Card. Burke and Card. Cañizares: liturgical abuse weakens the faith

Save The Liturgy Save The WorldHere is a story you won’t find over at the National Catholic Fishwrap… which is getting absolutely creamed in the Reader’s Choice Awards voting for Best Catholic NewspaperNCFishwrap is polling dead last, and I mean dead fish at 4%.

BTW…my favorites, the Catholic Herald and The Wanderer, for whom I write, could use your help.  And take an extra five seconds and vote for WDTPRS too.  Many thousands of readers come here each day read and many of you post comments.  A little help please?

Now for the story, by CNS’s Cindy Wooden, but which I picked up from the Catholic Herald.  This reminds me of our earnest discussion over changes to the liturgy leading to dissent on moral teaching.

My emphases and comments.

Cardinals: liturgical abuse weakens the faith

By Cindy Wooden

A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass can be traced to liturgical abuse or Masses that are not reverent, two Vatican cardinals and a consultant have said. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?  Even "Amen! Amen!" Save the Liturgy - Save the World, friends.]

US Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s supreme court, said: “If we err by thinking we are the centre of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith.” [There is a reciprocal relationship between how we pray and what we believe.]

Cardinal Burke and Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, spoke yesterday at a book launch in Rome.

The book, published only in Italian, was written by Fr Nicola Bux, [Of "The Bux Protocol"!] who serves as a consultant to the congregations for the doctrine of the faith and for saints’ causes and to the office in charge of papal liturgies.

The English translation of Fr Bux’s book title would be, How to Go to Mass and Not Lose Your Faith. [OOH-RAH!]

Cardinal Burke told those gathered for the book presentation that he agreed with Fr Bux that “liturgical abuses lead to serious damage to the faith of Catholics”.

Unfortunately, he said, too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant when, in fact, they are “serious abuses”.

Cardinal Cañizares said that while the book’s title is provocative, it demonstrates a belief he shares. “Participating in the Eucharist can make us weaken or lose our faith if we do not enter into it properly,” and if the liturgy is not celebrated according to the Church’s norms, he said.

“This is true whether one is speaking of the Ordinary or Extraordinary form of the one Roman rite,” the cardinal said. [It is interesting that the Cardinal Prefect brings in the older, Extraordinary Form in the context of liturgical abuse and the loss of faith.  In general - today - the Extraordinary Form is celebrated with great care and fidelity to the rubrics.  It is almost a contradiction in terms to talk about liturgical abuses in the Extraordinary Form, except perhaps with the exception of making mistakes or getting things wrong here and there.  None of the mistakes or variations would be irreverent.  At the same time, priests who celebrate the older form of Mass must also keep firmly in mind what Benedict XVI laid down in Sacramentum caritatis concerning our priestly ars celebrandi.]

Cardinal Cañizares said that at a time when so many people are living as if God did not exist, they need a true Eucharistic celebration to remind them that only God is to be adored and that true meaning in human life comes only from the fact that Jesus gave his life to save the world.

Fr Bux said that too many modern Catholics think the Mass is something that the priest and the congregation do together when, in fact, it is something that Jesus does[Christ is the true Actor.]

“If you go to a Mass in one place and then go to Mass in another, you will not find the same Mass. [What was commonly said about the older form of Mass in yesterday?  No matter what you would go in the world, Mass was the same as it was back in the parish church in Tall Tree Circle.  Indeed the older Form and the newer Form celebrated according to the books and in a Roman style with continuity are less different from each other than how you see Mass at parish X and parish Y.] This means that it is not the Mass of the Catholic Church, which people have a right to, but it is just the Mass of this parish or that priest,” he said.

Think about this.  Two cardinals show up for a book presentation.  Not one, two.  And they are Roman heavyweights of the first order.

Pay attention to Nicola Bux, friends.

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60 Responses to Card. Burke and Card. Cañizares: liturgical abuse weakens the faith

  1. TNCath says:

    Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Cañizares: a “dynamic duo” of the Church! Quite frankly, I find it interesting and refreshing that Catholic News Service gave this event as much press as they did. The times they are a changin’! Deo gratias!

  2. Random Friar says:

    A great amen from this little friar!

  3. Joseph says:

    Ours is a hierarchical church. Unless the Holy father is willing to shepherd by his authority, all efforts will be muted. He has the tools to reign in the wolves in sheep clothing, who have been left to roam since the sixties. Unfortunately too often laity has been more than willingly howled with the wolves. So that spiritual bouquet initiated by you father sure does look highly fitting.

  4. digdigby says:

    As a new Cardinal, Burke recently paid a first visit to his home turf of St. Louis and participated in three masses only. One of course at the magnificent Basilica, the second at the St. Francis de Sales Oratory (ICKSP) and the third at the Oratory of Sts. Gregory and Augustine of Canterbury. Three public celebrations only and TWO of them to Tridentine Mass oratories! The third oratory is so small and humble that the Cardinal in his full regalia hardly even FIT. God bless him. He was sending an unequivocal message.

  5. Centristian says:

    “This is true whether one is speaking of the Ordinary or Extraordinary form of the one Roman rite,” the cardinal said. [It is interesting that the Cardinal Prefect brings in the older, Extraordinary Form in the context of liturgical abuse and the loss of faith. In general - today - the Extraordinary Form is celebrated with great care and fidelity to the rubrics. It is almost a contradiction in terms to talk about liturgical abuses in the Extraordinary Form, except perhaps with the exception of making mistakes or getting things wrong here and there. None of the mistakes or variations would be irreverent...]”

    But they could be, and so I think the cardinal makes an excellent point. It isn’t the Missal that should be the issue, but rather the way in which Mass is celebrated, regardless of which Missal is used.

    While Father Z might celebrate Mass using the current Missal in a fully Catholic and liturgically appropriate way, Father X, on the other hand–perhaps just to make a jerky point–could celebrate a clown Mass using the 1962 Missal if he wanted to, now that, thanks to Summorum Pontificum, and priest can use either Missal at any time.

  6. wolfeken says:

    I love all the talk, but until X is mandated from the pope on the Mass, Y will continue to be the norm. There doesn’t seem to be one specific thing in this article. Even a liberal will say Mass needs to be better. Well, define better.

    It’s time for a little more action than just a better translation of et cum spiritu tuo. At this pace it will take about 500 years before there is even a hint of liturgical sanity in the average parish.

  7. skull kid says:

    But Father! But Father!

    Everyday I read your blog Father. We all know what’s what – but the priests seem oblivious. Would I do well to print this article out a give a copy to my local priests? Somebody has to tell them. Would that be a good way to do it? I struggle knowing how to approach them and I’ve been pondering it for over a year!

  8. Dennis Martin says:

    Dear Joseph and Wolfeken,

    Just a friendly amendment. Impatience is wrong whether it comes from a traditionalist or Spirit of Vatican II-type. Patience is hard, very hard. But impatience always harms–the only question is in how big or how small a way.

    As upset as we might be by the abuses of past and present, could we not just rejoice at what the two Eminences just did, thank God for it and for them and for Benedict instead of finding some reason to harp on what has not yet happened? I could imagine that God gets just a tad tired of hearing us traditionalists moaning and groaning no matter what good news comes along. I could also imagine that He might find an outpouring of gratitude from us . . . well, just really, really nice to hear. Who knows what He might then do?? Who knows what He is doing right now, via Cardinals Burke and Canizares? And who knows what He’s put into the mind and heart of his servant Benedict as far as deploying these and other princes of the Church in the battle? We are not the General of the Army in this war, we are the footsoldiers. We are not even four-star generals like their Eminences. Since our main weapon in this combat is prayer, perhaps we should gather our courage and pray instead of cowering in fear that the General of the Army and his commanders don’t know what they are doing.

  9. Jack Hughes says:

    too true, the typical weekdayMass at ALL of the local Churches is hardly bearable; whether its the polyester chasables that look more like albs, the ‘pantsuit’ type women/religious sister who goes up to do the readings or the man centrinc responses from the congregation who have no idea what they are affirming all combines to make the N.O less meditative and less like an encounter with the sacred than the EF.

    When I’ve served as Acoltye for Missa Cantata, High Massa and Pontifical High Mass I actually feel as if I’ve worshiped God.

    Personally the highlight of my week is the 6pm Low Mass on a Sunday although Fr. has agreed to say a Missa Cantata on Ash Wednesday (wasn’t able to go to the Low Mass last year as I had classes).

  10. William says:

    @skull kid: send it and similar to Father via e-mail at the parish office. Politely ask Father to let you know he receives your emails as office staff might not want him to see it.

  11. skull kid says:

    Do you think it would go down OK William? Do you think a priest would be offended or should I not care and just send it?

  12. SimonDodd says:

    Fr. Z: “In general – today – the Extraordinary Form is celebrated with great care and fidelity to the rubrics. It is almost a contradiction in terms to talk about liturgical abuses in the Extraordinary Form, except perhaps with the exception of making mistakes or getting things wrong here and there.” Yes, but that is surely because EF Celebrants are a self-selecting group of good priests. It seems to me that the NO is not the cause of liturgical abuse, it is merely the vehicle for it, and not because of any inherent defect but because it’s simply the prevalent form of the Mass. Abuse is caused by abusers, and the NO as the ordinary liturgy of the Church is inevitably the Mass celebrated by priests with an inclination to abuse. We wouldn’t expect to see abuses 0f the EF because the abusers have no occasion to celebrate it; they use the OF. If the EF was reimposed tomorrow, the Father Supersoakers of the world would still be just as inclined to abuse, and I think they would continue to behave in the same way, and perforce you would then see abuses of the EF.

  13. Father Z: — [There is a reciprocal relationship between how we pray and what we believe.]
    —-

    Father,
    my math background makes me wonder if maybe ‘proportional’ or ‘direct’ or
    ‘congruent’ might be better terms than ‘reciprocal’. Reciprocal gets mixed up with inverse in my head!!

    Just sharpshooting you !!

  14. BobP says:

    They can write out all the books they want on liturgical abuses, but when they introduce Protestant concepts like vernacular, facing the people, CITH, EMHC, altar girls, etc., how can one possibly think they want to stay God-focused?

  15. Dirichlet says:

    Maybe it’s just me, Father, but I see the Movement for the Enforcement of a Truly Reverent Liturgy gaining traction.

    We’ll keep on praying.

  16. David Homoney says:

    Fr. Z, after two of your posts today it would seem prudent to create gear that says “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”

  17. awlms says:

    My friend did very well in naming his new son…Benedict!

  18. shane says:

    I have to agree to a certain extent with BobP. The New Mass, with its excessive communal orientation, is much less conducive to building personal faith. I came across this letter published in The Furrow (Irish Catholic periodical) in February, 1973, by JF Foyle, discussing his experience of the transition to the vernacular. I think he makes some good points.

    “When things were in Latin, we followed the words in the vernacular in our missals, often pausing to reflect even if that meant not being in line with the priest’s words, though we made sure to be in line for the three peaks — offertory, consecration and holy communion. Sometimes we filled in, in between the peaks, with Rosary-reciting, favourite prayers (often from prayer-books or leaflets).

    Reading, informal praying and reflecting, in between the peaks, played dominant parts in our Mass participation. We had tremendous scope for using our own individual initiative to fill the in-between spaces. The vernacular changed all that and what was designed to increase our participation in the Mass has, in fact, made it awkward for us to participate to our satisfaction.

    We were suddenly left without missals and expected to attend to the priests’ words all the time. This ruled out reflecting, as we were kept going keeping up with the words the whole way through Mass. Also, we had little to reflect on — we are far from expert in catching a series of sentences while they are flying. We were virtually forbidden to switch off the words (to reflect or pray via reading or thinking parallel to the priest). It was uncomfortable deliberately switching off, anyway, since the words, being in English, kept obtruding in snatches, something that didn’t happen with the Latin (except with some students of the language, and then only when words were said specially loudly). We felt obliged to attend to English words, whereas it was optional with the Latin. We felt inferior at being unable to attend, whereas we felt superior when we succeeded with the Latin.

    This was, and is, a far from pleasant Mass experience. It also resulted in the three peaks ceasing to be peaks in the Mass — they are just parts of the series of words, almost, often (especially the middle one) passing unnoticed, as our minds wander.

    What this suggests is that the liturgists equated the scope for being aware of what was being said with scope for participation. Apart from the Latin allowing for similar awareness (even for illiterates), the equating erred in wrongly estimating the strain going with non-stop listening. It did not allow gaps for reflecting, nor for having another look at the words for that purpose. Nor did it recognize that participation is very much an individual matter, made-up around the priest’s Mass words but not rigidly tied to them. The Latin facilitated such individual participation. The vernacular hinders it.

    Liturgists ought to have been aware of such effects of the change-over, since they were predictable from awareness of how those in the pews participated in the Mass. [...] Those in the pew automatically, now, mind-wander most of the time when subjected to amplified voices in churches or halls. Their recall of things said in the liturgy of the word, for example, is nearly nil most of the time, just as their recall of newscasts and radio-television discussions is very fuzzy.

    Further, Mass is now attended with very little forethought about the theme of the liturgy and even less afterthought about it. There is little time for thinking about religion, anyway, and seldom is a special attempt made in advance of Mass. Getting there quickly by car lessens the scope for forethought, too. Watch the aftermath — as everybody rushes for cars and papers to provide food for some other kind of thought. The Mass words are part of the pattern of information flow which envelops us daily. They get even less attention than the other words, since so few have them in print for fore and after thought. This has contributed in no small away, I find, to very, very little reading about things spiritual. The taking-away of the missals (or their too slow replacement, which amounts to the same thing, in effect) broke the habit. And it is well and truly broken, now.

    [...] Those of my generation who believe in the power of the Mass, and in it being a mortal sin not to participate in Sunday Mass, keep going on that account. It is in spite of the vernacular, not with its aid.

    [...] The Rosary beads and the devotional prayers could have a place, again, for individual participation between the peaks. [...] All the amplified talking of the introductory rite, liturgy of the word and the homily is a nuisance, when we could be reading and reflecting quietly. Let the Bible readings be relayed to us, maybe, and let the rest be read silently or, at least, with the amplifiers turned off. That way the homily (unamplified) will have a chance of getting attention, too. Let the rest of the Mass be silent mainly, apart from the three peaks and ‘Our Father’, say, relying on us in the pew to participate in our individual ways, reading and reflecting.”

  19. skull kid says:

    That’s an interesting letter Shane. I always feel that I am sinning venially when I try to pray quietly and attempt to filter out the words of the priest, and that’s apart from the ramblings which are not part of the Rite. For those, i sometimes want to get up and walk out of Mass.

    I can agree that the reason I attend the New Mass on Sundays is simply because of the Sunday obligation. If it weren’t for that, I would probably not bother. I know that sounds bad, but the state of the liturgy is bad. I am one of those sad characters who can say ”I get nothing out of Mass’. I am sitting there the whole time watching all the different liturgical abuses, and listening to the irrelevant ramblings of men who were supposedly ordained and formed to preach the Gospel and administer the Holy Sacraments. When you’re say in the ‘audience’ thinking ”I could write a better sermon than that” EVERY Sunday, then you know there are big problems.

  20. eewanco says:

    First, some disclaimers: Liturgical abuses are wrong and deplorable. There are many fine points here.

    But I have to scratch my head at the assertion that “A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass can be traced to liturgical abuse or Masses that are not reverent.” I can buy that these factors have an influence on these things, but there are more straightforward reasons for these three factors than liturgical abuse and irreverence. One need only to look at the decade before the Ordinary Form was introduced to see these effects already taking root. Frankly, people are not going to Mass and are losing faith because of the secularization of our culture. I’d sooner blame Modernism, the Enlightenment, the Reformation, or even William of Occam before I’d blame something that happened in 1970. Let’s get a sense of proportion (and perspective). The West was well on its way to perdition before the Mass of Paul VI was introduced.

    And I must take sharp issue with Fr. Z’s comment, “What was commonly said about the older form of Mass in yesterday? No matter what you would go in the world, Mass was the same as it was back in the parish church in Tall Tree Circle.” Perhaps everywhere you went in Europe, but if you went to Lebanon, Syria, Alexandria, Kerala India, and Ukraine, you’d see in each place a completely different form of the Mass, all ancient. It angers me when people who should be better informed make careless arguments to assert the alleged exclusivity of a liturgy that is one among many ancient ones.

  21. Amen…I’ve seen the tole that Liturgical Abuse takes on people in person.

    Well celebrated Liturgy is a piece of the puzzle

  22. kgurries says:

    “Abuse is caused by abusers…”

    SimonDodd, that’s a good point and I am inclined to agree with you. At the same time, I expect there will still be some debate whether some of the “legitimate options” contained in the norms represent de facto “abuses” that contribute to a loss of Faith. For example, I expect things like communion in the hand are at the top of the list. There may be some needed changes to the norms over time — and I would guess this is something of a work-in-progress happening behind closed doors.

  23. benedictgal says:

    @eewanco: What Cardinal Burke is saying is not extremism. It is the truth. We need to remember that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our life as the Church. If we get the Mass wrong, every other activity that we embark in will not fully succeed. We pray as we believe. The way we pray the Mass needs to reflect what we believe. If the Mass is weakened due to abuses, then, our faith is weakened.

    It is interesting that three of the priests from the Office of Liturgies for the Supreme Pontiff (Msgr. Guido Marini, Fr. Bux and Fr. Uwe Michael Lang) have all come out with significant books to help catechize the faithful in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If only our bishops and priests could do well to pick up these books, read them and heed them!

  24. eewanco says:

    Oh. I forgot Iraq, Milan, and Toledo (Spain). There, too, prior to Vatican II, you would have seen a different liturgy. Not to mention certain monasteries such as I believe the Carthusians.

  25. theloveofwisdome says:

    This is all idle talk…. when are some “Vatican Heavyweights” going to stop talking about this and actually DO something about it!!!?!??

  26. Centristian says:

    “We need to remember that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our life as the Church. If we get the Mass wrong, every other activity that we embark in will not fully succeed. We pray as we believe. The way we pray the Mass needs to reflect what we believe. If the Mass is weakened due to abuses, then, our faith is weakened. ”

    Exquisitely put. Immersion into the liturgy to the point at which it becomes our very way of life and prayer is so much to be desired, and not so easy to achieve today, considering the typical state of affairs with respect to the way in which the Catholic liturgy is presented.

    I recommend to anyone obtaining a set of Pius Parsch’s “The Church’s Year of Grace” and following the Mass through an entire year with his daily insights at hand (even if the calendars no longer mesh). Be prepared for an amazing journey.

  27. Maltese says:

    “No matter [where] you would go in the world, Mass was the same as it was back in the parish church in Tall Tree Circle.”

    Indeed. And what also made the Extraordinary form extraordinary was, and is, that it puts one in solidarity with centuries of worshippers, and most of the great Saints, who worshipped in the same form.

    With the Novus, one is in solidarity all the way back to 1970, with priests wearing light green polyester vestments, strumming Kumbaya on his electric guitar, the congregation nearly in tears, singing:

    Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
    Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
    Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya
    Oh Lord, kumbaya

    Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
    Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
    Someone’s singing Lord, kumbaya
    Oh Lord, kumbayah

  28. Sandy says:

    Yes, you hear an “Amen” from me – a thousand times! Indeed, “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”!

  29. Glen M says:

    Pope Benedict XVI has been in the Chair of St. Peter for five years now. Any priest or bishop who conducts or condones liturgical abuse knows what he’s doing and doesn’t care. I’ve reached the point where I don’t care either. After many letters, conversations, and emotional investment to no avail I have concluded the best thing for the individual Catholic to do is find an E.F. where obedience to the liturgy is a given. When at a Novus Ordo the only liturgical abuse that gets my attention is people walking away with the Blessed Sacrament, (consuming several strides from the Minister). I haven’t had to chase one yet, but I’m prepared to.

    If the NO was designed to bring more people back into the Church it has done the opposite and polarized those remaining. It should be noted the only group of Protestants to return are those seeking the traditional liturgy.

  30. David Homoney says:

    Cardinal Burke is truly a gift from God; a staunch defender of the one true faith.

  31. becket1 says:

    Bob P Quotes: “They can write out all the books they want on liturgical abuses, but when they introduce Protestant concepts like vernacular, facing the people, CITH, EMHC, altar girls, etc., how can one possibly think they want to stay God-focused?”

    I disagree with the vernacular part, but completely agree with the rest. Keep in mind Bob P that the Eastern Churches also use the vernacular. Vernacular is not a Protestant concept, The Eastern Churches of the Byzantine tradition have been using vernacular ever since, Cyril and Methodius converted the Slavs.

  32. catholicmidwest says:

    I find it simultaneously shocking and humorous (in a sick sorta way), that this is only just now dawning on some people. What exactly did they think it would do to normal people to see a priest in a clown suit, or sing a song modeled after the Brady Bunch theme song during Holy Communion?

    I’m glad that someone, particularly cardinals who may have some power, are finally noticing. Better late than never, I guess. Still, wow, slow on the uptake, huh?

  33. This is hardly a case of “just noticing”. These cardinals have written and spoken about these issues in the past (and done things about them too), and so has Bux. This is about cardinals using their “star power” to attract attention to a well-written book (which is coming out at a favorable time) in the hope that it will help a few more people change brick-by-brick.

    Re: The Furrow article — The explanation of the “old way” of praying through the EF is a pretty good explanation of how I pray through the OF Mass, when I’m not busy singing for choir. I grew up knowing the English the same way his generation knew the Latin. I suspect that hostility to that sort of liturgical devotion is why there was so much upbeatness and demand shoehorned onto the OF in the 80′s and 90′s. If you keep people from ever being in a calm and prayerful state, that’s keeping people participating (if you’re a certain kind of liturgist, musician, etc.). Same reason why the lights are so bright, and so forth. Same reason why they make kids who’ve just received Sacraments for the first time are made to perform songs in front of the congregation as a thanksgiving to God, instead of being allowed to spend time on their knees thanking God in their hearts. These folks mean well, but they are an obstruction to deep prayer life.

  34. Gaz says:

    “In general – today – the Extraordinary Form is celebrated with great care and fidelity to the rubrics.” What that says to me is that people (clergy and laity) tend not to be the ones who are putting in the effort just to be sentimental. It’s not about “the Mass I remember from my childhood” or even, in many cases, what their parents remember. What has happened in the EF groups around the world is a rediscovery of an ancient and noble tradition that taps into the Catholic memory.

  35. benedictgal says:

    I got into an argument with a priest friend of mine. He told me that I was being pastorally insensitive for trying to dissuade the use of Marty Haugen’s Mass of Creation because the setting fools with the text of the Mass. He said that I was not being “pastoral”. He said that we should simply wait until the new changes come. He even used the Holy Father’s hermeneutic of continuity as a way to justify his argument.

    The sad thing is that this is not just one parish that seems to be liturgically lost; it’s the whole diocese.

  36. benedictgal says:

    It seems to me that the one word used to justify nearly all of the liturgical abuse that goes on is PASTORAL.

  37. catholicmidwest says:

    Unfortunately, benedictgal, we’re probably going to hear some of this. The church dragged its feet about fixing this mess until most people don’t remember anything but Haugen and the Novus Ordo complete with cheeeezy homilies and altar girls.

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    Some people “get” that there was a “before” prior to 1960, but some people don’t. For some people that’s about as abstract as talking about before they were born. Or before they got their last cell phone.

  39. benedictgal says:

    My friend called me, the same one who defended Mass of Creation. I am really having doubts about myself. He told me that I was too myopic. The sad thing is that my whole diocese is not in very good shape liturgically.

  40. becket1 says:

    If one sees the Roman Rite Anglican Use. Now there is a Holy Mass in the vernacular that is equal in reverence and beauty to the Extra-Ordinary Form in my opinion. Check it out.
    http://video.yahoo.com/watch/5333606

  41. Norah says:

    They can write out all the books they want on liturgical abuses, but when they introduce Protestant concepts like vernacular, facing the people, CITH, EMHC, altar girls, etc., how can one possibly think they want to stay God-focused

    BobP, are you saying that church going Protestants aren’t God-focused? Some of the most God-fearing, God-loving people I have met are Protestants. They go door to door proclaiming the faith, they have bible studies, they have prayer chains, they take food to the sick, they help the poor etc Many of these church going Protestants could teach apathetic Catholics a thing or two about being God focussed.

  42. Fr. Basil says:

    \\A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass can be traced to liturgical abuse or Masses that are not reverent, two Vatican cardinals and a consultant have said\\

    And SSPX says that attendance has even fallen off for them and the Extraordinary form in general, too.

    Now what?

  43. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Centristian wrote, “I recommend to anyone obtaining a set of Pius Parsch’s “The Church’s Year of Grace” and following the Mass through an entire year with his daily insights at hand (even if the calendars no longer mesh). Be prepared for an amazing journey.”

    I would heartily second this (on the basis of a non-English adaptive translation of part of the year).

    Where and how can one best get a copy of the English translation? And what is the copyright situation – could it be conveniently put online, somewhere, somehow? (Or has it, already: am I simply ignorant of where to find it?) A posting of the relevant ‘daily portion’ (as well as a consultable full text) would be a fine thing!

    And how exactly does it sit with “the calendars” (taking this to mean OF and EF): though “they no longer mesh” are they equally current and valid?

  44. Centristian says:

    Venerator Sti Lot:

    “Where and how can one best get a copy of the English translation? And what is the copyright situation – could it be conveniently put online, somewhere, somehow? (Or has it, already: am I simply ignorant of where to find it?) A posting of the relevant ‘daily portion’ (as well as a consultable full text) would be a fine thing!”

    “The Church’s Year of Grace” is currently out of print and so you would have to keep an eye out for it at alternative sources such as rare and used book dealers or online at Amazon and Alibris; in fact I see that there are some available on Alibris at this moment. The English translation that I own was through Liturgical Press in a 4 volume set.

    Father Z’s regular insights into the various Mass propers that he translates and features remind me a bit of Parsch, in fact, and his expositions.

  45. JoeGarcia says:

    As an interesting side note as re. “remembering Who is at the center of the Mass” I offer this interesting little commentary from a Jesuit of all people:

    I walked out into the congregation and took a poll. I asked, “Raise your hand if you were surprised that I didn’t preach [a homily] today?” Every hand went up. Then I asked, “Raise your hand if you leave mass today unsatisfied because you didn’t hear my homily?” Again, every hand went up. Now the moment of truth: “You’re telling me that after having witnessed a miracle on this altar, after having received the body of Christ, after being in intimate communion with Jesus, you walk away unsatisfied?” Mass was over, class dismissed.

    Here’s the thing, it really doesn’t matter who’s manning the mass. It doesn’t matter who the main celebrant is. Even if you had the most boring priest, the most obnoxious individual who you can’t stand because he’s an #%@*& jerk, even if the guy wears a New York Jets jersey under his priestly vestments and thought that Tito was the most talented Jackson, the Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus and only He is at the center of the mass. If we truly believed that, we’d be knocking down the church doors to get to Jesus; no matter who else was on the other side.

    P.S. Here is the whole entry: http://www.belenjesuit.org/page.aspx?pid=1505

  46. Brooklyn says:

    I made the mistake once of taking a “pastoral” class, in which I was told such things by a priest that cases like Terry Schiavo are gray areas, that before Vatican II, the Church wanted us all to just pay and pray and nothing else, wasn’t it terrible when only boys were allowed to serve, and one of the worst was when the class was asked what their favorite part of the Mass is. The majority raised their hand to “the sign of peace.” And of course, most love saying the Our Father with everyone holding hands. One person said it is a practice in her church to make sure everyone is holding hands throughout the Church.

    “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”. When the focus of the Mass is taken off of Christ, we lose our sight of Christ. BobP, I couldn’t agree with you more. One priest, who was ordained in 1969 and experienced all of it as a priest, told me that priests deliberately tried to protestantize their churches. They wanted to get rid of the crucifixes and make their churches as much like Protestant churches as they could. That was the reason for taking out the altar rails, smashing the high altars and the statues, turning the altar around, etc. One person here wonders what is wrong with that.

    Protestants don’t have the Eucharist. And my fear is that many Catholic churches don’t have any idea of the Real Presence, either.

  47. Centristian says:

    “When the focus of the Mass is taken off of Christ, we lose our sight of Christ.”

    Actually, the liturgical focus of the Mass is on the Father…but I quibble.

  48. Brooklyn says:

    Centristian – what in the world do you mean “Actually, the liturgical focus of the Mass is on the Father…but I quibble.”

    Huh??? The Mass is the re-presentation of Calvary. The priest is “in persona Christi.” The priest is really nothing more than a conduit. A priest can even be in a state of mortal sin and still be able to validly celebrate the Mass. The Mass is completely about Christ. The fact that so many of our churches seem to have forgotten this fact is what is causing all of the problems.

    What are you talking about?

  49. Centristian says:

    Brooklyn:

    In the words of Steven Tyler, “if I agreed with you, we would both be wrong.”

    I’ll tell you what: go to Mass this Sunday and actually pray it, along with the celebrant, who is acting in persona Christi, and afterwards tell me to Whom it was that both you and he were directing all the prayers of the Mass.

  50. rinkevichjm says:

    The liturgy is the peoples’ work. According to one dictionary it is derived “via Medieval Latin, from Greek leitourgia, from leitourgos minister, from leit- people + ergon work”. Foyle letter basically showed that even before the Pauline Mass, the Mass was attended by people who weren’t ready and able to do their work. You’re supposed to arrive at Mass ready to participate in the peoples’ work — not to do individual prayer and reflection. May be parishes should begin by holding set up before the Liturgy: baking the Eucharistic bread, saying the Office, praying the Rosary… I’ve heard that the Eastern Orthodox have long services because they do stuff like that before and after them….

  51. Brooklyn says:

    Centristian – Are you disagreeing with me just to disagree? Your second statement does not back up your first statement at all. Of course my prayers are directed to Christ. They certainly aren’t directed toward the priest. Christ is the focus of the Mass.

    I still don’t know what you’re talking about.

  52. wolfeken says:

    Father Basil wrote: “And SSPX says that attendance has even fallen off for them and the Extraordinary form in general, too.”

    I highly doubt those attached to the TLM have stopped going to the TLM — they are simply going to newly established TLMs elsewhere. The SSPX has no way of counting diocesan parishes.

    For instance, in the Diocese of Arlington, the only option for a TLM five years ago was a chapel that operated independently of the Diocese of Arlington (validly ordained priest from Baltimore who uses SSPX bishops for sacraments and sacramentals). Now there are 14 (!!!) churches in the Diocese of Arlington that offer the TLM (yes, 20 percent of the Diocese’s parishes) in addition to the independent chapel. Not bad for a diocese where the bishop “banned” the TLM just five years ago (and has stayed away from the TLM ever since).

    So I wouldn’t jump to conclusions on any falling attendance at TLMs. It has been like donating blood. You lose a little at first, but it multiplies in replenishment.

  53. Brooklyn says:

    wolfeken – I think you’re right. I’ve known people who have attended Mass with SSPX just because they were so starved for the TLM and couldn’t get it anywhere else. Now that the Holy Father has made it available, they are no long attending with the SSPX.

  54. Centristian says:

    [Brooklyn says:
    4 March 2011 at 12:39 pm]

    “Centristian – Are you disagreeing with me just to disagree? Your second statement does not back up your first statement at all. Of course my prayers are directed to Christ. They certainly aren’t directed toward the priest. Christ is the focus of the Mass.

    I still don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    Brooklyn:

    I shouldn’t have gotten into it with you but–and this will be the end of my remarks on this thread–you mentioned something about the Mass being focused on Christ. I, in rather catty fashion, admittedly, corrected you by reminding you that the litugical focus of the Mass is on the Father, not on Jesus Christ.

    As you correctly say, the celebrant of the Mass acts in persona Christi. Christ, with whom we are united, prays to the Father. The whole of the Mass is, indeed, Christ’s great, eternal prayer to the Father. The priest, representing Jesus Christ, directs all of his orations to the Father. Together with him, we unite ourselves with Christ to address the Father. All liturgical prayer is focused on the Father.

    Go to your Missal and read it. You’ll see that the prayers of the Mass are, indeed, directed to the Father, and not to the Son. Because it is the Son who is leading the prayer at Mass–joining our prayers to His prayer–His prayer to the Father.

  55. Brooklyn says:

    Centristian – Yes, you are correct, we pray to the Father, as we offer the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the Father. So to say the focus is not on Jesus Christ is not correct.

    I have read my missal many times – in fact, I read it every time I go to Mass, which is pretty much every day. I also pray with the priest every time I go to Mass. I know the prayers for both the EF and the OF.

    I agree – y0u were being catty, and it seems to me, purposely unclear. You are also getting perilously clear to personal insults.

  56. Folks: If I have to get involved here as a referee, the thing that works best for my allotment of time is simply to lock people out. FWIW.

  57. Brooklyn says:

    I apologize, Father. I think it’s best if Centristian and I just don’t respond to each other anymore.

  58. Rich says:

    I bet the National Catholic Fishwrap got a few votes when people didn’t place their cursor well enough over the National Catholic Register before clicking on it to vote.

  59. old_sage says:

    We had ONE EF Mass in our parish last year :( Our pastor knows people would come to Masses but for whatever reason they’re not happening.
    There’s an SSPX church within half an hour’s drive, so I’ll start going there on Sundays instead.

  60. benedictgal says:

    I was at Mass this afternoon and was nearly reduced to tears. The music was really bad (Spirit and Song stuff from OCP). We were told that we had to sing. What hurts is that my parochial vicar pretty much betrayed me when I tried to make my point about using Mass settings that are faithful to the official texts of the Roman Missal. He accused me of not being sensitive to the parish.

    The sad thing is that this problem persists all throughout my diocese. There is not one parish that follows the GIRM as it should. When people have brought things up to to the bishop, he tells them that he is too busy to meet with them.

    It is a struggle for me to attend Mass week after week.