Thursday, May 18, 2017


I had a brilliant insight as I was preparing my mini homily for today's Mass in honor of St. John I, pope and martyr.

I read an account of his life and this is what inspired my homily: "In the early part of the sixth century the Church was still plagued by the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Jesus. However, by that time the heresy was kept alive more by the support of civil government than by any attraction to the error itself."

We all know that by the 6th century, the liturgies of both the east and west had developed in content and order to what would have been codified by the Council of Trent in the 16th century. The eastern rite's liturgies were even more elaborate than our Latin Rite, but the ethos was the same, a very, very high Christology emphasizing the divinity of Christ. I suspect this organic development from the point of the Arian Heresy to the 6th century was to combat the heresy.

Thus prior to the 1965 tinkering with the Mass by "spirit of Vatican II novelists" and then the promulgation of the 1969 missal, the two liturgies of both the east and west emphasized a high Christology and thus the divinity of Christ. The East continues to do so today.

But what happened to the Latin Rite's liturgies after Vatican II? The reform in discontinuity emphasized the humanity of Jesus (although not explicitly denying the divinity of Christ).  Thus the so-called "renewal of the Mass" was informed by a low Christology which opens the Church and her members to the revival of the Arian heresy.

But back to what I wrote about St. Pope John I, by the sixth century the Arian heresy was promoted more by the civil authorities than by the faithful's attraction to this error. The high liturgies of the Church in both the east and west had helped to eradicate the heresy with rank and file Catholics.

Today, the civil authorities that we have to contend with are promoting ideologies, such as gender ideologies, as a sort of dogma of the secular religion of our day. There are many other dogmas.

Wouldn't these secular politicians and ideologues, especially in the entertainment and media worlds, want to neutralize the beliefs of Christians who believe that Jesus is God and thus He trumps what they have to offer in the areas of morality/amorality and the like?

Just how successful has the revised Mass informed by a low Christology done to keep Catholics, Catholic? We all know that today, that a significant number of Catholics have an egalitarian view of the world with all things being equal. Many have succumbed to the individualism of society that places the person and it's (I use this pronoun intentionally) desires at the center, not the common good. 

And if Jesus is not believed to be divine, that He is truly the Godhead, then all the ideologies that are available to us in this firecely individualist society are on the same par with Jesus' teachings. Take it or leave it.

What do you think? 


Gene said...


Marc said...

You're onto something with your thought process. The reductionism of the liturgy actually produces slightly different, arguably worse consequences when in conjunction with the current societal situation. Not only is Christ's divinity questioned, but a man-centered liturgy brings about practical or actual atheism.

Anonymous said...

“Just how successful has the revised Mass informed by a low Christology done to keep Catholics, Catholic?”

How It Used To Be

That is perhaps the central Catholic memory of every Catholic who grew up before the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65: early morning low Mass, said or sung, the rapid murmur of Latin and the high, passionless voices of nuns. The touchstone of the Catholic existence, the glowing mystery at its heart. Ancient, beautiful, austere, intense, objective, holy, Introibo ad altare Dei ... We went in unto the altar of God, to God Who gave joy to our youth.

If you were enough of a Catholic to go to Mass on Sunday, then you belonged to a strong contemporary culture that remained through the '50s vital, unself-conscious and growing, in spite of the pressures of Modernism, secularism, affluence, war and technology. If you were a Catholic, you were different, you stood out, and you didn't mind. Sometimes you looked different…you refused meat, you had ashes on your brow, you had lots of children. Even when you did the same things as non-Catholics, you thought about them differently. Sooner or later there would come a moment when, as in the British army's church parade, you would have to obey the command: "Roman Catholics, fall out!"

Then what happened:

Since the Mass was, in Aquinas' words, "the central pillar of the Church," it was the first target of the revolution that accompanied the Second Vatican Council. It was the first matter to be discussed at the Council, and radical changes were introduced into it even before the Council ended. The liturgical changes devised by idealogues and enforced by dupes, at one stroke altered the face and mood of Catholicism unrecognizably. The cult was kicked down, and the culture fell with it. There was no point in insisting, as one did endlessly, that the Council had not changed Catholic doctrine.

Anonymous said...

I think you are 100% correct. I would not object to a properly proclaimed new liturgy if the old TLM was allowed and encouraged to be proclaimed along side it.

Carol H. said...

Yes, Father, I think you are right.

Marc, how is your son. I'm still praying for you all.

ByzRus said...

Yes, Father, I believe it has. The supporting arguments provided by Marc and Henry, to me, provide a strong rationale as to why.

Marc said...

Carol, thank you for asking. He is in desperate need of prayers and a miracle. Please continue to pray for him and for us that we can accept God's will come what may.

Rood Screen said...


That's truly a sad read. Why any organization, much less a divinely established one, would deliberately weaken its unity and determination remains baffling. Since even the pope emeritus and the reigning pope have irreconcilable differences pertaining to VCII, perhaps it's time to stop arguing about conciliar hermeneutics and admit that we no longer officially know who we are or what we're to do.