Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I just received this comment from another post:

What is my opinion on the state of the Church in 20 years on:

-State of the liturgy
-orthodoxy of the episcopate
-men/women religious
-Mass attendance

I am an eternal optimist and I must be because we are an "Easter People" as much as I despise that 1970's term. But we know that the battle is done in eternity but eternity isn't quite complete here on earth so the remnant of the lost battle rages on taking with it casualties.

--In 20 years--the liturgy:

It will be the way it is now. I think it is better now than in the 1970's. But ask any bishop what the state of the liturgy is like in the parishes in his diocese and and his evaluation  will be grim.  Our only hope is that more priests will know and celebrate the EF form of the Mass and then learn from it the way to properly celebrate the OF Mass and lead their congregations in a rediscovery of the traditional sense of the sacred, reverence and piety during Mass which so often is substituted by giddy happy-clappy liturgies and music and gross banality and casualness. All these are enemies of the liturgy so often the experience of the laity in their parish Masses.

Thus the EF Mass known and loved by priests will influence their celebration of the OF Mass in a very positive way. They will not proclaim prayers to God or to the congregation, they will humbly pray the prayers of the Mass in the traditional manner in which prayers have been prayed in the Catholic Church for two millennia.  They will chant the Mass but not use entertainment forms of singing to sing any part of the Mass. This will enhance their understanding of the cultic aspect of being a priest and they will have a renewed sense of their priesthood. But only those who celebrate the EF Mass with joy and let it inform their OF celebrations of the Mass and inform their own priesthood will appreciate this. Those who think this is absurb will create circular arguments saying they know it all even without ever having celebrated or attended an EF Mass, the height of pride and arrogance.They will ask in mocking ways for an explanation but for those who have Faith no explanation is needed and for those without the Faith, no explanation will be suitable.

--orthodoxy of the episcopate

I fear we are in a period of nostalgia for the 1970's mentality in so many areas of life. That mentality was content with ambiguity and confusion and loved ambiguity and confusion.  But I hope that what Pope Benedict began to do in his pontificate in terms of clarity of doctrine and discipline will truly be appreciated and have an impact in 20 years.

--men and women religious

It will be smaller but faithful and prophetic and will be the mustard seed for a renewal of religious life in the future. The future of religious life for women is not the LCWR mentality. No progressive group of anything in the Church survives for long as it is a path of self-destruction and suicide.

The various traditional Dominican groups and the like will really take hold.

--Mass attendance in 20 years:

If the Mass continues with its banal ways of celebrating it in the Ordinary Form to include music that is simply not suitable for the Mass in terms of ethos, style and theology, Mass attendance will decline as people simply won't take the Mass seriously as they did prior to Vatican II when things were sober, austere and no-nonsense.

The more priests who know the EF Mass and apply its principles of reverence and piety to the OF Mass, which will be the primary Mass in 20 years with the EF Mass applying to a small minority of Catholics, we may see some kind of turn around and a true understanding of the Mass and what its purpose is.

Overall, secularism will take Catholics away from the Church. We will become a smaller but more faithful Church of clergy and laity.  The political activism of progressive Catholics who became post-Catholic but wanted the Church to be like them, post-Catholic, will not be as big of an issue. These post-Catholics will not repent and return to orthodoxy so the post-Catholics will give up and simply be honest about having left the true Church and thus will leave. 



Anonymous said...

"...ask any bishop what the state of the liturgy is like in the parishes in his diocese and and his evaluation will be grim."

Pardon my candor, Father, but if such is the case, then why don't the bishops start telling us the truth? We are in the middle of the Confirmation "season" when bishops go around their dioceses administering the sacrament and, without fail, they walk in smiling, telling us about how wonderful our parishes are and how beautiful the liturgies are and how terrific the priests are, when, in some cases, the parishes are pits of dissent, the liturgies are abominable or mediocre and the priest is going through the motions while he waits to retire.

If everything IS terrific, then there's no problem, but when it's not, why don't these bishops quit the PR nonsense and tell us the truth? They do us no favor by candy-coating reality and covering up for priests who don't do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

I doubted it at the time, but now (thanks to the glorious reign of Pope Benedict) I suspect Opus Dei priest Fr. John McCloskey (he of the famous converts), writing in the year 2000, got it just about right in this "letter to a new priest at his ordination in the year 2030", ostensibly from an older priest reflecting on what had happened during the first 3 decades of the 21st century". Though due to a temporary hiatus in liturgical renewal during the current papacy, what Fr. McCloskey predicted for 2030 may be delayed until 2035, which is 20 years from now

2030: Looking Backwards

"I saved the best for last of this rather personal and quirky take on the development of the Church in your lifetime, which probably, in truth, has been written as much for me as for you. Arguably the worst aspect of the distortion of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council was the abuse of the liturgy. I will spare you the details because they are truly too painful to recount. The sacrileges, blasphemies, irreverence, and down right ugly bad taste has gradually petered out during the years of your childhood. As it turns out, contrary to some opinions, the problem was not at all with rites but rather with reverence, obedience to the rubrics, and the interior lives of those celebrating the sacraments. Now that the priesthood and the religious life are generally healthy in belief and spirit, the Mass being celebrated the way the Council intended in order to give glory to God, foster devotion in the laity through their active participation. While the Tridentine rite in all its glory continues to be celebrated in some churches, every parish now has a Latin Mass every Sunday morning, along with other vernacular Masses, celebrated with reverence, a well prepared homily, sung chant, incense, and beauty in appointments that leaves no one among us who remember the old Mass nostalgic for it. The lay faithful realize when they walk into a Church that it is not a meeting place but rather a place of worship and personal prayer, where Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament complete with Benediction, and other devotions such as the Way of the Cross and liturgical Morning and Evening Prayer can almost always be found."

John Nolan said...

I hesitate to pour cold water on these propositions but in most parish churches liturgical morning and evening prayer (which I take to mean Lauds and Vespers) were not celebrated due to lack of resources, not least musical.

Most parishes could manage a Sunday Missa Cantata which was regarded as the principal Mass. The Propers were often psalm-toned as it takes both skill and practice to deliver the Gregorian Propers which change every week. However, there was always an experienced MC to make sure that the liturgy was done properly and don't forget that all priests could chant the Epistle and Gospel since in seminary they had to do this as subdeacon and deacon.

Also, priests were familiar with the Vulgate and could read it at a brisk conversational pace. Had the New Rite been allowed to continue alongside the Old (as Cardinal Basil Hume suggested) we would have been spared two generations of priests who seem to take a perverse pride in not using Latin. One of these is a regular contributor to this blog.

Can one envisage a rabbi who hated Hebrew or an Imam who despised Arabic?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding to my question Fr!

I'm a little bit more optimistic than you about the liturgy good Fr. I know quite a large number of seminarians and I think in 20 years the OF will be celebrated a lot better than it is currently. Mostly due to the "biological solution." Most of the original people from VII and the crazy period of the 70's & 80's will have gone on to meet their eternal reward/punishment and have failed to round up new members. I'm mostly familiar with the Archdiocese of Mobile and Diocese of Ft. Worth and can't say enough good about them both! I can attest that I've never been to a bad liturgy by a young priest, they are all a certain older demographic.

I really really wonder why the situation in Europe will be like. I'm thinking the situation there is more bleak as my friends in Belgium and Germany have said. Time for those African missionary priests!

John Nolan said...

Anonymous (above):

As far as Europe is concerned, the revival will probably come from the monasteries, as it so often has in the past. In the German lands there is a strong musical tradition which stops the liturgy going too far off the rails. In France and the Low Countries there is a revival of interest in Gregorian chant which has been going on for some time.

The SSPX is to be commended for providing an exemplar for orthodox teaching and sound liturgical practice. Do not underestimate its importance. If there are those in Rome who see them as schismatic and the LCWR as all right, then those in Rome are wrong.

As for the LCWR they are even less relevant outside the USA than they are within it. They sound like the acronym for one of the pre-grouping railway companies (London, Central and Western Railway?)

Anonymous said...

John Nolan, you are living in a fantasy world that exists only in your mind.

John Nolan said...

Anon, would you care to clarify that ad hominem comment with something in the way of evidence?

Anonymous said...

I would like to think that of all the places in Europe where the liturgy is celebrated with dignity it would be Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, at least from what I've heard. It is also promising that so many priests in England went to the conference to learn the TLM.

Mike said...

I can confirm what Anonymous at 9:21AM said about liturgical dignity, at least as far as Croatia is concerned. All the OF masses I attended in Dubrovnik while teaching last fall, whether in English or Croatian, were reverential in a way that would put many of the parishes I've been to in the U.S. to shame.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan...No presentation of evidence, no cross-examination....just stating a personal opinion formed from reading your many... sometimes windy, often pompous postings.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous, whoever you are and wherever you be, take an ad hominem attack from an unrepentant Irishman - you are a gobshite.

gobshite said...

John Nolan, whoever you are and whatever you be, this being a Catholic blog which has sensitive religious members, don't you think it would be kind of you to leave your potty-mouth language in the pub or somewhere more appropriate than here?

Before you speak, think to yourself..."What would Jesus say?".

John Nolan said...

Anonymous g/s:

Si calorem non sustines, e culina discede.

To those less sensitive and more erudite:

If you are in Munich on a Sunday morning there are a number of churches with good choirs, some with orchestra, which do classical Mass settings. At least one has the entire Ordinary in Latin. The Domamt (Cathedral High Mass) in Regensburg is packed every Sunday; the world-renowned choir (directed for many years by Mons. Georg Ratzinger) is supported by a Gregorian Chant schola which sings the Graduale Propers.

In Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Cracow I have never experienced any difficulty finding a decent sung Mass; indeed one is spoilt for choice. No doubt there are happy-clappy 'masses' where the liturgy is abused but they are easily avoided.

Anonymous said...

"What would Jesus say?".

Indeed, what would He say, were He to comment on the way He is cavalierly dishonored in Masses celebrated by the kind of deliberately ignorant priests who denigrate traditional Catholic liturgy.