Understanding Pope Benedict XVI on the Liturgy

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

Assessing Benedict’s views of the liturgy

In “Where Truth and Beauty Meet”: Understanding Benedict (The Tablet August 14, 2010) – Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity, and Fellow and Director of Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, aptly summarizes Pope Benedict’s view of the liturgy and his calls for reform

[Pope Benedict] believes that behind many celebrations of the new liturgy lie a raft of disastrous theological, cultural, sociological and aesthetic assumptions, linked to the unsettled time in which the liturgical reforms were carried out. In particular, he believes that twentieth-century theologies of the Eucharist place far too much emphasis on the notion that the fundamental form of the Eucharist is that of a meal, at the cost of underplaying the cosmic, redemptive, and sacrificial character of the Mass.

The Pope, of course, himself calls the Mass the “Feast of Faith”, “the Banquet of the reconciled”. Nevertheless Calvary and the empty tomb, rather than the Upper Room, are for him the proper symbolic locations of Christian liturgy. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist has to be evident in the manner of its celebration, and the failure to embody this adequately in the actual performance of the new liturgy seems to him one of the central problems of the post-conciliar reforms. …

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7 Responses to Understanding Pope Benedict XVI on the Liturgy

  • Chris,

    I understand the good intentions behind your post and those you quote in it.

    It is extremely difficult for me to restrain my dislike for the Novus Ordo.

    Novus Ordoism is mediocrity incarnate, and I detest nothing more than deliberate mediocrity, than a deliberate shunning of the beautiful for the plain and the banal.

    To think that we have fallen so far from the aesthetic heights reached by the Church during the Counter-Reformation, to think that we now dishonor God by presuming to offer to him during worship a bundle of sub-par prayers, songs, and movements that reflect more the subjective desires of misguided liberals than objective standards of beauty and reverence.

    Relativism has placed objective truth, egalitarianism has replaced hierarchical truth, and emotionalism has replaced spiritual truth. These are the marks of Protestantism. I have read several articles recently detailing the rapid flight of young Protestants from their churches. One of the primary reasons they do so is because young people – as opposed to the out-of-touch liberal boomers who wrecked everything – don’t want these things. They don’t want this phony “participation”, this phony “inclusiveness”, this forced leveling of everything. They want to be confronted with the truth.

    Catholics are losing young people for very similar reasons. But at the traditional Mass I go to, I see more young families all of the time. It isn’t just old people who are “sentimental”; it is young people who reject the banality of the Novus Ordo, who want a fuller, richer, deeper spiritual experience. The Church may not gain millions of new adherents by returning to her greatest traditions, but those she does retain and attract will be of the highest quality. And that’s more important.

  • Eamonn Duffy mystifies me. The Stripping of the Altars is the finest, most moving account available of the catastrophic consequences of radical liturgical revolution. When I read it, I presumed that he was a traditionalist. In fact however he sounds like a typical product of the revolution, blind to its failure and tone deaf to its consequences. When he implies that “most Catholics” are content with the Novus Ordo, is he really unaware of the war that the bishops and clergy have waged against the traditonal Mass for the last four decades, or of the profound ignorance of the traditional liturgy that now prevails among the vast majority of Catholics under the age of 50? How can you oppose a reform of the reform that nothing in your religious education or experience prepares you even to understand? It saddens me to read someone I admire so much writing like a clueless apparatchik of the “magic circle.”

  • I’m a fairly young Catholic (32), and for years I’ve been going to a Latin language Ordinary Form at a parish that celebrates Mass in both forms.

    I like the Extraordinary Form. I just prefer the Ordinary–when it is celebrated in accordance to liturgical tradition.

    I do think that sometimes enthusiasts for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass tend to shoot themselves in the foot by excessive bitterness towards the Ordinary Form, which often turns off people who are unaware of liturgical tradition.

  • Ah yes, the ol’ unprovable Freemasonic conspiracy theory. “I know a guy who heard from a priest who knew a cardinal who swore that Bugnini was a Mason.”

  • Anywhere I have heard the Traditional Mass it has been sublime.

    The Novus Ordo, although valid, leaves far too much room for ‘innovation’, which is politically correct speak for irreverent.

    I was on holiday for the Sunday on which the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary fell this year and found a Roman Catholic parish, although the building did not look like a church, at the beach. What I had a tough time finding was the tabernacle. I blessed myself facing the crucifix, thank God they had one. Eventually, I located the tabernacle – at the back of the Church!!!!

    I was also privileged to hear a rock & roll Mass, with guitar and Lady Ga Ga like headset microphone. It was great and oh so Holy. Not to mention that the celebrant was so nice as to order all of us to remain standing AFTER we received Eucharist so as to be in the same posture, how democratic. The picnic like assembly IN the Sanctuary, with female altar servers too, was especially pleasant. I was clearly noticed for doing two things in complete and utter disobedience: I received on my tongue, while kneeling and I went back to my pew and hit my knees and bowed my head.

    Is that something wrong with the Novus Ordo? No, but it seems when you give liberals an inch, they’ll take a mile, or is that a centimeter and a meter – I can’t keep clear which ‘standard’ we’re using today, I’m sure it will change tomorrow.

    The Holy Mass MUST be the most important and sacred thing we experience – if it isn’t, why bother with the Faith at all. I don’t think the Novus Ordo is all that bad (although sometimes I struggle greatly to accept that) and I am looking forward to the better translations coming Advent of 2011. Nevertheless, the real problem is having too much wiggle room. I am a big proponent of liberty in the secular world – the Mass is not secular, it is not profane – it is Sacred and when it comes to Sacred things, innovation is not pleasant and should be discouraged.

  • I did have a deep discussion with my SD about the ‘innovative’ Mass. He has directed me in the past to seek God’s Peace and look for positive things, so I stated that the Mass I heard was ‘interesting’ – that is the most positive thing I could say.

    Actually, the rubrics were valid, so the issue was irreverence and not improper form, which is precisely the problem with lax rubrics and the Novus Ordo, as practiced, in general. In some ways we are actually given more grace when we can remain peaceful and reverent during an irreverent Mass.

    Christ told (supposedly) Gabrielle Bossis, “Even if you do nothing at Mass but try to drive away distractions, you please Me all the same. I understand.”

    I also knelt on the floor in front of the tabernacle, after I located the tabernacle, and begged Christ to have mercy on all of us, especially those charged with celebrating the Mass. It was a very powerful experience. Nevertheless, I pray that the new translation and accompanying catechesis helps prevent this blatant irreverence from continuing and spreading.

Unholy Mass in Austria With Explicit Approval of Cardinal Schonborn

Monday, July 5, AD 2010

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:

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.

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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?

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  • 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.

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  • “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.


    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?

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  • 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.

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  • 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:


    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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TLM in Houston

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

Tomorrow this Sunday, June 20th at 1:00pm, Houston’s Annunciation Church (1618 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77003) will be hosting the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter as they celebrate a Solemn High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Recently ordained Father John Rickert will be celebrating.  Deacon Michael Malain will be in attendance.

For those not familiar with the parking situation at Houston’s Annunciation Church, parking will be available in the parish parking lot on Jackson Street, the street behind the church.  The Houston Astros will be playing Sunday afternoon in Minute Maid Park which stands right next o Annunciation Church, but attendees at that game are not to use any of the parish parking spaces.

This is something that will be an beautiful experience for all those interested in liturgy, music, history and the worship of the risen Lord.

Please try and attend this Mass.  Perhaps many of you have not had such an experience.   To witness and to participate in this Mass will be one of the great spiritual experiences of your life.

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2 Responses to TLM in Houston

Top 15 Misconceptions About Catholics

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Karen L. Anderson of Online Christian Colleges wrote a timely piece on the many myths, misconceptions, and outlandish lies told about Catholics:

With nearly one quarter of the U.S. population Catholic, they make up a huge part of society and the largest Christian denomination. Yet with so many, how is it they are so misunderstood and characterized by films, television shows, etc.?

Failing to do the proper research explains a great deal of it. With a simple search on the internet, we were able to find many interesting answers to the top 15 misconceptions about Catholics. They are both from official sources, reporters, academics, and more.

1. Priests Are More Likely to be Pedophiles : The most dangerous of all myths concerning Catholics, this can lead to many negative and unfair consequences. Recently in a book entitled Pedophiles and Priests, an extensive study – and the only one of it kind – took a look at the pedophile statistics of over 2,200 priests. It found that only 0.3% of all Catholic clergy are involved in any pedophilia matter, guilty or not. This number is actually very low and according to Counter Pedophilia Investigative Unit, who reports that children are more likely to be victims of pedophile activity at school with nearly 14% of students estimated to be molested by a member of the school staff.

2. Everything in “The Da Vinci Code” is True : Even author Dan Brown himself doesn’t agree to this. In this free film from Hulu, Mr. Brown admits to writing his novel as a step in his own spiritual journey. As he confesses to being swayed by his extensive research, the experts behind the research weigh in with facts. Simon Cox is the author of “Cracking the Da Vinci Code” and tells more about his work in this documentary. If you don’t have 90 minutes to view it, you can get the real story behind Opus Dei, the villain organization in the novel, from ABC news.

3. Women Are Oppressed in the Catholic Church : Although women are still not eligible to become priests as explained by Pope John Paul II, they were still acknowledged as valued members of the church as far back as 1947. In a Papal Directive from then Pope Pius XII, he expressed his admiration of women “to take part in the battle: you have not sought to do so, but courageously you accept your new duties; not as resigned victims nor merely in a defensive spirit.” Also, in 2004 then Pope John Paul II historically appointed two women theologians to the International Theological Commission and named another as the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

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12 Responses to Top 15 Misconceptions About Catholics

  • The dificulty in the myths in the article are not the fact that they are misconceptions of the Roman Catholic Church. The turly sad part is that many so called members of our Church add to these misconception by 2 basic means. They do not correct these myths when asked by friends or others who are inquisitive either from lack of knowlegde or feeling this is not their right to do so and the second most problem and perhaps the worse is that many so called “catholics” beleve the crticisms are correct.

  • I would also say 9, 12 and 15 are odd; never heard them before….

  • #1: The book looks only at data since 1982. As we’ve seen in another recent TAC post, we have far more incidents prior to 1982. The John Jay study, which goes farther back, concludes that a shocking 4% of priests were reported to have sexually abused children. The second link you posted says that 1-5% of teachers sexually abuse or harass children. Harassment is more common than sexual abuse so the prevalence among teachers is probably less than 2.5%. But then you have to take out the women teachers who are must less likely to sexually abuse students. It also might to useful to compare the prevalence of sexual abuse of boys only. Priests are more likely to abuse boys and teachers are more likely to abuse girls. Bottom line is that you need more data but it’s certain that among pedophiles, priests are outliers. Even if abuse isn’t any more prevalent, why boys instead of girls? I think it’s entirely possible that the priesthood attracts sexual deviants.

    #3: And some black slaves were allowed to sleep in the master’s house. Crumbs do not disprove oppression. If we’re going to completely honest with ourselves, I think we have to admit that the Church denies women opportunities that are open to men. We don’t have to get all defensive over that fact. Christ denied women opportunities that he gave to men.

    #5: The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary, not Jesus.

    #8: I’m unclear of what you’re saying here. Catholics were once required to abstain from meat on ALL Fridays. Catholics must still abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent but in the US, bishops allow Catholics to give up something else on Fridays outside of Lent.

  • RR,

    #3. She never claimed nor said that.

    #5. I corrected her post, thanks!

  • You can always count on restrained radical to bash the Church for no apparent reason.

  • Is the reason not apparent? I’m a closet Episcopalian. Which reminds me… there’s an interesting piece in the New Yorker on the debate over women bishops in the Church of England. Full article requires a subscription. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/04/26/100426fa_fact_kramer

  • I think that a lot of these misconceptions come from different places. The Dan Brown stuff is probably more common among evangelicals and conspiracy-types, two crowds that probably don’t have much in common. Ditto for the claim of oppressing women, which would come from feminist atheists and faithful Protestants.

    The supposed conflict between faith and reason in #4 is the one that irritates me the most. It’s so patently wrong! I attended a lecture on data visualization (of all things) last week, and the instructor went off on a tangent about the persecution of Galileo. For whatever reason, we get tarred by the same brush as evangelicals about science, then tarred by evangelicals about Mary. Oh well. As Chesterton said, if you’re being accused by everyone of every possible error, you may be perfectly correct.

  • Yes Pinky, Chesteron really had a unigue use of words and as far as 9 is concerned ,they probably never heard of Hilaire Belloc..”wherever the Catholic sun doth shine there’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I always found it so Benedicamus Domino “

  • Number 9 was news to me. Wine is even part of our sacramental life, unlike those denominations that use grape juice. I’ve never heard a stereotype about a sober Irishman, a teetotaling Italian, or a Mexican refusing beer, so I don’t know where the myth of Catholic avoidance of alcohol comes from.

  • Too often Catholics get lumped together with puritan Protestant Creationists. And too often it’s Catholics who do it.

    Catholics can drink, smoke, believe in evolution, dinosaurs, the big bang, aliens, believe that you can be born gay, reject intelligent design, and celebrate Halloween.

    Here’s a couple others:

    Catholics are anti-sex or Catholics believe sex is purely for pro-creation.

    Catholics believe being gay is a sin.

  • Catholics believe engaging in homosexual sex is a sin. Whether people are in their “being” gay, that is that it is genetically determined, is far from scientifically proven. But if so, it would be like alcoholism. There would be a genetic predispostion to sin which in itself would not be sinful but which, through grace, could be overcome.

A Video of Padre Pio Celebrating Mass

Wednesday, March 10, AD 2010

One of my most favorite saints, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, or simply Padre Pio, is in this YouTube video I found where he is consecrating the Host.

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968), also known as Padre Pio, was a Capuchin priest from Italy. He was born Francesco Forgione, and given the name Pius when he joined the Capuchins, shortened to Pio; he was popularly known as Padre Pio after his ordination to the priesthood.


Biretta tip to Taylor Marshall of Canterbury Tales.

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27 Responses to My Thoughts on the Guitar Mass

  • Guitar Mass. Ah the unspeakable horrors that simple phrase contains!

  • If they made use of instrumental pieces by Segovia at various points, that would not be offensive. Why not ditch the organ and just have plainchant?

  • Of course, there is no place in the documents of Vatican II where they specify that the organ should be replaced with the guitar. There is also no place where they specify the organ is the only acceptable liturgical instrument.

    In fact, quite the opposite is the case.

    112. The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.

    Holy Scripture, indeed, has bestowed praise upon sacred song [42], and the same may be said of the fathers of the Church and of the Roman pontiffs who in recent times, led by St. Pius X, have explained more precisely the ministerial function supplied by sacred music in the service of the Lord.

    Therefore 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. But the Church approves of all forms of true art having the needed qualities, and admits them into divine worship.

    The argument is or has been made by liturgical reformers that this is grounds for the legitimacy of guitars and other instruments. And by the manifest practice of Benedict XVI, guitars and other instruments are licit for use in the Holy Mass if they are incorporated in a solemn, dignified and reverent manner that is consistent with the Traditional Beauty of the Mass.

    I say this as someone who greatly prefers traditional styles of liturgical music; modern music is too busy, too self-centered, and too indulgent. Often times the words of liturgical music promote misunderstandings or at worst even bits of heresy.

    I lament the death of beauty and the sense of the numinous that used to be the Catholic Church’s bread and butter. But this is not an excuse to suggest everything that happened in liturgical reforms is somehow illicit. Following Father Corapi and many others, we should not reject the reforms of Vatican II but embrace what they actually are as recorded in the documents that were actually written, for these documents profess the true “Spirit of Vatican II”, which is nothing but the Catholic spirit of repentance and reform writ large.

  • Zach,
    I think you misunderstand. The statement that “I have still failed to find anything in the documents of the Second Vatican Council where it said to replace the organ with the guitar” is simply in response to the common assertion that the introduction of guitar masses was required by Vatican II. I don’t think anyone is even suggesting that guitar masses are illicit; just that the music is almost always insipid and fails the test you quote above. Yes, there are people who like the music, just as there are people who to this day don’t get why Bluto violently interrupted the Riddle Song.

  • Personally, I think Michael Iafrate would have been justified in socking Belushi in the nose.

  • Hi Mike,

    Fair enough, I didn’t see in this post the assertion that “the introduction of guitar masses was required by Vatican II”. I also didn’t know anyone thought this. What a silly idea!

  • I never used to hate guitar music, or guitars, until I turned Catholic back in 2000 and endured the happy-clappy-crappy guitar masses with the uber-banal schlock “music” that seriously infests too many Catholic masses in Mahoneyland. (Far more offensive are the schlockmeister guitar cantors who also shake rattles during the “Gloria” or elsewhere in the Mass, or plink background noise during the consecration as if they think their semi-skilled “guitar stylings” somehow add something worthwhile. to the Sacrifice of our Lord Made Present.) Too many masses I suffered through down there had the musical trashiness of that Animal House scene. Thank God there were Byzantine Catholic parishes down there where I could worship without being musically tortured. I wish had discovered THAT option sooner!

    I totally cheer the Belushi character. In fact, back when I still lived in LA before moving to a city where I can now attend the Glorious Mass of the Ages every week, I used to spend much of Mass fantasizing piling ALL the guitars in the world in a huge heap then watching as a herd of bull elephants in rut galloped over them, reducing all to a smoking pile of splinters. Somewhere in the fantasy was the additional one that all plans and diagrams for making new guitars would also be destroyed.

  • Bravo Alice!

  • Alice Ramirez: Could not have said it better.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • As a traveler who has attended masses in a variety of locations, it is interesting to me when I see the multi-varied approaches. I am not sure I have seen the situation that Alice describes. Mostly, I see a singular guitar that is played quietly as background music to the piano/organ/keyboard and the vocalists.
    Is the “guitar mass” something more?
    If it is, then I would have to definitely have to agree with the chorus here that denounces said guitar masses, especially if accompanied by clapping and other carousing.
    If it is my experience, then I am not sure of the issue.
    I would, however, hope that each church would announce a standard mass in addition to the guitar mass.
    My two cents…. 🙂
    TheWriter @ http://www.goodwrites.com

  • Gary,

    Nothing in the Second Vatican Council mandated the imposition of guitars in the Mass.

    For more information click here:


  • Guess you wouldn’t like the fact that I’ve played banjo in church, eh, Tito?

  • You are from West Virginia after all.


  • I thought banjo masses were great when I was thirteen.

  • Phillip, how many “banjo masses” have you attended? I’m from West Virginia and have attended zero “banjo masses.” When I played banjo at mass (which was once) it was in Toronto.

  • Hmm.

    I have yet to endure a guitar mass of a type comparable to the strumming doofus above. I have however witnessed many “contemporary music” masses with praise-band style accompaniment.

    My reaction to what I heard was, in essence: Why do Catholics have such a hard time putting together an ensemble of skillful players, singers, sound engineers, writers, and arrangers? Why must every parish ensemble have so many hacks and weak links?

    Too Many Hacks

    For that is really what I heard: A lack of skill. In some cases I heard one or two talented individuals, but they were undermined by the poor quality surrounding them. If it wasn’t that the other musicians in the ensemble were low on talent or practice, then it was the selection of music or poor sound reinforcement or both.

    Now the best worship leaders and worship bands and sound technicians and writers and arrangers among Evangelicals can, in fact, produce music worthy of a Mass. They don’t always: Sometimes they’re pretty atrocious, too. But the best ones — the type you find at the Evangelical churches known for having excellent music — can do it, and in fact do achieve it on a regular basis.

    But apparently the Catholic roster at even a very large and well-funded parish, such as the one where I attend Mass, is one or two persons deep when it comes to this skill set.

    This, I think, is one source of all the complaints from Catholics, and their predisposition to write off the entire genre of instrumentation as unfit for liturgical use. They think to themselves, “I’ve heard what a contemporary ensemble sounds like, and it’s rubbish.” What they’ve heard is rubbish: But it’s rubbish because it was mostly bad songs with mostly bad melodies and mostly bad chart, poorly arranged, played by beginner-level or intermediate-level musicians after insufficient rehearsal, and sung by mostly unskilled or unsuitable singers, badly miked, through a bad sound system, inexpertly mixed by some zero-experience kid or other, selected on the basis that he was the only one who volunteered for the job.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

    Now pipe organs were, to be perfectly precise, the original analog synthesizers. Organ music was the original synthesizer music, and its introduction a few hundred years back scandalized traditionalists. Those of us with an appreciation of good pipe organ music can look back on that time and wonder why the traditionalists of that era regarded it to be such a wild and unsuitable innovation.

    But the traditionalists’ arguments would have been greatly strengthened had the introduction of most Catholics to this kind of church music involved a player of low caliber on an instrument of low caliber played through low-quality pipes in a church building unsuited to the instrument. (Keep in mind many historic churches and cathedrals were build around a pipe organ; that is, the architectural layout was engineered specifically to make the organ sound good.)

    That is entirely comparable to what Catholic parishes are dealing with now. (If the excellence of Catholic worship music begins to increase, then I suppose in another few hundred years our descendants wonder what the traditionalists of our era were going on about.)

    The Numbers Game

    And then there is the problem of numbers and the mobility of Protestants between churches. Let us say that in a given parish’s geographical area, there are five hundred musicians capable of playing at the skill level needed…and there are twenty churches attempting contemporary-instrumentation music, one of which is the Catholic church.

    Now if one or two of those churches have particularly talented bandleaders, their quality of music will begin to go up. As a result of this, other musicians will want to attend that church: Not necessarily to play in the worship band, but because they have the ears of a skilled musician and it hurts their ears to sit in the pews at a church where the music is bad.

    Now amongst Protestant evangelicals folks really may attend a particular church for this reason and no other — in their view the theological differences between denominations are just the fruitless debates of navel-gazing theologians, so you might as well go to church at a place where your soul is, or at least your ears are, being fed. So once a few churches begin to have good music, their pews fill with skilled musicians, giving them a “deep bullpen” from which to draw…and the music keeps getting better and better.

    But notice that this process doesn’t touch the Catholic church. A Catholic musician can’t go elsewhere, and none of the Protestant musicians are likely to show up at the Catholic church unless they’re reading the Church Fathers and considering converting. The result? The “bullpen” for a given parish is as deep as whichever Catholics are within convenient driving distance of the building.

    The Textual Issue

    I think there may also be another problem, and perhaps an insoluble one: Some of the musical parts of the Mass involve particular texts: The Gloria, the Kyrie, and so on.

    For these texts the Latin is generally well-metered and each line has the same number of syllables and the same pattern of stresses; it was written with the possibility of being set to music in mind. But the English translation of these texts is done for exactness without regard for syllable count, regular stress patterns, or any other attributes which govern lyrical suitability. And of course the grammar of Latin involves regular endings for words based on gender or tense or on whether a word is the subject or the object: Rhymes fall into place with the ease of a ripe apple falling from a tree. Not so in the English language, let alone text translated into English from other languages!

    Now don’t get me wrong: I don’t want people taking liberties with the words of the Mass: I want the real deal. I am just observing that it is difficult to set these parts of the Mass to music for the reasons stated above. Frankly it might be better to opt for the Latin text in those cases: It might lend itself more easily to musical arrangement.

    In The End

    In the end, I don’t know whether the Catholic Church will ever do contemporary-instrumentation worship music well, and if she doesn’t, perhaps she’s better off sticking to what she’s good at.

    But it’s a shame, because it lends false credibility to the notion that certain instruments are unsuited to worship of God. This is false: But certain things played on those instruments can be unsuitable, and certain ways of playing them can be unsuitable (most notably, playing them poorly).

    I hope instead that some movement for excellence in this area will begin to build in the Church, as it did with that crazy newfangled sci-fi sounding pipe organ centuries ago. I hope that centuries hence, the life of the Church will be thus enriched, as it was by the pipe organ.

    Of course, in the end, all instruments and voices will be stilled, and three things will remain: Faith, Hope, and Love, and we know which is greatest. But until then, there is room for the use of lesser gifts, and of those talents of which God makes us the stewards.

    Provided we use them well.

    A postscript: You may have noticed that throughout this post I have leaned on the terms which focus on instrumentation, such as “contemporary-instrumentation worship.” I do that because I am focusing on the appropriateness of electric guitar, folk acoustic guitar, synthesizer, and drums in worship music. I avoided the term “praise and worship music” because while all the music which falls under that heading uses the instruments listed above, not all of it is suitable for mass even when played well. This is part of what I meant about what passes for contemporary instrumentation music in parishes which attempt it: They select some truly awful numbers which probably embarrass even the Protestants who wrote them, and present this to the parishoners as “praise and worship music.”

  • RC,

    With due respect,

    The following statements of yours:

    “Now the best worship leaders and worship bands and sound technicians and writers and arrangers among Evangelicals can, in fact, produce music worthy of a Mass.”

    “the notion that certain instruments are unsuited to worship of God. This is false…”

    Are… questionable.

    The first statement, because I don’t see why an Evangelical with technical skill would understand what the Mass really is, or what sort of music is worthy of it.

    The second, because it actually has been set down in encyclicals what instruments are and are not acceptable at Mass. Of course no one cares to follow those instructions.

    My hope is that Benedict’s “reform of the reform” will put a stop to liturgical abuse, including musical abuse, and bring about the widespread reinstatement of Gregorian and polyphonic chant.

    I absolutely reject, and the Church has historically rejected, even a hint of musical relativism, the argument that one form is as good as any other provided that the “content” is somehow sacred. Forms can be profane in themselves, regardless of whether or not the words refer to saints or the most vulgar sex acts.

    To God, we are to offer up only the best. The historical distinction between sacred and profane music ought to be restored in full. I don’t object to a “Christian band” or whatever playing at a youth group meeting or some other event. But it has absolutely no place in Mass.


  • Joe! Happy to see you. (Okay, to read you.)

    The bit in the encyclical (with which you answer the second of the two statements you’re debating) is something I’d read before, and I think I have not misunderstood the purpose and intent of it.

    But you’re correct to call me out on it, because I was thinking in the back of my head “the notion that the instruments I have in mind are unsuited to worship of God is false” but what came out of my fingers was “the notion that certain instruments are unsuited to worship of God…is false.”

    Not the same thing, and I should have been more careful! For certain instruments are so utterly inflexible in their sonic palette that they simply can’t generate the kind of sound needed at Mass. The harmonica, the kazoo: Instruments, to be sure, and instruments with a part to play in the soundscape of life, but, for Mass, c’mon.

    So, you got me. I said that wrong. I hold that what I was thinking was correct…but I botched it; I didn’t say what I was thinking with sufficient precision.

    So to say what I should have said: “The instruments of a praise band are capable of being played in such a way as to evoke the majesty, the sense of the numinous, the joy (quiet or exultant) called for at Mass; they are however also capable of being played with the style of a honky-tonk band; to play them in the latter fashion at Mass is execrable, but the instruments themselves are not intrinsically unsuited.”


    Before you answer that by saying, “Better, but I still have a problem with it…,” let me anticipate one possible objection: You might say, “Better, but there’s a difference between an instrument being capable of the right kind of sounds, and an instrument easily and naturally producing the right kinds of sounds.”

    Which is a reasonable objection, but not an insurmountable one. Consider the electric guitar: One can play horribly unsuitable stuff with this instrument, or wondrously suitable. But the same is true with the violin, especially when traveling under its alternative identity, as the fiddle. Trumpets have been used in worship since the psalms were written: But not, one hopes, using the stylistic flourishes that Maynard Ferguson adopted when playing the theme song to Hawaii Five-0, such as the “rip off release.”

    In short, these are issues which are surmountable through the use of well-written arrangements played by skilled musicians: Tell ’em what to play, and they won’t get creative and start popping and slapping their fretted electric bass when you turn your back. (And another benefit to the use of well-written charts is that it weeds out the less-trained musicians. Old joke: “Q: How do you make the guitar player in a high-school band be quiet? A: Put sheet music in front of him.”

    Regarding the other statement you questioned:

    I said, “Now the best worship leaders and worship bands and sound technicians and writers and arrangers among Evangelicals can, in fact, produce music worthy of a Mass.”

    You replied, “…I don’t see why an Evangelical with technical skill would understand what the Mass really is, or what sort of music is worthy of it.”

    Well, he probably wouldn’t, until he was in the Church!

    But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already made that kind of music, in Evangelical worship services or elsewhere, at moments when his artist’s soul and/or the Holy Spirit directed him that something special and awe-inspiring is called for at this moment.

    My point was not that an Evangelical, comfortable in his utter unfamiliarity with the origins of the Bible or the Church Fathers or the doctrines which defined the Christian faith for the first three quarters of its history, already knew what was suited to a Mass when he probably has never attended one, unless he had a Catholic friend or family member who either got married or died.

    My point was that a sliver of the music produced by these talented musicians does rise to the level and character required at Mass, even though they themselves have never thought about it that way: They were just trying to produce really excellent, well-thought-out music with a particular character to it.

    As for Benedict’s reform of the reform, I’m all for it. And if that seems contrary to what I’ve written above, remember that I’m calling for excellence here. If the contemporary instrumentation can’t be used excellently, then it shouldn’t be used! (But I hold — have indeed witnessed — that it can, so naturally I hope that it will.)

  • RC,

    I wonder if there might be a possible conflation here of music that might not necessarily be offensive to God, and music that belongs at Mass.

    Lets take the guitar, electric or acoustic, or the trumpet. Now, I don’t deny the possibility that one can make music on these instruments that is not offensive to God and perhaps even worthy of Him.

    I’m still not sure if that rises to the level required to be worthy of the specific occasion of the Mass. Trumpets are loud. Guitars are romantic. Neither is appropriate to the occasion of the Mass, which is a sacrifice. So I would say these instruments are not capable of producing sounds suitable for the Mass.

    Mass is one, perhaps two hours out of the week. I see no good reason to insist that the traditional music be replaced.

    It would be better for no one to go to Mass ever again than to sully it with profanity, musical, visual or otherwise, so that people did show up. You can quote me on that. There are appropriate venues for profane or vulgar music, so no one ought to feel denied or discriminated against.

    On a tangent that has nothing to do with anything you’ve proposed, I must say:

    Sometimes the reason for musical innovation is subversive – to use the objective power of music to change hearts and minds on critical issues. The music industry knows nothing that the ancients and the Church have always known – that music does have power, it does and alter moods and thought patterns, that it is not mindless entertainment devoid of any psychological effects.

    That is why the Papacy has always taken liturgical music extremely seriously.

  • “a sliver of the music produced by these talented musicians does rise to the level and character required at Mass”

    Eh… maybe a sliver.

  • maybe a sliver

    Now that’s a bit too optimistic for me, but a clock can be right twice a day.

  • Joe:

    Fair enough; I think our experiences differ too widely for me to argue you to a different opinion on this (or you either, Tito!). And of course I wouldn’t want to argue you to a different aesthetic sense, only on the capacity of certain instruments to deliver the appropriate results.

    So really the only thing in your (Joe’s) last note I’ll challenge — no, challenge is the wrong word. The only thing that made me go, “Whaa?” with a befuddled look and a cocked eyebrow, was this: “Guitars are romantic.” Romantic?

    Hmm. Okay, let me break this down. There are four basic kinds: Nylon-strung acoustic, steel-strung acoustic, hollow-body electric, and solid-body electric. All require amplification to be audible unless the church is a tiny one (Mass at my parish regularly has, I estimate, eight hundred in attendance). The least flexible is the nylon-strung, or classical. It sounds either (a.) almost just like a harp, (b.) Spanish, in the flamenco or true classical style a la Segovia, or (c.) 70’s singer-songwriter-esque, which I suppose comes across as “romantic.”

    Next comes the steel strung-acoustic, which sounds (a.-c.) like any of the nylon-strung options, (d.) like a harpsichord, arpeggiating with a high-end sparkle if a plectrum is used, (e.) like a richer rolling piano left-hand figure if played fingerstyle, as exhibited in some Irish music and Irish influenced tunes, and (f.) like the Indigo Girls, which is least appropriate.

    After that comes the hollow-body electric, which is best at the “jazzbox” sound, and beyond that can offer every sound that the solid-body electric can offer, but usually in an inferior way because it was designed to offer the jazzbox sound. All other sounds involve compromise.

    That leaves us with the solid-body electric, which sounds like…everything. Like a piano, like a single violin, like a cello, like a string quartet, like a harp, like a harpsichord. There is no instrument so flexible save an actual synthesizer. Buzzsaw distortion would be horribly unfit for Mass, but roll off the high end and use volume swells, and suddenly you have the sound of a cello, but with more control. Clean up the sound and turn on the echo/reverb, and the piano itself cannot roll high-octave arpeggios with such a combination of crystalline sparkle and quiet resonance, like wind chimes. And, sure, one could also make the thing sound like, oh, I don’t know, Keith Richards. But one can also make the church piano sound like Scott Joplin.

    Well. That’s enough. Time to dress and go to Mass. All this won’t change what I hear today, sadly. On with reform, to a godly end!

    (Postscript: I notice you say that trumpets are merely “loud.” I wonder if the size of the parish influences our respective judgments? As I said before, my parish has several hundred folks in even its 7AM Sunday Mass. But that’s not uncommon in the Atlanta area, where churches tend to have large numbers of congregants. I guess your parishes smaller?)

  • what is wrong with traditional catholic music for mass? what is wrong with latin chant? why doesnt the choir stay in the choir loft? that noisy guitar music makes me sick.

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  • I never cease to be amused by all the anal retentive, pharisaical prudes who, in their quest to “elevate” worhsip, do nothing more than reduce the discussion to the same banal patter you’d find at a wine tasting club.
    Jesus’ most harsh conndemnations were reserved for religious purists who effected religion without redemption…or rather, style over substance.
    The organ was banned from Christian worship for centuries because it was a pagan instrument viewed as being profane. The only reason it came into favor was that a bishop at some point was given an expensive one as a gift and decided he liked it.
    What we call “classical” music was widely condemned just a few hundred years ago as being profane and common.
    Stringed instruments have a far longer and more well-established role in our salvation history and liturgy than any other kind, perhaps except some wind and percussion instruments.
    I personally enjoy the organ when its played well, just as I enjoy guitar or ensemble when played well. Which instrument prevails is based entirely on how best to help people respond in thanks and praise to the pashcal mystery. There are some songs I love and would never play on guitar (Lift High The Cross), but there are many that the organ is too much for.
    The bottom line is that it does come down to skill and cultural relevance, and this is made clear in Church teaching, both worldwide and by the various bishops’ conferences.
    However, I had to laugh when I read “Sing to the Lord” the American Bishops’ document… it encouraged the use of the organ for “evangelization.” This is where the rubber meets the road. The aformentioned naval gazing prudes would be hard-pressed to drag their pipe organs out onto street corners among the poor and Godless who need to hear the Gospel.
    Christ himself tells us that the surest path to hell is to imitate the pharisees. Catholics are in greatest danger of this because we have such a well developed structure in our religion, theology, and liturgy. After nearly 35 years of being a Catholic liturgical musician (guitar) and with a Masters in Theology/Liturgy, I find pharisaism to be strongest in liturgical circles. It is the perfect place to be self-centered and in control but devoid of faith.

  • Tony,

    Thank you for your charitable and insightful comments.

    //sarcasm off.

  • Anytime! Thanks for your substantial, insightful reply!!// sarcasm off.

Happy Birthday Novus Ordo?

Wednesday, December 2, AD 2009

Among my many flaws is a deep appreciation for biting sarcasm.  A recent post by Damian Thompson at his blog at the  Telegraph is a masterpiece of this form of verbal combat:

“It is 40 years ago today since the New Mass of Paul VI was introduced into our parishes, writes Margery Popinstar, editor of The Capsule. We knew at the time that this liturgy was as close to perfection as humanly possible, but little did we guess what an efflorescence of art, architecture, music and worship lay ahead!

There were fears at first that the vernacular service would damage the solemnity of the Mass. How silly! Far from leading to liturgical abuses, the New Mass nurtured a koinonia that revived Catholic culture and packed our reordered churches to the rafters.

So dramatic was the growth in family Mass observance, indeed, that a new school of Catholic architecture arose to provide places of worship for these new congregations. Throughout the Western world, churches sprang up that combined Christian heritage with the thrilling simplicity of the modern school, creating a sense of the numinous that has proved as irresistible to secular visitors as to the faithful.

For some worshippers, it is the sheer visual beauty of the New Mass that captures the heart, with its simple yet scrupulously observed rubrics – to say nothing of the elegance of the priest’s vestments, which (though commendably less fussy than pre-conciliar outfits) exhibit a standard of meticulous craftsmanship which truly gives glory to God!

The same refreshing of tradition infuses the wonderful – and toe-tapping! – modern Mass settings and hymns produced for the revised liturgy. This music, written by the most gifted composers of our era, has won over congregations so totally that it is now rare to encounter a parish where everyone is not singing their heads off! Even the secular “hit parade” has borrowed from Catholic worship songs, so deliciously memorable – yet reverent! – is the effect they create. No wonder it is standing room only at most Masses!”

Did Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who birthed this kairos, have any idea just how radically his innovations would transform the Church? We must, of course, all rejoice in his imminent beatification – but, in the meantime, I am tempted to borrow a phrase from a forgotten language that – can you believe it? – was used by the Church for services before 1969: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.”

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15 Responses to Happy Birthday Novus Ordo?

  • If you hadn’t said this was sarcasm I would have thought that this “wumyn” was off her rocker.

    I think those that “interpreted” what they thought was the new Mass were the main culprits of causing the largest exodus of Catholics from Mother Church in history.

  • SOOOO funny! A classic!
    I love the part about “a sense of the numinous”

  • Latin has its incomparable beauty; however, English can be reverent, especially with the new Novus Ordo translations for next year. The advantage Latin has is that it is dead so it is not organically changing in meaning. Sadly the organic changes in English are overwhelmingly pejorative and politically correct (relativist).

    The fact is that the sparce Churches and modernist clerics are going to retire soon and we will see a true rennaissance in the Church if we can survive the secular progressive (Communist, Critical Theorist, neo-pagan, Satanic) persecutions that are coming.

    BTW – I like the sarcasm, but, as Tito said, it will be lost on many – probably becuase they want the liberality to be true. They have eyes but cannot see.

    Thanks for posting this and if you are blessed to have one near you – go to a Traditional Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Tridentine)- it is sublime.

  • AK, English can be reverent, but there’s a natural instinct to pray in another, set-aside language. Muslims and Hindus pray in ancient languages. The ancient Jews prayed in Aramaic and spoke Hebrew; today they worship in Ancient Hebrew. I know that Armenian Apostolic rituals are in Old Armenian, and I think that many Eastern rites follow the same pattern. Even a good share of Protestants doth pray in a separate tongue. I think any attempt to bring worship into the language of the people can undermine the sense of the sacred, and these days, our sense of the sacred is in pretty bad shape.

  • Don,

    I more or less agree… but the NO services I have been to recently are getting even sillier. Sometimes I go just to see what’s going on, other times, when by my own fault or some unforseen circumstance I miss the Latin Mass and have to go to a later NO.

    Every time I go to an NO something is different. It’s constantly being tweaked and twinged, for what purposes, I don’t know.

    I don’t want to translate my preferences into objective reality, but I do believe that the Latin Mass is objectively more reverent, more conducive to spiritual growth, and more beautiful than NO. I believe that it fell out of favor precisely because of these reasons, because reverence, true spirituality and beauty have no place in a consumerist society.

    According to libertarian geniuses such as Ludwig von Mises, absolutely everything social is subjective, whether it is the value of something made in a factory or a work of art. There is no objective value, either in economics or aesthetics. Both the left and the right, such as they typically constitute themselves in America, accept this view for different reasons. The decay of the Mass parallels the decay in art.

    The assault on objective truth might find its greatest champions in the irrationalism of postmodernism but its root is in our unconscious response to the market economy, which wages an unremitting war against the very notion of sacredness. Unlike most other aspects of this phenomenon, however, the fine tuning of the Mass to appeal to spiritual consumers has continually failed.

    I don’t think consumerism has to destroy what is sacred, but I do think that it will if we are not aware of how it operates in our minds.

  • Joe,

    You hit the nail right on its head.

    Thanks for articulating your response very well!

  • Pinky,

    I agree. A Pater Noster or Ave Maria is so much more holy, sacred, reverential and satisfying than an Our Father or Hail Mary.

    May God continue to bless us with priests who seek to celebrate in the more reverential form.

    Mater Dei, ora pro nobis.

  • Joe,

    I agree with Mises on many things as pertains to subjectivity. What he misses is the objective view and the intrinsic value of created goods. Ayn Rand said she was objective but her Objectivism was all about the efficacy of man, Sola Sapiens, and her romance and love was nothing more than pornography, anger.

    Thanks in great part to you I am becoming more aware of the flaws in libertarian praxeology. I still hold that libertarian principles applied to the secular world from a Catholic perspective are valid. This will be true as regards utilitarian economics, commodities, etc. It fails, as you point out, when it comes to the objective (a perfectly subjective view for God alone). It especially fails when it comes to the sacred. Libertarian praxeology is profane and works better than any other reasonable concept in the secular world. As you point out the left/right paradigm is false because both sides, and all shades in between, accept the modernist utilitarianism. It is just as false for most of us Catholics (laity and secular clergy) to adhere so fervently to the sacred as to not be able to function in the profane world. We are in it, but not of it. Libertarian praxeology works with limits and must always keep an eye up to God, which in its current use it seldom does. We shouldn’t throw it out with all the other methods; we need to reorient it to God. He promised everyone, everything they ask for provided we seek His Kingdom first. This brings me to where you and I agree. . .

    The Mass is not a commodity or even a man made construct; however, the Church can organically develop it and the Novus Ordo is valid but it is very, very bland. Almost pointless, save for the real presence of Christ. The Extraordinary form is not only Latin. A nearby parish celebrates the NO in Latin as does EWTN sometimes. Latin is beautiful, universal (hence Catholic) and fixed; however, the beauty of the Tridentine Mass goes so much further.

    What I especially like is that the priest has so much less to ‘innovate’ and the laity has so much less external participation. I also find it very difficult to pray the NO because I feel like I am being called to externally participate every couple of seconds rendering the active participation almost impossible (perhaps that is just my hang-up) and then comes the social hour of the sign of conviviality. I pray that I am not arrogant; however, when I am at an NO Mass I just keep my hands together and my eyes close and pray for His Peace, dona nobis pace.

    I feel as though the laity at the NO has no idea that we aren’t Protestants. Moreover, with all the disparate innovation going on in the congregation and the lax manner of dress it is a wonder anyone finds it holy or can even interiorly actively participate easily. If I am not mistaken the Mass is to take us out of time and space and enter into the Sacrifice on Golgotha/Calvary – how do we do that without the sacred beauty of the Extraordinary form?

  • AK,

    “Thanks in great part to you I am becoming more aware of the flaws in libertarian praxeology.”

    Well, I’m glad I could help. It’s especially reassuring given that I am sometimes accused, by members of a different blog, for being unable to “stop thinking like an American.”

    “I still hold that libertarian principles applied to the secular world from a Catholic perspective are valid.”

    Perhaps, but as you later say, only within certain limits. America’s strong classical republican tradition was all but blotted out by the Industrial Revolution. Early America had sumptuary laws, for instance, that made luxury more expensive for the rich; this reflected a view that excessively concentrated wealth and luxury were detrimental to the survival of a republic. The founders of America had a pretty strong virtue ethic that balanced out their liberalism.

    As regards your last question: I don’t think we really can. Mass is about giving God the worship owed to Him; it isn’t a tea party. People might argue that there is nothing wrong with the Mass incorporating elements of the modern culture, as it has been done for generations. But before we can make that blanket assessment, we ought to consider what, objectively, our present culture is and whether or not any parts of it are worthy of being included in the Mass.

    I say, there aren’t too many. It isn’t really that rock music or even the vanilla piano accompaniment are inherently evil, but that they are a step down from the sublime to the common and vulgar.

    And as I pointed out to a certain writer for another blog, I don’t believe that the effects in different eras of history are comparable – yes, perhaps, in the Middle Ages they had clowns and jesters and other strange practices; they also had a universal Christian culture that played a role in their daily lives. We don’t have that today. We have a culture of hedonism, consumerism, materialism and death.

    All the more reason for us to preserve a liturgy that transcends historical epochs. Are Christians not supposed to challenge the dominant secular paradigms? Are they not supposed to stand out? How do you challenge the world with your social message when your liturgy conforms to it evermore? It is an inconsistency, I believe.

    I consider myself a true “rad trad” because I believe that Christianity ought to radically challenge secular society not only in its proclamation of what is right and wrong, but in how it worships God. When we adopt Protestant gimmicks, charismatic side shows, and the like, we aren’t challenging anyone or anything. And I think that in turn greatly diminishes the challenge that our social and moral message poses to the modern world.

  • Joe when we are attacked from all sides we are probably onto something. You and I still disagree on finer points and I am sure that the same misguided fools that attack you wouldn’t find me too appealing either. Christ was condemned for being too religious and not religious enough at the same time!

    The limits to set on a Republic based on liberal (classical) principles is The Church. Sadly, this country was founded by Masons (Luciferians) so the limits were set to be removed. About 100 years ago they were removed and the USA has degraded since and now the pace is accelerating.

    40 years ago the rubrics for the practice of the Catholic faith and the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice were loosened and instead of the Church engaging the modern world as Vatican II intended, it allowed the modern world in.

    The modern world has been assessed and found wanting. We are going back to reverence and orthodoxy. Can we take the secular country back to foundational principles and forward to the one, true faith?

  • Damian Thompson can be crotchety (the last time I checked out “Holy Smoke,” he was grousing about Halloween treat-or-treaters), but every now and then, he hits the nail on the head. (And I cut him some slack for being grumpy, because it can’t be easy being a practicing Catholic in the land of Richard Dawkins and Henry VIII.)

    The worst litugical abuse I have witnessed occurred when I was still a child and it wasn’t until years later that I realized how bad it was. It was the late ’60’s. A priest at our parish who took to VII and the counterculture with great gusto held Mass in a neighbor’s living room. He was dressed in street clothes (then still a rarity in my neighborhood) and used a torn-up loaf of whole wheat bread for the Eurcharist. A hippie folk guitarist was in attendance and sang “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” and other such tunes.

    I remember my parents were shocked and horrified by the whole thing, and I imagine the other blue-collar WWII generation attendees were too. I recall being baffled by what to do with Communion, as I had had it pounded into my head by the nuns and my parents that one never bit the host. But it’s very difficult not to chew a big hunk of whole wheat bread. And I think that’s exactly why “Fr. Dan” used it – he wanted his parishioners to overcome fuddy-duddy taboos and get with the swingin’ ’60’s, man.

    A few years later, he left the priesthood to marry an nun who had taken to the spirit of the times with similiar enthusiasm.

  • The worst liturgical abuse I ever heard of occurred at the Newman Center of a secular university one of my relatives attended 25+ years ago; he claimed that the priest actually invoked Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez during Mass. (This particular Newman Center, however, has definitely cleaned up its act since then.)

    I have to admit, that while I like the revived interest in Latin and the greater availability of the Tridentine Mass as an alternative, I have a hard time getting too worked up about the supposed defects of the Novus Ordo. Perhaps it’s because that is the Mass I grew up with — I have absolutely no memory of ever having gone to a Tridentine Mass until I was an adult — and for better or worse, it’s the “real Mass” to me. Plus the vast majority of NO Masses I have attended have been properly celebrated and not marked by any of the grosser liturgical abuses others complain about.

    I used to work full time in a Catholic organization, and back then it was easy to be consumed with urgent life or death questions such as Communion on the tongue vs. in the hand, whether it was liturgically correct to sing first person songs like “I Am the Bread of Life,” and whether it was OK to hold hands at the Our Father. Today, however, living and working in an entirely secular “real world” environment, when I go to Mass on weekends, I’m just glad to be there. As long as the priest is a real priest, nothing that contradicts or misleads concerning Church teaching is said in the homily, everything is done according to the rubrics, and they don’t pray to Cesar Chavez, I’m OK with it.

    I hope nobody gets me wrong here, but to me, I don’t necessarily see it as a sign of virtue or piety to be overly picky or critical about what liturgy one attends — so long as it is valid and celebrated according to Church rules. Isn’t being content with what one has a virtue?

    What I am saying about being content with the liturgy one has applies ONLY to the attendees or congregation. Celebrants, on the other hand, show piety by exerting every effort to make their liturgies as “first class” and reverent as possible. There is absolutely no virtue in CELEBRATING a sloppy or rushed liturgy for no good reason.

  • Elaine,

    I grew up with NO too, minus a brief excursion my family took into the Maronite rite to connect with our roots (it ended when the only Maronite priest around left town). In all my youth, however, I never attended a Latin Mass and only had a vague notion of what it was all about.

    It wasn’t until after my decade of atheism that I discovered the TLM. The first time I heard the magnificent schola chanting was probably when I decided I wouldn’t be going back to NO. As I learned more about the TLM, and then went back and saw the NO, I was pretty sure I made the right choice. There’s just no comparison.

    It isn’t just about the tiny things you bring up, though when you add them altogether, they do make for two very different experiences. With NO, who knows if you’re going to have a reverent Mass, who knows if what they did last week will be what they do this week. In my parish, the TLM is the same every month, with alternating low and high Mass, as well it ought to be.

    I don’t think you give the liturgy the importance it is due. And why should you? It is hard to take liturgical matters seriously when the NO is the liturgy that defines your experience as a Catholic, because NO doesn’t really take itself seriously. I don’t know how to put that in a way that doesn’t sound rude, but no offense is intended.

    No, I don’t think we ought to hammer fellow Catholics over the heads with our liturgical preferences, but I do think it IS a virtue to introduce people to a form of worship that I believe is objectively more worthy of God, more reverent, more beautiful.

  • If you have not assisted at a TLM, do it with an open mind and do not focus on what is different than the NO, nor on the fact that you probably don’t know the rubrics. Just pray the Mass – you are transported to Calvary/The Last Supper/Eternity all at once – just be with Jesus.

    Also, try praying the Rosary in Latin (any good Catholic book store should have a cheat sheet in ecclesial Latin for you). Allow thirty days for it to really sink in and become familiar and you will be drawn by the beauty and majesty.

    Warning: It will become increasingly more difficult to assist at an NO.

  • Taking parts of what Elaine writes:

    …as long as…nothing that contradicts or misleads concerning Church teaching…I’m OK with it…

    such would be true enough, if only such were the case…but the Novus Ordo designers deliberately stripped the Old Mass of much of its Catholicity for the very purpose of undermining it…so as not to cause their ‘separated brethren’ to stumble over it…compare the texts of the two Masses, and note well the suppression of the traditional prayers, and look for the offending terms which doomed them to oblivion…case in point, the suppression of the lovely Psalm 42, at the beginning of Mass, due to its repeated sacerdotal antiphon ‘and I shall go unto the Altar of God’ and its response ‘to God, who giveth joy to my youth’…altars are material to the concept of sacrifice, thus the Altar of God, provides the imagery of the Divine Sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the context of our worship. This is inimical to the Protestant vision, which purports the one time sacrifice of Christ and the subsequent commemoration of, but not renewal of, that event in its faith. The reference to ‘youth’ in the response again grates on the Protestant ear, inasmuch as it invokes the imagery of ‘rejuvenation’, which as Catholics, we receive through confession and absolution, a second chance as it were to lives our lives anew.
    Other instances of this suppression of Catholic thought abound, but I’ll close my post with only one other…consider the removal of the phrase ‘Mystery of Faith’ from the consecrational formula, referring specifically to the transubstantion of Christ’s Body and Blood,to a awkward proclamation after the Confection, consisting of the imagery of Christ’s death, resurrection, and the impemnding parousia…curious is it not? The designers of the NO clearly intended that the true mystical event of the Mass evolve aroung the universal Christian concept of dying and rising, and coming again, instead of the unique Catholic concept of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist under the guise of bread and wine…I fail to see how deliberately deemphasizing the transubstantiation of the matter of the Eucharist can be called not misleading the Faithful as to the teaching of Mother Chuch…

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-29-2009

Wednesday, April 29, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Since the passing of Father Richard John Neuhaus, the FIRST THINGS journal has gone through some changes that have enhanced their image.  The mysterious Spengler joined FIRST THINGS as Associate Editor and outed himself in his Asia Times column as David P. Goldman.  Then Elizabeth Scalia, who was once as mysterious as Spengler, with her popular political-Catholic blog The Anchoress joined FIRST THINGS as well.  Not to mention that prior to these two fine additions FIRST THINGS also initiated their very own blog a few months back.

2. David P. Goldman, a.k.a. Spengler, writes an intriguing article on how Israel can reconcile it’s Jewishness with a liberal democracy and how this correlates with the West and its march towards secularism.  Mr. Goldman has this prescient conclusion to this article:

Defenders of the West democracies should take a deep interest in the outcome of what might seem to be arcane legal matters in Israel. Pushed to its extreme conclusion, the secular liberal model will exclude the sacred and the traditional from public life. Of all the things sacred in the thousands of years of pre-history and history that inform Western Civilization, surely Judaism and the Jewish people are the oldest and arguably the most pertinent to the character of the West. Eroding the Jewish character of Israel is an obsession of the secular project, precisely because the Jewish people in their Third Commonwealth in the Land of Israel have such profound importance for the Christian West.

For the article click here.

3. A very disturbing story coming from the Diocese of Savannah where Bishop John Kevin Boland is preventing an orthodox Catholic, Robert Kumpel of the very well written St. John’s Valdosta Blog, from attending any Mass in his diocese.  Bishop John Kevin Boland is doing so in conjunction with a lawsuit leveled against by another layperson to Mr. Kumpel so as to prevent him from investigating allegations of multiple abuses by diocesan officials.  In other words it seems that Bishop Boland is frantically covering something up, but we don’t know what that is because of a restraining order on Mr. Kumpel who was attempting to investigate this.

Bishop John Kevin Boland is the ecclesiastical equivalent of a Catholic politician who is personally opposed to abortion but publicly for it.  For example, Bishop John Kevin Boland is personally orthodox, but ecclesiastically heterodox in his application of Church teaching.  Such as Archbishop Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington where he is known for his personal orthodoxy but is lacking in applying it in his pastoral and management style.

For the article click here.

For more background information click herehere,  here, and here.

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26 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 4-29-2009

  • Does anyone know if Elizabeth Scalia is related to THE Scalia?

  • S.B.,

    I’ve been wondering that myself. I can only “assume” she isn’t since I haven’t casually come across any mention of this, but there could still be a connection.

  • Does anyone know if Elizabeth Scalia is related to THE Scalia?

    None of Scalia’s kids are named Elizabeth, so while’s it’s possible, the relation would have to be more distant.

  • It seems inappropriate to report the Savannah story without hearing the bishop’s side. Your source is the disgruntled party.

  • Zak,

    I understand your concern, but if the bishop is forbidding a layperson from attending Mass anywhere in his diocese, that is news to me. Especially knowing the upstanding character of Mr. Kumpel.

  • Mr. DeFrancisis,

    Discussions that deviate from the topic will not be tolerated. Please address the post or don’t comment at all.

  • Mr. Henry Karlson,

    Discussions that deviate from the topic will not be tolerated. Please address the post or don’t comment at all.

  • Zak,

    the letter from the bishop’s lawyer states explicitly the reason he is violating his office by denying the sacraments to a Catholic. It is because of pending litigation. This is completely contrary to canon law:

    Can. 843 §1. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

  • B.A.,

    Thanks for clearing that on Elizabeth Scalia. It would have been a neat story if she were a sister of the Supreme Court Justice though.

  • VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican newspaper said President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office have not confirmed the Catholic Church’s worst fears about radical policy changes in ethical areas.

    The comments came in a front-page article April 29 in L’Osservatore Romano, under the headline, “The 100 days that did not shake the world.” It said the new president has operated with more caution than predicted in most areas, including economics and international relations.

    “On ethical questions, too — which from the time of the electoral campaign have been the subject of strong worries by the Catholic bishops — Obama does not seem to have confirmed the radical innovations that he had discussed,” it said.


    So much for “the most extreme” — the Vatican doesn’t think so.

  • Number 3 is very upsetting, and I encourage those who are also upset to contact both the Bishop, and his attorney.

  • Well, the CNS article quotes a whole 120 words from the original article, so it’s difficult to say what kind of judgment is involved. If it were me, I’d prefer to see the actual article before making ultramontanist declarations about what “the Vatican” thinks, but de gustibus.

    Just 2 notes: First, the moderate ESCR guidelines are simply draft regulations subject to comment and modification. I’d reserve judgment on that point until they become finalized, and after the intensive lobbying by ESCR proponents is finished. Moreover, even in draft form, they authorize solicitation of embryos for research from those who avail themselves of IVF. That’s a non-negligible moral problem, and potentially large loophole for mischief.

    Second, the excellent pregnancy support legislation is the laudable creation of pro-life Democrats, not the President.

  • “None of Scalia’s kids are named Elizabeth.”

    Scalia is Elizabeth Scalia’s married name – she’s of Irish descent. If she is related to the Supreme Court justice (I’ve read her blog for quite a while now, and she’s never mentioned a connection), it would be by marriage, not blood.

  • Well, if she had indeed married into the Scalia family, I can well imagine that she might not be bragging about the connection . . . Justice Scalia no doubt wouldn’t want the usual nasty leftists digging around her blog for something with which to discredit him by association.

  • So actually, now that I think about it, never mind.

  • Ah yes, the Anchoress, the noble defender of Rudy Gulianni and apologist for his pro-abortion and pro-gay stands, at least when he was heir apparent to the Republican nomination.


    Another we must put our Republicanism above our Catholicism Catholic.

  • Another wonderful pro-Rudy article by the Anchoress:


    A wonderful addition to First Things.

  • Another we must put our Republicanism above our Catholicism Catholic.


  • Michael I.,

    On this point I completely agree.

    Elizabeth Scalia defending the pro-abort Rudy Giuliani is inexcusable. I don’t have any time to waste reading her Repulicanist propaganda.

  • Michael — someone who uses the word “heterosexism” to describe the Church’s position on marriage is living in a glass house . . . .

    Ah yes, the Anchoress, the noble defender of Rudy Gulianni and apologist for his pro-abortion and pro-gay stands, at least when he was heir apparent to the Republican nomination.

    Learn to look at dates. That blog posting was from April 29, 2008. Giuliani was not the “heir apparent,” he had dropped out 3 months earlier. And she defended Giuliani only in the sense that she thought he could still take communion.

  • Anyway, it’s funny seeing guys who voted for Obama pretending to be upset that “the Anchoress” might have endorsed a personally pro-choice candidate.

  • Inexcusable.

    Voting for Obama is simply inexcusable and reveals the depth of his Catholicism which is shallow.

  • SB:

    Who I voted for or whether I voted at all is my business. . .suffice it to say I did not vote for Obama.

    Secondly, please do not embarrass yourself by stating the Achoress was not a rabid supporter of Rudy Gulianni just on the Rudy G. link on the left side of her website. The woman salavates over him so much its embarassing.

  • OK, I was just talking about Michael Iafrate, who did vote for Obama.

  • In the 13th century, the Pope placed an interdict on England forbidding any sacraments (except, I believe, baptism and annointing of the sick) there. Bishops may apply an interdict to individual persons as well, which is like an excommunication in terms of access to sacraments but without expulsion from the Catholic community. The bishop’s actions may have been justified under Canon 1373.

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News & Notes for A.D. 3-3-2009

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

OK, I junked the whole Latin title since I figured it wasn’t coming across that well as to what I wanted to do with this bit.  So now I’m calling this particular column ‘News & Notes’ (for now).  Here is today’s Top Seven picks in the Catholic world:

1. A great new blog by Pat McNamara about Catholic history titled appropriately enough, McNamara’s Blog.  I’ve been thinking of starting something like this for the past three years, but never got around to it.  I’m happy to say that McNamara’s Blog has great short stories on famous and little known figures in Catholicism as well as stories on non-Catholics and how they interacted and viewed our beautiful Catholic faith.  Here is the link to McNamara’s Blog: http://irishcatholichumanist.blogspot.com/

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9 Responses to News & Notes for A.D. 3-3-2009

The Mass-What is Optional and What Is Not

Sunday, January 4, AD 2009


Hattips to Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons and Father Z at What Does The Prayer Really Say.  They brought to my attention the comments of Monsignor Joseph Schaedel, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to his parishioners at Holy Rosary Church after the Monsignor dropped the Sign of Peace at the Mass.  I find the Monsignor’s comments heartening, as I suspect will other Catholics in this country who have wondered “What next!” as they have sat through the numerous changes foisted upon the Mass over the past four decades.  Here are the comments with Father Z’s “color commentary” in red.

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3 Responses to The Mass-What is Optional and What Is Not

  • I don’t think the Sign Of Peace is really that meaningful. We have all these differences, dislikes, & hates, etc; then we brake the progression of the Mass to do a “How de do!” to people we’d rather have nothing to do with. Then we go back to our same thought processes & ignoring the folks we shook hands with, hugged, or waved hello to as if nothing happened. It’s so phoney and bogus that it’s disgusting!

  • The Pope has mention moving the “sign of peace” to before the offertory which I think would be much more respectful of the Eucharist and the awesome mystery we are about to partake and fulfill Jesus’ words better: “If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5:23-24).

  • The problem is that the current practice has masked the truly important and theologically meaningful location of the offering of Christ’s Peace during the Matt. Better to preserve the TRADITIONAL practice of the kiss of peace where it is, and save handshakes, hugs and high fives for coffee time after Mass.