Friday, April 13, 2012


These images are from a bar in Fells Point, Maryland (which is actually a downtown section of Baltimore). One wonders if the patrons at this bar (there is a Catholic Church a block up the street)are Catholics but see nothing wrong with what this bar provides:

We all lament the state of Catholic catechesis of our young since Vatican II. As well we all lament the loss of reverence and respect for things sacred, not only to Christianity, but all religions.

I cannot believe that Catholics properly formed prior to Vatican II to respect the sacred, whether of their own religion or the religions of others would have been so glib as the patrons of this bar in Baltimore shown above that they would patronize such a bar and that the bar would not have removed offending symbols because of the outrage of Catholics over what they have in their bar. Evidently there has been little or no concern or outrage about what this bar has.

But Catholics have been cooked in a slow cooker of irreverence since Vatican II ( and not knowing they were being cooked since is was so slow) and the ensuing "iconoclasm" of this period that happened to Catholic spirituality, devotions, our church buildings and yes our liturgy. Catholics in Baltimore especially in the 1970's would have been treated to images like these in some of their churches (I know as I lived there in the 1970's):
Today, though, we have almost two generations of Catholics who know absolutely nothing about Catholic spirituality, reverence and devotion as it was known and experienced by the vast majority of Catholics prior to the Second Vatican Council. Through no fault of their own they simply do not know better and would think that they had entered the "Twilight Zone" if they could be transported back in time to a strong Catholic Community supported by strong Catholic catechesis and strong Catholic spirituality, reverence and devotion. They would feel totally uncomfortable with the "sacred" as it was experienced as recently as the early 1960's. The rupture between traditional Catholicism of that period and what now passes for Catholicism's reverence, spirituality and devotion is so great that a young Catholic today would think that the Church of the two different periods of time, then and now, are two different Churches that have nothing to do with each other!

The images above are a far cry from what most Catholics would have experienced prior to Vatican II that formed them to have respect for the sacred and never mock or misuse anything sacred or resembling the sacred, even if not blessed. I was taught to properly bury or burn religious articles that no longer could be used for religious purposes so much respect did we have for that which represents the sacred.

Do you think Catholics who have a steady diet of this type of devotion and spirituality would stand still for the type of sacrilege promoted in the Fells Point bar above and even young people who had this type of devotion, would they patronize such a bar?


Anonymous said...

What to say????

The last two images represent a foreign concept to most humans these days... Reverence.

Indeed we are like frogs who've been brought up slowly to a boil.

Nothing like the confessional to rescue one from the slow cooker.

I think I'll show my child the images.


Bill said...

When catechesis is absent, how are the faithful to know? Even in my relatively conservative small faith group, only a couple of members know what things were like before the Council. Some look at me as though I were raving when I bring up issues of abuse.

At our last meeting, I quoted Fr. Z's comment that abuse of the liturgy is abuse of the people. Only two people really got the sense of that; the others seem to think that ad libs and elisions are no big deal.

Gene said...

Well, there was a time, within my memory, when my Dad or one of my uncles would have grabbed the bar owner by the collar and knocked his teeth out and everyone, including the Sheriff, would have thought it was appropriate. What can I say...there are still many, many people who need a punch in the mouth, some of them Priests and Bishops. Christ have mercy!

TCR said...

Back in the mid 70s, my mom and I would drive my young cousin home from her Catholic school. My mother, a devout Baptist who had great respect for the Catholic Church, often would remark,"Wouldn't it be nice if the Catholic kids would keep and live their faith?" In fact, the Catholic girls at my high school were notorious for their moral turpitude and shenanigans.

When I confided my upcoming conversion to a friend, he said, "Are you sure the Catholic Church you are seeking still exists?"

It was apparent to those of us outside that a "sea change" had swept the Catholic Church of my grandmother's generation, although we were unaware of the impetus. Of course, it still did not prevent me from coming home and finding that Faith alive and well at St. Joseph.

I wonder if such a bar desecrating Islam or Hinduism would be allowed to exist in America?

Anonymous said...

I would like to meet the owner and take him dinner. It's an opportunity to address the broader issue and gain a lot.

I'll have to look him up when I'm next in Baltimore.


Brigid Rauch said...

How did those sacred items end up at the bar? Either they were stolen, or they were sold. If they were stolen, then this is a police matter. If they were sold, then who was responsible for the sale? I suspect these are items from a closed parish, sold under the aegis of the bishop.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I know from first hand experience that many liturgical items around the world in the period of post-Vatican II iconoclasm through out precious art in terms of monstrances, candlesticks, statuary and dumped many of them in dumpsters. Brother Robert Solowski who works at our cathedral saved many such items he found in trash bins in the places he was stationed shortly after Vatican II and saved them and uses many of them at the Cathedral in Savannah. In fact somehow a wooden altar railing from the Cathedral in Savannah which was replaced by a marble one in the 1950's made its way into a downtown restaurant in the 1980's! We closed a church in Augusta int 1970 built in the late 1800's and left much of its "treasure" in the church that was either given away or stolen--all this in that nasty old iconoclastic 1970's period!

Lovel Miguel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lovel Miguel said...

The most difficult to understand in the four marks of the Church in the Nicene Creed is the word HOLY. Why are we called holy when we look around and we see so much unholiness and so much wickedness. What is holiness? Where in our society do we find anything or anyone that all of us would commonly regard as "holy"? We have accounts both in the old (Isaiah) and the new testament (Revelation) that God is absolutely the holiest being that exceeds and transcends all other beings. But the word "holy" doesn't have any concrete, substantive meaning for Americans today. Because of the rampant individualism and materialism and the secularism which regards the now, the present as ultimate, all of this is difficult to comprehend for people.

Did you ever notice a pattern in profanity? When people are profane, they use images and words that pertain either the bathroom or the bedroom. Why? Because those places are set apart. The word profane in Latin is "profanum", which means "out of the temple". To take something that is holy and drag it out of the temple is to profane it. To take something which is proper and holy in the marital bed and just kind of drag it out. The words that describe the acts of marriage are words which are used in profanity. And then when we use God's name in the same way, we take something that is holy and we use it like it's trash, to show that we are lord over all of this realm. We can use God's name as we please. We can describe holy functions in ways that befit our own intentions and purposes. That's profanity. Our culture is profane. We don't understand Isaiah's experience, St John's experience.

When we approach the Church, when we come before the altar, when we prepare to receive the Blessed Sacrament in the Holy Eucharist, when we repeat the cry of the angels in the Mass and we say "Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Host", do we really believe what we're saying? Do we really understand that our God is utterly different and separate from everything in the universe? Do we take off our shoes? Do we bow our knees? Do we prostrate our hearts before God and say, "Whoa!'?

It is not just the clergy who has the responsibility and moral obligation to emulate and show the holiness of Christ and His Church but also we, the laity, we the people who sit on the pew, by living by example, to live the life of holiness at work, at home and at play. And we have to ask God to rekindle within our hearts a belief in His absolute and total holiness.

Anonymous said...

We have a group here in my town that is going around buying up these objects for preservation and proper respect. It's funny because everyone refers to the 'crazy old woman' who runs it. She is footing the bill for the FSSP parish.


ytc said...

Teach the faith. That's it. The Church has failed at it. Nothing will change until that changes.

Anonymous said...

Lovel Miguel, I think the answer to your question is that member of the Body of Christ are being *made* Holy by the Church.

I think it's times like these when we should bring back the term "Church Militant," because it immediately points to the fact that the Church consists of:

1) All Saints in Heaven (the Church Triumphant).

2) All Souls in Purgatory (the Church Suffering).

3) All Souls who are in the process of being saved here on earth (the Church Militant-- that's us!).

In other words, "the Church" does not solely consist of those of us who just so happen to be breathing and walking about. It is Christ who is saving us through His Church via the Sacraments He has given us. The Souls in Purgatory who are being cleansed by God's purifying fire are being fitted out for Heaven. All of those in Heaven are those for whom Christ's salvific action has been completed.

Though the sins of the Church Militant disfigure Her face, the Church is holy because Christ is holy.

Furthermore, let us not presume that being made holy is either smooth or painful. Converts and certainly reverts know-- or should know-- that this is not the case. We often say that we believe in a God who permits evil so that a greater good may come of it. What makes us think that that isn't happening now, and that the making of saints sometimes does not take great struggle?

As for those of us sitting in the pews being an example, I agree. But part of that example doesn't just mean doing good deeds and "doing Catholic things" on Sundays. Bit by bit, our lives have to be fitted into our relationship with God (and not the other way around; when we try to do it the other way around, God gets squeezed out), which means letting Him into our lives and into our very beings. Now, if that sounds like participating in the Sacramental life of the Church more fully and consciously: how many Catholics, after all, though they may go to Mass and Holy Communion on Sundays barely understand either of those things, because they do not pray and they do not go to Confession, whereby their understanding of the faith and the importance of the Sacraments is fragmented? We cannot live the Sacramental life without Christ, who not only told us "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you shall have no life within you," but also "without me, you can do nothing."


Tancred said...

Surely Father neglected to credit the photo for its owner and the origin of the story in his righteous indignation over the blasphemy at Ale Mary's bar.

There will be continuing protests in front of the bar until the owner comes to his senses or the bar is closed down.

Contact at if you have any questions.

Dan said...

What bar in Fells Point are the top pictures from?