Wednesday, August 31, 2011


When I was in the seminary in the 1970's much of the theology if you want to call it that, contained in the story below, was being taught to us as the theologians of that day really, really wanted and really, really believed that in the 21st century all of the things they were really, really promoting would officially be accepted, really. WRONG!

I would love to know the average age of these rebels. I bet you a million dollars that they are all my age and much, much older, bet ya!

It is all so, so sad on many levels. Excommunicate the hell out them, I say!

Austrian Catholic Priests Rebel, Demanding Church Reforms

Yahoo! News


VIENNA - There is open rebellion among the clergy of Austria's Catholic Church. One highly placed man of the cloth has even warned about the risk of a coming schism as significant numbers of priests are refusing obedience to the Pope and bishops for the first time in memory.

The 300-plus supporters of the so-called Priests' Initiative have had enough of what they call the church's "delaying" tactics, and they are advocating pushing ahead with policies that openly defy current practices. These include letting nonordained people lead religious services and deliver sermons; making communion available to divorced people who have remarried; allowing women to become priests and to take on important positions in the hierarchy; and letting priests carry out pastoral functions even if, in defiance of church rules, they have a wife and family.

Cardinal Christoph SchÖnborn, Vienna's Archbishop and head of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, has threatened the rebels with excommunication. Incidentally, those involved in the initiative are not only low-profile members of the clergy. Indeed, it is being led by Helmut SchÜller - who was for many years vicar general of the archdiocese of Vienna and director of Caritas - and the cathedral pastor in the Carinthian diocese of Gurk.


Scottish archbishop tells Catholics not to kneel for communion">Scottish archbishop tells Catholics not to kneel for communion. Isn't it time for the Holy Father to make explicit to all world bishops that Catholics have a right to choose between kneeling and standing and that kneeling must be a comfortable option. CHANGE THE GIRM NOW--PRESS THIS FOR THE ARTICLE.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Our Bishop-Emeritus J. Kevin Boland has granted St. Joseph Church in Macon permission to implement the people's parts of the new English translation of the Mass beginning the First Sunday in September, this coming Sunday! Last Sunday, August 28 our Masses were kind of a Requiem for a Mass or at least a peculiar English translation from the Latin original that the Vatican allowed over 45 years ago to be an equivalency of the Latin rather than a more literal version of it. Even the higher ups in the Vatican, the pope too, began to realize that allowing for equivalency in translating the original Latin had been an awful mistake (and that takes humility for the Vatican to do) and led translators to change in very subtle and not so subtle ways the spiritual, theological and sometimes doctrinal ethos that is ours in the Latin Rite Mass. They made it into something else altogether different than the reformed Latin Mass.

The new translation while not slavishly literal, is literal enough to maintain our Latin Rite Mass spirituality, theology and doctrinal purity not to mention devotional ethos. That is very good, in fact it is excellent!

In our "Requiem Masses" on Sunday we did not:

1. wear black vestments
2. canonize the old English version that we funeralized
3. Sing "On Eagle's Wings," "Be Not Afraid," hold hands and sing "Kumbaya," or "I Am the Bread of Life"

We did celebrate the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time by saying and singing the black and doing the red and reminded our well-catechized parish after the prayer after Holy Communion about the new and improved English translation we will begin using on Labor Day Weekend.


Sunday, August 28, 2011


Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta, Georgia recently underwent a $7 million dollar renovation of their sanctuary. They belong to the North Georgia Conference (diocese) of the United Methodist Church and their form of worship is decidedly more Baptist or low church than Anglican (from whence they evolved)or high church. Macon's Methodist churches are in the South Georgia Conference and are more high church in worship style and sanctuary design with a main "altar" table and the pulpit to the side with a lectern for the Scriptures. These churches could pass for Episcopalian whereas the Augusta ones could pass for Baptist.

However, most Methodist Churches, high or low still incorporate the altar railing for personal prayer and sometimes for receiving Holy Communion. Trinity on the Hill in Augusta also televises its Sunday morning service. They celebrate holy communion only once a month. I happen to watch it one Sunday morning and their young curate who was the main minister that day told the congregation at communion time that anyone could come forward to receive holy communion whether or not you were Methodist and whether or not you were even baptized!

But I digress, the heading for this post is retractable altar railings. Trinity on the Hill is consecrating its "renewed" sanctuary this morning. One of the more unusual aspects of its new design is that it still incorporates a rather traditional altar railing although the new design follows "non-denominational churches" worship design allowing for an auditorium appearance for services that are rock concert like.

The altar railing would be the envy of most traditionally minded Catholics although it also has a very unusual ability: IT IS RETRACTABLE! Can you imagine new Catholic Churches with a RETRACTABLE ALTAR RAILING? When it is up, it's got to be the EF Mass coming your way! If it is down, it's the OF Mass.

Why didn't the Catholic Church think of that? Leave it to the Methodists! I wonder if this congregation feels separated from the stage because of that nasty altar railing? No problem, it retracts for those who feel separation anxiety!

Saturday, August 27, 2011



There will be a conference in Phoenix, Arizona in October on the interim issued around 1965 in light of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Many people feel that the 1965 missal was extremely faithful to what the Second Vatican Council actually proposed for the reform of the Mass. I say yes and no and that is why it is interim.

I have a mint copy of the 1965 missal. It is for all practical purposes the 1962 Tridentine missal, but somewhat simplified as SC required and "allows" but does not mandate the vernacular (English) for all the parts of the Mass except the Roman Canon,(and there are no new Eucharistic Prayers) which is still prayed quietly and all other private, quiet prayers of the priest are required to be in Latin.

Other distinguishing facts about the 1965 Roman Missal:

1. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are simplified but only through the elimination of Psalm 42. All the other prayers, including the double 1962 Confiteor are in tact, all allowed in English.

2. The English Prayers have the Latin prayers in the margin of the book side by side thus allowing the celebrant to use either the Latin or the English and very easily.

3. The Rubrics are in English--a wonderful help when learning how to celebrate the 1962 missal, I might add!

4. The English translation is literal and very similar to the new English translation we will be implementing with only minor differences. The General Intercessions or Prayers of the Faithful are an option after the Creed and a procession with the offerings is an option as is Concelebration!

5. The simplifications of the 1965 missal compared to the 1962 missal apart from the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are the Per Ipsum eliminates the ritual sign of the cross over the chalice and corporal and is closer to what is in the 1970 missal or what is in the OF Mass now.

6. The ritual of taking the Paten from underneath the corporal and making the sign of the cross on the priest with it and kissing it is eliminated, although the prayer after the Our Father remains (in fact there is no rubric about the Paten and where it is during the Mass, presumably it is placed on the corporal and the host on it at the offertory).

7. The Communion of the Laity is made explicit in the 1965 missal whereas in the earlier Tridentine Missals there is no mention of it or even a rubric for it! In fact, when I was learning how to celebrate the 1962 missal I was shocked that there was no rubric for the Communion of the Laity which implies Holy Communion to the laity was not required, it was an after thought that had no rubric for it or even ritual! The ritual for Holy Communion to the laity was only added in non-official pew or hand missals of the laity! How odd and yes, corrupt that there was no ritual or rubric for the Laity's Holy Communion until 1965!

8. The formula for distributing Holy Communion is "Corpus Christi" rather than the longer formula of the 1962 missal.

9. The Last Gospel is "suppressed."

Another noteworthy change of rubric is the explicit rubric that the priest, laity and choir should together sing the parts of the Mass which means the priest is not to recite these parts independently and then continue with the Mass without the congregation. For example, he sings the Gloria and Creed with the choir, not saying it to himself more quickly and then waiting for the choir to end by sitting down. The same with the Sanctus, it is sung together with the choir, not spoken quietly by the priest so that he can then quietly go the the Roman Canon as the choir continues to sing the Sanctus.

Things that the 1965 Missal does not implement that SC envisioned:

1. The Roman Calendar is not revised, it is the Tridentine Calendar

2. It used the 1962 lectionary, which in my opinion is good for Sundays but miserable for weekdays and quite limited. I prefer our new lectionary and the lavish amount of Scriptures that we are hearing now over a three year period. As I celebrate the EF Mass weekly, I can see how limited it is in regard to the Liturgy of the Word. Of all the reforms of the Mass, I think the Lectionary was the best.

3. I'm not sure SC envisioned all the options that the current OF Mass has, such as additional Eucharistic Prayers. I think we might have too many now, but the basic four we have plus the two Reconciliation ones are good options to have in my opinion.

4. There are many more options for the prefaces and I would prefer that over more Eucharistic prayers. The prefaces in the 1962 and 65 missals are quite limited.


1. I think the revision of the English translation is a no-brainer and will produce much fruit in the coming years. The current OF English is abysmal. While the new translation has some quirks, it is far superior to the one we are eliminating.

2. I see no reason why the new Missal cannot have an EF Order of the Mass and in the vernacular. It would be very easily accomplished and after the "Prayers at the Foot of the Altar" all the other prayers in the OF Missal would be used including the revised Roman Calendar and lectionary. To me this is a no-brainer and easily accomplished. I would prefer the 1965 minor revisions to the Order of the Mass for this option.

3. If we are allowed two Forms of the Order of the Mass with the OF Missal, I think these should be called something else other than Extraordinary Form and Ordinary Form. Perhaps, "Rite I" and "Rite II" and I'll let you decide which one should be I or II.

4. With Rite I and Rite II there should be continuity with the past in the following postures:

A. In Rite I,kneel for the Prayers at the Foot of the altar through the Kyrie and in Rite II, kneel for the Penitential Act including the Kyrie.

B. Kneel for Holy Communion in both Rite I and Rite II--there should be no difference in the manner of distributing Holy Communion and kneeling should be the choice and on the tongue to prevent intended or unintended sacrilege.

C. All of the current OF postures apart from what I recommend above should be maintained for both Rite I and II, standing for the Entrance Hymn, Kneeling after the Sanctus, not before, Standing for the Our Father and kneeling after the Agnus Dei.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Problems I see:

1. Not enough height for the altar
2. Not enough room in front of the altar for EF or weddings or RCIA
3. Confusion about art placement and crucifix placement
4. Clutter, clutter, clutter, esepcially chairs
5. Rinky dink candles



Folks, stop being so darn rigid about this. Flexibility is a gift from God and Italian flexibility when it comes to law is a great blessing.

Train these darn servers, whether male or female to do a great job, choreographed well and who know not only the liturgy but the faith, and you'll have vocations and boys will be altar boys along with the girls.

Those of us who like the example of this pope in his reform of the reform continues to show us the way even when we might want to do our own thing when it comes to altar girls. Let's not be like the progressives. Let's be ultramontane!


You can read all about a Dutch Catholic priest who has refused a funeral for a man who allowed himself to be euthanized. WAS/IS HE RIGHT IN DOING SO? PRESS THIS SENTENCE TO READ THE STORY.

When should a Catholic be denied a Catholic funeral and what about the innocent Catholic family who, despite the circumstances of their family member's life, still love that person?

In the past, the Catholic Church did not allow those who committed suicide to have a Catholic funeral. Can you imagine the heartache of family members devastated by such a tragedy also being denied the comfort of the Church's prayer at such a time? I personally know Catholics who have been alienated from the Church (since the 1960's) when this practice was still in force. It no longer is.

Other than the link I provide, I don't know the full circumstances of the euthanasia of this man. It does appear to me that the overwhelmingly secular nature of the Dutch is actively trying to shove its secularist notion of life and morality down the Church's traditional voice. But I don't know. It is horrible when someone's death is used for secular/political purposes and that would have to be taken into account by the priest and his bishop.

I've celebrated funerals for a number of people of questionable morality. The Church also allows funerals for non-Catholics who are in one way or another related to the Church, for example through marriage, such as a spouse of a Catholic who attended Mass for years but never officially joined the Church.

I do think denying a funeral to a Catholic because of end of life decisions brought on by great suffering either physical or mental is questionable on the pastoral level.

But then what about Catholic politicians who have directly influenced the broader culture when it comes to being pro-choice and thus influenced and made possible the choice of abortion leading to the massacre of millions of children? I think of Senator Edward Kennedy in this regard. Should he have had a Catholic funeral?

Isn't the funeral Mass for the repose of the soul of a person who has died, (especially if he was a most grievous sinner and despite outward evidence that he could be condemned to hell by God, God's plan for him might be purgatory and thus the need for Masses galore for a person like this) and the comfort of the family? Can an excommunicated Catholic receive a Catholic funeral? Bishops, speak up!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


First Baptist's pastor joked that while their next door neighbor, Saint Joseph's, right below them has spires that are taller than their church, that at least their church was on "higher ground!" We all laughed.

Last night I was invited to be a part of First Baptist Church in Macon Wednesday night Supper and adult education program. It was a very nice meal with about 100 or more in attendance. The Baptists know how to do fellowship and promote it. After the meal, children came to the microphone and said what they did that day.

After that the "deacon" of the week (she is not ordained and rotates from members) gave a run down on all the sick in their church and the home-bound and a little bit of a story on each one of them. She must have visited them all that week. It's a good way to have accountability from the visiting deacon too!

Then we sang a hymn, "All Things Bright and Beautiful" and the pastor got up and spoke for a time acknowledging anniversaries and birthdays with all singing an appropriate tune to the celebrants.

Finally it was time for me. The format was both the pastor and me sitting at chairs on a platform and the pastor asking me questions in an interview format. It was very effective.

He started by asking me about my vocation story. That graduated to why the Catholic Church is called "catholic" and when that term was first used. Then it went to papal infallibility and misconceptions Baptists have about it (Catholics too, I might add).

He asked about the Holy Eucharist and if a God-fearing, believing Baptist could received Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.

I acknowledged that we did not have "open communion" and that in recent years, for at least 10 or 15, this has become more of a source of contention with Protestants who visit Catholic Churches on Sunday or for a funeral or wedding. They are offended that they are not invited to receive in the Catholic Church, while other Protestant Churches do allow for inter-communion.

I explained that receiving Holy Communion in our Catholic tradition implies precisely that, that the person receiving is being brought into the full Communion of the Church and thus into Communion with Jesus Christ by the act of receiving Holy Communion. The symbolism of actually receiving indicates that one is a practicing, believing Catholic who believes in the Most Holy Trinity and the saving mission/sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His real presence in the consecrated Offerings. It also implies being in communion with the Church, whose visible head is the Vicar of Christ, the pope and all the bishops in union with him, especially the local bishop and pastors. It also implies that one "believes all that the Catholic Church believes teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God" not only about God but also about the Church.

Then I asked the group there, did they want to indicate all of the above by actually receiving Holy Communion in a Catholic Church? Most shook their head "no."

I also indicated that not all Catholics are free to receive Holy Communion, especially children under the age of reason; those with an impediment of some kind, i.e. invalid sacramental marriage; those who have broken the one hour fast and those in a state of "mortal sin."

I mentioned that Catholics who are conscious of grave sin in their lives must confess to a priest in the Sacrament of Penance in order to worthily receive Holy Communion. I asked if they wanted to be admitted also to Confession. No one took me up on that one.

All-in-all, it was a very nice ecumenical experience last night. I envy how Baptists "do" fellowship and the sense of "belonging and ownership" their members have for their church. I also envy that they have smaller congregations and normally only two Sunday morning services. They have a very strong tradition of Sunday School for all ages and sometimes more adults attend Sunday school than the actual Sunday service.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


All the Masses below are Papal Masses or other liturgy with Pope Benedict either at St.Peter's in Rome or elsewhere. Are we better than the Pope if we don't allow girls to serve???????


He kind of looks like a Jesuit doesn't he?

The quickest way to Savannah from Atlanta back then and today is through Macon which is directly in the center of the state, about 80 miles from Atlanta. But if you notice, Sherman eschews Macon in a deliberate way moving eastward which would have been way out of the way in order to get to Savannah. If Sherman had gone the same distance westward around Macon, he could have liberated the notorious Andersonville Confederate Prison. Read my opinion below why I think Sherman was persuaded not to go through Macon and burn the hell out of it!

It is said that General Sherman on his burning rampage from Atlanta to Savannah did not torch Macon because he had a girl friend here (they same the same thing about Augusta too).

But more than likely, why Sherman by-passed Macon is that Saint Joseph Catholic Church was a Jesuit parish! His son went to Georgetown and became a Jesuit. Maybe the Jesuits persuaded him to stay out of good old Macon! Who knew! (My opinion only).

However, once he reached Savannah, her leaders met him at the outskirts of Savannah and with open arms handed him the keys to the city in the most gracious act of southern hospitality for which the south is world renown. Of course this was to prevent him from setting aflame Georgia's most historic city.

General Sherman took up residence at St. John Episcopal Church rectory, one square over from where the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist would be built.

What many people don't know (and maybe southern Catholics at the time wanted to keep it secret) was that Sherman was married to a very devout Catholic and his son became a Jesuit. (Maybe becoming a Jesuit was the family secret?)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The Cathedral in the Diocese of Phoenix will no longer allow altar girls. There are many who think if this ministry was once again the exclusive domain of boys, that we would have more interest from them to become priests. There's also a fear that girls serving will want to become priests.

I don't buy it! We've had altar girls ever since I was ordained in 1980. At the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta, which by the way has the world's best trained servers, we had both girls and boys and we had a tremendous number of the altar boys become priests.

Girls serve very well and when trained properly pose no threat to boys serving. What poses a threat to boys serving is improper training or training that does not take seriously the role of the server, either male or female. If a boy or a girl feels as though they are looking foolish at the altar, they will not serve.

Well trained servers who take their role seriously will remain serving throughout high school and some even into college.

What we need for vocation promotion to the priesthood are priests who are willing to promote it and live their vocations joyously.

We need a culture of Catholicism in the home, meaning a strong Catholic identity. There needs to be prayer in the home and a respect for the clergy cultivated. Banning girls from serving will leave a bad taste in the mouths of many.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Yes, these are Catholics!

How much supervision do the laity need when it comes to the manner in which they participate at Mass?

Now that I celebrate the EF Mass frequently and ad orientem as is the tradition for this Mass, I don't get distracted by either the good or less than good things that happen out in the congregation. I have no compulsion to observe, critique or even stop the Mass if I don't like what I see in order to correct it. I don't have to be a gestapo in ad orientem worship.

But when I face the congregation, I see people coming and going at the worst times possible, some chewing gum, others in a day dream and still others doing their own thing, like striking their breast as in the old Mass when it isn't mandated in the new; some who pray the rosary or have their head buried in a book or read the bulletin. And now people use electronic devices to follow the Mass or to watch something else or to text message!!!

At what point should a priest or liturgist be a gestapo supervisor of the congregation? In a previous parish, I had people raising their hands at the Gloria and other times of "praise." I never went to anyone and asked them to stop, but I did preach about commonly observed postures during Mass and that we shouldn't necessarily be doing our own thing although there is room for personal piety even in a communal liturgical celebration. At what point does that personal piety or the exercise of a pious option (like kneeing for Holy Communion or genuflecting before receiving) become a distraction to the community and an untoward desire for attention to one's personal piety and sanctity, if not acknowledgement of being a penitent sinner in public?

And of course holding hands during prayer isn't prescribed, but if I don't see it should I care?

I remember immediately after Vatican II some priests did become gestapos to get the people to participate in a rigid, communal way. Rosaries were yanked out of little old women's hands and shoved in their pocket books. One priest during the procession, stopped, opened a hymnal and shoved it into the hands of a parishioner who was not singing!

Some priests locked the doors once Mass began so that people couldn't leave or come in after Mass started!

Where does it all end? Is there more gestapo behavior from priests and so-called liturgists since Vatican II than there was before as it concerns how the laity participate during Mass? Is there more clericalism today than in yesteryear?????


In the article by John Allen below this post, he describes the three pillars of Catholic Evangelicalism:

1. A strong defense of traditional Catholic identity, meaning attachment to classic markers of Catholic thought (doctrinal orthodoxy) and Catholic practice (liturgical tradition, devotional life, and authority).

2. Robust public proclamation of Catholic teaching, with the accent on Catholicism’s mission ad extra, transforming the culture in light of the Gospel, rather than ad intra, on internal church reform.

3. Faith seen as a matter of personal choice rather than cultural inheritance, which among other things implies that in a highly secular culture, Catholic identity can never be taken for granted. It always has to be proven, defended, and made manifest.

Michael Voris seems to fit John Allen's description. When I became pastor of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in downtown Augusta, GA,way back 20 years ago in 1991, I took as one of my main teaching and preaching themes, "Our Catholic Identity." I never thought that to be "Evangelical Catholicism" at the time, as I feared in my greatly "Charismatic" parish that many of the Catholics in this movement had sold out to Pentecostal Protestantism in terms of ecclesiology and worship while maintaining a veneer of Catholicism in terms of doctrines and morality.

Evangelical Catholicism today, though, is thoroughly enamored with our Catholic tradition, an appreciation of the EF Mass and its spirituality while allowing for a more charismatic approach to prayer meetings that are supplements to one's attendance at more traditional styles of celebrating the Mass. Evangelical Catholicism is pro-life and pro-helping the poorest of the poor as Blessed Mother Teresa showed the way.

If you are a progressive, non Evangelical Catholic who likes politically correct religious analysis, don't watch this:

Friday, August 19, 2011


Although he writes for the National Catholic Reporter which is sometimes called "The National Catholic Fishwrap" and that is precisely what it is, NCR does at times do good things and their best writer is John Allen. No one is completely evil.

Their best reporter and writer is John Allen. I loved his story on Evangelical Catholics and the Pope's trip to World Youth Day in Spain. I also think he has a cool last name!


Thursday, August 18, 2011


"The Old Liberals talk all the day long about ecumenism, dialog and Shangri la. At the same time they swing a mallet against Catholics."

( The Old Mass is experiencing a crescendo.

This is what the Italian Liturgist, Prelate Nicola Bux, said in an interview on 3. August for the website ''.

The Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum' has opened a breach.

The Celebration Facing the People Stems From the Last Century

Prelate Bux defends the celebration facing liturgical east, ad orientem.

The idea that the Priest faced the people in the first centuries is "completely false".

The Old Mass is visited throughout the world, especially by the young, remarked the Prelate.

The youth have found in the Old Mass the Mystery of Faith.

Prelate Bux says the return to the Old Rite is "in no way second rank" for the faithful.

The Mass of All Ages promotes an encounter with God.

The Society of Pius X has already Experienced it: These Bishops Won't Obey

The Prelate said that the Bishops were encouraged to accommodate the faithful in their requests for the Old Mass with the instruction of 'Universae Ecclesiae'.

It is no secret that "some" -- in reality it is many -- Bishops do not value the Motu Prorio and oppose it "with all means".

These Bishops conduct themselves "like rebels against the Pope".

Top shepherds, who refuse to obey the Pope, should not expect it from their priests and faithful either.

The Ecumenists Cut Catholics Out

The withdrawal of the Excommunications of the four Society of Pius X Bishops in January of 2009 is hailed by Prelate Bux as a "gesture of great love".

The Church promotes dialog even with Jews and Heathens.

All the more must we strive to unite ourselves with those who share the Catholic Faith.

Prelate Bux sees a drama in the Church especially with the intransigence [and lack of nuance, we might suppose] especially as regards the Ecumenists.

My comment: Isn't true ecumenism going to happen when one remains faithful to one's Catholic identity and does not promote a "false" ecumenism by appeasing those we wish to unite to us by watering down our Catholic identity and style of worship? Just wondering.


In 1967 Pope Paul VI made optional meatless Fridays while still encouraging some form of penance or mortification on Friday in remembrance of our Lord's passion and death.

The bishops of Great Britain have re-instituted this iconic practice. While external and not really a big penance for people who like seafood, it did bind Catholics in a common practice and gave us an "external" identity that marked us a "Fish-eaters." While of course we are marked as Jesus' followers and that is primary, externals point to what should be internalized about our relationship to God and our religious practices.

The 1960's was all about iconoclasm of our pre-Vatican II identity, a rupture with that bad old Church before the "renewal." Latin, gone, meatless,Fridays, gone, chastity, gone; habits, gone; rosaries, novenas and devotions, gone; beautifully, ornate churches, gone; Catholic identity, gone!

Today Mass attendance has dropped to all time lows, Catholics don't know what their faith teaches and think Catholicism Lite is a good alternative and children in most communities at least in this country have never seen a nun in their school let alone be taught be one.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


After Vatican II when popular devotions were dumped, para-liturgies that allow for a great deal of creativity sprang up all over the world, especially in religious orders and in particular in female ones.

My experience of them is well, nauseating. Just looking at these photos below of a para liturgy held by a certain group of more progressive religious sisters makes me wonder if they don't have a death wish. What young woman would find any of this inspiring by viewing these photos? Shouldn't public devotions/para liturgies have some beauty and be inspiring?

This is worn out and hopefully the photos below are the dying breath of a generation who deconstructed the Church, her liturgy and much of religious life. It's time to bury this and its theology and pray for a resurrection to beauty, tradition and common sense. I will not reveal the name of this group out of concern for protecting the innocent who are clueless about how this comes across:

A salute to Hitler, sure looks like it?

A remake of the "Night of the Living Dead?"

Now this is really iconic, a nun with a guitar, a Kumbaya moment in 2011!


Progressives who embrace the "spirit" of Vatican II grind their teeth in suppressed anger at those who wish to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and desire strong catechesis based upon sound doctrine.

Those who prefer the EF Mass and Baltimore Catechism look at what has happened to the Church since Vatican II, especially the dramatic decline in the percentage of Catholics who attend Mass each Sunday and the seemingly lack of strong conviction about the faith from those formed by wishy-washy catechesis in the 1970's and 80's, and wonder what planet those who push the "spirit" of Vatican II live on.

Progressives say that the EF Mass stymies participation of the laity, exalts the clericalism of the clergy and thwarts authentic growth in spirituality and becoming an adult decision maker in morality. They also deride the limited amount of Scripture read during this Mass over the course of a year.

Shouldn't there be more discussion and foment from bishops who are the primary liturgists of each diocese and maybe even more leadership from the Congregation of Divine Worship to look at blending the best of both worlds into each form of the Liturgy with the hope of one day having one reformed Mass that doesn't appear to be such a dramatic break with what had preceded it?

Just some thoughts on this, nothing dogmatic:

1. Why can't the EF Mass be celebrated in the vernacular, or at least some major parts of it, except maybe the Roman Canon and quiet parts of the priest?

2. Why can't kneeling for Holy Communion become the norm for both forms of the Mass, thus indicating that the reverence and spirituality of both forms of the Mass are not different and comparisons between the "reverence" of standing and kneeling are no longer a point of contention?

3. Why can't the OF Mass be celebrated Ad Orientem or the EF Mass facing the people? I know that question is a hot potato and I do sympathize with those who say facing the people tempts the priest to look at the congregation while he is praying to God and to become more of a performer rather than a leader of liturgical prayer. I'm inclined to sympathize with the move toward Ad Orientem for a whole host of reasons.

4. Why can't the revised OF lectionary of the Mass become the norm for both forms of the Mass allowing the EF's one year lectionary for Sundays to become a 4th year option, year D?

5. Why can't the soon to be released revised English Roman Missal not also have an "EF" form of the Mass while still keeping the vernacular, all the prayers, calendar and lectionary? That would be oh so simple to do!

Just some thoughts on overcoming current day phobias that exist in our polarized Church and her liturgy.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I despise when we have the obligation to attend Mass removed when the Holy Day falls on a Saturday or Monday like Monday's Solemnity of the Assumption. How many priests made no evening option for Mass on Monday for this wonderful feast that has had such a long time high attendance merely because the "obligation" to attend was removed? How many said to their congregations on Sunday, you don't have to come it's not obligatory? I want to scream to heaven for justice!

I made no such announcement on Sunday. All I said and what I wrote in the bulletin was that we are celebrating the wonderful Holy Day of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, body and soul, into heaven. We'll have Masses at 8:00 10:00 (school mass) and 7:00 PM. That's all I said.

All three Mass were full and the 7:00 PM being the fullest.

Why not just encourage people to come to Mass on major Solemnities even if there isn't an obligation to attend by having an extra Mass or two. The Annunciation comes to mind and all the other solemnities during the year?


Our culture today is very materialistic and many seldom focus on the life of redemption of body and soul, but rather live life with reckless abandon, using and abusing the gifts that God has given us, including our body and soul. While the Catholic Church has no problem with adorning one’s body to enhance its looks, even in death, we do teach that one should not intentionally mutilate one’s body. A tattoo here and there and a place for modest "piercings" certainly fall within the parameters of what is benign. However, we know that today’s culture of piercing bodies and tattooing them to the point of disfigurement betrays a hostility to the body and views it as a temporary commodity that one can do with as one pleases, that our bodies and souls belong to us rather than to God. Catholic teaching emphasizes that we belong to God, body and soul and that we come from God and will return to Him.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Body and Soul into heaven illustrates the sacredness of who we are, not just our souls but also our bodies.

Like Mary we belong to God completely not just partially. Realizing this should enable us to appreciate the material things that God gives us, our human flesh being primary. Just as we should take care of our souls and bodies, we also take care of the good earth. The green movement and ecological concerns throughout the world are not incompatible with Catholic teaching or the doctrine of the Assumption in anyway whatsoever.

Also, we build magnificent structures like our churches and care for them as a sign of the kingdom to come which is not only spiritual but tangible as well since in the heavenly realm there contains the Risen Body of our Lord as well as our Blessed Mother’s redeemed body.

We know that it is a sin intentionally to mutilate one’s body but also to do the same to the good earth and the environment in which we live. We were all appalled with the senseless murder of Lauren Giddings (the Mercer University Law School graduate in Macon and a member of St. Joseph Church) and as Catholics we were appalled with the manner in which her body after death was treated and desecrated by dismemberment.

In fact we use the term "desecration" of her human body because in baptism Jesus consecrated her body a temple of the Holy Spirit and thus she was made holy. In death, we honor our bodies with Christian burial. We prepare them for viewing and adorn them to make them beautiful, not to mask the reality of death but to show forth in a symbolic way the "resurrection" of our bodies at the end of time. In death, Christian bodies are "religious relics" because they have been made holy in Baptism and thus should be disposed properly as we dispose properly blessed items that have run their course like statues, rosaries and the like.

Catholics have always appreciated the arts that glorify the body. There is a big difference between art and pornography. Art shows the human form in a way that does not degrade or offend, for example Michelangelo’s David or art depicting the child Jesus suckling from the exposed breasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Even nudes are to be found in the Sistine chapel and other Catholic churches throughout the world.

Pornography on the other hand turns the human person and its image into an object of lust, to be used and abused for one’s own selfish gratification. The sin of pornography is the exploitation of people who are depicted and those who view it which leads to the most crass form of selfishness for personal gratification.

I always advise people, men in particular, if they have a problem with the sin of lust that they should view those who tempt them not as objects for their lustful purposes, but as God’s work of art to bring our hearts and minds to what heaven will be like. By God's grace lust which is a deadly sin, is transformed by God's grace into passion, the redemption of lust.

The Assumption is all about heaven and what heaven will be like which will have also a tangible element beyond all comparison with what we can see, touch, see, hear and taste here on earth. The ultimate tangibility will be seeing the living God in the Divine Person of the Most Blessed Trinity with our tangible eyes and with those same eyes seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints redeemed in the Blood of Christ.

At every Mass through the material and tangible elements of the church, altar, people, bread and wine, we experience the holy and see the gifts of the earth which show forth in a tangible, sacramental way, the invisible presence of the Risen Lord and all the angels and saints.

Given the theology of what I articulate above, what comparisons do you see in these two images as it concerns the Catholic understanding of the human body?

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Thanks to Fr. Shelton for alerting me to this. Indeed, theologians and liturgists and now evidently translators felt that they were a "parallel" Magisterium able to manipulate the Roman Missal to suit their agenda.

You'll see now why we didn't get the 1998 translation and why it isn't until now that we are getting a revised and more accurate to the Latin English translation of the Roman Missal so many years later.

Issued by: Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estévez
Prefect and [Archbishop] Francisco Pio Tamburrino, Secretary For the Congregation of Divine Worship at the Vatican, 2002:

After some time to reflect upon contacts in recent months with the Presidents of a certain number of Conferences of Bishops in whose territory the Liturgy of the Roman Rite is habitually celebrated in English, this congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments addresses the present letter to you and to your brother Bishops regarding the translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica altera.

Observations on the English-language Translation of the Roman Missal

I. General observations regarding the layout of the book, the disposition of its texts, and the inclusion of newly composed texts

A. The word "Sacramentary", evidently chosen to distinguish this book containing the prayers of the Mass, on the one hand, from the Lectionary, on the other, seems nevertheless to have had the adverse effect of furthering a mistaken conception of this "Sacramentary" as a new and somewhat autonomous liturgical book for the English-speaking world. The term "Sacramentary" is not characterized by a linear historical development, and the present book also contains antiphons and other elements that were not in the ancient or medieval books commonly designated sacramentaries, at least in academic usage. Accordingly, the Congregation asks that from now on the book be referred to in English as The Roman Missal, and that the official use of the word Sacramentary be discontinued in reference to it.

B. The ordering of the texts has departed almost entirely from that of the Missale Romanum, where such ordering often has significant theological and catechetical implications. In some instances, the Commission's stated goal of avoiding repetition of prayers by means of such restructuring seems to have been formulated without sufficient attention to the positive effects of such repetition in terms of the congregation's progressive comprehension and assimilation of their conceptual and spiritual content.

C. The proposed text would change significantly the structure of the Ritus initiales for Masses celebrated on Sundays, Feasts, and Solemnities. It would thus appear to exclude that the Actus paenitentialis be used together with the Gloria, as prescribed by the Missale Romanum for the majority of the Sundays of the liturgical year. In any event, the disposition of prayers in the Missal is not at the discretion of the translators, and the ordering of the texts, including the integral structure and sequence of the Ritus initiales, should be restored to that of the editio typica [tertia]. In addition, the Missal should be published as a single book for use on all days of the year, without fragmentation into parts.

D. Certain texts included in the project, such as the seasonal introductions and the hagiographical notes in the Proper of Saints, by virtue of their genre as well as their bulk, should not be published within a liturgical book. At times, their very content militates against such an intention. For example, the statement that [St.] Jerome "began work on a new Latin translation of the Bible, known as the Vulgate", is historically inexact, since he selected and compiled existing texts of the Vetus Latina for many parts of the Bible, while his characterization as "irascible and intolerant" is hardly an appropriate appendage to the prayers prescribed for his liturgical Memorial. In the same vein, one might cite the inappropriateness of the reference to Santa Claus in commemorating St. Nicholas, or the unexplained statement that St. Callistus I "served a sentence as a convict", or the assertion that St. Pius V's "excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I of England hardened the split between Catholics and Protestants." While there is an admitted distinction between a liturgical and a hagiographical text, these are neither. The present Observations are not the context in which to address question of the veracity of these statements; it is sufficient to point out that that they are out of place in the Missal.

E. The use of explanatory rubrics that import material from other liturgical books and documents, such as the Caeremoniale Episcoporum, would have the effect of reducing or eliminating recourse to these documents themselves, and would also inhibit the freedom of the Holy See to act in matters where the normal avenue of implementation of a given initiative would be precisely those documents. Such a procedure of compilation is not within the scope of the translator's task.

F. Consistent with the principles enumerated above regarding the book's structure, and also with the communications sent by this Congregation well over a decade ago to the various Conferences (e.g., Prot. n. 866/88, 24 June 1988, as well as to the Executive Secretary of the Mixed Commission, Prot. n. 410/88, 18 June 1988, acknowledged by him 10 days later), in addition to other instances in the meantime in which this Dicastery has publicly taken the same position, the Congregation must insist that the texts newly composed by the Mixed Commission be excluded from the Missal. Supporting this decision are several serious concerns, namely:

that the procedures set forth in the 1994 Instruction Varietates legitimae be upheld as regards adaptations to liturgical books for the sake of inculturation;
that the proliferation of original texts not hinder the meditation of the faithful and of their pastors on the riches already found in the prayers of the Roman Liturgy;
that the desire for constant variety, typical of many consumerist societies, not come to be regarded in itself as constituting a cultural value capable of serving as a vehicle for authentic inculturation;
finally, that the characteristic structure and function of the traditional Roman Collects, their sobriety, and their reflection of the tension between the transcendent and the immanent, not be jeopardized by compositions that may be superficially attractive by virtue of their emotional impact, but lack the spiritual depth and the rhetorical excellence of the body of ancient prayers, which were not mass-produced at a given moment but grew over the course of many centuries.

II. Examples of problems in grammar, syntax, and sentence structure

A. The Structure of the Collects: Relative clauses often disappear in the proposed text (especially the initial Deus, qui . . ., so important in the Latin Collects), so that a single oration is divided into two or more sentences. This loss is detrimental not only to the unity of the structure, but to the manner of conveying the proper sense of the posture before God of the Christian people, or of the individual Christian. The relative clause acknowledges God's greatness, while the independent clause strongly conveys the impression that one is explaining something about God to God. Yet it is precisely the acknowledgement of the mirabilia Dei that lies at the heart of all Judaeo-Christian euchology. The quality of supplication is also adversely affected so that many of the texts now appear to say to God rather abruptly: "You did a; now do b." The manner in which language expresses relationship to God cannot be regarded merely as a matter of style.

B. The unfortunately monotonous effect of placing the vocative "Lord" always at the beginning of the prayers has already been cited by the Congregation in connection with previous texts submitted for its approval. However, this tendency can also be observed in the present text.

C. For those Latin texts characterized by the extensive use of relative clauses, ablative absolutes, participial phrases, etc., the English text often fails to convey the precise nature of the relationship between clauses, so that the sense of the whole is lost (e.g., in particular the Prefaces: e.g., De Eucharistia I: "Qui verus aeternusque Sacerdos, formam sacrificii perennis instituens, hostiam tibi se primus obtulit salutarem", where the failure to convey the relationship between clauses of the Latin obscures the unity of the Eucharistic Sacrifice with that of Calvary. Likewise many of the Collects: e.g., Collect, Wednesday of the 7th Week of Easter, where the relationship between "Sancto Spiritu congregata" and "toto sit corde tibi devota, et pura voluntate concordet" is obscured in the English. The Latin text, taken globally, has conveyed with precision certain theological realities and tensions involving salvation history and the inherent dynamism of the ecclesial life of grace, which should not be lost in the vernacular text, however challenging and difficult it may be to convey them.

III. Examples of problems related to questions of "inclusive language" and of the use of masculine and feminine terms

A. In an effort to avoid completely the use of the term "man" as a translation of the Latin homo, the translation often fails to convey the true content of that Latin term, and limits itself to a focus on the congregation actually present or to those presently living. The simultaneous reference to the unity and the collectivity of the human race is lost. The term "humankind", coined for purposes of "inclusive language", remains somewhat faddish and ill-adapted to the liturgical context, and, in addition, it is usually too abstract to convey the notion of the Latin homo. The latter, just as the English "man", which some appear to have made the object of a taboo, are able to express in a collective but also concrete and personal manner the notion of a partner with God in a Covenant who gratefully receives from him the gifts of forgiveness and Redemption. At least in many instances, an abstract or binomial expression cannot achieve the same effect.

B. In the Creed, which has unfortunately also maintained the first-person plural "We believe" instead of the first-person singular of the Latin and of the Roman liturgical tradition, the above-mentioned tendency to omit the term "men" has effects that are theologically grave. This text ­"For us and for our salvation"-no longer clearly refers to the salvation of all, but apparently only that of those who are present. The "us" thereby becomes potentially exclusive rather than inclusive.

C. After the Orate, fratres, the people's response Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis . . . has been distorted, apparently for purposes of "inclusive language": "May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of God's name, for our good, and the good of all the Church." The insertion of the possessive God's gives the impression that the Lord who accepts the sacrifice is different from God whose name is glorified by it. The Church is no longer his Church, and is no longer called holy ­ a flaw in the previous translation that one might have hoped would be corrected.

D. For the Church, the neuter pronoun "it" is always used, instead of "she". So designated, the Church can appear to be a mere social aggregate, deprived of much of the mystery that has been emphasized especially in relatively recent teaching by the Magisterium. The pronoun "it" does not seem to refer properly to the reality of the Church, portrayed by Divine Revelation as our Mother and Christ's Bride.

IV. Examples of problems in vocabulary, wording and other aspects of content

A. Instead of "Collect", a traditional Roman term that is both venerable and expressive, the translators continue to use the term "Opening Prayer", which does not express the same reality and, in fact, is simply incorrect. Likewise, "Prayer over the Gifts" does not seem to specify sufficiently the sense conveyed by the term "Oblata" in this context in reference to oblata that are themselves taken "de tuis donis ac datis." A designation such as "Prayer over the Offerings" would be preferable.

B. "Opening Song" does not translate "Cantus ad introitum" or "Antiphona ad introitum" as intended by the rites. The Latin is able to express the musical processional beginning of the Liturgy that accompanies the entrance of the priest and ministers, while "Opening Song" could just as well designate the beginning number of a secular musical performance.

C. The Congregation in the course of its various contacts and consultations has encountered widespread ­indeed, virtually unanimous-opposition to the institution of any change in the wording of the Lord's Prayer. More than one reader cited poignantly the experience of having seen this prayer coming to the lips of Christians who had otherwise appeared unconscious, its familiar wording having been learned by them from infancy. By contrast, the Mixed Commission's justification for its changes, in its Third Progress Report on the Revision of the Roman Missal, seem inadequate and somewhat cerebral.

D. The word "presbyter" often continues to be used instead of "priest", for example in the Proper of Saints. The Holy See's position on this matter was made clear in a letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship to the Conferences of 20 September 1997. At the same time, many titles are used there which do not appear at all in the Missale Romanum. In the titles of the celebrations the designation "Saint" is consistently omitted, contrary to the established tradition of the Church. One example of these tendencies: "6 October: Bruno, presbyter, hermit, religious founder."

E. The rich language of supplication found in the Latin texts is radically reduced in the translation. Words and expressions such as quaesumus, exoramus, imploramus, praesta . . . ut, dona, concede, etc., have been collapsed more or less into the terms "ask" and "grant," transferred almost always to the last line of the prayer, resulting in a corpus of prayers that is relatively monotonous and impoverished with respect to the Latin. In addition, these factors render the imperative verbs in the body of the orations somewhat abrupt and presumptuous in tone, so that the oration seems to be a command rather than a prayer addressed to God. Again, there is more than style at stake here.

F. The language often lapses into sentimentality and emotionality in place of the noble simplicity of the Latin. A focus on transcendent realities in the Latin prayers too often shifts in the English prayers to a focus on the interior dispositions and desires of those who pray. The overuse of the word "hearts" when the word is not present in the Latin text weakens the use of the term on those occasions where it actually occurs. Likewise, the overuse of the term "sharing" flattens and trivializes the content conveyed by the Latin words participes and consortes.

G. For patena, calix, etc., the translators avoid the use of specifically sacral terminology, and use words commonly employed in the vernacular for kitchenware. In an already secularized culture, it is difficult to see what legitimate purpose could be served by a deliberate desacralization of religious terminology. There do exist in English words for these items having sacral connotations, such as "paten" and "chalice", but these are assiduously avoided in the translation. The Congregation views this tendency with regret, especially in conjunction with certain other tendencies enumerated in these Observations, by which the sense of the transcendent is not only inadequately conveyed, but actively obscured.

H. The word unigenitus is often translated simply as "only", so that Jesus is called the "only Son" of God. The distinction between the terms "only" and "only-begotten" is often crucial in the liturgical prayers, which unfold within a Trinitarian dynamism precisely by virtue of our own adoptive sonship.

I. Frequently there are important words translated either in an inadequate manner, or not at all. Among them are: devotus (-e, -io), dignor, (in-)dignus, famulus, ineffabilis (-iter), maiestas, mens, mereor, novitas ­ vetustas, offero, pietas, placatus, propitius, supplices, and many others, besides those mentioned elsewhere in these Observations. The challenge posed by the translation of certain of these concepts into contemporary English underscores a cultural fact that is at the same time perhaps the strongest indication of the necessity of doing so, even when the result must be a text that will have to be clarified by good catechesis.

J. The text exhibits some confusion on the part of the translators regarding the intended sense of the words caelestis and caelorum which, in the original text, refer at some times to heaven as such, but at other times to heavenly realities experienced now. Confusion on this point hinders the text in its capacity to convey the eschatological tension at issue in the Latin text.

K. In the conclusions of the Prefaces, the enumeration of the heavenly choirs (cum Thronis et Dominationibus, etc.) is often omitted in favor of the singular term "angels". The reason for this tendency of the text in many places to make gratuitous alterations is not clear.

L. In the text, in particular the Eucharistic Prayers, many significant biblical expressions and allusions continue to be obscured, as do significant allusions to events or notable features of a given Saint's life or works.

M. In order to assist the faithful to commit various parts of the sacred text to memory and to appropriate the text more deeply without the jarring inevitably created by the dissonance of diverse translations of the same passage, those texts taken directly from Sacred Scripture, such as the antiphons, should reflect the wording of the same approved version used in the Lectionary for which the Conference has received the recognitio of the Holy See. Only those textual adjustments should be made which are necessitated by the manner in which the editio typica has employed the official Latin text (e.g., sometimes adding a vocative such as "Domine" or condensing two verses). For the sake of such unity as regards the biblical text, it is appropriate and preferable that this element of diversity be maintained among the versions of the Roman Missal eventually to be published by the various Conferences.

N. Since it is already permissible, as specified by the Institutio Generalis, to use other sung texts in place of the antiphons given in the Missal, the Conference may wish to publish separately a set of such texts, and perhaps some of the antiphons prepared for the present project may eventually qualify for inclusion in such a publication. The Congregation would not be opposed to such a measure provided that the texts chosen be doctrinally sound. However, in the case of texts from Sacred Scripture, it is the sacred text itself that should determine the qualities of the music to which it is to be set, rather than vice-versa. This principle does not seem to have been followed consistently in the antiphons given in the part of the project that the translators have labeled the "Antiphonal". The antiphons to be printed in the Missal should appear within the Mass formularies, as in the current editio typica.

V. The distinction of liturgical roles

A. In the vast majority of the cases in which the priest prays in the third person for the people (and again, the Eucharistic Prayers are notable in this regard) the translators have opted instead for the first person plural. Such a choice obscures the distinction of roles that is evident in the Latin text, and in particular the priest's role as intercessor and mediator vis-à-vis the people for whom he prays in an unselfish manner. The priest is thus submerged within an amorphous congregation that prays for itself. Obscured at the same time is the important notion of offering the Mass on behalf of others or for their benefit. These are crucial issues. Even at a purely literary level as well, this procedure augments the monotony of the translation.

B. The rubrics and notes have been completely re-worked in ways that obscure the distinction of hierarchical and liturgical roles. A few examples:

· In the Prayer over the People for the Ritual Mass of Confirmation, the translators seem to have wished to alter the universal and constant discipline of the Latin Church according to which the Bishop is the ordinary minister of the Sacrament. In place of the Latin, Deinde Episcopus, manibus super populum estensis, dicit:, one finds instead, "The priest sings or says the following prayer with hands outstretched over the people."
For the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday, it is suggested that those laypersons who exercise a ministry to the sick, to the catechumens, and to families of children being baptized and confirmed, take their places with the Bishop during the Mass. On the other hand, the intentional focus of this celebration on the sacramental priesthood is obscured somewhat.
In the Order of Mass, where the Latin rubric reads, "Tunc sacerdos incipit Precem eucharisticum," the translators have altered it to read instead, "The priest leads the assembly in the eucharistic prayer." Such an alteration ­for it cannot be termed a translation-obscures the true nature of the Eucharistic Prayer as a presidential prayer, in which the people participate by listening silently and reverently and by making the acclamations prescribed by the rite.

C. Another example of the translators' having altered texts (or, in this case, maintained a deficient wording) to the detriment of the distinction of roles between priest and people is the prayer Orate fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium . . ., which becomes "Pray, brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice . . . . as if the congregation and priest both offered the sacrifice in an indistinct manner.

D. Given the Latin tradition that very closely links the words "Mysterium fidei" to the words of institution, it is inappropriate for the deacon to give the invitation to the Memorial Acclamation. The translators, with no authorization, have introduced this change. The same importance traditionally attached to the words "Mysterium fidei precludes its replacement by other formulae, even though the Congregation appreciates the practical considerations motivating the translators to offer alternative introductions to the Memorial Acclamation. It is perhaps useful to observe here that the Congregation considers the translation "Great is the mystery of faith" a good one for rendering in English the precise meaning and purpose of the Latin phrase in its liturgical context.

E. The translation of "Et cum spiritu tuo" as "And also with you" has become familiar in the English-speaking world, and a change in the people's response would no doubt occasion some temporary discomfort. Nevertheless, the continuous literal translation of this response in all major liturgical traditions, whether Semitic, Greek, or Latin as well as in virtually every other modern language, constitutes a historical consensus and an imperative that can no longer be set aside. The present translation inappropriately situates the exchange on a purely horizontal level, without any apparent distinction in the roles of those who speak; the literal translation in its historical context has always been understood in relation to the crucial distinction of liturgical roles between the priest and the people. Weighty considerations such as these necessitate that the English translation at last be brought into conformity with the usage of the other language groups, and with the tradition, as is also prescribed now in the Congregation's recent Instruction Liturgiam authenticam.



Bishop-Emeritus, J. Kevin Boland has given St. Joseph Church permission to begin implementing the new English translation of the Roman Missal's sung parts, greeting, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Mystery of Faith beginning the first Sunday of September, less than three weeks away!

In our request, I wrote that we were beyond ready. I've been catechizing the parish now for only about seven years! I began catechizing about this in my previous parish in the mid 1990's when I thought we would get the 1998 translation that was dumped when "Liturgiam Authenticam" was issued at the beginning of the century.

Three years ago, in anticipation of the new translation's "And with your Spirit" we eliminated the outdated English version of this and went to the official Latin. At first there was some negativity about this, but today our people sing and say it in Latin with great gusto. In fact many of them have told me they'll miss the Latin when we return to the English in September. At all of our Masses, we chant "The Lord Be With You," "And With your Spirit."

For the last seven years we've had a series of educational opportunities for people in adult religious education workshops and through our parish newsletter that is mailed to everyone. We also mailed to the entire parish Father Paul Turner's Understanding the Revised Mass Texts booklets. This was the source of our Faith Sharing Groups' catechesis during this past Lent. About 150 people participate in these home-based small groups.

In addition, we are mailing to everyone before the first Sunday of September a laminated card with all the new English prayers and responses of the laity.

In terms of catechesis and preparation, I think the best way to do this is during Mass. Religious education sessions help, but you only reach a very small percentage of the people, the more highly motivated ones. During Mass, you reach everyone. The Latin responses we've been doing for the past three years alerted everyone to the changes that are coming and not a single soul who is a registered member of St. Joseph has any excuse for not knowing at least that a big change is coming!

I'm excited and nervous. But I think this will be a piece of cake compared to the Latin we instituted three years ago. We survived and thrived despite some discomfort at the beginning. People might not like change, but people adapt and do very well in the face of change. Of course all of this is through the grace of God. Give Him all the praise and glory!


And our parish is reviewing three new hymnals which we will purchase to replace our outdated "People's Mass Book." The three are Adoremus, The Saint Micheal's Hymnal and The Vatican II Hymnal.

I think the winner for Saint Joseph Church will be (DRUM ROLL):


Of the three hymnals we are considering, the Vatican II Hymnal has the Order of Mass in Latin and English for both official forms of the One Roman Rite, Ordinary and Extraordinary. In addition it contains all of the lectionary readings for year A, B, and C for Sundays. We'll no longer have to purchase an additional missalette for the readings thus saving us a ton of paper and a ton of money!

What exciting times these are as it concerns the Liturgy. I feel like I did when I was 12 years old and we began implementing English in the slightly reformed 1965 Roman Missal. That reform went off track around 1967 and spiraled out of control for most of the 1970's. Even as a teenager, I was disgusted with what was happening, especially when the first wave of reform seem to be so promising and we blew it! The reform of the reform is bringing back some liturgical sanity at least on an official level to the Church. Go sing a "Te Deum!"

Friday, August 12, 2011





(Please notice how many have their hymnals opened and are singing during the Procession, you can almost hear them in this photo!)

(CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE; I dont' know who the young priest is at St. Joseph Church in 2006)

There's a lot of talk about reforming the reformed Mass also known as the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Well, folks, it is being reformed and beginning in the Fall and by the First Sunday of Advent every English speaking Mass throughout the world will have a new, more highly developed and more accurate English translation of the original Latin. We can sing a Te Deum for that!

But with that said, given the reality that we should "say the Black and do the red" as another blogger puts it(I have one of his coffee mugs right in front of me with that saying) what are the elements of a transcendent, well celebrated OF Mass where God's grace is evident to people in a sacramental way and they are swept up into Christ's sacrificial love and the eternal banquet of heaven?

Let me list what all of us, clergy and laity ought to do for the love of Christ:

1. Humbly accept what the Church gives us in terms of the Mass and simply do it the best way we can. This includes what the Vatican has ordered as the new English translation, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal; what the American bishops have highlighted as the norm in this country for receiving Holy Communion in the OF Mass and loving the Mass even when one perceives there are a few warts in all of the above. Sometimes for the sake of unity we must put aside our personal preferences whether that means standing for Holy Communion rather than kneeling (or vice-versa if the norm changes)and also making the appropriate acts of reverence before receiving Holy Communion in the mouth or on the hand, such as the bow. Humility is a lost gift in today's world.

2. Participate, participate, participate! This means placing your heart, soul and mind into the actions of the Mass even before your utter a word. If you were a deaf-mute, one can internally participate in the Mass without hearing or saying a word. But for those gifted with hearing and speech, saying and singing the words of the Mass should follow one's internal appropriation of what is being celebrated.

3. Create warm hospitality with people, especially outside, in the narthex (vestibule) and even in the Church by being kind, considerate and modest. In the Church being kind, considerate and modest can all be done without speaking a word and creating silence for people to pray and contemplate is a very powerful form of hospitality.Silence is a lost commodity in our secular world and at home. We should recover the truth that "silence is golden" in our churches.

This list does not exhaust how we can reverently celebrate the Sacred Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist during Holy Mass, but it is a beginning. In all things we should strive for unity, hospitality, contemplation and become disciples in mission when we depart.

Finally, the dismissals of the new English translation indicate in a very powerful way what we as Catholics must do once we have celebrated the Sacred Mystery and depart our Church.

These are the new dismissal options which I pray every deacon or priest should say at the end of Mass, with the response being "Thanks be to God":

A. Go forth, the Mass is ended.

B. Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

C. Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

D. Go in peace.