least strive to implement.


Father Michael Lang, a disciple of Pope Benedict's hermeneutic of reform within the context of Continuity with the Church of the past, gives a marvelous talk in the Archdiocese of Columbo, Sri Lanka. Read is complete talk after the excerpt I offer below.

Why do some liturgist's so abhor this manner of receiving Holy Communion?

REV. FR. MICHAEL LANG in a talk given in Colombo, Sri Lanka gives a very good catechesis for the return to receiving Holy Communion while kneeling and receiving the Consecrated Host on the tongue. I was well schooled the the Hermeneutic of reform within the context of rupture during the late 1970's and for many years thought this hermeneutic was what the Second Vatican Council (and thus the Holy Spirit) wanted for the Church. I believed this in faith. I realize that this belief was a misplaced and misdirected belief. I think Pope Benedict and now his disciples like Fr. Michael Lang, who is a young whippersnapper, have shown the fallacy of the much touted theological perspective of reform in discontinuity and how the Second Vatican Council taught no such thing, only those after the Council who misinterpreted the Council. But don't people also misinterpret the Bible? I highlight what Fr. Lang said about receiving Holy Communion in the Ordinary Form of the Mass and link to you his complete excellent talk below it:

Communion Received on the Tongue and while Kneeling

The oldest practice of distributing Communion was, according to the early Fathers of the Church, to give Communion to the faithful in the palm of the right hand. However, already towards the end of the Patristic age, the practice of receiving Communion directly on the tongue became more widespread. In fact, virtually all the liturgical rites that can claim an apostolic origin have adopted Communion on the tongue. The reason for this preference is twofold: first, to minimize the dispersion and consequent profanation of Eucharistic fragments; secondly, and more importantly, the increasing devotion of the faithful to the Real Presence of Christ in the sacrament. In fact, even today the norm for receiving Holy Communion is on the tongue, although in many countries the Conferences of Bishops have received the permission of the Holy See that the Sacred Host may also be distributed in the hand of the communicant.7

Over the centuries, the Church has always sought to mark the moment of Holy Communion with the utmost dignity and sacredness. The Sacred Banquet, when Christ gives Himself in the Blessed Sacrament, requires external gestures that will help the faithful to become conscious of this great mystery. Among the signs of Eucharistic devotion, the Latin Church has established the custom to kneel while receiving the Sacred Host. A famous expression of Saint Augustine of Hippo, has been taken up by Benedict XVI in his Post-Synodical Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis: "no one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it".8 The Holy Father comment : In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to meet us and desires to become one with us; eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church's supreme act of adoration. Receiving the Eucharist means adoring him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy.9

The posture of kneeling when receiving Holy Communion expresses and increases the inner attitude of adoration that is absolutely necessary when receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Pope John Paul II wrote in his last encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia : By giving the Eucharist the prominence it deserves, and by being careful not to diminish any of its dimensions or demands, we show that we are truly conscious of the greatness of this gift. We are urged to do so by an uninterrupted tradition, which from the first centuries on has found the Christian community ever vigilant in guarding this "treasure". Inspired by love, the Church is anxious to hand on to future generations of Christians, without loss, her faith and teaching with regard to the mystery of the Eucharist. There can be no danger of excess in our care for this mystery, for "in this sacrament is recapitulated the whole mystery of our salvation".10 For these reasons and in keeping with the teachings of his venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI has begun, on the solemnity of Corpus Christi in 2008, to distribute the Body of Christ to the faithful, kneeling and directly on the tongue.