Richard McBrien praises Archbp. Marini’s book: the usual cliches

On the website of Card. Mahony’s newpaper, The Tidings, there is a piece by Fr. Richard McBrien (inexplicably still teaching at Notre Dame University) about the book that recently came out under the name of Archbishop Piero Marini.

Shall we have a look with my emphases and comments?

Archbishop Marini’s new book
By Fr. Richard McBrien

Archbishop Piero Marini served as papal master of ceremonies for some 20 years, under both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict recently appointed him president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, a position that is likely to carry with it a cardinal’s red hat.  [I seriously doubt it.]

Although it would have been far better if he had succeeded Cardinal Francis Arinze [I shudder at the mere idea.] as Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the curial establishment in Rome would have raised a holy ruckus had such an appointment seriously been contemplated.

That in itself tells us something about the state of the Church today. There is a small but powerful and determined group within the Vatican who have never accepted the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI. Their resistance is at root ecclesiological in nature.

What they oppose is the de-clericalization of the liturgy. In their minds, the Church is identical with the hierarchy and the priests who serve under the bishops. The laity, on the other hand, are simply the beneficiaries of the sacramental ministrations of the clergy, in a process ultimately controlled by the Vatican.  [I know that Fr. McBrien is one of the most notorious of dissenting Catholics around, but one can suppose that he is nevertheless a reasonably intelligent person.  Thus I find it inexplicable that McBrien would write such a dopey thing as this and then allow it to be published with his name on it.]
The problem for the resisters is not so much that the Mass was put into the vernacular, but that the laity could now fully understand it and actively participate in it.  [Because in the bad old days, and even now, the liturgical conservatives really want people to have no idea what is going on.  Is that it?  Let’s visit your average suburban parish on a Sunday and ask people leaving Mass a few simple questions about fundamentals of our Catholic faith or about the liturgy and compare them with the answers you might get from people who regularly attend the older form of Mass.   Which group do you imagine would respond more accurately?]

The same applies to the turning around of the altar to face the congregation. It was no longer the priest-in-charge reciting the sacred words and performing the sacred rituals on behalf of the laity, but the laity themselves participating in the Mass along with the priest, making responses, singing various parts, proclaiming the Scripture readings, and even assisting with the distribution of Holy Communion.  [Fr. McBrien really doesn’t have a clue about what "active participation" means.]

And the same applies to the removal of the Communion rail and the receiving of Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue, while standing rather than kneeling. Each of these changes signaled again that the laity are not passive observers at Mass, but active participants.

The Communion rail is gone because there should be no barrier between the sanctuary and the worshiping congregation. [By this line of thought, the turned around altar is a "barrier".] Communion is given in the hand because the laity should feed themselves rather than be fed like infants or very young children.  [This is a common position of the loony left: we are all grown up now.  Modern man is so adult and sophisticated.  We’ve evolved out of the immaturity of past centuries to the point where we now stand in God’s presence, look Him … or Her… in the eye, stick our hands out and say "Gimme that!".  This comment of McBrien reveals something very deeply rooted in the minds of progressivists.]

The communicants stand rather than kneel because they approach the priest as co-equals with him in Baptism, not as serfs coming before their lord and master to express their fealty.  [This gets at another point: Whereas most clear thinking and faithful Catholics know that at Mass they are not in fact kneeling before the priest, but rather kneeling before God in humility, McBrien and his co-religionists make kneeling an issue of "power"  – who has it, and how can I get some.  This is how feminists see the priesthood: for them, ordination is a power-issue.]

It is this underlying ecclesiology that is rejected, and not simply the changes in language and rituals. What the resisters oppose is the very idea that the Church is the whole People of God, laity included, rather than the hierarchy and clergy alone.  [Wrong again.]

This is what Archbishop Marini has stood for during all of these post-conciliar years, even as he literally stood at the side of two popes in papal ceremonies in St. Peter’s Basilica and around the world. And this is why he has been such a controversial figure in the Vatican, even though the general public never had an inkling of it. [And this is why the loony left is doing their best to turn Archbp. Marini into their figurehead in their "struggle" against Pope Benedict and everything he stands for.]

With the release of his new book, "A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1975," edited by Mark Francis, John Page and Keith Pecklers, [Who are more than likely the true authors of Marini’s book, which has no Italian language edition to this day.] and published by The Liturgical Press, Archbishop Marini presents the case for the perennial validity of the council’s liturgical reforms. ["Perennial"?  Doesn’t this make you chuckle a little?  What has it been, some 40+ years since Sacrosanctum Concilium?   Every once in a while these liberals try to get us to toss common sense to the wind and accept their revision of what  "tradition" is.  For example, think of the howlingly dopey comment that Pope Benedict had abandoned the "traditional" table style altar set up temporarily in the Sistine Chapel when Pope Benedict chose to celebrate ad orientem.  Another example, when Bp. Trautman argued against Liturgiam authenticam before the plenary of the USCCB and made the claim that we shouldn’t rush to have another translation because, after all, we’ve now been using the present translation for thirty whole years!]  He also challenges those who would, some 40 years later, attempt to undermine those reforms, in opposition not only to Vatican II but to the expressed wishes of Pope Paul VI himself.  [Notice that McBrien is pitting Paul VI against Benedict XVI.  Implicit in this statement is that Paul VI was a real Pope, a good Pope.]

In 1965, as the council was drawing to a close, Paul VI declared that the "new way of doing things will have to be different; it will have to prevent and shake up the passivity of the people present at Mass.

"Before," he continued, "it was enough to assist; now it is necessary to take part. Before, being there was enough, now attention and activity are required."  [But it has always been so.   Didn’t Jesus have constantly to  spur the Apostles to pay attention and try to grasp what he was doing?]

And that is the proverbial rub, as Archbishop Marini points out in his new book and in a subsequent interview conducted in December by John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

The resistance, he insists, is not so much against the vernacular or a few ritual changes, but against the ecclesiology on which those changes are based.

Worship involves the whole Church. The Mass is not something performed by the clergy, but is an action of the entire congregation. [I think McBrien would argue that lay involvement at Mass would be necessary for the Eucharist to be confected.  I am not sure about that, but his statement, and in what he says next, suggests it.]Like an orchestra leader, the priest-presider cannot presume to play all of the instruments himself, but must strive to bring them into a general harmony. 

Fr. Richard McBrien is the Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. 

Is Fr. McBrien perhaps in part reacting to the implementation of Summorum Pontificum at Notre Dame?

Do you remember his deep insights about the Motu Proprio?

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57 Responses to Richard McBrien praises Archbp. Marini’s book: the usual cliches

  1. Charles says:

    They publish this dreck in the Prairie Messenger out here in Saskatchewan too. What really strikes me about this article is that McBrien resorts immediately to mischaracterizations of his opponents positions coupled with an appeal to the masses. The great dishonesty he displays by refusing to meet his intellectual opponents’ arguments is very telling…Note that you don’t find out a thing about the position of his opponents, but we do learn a lot about McBrien’s position.

  2. TJM says:

    Yawn zzzzz. McBrien is so yesterday. He’s no longer taken seriously on the Notre Dame campus by practicing Catholics, you know the ones that are pro-life and attend the TLM. He’s just marching with the rest of the double-knit dinosaurs to the ashbin of history. So sad because the man has charm and is actually intelligent; misguided but intelligent. Tom

  3. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Is that a picture of Fr. Richard McBrien? If so, two things:

    1. Where is Father\\\’s collar?

    2. He supports Call to Action? Then this is not merely a little differance in opinion with Rome regarding the Liturgy- Fr. McBrien is pretty close to heresy.

  4. ALL: What I would really like to see happen with the comments here is an analysis of the issues and implications of what Fr. McBrien wrote rather than piling on and attacking him as a person.

    Can we just stipulate here that Fr. McBrien is not our favorite theologian, and then stick to drilling into the issues?

    Please, dear readers, let’s leave aside the ad hominem stuff now.

    Don’t lose sight of how useful McBrien’s article is for getting a glimpse at how the liberal mind works.

  5. Bro. AJK says:

    Dear Fr. Z,

    The following comes from your fisking, along withe the relevant quote:

    The Communion rail is gone because there should be no barrier between the sanctuary and the worshiping congregation. [By this line of thought, the turned around altar is a “barrier”.]

    I wonder if Fr. McBrien attends a parish Mass regularly, or at least pays attention to seating patterns before the very start of Mass. From my experience, the front pews tend to be that last to fill. I suspect this is because people want that barrier. It’s true with many lectures. The frontmost row fills last. I think the rail allows a greater comfort, knowing that the barrier is maintained.

    Second, you write:
    [Notice that McBrien is pitting Paul VI against Benedict XVI. Implicit in this statement is that Paul VI was a real Pope, a good Pope.]

    Does this mean that Fr. McBrien is a sedevacantist? HAHAHAHA!!!! :D

  6. Paul Haley says:

    I am ashamed to learn that Fr. McBrien attended St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA, in 1962 which was within walking distance of where I used to live and attend high school at St. Columbkille’s in Brighton. Now, I know for a fact that traditional Catholic teachings were available up until 1962 and I don’t think that everything went haywire by that time despite McBrien’s arrival on-scene. However, I must say that things did go downhill very fast after the 60’s and the “winds” of change (some say smoke of a distinct kind) following Vatican II. Fortunately, for me, I was sent packing in 1962 to serve in the air force and never did live back there permanently. This man needs our prayers and so does NDU.

  7. RBrown says:

    I know that Fr. McBrien is one of the most notorious of dissenting Catholics around, but one can suppose that he is nevertheless a reasonably intelligent person.

    Well, there’s your first mistake.

    Thus I find it inexplicable that McBrien would write such a dopey thing as this and then allow it to be published with his name on it.

    1. If you’ve ever read anything by him, you would not find it “inexplicable”. Catholicism is replete with factual errors.

    If I remember correctly, the book was panned because of its sloppiness in a review by ND Church Historian Msgr Marvin O’Connell.

    2. A few years ago I read an article by him in which he insisted that the Lefebvrist episcopal consecrations were invalid. His reasons were basically taken from Donatism.

    3. McBrien’s theology is basically Rahner translated into pub talk.

  8. John says:

    Jonathan,

    1. Not wearing a collar is pretty typical. At my Catholic University, priest professors never wear clericals (on wears a black shirt and pants), and would probably be shunned if they wore a cassock. One Professor, a very orthodox Thomist, wears a sweater and pin and introduces himself by his first and last name only. He doesn’t ask that to be called Father, and there’s no way you would know he was a Catholic priest. Rahner wore a suit. All theologians seem to. We’ve all seen those photos of Ratzinger at the time of the council dressed in his suit and tie.

    2. McBrien is a heretic. His book, Catholicism, would be on the index if it were still around.

  9. Bro AJK: From my experience, the front pews tend to be that last to fill.

    As in: “Go to Church early to get a seat in the back.”

  10. Remember everyone: McBrien in himself isn’t very interesting. Leave the personal attacks out. Stick to the issues.

  11. RBrown says:

    1. Not wearing a collar is pretty typical. At my Catholic University, priest professors never wear clericals (on wears a black shirt and pants), and would probably be shunned if they wore a cassock. One Professor, a very orthodox Thomist, wears a sweater and pin and introduces himself by his first and last name only. He doesn’t ask that to be called Father, and there’s no way you would know he was a Catholic priest. Rahner wore a suit. All theologians seem to. We’ve all seen those photos of Ratzinger at the time of the council dressed in his suit and tie.
    Comment by John

    Priests wore suits–always black or grey, including ties–in Europe when they weren’t wearing the cassock. The clerical suit was considered a sign of a Lutheran minister.

  12. Charles says:

    \”The same applies to the turning around of the altar to face the congregation. It was no longer the priest-in-charge reciting the sacred words and performing the sacred rituals on behalf of the laity, but the laity themselves participating in the Mass along with the priest, making responses, singing various parts, proclaiming the Scripture readings, and even assisting with the distribution of Holy Communion.

    And the same applies to the removal of the Communion rail and the receiving of Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue, while standing rather than kneeling. Each of these changes signaled again that the laity are not passive observers at Mass, but active participants.

    The Communion rail is gone because there should be no barrier between the sanctuary and the worshiping congregation.

    The communicants stand rather than kneel because they approach the priest as co-equals with him in Baptism, not as serfs coming before their lord and master to express their fealty.\”

    The very interesting thing about the above section of his article is that none of these \”Vatican II\” liturgical changes were mandated by the council!!!

  13. RBrown says:

    Archbishop Piero Marini served as papal master of ceremonies for some 20 years, under both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict recently appointed him president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, a position that is likely to carry with it a cardinal’s red hat.

    The above is typical of McBrien’s congenital sloppiness. It is true that every President of the committee for Eucharistic Congresses has been a Cardinal. BUT they all were already Cardinals who had held more important posts in the Curia–and had taken the position as a kind of semi-retirement.

  14. Jonathan Bennett says:

    John: Thanks for the information. How unfortunate that it has become so common for some priests to value their PhD over their vocation.

    In regards to the article itself, I completely agree that the liturgical reforms and innovations are ecclesiological.

    I was browsing the website of Fr. Richard Vosko, a well-known church design consultant (he was responsible for that thing they call a Cathedral in LA and the destruction of the Cathedral in Rochester NY). He has some interesting things to say that demonstrate Fr. Z’s point about a power-issue very well:

    http://www.rvosko.com/

    From the Q&A:

    “Q. Why does there seem to be so much debate about Catholic Church Architecture?
    A. There are differing viewpoints on this subject. And, while many efforts have been made to establish a common ground, the feelings are deep and sensitive. I believe that while the debate centers on things like the tabernacle, kneelers, the location of the altar, the seating plan for the assembly, and the architectural style of the building, the real issue is about ecclesiology. How a faith community defines and understands itself will affect its liturgical practice and its place of worship. ”

    And in the philosophy section of the website:

    “Where we worship shapes our prayer and how we pray shapes the way in which we live. Using metaphorical equations to design the worship arena my hope in any project is that the congregation will be transfigured by the very space it is helping to create or transform. I believe that places for worship become sacred when the celebrations of life-cycle events occur there. In this sense the building is designed primarily to house the assembly and its worship of God. It is not an object of devotion by itself nor is it a temple to honor the deity. The fundamental blueprint for the building is found in the memories and hopes of the community. This is why participation of the congregation in the building or renovation journey is extremely important.

    The time honored ingredients of a worthy place for worship include stories of faith, pilgrimage pathways, transforming thresholds, intimate settings for personal prayer, art work that prompts works of justice and seating plans that engage the community in the public rituals. To evoke a sense of the sacred the building must be designed with attention to detail, scale, proportion, materials, color, illumination and acoustics. All art and furnishings must be of the highest caliber afforded by the community. Sensitivity to ecological and economical factors cannot be overlooked.

    Memory and imagination are the main tools in any worship space project.”

  15. Mark says:

    Here’s the issue.

    There are priests and religious – like Fr. McBrien – who make a point to place themselves on the side of the “laity,” decrying clericalism, and so on.

    I ask this in all seriousness then.

    Why don’t they renounce their orders and leave and take a seat in the pews then? Abandon the collars (all the time) and habits, the titles, the positions in their congregations.

    If Fr. McBrien doesn’t believe that the ordained ministry is anything special, why does he stay in it?

    This is not a snide invitation to “just leave” at all – it is a serious question.

    If Fr. McBrien is so adament about advocating for the laity, let him become one of us.

    But of course he doesn’t. Why? Because the ordained ministry is unique. He knows it, certainly.

  16. TNCath says:

    With a photo like the one posted, it’s very difficult to overlook the potential harm a figure such as Fr. McBrien (no matter how uninteresting he is) can cause. Nevertheless, o the positive side, I think it important to remember that Archbishop Marini’s U.S. book tour has been canceled indefinitely, reportedly at the request of Cardinal Bertone. I am pretty certain that this will indeed deprive him of a red hat per omnia saecula saeulorum.

    The real question here is why he is allowed to publish in diocesan newspapers at all? When will diocesan newspapers start discontinuing Fr. McBrien’s column? As publishers of diocesan newspapers, the bishops are responsible for anything printed within their respective jurisdictions. Fr. McBrien’s erroneous opinions, in and of themselves, are harmless because he speaks in no official capacity and with zero authority; however, what IS harmful to the Church are bishops around the country, chief liturgists in their dioceses, who allow these erroneous opinions to be published, especially when they directly contradict the wishes of the Holy Father. Fr. McBrien’s views provide a non-official mouthpiece for bishops who cannot publicly disagree with the Holy Father. Until Cardinal Mahony and other bishops continue to allow his column to be published, we will continue to have to put up with “the usual cliches.”

  17. danphunter1 says:

    I have asked Father McBrien, kindly, to offer the Tridentine Mass atSt Charles Borromeo Chapel at ND.
    I have asked him three seperate times.
    Maybe he will seriously consider doing it soon, and then he might begin to remember what a sacred calling it is to be an Alter Christus.
    Let us prayer for Fr. McBriens conversion.

  18. LCB says:

    Honoring Fr. Z’s request to stay on topic:

    This article is very important. It highlights major differences between the liberal-Catholic mindset and reality. A whole generation of liturgists and students were raised on books like McBrien’s “Catholicism”, and many are honestly unaware of the errors.

    Further, since erroneous content was taught, it produced erroneous critical thinking. I’ve chatted with liturgists who are unable to recognize fundamental logical contradictions in their own views, because they are so caught up in the liberal-chic of being a ‘progressive liturgist.’ I have heard them admit “X is true” and the very next sentence “X is not true.” In their worldview contradictions don’t exist.

    Emotion was trained to trump reason, contrary facts were taught to be rejected at all costs, and moral relativism was enshrined along with intellectual relativism. How can dialogue even take place when one side refuses to acknowledge the existence of objective truth, and wants to impose their emotional experience on others as normative? It can’t. Which is why SP was neccessary.

    To the McBriens of the world, there is no difference between what he WANTS to take place (Marini getting a red hat), and what OUGHT TO take place (Marini getting a red hat). Morality becomes entirely a product of personal desire. As is liturgy. As is truth.

    Except, it’s THEIR personal desire that is normative for others. You’re free…to agree with them.

    Perhaps this is why so many readers have a hard time seperating McBrien’s writing from McBrien’s personality: to writers like McBrien, there is no difference.

  19. Jonathan Bennett says:

    As Fr. Z has said many times over, the celebration of the Liturgy reflects what one believes. Liturgical practices are external reflections of our interior spiritual lives and faith.

    The liturgical modernists and reformers, like Fr. McBrien and Fr. Vosko, like Archbishop\’s Marini and Bugnini, are well aware of this. By drastically changing all the external elements of the Church\’s public prayer and worship, not just in words and actions but also in the setting and atmosphere, they are trying to reinvent the Church and impress on the faithful a new ecclesiology.

  20. tertullian says:

    The Motu Proprio is a very directed affront to the vision of the Church as shared by McBrien,Marini and Mahony.Make no mistake, the arguments put forth by McBrien aren’t directed at fellow readers of this blog, with the intention of having s spirited debate. They intend to marginalize anyone in opposition to their vision, originating from their 60s and 70s experiences,by relentlessly painting them as out of step with the demands of modern times. Their “style” (I won’t call it liturgy) is easy, comfortable, not-too-demanding.

  21. It is saddening to see the polemics from *both* perspectives on these issues. It is not going to get us where we need to be.

  22. Fr. Anthony Forte says:

    Actually I found Fr. McBrien’s talk quite refreshing. Rather than hiding the reasons for the changes in the liturgy behind some obtuse justifications, he states plainly that they were made to advance a new ecclesiology. But where he is dishonest, or rather not completely forthcoming with the truth, is that this new ecclesiology is not an end in itself but rather instrumental in something deeper. Neither he nor those in the forefront of liturgical change are really concerned with lifting the status of the laity. This can be clearly seen in the way they treat the laity that would dare to disagree with them.

    Rather this is an attack against the authoritative teaching Magisterium of the Church. Notice the quote: “What the resisters oppose is the very idea that the Church is the whole People of God, laity included, rather than the hierarchy and clergy alone.” He wants to level the Church and move the Magisterium from the bishops to the “people”. By removing the distinction between the clergy and the laity in the liturgy, he wishes to destroy the teaching authority of the hierarchy.

    This revolution and grasp for power is also driven by a further aim: to overturn the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. This has been the greatest aim of the 60’s generation. We can see the end game in the push for homosexuality and the complete vitiation of any rational meaning of marriage. By leveling the distinction of roles in the liturgy, the reformers remove from the hierarchy, and indeed from God himself, the ability to say: “Thou shalt not.” This is what it has been about all along.

  23. dad29 says:

    The method of analysis, “power”, is shared to some degree by the Marxists and feminists. It is an analysis entirely devoid of transcendence, and therefore fits the “evolutionary” “all-grown-up now” theme, as well.

    But the inevitable conclusion of that analytical method (whether a priori or post-hoc) is atheism.

  24. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Fr. Forte,

    Thank you for the concise and well-worded explanation. Would you mind if I copied your post and used it for future referance?

  25. AS says:

    Father,

    I take offense at Fr. McBrien’s notion that a priest is like an “orchestra leader” solely because a conductor has his back to me! How dare that orchestra conductor not take my participation in the symphony into consideration and only face those he is communicating with. What about my needs as a member of the assembly participating in the concert?

    Seriously though, his analogy is laughable because the people in the audience are participating in the concert as well through their active listening and uniting their hearts to the music. The priest stands in front of the audience and faces away from them so that he can communicate effectively with the musicians (God) who are performing the action of the music (Liturgy).

    *face to palm*

  26. Ian says:

    I didn’t even have to read the article, just by the picture of him NOT in his Roman collar giving a lecture, shows he is a liberal. The idea that clergy don’t want to wear the collar out in public bothers me. I understand going to the grocery store or out cutting the grass are exceptions but giving a public lecture is not one. The members of the military are proud to wear their uniform and why shouldn’t priest be proud to wear their collar.

  27. Bro. AJK says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    Exactly. By sitting in the back, not only are people “farther from the action”, they also erect a greater barrier between themselves and the sanctuary. In some parishes, this distance is great; in others, not so. Indeed, I know some churches whose back would be considered the front of much larger ones.

  28. Dr. Joe Hoelscher says:

    Father Z has elicited much commentary. Fr. McBrien is still at Notre Dame because he has not been fired. Perhaps the folks in charge there do not view him as a heretic like some do here.
    Not everyone agrees with McBrien and not everyone agrees with the Z priest. I thought it was quite interesting recently when the new Black Pope came to meet the White Pope wearing a suit and collar rather than a cassock as do the clerics in Vatican City. Of course, the Black Pope is a Jesuit and the Z Priest probably does not like them either. Oh well, life goes on and it does not matter what you wear or when you wear it.

  29. JPG says:

    The defect indeed is the faulty if not heretical ecclesiology. One would never here from these people where Peter is so is the Church. We are all fallen human beings. We often confuse accicents with substance. The Mass as celebrated now is valid. Changing in a real sense the accidents did not change its essential nature, namely a re-presentation of the sacrifice on Calvary not simply a reenactment of the Last Supper or a simple Memorial meal. I state this obvious fact since I confront weekly convincing my 16 yo and 14 yo daughters that it is a mortal sin to miss Mass. Two choruses of Come to the Feast or a botched Sermon or a celebrant who ad libs the Liturgical text all conspire to contradict those values I seek to instill. The bone headed Liturgical Liberals have played Nero or more accurately in many respects Judas. Attendence and vocations are down. One is reminded of Our Lord saying “you shall know the tree by its fruit”. If apostasy and indifferenceis the fruit of this new ecclesiology and the reform it must go. The sooner the better.
    JPG

  30. Fr. N says:

    I found Dr.Joe Hoelscher’s comments to be particularly and profoundly insightful. Most especially his observation that Fr. McBrien is still at Notre Dame because no one has fired him. Also, Dr. Hoelscher’s observation of what clothing was worn at the Vatican when the Black One met the White One was greatly helpful. His point about how it does not matter what you wear or when is well taken and helps us all to understand the views of Fr. McBrien that appeared in The Tidings article. In all, many serious things were presented here for further reflection

  31. Rose says:

    I think some readers misunderstand Fr. O’Brien’s stance on “clericalism”. Note that Fr. O’Brien is careful to mention that Arbp Marini has been given “a position likely to carry with it a Cardinal’s red hat”. Clearly, Fr. O’Brien honours and has a healthy respect for “positions” of power and hierarchical rank; what he seems to dislike is “resistance” to a particular clerical hierarchy’s power to “de-clericalise the liturgy.” Frankly I can see why; after the clerical hierarchy declericalises the liturgy, there will be no more effective resistance to the new clerical hierarchy of the proletariat……and the People of God, led (oops, leading themselves) will take a great leap forward to………….whereever.

  32. Dob says:

    Fr Forte I think you have described ant-Christ very well. I would agree that the results of these machinations are as you say, the setting up of man as God. However, I would question whether these poor men and women have sat down with the purposeful intention of assisting evil. I’m pretty sure many of them genuinely think they are serving God by what they do. Also, when you lack faith you have a tendency to flee from anything that involves intimacy with God. Devotions, receiving on the tongue, confessing sins, kneeling etc. Coupled with a lack of faith there is also the desire to be accepted in this faithless state. Maybe they reject the Church because she demands faith from them, a faith that they may not have, but they cannot find the spiritual integrity to either submit or leave Her. So they stay and seek to stamp her face into their own image convincing themselves that they’re doing it all for “love”, all for” God”.

  33. Templar says:

    Dr. Joe Hoelscher said: “Not everyone agrees with McBrien and not everyone agrees with the Z priest.”

    How sad that a Doctor who thinks enough of his title to sign a blog post with it, can not spare enough consideration to address clergy as Father or Reverend. Guess doing that would perpetuate that evil Hierarchy of the Church. Good thing the secular world doesn’t have Hierarchy where some people at, say a University, demand to be addressed as Doctor or Professor simply because they’ve earned that right.

  34. CPKS says:

    “Communion is given in the hand because the laity should feed themselves rather than be fed like infants or very young children.”

    I clearly remember this being the rationale given by my parish priest when, 40 years ago, he introduced the practice of communion in the hand. (Another practice he introduced at about the same time was having the congregation join in the doxology of the Canon of the Mass. After a couple of years or so, however, the latter innovation was phased out because “the bishops have decided that it’s not a good idea.”)

    It is indeed interesting and revealing to see something of the rationale behind the destruction of the liturgy; evidently part of the agenda was to abolish, or to minimize, the special status of the celebrant, and the reduction of holy orders to the ecclesiastical version of earthly power. It is easy to see how this connects with the removal of the language of adoration, the derogation from the sense of the sacred, the catastrophic fall in vocations (after all, what’s the point of ordination if you’re basically just a layman in fancy dress?).

    Interesting, too, that in the end this viewpoint tended to minimize the reality of original sin – expressly abjured by some modern so-called catechetical courses – and to drift toward Pelagian individualism.

    It may well be that communion in the hand, seen as an isolated phenomenon, is not intrinsically objectionable; but moving from a universal practice of reception on the tongue to this new and foreign way of receiving the sacred Body of Christ – that sends a very clear message about the nature of grace.

  35. jack burton says:

    “Who have never accepted the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI.”

    Yeah… We all know what Vatican II really said and it doesn’t describe the liturgy of today. As for Pope Paul VI, I must say that I’ve been warming up to him significantly in recent times. I’ve had the chance in recent years to dig into some of the details of the crucial years of the liturgical reform and on some of the key issues I discover the same basic pattern: dissenters in the Church including bishops and to some extent local conferences; Consilium or later Congregation of Rites (or Divine Worship) pushing dissent agenda in some way; Pope Paul VI, secretariat of state, CDF, etc. putting up a fight; Pope compromises but apparently with the real intention of preserving what they can of authentic Catholicism (often there is no apparent alternative). In any case I’ve gone from thinking of Pope Paul VI as a reckless progressive to really feeling sympathy for the nonsense he had to deal with.
    Do I accept the liturgical reforms of Vatican II and Pope Paul VI? There is no such thing. If there had been we would have some vernacular, plenty of sacred music, the Roman Canon period, communion rails, et cetera. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t prudential judgments of Pope Paul VI that could be called into question; I just think he was dealt a pretty bad hand and deserves some slack.

  36. I read this article this week in the Tidings (Southern California’s herodoxal weekly newspaper (I live in the Archdocese, so I can say that))…By the result of the Church being hierartical, there will exist clericalism (to greater or lesser degrees)…it’s just interesting to see how the liberal mind ticks. (I’ll have more to say on my personal blog)

  37. Jon says:

    Fr,
    you look like Kevin Spacey in your photo.

  38. Matt Q says:

    Jon wrote:

    “Fr, you look like Kevin Spacey in your photo.”

    ()

    Never noticed that until you mentioned it, Jon. LOL Don’t know whether Father’s flattered or floored. ;-)

  39. I feel sympathy for Fr Zuhlsdorf (there, I spelt it right) who cannot get you to debate like civilized people let alone Christians. I have rarely read such disgusting hate mail as I find here. Let us remember that one name for the Eucharist is Agape — the very oppositie of hatred. Gee, I’m beginning to sound like Leopold Bloom — just as many of you sound like the people in that chapter of Ulysses.

  40. ALL: I just spent some sad minutes reading comments and deleting comments.

    A few of you managed to drag this blog into a gutter and probably hurt my reputation as a result.

    You created more pointless work for me, no doubt scandalized a few readers looking for something more edifying, and left me feeling like I’d like to shut the whole thing down.

    I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.

  41. Copernicus says:

    Worship involves the whole Church. The Mass is not something performed by the clergy, but is an action of the entire congregation. [I think McBrien would argue that lay involvement at Mass would be necessary for the Eucharist to be confected. I am not sure about that, but his statement, and in what he says next, suggests it.]

    There’s faulty reasoning here, I’m afraid, Fr Z. Asserting (properly) that lay involvement is normative is not the same as asserting that absence of a congregation larger than one renders the Mass invalid.

    …the laity themselves participating in the Mass along with the priest, making responses, singing various parts, proclaiming the Scripture readings, and even assisting with the distribution of Holy Communion. [Fr. McBrien really doesn’t have a clue about what “active participation” means.]

    There’s another piece of faulty reasoning here, unfortunately: namely that participation in the sacred liturgy should not be solely external, therefore it should be solely internal. I think Fr McBrien has a fairly good understanding of the fullness of participation. Take away the exterior aspects of our participation, and you take away its sacramental manifestation.

  42. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Forte: This revolution and grasp for power is also driven by a further aim: to overturn the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. This has been the greatest aim of the 60’s generation. We can see the end game in the push for homosexuality and the complete vitiation of any rational meaning of marriage. By leveling the distinction of roles in the liturgy, the reformers remove from the hierarchy, and indeed from God himself, the ability to say: “Thou shalt not.” This is what it has been about all along.

    I’ve been looking for a long time, and have not seen a better single-paragraph explanation of the last forty years of sustained attack on the faith, liturgy, and structure of the Church. Thank you.

  43. RBrown says:

    Worship involves the whole Church. The Mass is not something performed by the clergy, but is an action of the entire congregation. [I think McBrien would argue that lay involvement at Mass would be necessary for the Eucharist to be confected. I am not sure about that, but his statement, and in what he says next, suggests it.]

    There’s faulty reasoning here, I’m afraid, Fr Z. Asserting (properly) that lay involvement is normative is not the same as asserting that absence of a congregation larger than one renders the Mass invalid.

    1. You’ve unwittingly touched on another example of Fr McBrien’s sloppiness. It is true, as he says, the celebration of the Eucharist involves the whole Church. On the other hand, this Ecclesial aspect is not merely local, as one would conclude from Fr McBrien’s example. It is primarily mystical, thus the importance of the unity in faith and morals in this Ecclesial celebration. And so anyone who attends mass who is a doctrinal dissenter undermines this Ecclesial aspect.

    Further, although mass is offered by the Church, at any celebration of the Eucharist, only the priest offers the Sacrifice. The laity assist him, morally uniting themselves with him as he offers it.

    2. Lay participation at mass is normative in parishes–but not in monasteries or religious houses.

    …the laity themselves participating in the Mass along with the priest, making responses, singing various parts, proclaiming the Scripture readings, and even assisting with the distribution of Holy Communion. [Fr. McBrien really doesn’t have a clue about what “active participation” means.]

    There’s another piece of faulty reasoning here, unfortunately: namely that participation in the sacred liturgy should not be solely external, therefore it should be solely internal. I think Fr McBrien has a fairly good understanding of the fullness of participation. Take away the exterior aspects of our participation, and you take away its sacramental manifestation.
    Comment by Copernicus

    The McBrien examples contradict what you wrote. McBrien only gives external examples of active participation. I think it reasonable to infer that he thinks: No external participation equals no active participation.

    BTW, JRatzinger wrote that mass facing the people undermines active participation–I recommend his book The Spirit of the Liturgy.

  44. RBrown says:

    I feel sympathy for Fr Zuhlsdorf (there, I spelt it right) who cannot get you to debate like civilized people let alone Christians. I have rarely read such disgusting hate mail as I find here. Let us remember that one name for the Eucharist is Agape—the very oppositie of hatred. Gee, I’m beginning to sound like Leopold Bloom—just as many of you sound like the people in that chapter of Ulysses.
    Comment by Spirit of Vatican II

    Would you say that their attitude is similar to the Irish attitude toward the English?

  45. RBrown says:

    I thought it was quite interesting recently when the new Black Pope came to meet the White Pope wearing a suit and collar rather than a cassock as do the clerics in Vatican City. Of course, the Black Pope is a Jesuit and the Z Priest probably does not like them either.
    Oh well, life goes on and it does not matter what you wear or when you wear it.
    Comment by Dr. Joe Hoelscher

    1. It will be irrelevant in a few years whether or not Fr Z likes the Jesuits. More and more, they are less and less a factor in the Church. They have almost no vocations in the West.

    2. During my Roman years I knew Fr Bob Hurd, a Jesuit Endocrinologist. He did not care for the contemporary direction of the Society.

    3. If it doesn’t matter what you wear or when you wear it, why doesn’t everyone wear the same thing all the time?

  46. danphunter1 says:

    Weak, very weak.

  47. danphunter1 says:

    Are we or are we not supposed to obey Christ, when He told us to “Admonish the Sinner, and Instruct the Ignorant”?

  48. Habemus Papam says:

    As Fr. Tim Finnegan comments on his blog for Friday 1st Feb, the comparison of the masonic altar to the peoples table might be a bit much for some people…

  49. Hey, Fr Z,

    I missed all the comments you deleted in the Richard McBrien / Archbishop Marini post. Horrific comments are discouraging. But, before giving up, you might try to put comments off for awhile, or put them on delayed review, with the latter being much work.

    I suppose it is dangerous to put up such posts, though doing so helps to give the whole picture in which we live, and this is helpful, especially to those who really need to know that somebody, somewhere has listened and understood and wants to do something about it.

    I myself thank you for that, and I am sure there are many more out there who feel the same. Perhaps you could open another post with this kind of sentiment, and see what you get in return. I think you will be surprised.

    May the Lord continue to bless you according to the perfect intercession of the Immaculate Conception, Fr Z.

  50. Ann says:

    The personal attacts are not appropriate for this discussion. Do some posters find Father McBrien’s ideas so threatening that they resort to name-calling rather than address the ideas themselves? It is only natural to fear what we do not understand, which seems to be at the root of why this particular thread has raise so many hackles. Ann

  51. Man, McBrien sounds really upset!!!

    But this is a fight he cannot win. His cohorts are contracepting and aborting themselves to death and their dioceses are going bankrupt.

    He is so upset about the success of orthodoxy and loyalty to the Pope that he truly has become shrill.

    Pay him no mind.

  52. Ron says:

    I am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. I once attended a
    conference on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of Vatican
    II. There was not a single conservative scholar or theologian
    present. Nor was this an isolated occasion. In the six years I
    spent as a grad student at ND, I can’t recall a single occasion
    when the theology department invited a noted conservative to
    speak. McBrien has lived in an echo chamber his whole professional
    life. As you point out, this essay is nothing but a tissue of
    cliches, all of which have been refuted dozens of times, and
    not recently either. But I would be willing to wager that McBrien,
    once the chair of the dept of theology at America’s best known
    Catholic university, is not even aware that the refutations exist.
    He is, in other words, an intellectual lightweight of astonishing
    narrow mindedness. But I am not just writing this to disparage
    Father McBrien. He is a phenomenon to be explained and I wish
    someone would try to explain him. As someone else pointed out, he
    isn’t stupid. But how has he managed to block out all opposing
    points of view for all these decades? And why have the church’s
    rulers permitted him to continue passing himself off as a
    reputable Catholic voice? Every time he opens his mouth, the
    church’s intellectual credibility suffers. I don’t understand it,
    and until I can begin to understand it, Im will continue finding it hard to respect
    the church’s leadership.

  53. Matt Q says:

    Hey all of you. Who are any of you to tell people what to say? What are you, some self-appointed morality nanny? It’s not a small wonder why some of the world’s worst dictators were Catholic. Don’t like what you read here, go somewhere else. Let people read for themselves and make up their own minds. This is something Catholics have a hard time with. When one tells a Catholic what to think, the greatest repugnant disdain is held. On the other hand, when a Catholic tells one what he should think, it is considered a value to be held absolutely. Is there a Catholic who doesn’t believe this? Ann… RBrown… the list goes on.

  54. I’m surprised Fr. McBrien holds onto his position at Notre Dame.

  55. Fr Anthony Forte wrote:

    Actually I found Fr. McBrien’s talk quite refreshing. Rather than hiding the reasons for the changes in the liturgy behind some obtuse justifications, he states plainly that they were made to advance a new ecclesiology. But where he is dishonest, or rather not completely forthcoming with the truth, is that this new ecclesiology is not an end in itself but rather instrumental in something deeper. Neither he nor those in the forefront of liturgical change are really concerned with lifting the status of the laity. This can be clearly seen in the way they treat the laity that would dare to disagree with them.

    Rather this is an attack against the authoritative teaching Magisterium of the Church. Notice the quote: “What the resisters oppose is the very idea that the Church is the whole People of God, laity included, rather than the hierarchy and clergy alone.” He wants to level the Church and move the Magisterium from the bishops to the “people”. By removing the distinction between the clergy and the laity in the liturgy, he wishes to destroy the teaching authority of the hierarchy.

    This revolution and grasp for power is also driven by a further aim: to overturn the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. This has been the greatest aim of the 60’s generation. We can see the end game in the push for homosexuality and the complete vitiation of any rational meaning of marriage. By leveling the distinction of roles in the liturgy, the reformers remove from the hierarchy, and indeed from God himself, the ability to say: “Thou shalt not.” This is what it has been about all along.

    Comment by Fr. Anthony Forte — 3 February 2008 @ 12:51 pm

    ====================
    Yep, that would be right. It's the ultimate lowest-common-denominator ecclesiology. The priest falls into the self-set trap of making himself into a god (as helped along by non-orientem and exalted throne instead of a tablenacle). He is congratulated for this by some large percentage of the laity who want a god who is sinful. This god, in fact, sins, which fact gives everyone "permission", as it were, to sin.

    This ecclesiology is topped not by any human being, however, but by the fallen angels. We want the salvation of those who are called "the many" (as in pro multis) and so are in anguish for this. Our battle, that is, our Lord's, is with Satan's minions. We are united with the Lord for the battle in this Church Militant.

    And you are exactly correct, as soon as the hierarchy of fatherhood is thrown out, all hell breaks out regarding sex and marriage. If the priest doesn't know that he is married to the Church by way of the Sacrifice that he offers in Persona Christi, both he and the laity are put at risk of hell. What a rubbish ecclesiology that is.

  56. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    Fascinating how McBrien uses some of the same argument *AGAINST* the “reform of the reform” that have been used *FOR* the reform (as well as the Tridentine Mass).

    “Perennial validity”? Didn’t some papal bull say that the Tridentine liturgical reforms were valid in perpetuity? Because of this — and, Paul VI’s flummoxed attempt at putting out a canonically-valid bull of his own — didn’t “Summorum Pontificum” say that the Tridentine Mass had never really been abrogated? (Ahem.)

    Opposition to Vatican II and the wishes of Pope Paul VI? Change to Trent and Pius V and we’ve got the liberal version of the Society of St. Pius X.

    That’s real chutzpah for McBrien . . . or, is he really that dumb? But, given the Holy See’s recent capitulation on the “Prayer for the Jews,” perhaps McBrien’s chutzpah is in order.

  57. Mike Roesch says:

    The reason why McBrien is still at Notre Dame (I wouldn’t classify what he does as “teaching” since he probably spends more time on the Call to Action circuit than in a classroom, especially at the undergraduate level) is because he has tenure. He’s probably had tenure for forty years. It is almost impossible to fire a tenured professor at any reputable university unless he has done something illegal. The easier way to remove him would be to ask the bishop of McBrien’s diocese (Hartford) to order him back.