Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Although my post below isn't specifically on Confession, I do think we need to dismantle "rooms of reconciliation" and return to confessionals that do not allow penitent and priest to see or touch each other--let's get real about what has happened in these so-called rooms of reconciliation! The Sacrament of Penance (Confession) needs to recover the vertical and get rid of the horizontal too just like the Mass does!
I personally believe the pre-Vatican II Church's ethos in the sacramental life, prayer and devotions would have done more to help rank and file Catholics disillusioned by all the scandals that have come to light in the last 50 years.

The post-Vatican II Church tries to glorify itself (herself) in the horizontal way through sacraments, prayer, devotions and architecture (churches in the round where people can see each others' faces and hug each other).

The post-Vatican II Mass emphasizes the priest and the people and a handholding inclusive community that pats itself on the back for this, that and the other. There is even competition among parishes as to who has the best reason to pat itself on the back.

The pre-Vatican II spirituality and humility of the Tridentine Mass made it clear that only God is all Holy, we only share in that holiness by God's grace and unmerited forgiveness.  It emphasized our sinfulness over and over again, from the prayers at the foot of the altar, the double confiteor (and again said or chanted prior to the laity's Holy Communion) as well as the triple "Lord, I am not worthy..." and a reluctance to receive Holy Communion if there was any hint of any kind of impediment, such as breaking the fast.

The Tridentine mentality, ethos, was to face God (of course in a symbolic, sacramental way) together, priest and laity facing the same direction. I was taught by the good Sisters of Saint Joseph of Corondelet (before they became ultra liberal and post-religious life) that we should never turn our head away from the altar and tabernacle prior to Mass and during Mass to look at someone else behind us or speak to them!

Man is sinful; God is Holy and we are unworthy. We knew that and expected nothing less from our brothers and sisters in Christ--we are all unworthy, unworthy, unworthy!

If we still had this ethos, this orientation, this spirituality, I think Catholics would handle the various scandals much better because we would know that Original Sin and actual sins have been, are and will be a disaster for us poor miserable sinners. Only God through His Church and the His Real Presence in all the Sacraments especially the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Cross made present in an unbloody way at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can save us poor, poor, poor, miserable, miserable, miserable, sinners, sinners, sinners!

At the Mass we know who we truly are in the eyes of God--poor, poor, poor, miserable, miserable, miserable, sinners, sinners, sinners. We see what our sins, what we have done to our Savior crucified before us with some crucifixes above the altar more graphic in the depictions of our suffering Lord than others.

Thus any scandalous pope (and there have been many of them in 2000 years starting with St. Peter, himself) any bishop, any priest, any religious and any laity would not phase us. We might be disappointed in hypocrisy of those who we hold in high esteem (just as a spouse would feel about an adulterous wife/husband) but we knew that is why Jesus founded the Church, to call people back to holiness by Jesus' forgiveness of Original Sin and actual sin, both mortal and venial.

I really think the pre-Vatican II Church emphasis on the individual and his relationship with God expressed through the Church but in a vertical way rather than in a horizontal way would have helped us through this crisis much better than our weakened post-Vatican II Church, spirituality, liturgical expression and ethos toward the hand-holding, Kumbaya community patting itself on the back for this, that and the other and avoiding naming sin for what it is and what it does to the glorious, holy hand holding community!


Ackley said...

No arguments here Father, but I would add to what you wrote.

I think what has fazed us is not the scandals themselves, but the realization of their depth, their scope and the lengths taken to cover it all up by people we trusted.

I have no intention (by the grace of God) of ever leaving the Catholic Church. However, a lot of people I've known, with faith stronger than mine HAVE abandoned the Church.

Ronald Reagan once said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me." That's how many of us feel about the Catholic Church. If most Catholics today were dropped by a time machine into the Church we remember, they would not recognize it. It is not a good sign when Catholics of one generation experience a liturgy and sacramental practice completely different than previous generations. God doesn't need to "get with the times." How long is it going to take us to figure out the same for our Church, which has almost self-destructed by "getting with the times"?

Anonymous said...

"At the Mass we know who we truly are in the eyes of God--poor, poor, poor, miserable, miserable, miserable, sinners, sinners, sinners." - Fr. McDonald


"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden." -Jesus

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” - St Paul

"Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" - Jesus

"The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God. If the revelation of God through creation already brings life to all living beings on the earth, how much more will the manifestation of the Father by the Word bring life to those who see God." - St Irenaeus

Ackley said...


No one takes exception to any of the verses and quotes you've chosen.

The problem is, none of the above is true without God's grace. I am not a light of the world WITHOUT Jesus. I am only valuable because of God's love, a love that made Him send His son for me. I do not deserve that love and God doesn't need me. I NEED HIM. St. Irenaeus even qualifies his statement of man's glory, by insisting that such glory only comes to those who see God.

But who will see God? Only those who turn toward Him and I cannot even do THAT without his grace. Only those pure of heart will see God. I don't know about you, but my heart is filled with distractions and impurities and attachments to frivolousness and sin and I will have to spend what time I have left in this life turning away from all the junk and clinging to God's grace to purify my heart. Should I die with any attachments to sin or with the job of purification incomplete, God, by His grace, will allow me to be purified before I can see Him, which I could not possibly bear with any attachments to sin or this world. If, God forbid, I die outside the grace of God in a state of mortal sin, I will go to a place of eternal separation from God where love does not exist.

The problem with the post-conciliar Church is that we have lost sight of the fact that we are God's children ONLY by His grace, a grace He has no need of imparting to any of us. In the post- conciliar Church, we have become like arrogant teenagers, so assured that Daddy will bail us out of any trouble that we take our relationship for granted. The arrogance and obnoxiousness of such an attitude and our focus on me, me, me instead of on God alone is coming home to roost. The pathetic scandals we hear more about each day are just one symptom of this relationship with God gone wrong. It must be corrected.

As I see it, the only way to correct the relationship is to restore the timeless practice of the sacraments and recover our sense of sin. If for no other reason, I could very well get myself in serious trouble without a chance to go running to Daddy. The pre-conciliar Church kept my relationship with God in its proper perspective. The post conciliar Church does not. God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Ackley, my thoughts exactly. The gates of hell will not prevai, but they certainly are swinging fast and loose.

As to holding the hierarchy “ high esteem...”, I for one no longer do that. I don’t trust that dynamic at all. My opinions don’t matter—Christ matters. Am I a poor miserable, unworthy sinner? Of course I am, and that’s exactly why I need Christ and why I repeat the Centurion’s words “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul will be healed.”

Victor said...

Anonymous @ 9:12 am

It seems you miss the point like so many Modernists who revel in the pride that they "know better" than the generations before.

All your quotations speak of the importance of man in God's eyes, that God made man in His image and likeness and therefore crowned man with glory and honour.

But man rejects this regularly through sin: "...God made man right, and he hath entangled himself with an infinity of questions." Ecclesiastes 7:29

God could zap sinners out of existence if He so chose again (ie the flood), but He rather uses their evil ways to allow them to grow to perfection with His help:

"Now it was necessary that man should in the first instance be created; and having been created, should receive growth; and having received growth, should be strengthened; and having been strengthened, should abound; and having abounded, should recover [from the disease of sin]; and having recovered, should be glorified; and being glorified, should see his Lord. For God is He who is yet to be seen, and the beholding of God is productive of immortality, but immortality renders one nigh unto God." — St Irenæus "Against Heresies" XXXVIII, 3.

Perhaps you have never sinned, or do not even believe in sin, but it takes humility to accept that one is a sinner, fully responsible for the sinning, to be sorry for it, and to repent and beg for God's grace to resist sinning further: "Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 18:4

The old Mass accepts that the faithful present are sinners, who as sinners are unworthy of the Kingdom were it not for God's mercy. The old Mass helps sinners to repent by encouraging humility before God. This is unlike the new Mass which was fabricated by the experts who took pride in their learning, a pride that extended to banishing humility for the Mass as a passe concept for Modern times.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is, none of the above is true without God's grace."

Absolutely true.

Nowhere - NOWHERE - in the Ordinary form are we told we can be holy without God's grace, which was Fr. MacDonald's contention.

TJM said...

Here's the "bishops" latest:

Novenas are nice but mass excommunications of fake catholic politicians would be better. Put some muscle behind your mouth!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Please don't put words in my mouth. The Ordinary Form's Mass (and in the older English translation there were some some heretical sentiments in the translation, not the Latin) has diminished our sense of culpability or unworthiness and yes, ya'll come to Holy Communion without repentance, confession or penance.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think also you miss the point of my posting. The problem is the horizontal view of the Church based not on theology or dogma but on psychology that is corrupt, the "I'm okay, you're okay" mentality and the huggy/kissy theology of the 60's and 70's.

I remember one of my pastors growing up in Augusta who came to the parish and tried to loosen us all up and he himself into kissing and hugging males, females, children and the like. He wasn't a predator but a victim of the charismatic movement and the touchy/feely movement of that period. Does anyone remember the spectacle that the sign of peace became in so many parishes or small group Masses?????????????

The point being the post-Vatican II Church has enabled or given permission to predators in a passive way. And now we are paying the price.

All the things that prevented clergy and religious from being seduced or being seducers in the pre-Vatican II Church were denigrated and mocked in the post-Vatican II Church, such as no particular friendships (meaning group friendships) custody of the eyes (for the priest at the Tridentine Mass, no eye contact with the congregation). I believe women could not ride in the front seat with a priest in a car. Does anyone else remember the archaic rules the post Vatican II priests were above and didn't need?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I might also add that there were strict protocols for the interrelationships with bishops and his seminarians, his priests and laity. Where has that all gone and how has it helped the Church?

The was a time that you never saw your bishop without his clerics, the kiss of the ring and other formalities. And a priest visiting his bishop dressed to the 9's in his clerics or formal cassock.

TJM said...

Beautiful photo of Mass at Mother Angelica's monastery. Left wing loons will be aghast!!

Anonymous said...

Progressives (be they clerical or laity) just don’t think of themselves first as sinners in need of repentance, and are hugely offended if anyone suggests it. I’ve been around plenty of them and can honestly say that I just can’t relate to their incessant narcissism. It’s all about me, me, me, us, us, us. I’ll say it again: It’s about Christ and Him crucified.
Occasionally I’ve wondered how Confession works for progressives (if they even bother). Who on earth heard McCarrick’s confessions? Did he think of himself as a sinner, or as the “light of the world” needing no condemnation/repentance/remediation (let alone a jail term)? Did his Confessor/s even bother to follow-up?
BAH, why do I persist with this...God forgive and help me to leave this in the depths of hell where it belongs, or I risk losing the Church as so many others,just as Ackley noted in his first post. I don’t want my Church to be irrelevant, but we are on a precipice...

Anonymous said...

Could you post the strict protocols or a link to them, please?

"The old Mass accepts that the faithful present are sinners, who as sinners are unworthy of the Kingdom were it not for God's mercy."

So does the Ordinary Form.

"Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our SINS so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries."

followed by

"May Almighty God have MERCY on us, forgive us our SINS and bring us to everlasting life" (God does it, we don't.)

The idea that the "new" Mass does not "accept that the faithful present are sinners, who as sinners are unworthy of the Kingdom were it not for God's mercy" is simply false.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Ann at 4:36, please reread my post--it is emphasis, what you have just written is true but shows how lukewarm it is compared to the EF Mass and its emphasis on our unworthiness. I have not said that the OF doesn't attempt it, I have said the EF is better at it, superior in fact.

Anonymous said...

"...but we are on a precipice..."

The Church has, many times in the past, been in far greater danger, been far closer to the precipice.

The current pope is not teaching heresy. The current pope is not digging up and desecrating the corpses of his predecessors (Stephen VI). He was not murdered in his mistress' bed by a jealous husband (John XII). He is not sleeping with boys (Boniface VIII). He has no illegitimate children (Sixtus IV, Innocent VIII, Alexander VI, Julius II). He does not engage in wanton anti-Semitism (Paul IV). He does not practice nepotism (Urban the VIII and others).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It may cool down, but clergy and laity are hot, hot hot, and hopping mad to the point of rage over Cardinaless McCarrick, not so much that he a sinner is a sinner, but that so many people knew what he was doing (at least with seminarians and young priests) and the Vatican made him a cardinal nonetheless.

The Vatican, and I would be so bold to say, the pope needs to come clean about how Cardinaless McCarrick was made a pope and became so influential with Pope Francis.

I think we are at a moment that rivals the litany you post.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

How McCarrick was made a cardinal (not pope)

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:18, you really apparently don’t get how different this age of the 21st century is from that of the past. I’m not going to explain all the different parameters involved.becuse I assume you are intelligent and world-wise enough to know them. We are already in a “post-Christian” era. The electronic media age that drives the average home being just one factor, but a very driving one. And please at least acknowledge that the average Catholic person is just not as uninformed and consequently gullible as the average guy in those past ages you list.
It probably doesn’t matter in the long run whether you acknowledge any of this unless, of course you are a priest. I pray you are not, because such historic explanations and denial will never serve you well. They just make you an academic historian.
Again I say: The gates of hell will not prevail, but they are swinging fast and loose. Many many have been and are going to be slammed and perhaps lost forever in the past decade alone; losing even one sheep is devastating to our Lord.
That is the precipice.

Anonymous said...

I would very much like to see the EF of the Mass celebrated widely for the reasons stated in the post and then some. Right now, for priests like those of the FSSP who know how to celebrate the Latin Mass, and for the members of the faithful who attend the Tridentine Mass, there is a strong temptation to pride. An FSSP gave a sermon about it once.

The priest who delivered the sermon is FSSP. He stated during his homily that his personal conviction is that pride is going to be the undoing of the traditional movement. He noted that traditional laity are much more knowledgeable about the teachings of the Church than people who go to the Novus Ordo. It's fantastic that some members of the laity really know their faith, but when they are proud of that fact and go so far as to look down on their fellow, more ignorant counterparts attending the Novus Ordo, that's bad. This priest noted that there is no shortage of traditional laity who are very pleased with themselves because of their superior knowledge. I can't argue with him, either. I know what he's talking about because I've seen the arrogance directed towards Novus Ordo Catholics.

Then there is the problem of the priests who celebrate the Latin Mass. To be ordained to the priesthood is to be among the elite of the earth. To be a priest who knows how to celebrate the Latin Mass puts one among the super elite. There is a serious temptation for such priests to feel special.

A couple years ago, a diocesan priest I know reached out to the local FSSP priests for the purpose of bringing the Latin Mass to parish of the former. The diocesan priest is promoting tradition as much as he can in his church. He learned how to say the Tridentine Mass which he now celebrates once a week, he wears a cassock most of the time, and he got himself a biretta. Even when he celebrates the Novus Ordo, he uses bells throughout the liturgy, uses incense, and does whatever he can to promote reverence. It's not easy, of course, because he is meeting resistance. That's why he was hoping to find support with local FSSP priests.

He found one FSSP priest to be a willing ally, but the other seemed to enjoy ribbing the diocesan priest about all the heresy going on his parish. Despite the efforts of the diocesan priest, there is still a lot of garbage that needs to be cleaned up in his parish. There are still members of his congregation who are material heretics. He knows it, but he cannot work miracles. Reform takes time. What he needs is support and not ridicule.

One day, in a fit of frustration, this priest, in his 30's btw, exclaimed to me, "This is why so many diocesan priests don't want to learn the Latin Mass. The snobbery is unbelievable." I know that he felt looked down upon, and that's not what he needed.

I long for the day when every Latin Rite priest actually celebrates the Latin Mass so that no one feels special any more. Back in the 1940's, the priests of the FSSP would not be unique. Everybody back then would have been a "traditionalist."

TJM said...

Father McDonald, McCarrick raised millions for the Church- hence his importance

John Nolan said...

A 'cardinaless' would be a female cardinal, were such a thing possible (cf abbess, prioress, canoness).

Boniface VIII's alleged sodomy was almost certainly a libel perpetrated by his arch-enemy Philip IV of France. He made the same accusation against the Templars. In any case, you can't evaluate the current Pope simply by listing the things he is not.

Anonymous said...

I myself have always been in favour of serviettes at NO masses.

That to be sure can only increase vocations to the priesthood.

My the post 1965 springtime in the Church, the one, true Church continue unabated !!!


Anonymous said...

I myself have always been in favour of serviettes at NO masses.

That to be sure can only increase vocations to the priesthood.

May the post 1965 springtime in the Church, the one, true Church continue unabated !!!


Anonymous said...

"Then there is the problem of the priests who celebrate the Latin Mass. To be ordained to the priesthood is to be among the elite of the earth."

Any priest who thinks of himself as among the "elite" should be censured. If he doesn't get over it fast, he should be drummed out of the corps.

"To be a priest who knows how to celebrate the Latin Mass puts one among the super elite."

To be a priest who knows how to celebrate the Latin Mass means one can read a printed text and follow simple instructions.

How does this elevate a person to "super elite" status one wonders?

(I suspect the estimation of priests as being among the "elite" and/or the "super elite" is more a function of the person making the judgment than what the priests may or may not think of themselves...)

John Nolan said...

Anonymous @ 7:02 makes a good point, although he erroneously refers to the pre-Conciliar form as the 'Latin Mass' - the Novus Ordo is also a Latin Mass, and although vernacular versions are permitted and widely used, the Latin text is the authentic one.

There is snobbery on both sides. Some priests regard the vernacular as so important a principle that they would refuse to acknowledge that Latin has any place in the liturgy, and denigrate those who might appreciate it. One egregious example on this blog (no names, no pack drill) once claimed that only one person in a thousand would understand a Latin Gloria, despite the fact that congregations recite it in English nearly every week, and there is hardly a word in it which does not have an English cognate. This is condescension on a grand scale.

An admirable thing about the Oratorians (in England at least) is that although they are famous for their solemn liturgies and the quality of the music which accompanies them - in London they were showing what 'reform of the reform' could mean forty years before the term was invented - they do not neglect those who prefer the Novus Ordo in English. You will need to go somewhere else if you really cannot live without serviettes or extraordinary ministers, but (believe it or not) there are those who like the vernacular Novus Ordo done 'straight'.

Brompton Oratory has four Masses on weekdays; two are in English, one is in Latin (1962) and one is in Latin (Novus Ordo - scripture readings in English).

Anonymous said...

ANON 7:02 PM


Good for all you are doing. Traditional Catholics are routinely ribbed and worse even by the Pope and plenty others too. Not good either way.

TJM said...

FXS, sarcasm?