You might have heard the one or other old-ish man (or, more probably, woman) waxing lyrical about “The First Christians”.
I have always been suspicious of this kind of “Firstolatry”, as I have never been told that the “First Christians” had any title to liturgical or doctrinal infallibility. Still, they tend to be mentioned rather often, and I am reminded of the “Firstolatry” every time I assist to one of those Novus Ordo masses where some self-satisfied old men (or women) carry the gifts to the altar, generally coming back to their pews with a face indicating how very, very special they are.
It seems also clear to me that such a reasoning (“The First Christians did it, therefore we should too”) contradicts the very meaning of Catholic tradition. If The First Christians were right, then many centuries of Catholic Tradition would necessarily be wrong! It’s like saying the Church started with the right foot, but then suddenly started doing things the wrong way. I do not know about you, but this stinks mightily of Protestantism to me.
I also thought “tradition” comes from the Latin traditio, “transmission”. We receive from our ancestors and in turn transmit to our descendants. Therefore, the “recovery” of an ancient way of celebrating the Mass is nothing to do with tradition at all! Those old ways have, precisely, been abandoned instead of transmitted, because The First Christians thought they were not good enough! Where’s the “tradition” in that?
Pope Pius XII called this excessive attention to old and abandoned ways “archaeologism”, as always hitting the bull’s-eye.
Once again, it is easy to see good and strong Popes can recognise and correct wrong tendencies they see developing among the sheep; much less good and weak Popes are unable to stem the spreading of fashions – or worse, as in the case of the altar girls – even when they perfectly recognise the error.
Let’s hope the “Firstolatry” will abate with the time, as we slowly come back to reason in liturgical matters.
From Sacrosanctum Concilium:
“The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people’s powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.”
If you visit Rorate Caeli, you will not fail to understand how the pastoral mentality of Vatican II has revived the Church and given new meaning to an old, tired, formal ritual.
Notice the solemnity of the priest; the noble simplicity of his, should we say, altar; the raptured participation of the youth attending the ceremony, to whom the celebrant nobly gives his back; the atmosphere of simplicity and yet, solemnity that clearly transpires from the pictures. I do not doubt that the celebration was short, let alone unencumbered from useless repetitions. Can’t imagine it stretched the presents’ powers of comprehension, either.
Oh, to be able to attend such a mass! Oh, to be able to revive the unadorned simplicity of our liturgical masters, The First Christians! How have we become prisoners of symbols, and ceremonies, and banal objects like…. altars!
I look at the pictures, and wonder what has gone wrong with us.
Reading around on the Internet, one stumbles upon some debates that to this cradle Catholic – who grew up in a country and in a time where Catholicism was still taken seriously – do sound rather strange.
I therefore thought that I would spend two words about what I think is the role expected from a priest vis-a-vis the challenges of modern times – and, come to that, of all times -.
1) I find it very good that a priest is shocked at perverted behaviour. When a priest – or every other person – is not shocked anymore, this means that he has been polluted by perversion himself. One must wonder about the state of a soul who is not taken by disgust at seeing people of same sex holding hands in public or, worse, kissing. Of course a priest must not be a Pollyanna utterly unaware of the existence of sin; but neither can he be one who looks at sexual perversion without cringing.
2) I find it (after the consecration) the most important duty of the priest to be good from the pulpit. In particular, it is inconceivable to me how a priest – any pastor or minister, let alone a Catholic priest – may renounce to address the matter of sin. I do not only mean the sin of lust, but all sins: envy, gluttony, pride, the lot. We are surrounded by obese people, on their way to a life of trouble and a premature death, because the sin of gluttony is not mentioned anymore; we have more and more vocal perverts around, because their sin of pride has been hidden under the cloak of “understanding” for their “plight”, when vocal homosexuality is simply utter rebellion to Our Lord; we have the environmental madness and the spreading of socialist ideas, because the sin of envy is not properly addressed; nay, it is encouraged.
How important the homily is can be clearly seen from the fact that the Church post Vatican II has tried to kill it, transforming it in a harmless chat where no uncomfortable messages are conveyed. The measure in which sin is so accurately avoided in every trendy homily is simply scary. In fact, whilst we still say that something is said “from the pulpit”, the pulpit itself has been one of the victims of Vatican II. How many new churches have been built with a proper pulpit? And when a pulpit is available, how many priests still use it?
The entire concept and physical presence of the pulpit reminds one of sin. NuChurch wants to get rid of the concept of sin. Therefore, NuChurch has to get rid of the pulpit.
Let me state very plainly that to me, a priest who is unwilling to address sin from the pulpit is unrecognisable as a priest.
3) In my eyes, a good priest is one who is, as it is generally said, a lion from the pulpit and a lamb (when he sees contrition, of course) in the confessional. From the pulpit, I am reminded of what a wretched sinner I am. In the confessional, I am re-directed toward the path of salvation. Being a sinner, I need the constant reminder that I go astray, and need to be reconciled to Jesus; that I am like those half-broken spring-propelled toy cars we had as children, which couldn’t go straight and had to be constantly put on the right way again; and this not only in the very grave things, but in the lesser ones also. I need to be reminded that I alone can do pretty much perfectly absolutely nothing; that left to my devices, I am very likely to find a rather fast way to hell; that my path to improvement and to a life of – at least – struggle to be as good as I can goes through the humiliation of penance, the crushing acknowledgment that I continue to nail Christ to the Cross every day. And this humiliation is really good (I mean: salutary), because it keeps me away from the worst of the sin of pride, and puts ruthlessly in front of my eyes what wreckage concupiscence is ready to make in my soul, if I am complacent.
Unpleasant? You bet! The human condition is unpleasant: we are sinners ready to continue to offend Christ every day. We are serial sinners who, unless we are properly instructed and reminded and admonished and rebuked, would easily find a speedy way to hell, and the priest is the man to help us avoid that.
4) Still, my ideal priest is one who uses a wise mixture of all that; one whose homilies are a healthy mixture of instruction and admonition, of hope and brimstone, of roaring and consoling. By one homily of twelve to fifteen minutes a week there is really a lot to say, and a normal churchgoer can have a thorough foundation in Catholic teaching, and at the same time develop a very healthy, nay, indispensable sense of his own sinfulness, in a matter of just a few years. This is what has always happened in the past, when people actually built churches with pulpits; and this is what the perverted generation of Vatican II has abandoned. Even the way to the confessional clearly goes through the pulpit, as the confessionals are deserted because the need for confession is not stressed strongly enough. One would have to talk about sin, you know. So he devotes the homily to the jooooy that awaaaaaits us aaaall in heaaaaven instead. “What a beautiful homily, Father”, will the people whose hand he is – in pure Protestant fashion – happily shaking after Mass say to him. Nothing but smiles all around. How very nice.
5) A good priest is, in my eyes, one who doesn’t refrain from addressing sexual perversion from the pulpit. He will – if he is any good – be able to express himself in a way that is clear without being obscene, and can be directed to the adults without upsetting the children. I agree that one hundred years ago the Sin of Sodom didn’t need to be addressed in Church; but others did, and St. Augustine openly rebuked his parishioners who slept with their own servants without being so afraid of what questions the children of these very fathers might have asked after Mass.
This is not meant to offend anyone in particular, of course. In fact, the blog where I have read one of these debates is run by what I think a most excellent priest. But then again, it is surprising what comments people (or even: priests) can write around as comments to blog posts or answers to questions. If I look back at my own experience the lack of proper homilies as a child has been, no doubt, one of the things which allowed me to slide away from mass attendance. If the priests isn’t serious, you end up not taking the Mass seriously. My mistake of course, but I can’t say that I was even warned from doing the mistake. Such were the times and such they, I do not doubt, very often are. We live in times where many priests would consider mentioning Mass obligation a no-no. Then they complain about the fact that the world is so materialistic and not turned to God. Why don’t they wake up instead.
A priest doesn’t have to be a master in sensitivity. He is there to save souls. He must be able to find the words, and to use the strong ones when needed. This is what a loving father does.
At times I have the impression that modern “Fathers” would prefer to be called “Mother” instead.
If you don’t know what the American Catholic Council is, don’t worry: you are not alone.
In short, this is one of those ridiculous outfits which claim to be Catholic whilst clearly being Protestant. From thinking that everyone should be priest, to being in favour of wymmyn priest, to encouraging the usual pervert sexual behaviour, they serve you the whole enchilada of the “dissent” madness. You may ask why they don’t become Protestant as they clearly… already are, but intelligence and logical thinking are graces clearly not given to everyone.
It so happens that this mickey-mouse “catholic” organisation holds a conference in Detroit in the next few days, featuring some of the usual heretical muppets. The event will (would; was supposed to) also host an “ecumenical mass”, which considering the ideas of the organisers screams “liturgical abuses” from very, very far away.
Now the local Archbishop is a certain Vigneron; a man who might possibly not be a sword of Catholic orthodoxy (I seem to recall his diocese being pretty harshly criticised by Michael Voris in the past; I might be wrong) but has certainly the energy to avoid tolerating such a load of manure without reaction.
Therefore, Archbishop Vigneron has made the following:
1) he has not authorised the mass, and
2) he has written a letter to his priests and deacons stating that his questions about the mass have not been answered to his satisfaction, that the whole thing screams of liturgical abuse, and that therefore any deacon or priest who should entertain the unealthy thought of participating in this liturgy runs the risk of being dismissed from the clerical state.
I can picture the “dissident” Protestants-telling-themselves-Catholics now faced with the unpleasant reality of even a “moderate” archbishop throwing around threats of laicisation for deluded feminist/homosexual hotheads, and posed in front of the unpleasant task of having to find a priest in good standing but ready to risk the soutane (if he ever wore one) for them or show that the archbishop can well and truly block them.
Alternatively, they may ask some layman to celebrate a fake mass; or some wymmyn; and what about the dog……
I think of their situation and try to feel sorry for them in their quandary.
Thankfully, I can’t.
I have written only some days ago about the shame some orders, like the Jesuits, are bringing on themselves and how this will – unless they change their tune, which seems improbable – lead to their well-deserved extinction. Stil, it is not all bad and it is fitting and encouraging to report about those who are making a very good job, even if they do not make national headlines with some hallucinated interview about not praying in the name of Christ.
The video above is from St. Michael’s Abbey, a Norbertine abbey in Orange County, Southern California. When I browsed around their internet presence, I thought I was transported into another era. Whilst every Norbertine Abbey has its own degree of authonomy – as is, I think, the case for many religious orders – these people truly take it seriously. Look at their liturgy, with all canonical hours of the office sung every day by every one, priest or seminarian. This is three hours of chant a day, more on feast days. Vocations are dealt with in detail, and already from the video you can see that this is a community that doesn’t have any vocation problem. If you don’t believe the video, look at the confreres portraits and see for yourself.
The blunt request for “at least average intelligence” to be accepted as seminarian is delightfully politically incorrect; the other rather blunt affirmation, that “those who suffer from chronic illnesses or who are handicapped cannot enter the priesthood” is another example that these people tell it very straight (“handicapped”? I haven’t heard the word in decades. How do they dare?!).
They also have a preparatory school and in this case too, you feel transported into another era: compulsory religious education, mass every day before breakfast, mandatory night prayers after dinner. Ranking is, unsurprisingly, very high. I wouldn’t be surprised if sincere vocations among the pupils were high, too.
It seems to me particularly relevant that this abbey is in Southern California, a region generally not known for religious conservatism, and I also found interesting that it was first founded by refugees from communist Hungary. How the Holy Spirit never ceases to create good out of evil!
Whilst the attention to gregorian chant seems extreme, it is not clear (to me at least) whether the mass is a Novus Ordo or a Tridentine; as to the attendance, their wikipedia site seems to indicate that their Mass is open to the public and the fact that they schedule Mass at 11am on a sunday instead of the usual 7am would seem to corroborate the fact.
They also run a couple of parish churches, and seem to offer the Tridentine Mass too.
If someone of those parts reads this blog, I’d be glad to read about their experience. After the tragic news reaching us from the Netherlands, it is good to know that not too far away from the world capital of liberal atheist propaganda, a community of brave friars gives a wonderful example of monastic life.
Let me say beforehand – though those who have been reading me for some time, if any, know it already – that I do not have any problem with the sacramental validity of the Novus Ordo mass. None whatsoever.
I believe that there is only One Church and that Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia. It follows that I cannot believe that the consecration of this only Church has become a fraud.
This doesn’t mean, however, that I consider everything happening within this Only Church to be right. If we look at the past, we see various ages in which the Church has gravely failed to properly instruct the faithful and, in general, do a halfway decent job of things. The extreme corruption of pretty much everything regarding the Church in the IX and X Century is an example; the decadent, irreverent splendour of the Church of the XVI century is another; the rather laissez-faire style of the XVIII century another still. In spite of all that, we know that Communion, Confession & co were as valid during these dark times as they always were, and that the consecration effected by a priest remains valid even should the priest be in mortal sin.
Similarly, periods in which the Mass was ill-treated are clearly recognisable: the notorious fast masses – or the “bespoke” masses – of the XVI century (some of them done with in 15 minutes, it seems), with the priests deciding what is “in” and what is “out” of the traditional liturgy are a clear example, and one with many parallels to what happens today. The Tridentine Council adjusted things then, and we are waiting for a similar repair work today.
What has been happening in the last half century is, therefore, not new in itself. What is different today is that in the present situation the liturgical and theological corruption has reached the very heart of the Church, in a measure and with a virulence that we cannot find in the past.
Some Popes of the past knew how to be assassins, gluttons, womanizers or, in general, first-class greedy bastards. But they never even conceived of tampering with the liturgy. The private lusts of an Alexander VI didn’t impinge the daily spiritual life of millions of Catholics anywhere near as the experiments of a John XXIII, or the stupefying weakness of a Paul VI, did.
What we have today is, therefore, nothing new on one hand, but alarmingly novel on the other. The Smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God not through the private vices and weaknesses of his leaders, but through a direct attack to the very centre of Her life, the Liturgy.
This is why the New Mass must die.
When the “fast-food” masses of the XVI century were critically examined their sacramental validity was (apart from very extreme cases) not put into question, but it was nevertheless decided that such way of celebrating Mass had to be stopped. When a vast series of regional or local “usages” was deemed to be detrimental to Church life, the thus celebrated masses were not declared invalid, only it was wisely considered that only traditional usages should be allowed to survive. Every cleaning carries with himself the necessity of eliminating poor practice, irrespective of its sacramental validity.
A strong, universally applied “best practice” policy is what is needed, as it was – very wisely! – done in the past by similar cleaning-up operations. There can be no doubt that the best practice is the Mass of the Ages. There can be no doubt that the recovery of integrity in the Liturgy goes through the recovery of the Liturgy in its most traditional, purest form. This is what has been – very wisely – done in the past. It stands to reason that it is what must be done today.
Whilst this is – intellectually speaking – clear enough, it never fails to slap me in the face every time that I – as I do every now and then – go around assisting to some Novus Ordo Mass around London and its immediate vicinity. The return to the proper Mass is always – and I repeat this – like a slap in the face; every single time, it is impossible not to notice the sheer inadequacy of the Novus Ordo to convey the sacredness of the Mass.
It’s like going to a concert of some cretinous rapper and then go back to a Schubert piano recital. “What was they thinking” is the thought that always comes to my mind; a bit the same as when you look at those iron and concrete monsters of the Sixties and wonder what everyone (architects; city planners; citizens) were doing with their brains in those fateful years.
The Novus Ordo must die. It must end up in the same dustbin where the old fast masses, and the vast number of regional and local uses of the past, have ended up.
Not because it is invalid, but because once you have known the Tridentine Mass, the Novus ordo is so woefully inadequate that it is a sheer embarrassment to attend to.
In a Father Z’s post, a very perceptive Bishop (outside of Europe, of course) makes a lot of intelligent observations about why the Novus Ordo is woefully inadequate and how the return to the Vetus Ordo will be the “saving grace” of the Church.
Of his many points, one struck me light a lightning: what if EWTN would start transmitting its daily mass ad orientem.
Think of it: the biggest Catholic sender on earth broadcasts its daily Mass with the Tridentine use. Very rapidly (after some weeks of feeble protest, perhaps; perhaps with a keen curiosity from the start) the Tridentine would become familiar to millions who never had the opportunity to assist to one before; nay, who didn’t even know that there was the possibility of attending to such a Mass!
In a matter of a few months, perhaps a few weeks, a huge number of them would not only become accustomed to it, but start to cherish the sobriety, the atmosphere, the solemnity, the sense of sacredness that the Tridentine conveys so well to all those who take the time and make the effort to understand it. Soon, these very people would start asking their own priest what about that beautiful, spiritual Mass they see on EWTN. What will the priest answer then, “we don’t do this”? “You are 45, but not a stable community?”.
In a world more and more made global by mass communication media, a single decision could have a planetary impact.
I do hope they’ll think seriously about it.
Hat tip to Lux Occulta‘s Shane for this beautiful Michael Voris video.
Voris’ as always very outspoken message begins with a harsh criticism of the way Mass is too often celebrated: a self-celebration that is Protestant in nature and exclusively centered on more or (more often) less entertaining clowns. “All of this emphasis on all of these humans is absolutely out of place”, says Voris, and Cardinal Burke clearly points out to the danger of losing one’s faith by allowing oneself to be contaminated by such a protestant (and very convenient, and very “do not judge”, and very “inclusive”) thinking.
“The Mass is about Jesus Christ, everything else is Protestant”, says Voris with the usual openness and one wonders how long will we have to wait until we hear such concepts expressed by our bishops as a matter of course and, most importantly, openly and assertively instead of being coded within the usual politically correct crap they feed us with.
The second part of Voris’ message is even stronger than the first and points out to the immediate danger of damnation hovering over the countless priests and bishops who have perpetrated or allowed these abuses. “How many bishops in America have allowed this”, says Voris and thinking of our own bishops in the United Kingdom one is even more afraid.
The simple truth is that from the part of Catholic hierarchy considered as a whole, a betrayal of everything that is Catholic is going on that has few precedents (and possibly: no precedent, as even in the darkest days of the IX and X century Christian feelings were certainly better protected and better transmitted among the faithful) in the history of the Church.
Whilst remaining faithful to the Church founded on Peter by Christ, we must acknowledge the simple truth that many, many bishops make the work of the devil and that their criminal neglect of Catholic Truth to favour the approval of the masses will have – bar an always welcome repentance – to be paid at the highest price.
Very rightly, SPUC’s chef Smeaton says that Archbishop Nichols’ view on homosexuality endanger children’s souls . It goes without saying (though Mr. Smeaton says that, too) that Archbishop Nichols gravely endangers his own soul, too.
These are, alas, the times we live in. We are surrounded by bishops who, when they have not completely lost the faith – which by the tone of their actions and inactions seems by far the most frequent case – have surrendered every idea of fighting the good fight and are happy to feed the faithful with inane platitudes and assorted harmless slogans. In turn, this gives us priests who, when they have not completely lost the faith – which must be a rather frequent occurrence if you just listen to what many of them go around saying – are, poor chaps, too weak to start a battle against their own bishop; a battle that would see them in the end chastised in the best of cases, and utterly ruined in the worst.
Whenever cases like the one in Thiberville happen, where a joke of a bishop like Nourrichard (yes, he is the one in the photo; seriously!) is allowed to prevail over a courageous priest and his authentically Catholic community, priests all over the planet register the event and take note.
Make no mistake, though: I am less angry at the priest who can’t find in himself the courage to willfully undergo persecution that at the bishop who can’t find in himself the courage to be unpopular. A priest is a human being too and if he is “not born with a lion’s heart” (Manzoni) he will end up merely trying to limit the damage. I am also aware that (to say it with Manzoni again) “courage, one cannot give it to oneself”. May God have mercy of the poor priests who can’t find the strenght to do what they know they should do as he will – hopefully – have mercy on me, who are also unable to do what I know I should do.
But the position of a bishop is entirely different. Besides having greater responsibility as a successor of the Apostels, a bishop is so established in a world of power and privilege that even the persecution of a seriously modernist Pope (not to be seen anywhere on the horizon, by the way) would not go beyond the loss of a diocesan position and the confinement in some very comfortable – as the Italians say – “elephants’ cemetery”, very probably still in the company of all the accoutrements of rank and prestige.
A cowardly bishop has, therefore, no excuses, let alone a faithless Bishop wilfully and actively making the work of Satan (yes, I am thinking of Vincent “Quisling” Nichols and his ilk). We are all sinners of course, but there is a huge difference between being short of Jesus’ demand in one’s private life and to undermine His message in the public one.
God bless Michael Voris, Cardinal Burke and all those who fight the fight for the integrity of Catholicism in the face of the modernist, homosexualist, protestantised fifth column formed by too many bishops and, alas, still far too compact in its ranks.
From the Catholic Herald, a rather shocking example of how much is still to be repaired within the damaged body of the Only Church. The more shocking, because it comes from a country which by all its problems is still considered at the forefront of the Catholic world and where, for example, the majority of the population still approves the ban on abortion.
It would appear that almost ten percent of the Irish clergy is not only opposed to the introduction of the improved translation of the Mass – which would be bad news in itself, but one would be able to dismiss it as the result of mediocre lirutgical formation -, but that the arguments they bring against the new translation are so ideologically biased, so obviously un-Catholic as to let one fear for the sheep who have to attend Mass every week with these wolves in sheeps’ clothes.
I never thought I’d see the day when not one, but hundreds of clergy consider a translation from the Latin sexist. This is the kind of verbal flak you expect from the BBC, from a fashionable unrepentant pervert a’ la Stephen fry, or from a die-hard (but hey: dying they are) feminist group.
The arguments of these people sound to me as if I’d asked a left-wing Italian teacher to celebrate Mass. Still, I dare to say that the criticism moved by many of such left-wing teachers would not go as far as to express a “grave concern” because the new translation “demonstrates a lack of awareness of the insights gained from linguistics and anthropology during the past 100 years”.
What these bad shepherds say is that the translation from the Latin is wrong, because the old liturgy is naturally politically incorrect and we can’t talk that way anymore. But we are talking about liturgy here, not about stupid linguistical conventions for afternoon teas. We are dealing with the Truth and its proper expression here, not about politically correct linguistic usages. We are dealing with the way the Church has, for countless generations, deemed fit to express what is most central in Her entire existence, nay, what alone justifies Her existence in the first place!
These priests simply think they can re-write Truth, because Truth doesn’t conform to their anthropological views anymore. This is not even biased dissent but, in its essence, Modernism.
It gets – if possible – worse than this. Obscure threats of…(what, really?) are also made, “chaos” painted on the wall, open revolt hinted at. A chap called Father Gerard Alwill expresses himself in this way:
We are saying very clearly that this new translation of the Missal is not acceptable… We are deeply concerned that if these new texts are imposed, they could create chaos in our church. Our Church doesn’t need chaos at this time.
The new translation is not acceptable to you, Father Gerard? Well don’t accept it! Ask to be defrocked! Get out!
This is not the Anglican so-called church, where every Dick and Harry can decide what is “acceptable” to him. Particularly so, when we are talking of words as they have always been, liturgy as it has always been intended. These people think that the Church should follow their own “anthropological views”! And they call themselves Catholic priests! Astonishing!
That with the “chaos” is also funny. The good chap seems to dream of a schism, or of some great revolt. “PC Priests Against Chauvinist Liturgy”. Where’s the rainbow flag……
Again, it is staggering how little these people know (or pretend to know) the Church. This is Anglican talk and Anglican thinking and frankly, Anglicanism is the right place for these sorry excuses of Catholic priests.
Chaos? Keep dreaming, old boy.
You wouldn’t believe it, but every now and then some Catholic Bishop here and there actually starts doing his job.
This time it happened in San Antonio, where the interim head of the Archiocese, the auxiliary bishop Oscar Cantu’, decided that Homo Masses are not a sign of “chariteeee”, but Homo propaganda. One would have to say a word or two about the fact that the local faithful had protested against this abomination for fifteen years and the hierarchy had not reacted, but today I’ll limit myself to registering the fact that someone has finally done what is right.
As they say, better late than Nichols.
Let us read what Bishop Oscar Cantu’ has written about the matter:
“The Mass … continues to send conflicting messages about the Church’s official teaching concerning the proper celebration of the Eucharist and living an active homosexual lifestyle,”
This short but rather damning statement contains three important points: 1) there are “conflicting messages”, meaning: you avoid open heresy but in fact undermine Catholic teaching on the matter; 2) the celebration of the eucharist is not properly made, if it is made for a “special interest group”. Catholic means universal. You are Catholic, you go to Mass. You are a homosexual Catholic, you go to exactly the same Mass; 3) Homo Masses end up being propaganda for the acceptance of “an active homosexual lifestyle”. This point is so obvious than in order not to see it one must have the shameless, arrogant cheek of a Vincent Nichols.
In this particular case, the scandal was (if possible) even bigger because the Masses were “offered” for a so-called “gay advocacy group” called “Dignity”. This group openly advocates the acceptance of so-called homosexual lifestyle* and is therefore not in the least compatible with Catholic Teaching on the matter. Basically, homo activists openly in contrast with the Church have been allowed to confuse the faithful and give scandal for fifteen years, under the very nose of the Bishop and notwithstanding the repeated complaints of the clergy. The interim Bishop has now put an end to this after the old one – the allegedly very conservative Gomez, Opus Dei and now in Los Angeles – evidently never found the courage to grow a pair and tell things as they are.
Bishop Cantu’ is only 44 years old. He is “merely” the interim Head of the Archdiocese, with the new Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller taking over next month. It will be very interesting to see what Garcia-Siller does once installed, Cantu’s move certainly will not make it easy to come back to the old homo-friendly practices.
A very promising young shepherd, this Bishop Cantu’. Kudos to him and let us hope that this will become a fashion.
* That’s what they call it. For Heaven’s sake, would you call incest, bestiality, pedophilia a “lifestyle”? The world has become mad if we allow anyone to define themselves as they please and demand that we all call them as they wish.
“Perverts” is the word.
If anyone had ever been in doubt about the 1) incompetence and 2) lack of basic Christianity dominating the E&W Hierarchy, here is a further example.
You can read on St. Mary Magdalen Blog the latest piece of ridicule with which our bishops have covered themselves.
In order for non-Catholics to better “understand” what is going on at papal events, our geniuses have prepared a small, portable “translator” of commonly used words.
We are therefore informed that “Liturgy”, Celebration”, “Mass”, “Benediction” have as similar terms often used “Event, Show,Gig”.
I can vividly picture Archbishop Vincent Nichols asked to tell a non-Catholic what a Mass is and answering “it is something similar to an event, or a show, or gig“.
One understands why he still allows Homo Masses: Soho is part of Theatreland.
It goes on: “Blessed Sacrament”, “Holy Communion” have, as similar terms often used, “Bread, Wine”. This really makes one cringe. One wonders whether this is too stupid to be blasphemous or just plain blasphemous, but I doubt our heroes in Ecclestone Square will see any problem with that. It is just so inclusive, and hopefully the readers are not complete morons and can even understand what it is really meant.
If they do are complete morons, an email is provided.
It goes on, with “liturgist” as “performers, artists” and “sanctuary” as “stage”.
Someone is being really, really blasphemous or really, really stupid here. Or someone is being both, or most probably our Bishops and the people they employ just do not know anymore what a Mass is, what the Eucharist is, and so on.
No private company would ever be run in such a way. Not even British Leyland, or British Steel. This is beyond parody. I seriously needed some time to realise this was not a joke.
This shop is full of utterly incompetent people completely oblivious of what Catholicism is, and only bent on making themselves agreeable to society.
As the fish always stinks from the head down, the prince of the incompetent is Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who would be sacked this very day if he weren’t allowed to abuse the patience of people much better than him and get away with every kind of show (similar terms often used by him: Mass, Liturgy).
Quo usque tandem……..
“Rorate Coeli” re-published a brilliant contribution from a member of the American Catholic Lawyers association, Christopher Ferrara. The contribution is longish, but fascinating and even if it has been written some years ago, it still maintains a great deal of actuality.
Mr. Ferrara examines SC with a lawyer’s spectacles, with a view of seeing what SC mandates and what it allows. It seems to be that his detailed analysis has as main aims:
1) to ascertain to what extent the Novus Ordo we know and hate has been authorised by SC;
2) to understand how it could be approved by certainly conservative bishops, in primis by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre;
3) to see whether the Latin Mass can be restored based on SC, and
4) what is the way forward, if not.
To 1), Mr. Ferrara convincingly proves that every modification originated by the Novus Ordo (and which does not constitute an obvious, liturgical abuse) can easily be justified in the light of SC. He points out (as Romano Amerio before him had often done) to the utterly contradictory mixture of conservative and progressive norms, with solemn statements of the will to preserve tradition immediately followed by the authorisation to proceed to sweeping modification every time that unspecified local needs should be taken into account. This apparent hysteria is, as it is clear now, rather the fruit of the will of Bugnini & Co. to reassure conservative Bishops with solemn statements of continuity of tradition whilst at the same time opening vast portals to utterly unspecified, arbitrarily decided changes by local communities. The strategy obviously worked as the document was approved and the sweeping liturgical modifications introduced in the following years were never seen by both Paul VI and JP II as being against the letter or the spirit of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Ferrara’s case is solidly made: the argument that the Novus Ordo itself (again: leaving aside liturgical abuses) is not in compliance with SC’s norms is untenable. The Novus Ordo we have today is very clearly what was wanted, the fragmentation of the rite into a myriad of different languages and regional variations explicitly desired.
To 2), Ferrara points out to an important psychological, if not legal, factor in the Bishop’s approval. Sacrosanctum Concilium is so structured, that no substantial changes are made mandatory. The picture coming out from the reading is one of a document saying “we want to leave pretty much everything as it is, unless we introduce changes“. The options about changes are, though, so many and so undetermined, that the door to an almost unrecognisable Roman Rite was open wide. We know the results.
As Ferrara brilliantly writes,
A lawyer knows that the dangers in a contract from his client’s perspective lie not so much in what the terms of the contract provide as in what they permit the other party to do. The danger is in the loopholes. Quite simply, SC permits all manner of drastic things to be done to the Roman liturgy. It is one long collection of loopholes. If a lawyer entrusted with the task of protecting the Roman liturgy from harmful innovation had drafted this document, he would be guilty of gross malpractice.
This makes also clear why conservative Bishops like Lefebvre did approve the document. It wouldn’t have been prudent to reject the document altogether in view of its stated conservative character, but it was wise to point out to the dangers to which a mediocre wording would expose the Church. Archbishop Lefebvre actually did both (approving and warning) and in retrospect I would say that his conduct appears – once more – wise.
To 3), the obvious conclusion from what has been said up to now is that the idea that the New Mass is a violation of Sacrosanctum Concilium is untenable. This point seems very important to the author, which leads me to think that years ago the theory must have enjoyed vast popularity. But really, to espouse such a thinking would not only contradict the clear wording of SC (of which Ferrara brings many examples) but would also imply that two Popes have been gravely erring for decades in the interpretation of such an important Conciliar document.
To 4), the author has an interesting perspective. In his eyes, SC should not be modified or specified or guidelines to its interpretations given. Sacrosanctum Concilium deals with the Novus Ordo; it is not a doctrinal statement about how the Mass should look like, but merely a document stating how the mass may be modified. As things stand now, SC has been already implemented or, as Ferrara says in legal terms, has “merged” with the new Mass. Therefore there is, in legal terms, no SC anymore, only the New Mass it generated. As a consequence, the setting aside of the Novus ordo Mass will be the setting aside of Sacrosanctum Concilium. No need for any backpedaling, or modifications, or new interpretations. Just put the NO in the coldest part of the freezer and no further action will be required. Conversely, as SC clearly authorised all the sweeping changes we have experienced, its twisting to let it mean that those changes were never authorised or its modification to let it say the contrary of what it always meant doesn’t really make sense.
Let us conclude with the author’s very reasonable words:
The only way to restrain that mentality and restore liturgical sanity in the Roman Rite is full restoration of our Latin liturgical tradition – taken from us overnight, only 30 years ago.
In the past weeks confused but altogether not reassuring news about the planned Papal visit to the UK have started to circulate. Explosions of costs were mentioned, uncertainties about the venues and contrasts between the local bishops and the Vatican about where to celebrate the Beatification Mass of Cardinal Newman.
It is sad that such an important occasion (important because of the powerful symbolic value of a visit in a highly secularised country as the United Kingdom) should be clouded by issues like organisational failures and lack (or better: waste) of faithful’s money. Still, some broader issues arise from this situation.
The first is the character of the Beatification Mass. I can’t see how a mass celebrated in an airport can be as solemn and edifying as a Mass celebrated in a Cathedral or other church building. In an airport, the main aspect of the Mass (the sacrificial one) is clouded by the “gathering” aspect of the event. This is in my eyes better left to the Protestants. There is a reason why buildings have been erected for the purpose of celebrating Mass rather than looking for the next available open space, and it is because they are a more fitting place.
The second issue is the necessity of such megalomaniacal planning. I do not agree that when a Pope comes to visit a huge effort should be made to allow as many people as possible to see him. The Pope is the Head of the Universal Church and his visit has a high symbolic meaning irrespective of how many people are there to see him. It is not a contest to see who can mobilise the greatest masses.
The third issue is one of pure ability and competence. If there was the capacity of organising such huge events at a reasonable cost, without squandering money and remaining within budget, then such gigantic efforts might, hypothetically, start to make some sense. But this ability is obviously not there.
The fourth issue is how the faithful’s money is spent. From the relevant internet page we are informed that £350,000 are going to be spent for “evangelisation material” and £650,000 for “communication work” of various sort. For one event. This looks like “jobs for the boys” to me. Also notice the £200,000 on “fundraising costs” in a country where the Catholic Church is represented everywhere and most wealthy donors are just a phone call away. All this, whilst churches are closed for alleged lack of funds.
It is illusory to think that one can forward the Catholic cause in the United Kingdom by organising mass gatherings. Catholicism is promoted by being Catholic, saying it out loud and demanding to be heard in every matter touching the Catholic faith. The bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are evidently deficient in this and the “missionary zeal” that the Holy Father has demanded from them is clearly not there.
A couple of televised events will not make up for the lack of this missionary zeal. Particularly if they are mismanaged.