Another glimpse at my e-mail

I get lots of mail, hundreds of messages a day.   Some are informative, some inquisitive, some complimentary, some censorious.

This one rather tickled me. 

The writer is sad that I liked and wrote positively of H.E. Arthur Serratelli, Bishop of Patterson’s, letter to priests (not to lay people) about the importance of obeying the Church’s rubrics for Holy Mass. 

Here is the e-mail I got, with my emphases added and comments:

Father Z,
It is with great sadness that I read your positive review of Bishop Serratelli’s letter to the diocese of Paterson’s priests regarding liturgy. As a life long committed Christian in the Catholic tradition, [Everyonce in a while I mix things up by saying "Catholic Christians", but this person is doing something very different with his turn of phrase.] it is becoming more apparent to me that our clergy is moving away from Christ’s true message [NB: this guy knows Christ's "true message".] and moving towards "self-rightious" pomposity. [LOL! But he knows Christ's "true message"!] When "rules" become more important than substance, then we are no better than Pharisees of the second millennium.   [Apparently anarchy is love.  The writer has not the slightest clue about the role of structure, ritual, consistency as part and parcel of what it is to be Catholic.]
 
Having lived through the years in which the creaking doors of our Church have been opened through the graces of Vatican II, [He knows Christ's "true message" too!] I am  now beginning to see those doors begin to close once again. It saddens me .

  • It is my fervent prayer, that this movement back into the dark ages [ROFL!] of Christendom by our Church leaders not continue.
  • It is my great hope, that the leadership of  our Church listen to whisper of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, and stop listening to the loud voice of power, prestige and pompous ego that motivates them today.  [Because anything contrary to this guy's wishes is obviously not a whisper of the Holy Spirit, nor anything like Christ's "true message"]

Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self. St. Francis of Assisi
 
May the blessings of this Easter season bring you peace, hope and a clearer [!] understanding of truth,

Great stuff!

I am guessing that this person was one of those innumerable and unnecessary distributors of Communion who has recently lost his place in the sanctuary because his parish priest has, at the urgency of his bishop, made some changes.

 

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50 Responses to Another glimpse at my e-mail

  1. Paul says:

    What nonsense! Father you are right, he probably was a Extraordinary Minister at the 6pm Sunday evening
    folk mass, where the 70 years old girls and guys stand on the sanctuary with their guitars. Once again if
    people are complaining it only mean things are moving in the right direction.

    God bless the Holy Father and may he reign for many more years.

  2. TLM_advocate says:

    I guess when Pope Benedict XVI stated “what earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too” he was not talking to that fellow.

  3. dad29 says:

    Apparently anarchy is love. The writer has not the slightest clue about the role of structure, ritual, consistency as part and parcel of what it is to be….MARRIED!

    We could mention obedience and fidelity in addition to ‘structure, consistency, and ritual,’ but that might overtax the poor email-writer’s mind.

  4. ALL: Let’s not just pile on here.

    Perhaps it might be a useful exercise to develop your own responses to these sorts of statements, which are inevitably going to arise in any parish where corrections are being made.

    For example, I can imagine the rubbish being launched in S. St. Paul, MN and in Greenville, SC where the ironing-boards have been set aside in favor of the main ad orientem altar.

    How would you respond in a measured way to help these people adjust?

  5. RBrown says:

    Having lived through the years in which the creaking doors of our Church have been opened through the graces of Vatican II, [He knows Christ’s \"true message\" too!] I am now beginning to see those doors begin to close once again. It saddens me.

    Genius observer that the author is, he has no doubt noticed that in the past 40 years more people have exited through \”those creaking doors\” than have entered.

    Nothing more pathetic than a self-righteous liberal.

  6. TJM says:

    How about, “every dog has his day?” Just kidding. I think I would recommend to them a great book on the history and structure of the Mass so they can
    begin to understand that it is not “all about me and my likes and dislikes.” Tom

  7. Emilio says:

    The poor fellow appears to be stuck in the second millennium, by his own admission. He may need a small dose of aggiornamento.

  8. Melody says:

    I would like this person to explain why the only place I have ever seen more than one priest under the age of thirty-five was at an abbey where Latin chant, tradition, and discipline are the norm. (Incidentally, there are about fifteen priests).

    Who is stuck in the dark ages? I would say those who long for the 60s and 70s.

    Father Z: Thank you for answering my email.

  9. gjoe says:

    Just a couple years ago, I would have totally agreed with this guy.

    You know what’s going to get him into the Extraordinary Rite? A little charity, a little goodwill, a little bit of grace. Berating this guy isn’t going to do much, even if it’s fun to be right.

    We need to show congretations that the Extraordinary form is good, even preferred, and it’ll be amazing how many people get on their knees. We’ve come a long way. Please don’t undo the work of the Church with pithy comments.

  10. gjoe: You know what’s going to get him into the Extraordinary Rite?

    I wonder if this is about the Extraordinary form. I rather think not. Nor do I think I would strive at first to have such a fellow attend the older form.

    More important is a shift in attitude. He must shift to an understanding of how the rubrics and continuity with the past is good, and necessary.

  11. John Paul says:

    What is really sad is not whether the email writer is “right” or “wrong,”
    but rather that his thinking is still so prevalent. Since the bishop’s
    letter was from last fall, he may not even be reading this website, since
    it obviously wouldn’t cater to his tastes.

    And that is what makes me still feel sad, and a bit on the “outskirts” of
    the “mainstream” Church. His thinking is certainly still dominant in our
    bi-weekly Catholic paper, and throughout or diocese. We still have the same
    two Traditional Mass chapels that cover a vast majority of Virginia, and no
    Ordinary Form Masses that resemble anything like St.Agnes in MN. It is
    all about “community,” in the countless kneeler-less “worship spaces,” and
    even the ones that have kneelers still dissolve at Communion time to an
    army of EM of Communion for Communion under both kinds.

    But the priests and the people only reflect what they have been taught, and
    what has been allowed. They can’t hear anything else unless by grace (as
    someone mentioned above) they go in search for it. So while Father always
    speaks about patience and the Pope’s Marshall Plan, things are pretty sad
    in a lot of places. I can’t fix the Church, but I certainly can hope and
    pray for more signs of recovery than what we see in so many places.

  12. Angelo says:

    In the Old Testament, God Himself, so to speak, is the liturgist: He specifies the most minute details of the worship which the faithful had to render to Him. The importance attached to a form of worship which was but the shadow of that sublime worship in the New Testament which Christ the High Priest wanted His Church to continue until the end of the world. In the Liturgy of the Catholic Church, everything is important, everything is sublime, down to the tiniest details, a truth which moved St. Teresa of Avila to say: “I would give my life for the smallest ceremony (rubric) of Holy Church.”

  13. Scott Smith says:

    Fr. Z.,

    In my parish this past weekend the extraordinary form of the Mass was celebrated for the first time in over 30 years.

    The next day I was talking with a woman who likes Gregorian Chant, likes the altar suitably decorated, but has a MASSIVE problem with the priest facing away from the people. She is of the opinion that it is a primary responsibilty of the priest to draw the people into the liturgy, that he is the “leader of the community”. She made a number of comments about how it seemed to be all about the priest and how no one in the pews seemed to be “participating” because of the direction he faced and because they were not necessary participants, “it could have just been him and the servers and no one else!”.

    While I talked to her about her experience, and admittedly she had a negative one, it was difficult to say anything to correct her understanding. She also commented that she knew it was Mass, but other than that she would never want it to return as the ordinary form.

    In talking with a protestant, an Anglican Priest later, he mentioned something that I had not considered. He said that the traditional Mass’s orientation and language, in addition to the general ethos of the decorum of the rite, clearly gives one the impression of hierarchy which is offensive to the modern egalitarian sense.

    I believe that this is likely true with regard to this woman, who has not made is a secret that she thinks women should be able to be priests. These issues are often spoken of with connotations of power or control, and sometimes out-right accusations are made in this regard.

    It is very difficult to have a discussion about worship with someone who has issues with the Church and understands those issues in terms of control and power. Theological explanations in these discussions seem to be understood only as a veiled attempt to hold the reigns of power.

    We have truly reached an important point when Worship isn’t about God anymore, it is about how it makes one feel like a valued and equal member of the community.

  14. TS says:

    I’ve been hearing this type of theology preached from our Catholic
    pulpits for years. Years! It goes to show that lay people “DO”
    learn something from what they hear at Mass.

  15. Kradcliffe says:

    Father, thank you for challenging us to consider how we can best deal with people like this… If they’re showing up on Sunday, they’re there because they care. Most people have simply stopped coming. Sneering at them and dismissing their feelings will only drive them away.

    Perhaps the thing to do is present a return to reverence and orthodoxy in a positive light. Rather than pointing out what is wrong with the liturgy at “St. Ipsydipsy” we can tell them what is so positive about a reverent Mass, and how we, personally, have benefitted from the experience.

    I know that I used to be afraid of the “Traditionalists” and that was because of the whiffs of crazy I caught when I looked into it. I’m glad I’ve persevered and found some perfectly sane and lovely Catholics at the TLM.

  16. Ed says:

    Father,

    I’m working toward a master of arts in Catholic theology in an “evening” course–basically it is structured so that working folks can attend. I drive to Memphis from Little Rock for the courses, and, as you might imagine, at 27 I cut the average age of the class in half. Most of the folks are retired, and though they are certainly fine people, they are also aging hippies.

    Here’s my point–and addition, I hope–to this discussion. I was to present a chapter on mediation and contemplation from a (horrible) book on Christian spirituality (it’s all about how VII saved us from non-sacramental, non-Scriptural spirituality, and it quotes Thomas Merton, Aquinas, and other pre-VII fathers and mothers as proof!). Anyway, as I was asking questions based on individuals practice of meditating on the Scriptures and Liturgy, one woman shouted, “Maybe you address this later, but I’m terrified because I see nothing in here of community!” I was flabbergasted–how in the world does one tie communal worship to mediation? One must always meditate on the Truth independently!

    I ended up answering her question (and that of the Christian Brother who constantly thinks those who celebrate the EF are automatically not actively participating because “their faces are in their hands”) by saying the following as charitably as possible: As the Second Great Commandment is fulfilled in the First (I was also presenting on Therese of Lisieux), we must come into communion with God in order to receive His love (this is very theology of the body, too) that we can then–indeed, that we must–then share. Second, we must come to a truer understanding of active participation. Just reciting words when called to do so is not actively participating. Sometimes quietly reflecting upon the Word of God and the gestures of the Liturgy, however, are a much more deeply experienced participation.

    I hope that is somewhat helpful. By the way, please pray for me–I need all the strength I can in these classes!

    God be praised, now and forever!

  17. A Philadelphian says:

    Give me a “P” . . . give me an “R” . . . — you know where I am going with this: he’s a protestant! This is the same so-called reformational replacement of the mass with the “true substance” of Christianity as one’s own disposition. There is an inherent opposition in Luther, Calvin, and many “post-vats” between the Spirit and the “law” — as a simplistic interpretation of Paul (See for example Luther, “The Bondage of the Will,” VII, iii). What it comes down to is that for the protestant mind institutions — even the one founded by CHrist himself — are inherently corrupt. Perhaps this is why our writer describes himself as “in the Christian tradition?”

  18. The writer of the very criticized letter, at the end quotes St Francis. But may be he doesn\’t know that
    the Poverello of Assisi wanted his poor brothers to carry with them pixys of solid gold to use for
    the holy Eucharist! And the first friars, always with bare feet or sandals, where requested by the old
    constitutions of the franciscan Order to wear proper shoes when they were to celebrate mass as priests!
    Just two little clues on the \”liturgical\” mania of the early franciscans (st Francis, Anthony and Bonaventure
    included)

  19. Jamie says:

    alessandro r. – a wonderful retort – thank you! It saddens me deeply when liberals use St Francis to further their cause when they clearly have so little understanding of him.

  20. Be patient and pray! These people can change: after all this is what we were told ad nauseam forty years ago…..

  21. Gregorius Minor says:

    The writer of this e-mail got it completely right at the END of his letter, where he quotes St. Francis, \”Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.\” Christ gives His priests this gift through His Church, as He gives us all of His gifts. He does so by guiding Her, in the Holy Spirit, to institute very clear, precise and detailed rules about how priests are to celebrate the sacred rites and maintain reverence and sacrality within them. These rules and rubrics are laid down by the Church because she knows that if they are not there, the personality (self) of the priest takes over, to the detriment of the Person of Christ. Whoever you are, I hope you will take the time to read a post that Fr. Z put up a while ago, by a priest who discovered how true this is really when he celebrated the traditional rite for the first time since Summorum Pontificum.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/11/from-another-entry-during-the-roman-canon-i-felt-intense-loneliness/

    More rules, less you. Fewer rules, more you. Rigidity for the clergy = freedom for the laity. Pass it on…

  22. Volpius says:

    I would tell him he seems to be making a lot of assumptions and ask him 1. Were his authority to make such judgments come from? & 2. Can he back up the things he just said from either sacred scripture, sacred tradition or the Teaching Magisterium of the Church because to my ears he seems to be saying things that I have not found in any of these sources through which the Holy spirit normally reveals Gods will to us.

    Is it just me or is this fellow showing signs of a schismatic mentality, if \”our\” (I always though Priests belonged to God not me!?!) Clergy are moving away from Christs true message then we certainly should not be following them.

  23. Pete Jensen says:

    Lex orandi, lex credendi.

    I think the new-age “progressivist” Catholics understand this far more than anyone gives them credit for.

    Continuity. This is the faith of our fathers, handed down in unbroken line, unbroken apostolic succession since the time of Christ. The rubrics, the form, the prayers, the worship – this is timelessness. This is us kneeling in the catacombs with the early church, all the way up through time.

    How hard it is to make this faith mutable unless our forms of worship are mutable.And while I think many of us who are traditionalist understand this instinctively, we don’t quite articulate it.

    The “progressive” rallying cry is to change the church, to make it more “relevant” to the times. You can’t do that if you have the eternal truth standing in rebuke to you week after week.

  24. Volpius says:

    You give them to much credit, they don\’t really want to change it to be more relevant to the times, if they wanted to do that we wouldn\’t have been stuck in a time warp for the last 40 years.

    What this is really about is liberty or as the leaders of the French Revolution put it Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

    These people want to throw of all restraints and be free to do as they please. It is caused by pride, plain and simple, read his letter it shines right through, he is a christian in the \”Catholic Tradition\” because he is has the Liberté to make up his own mind on what is true and what is false and it just so happens he likes the Catholic version of christianity the best, or at least the last 40 years \”tradition\”, he might very change his mind tommorow as all of the tens of thousands of Christian cults are equal.

    He knows Christ\’s true message but it seems all of the clergy are either ignorant of it or are willfully abandoning it, he would make himself a new Isaiah or a new John the Baptist, and yet he has not told us what Christs true message actually is, surely if he has been sent by God to bring us all back in line with Christ\’s true message then he should make this message known and he can provide us with his signs of authority while he is at it, he can\’t because he is not one of God\’s chosen prophets at all though he sems to like to speak like one.

    All the clergy have become self righteous and pompous, what he likely really means is that they are infringling upon his liberty by insiting that there is such a thing as sin, and that there is a right way to do things and a wrong way, that the Priest is the Father and the laity are the sons and daughters not he other way round. His letter is outstandingly self righteous and pompous (he knows Christs true message remember we should all listen to him and do what he wants us to do), as such this is classic case of psychological projection, as he knows Christs true message I would advise him to first remove the beam in his own eye before trying to remove the motes in the eyes of all the clergy including the Pope who was chosen by the Holy Spirit and yet is some how ignorant of Christs true message.

    And then he reveals again his revolutionary spirit borne of pride, he does not want to have to obey rules, obedience has ceased to be a virtue for this man, he will be shackled by no man, nor even God because we are all equal, his pride will allow nothing else but absolute equality.

    Then he tells us that he prays that God does his personal will and makes the Church confirm to his idea ofwhat the church should be, not for one second has he stopped to consider that perhaps what is happening is in fact God\’s will and he should be humble as Christ taught us and say \”but yet not my will, but thine be done.\” He approaches God as His master or at least His equal rather than as the unworthy servant which we all are.

    Then he again begins to speak in the manner of prophet, God it seems, or perhaps he has learned this from his own power mighty as he is, has revealed to him what the Holy Spirit is whispering in the hearts of the clergy!!!!!

    This fellow would do well to meditate on those words of St. Francis, they certainly were not just meant for the clergy.

    I guess he never heard of the sins of calumny and detraction, all the priests are self righteous, pompous, glory seeking fellows indeed, even if it was true it would be sin to say it.

  25. Instead of bruising your correspondents, why not tackle some original theologians who have made the same complaint with great eloquence, such as Sebastian Moore?

    http://www.sebastianmoore.blogspot.com/

  26. Matt Q says:

    Pete Jensen wrote:

    “Lex orandi, lex credendi.

    I think the new-age “progressivist” Catholics understand this far more than anyone gives them credit for.

    Continuity. This is the faith of our fathers, handed down in unbroken line, unbroken apostolic succession since the time of Christ. The rubrics, the form, the prayers, the worship – this is timelessness. This is us kneeling in the catacombs with the early church, all the way up through time.

    How hard it is to make this faith mutable unless our forms of worship are mutable.And while I think many of us who are traditionalist understand this instinctively, we don’t quite articulate it.

    The “progressive” rallying cry is to change the church, to make it more “relevant” to the times. You can’t do that if you have the eternal truth standing in rebuke to you week after week.”

    ()

    I like that. Thanks, Pete. It bespeaks St Augustine’s thoughts. The heart is restless until it rests in God. These Vat2 obsessives–whom themselves veiled–are either ignorant of what they are doing or are in fact destructionists who really want to ruin the Church. In any case, their hearts are restless. The continual need for change whether religiously or in daily life, is indicative of a psycho-emotional personality disorder–or wounded souls. Either manifests this disorder in the need for constant change and the dismissing of rules.

  27. mariadevotee says:

    Ed, You’re going in the wrong direction, Come to Nashville to Aquinas College, run by the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia (Nashville Dominicans) and you will get all the orthodoxy and tradition you can ever want-You can get your Liberal Arts Degree-Theology Major here from teachers with the Mandatum.

  28. Patrick S says:

    Is it any wonder that the Catholic Church has lost so many members (see the PEW report) to Evangelical/Fundamentalist congregations. This e-mail sounds so very close to the arguments used by these fallen away communities (sans the humility of St. Francis) to explain why Catholics are on the wrong path and they have found the really, real, true, truth that was taught by Christ. I have great faith that things will turn around but I expect to see even greater numbers of Catholics falling away to these communities before its over. After 40 years of fluffy teaching (you can’t really call it Catechism) its no wonder many Catholics’ theology is more aligned to Evangelical Protestantism than Catholicism. I pray we may one day soon be reunited.

  29. Jennifer says:

    My comment is also about the St. Francis quote “Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”
    Yes, exactly! Let’s “overcome ourselves” and keep the Mass about Christ by our getting out of the limelight. It’s not about us. Following the Rubrics is the way to insure this.

    Thanks again for the great posts, Father. Your blog is a great resource.

    And….sorry to hijack your commentary Fr. Z, but would like some information from one of your commentators. Please delete if you like.
    Maria Devotee, you mention Nashville. Where to go to Mass down there? I’m going to visit a non-catholic friend in a month (19-21 April) and would love a TLM/EF, but it’s only on the 2nd Sunday of the Month. Where to find a reverent NO? Do they have one at Aquinas college?. I’ve heard of a Novus Ordo in Latin in downtown Nashville and will probably go to that one, but if there is a reverent one for these Sisters perhaps I could go to that. Please respond (or if anybody else knows of one) to me directly….jlewpt@hotmail.com

    God Bless,

    Jennifer

  30. m.a. says:

    I am always amazed and saddened how self-righteous traditionalists like the blogmaster and many commenters sound on this blog.

  31. Tadhg Seamus says:

    m.a.:

    …and how humble and self-effacing you are when gracing us with the obviously necessary corrective.

  32. Jennifer E says:

    Ed praying for you as you dare stay with these folks. They need your commitment to what you are saying to be true so they may witness this thing in you. Community comes AFTER love of GOD otherwise it is may be a good work, just void of all “substance” to use the words of our poor soul who dared to visit Fr Z with an email like that!.

    My dear Aunt – 65, immigrant worked here for the most part of her life and is a holy woman wondered if indeed I hadn’t gone to a protestant church. My parish is not even the worst out there. We do have liturgical dance and I think that is what caused her the greatest pain. Besides the white walls, and no visible tabernacle. I never have seen her unhappy at a Mass until she visited me. She doesn’t keep up with all this technology. She only knows what she can experience. And she was left empty, her words. I think she prayed extra rosaries that day. Made me angry, I too struggle every time we move to find a parish home. We simply gave up and stayed at the parish of our bounderies. Next move, to California – yikes!
    Post hijinx – any good parishes at Santa Maria/Lompoc?

    Jenn
    As I leave, I believe the Dayton OH community is getting a permanent pastor to provide the EF and it will be available daily at noon.

    Hope the Sunday time gets better than 8:30 am.

  33. Maureen says:

    First of all, I think the basic instructions the Church gives us are reasonable. She’s Jesus’ wife, after all; she best can tell us how to decorate God’s house and hold the Mass. (Especially if people really believe that Mass is just a banquet. Heh.) She remembers what Jesus taught and must pass it on; and her hierarchy has the God-given right to bind and loose, which liturgists don’t.

    Second, it’s very clear from the Bible that God does concern Himself with ritual — not because He needs anything from us, but because it’s good for us (“right and just”) to worship Him in the way He has revealed to us. The New Testament commands that certain rituals be done in certain ways, and Jesus even warns us that not being properly dressed for a royal occasion is an insult to the King. You cannot wall these things off from the Gospel’s message of love; Jesus tells us straight out that if we don’t follow His commands, we don’t love Him.

    In conclusion, I would note that if you have any trouble “thinking with the mind of the Church”, that I’m sure that my mom would love to come to your house and lecture you on the subject of how to show respect for God by acting, dressing, and celebrating properly in church. :)

  34. m.a.: self-righteous traditionalists like the blogmaster and many commenters

    Here is how I understand your observation.

    • Faithfulness to the rubrics and legislation of the Church = self-righteousness = something bad
    • Creative expression of individual preferences = … ? … “Jesus’ true message” or “listening to the whispers of the spirit” = something good

    Perhaps insistence on personal expression with little reference to the law is actually “self-righeousness” while attention to the law and faithfulness to rubrics is actually self-effacing. 

    Finally,  if I understand it correctly, Bp. Seratelli’s letter to his priests was mostly about the Novus Ordo and not about the TLM.

  35. Daniel Canaris says:

    I think your comments, Father, are really uncharitible and unwarranted. Sorry.

  36. Newminster says:

    I tried Moore’s blog and immediately got put off by his reference to “the Holy Spirit of Jesus”. Pardon?
    Partially deterred I carried on and lost the will to live half-way through the second posting.
    Sheesh!

  37. Daniel: I think your comments, Father, are really uncharitible and unwarranted.

    But you don’t really have anything to say about the substance of the discussion. Okay.

  38. RBrown says:

    I think your comments, Father, are really uncharitible and unwarranted. Sorry.
    Comment by Daniel Canaris

    The Common Liberal Ploy raises its ugly head once again. Disagree with liberals, and they immediately say there is something wrong with you. Here he uses the old Lack of Charity tactic.

  39. eric says:

    When one has such a visceral reaction to tradition, or Latin, or rubrics, or facing the liturgical East, it may be the result of a bad experience in their life that they associate with it. If that is the case, what they need is inner healing. Talking or lecturing won’t necessarily produce any change unless that talk is anointed by the Holy Spirit and charity.

  40. bryan says:

    Father…you hit the nail right on the head.

    It isn’t about: us, community, self-indulgent feelings, or viewing Our Lord as a Galilean hippie wandering around espousing feel-good platitudes.

    He gave the authority to His Apostles and their descendents, not the rabble that deserted Him when times got tough. He didn’t give us “mission statements” and guidelines to follow derived from our own fallen natures. Accepting the authority of others given the vocation to exercise it is tough. It’s the sin of pride that gives us to think we know better than those with the charism to lead us spiritually.

    He did promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Kingdom. And Hell is what we get when we replace His Church with one of our own making.

    The last 40+ years have been a taste of perdition because we abandoned His Church for one of our own making, self-referential, and self-focused. That there are still some hangers-on who are insistent on making the Church a reflection of themselves is happily something that is passing away. Like children who are watching their toys being taken away because they abused the trust granted them in some misdirected exercise of so-called enlightenment whining and stamping their feet over the reimposition of proper discipline is to be expected.

    God bless bishops like H.E. Seratelli, Bruskowitz, and others who are, in loving charity, moving us back to the narrow path that truly leads to Him.

  41. Scott W. says:

    Here he uses the old Lack of Charity tactic.

    Diogenes over at Off the Record calls this the “olive branch in the eye” tactic:

    http://www.cwnews.com/offtherecord/offtherecord.cfm?task=singledisplay&recnum=4621

  42. Scott W. says:

    Here he uses the old Lack of Charity tactic.

    Diogenes over at Off the Record calls this the “olive branch in the eye” tactic:

    http://www.cwnews.com/offtherecord/offtherecord.cfm?task=singledisplay&recnum=4621

    And shows how people mistakenly conflate charity with excessive nice-guyness.

  43. GCC Catholic says:

    There can be no charity that is not rooted in truth. Was that not one of the last things that the Pope taught us before he was elected?: “love without truth is blind and truth without love is empty. Without truth, love is mere sentimentality and, without love, truth is sterile.”

    Perfect truth wielded as a loveless weapon is not effective.
    The greatest of perceived charity devoid of truth is not effective, nor is it genuinely charitable.

    His Excellency did a fine job in balancing the two. In my opinion, the writer of this post’s inspirational e-mail, seems to be lacking in the truth department, and thus sees malice when it is presented to him. I would hope that this is simply ignorance that could be remedied by actually READING the documents that Bp. Serratelli cited, and BELIEVING them BECAUSE we trust the Church to teach us.

    Thank you Fr. Z!

  44. Patronus says:

    I actually agree with Fr. Z’s arguments, and that the correspondent is sadly misguided.

    But I also agree with those who feel that the harsh critique of the correspondent is really inappropriate, and absolutely counter-productive. We may be completely correct, but repulsive self-righteousness is as also an attitude.

    Truly, how was this critique supposed to edify the correspondent? It also instigated similar unhelpful commentary from readers. Would not a more charitable, non-mocking argument have accomplished much more – without inevitably alienating the reader? I feel very sorry for the correspondent.

  45. RBrown says:

    Instead of bruising your correspondents, why not tackle some original theologians who have made the same complaint with great eloquence, such as Sebastian Moore?
    Comment by Spirit of Vatican II

    What’s original about Sebastian Moore? It’s just more of the same old boring 70′s theology.

    I agree that a possible negative consequence of the use of the 1962 Missal could be a crabby Formalism. But here’s what you need to know: You and others who agree with you (incl Sebastian Moore, assuming he’s a priest) could have prevented this by regularly saying (and advocating) mass in Latin ad orientem using the 1970 Missal.

    But you didn’t, and the reason is that your objection to the by-the-numbers legalism of the Counter Reformation Church does not tell the whole story. Your real interest is in promoting a New Age Church based on Hegelianism that reduces liturgy to chummy Irish pub talk and the doctrine of the faith to smarmy pious sentimentalism.

  46. Frater A. M. OFM Conv. Seminarian says:

    This kind of bunk is exasperating.It is always tiring to see St. Francis used as a proto-protestant icon by people (sadly even some Friars)who falsely juxtapose (the ever elusive)”spirit” over the “letter” e.g. fides et mores: doctrine, liturgical law, ecclesiastical hierarchy. It goes to show that crypto-Joachimism still exists!

    You would think they would choose somebody less papist and intentionally orthodox than the Poverello: a man who walked to Rome to have the Supreme Pontiff approve the Rule of Life he believed to come from Christ Himself!
    His scrupulous observance of liturgical rubrics in order to give maximum reverence to things pertaining to the most holy body and blood of the Lord, is largely missed while the naive image of our Saint in a birdbath or mobbed by fuzzy critters is predominant.

    Francis can really be seen to be an icon of Pope Benedict’s ars celebrandi principle proposed in Sacramentum Caritatis (fidelity to Rite ensures fruitful participation). I argue that Francis’ insistence on fidelity to the particulars of divine worship is also another expression of the evangelical councils which he lived with seraphic charity. Furthermore, the Roman Rite is the liturgical patrimony of the Friars Minor as Francis adopted (out of reverence and devotion to the successor of St. Peter, among other things) the Rite of the Papal Court while subsequent friars throughout history have contributed significantly to the development and dissemination of what would eventually become the (Tridentine) Missale Romanum.

    Take a moment to read Francis’ encyclical letters, especially as he addressed friar priests, where he compares those who do not have the right intention or lack reverence, to Judas. Not to mention his reminder of the judgment of God on those who transgress even the visible/externals of the Eucharist: (i.e. rubrics of the ritual)

    (Letter to the Entire Order)

    Gaude Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses sola interemisti in universo mundo.

    Frater A.M., Ultramontanist

  47. Volpius says:

    I thought Father Z’s comments were quite restrained personally considering that this chap is accusing Father Z and the entire Catholic clergy of bordering on mass apostasy, that is after all what would be happening if they were moving away from “Christ’s true message” which it seems was only discovered some time in the last 40 years, and I thought Christ’s incarnation took place much further back than that, silly me.

  48. Scott W. says:

    But I also agree with those who feel that the harsh critique of the correspondent is really inappropriate, and absolutely counter-productive. We may be completely correct, but repulsive self-righteousness is as also an attitude.

    Most of the commentary has been restricted to the ideas presented. No personal cheap shots to my knowledge. And while we are at it, wouln’t the characterization, “repulsive self-righteousness” fall into the very category you are complaining about?

    The fact is that caveat emptor applies when tangling with a pubic blog. When someone throws a bad idea at a blogger, especially one full of savage criticism, they should be fully prepared for savage criticism of it. That’s what grown-ups do. They don’t retort, as some have done, with the silence-the-opposition charge of “uncharitable” as if it was the Christian equivalent of the race card.

  49. Habemus Papam says:

    Christ’s “true message” is used in the sense of home-grown philosophy. I become enlightened by my experience and interpret this in light of my understanding of Christ’s message. There is obviously no room in this subjective mind-set for hierarchy, ritual and objective truth. This is pure, undiluted Spirit of Vatican II stuff.

  50. Folks: I think this has pretty much run its course. Time to move on.