Three cheers for Fr John Lankeit, the rector of the Cathedral of Ss. Simon and Jude, Phoenix, and also echoed by Father Z.
Father Lankeit had the lucidity and courage to say out loud that what is wrong can’t be right; not even then, when this wrong is very dear to secular minds. I wish the Conciliar fathers had had the same courage when subversive tendencies appeared in their respective diocese; but this obviously didn’t happen, seen that the subversive tendencies had been encouraged and abetted by those same bishops who should have suffocated them.
Fr Lankeit decided, then, to say what rather everyone well underway on his process of sobering – or who never got drunk in the first place – knows: there can be no place in the Church for so-called “altar girls”. He doesn’t say it with these words of course, but the message is clear enough. It was more than a mistake, it was a liturgical abuse to which Rome caved in out of sheer cowardice; a cowardice that has made incalculable damage, the rubble only in the last years being seriously, if slowly, removed. What is wrong doesn’t become right merely because it’s been approved.
Allow me to let Fr Lankeit speak:
“If you look around the Church — and I’m talking about the overall Church — if you look at dioceses, if you look at religious orders and you look at parishes where they have the clear honoring of the distinction and the complementarity of men and women, you see both vocations flourish,” Fr. Lankeit said. “And when I say both vocations, I mean to the priesthood as well as vocations to the consecrated religious life.”
Look – the man is saying – when you do things the proper way, you have more vocations among people of both sexes!
“Vocation crisis” is just another word for “liberal madness”: when you had the former you unavoidable got the latter; as the latter goes away the former will unavoidably disappear.
Fr Lankeit has others, long-forgotten or long-ignored truths to say. Try this:
“Prior to my ordination, as a single, Catholic man, I had no right whatsoever to the priesthood. And so when I went into the seminary, I was determining whether or not Jesus Christ was calling me to be a priest, but the Church was likewise discerning me and the ultimate decision was the Church’s,” Fr. Lankeit said. “Even if I felt very, very strongly at the bottom of my heart that I was called to be a priest and the Church didn’t recognize that, I had to accept that.”
I wonder how you can explain this to the modern feminazis: that there is no right to priesthood, no matter how strong you “feeeel”. No, it’s not about your feelings and no, you are not God and are not authorised to change His rules, though you may “feel” you are. I am afraid that allowing girls to become “altar boys” hasn’t helped to get this simple facts straight.
“The Church was likewise discerning me”. Thank God for Fr Lankeit, and please let your Hail Mary for him be a beautiful one.
Or try this one:
Q: Do young girls who serve at the altar become nuns?
A: “I haven’t seen that evidence”
You weren’t being inattentive, Father. The only vocation of “altar girls” which seems to work very well is the one to sanctimonious, secretly mocked, bossy old ugly feminist. No vocation crisis there I am afraid. Well, not yet; but given time and undertakers, tutto si aggiusta….
Out of tune, I must say, is the close of the article, with the mother of two siblings (one a boy, already an altar server; the other a girl, apparently aspiring to become one) who thinks that she must “understand where it’s coming from” and says “I would want to know more about the reasons for the change before having an opinion about it.” I hope that after the knowing will come the understanding, but the rather unpleasant impression remains that what counts in the journalist’s mind is what the mother thinks, rather than what the Church has done these two thousand years. I wasn’t entirely surprised in discovering that I was very interested to know what Fr Lankeit’s motives are, but really couldn’t care less of what opinion the lady will have.
Insensitive, isn’t it?
I have already explained in my post about the Catholic Onion that when the bishop acts correctly, his priests feel encouraged in going the right way even if this may result unpopular and conversely, if the Bishop doesn’t care for properly transmitted Catholic values this mentality will end up informing the behaviour of many of the priests in his diocese.
A beautiful example here, courtesy of Father Z.
You will remember Bishop Olmsted, the rather decisive bishop who recently excommunicated Sister Margaret McBride and deprived the Hospital of St. Joseph of the right to call itself “Catholic”.
It will now please you to read that when a good example is given from the top, it becomes both easier and more easily acceptable for the priests of the diocese to follow the lead and take the necessary steps towards the recovery of reverent liturgical customs. In Bishop Olmsted’s diocese itself, Fr John Lankeit is actively working towards a gradual elimination of communion in the hand.
His words are sincere and alarming: “What I witness troubles me. And I’m not alone” writes Fr Lankeit. You immediately understand that here is one not likely to throw M&Ms at the faithful during Mass.
Fr Lankeit puts the extent of the problem in clear terms:
While my main objective in encouraging reception on the tongue is to deepen appreciation for the Eucharist, I also have a pastoral responsibility to eliminate abuses common to receiving in the hand.
Notice here the double whammy: a) reception on the tongue is the best way in itself; b) reception in the hand causes abuses.
It follows a list of examples, seen “all too frequently”, which I hope will not disturb your sleep:
• Blessing oneself with the host before consuming it. (The act of blessing with the Eucharist is called “Benediction” and is reserved to clergy).
• Receiving the host in the palm of the hand, contorting that same hand until the host is controlled by the fingers, then consuming it (resembling a one-handed “watch-the-coin-disappear” magic trick)
• Popping the host into the mouth like a piece of popcorn.
• Attempting to receive with only one hand.
• Attempting to receive with other items in the hands, like a dirty Kleenex or a Rosary.
• Receiving the host with dirty hands.
• Receiving the host, closing the hand around it, then letting the hand fall to the side (as if carrying a suitcase) while walking away and/or blessing oneself with the other hand.
• Walking away without consuming the host.
• Giving the host to someone else after receiving…yes, it happens!
Some of these I had already imagined; others go beyond my ability to figure out how they happen (the “magic trick”, say); other still can only be defined as astonishing (the dirty hands, the rosary, the kleenex, the “blessing oneself” (??) and the walking away with the host as if it were a piece of luggage).
I am certainly wrong here, but I can’t avoid always seeing in the receiving on the hand an element of “I am the priest of myself” that, at some level, must be buried within the consciousness of the communicant. I just can’t avoid seeing the placing of the communion wafer on the tongue as a priestly function and besides, how one can come to the idea of receiving God the same way as he eats bread and salami is just beyond my understanding.
Father Lankeit doesn’t express himself in such terms of course, but one can clearly see the liturgical zeal and sincere desire to lead his parishioners to better understand the importance of Communion and of acting accordingly. He writes about this four weeks in a row. This is another who, like his Bishop, will be heard. More like him and his Bishop and the beauty and reverence of the Mass will be speedily restored everywhere.