Saturday, September 30, 2023



Pope at vigil: May God grant Synod the “gift of listening” 

At an ecumenical prayer vigil on the eve of the General Assembly of the Synod, Pope Francis says that the truth “does not need loud cries to reach people’s hearts.”

By Joseph Tulloch

Pope Francis has addressed the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square for an ecumenical prayer vigil.

The faithful – who hail from across the denominational spectrum, and include the heads of many Christian Churches – have gathered to entrust the upcoming General Assembly of the Synod to the Holy Spirit.

In his address, delivered toward the end of the vigil, Pope Francis meditated on the topic of silence, stressing in particular three values it holds for Christians today.

Silence and God’s voice

“Silence,” the Pope began, “lies at the beginning and end of Christ’s earthly existence. The Word, the Word of the Father, became 'silence' in the manger and on the cross, on the night of the Nativity and on the night of his Passion.”

Indeed, he noted, God seems to prefer silence to “shouting, gossiping and noise”. When he appears to the Prophet Elijah, God does not appear in the wind, earthquake, or fire, but in a “small still voice.”

The truth, after all, Pope Francis said, “does not need loud cries to reach people’s hearts.”

For this reason, he said, we too, as believers, need “to free ourselves from so much noise in order to hear his voice. For only in our silence does his word resound.”

Silence and the life of the Church

The Holy Father then turned his attention to the Acts of the Apostles, which say that after Peter’s speech to the Council of Jerusalem “the whole assembly kept silence.”

This reminds us, Pope Francis said, that “silence, in the ecclesial community, makes fraternal communication possible”; it is only when we fall silent to listen to others that the Holy Spirit is able to “draw together points of view.”

Moreover, silence “enables true discernment, through attentive listening to the Spirit’s sighs too deep for words, which echo, often hidden, within the People of God.”

Pope Francis therefore encouraged those gathered in St Peter’s Square to ask the Holy Spirit to “bestow the gift of listening” on the participants in the upcoming Synod meetings.

Silence and Christian unity

A final aspect of silence, the Pope said, is that it is “essential for the journey of Christian unity.”

This, he said, is because silence “is fundamental to prayer, and ecumenism begins with prayer and is sterile without it.”

Thus, “the more we turn together to the Lord in prayer, the more we feel that it is he who purifies us and unites us beyond our differences.”


Pope Francis brought his address to an end with a prayer that we might “learn again to be silent: to listen to the voice of the Father, the call of Jesus and the groaning of the Spirit.”

“Let us ask,” he said, “that the Synod be a kairós of fraternity, a place where the Holy Spirit will purify the Church from gossip, ideologies and polarization," and "may we know, like the Magi, how to worship in unity and in silence the mystery of God made man, certain that the closer we are to Christ, the more united we will be among ourselves.”


On the eve of the first session on the Synod on Synodality, if there ever was a verdict on what is going on in the Church for the past ten years, this photo is it. 

Normally these kinds of consistories are held inside St. Peter’s. Expecting this liturgy on the eve of the Synod on Synodality to attract a completely full St. Peter’s Square, the liturgy (not a Mass) was moved outdoors. The crowd, though, could have easily fit inside the basilica! 

It is a beautiful Saturday morning—more than half the chairs are empty and the sections that seem to be full have many empty seats. 

This is how the National Catholic Reporter says it:

Under a sun-drenched, though somewhat sparsely crowded St. Peter's Square, the pope tasked the new cardinals — his new orchestra members — to represent "the harmony and the synodality of the church." 

This, a liturgy presided by the pope, fails to attract Catholics, non Catholics or tourists:

Throughout the video, due to good camera work, there is never a full shot of St. Peter’s Square, only close-ups of the small sections of seating with chairs, that makes it look like lots of people are there when there really isn’t. Embarrassing to say the least, and Vatican News knows it!

I am sure there was chatter among the new and old cardinals present at the spectacle of a liturgy like this presided by the pope to have attracted so few people, faithful or not! Certainly the roots of this will be discussed by the new and old Cardinals at the next Conclave!

Copied from Vatican News:

Pope to new Cardinals: Work for 'an ever more symphonic and synodal Church'

In his homily during the Consistory for the creation of 21 new Cardinals, Pope Francis reflects on unity and diversity in the Church, highlighting the importance of synodality under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the “master of walking together.”

By Lisa Zengarini

“The College of Cardinals is called to resemble a symphony orchestra, representing the harmony and synodality of the Church.” Pope Francis made this remark as he presided on Saturday at the Consistory for the creation of 21 Cardinals in St. Peter's Square.

Diversity in one Catholic Church

In his homily addressed to the College of Cardinals and its new members (including 19 archbishops and bishops, and two priests), the Pope reflected on the reading from the Acts on the story of the Pentecost, in which the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and experienced the gift of tongues as they preached the Gospel to Jews of different nationalities in Jerusalem (Acts 2, 1-11).

He drew attention to the similarity between all those Jews of different nationalities and languages who heard the Apostles preaching to them and the Bishops and Cardinals of our time hailing “from all parts of the world, from the most diverse nations”.

This, Pope Francis noted, offers a different perspective from that which traditionally identifies the pastors of the Church with the Apostles: that of those peoples of Jerusalem who received the Kerygma, the proclamation of the mystery of salvation, and in welcoming it, (…) became part of the Church (…) who speaks all languages, is One and is Catholic”.

The gift of being evangelized in our own language

He therefore pointed out that before being “apostles”, before being priests, Bishops, Cardinals, pastors should remember that they are “Parthians, Medes, Elamites etc.” like those converted Jews, and should be grateful “for having received the grace of the Gospel in their own language through their grandparents and parents, catechists, priests, and religious”.

“Indeed - he said - we are evangelizers to the extent we cherish in our hearts the wonder and gratitude of having been evangelized, even of being evangelized, because this is really a gift always present, that must be continually renewed in our memories and in faith.” 

“In the ‘flesh’ of our people, the Holy Spirit has worked the wonder of communicating the mystery of Jesus Christ who died and rose again. And this came to us ‘in our language’ (…). The faith is transmitted ‘in dialect’ by mothers and grandmothers.”

Remarking that “the Pentecost is not a thing of the past”, but” a creative act that God continually renews”, and that “the Church, and every baptized member, lives the today of God, through the action of the Holy Spirit”, Pope Francis reminded the Cardinals receiving the biretta today that their new role renews in them their “vocation and mission in and for the Church”.

Working for an ever more symphonic and synodal Church

He clarified this mission with the image of the orchestra which embodies simultaneous diversity and unity “representing the harmony and synodality of the Church”.

“Diversity is necessary; it is indispensable. However, each sound must contribute to the common design. This is why mutual listening is essential”, the Pope said, adding that the conductor of the orchestra is called to help “each person and the whole orchestra develop the greatest creative fidelity”.

Hence the call to the College of Cardinals to work for “an ever more symphonic and synodal Church” confiding in the Holy Spirit who “creates variety and unity and “is harmony itself.”

“We entrust ourselves to his gentle and strong guidance, and to the gracious care of the Virgin Mary,” Pope Francis concluded.


Below I link a Crux article and interview with newly minted Cardinal Pierre the Papal Nuncio to the USA.

The good Cardinal is diplomatic. While there has been polarization in the Church since Vatican II (caused, by the way, by the polarizing “spirit of Vatican II” changes shoved down people’s throats in a pre-Vatican II authoritarian way) both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI did much to diffuse the polarization because of their clarity of teaching, opening the Church to the pre-Vatican II liturgies and  being nice people whose rhetoric was calming not polarizing. They never resorted to verbal insults directed at one kind of Catholics.

Pope Francis, either intentionally or not, has opened up old wounds, especially as it concerns clarity of teaching, many issues once thought to be settled in terms of sexuality and Holy Orders, to include Holy Matrimony, and has poured gasoline on those whose old scars fires have been reopened. He insults people of an orthodox perspective.

Yes, there are radical traditional Catholics, who hate this pope. Hating anyone, even the pope, pure and simple is a mortal sin. But since Pope Francis wants to reopen what is a sin and isn’t and what mortal sinners can do while accompanied by the Church, I guess one could make a case for hating the pope. Maybe we need to listen to these haters and confirm their hate rather than make them feel excluded?

That’s where we are heading.

Nonetheless, that Cardinal Pierre felt the need to address the polarization in the USA indicates that he knows it is quite serious and depending on what Pope Francis approves as a result of the Synod on the Synodality,  there may well be a worldwide schism, not only here but in Africa and other orthodox countries. 

If the Pope leans towards orthodoxy as a result of the synod on synodality, the real problem for polarization will come from the heterodox—they will go into schism. If you want to see hate, go back to Pope Benedict’s papacy and how the heterodox reacted to him. They are the real polarizing and hateful clique in the Church. But I don’t think Benedict ever verbally insulted them.

 It is a no win situation. If both the heterodox and orthodox are appeased, there will be a silent schism which has been going on since Vatican II now claiming about 90% of the worldwide Catholic population who no loner are practicing Catholics.

Rome we have a problem:

Pope’s envoy rejects claims of a ‘great divide’ between Francis and the US

ROME – Cardinal-designate Christophe Pierre, Pope Francis’s envoy to the United States and one of his new red hat recipients, has rejected perceptions of a “great divide” between the Argentine pontiff and the Church in the United States.

Speaking to Crux during a Sept. 29 press point in Rome, Pierre said he would not describe the situation between the pope and the US Church as “a great divide, it’s not a great divide. I think it’s more correct to say that we live in a society which is divided, we live in a society which is polarized.”


Friday, September 29, 2023



This commentary isn’t about the TLM, but about the modern Mass, but reformed to be in continuity with the TLM. 

Everyone has their own opinion about why so many Catholics, up to 83% of them, do not go to Mass and certainly don’t think anything special is happening during the Mass. It is social change, individualism, loss of faith, loss of confidence in the bishops and priests of the Church, to include the pope, loss of transcendence, dignity and reverence. Why go and be bored to death with blah and homilies that put most people to sleep or to a zoning out state of mind? 

The Modern Mass is here to stay, but its form and manner of celebration is not set in concrete.

I am angered and frustrated that Pope Benedict did not create a “new Consilium” to reform the Modern Mass, which is in need of reform more so than the TLM at the time of the Council was reformed fixing things that weren’t broken. 

Here is what needs to be done:

1. Restore the ancient order of the Mass. The Official Entrance Chant is required and in the form of the TLM’s but in the vernacular or Latin. The priest and ministers process to the sanctuary, but at the foot of the altar, after the chanting of the Introit, the priest begins in an audible voice with the sign of the cross and immediately introduces the Penitential Act with the prescribed words. The Confiteor is said by all with the modern absolution. The Priest ascends to the ad orientem altar as the Kyrie is chanted praying the TLM devotional prayers silently. The Gloria is chanted or spoken and then the priest turns to the assembly and says/chants “The Lord be with you.” Then he goes to the epistle side of the altar and prays the Collect.

All are seated for the Liturgy of the Word.

2. The lectionary is reformed to eliminate one of the first readings and to restore the Gradual/Tract. The Liturgy of the Word is carried out as it is now offered in the Modern Mass. Lectors are officially installed and wear the alb or cassock and surplice to perform their ministry. 

3. On Sundays the homily is required and should be 5 to 8 minutes long and relevant to people’s life, not a theological discourse or repetition of the readings. 

4. The Credo is prayed with the priest standing at the middle of the altar. The Universal Prayer is suppressed. The Offertory Antiphon is restored to the missal and always offered in the manner of the TLM’s.

5. The Offertory Procession is suppressed

6. The traditional offertory prayers are restored and prayed in a low voice.

7. After the prayer after the priest washes his hands, he turns to the congregation with the full “Orates Fratres” and then prays out loud the Prayer over the gifts.

8. The Roman Canon is prayed on Sundays and Solemnities. Eucharistic Prayer III is the alternative Canon, all the others are suppressed. The canon is prayed in a low voice with the TLM’s restored rubrics. 

9. The Communion Rite is restored to the TLM’s format. 

10. Holy Communion is distributed at the altar railing with reception on the tongue while kneeling. Only bishops, priests, deacons and formally instituted acolytes may distribute Holy Communion and the installed acolytes vested in alb or cassock and surplus. 

11. The concluding rite recovers the TLM’s order. The last Gospel is suppressed. 

Definitely my way will restore the vigor and health of the modern Mass and by its beauty and transcendence it will  attract the laity to the Mass and inspire non Catholics. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023



In Noting That Overlong Sunday Masses Are Driving Down Church Attendance, Cardinal Dolan Vindicates Critics of the Liturgical Reform


Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York recently published an article about why Catholics are not coming to Sunday Mass any more. The top reason: Mass is too long. He also notes that the "Liturgy of the Word"— readings from scripture— now overshadows the "Liturgy of the Eucharist," leading the Eucharist to become an "afterthought."


CARA survey belief in Eucharist

 Our Sunday Visitor is reporting on the CARA study survey in 2022 just released:

(OSV News) — Almost two-thirds of Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but only 17% of adult Catholics physically attend Mass at least once per week, according to a newly published survey from Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The survey also revealed a high correlation between belief in the Eucharist and weekly or even monthly Mass attendance.

The 2022 survey of self-identified Catholics published Sept. 26 and titled “Eucharist Beliefs: A National Survey of Adult Catholics” found 64% of respondents provided responses that indicate they believe in the Real Presence, that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly present under the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist.

That conclusion was drawn from both open-ended and closed-ended questions respondents were asked about their understanding of church teaching about the Eucharist and additional questions to clarify their beliefs.

Read the rest at Our Sunday Visitor

 My comments and questions: What is not clear to me is 64% of respondents believe in the real presence as taught by the Church but only 17% of adult Catholics attend Mass at least once a week. What I am not clear on is if of the 17% who bother to attend Mass each week, is it 64% of them who believe what the Church teaches about the Real Presence?

At any rate, as is acknowledged in the article, we some 55 years into implementing Vatican II have failed miserably to do so. I don't see the Eucharistic Revival making much of a difference, although it won't hurt. What will hurt is the on-going confusion being sowed by the Vatican about the Church's doctrinal and moral teachings that will push more out of the Church and attending Mass. Even if the Vatican allows women's ordination, LGBTQ+++ "marriages" and people in mortal sin allowed to receive Holy Communion, even the non-baptized, these people, who have felt shunned by the Church will not return and more will leave who are put out with a Church ruled by the LGBTQ+++ political lobby and all that it represents.

Only a return to the Liturgical piety, rules and ethos of the TLM, even if in the vernacular, will make a difference. And in a completely Modern Mass, kneeling for Holy Communion received on the tongue and distributed only by a bishop, priest, deacon or adult acolyte will turn things around! How you pray and how your receive is the law of belief and devotion!

Only the TLM could motivate and inspire this kind of belief and devotion:



FR. MICHAEL J. KAVANAUGH: My point is that, when something pointless becomes fetishized, liturgically speaking, it should be carefully examined and, if necessary, jettisoned. I would suggest that hem-lifting is one we could-and should-do without. 

Just who decides when something liturgical becomes pointless? The pope? The bishops? God forbid, liturgical theologians? 

Obviously, Pope Francis believes that more than 1,600 years of a particular order of the Mass, the TLM, has been fetishized and he examined it and in contradiction to previous popes, to include Paul VI, he is jettisoning it. 

But let’s look at the once and for all, definitive for all time to come, the reformed Mass of Vatican II. 

What has become fetishized? For some, it is the alb under the chasuble or dalmatic. 

For others, there is a good case to jettison the offertory procession which has become fetishized, enhancing it with liturgical movement (dance) and prolonging the Mass. Today, very few actually bring the monetary offerings to the altar, because most send their offertory via mail or electronic means. And we have to protect the money from being stolen, so it is placed in a vault rather than in front of the altar. 

It is time to jettison the Offertory Procession because, quite frankly, it is pointless. 

The Kiss of Peace needs jettisoning too! Who really understands the kiss of peace anyway? There is a theology that is good, but in practice it has become something altogether different. The stylized version of it in the TLM’s Solemn Sung Mass is hierarchical and highly stylized. 

The washing of the feet, speaking about fetishes—jettison it, please, please, please, especially kissing the foot after washing it—that’s a fetish gone way too far! Yuck!

And standing for Holy Communion is pointless and fetishized. The theological reason for recovering this posture (talk about going backwards!) has to do with the early Church practice that in the Latin Rite shifted to kneeling. Why stand? The fetishized reason is that it is a sign or symbol of being raised up in Christ, that standing, get this, is a symbol of the resurrection, as though simply being alive isn’t enough of a symbol of the resurrection, whether you are sitting, kneeling, standing, laying down or sleeping! Standing for Holy Communion need to be jettisoned!

Certainly Mass facing the congregation is a fetish and needs jettisoning. Anything else?


 Brian Fraga has a commentary in the NCR railing against orthodox Catholics who are complaining about the Synod as a way to create a different Church which, in fact, is another denomination. 

Fraga indicates that Pope Francis sees the synod on synods as an act of God. 

Creeping infallibility anyone?

All voices must be heard except Mueller, EWTN and anyone who has concerns about the synod itself. The left’s propaganda is to call their concerns “misinformation”. 

It’s fine if the NCR wants to critique orthodox Catholics. But the NCR reporter simply states the facts. He can’t repudiate what these orthodox Catholics are saying, he can only go backwards to the 1970’s and shame them as being “orthodox” or “conservative” the political term, not the religious one, which is what out of control heterodox did in the 1970’s. Back then, the “N” word they used was to call the orthodox so “pre-Vatican II!”

As I have written before, shaming those who want an orthodox Catholicism, open to its past, present and future, is the way of the heterodox. Words like fundamentalist, rigid, conservative, traditional, become the new “N” words. They use these terms to manipulate and shame and ultimately marginalize. 

They’ve lost not just the battle, but the war. The article below does nothing to show that the concerns of the orthodox is “misinformation”.  Truth or misinformation? You decide. 

The conservative Catholic 'misinformation' campaign against the Synod of Bishops

German Cardinal Gerhard Müller appears on Eternal Word Television Network's "The World Over" with host Raymond Arroyo during an Oct. 6, 2022, broadcast. (NCR screenshot/YouTube/EWTN)

Wednesday, September 27, 2023





I will embed in RED, my comments to Bishop Kemme's excellent treatise on what he expects for liturgies in his diocese. But let me say a couple of things.

The Mass, since Vatican II, as we all know and have experienced, is more clerical than it ever was prior to the Council. Bishops and priests make up their own rubrics or dismiss the rubrics present in the modern Mass in a minimalist way--that's clericalism especially if the words of the Mass are changed to suit the priest or bishop. 

Part of the clericalism is placed on steroids given the legitimate options in the Mass which include variations on the penitential act and which one is chosen and who chooses. The same with the Eucharistic Prayer, the Mystery of Faith acclamation. One can chant the propers, aka, introit and other antiphons, but other options allow something similar or completely different. 

But the one thing that trumps all other problems with the Modern Mass boils down to taste! A variety of styles of music and instrumentation, which are all over the place, in terms of options, makes the chanting of the Mass based upon taste, not tradition. And whose taste? We all know what kind of music we all like. To demand that my likes be included and my dislikes be removed is the height of clericalism. But that's the modern Mass. 

What is sung and how it is sung in the Mass has caused me more stress as a priest than any other liturgical issue.

 Let's face it, many who have an opinion on music for the Mass, prefer kitsch to art. And they prefer it in a vociferous way!

Let's dig into Bishop Kemme's pastoral letter on the liturgy with my astute comments embedded in RED.

‘Let us sing with the Lord,’ Bishop Kemme urges in pastoral letter

Bishop Kemme’s pastoral letter focuses on making the liturgy a transcendent experience. (Advance photo)

Dear Priests, Pastoral Musicians, and Lay Faithful,

A few years ago, I came across a promotional video for a program for liturgical music called “Source and Summit.” The video outlined how restoring the sacred nature of music in the liturgy significantly impacted the Sunday worship of a parish, which, in time, brought the parish from the brink of closure to a great renewal of parish vitality and growth. Seeing this video reignited in me a desire that I have had throughout my priesthood, serving for many years as a pastor and now as a bishop, to restore sacred music in the liturgy. (Excellent!)

Bishop Carl A. Kemme

When done well, I am convinced that music in the liturgy facilitates a transcendent experience, lifts our hearts and minds to God, and helps to bring about a fully conscious and actual participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Because of this, I have asked the Office of Worship to implement certain principles for Sacred Music as a model for what I would like to see at the liturgy throughout our diocese. I hope our episcopal liturgies will inspire priests and musicians to take a serious look at the Sacred Music in their parishes and help align it with the vision for music in the Church. In the following words, I would like to share my vision for Sacred Music in the Diocese of Wichita. This vision is less my own; I consider it to be the Church’s vision for sacred music.

“On Sacred Music: Let us Sing with the Lord.”

I have entitled this pastoral letter “On Sacred Music: Let us Sing with the Lord.” I believe this title expresses a profound reality about the liturgy. The Mass is the action of the whole body of Christ. In the liturgy, we, and the entire Mystical Body, participate with Christ the head in offering the one perfect sacrifice to the Father. This reminds us that the liturgy is an act of worship to the Father, through the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. In the Liturgy, Christ offers God the Father the perfect sacrifice. By baptism, we are incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ and can partake in this offering.

Christ left us the memorial of his sacrifice so that we might learn what it means to offer ourselves as a complete and total self-gift to the Father. By participating in Christ’s sacrifice to the Father, we also learn to give our lives as a living sacrifice. When the entirety of the liturgy is prayed, ad Deum, which in Latin means toward God, the liturgy sends us back into the world to live life as self-gift ad Deum. (Thank God the good bishop encourages ad orientem and the simple cogent reason why!) Indeed, many aspects of the liturgy portray the idea of self-gift; however, I want to emphasize how it is revealed in sacred music.

As we begin the liturgy, the priest and assisting ministers process toward the sanctuary. This represents our ascent to the Heavenly Jerusalem, where we pass from this world to the world to come. In the liturgy, we transcend space and time to participate in the sacrifice of Christ at the one altar that remains in the temple of the Heavenly Kingdom. From the onset, the music accompanying this procession should direct our thoughts to the particular mystery being celebrated, and it should resemble the song of the angels and the saints revealed to us in the scriptures. However, too often, we sing music that focuses not on God but on us. When this happens, the liturgy loses its focus on God and can become self-serving rather than self-giving. (Amen! Bishop Kemme! You get it!)

The church invites us to sing

Rather than entering into a discussion about which hymns may or may not be appropriate for use in the Mass—a subjective judgment that too often relies on personal taste and preference (personal taste and preference is clericalism pure and simple!)—my humble guidance is to turn our attention toward the texts of the Mass, which the Church herself invites us to sing. For example, just as the Church proposes texts for us to sing for the Responsorial Psalm and Alleluia, we also have proper texts intended to be sung at the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion processions.

These scripture verses, commonly called the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion Antiphons, are chosen by the Church to help reveal the particular mystery being celebrated. Therefore, rather than agonize over which hymn to choose, it seems fitting and preferable to use the texts provided by the Church as they are found in the Roman Missal and the Roman Gradual. (Wow, I am out of breath! Bishop Kemme gets it. So often choices are made with these chants which enables the congregation to sing along. But these are Sacred Scripture, for the most part, and like the liturgy of the Word, we don't pick and choose Scriptures so the entire congregation can say it along with the reader or understand the reading! We are given the Scriptures which must be implemented!)

Throughout the tradition of the Church, most of these proper texts provided have been set to different Gregorian melodies, and even at times, the texts have been set in pieces of polyphony. A distinguishing characteristic of these texts is that the word always comes first and is more essential than the musical composition. This is important because the sung word in the liturgy is the Word that became flesh. (Just wow!!! He gets it!)

At first, singing the antiphons may seem like a significant shift; however, it is a form of singing that we are already familiar with since singing the antiphons with their Psalm verses resembles the singing of the Responsorial Psalm. The antiphons, with their Psalm verses, are a part of Christ’s prayer to the Father, and when we sing them in the liturgy, we unite our voice to the voice of Christ. (Indeed! these are never omitted, sung or spoken, in the Traditional Latin Mass!)

Sing the Mass

What I desire most for sacred music in the liturgy is to shift our mindset from singing AT Mass to singing THE Mass. (I'm beginning to think Bishop Kemme has been reading my most humble blog. I have written this over and over and over again!) This may seem like a minute distinction, but I believe it is crucial. Utilizing the texts Christ has given us through the Church, we can restore the sacred and transcendent nature of the liturgy, emphasizing three important principles: the sanctity of sacred music, the intrinsic beauty of sacred music, and the universality of sacred music.

Sacrosanctum Concilium, a document of the Second Vatican Council, calls for a reform of the liturgy. Paragraph 112 reminds us how to evaluate the sanctity of sacred music when it states, “Sacred music is to be considered the more holy in proportion as it is more closely connected with the liturgical action, whether it adds delight to prayer, fosters unity of minds, or confers greater solemnity upon the sacred rites.”

A transformation

This way of understanding sacred music in our churches could truly transform how we approach liturgical music in the Mass. I believe that giving our attention to choosing music that is closely connected with the liturgical action will help us foster an encounter with the Divine. (Who chooses? What is it they choose, what is not allowed, if anything today, is part of the problem.)
When sacred music is closely associated with the liturgical action, it facilitates a more profound encounter with beauty, which is the second characteristic or principle of sacred music. In an audience with International Choirs, Pope Francis said, “Liturgical and sacred music can be a powerful instrument of evangelization because it gives people a glimpse of the beauty of heaven.” Earlier, I mentioned that in the liturgy, we ascend to the altar in the heavenly Kingdom.

A heavenly reality

In other words, we can say, through signs and symbols, the liturgy presents the beauty of the heavenly reality. There can certainly be a temptation to try to sanctify popular or secular music, even secular Christian music, by admitting it to the liturgy. However, we should avoid this temptation because the liturgy is meant to be something totally other so that when the priest dismisses us from the liturgy, we can go eagerly back into the world to transform and consecrate the world to God in our daily lives. (Wow, just wow, a bishop writing this as though he is an authority on the liturgy! Of course he is, but a bishop's authority comes from knowing the liturgy and Bishop Kemme does!)

To exhibit the uniqueness and beauty of sacred music, we should hold fast to our tradition and give pride of place to the Church’s preferred musical instruments, which are the human voice and the organ, and to musical repertories of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. When liturgical music holds fast to these elements of our tradition, it expresses heaven’s true beauty because these particular traditions are primarily reserved for the liturgy. When an environment of beauty is cultivated, we encounter something other than ourselves, someone other than ourselves: we encounter God. (Wow! What more needs to be written! God bless Bishop Kemme!)

Music is universal

Lastly, we should consider the universality of sacred music. By this, I mean music should not be based on personal preference or overly dependent on cultural expression. We should avoid the ever-present temptation to sing what is popular or expedient. Still, considering the other fundamental principles of sanctity and beauty, we should strive to employ music that transcends personal preference and leaves all who have attended with a sense of encountering something marvelous, regardless of cultural experience or other subjective factors. In summary, when liturgical music is sacred, beautiful, and universal, I am convinced that we can truly sing with the Lord during the celebration of the Mass, which offers us a powerful and life-changing experience. (Every bishop in the world should read this document!)

Some may question why it is necessary to outline a vision for Sacred Music in the Diocese of Wichita. Some may consider other issues to be of greater importance. However, I believe that promoting and restoring sacred music aligns with two important priorities in our pastoral plan. The third priority of our diocesan pastoral plan is the “renewal of parish and family life by reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day.”

The Mass must be given the highest priority to achieve this goal. The worship of God each week on Sunday is, without a doubt, the most important thing we do as individuals, families, and parishes. Since it is the most important thing we do each week, we should treat it as such. The liturgy should be carefully prepared and thought out. (Sunday Mass is where we reach the majority, the vast majority, of our Catholic parishioners and others who attend. Yes, Bishop Kemme, you are right--Sunday Mass is Sacred and the most important thing we do each week!)

Offer our best to God

It should be evident that every detail was given attention and that we took the time to ensure that we would be offering our best in worship to God. The liturgy should never become an afterthought or just something we do. The Mass is at the core of our identity as Catholic Christians, and by celebrating the liturgy well, we can, as I have said, more fully direct our hearts and minds to God. (Amen! Alleluia!!!!)

Reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day becomes easier when we do this. It has now become clear that Sunday is something special. It is a day where we pause, think of holy things, re-center our lives on what is most important, and remember who God is and His message of his salvation. (Bishop Kemme, we need to also celebrate Sunday Mass on Sunday, even if early in the morning to reclaim Sunday as the Lord's Day. People go on Saturday night so they don't have to worry about Mass on Sunday morning! What does that say to Catholics about the Lord's Day?)

When our Sunday celebrations of the liturgy allow us to encounter the heavenly liturgy, the Lord’s Day becomes a day of re-creation so that throughout the week, in the ordinariness of life, we can consecrate the world to God. When the liturgy is well prepared, carefully thought out, not rushed, and prayed with reverence and devotion, we begin to see that we can carefully plan our whole day in a similar way.

Renewing stewardship

Additionally, I think that appropriate attention given to the liturgy can help with the second priority in our Diocesan pastoral plan, renewing the Stewardship Way of Life. At the heart of our understanding of Stewardship is the belief that everything we have received is a gift from God and that we are called to offer all we have received back to him as a gift. In short, the Stewardship Way of Life is characterized by how we live out self-gift, self-sacrifice, and giving our lives to God in grateful response for all we have received. In no better place is this modeled for us than in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where we re-present the moment Christ gave himself freely so that we might have an abundant life. (My title says that Wichita is first in Stewardship, so much so, that if you tithe to your parish, you pay no tuition for the Catholic school your child attend! That is breathtaking to say the least!)

Christ, the perfect gift

The sacrifice of Christ is the perfect gift given once and for all. Christ’s self-gift inspires us and expresses how we are called to offer ourselves as an offering to God. I desire that careful attention to the liturgy will fan into flame in our hearts the desire to give of ourselves freely. The renewal of the Stewardship way of life separated from the authentic renewal of the liturgy and, with that, sacred music, would be to lose our identity as people who are primarily called to join ourselves to the perfect gift of Christ to the Father as we participate at Mass.
In the Mass, we are taught what it means to live a “Stewardship Way of Life,” and it is there that we receive the abundant grace necessary to live as faithful stewards. Without this grace, our efforts are doomed from the beginning because, without God, we can do nothing. The renewal of the liturgy and the renewal of stewardship go together. (Do I hear an Amen?)

A grateful response

In the liturgy, our grateful response as Christian disciples is most perfectly manifested; it is there that we recognize that all we have received is God’s gift to us, and it is there that we return to the Father all that we have shared in love of Him and neighbor. I sincerely hope we can relearn what it means to be faithful stewards through the restoration of sacred music and the liturgy as a whole.

I humbly offer these reflections on the importance of sacred music as an encouragement and exhortation to us all. I reiterate my hope that we will not merely sing AT Mass but sing with the Lord. We want everything we do and say to be directed toward God (ad Deum) and to offer fitting worship to him. (This tells us that ad orientem assists clergy and laity in directing everything we do toward God, not the closed circle of a "narcissistic congregationalism!")

In our episcopal liturgies, I have asked that we model the preference for singing the antiphons given to us by the Church, also incorporating some elements of Latin as the Second Vatican Council suggested, and singing by the priest celebrant at the times asked for by the Church. At the very least, I ask that we carefully choose our music to be theocentric – that is, focused on God. When the liturgy becomes about me or inordinately focused on the gathered assembly, we have lost our focus. I sincerely hope our music can always bring us into an encounter with the transcendent. (Wow! However, take the bold step and mandate the chanting of the official propers and the diocese should provide workshops for parish music directors to learn how to do it in a beautiful and inspiring way!)

Lastly, I encourage you, my dear priests, liturgical musicians, and lay faithful, to give due consideration to these thoughts on the sacred music in our liturgies. I know many demands require your attention, but none can be more important than the way the sacred liturgy is celebrated in your parishes. I want to thank you for the many ways I am already seeing this vision becoming a reality across the diocese.

I pray that the music we choose for our Sunday celebrations will reflect Christ’s prayer to the Father. The Mass is the sung prayer of Christ to the Father, and our Church has a rich tradition of setting the texts of the Mass to sacred music. My brother priests, I encourage you to sing the Mass. I realize this is more challenging for some, but I sincerely believe it sets the liturgy apart. (I have mixed feelings here. If a priest can't chant and it is a penance for him and others to hear him, he should not chant. The same with a schola. If they can't chant the propers in a beautiful way, but make it tedious and embarassing, don't chant them!)

Sing – even a single note

Even if it is sung on a single note, I hope you will offer your best efforts to sing with the Lord. I recommend that you consult documents such as Musicam Sacram, which implements the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on sacred music, as well as Sing to the Lord from the USCCB, which outlines the Church’s preferences for which texts are intended to be sung. Let us give greater attention to preparing sacred music for the liturgy. Let us lead the people in reclaiming Sunday and renewing the “Stewardship Way of Life” by emphasizing that the Mass is Christ’s sung prayer to the Father.

My dear musicians, choirs, cantors, and all those assisting with preparing the music for Mass, I encourage you to think and act with the mind of the Church. Let us sing the words that the Church asks of us and do so to the best of our ability. I realize that this task is not without its challenges and limitations. Still, we can all take small but determined steps to align ourselves more closely with the principles of sanctity, beauty, and universality.

Glorify God with song

Finally, dear lay faithful, I ask for your openness to our efforts to align the music in our churches with the vision of the universal Church. Change can be difficult, but our efforts to glorify God most fitting will unquestionably be blessed. I encourage you to participate in the singing of the Mass and allow the sung Word of the Mass to transform your interior disposition. When we arrive at Mass, let us come prepared to participate as fully as possible in Christ’s offering to the Father. (To chant the propers and have the priest chant his parts, both done well, is a challenge to the kitsch that is sung in so many parishes, completely disconnected from the texts and rubrics of the Mass!)

To all I say: let us sing with the Lord.

Humbly Yours in Christ,
+The Most Rev. Carl A. Kemme
Bishop of Wichita

Monday, September 25, 2023


 Here’s a screen shot of the magnificent Church and the magnificent liturgy that teaches us how well Vatican II has been implemented as it concerns Ireland and Sacrosanctum Concilium. And just think that they have been able to accomplish this in less that 100 years!

Thank God that Pope Francis has canceled Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI’s going backwards. If they had their way, we wouldn’t have this well implemented Vatican II Liturgy, that took only about 55 years to establish, not 100 years!!! 

Watch the magnificent video on Facebook by pressing HERE


 This is not good…

From Catholic World Report:

The Rupnik business will stain and possibly define Pope Francis’s legacy

Over the past several days, hard-boiled newsman Ed Condon reluctantly conceded that “there is a motivating force for the protection of Rupnik,” and Robert Mickens—a veteran Vatican hand generally well disposed to Francis—openly asked whether Pope Francis isn’t the one protecting him.


And this from La Croix and very progressive Robert Mickens:

Is Pope Francis protecting Marko Rupnik?
By Robert Mickens 

As these lines are being written, Pope Francis is in the middle of an overnight visit to the southern French port city of Marseille. And he's made some very bold and extremely important statements that Europe and its elected leaders needs to hear regarding the Old Continent's policy (or, rather, lack of policy and foresight) regarding the arrival of migrants and refugees from various parts of Africa, the Middle East, and other so-called "third world" areas of the Global South.

Europe, with its aging population and dangerously low birth rate, needsimmigrants. The question, as the pope rightly points out, is how to integrate them in a way that preserves and enriches European civilization. There is much to discuss on this issue and Francis is to be credited for pushing the continent's political and societal leaders to do so more seriously and with greater perspicacity.

But there is an ugly shadow quietly looming over the papal visit, which has nothing to do with the Jesuit pope's prophetic leadership on the migration issue or whatever else he's addressed in Marseille. Indeed, it is a matter that could badly tarnish his entire pontificate and legacy. We're talking about the way Francis has handled the case of Marko Rupnik, the (former Jesuit) priest-mosaic artist who has been credibly accused of sexually and spiritually abusing numerous women religious.

Try La Croix International now for just USD 1 a Month!

The Society of Jesus expelled the 68-year-old Slovenian from the religious order earlier this year after he refused to follow the restrictions (penalties for the abuse) that his superiors placed on him, his artistic work, and his ministry.

Read More