Unholy Mass in Austria With Explicit Approval of Cardinal Schonborn

Updated below with still photographs.

Christoph Cardinal Schonborn has had a series of blunders these past 18 months.  From his participation in a balloon Mass to criticizing a high ranking Cardinal of the Vatican.  He has been verbally and personally reprimanded by the Pope himself.

Now comes this ‘Wild Western’ Mass caught on video being celebrated in Austria with his explicit approval.

You be the judge:

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A Mass is celebrated in Austria with the explicit approval of Cardinal Schonborn. Shown in this Mass being celebrated in German are sacrilegious, blasphemous, and unholy desecration’s of the Holy Mass.

The entire episode looks more like a folk music festival rather than a Holy Mass. You see people drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, and eating what looks like steaks during the entire ‘Mass’.

The ‘theme’ of this ‘Mass’ looks to be that of the American West. People are also shown wearing Native American and Cowboy dress. You even see the Confederate battle flag next to the American flag adorning the stage where this ‘Mass’ is being celebrated.

_._

Update I: I’ve captured some photos of the video for closer examination.

The congregation is dressed up as Cowboys, ie, in 'western' dress. You even see someone taking a photo in the background, completely underscoring how unsolemn this Mass is.

A 'congregant' purchasing a beverage during 'Mass'.

The guitar 'choir' singing the kyrie eleison, I mean, Michael Jackson's "We Are The World" behind the confederate battle flag.

That isn't incense that's burning during and inside Mass.

A little sauerkraut during Mass. Is that in the Catechism?

How about a brewski and a smoke during the homily?

As Jesus is exalted in front of the Confederate Battle Flag and a tee pee.

The future priesthood being indoctrinated... never mind.

(Biretta tip:  gloria.tv)

49 Responses to Unholy Mass in Austria With Explicit Approval of Cardinal Schonborn

  • I see and hear of things like this and wonder why Cardinal Schonborn and his like are allowed to still call themselves Catholic. This is the same as the sex, idolatry and heresies that plagued the early Church. Persecution by the pagan Romans was never the greatest threat. Rather, it was dissension and discord and disobedience from within. The same is true today.

  • The Austrian Church seems far worse than the Belgian Church.

    If you recall the near riot that occurred when an orthodox bishop was installed in Linz. It had to be withdrawn because many priests and their girlfriends complained of his orthodoxy.

  • Tito,

    Hmmm. Much inappropriate here, but I have a few points of clarification:

    The video shows the Open Air Gospel Mass was celebrated as part of a three-day country music festival in Vienna, Austria (Danube Island Festival Country and Western site)in 2008. The program for the 2009 version of the fest (including the Mass on Sunday) can be found here: http://2009.donauinselfest.at/index.php?lang=de&module=programm&showInsel=17). The costumes are almost certainly part of the festival and not something worn specifically for the mass. Also, in Germany the Confederate battle jack is the symbol of country music; I would assume the same holds true in Austria. I very much doubt it was being used as a political symbol here.

    All that considered, the middle of a fest isn’t the best place to hold a mass, with the eating, drinking and talking sure to be going on in close proximity.

    My German isn’t great (in fact it’s lousy), but I think non-Catholic Christians (who profess belief in the Real Presence) are being invited to Holy Communion. Now that’s a real problem.

  • Sorry, the above comment was from Dminor – I forgot to change the settings!

  • DMinor,

    “Much inappropriate”?

    For what? For posting this video of a poorly celebrated Mass?

  • Much inappropriate with the way the Mass was conducted.
    I’m pretty much with you on this one.

    I worried that some of the cultural context (European Country Music Festival) was misinterpreted as central to that Mass. Some of the things that were cited in your post (i.e. costumes, flag) were functions of where the Mass was being held, rather than a plan for the mass. Having said that, there was much in that Mass with which to take issue.

  • DMinor,

    I see now what you mean.

    I can agree with you all of your points.

    Though the priest celebrating should also avoid “perceptions of scandal”.

    It’s sad all the way around.

  • I am one who happens to like the Confederate Battle Flag, after all it is the flag of the army of Northern Virginia and I am a proud resident of enemy-occupied Northern Virginia. Also, please note that the Battle Flag displays St. Andrew’s cross – a Catholic symbol.

    That being said, the only flag I would consider appropriate at a Mass would be the flag of the country that the Mass is being celebrated in and the Papal flag. The beautiful Stars & Bars has no place at a Mass, outside my home Commonwealth and the rest of the CSA – in the 1860s! Of course, the flag is the least of the problems with this irreverant debacle.

    Thanks for posting this, Tito. Many of us can take comfort in knowing that the poor liturgy and innovative rubrics at some of the Masses at which we assist is not nearly this bad. Even a bad NO is better than this.

    Why can’t the Vatican ORDER all Bishops to force their priests to read the black and do the red, exactly as is required? I suppose the rubrics were open to less individual interpretation prior to 1962.

  • “I am a proud resident of enemy-occupied Northern Virginia.”

    Oh grow the hell up.

  • Sydney,

    Do you love here in No. VA?

  • I think I agree with some of the comments on Fr. Z’s blog about this video: It looks pieced together with different sets of video, and it’s difficult to determine that there weren’t two separate events (BBQ and Mass) being intentionally presented as happening simultaneously. Though it is clear that there are smokers there during the actual liturgy while the priest is clearly visible. Being outside doesn’t help. I don’t speak German so can’t speak to what is being said here. Perhaps we should study this a little more before throwing up a rope.

  • Alan,

    I agree.

    The tee pee’s, rebel flag, cigarettes, cowboy dress, and people eating both the steak and Jesus were all photo-shopped.

    I can’t believe I actually believed what I saw.

  • “The tee pee’s, rebel flag, cigarettes, cowboy dress, and people eating both the steak and Jesus were all photo-shopped.”

    Note that this was not my assertion. Obviously there are abuses. However I am trying to ascertain whether some of the more BBQ-ish elements (buying food, drink, eating, etc) actually took place sometime before or after the liturgy rather than during. Distinctions are important.

  • So, you want me to believe that someone approached the cardinal with a request along the lines of “Hey, can we have a Mass combined with BBQ, country music, ashtrays and beer?”

    I highly doubt that.

  • How about write to the Cardinal, asking for clarification? Or write to the Holy See, asking for clarification. No one is allowed to judge cardinals, that is what the Pope said in his meeting with Cardinal Schonborn.

  • The author of this article is an idiot. If anyone is mocking the mass, it is a priest with poor judgment and the author of the article who is promoting scandal from a continent away. We are either with the church, or you are with her enemies.

  • Nick,

    I’m just presenting the video.

    Lank,

    Don’t attack the messenger.

    And you need to read the comments policy before commenting.

  • I’m not impressed by the decision that the ULTIMATE atrocity is the display of the Confederate flag. Is it inappropriate? Yes, certainly in this case it is. Any flag (certainly including the US flag) is a symbol for all that is good about a country, and also for all that is bad. A display of the Confederate flag would not be inappropriate at a Mass for the repose of the souls of those who died in the War Between the States. In this case, as is often the case, it seems to mean little more than “I like country music”, which is neither good nor evil. It is trivial, but its effect is evil: It trivializes the Mass.

    By the same token, though, it is wrong to use “patriotic songs” like America the Beautiful (which was the recessional at the Mass I attended this past Sunday) in place of actual hymns. The Mass is supposed to be centered on Christ, not Uncle Sam. Or do you only have a problem with the side shown so much honor by Blessed Pius IX?

  • Actually, I’m glad I saw this because a few weekends ago my 18 year old son attended a weekend music festival in Tennessee. When he returned home Sunday night I asked him if they had a Mass available there. He told me that would have been insane because, “people would have come crashing through in a drunken mess not even knowing what was happening.”

    That said, perhaps the whole “…except when on vacation or a Mass is otherwise unavailable” Sunday obligation business has been carefully considered and we Catholics should be cautious as to when and where we want to have the sacrifice of the Mass.

  • Is this the same Cardinal who wrote the Catechism? Ouch!

  • …or actually edited it? wow! what a turnabout face..

  • This is just weird.

    On a side note one of the most beautiful masses I have ever attended was while I was visiting Vienna a couple of months ago. It was at Stephansdom and it was in German but with a chorale and a chamber orchestra. I think it was the 10:00am Sunday Mass.

  • So I have a few questions. Number one is there only one diocese in Austria? If not how do we know this happened in the Cardinals diocese and not some other Diocese. How do we even know this happened in Austria? I’m not saying it didn’t but we are suppose to believe simply because someone said it did. Maybe there is more proof somwhere but wouldn’t one look stupid if they believed this was the case and it wasn’t the case? I for one need more proof that it actually tok place in Austria and it actually tok place in the Cardinals Diocese. Another question I have is if it actually took place in the Cardinals Diocese how do we know that the Cardinal gave explicit approval? Again because someone said it did. Did you ask the Cardinal if he gave explicit approval. If you haven’t fully found out the truth of the matter and the Cardinal didn’t give explicit approval and was perhaps even appalled that such a thing took place, assuming it did take place in his diocese, than isn’t the one who said he gave explicit approval guilty of some kind of sin?

    I’m just asking. If there is more evidence that this is actually in the Cardinals Diocese and he that he gave approval I would like to see it. I will wait to hear more on this before I make a judgment. I really find it hard to believe that the main author of The CCC would do things he is accused of.

  • Dave H.,

    If you’d like more evidence I suggest you follow through on your questions.

  • The priest is trying but unfortunately he had little control over the event and crowd to insure proper respect was accorded the mass. Hence poor judgment to offer the mass at that event, at that time. I’d like to redirect your attention to my website where the crucified Christ is paraded. He is revered by some. Yet in Mexico, the Catholic Church has to undo 70 years of ungodliness and teach the younger generations how to worship God. But in Austria too?

  • Excuse me…He had every control of the Mass cuz he knew what was going on in the crowd and decided to do it anyway. The priest needs to go back to the seminary and re-learn his Catechism.. ;-)

    The Priest should no better than to say Holy Mass in front of an eating and drinking crowd. And what about the crazy non religious music in the back drop? Was he unaware of that, too? Please stop..

  • Maybe St. Paul encountered the same. Read this chapter/verse.. Hauntingly similar..

    1 Cor 10:21 — Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons.

    1 Cor 11:33-34 — Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, wait one for another. If any man is hungry, let him eat at home; that your coming together be not unto judgment. And the rest will I set in order whensoever I come.

  • Dave H. –might I suggest you try the link my DH posted above? It’s the program for the 2009 fest (the video is of the 2008 fest.)

    Can we separate the sheep from the goats here?

    Authorizing Mass at a large fest so that staff and participants who might otherwise not be able to get away for Mass at the Cathedral can worship together=good. The Sabbath was made for man, etc.

    Arranging to hold that Mass in the middle of a busy, garishly decorated biergarten in an enormous festplatz where doubtless some less trafficked space could have been found=unbelievably poor judgement. Deliberate blasphemy? Can’t say–don’t read minds.

    Opening up Holy Communion beyond the usual dictates without a serious justification (if you didn’t catch this, freeze-frame the video at the Mass handout. If you don’t read German, copy it and run through a machine translator)=Violation of Church teaching and probable sacrilege. Whoever authorized that deserves blame.

    Having an Evangelischer (probably Methodist) choir not only perform (and I’m sure it’s not the first time Protestants have been engaged to sing at a Mass) but select “We are the World” as the after-Communion hymn=astronomically bad judgement. Though as bad was done often back in the 70’s. (My German is rudimentary, but this was described by the narrator so I’m taking her word for it. Otherwise, based on the video I couldn’t have said whether the song was being sung during Mass or outside of it.) Deliberate blasphemy? Again, I don’t read minds.

  • Europe has suddenly become a pagan nation. You all are in my prayers

  • Let’s be careful with how we assign the blame here. It is one thing to say that Cardinal Schoenborn allowed that a mass be said at a festival and quite another to state that he approved THIS mass with all its flaws. The “shocking” headline on NewAdvent.org reads “Austrian Catholics mock the mass” but that is more than a little misleading since many of those pictured in the story may not even be Catholics. Having said this, I for one deeply lament the abuse of Vatican II and the serious erosion of Christian culture in Europe and the West in general.

  • I am disgusted. All I can say is that Christ foresaw all these offenses to the Trinity while in the garden and suffered enormously for ungrateful, irreverent mankind. That’s what the deity did. Now, on the flip side, what man does, when flippantly participating in Holy Mass, or worse, when unworthily receiving Holy Communion, is heap myriad woes upon himself. He will find out just how so at the particular judgment.

  • We sometimes get the ad hoc masses because a few priests have become performers and can’t bring themselves to get off the stage. Headsets? The liturgy is abused.

  • The Guitar Mass is a big flag for me that the priest is either not in control of the liturgy or wants to be popular with the kids at the expense of the souls that are driven away due to the lack of solemnity and reverence in the Mass.

  • Looks to me like he is evangelizing. Does the Bible say there is something wrong with this? The two “1 Corinthians” quotes are out of context because they didn’t bring the food to the Liturgy, they brought the Liturgy to the festival. In the early days of the church the church met at peoples’ homes. They had the body and blood at each others’ homes. They sang whatever songs they were inspired to sing – at each others’ homes, and where ever they happened to be. They ate, drank, and probably cut a few farts. You guys are getting too formal, and adding too many of your own legalistic traditions. God’s people worship from the heart with true love and true feelings. They don’t just show up, go through the ritual and go home. Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, and the rest showed examples of worshiping outdoors. The night He was arrested, Jesus prayed to the father outdoors. Jesus’ first miracle was making water into wine at a wedding party. I’m sure that if they had and enjoyed cigarettes, and God thought someone was going to make a big deal about it, He would have pointed out some one smoking cigarettes. Remember the petty arguing about eating various animals? Jesus cleared that up by saying ‘It’s not what goes in that defiles you. It’s what comes out of you.’ Despite that, Peter still had to have a vision, later, too clear that up. I think the priest is evangelizing by bringing his Liturgy to the public. In a country that has few people who have observed a mass during the last 500 years, crashing a party to have Jesus eat with the sinners seems like an honest attempt. What would Jesus do? Oh yeah, he ate with sinners. THE POINT IS TO GET THEM SAVED!!! More important that all the formalism that does go on would be to actually read the Bible in or out of church. Remember what Jesus said to Peter three times? “Peter, do you love Me?” Peter said you know that I love you. Jesus said “THEN feed My sheep”. One of the proof that we love Jesus is if we read the Bible to others. It seems this guy found a way to do that. If you think it is too wild of a technique, you need to read Ezeikiel, the last two writings of Daniel, etc. God has specifically commanded prophets to use weird techniques to get people’s attention. The priest isn’t doing anything to desecrate God’s holy anything. If he got one more person saved, I’ll bet that person will be thankful on judgment day. We should all do whatever it takes to get others saved.

  • Henry,

    Thank you for that enlightening thought.

    Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

  • “Authorizing Mass at a large fest so that staff and participants who might otherwise not be able to get away for Mass at the Cathedral can worship together=good. The Sabbath was made for man, etc.

    “Arranging to hold that Mass in the middle of a busy, garishly decorated biergarten in an enormous festplatz where doubtless some less trafficked space could have been found=unbelievably poor judgement. Deliberate blasphemy? Can’t say–don’t read minds.”

    The practice of offering Sunday or holyday obligation Masses at a large fair, festival, convention, etc. is nothing new. However there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

    For example, there is a Mass scheduled at the Illinois State Fair on each Saturday evening of its run and on the Solemnity of the Assumption (when it is a holyday of obligation). It’s listed on this year’s schedule as well:

    http://www.agr.state.il.us/isf/illinois/#AUD

    Note that said Mass is offered in an auditorium inside a permanent building — NOT out on the midway, or in a beer tent, or in the grandstand. I note also that a 90-minute time period is set aside for this Mass, although the Mass itself almost certainly doesn’t take up the full 90 minutes, to allow for setting up and for taking everything down afterward.

    I haven’t personally attended this Mass so I can’t say how reverent it is, or isn’t, but obviously some effort is being made to minimize distractions. There are Lutheran and Church of Christ services offered on Sunday mornings during the fair in the same auditorium so there seems to be general agreement that this is a suitable “worship space,” for lack of a better term. If there was a permanent building or ampitheater available at this Austrian fest site, that is where the Mass ought to have been held.

  • I don’t care how much you like the flag or how little space there was or how “other” churches do it there. Ya don’t say Mass in front of people smoking, drinking, carousing, and eating! Gimmie a break people! When you have dinner at your home, is there any decorum? Is it a free for all? I think not. So why here where God becomes Bread to eat for us!????

    Card. Schonborn, IF, he knew about the happenings would not have allowed it. I am sure of it. This priest was totally and utterly innefactual at best and ignorant like a stone to the least!

    And what about the music he had in the back during Mass? What’s that all about and got to do with Eucharist?????????????????

  • FWIW:
    The link posted above by Dominikus Klein is basically visitor info for this year’s fest and most of it is about the fest. The Google translator version of the segment mentioning the mass is below:

    Zwtl.: Gospel Mass
    Sunday at 10 clock, the traditional open-air “Country
    Gospel Mass “instead. Cathedral Priest Toni Faber of the Vienna St. Stephen’s Church will celebrate this mass. Okemah takes musical accompaniment.

  • Okemah is a U.S. based folk rock group and are on the internet, if you want to look them up. Not sure what their church music background is.

    I’m risking a flaming saying this, but I’m married to a church guitarist and it’s not the instrument, it’s what you do with it. There are plenty of songs–many of them very nice songs and some even with religious themes– that should never be played as part of a Mass, even on a pipe organ. But a guitar is not an inevitably inappropriate supplement to reverent worship music (remember Stille Nacht?). I’m not crazy about the term “guitar mass”–it suggest the Mass revolves around guitars which should not be the case. Nor should it revolve around an organ or a Gregorian choir, however.

    BTW, Knight, though I know it’s hairsplitting, that’s the Southern Cross battle flag–the Stars and Bars was modeled on a design similar to the U. S. flag that has since been incorporated into a few Southern state flags, including the current Georgia flag.

  • cminor,

    Correct about the flag; however, based on some the responses I have received in the past when showing my Southern Patriotism, I doubt most on here would know. Additionally the Southern Cross may also refer to the Union Jack flag represented in the flags of various Anglo-sphere countries like Australia. The American Southern Cross sure is a beautiful flag. It has been stolen by racists far too often and we need to remember that it does not represent racism, although it did represent slave-owning states – taken in the context of the times – that was not unusual and although ignorance is no excuse – a mortal sin does require full knowledge. Sadly at the time, Anglos were of the mind that other races were inferior – all of them, not just the African. Some still hold this warped view, as do a number of black men with the name Shabazz. It is a fallen world.

    Nevertheless, the American Southern Cross is a military flag and no matter how you feel about the conflict – all the soldiers who fought it were American, brave and honored to fulfill their duty – Of course, the Yankees weren’t as gallant as our boys :)

    Of course, as stated before – as much as I love this flag, IT HAS NO PLACE AT A MASS!

    I often fear that I am out-of-line when I criticize what I view as irreverence – who am I? I am just a sinner that needs to judge himself and seek amendment. However, are we to stay silent when we see irreverence? Is it the priest, the pastor, could it be the Cardinal (I doubt that)? Is it the people, is it the culture? Aren’t we supposed to identify and correct, with charity of course? We are called to love each other, but that love can only come from love of God – if we truly put Him first, then shouldn’t we ensure that we do all we can to pay Him homage, praise and worship as He sees fit?

    People are offended by the slightest tinge of political incorrectness or ‘hate speech’. The world goes ape if you call a Sodomite a Sodomite, but we are supposed to allow irreverent behavior, that may be acceptable elsewhere, in the midst of Calvary, table of the Last Supper and the Wedding banquet in heaven!!!! Seriously. Our laxity is offensive and I will be the first to admit that I am not nearly as reverent as I should be. I have difficulty with the bad music (not directed at you cminor), poor attire, sign of conviviality, host in the hand of lay people, lay people in the sanctuary, bad vernacular translations, female alter servers, on and on. I know I should not let these Novus Ordo distractions affect me but they do. I can’t imagine cigarettes, BBQ, rock and roll – all things I actually like (well perhaps not the cigarettes) at Mass.

    This is just wrong. Haven’t we hurt Him enough already. Sancta Maria, ors pro nobis.

  • I think I’ve figured it out… this was the first liturgy to be offered in the newly promulgated Redneck Rite of the Catholic Church :-)

  • Elaine I know you meant that in jest; however, I think we do have a ‘Redneck Rite’. Although the South doesn’t have as many ‘catholics’ as the North, Catholics down here tend to be more traditional/conservative. Yes, right in the middle of the Protestant Bible Belt.

    I suppose that gives a whole new meaning to the South shall rise again!

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