A study in contrasts, or why we need Summorum Pontificum and the Corrected Translation

Compare and contrast.

And…

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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98 Responses to A study in contrasts, or why we need Summorum Pontificum and the Corrected Translation

  1. michelelyl says:

    Fr. Z,
    maybe, just maybe, if you went to Religious Education Congress once you would understand how much that the overwhelming majority of the speakers and attendees are faithful to the Roman Catholic Church and follow its precepts, dogmas, and teachings faithfully. Did anyone ever send you a photography of the lines of 50 booths of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with lines as long as an hour long from RE Congress every single day every single hour the Congress is open? Or the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel PACKED with people, on their knees, praying round the clock when the Eucharist is present? I have attended the RE Congress every year since I was 16 years old and I am a faithful and traditional Catholic. And I am 52 years old. And I am a Pastoral Associate and a Director of Faith Formation.
    Maybe it’s time you gave it a chance and didn’t ONLY focus on the ‘liturgical dance’ at one liturgy where a Bishop is the main celebrant.
    I’m not a ‘liberal’. I’m not a ‘dissident’. No, I’m not a ‘womanpriest’. No I’m not a ‘former nun’. I am faithful to the Church, and her teachings. I am faithful to the Holy Father.
    I’m a cradle Catholic who has stayed with the Roman Catholic Church my entire life.
    I have read your blog for quite a long time- many years.
    But I am very tired of your constant criticism of the Religious Education Congress. My experience of Congress as a faithful, traditional Roman Catholic has been positive, uplifting, prayerful, and good since 1975. And no, I’m not in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles…I am currently in the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. I live and worked most of my life in the Diocese of Orange, CA.
    You probably won’t publish my comments, but I hope you do.

  2. becket1 says:

    michelelyl,
    maybe, just maybe if the Religious Education Congress would promote Summorum Pontificum, and reverent liturgies like the Anglican Use. And actually would stop putting on and promoting Charismatic Masses and preaching, like the Evangelical Protestants do, than maybe it would be worth going to. SAY the BLACK DO the RED. GIVE UP the DANCE!. We don’t worship at Stone Henge.

  3. tzard says:

    compare and contrast:
    Photo 1:
    People with few material needs
    Hollywood glitz all around. Artificial flooring, Can lighting.
    “look at me”
    Women participating front and center – to send a message (believe me).
    Women dressed in questionable modesty.
    No discernible sanctuary, even though there are no dividing lines.
    Scattered focus (central altar, stage, wandering minister, twirling dancers)

    Picture 2:
    Poor, or at least simple people
    Rustic chapel with ornate altar. Natural wood floors.
    Everyone (including the priest) focusing one direction.
    Statue of the Blessed Mother (Madonna and Child?) at altar.
    Modestly dressed women with head-coverings.
    Discernible sanctuary, even though there is no dividing line.
    Focus towards the altar.

  4. asperges says:

    “Lex orandi, lex credendi” is something I still firmly believe in, but I have to admit that with the liturgical vacuum of the last 30 years, there are priests who have blindly followed whatever ghastly trend has come along whilst maintaining a reasonably orthodox faith. Similarly there are many priests of like mind who are utterly ignorant of any liturgical norms either because they were taught nothing at seminary or because they do not see liturgy as important.

    The struggle that the Holy Father is trying to pursue is to correct these trends. A liturgy which ran almost on train lines as in the older rites, one did not need to worry about: it took care of itself. The modern stuff has often proved like a train with no rails or at best stuck in a very neglected siding.

    Unfortunately all this self-expression is by nature inconsistent and unreliable. The simple people in the (Dutch?) chapel above knew they had an unchanging, certain and utterly reliable faith (hardly the case in Holland these days); but what are we to make of the third-rate ballet below? Looks like a scene from “Hair!” (showing my age…), and probably stems from the same age (of Aquarius). Its day is gone.

  5. Sieber says:

    A famous city was not built in a day. One of Archbishop Gomez’ first “events” was a luncheon with the faculty of St. John’s Seminary. Several key faculty members have “resigned.” We know that catechetics remains a top priority for his excellency, as does the liturgy. Let us exercise the virtue of patience over the next year. Surely next year’s congress will then be a measure of his progress.

  6. Seriously, can anyone tell me the history of the “incense bowl”? I first saw one at a “Lifeteen Mass” I once attended by accident about 15 years ago. Beyond the fact they are impractical (in fact, seem somewhat dangerous), they are ugly. Whose idea was it? When did they start being used in Catholic liturgies? Is it just a way of using incense without looking “Pre-Vatican II”? I really am intrigued by the thing!

  7. Jack007 says:

    Michele, I have only one simple question?
    Do you prefer grape or raspberry Kool-Aid?

    Seriously, do you think for one moment that all the “positive” experiences you cite even begin to excuse a gathering that shouldn’t even be taking place?
    Sorry. There should be ZERO “pastoral associates” and ZERO “directors of Faith formation”. Again, sorry. These are quasi Protestant and borderline pagan titles cooked up since the Council, all geared into making the laity feel “involved”. Pagan in the sense that they are sublime attempts to subvert the nature of the priesthood, as founded by our Lord Jesus Christ.

    You want Faith formation? Open a catechism. Promote ad orientem worship and kneeling for Communion at every prudent opportunity. One experience like these will form more faith in a person than a hundred conferences all put together. Trust me on that. I’ve seen it happen.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m 100 per cent certain, given your post, that you are well intentioned. You are just misguided. Hence your feeling of being slighted by Father Z’s post. It should be a wake up call! I will say a quick prayer that you will get over being offended quickly, and at least simply consider all of this criticism. There is no malice on my part; just some 30+ years of frustration.

    My fervent prayer is that these lay positions and “education congresses” will someday be unhappy footnotes in the history of the Church.

    That all being said, I will offer a mild criticism of Fr. Z’s choice. Personally I think a contrasting picture might have been a bit more recent? The pic, while absolutely charming and edifying, does tend to give the impression that SP and the new translations might be stepping into the 19th century, or earlier. I assume that its a vintage scene? Perhaps a shot of a Juventutem Mass, or another view of the Harvard Univ. Mass….I’m just saying…our critics LOVE to accuse us of being stuck in ancient history. A shot of some young people full of faith and enthusiasm at a TLM or OF ad orientem Mass…just sayin’…

    Now, where DO you get those charming pics you post Father? You come up with some good ones. Must have quite a library of vintage books would be my guess? :-)

    Jack in KC

  8. Legisperitus says:

    What does that say on the screen… “Slip into Freedom”??

  9. Legisperitus says:

    Or maybe “Step into Freedom”? I guess it was the vestments that made me think of “slip into something more comfortable.”

  10. Kerry says:

    Father c’mon…you’re teasing us. That’s Lost Vegas isn’t it?

  11. Glen M says:

    Michele, one of the problems is this event is very public. Non-Catholics see this liturgy and wonder if we are pagans. Non-thinking Catholics see this liturgy and assume is another yet new and approved way of saying Mass. Many Catholics I have chatted with are fierce defenders of liturgical dance and don’t care the Church forbids it. An attitude of defiance in regards to the liturgy most likely doesn’t end there. Also, I’m not sure what orthodox speakers you are referring to. Can you provide some examples (other than Fr. Barron (courageous priest))? The speakers list is ususally a shopping cart of dissent.

  12. thickmick says:

    Yeah, where is this taking place?

    michelelyl…its not about you, its about God. Try thinking like this. I do and it helps me with my pridefulness (is that a word?). Be the tax collector in the back of the church, my brother, not the dude out front.

    God Bless Father Z and the Holy Father…Hail Mary etc…

  13. Grabski says:

    A picture does paint a 1,000 words…

  14. Ike from Sweden says:

    I’m not sure I want to know, but here goes… Father, were do you find pictures like that first one above? *shudder*
    Take care & God bless

  15. Jack007 – A little charity goes a long way.

    There should be … ZERO “directors of Faith formation”. … These are quasi Protestant and borderline pagan titles cooked up since the Council, all geared into making the laity feel “involved”. Pagan in the sense that they are sublime attempts to subvert the nature of the priesthood, as founded by our Lord Jesus Christ. You want Faith formation? Open a catechism.

    How do “directors of faith formation” or “directors of religious education” subvert the ordained priesthood? What makes you think every DFF or DRE shuns and avoids the Catechism? And what are we do about things that aren’t in the Catechism, such as the Order of Mass? If we only use the Catechism for our liturgical catechesis, we’ll be missing out on some things. And virtually every catechism I’ve seen uses the Apostles’ Creed, not the Nicene Creed, and so we’re left wondering what some of the expressions in the latter mean.

  16. Faith says:

    There is just no comparison. It’s like comparing a sunny beach to a alpine village during a blizzard. They’re too different. Although, to be fair, maybe the pictures should be performing the same duties. Both pictures should be of the priest washing his hands, or both a processional — or bringing up the gifts, or whatever it is they’re doing.

  17. TNCath says:

    The purple (violet?) sash on the woman carrying the incense says it all. After all, is IS Lent!

  18. anilwang says:

    michelelyl,

    Please watch this for a culturally nuanced answer to liturgical dance:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rJFdmmqj_s

    As for the Religious Education Congress, all I can say is drinking milk is good…it’s full of calcium and vitamins. But if you mix milk with a bit of poison, the milk is bad. It doesn’t matter even if you’ve enhanced the milk, it’s still bad.

    A mass is about the sacrifice Christ. Please watch “The Passion of Christ” and try to splice in those liturgical dances anywhere on the Stations of the Cross. You can’t without making a mockery of it and our faith. Either take the mass out of the Religious Education Congress or take the mockery out of the mass. They do not mix. Anyone who thinks that they do mix, needs to be prayed for and educated because they really do not know the faith at all, no matter what they think.

  19. Random Friar says:

    Just a guess, but I would translate the text on the screen as “A step [forward] to freedom.”

  20. Nathan says:

    Michelelyl, thank you–it is good to know that the LA Religious Education Conference has widespread Confession availablilty and well-attended Adoration. That helps!

    I think the main point of your criticism of a lot of our distaste for the conference is that we are making a straw man out of it and focusing only on the dissenting elements. I know about it only in its influence reaching the east coast and in what I have seen in its advertising materials and in the commentary that gets posted about it on the more traditional sites.

    I would maintain that, good elements about it nonwithstanding, the overall influence of the conference is largely toward dissent and liturgical chaos. Why?
    –It openly keynotes speakers who are known dissenters from the faith.
    –In the large arena Masses, it openly advocates liturgical abuse and highlights just about every licit yet ill-advised liturgical practice in the book.
    –It highlights the big liturgical publishers and their agenda.

    In that sense, it is no straw man. I have talked to priests who have come back from the LA Religious Education Conference, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t bring home the ideas of increasing Confession and Adoration. They focused instead on how they learned to be “creative” in how they say Mass. I’ve also seen litugical practice imitating the large arena Masses at this conference (and yes, it makes me crazy to see the Altar positioned 5 feet below the level of the celebrant, as in the picture above).

    Don’t you think it would be much better if the Mass said by the Archbishop there looked more like what the Holy Father does, or (yes, I’m stretching reality here) a Pontifical High Mass?

    In Christ,

  21. digdigby says:

    anilwang-

    Enjoyed the video. Carindal Arinze is the one who said you don’t need to get a Bishop’s opinion about a politician who supports abortion getting communion – you can ask a 7 year old studying the catchism. I think this video from Zambia shows exactly what he means about dance and the Mass in Africa. These are poor people and note how immaculately they are dressed, all the spotless white, the boys in white shirts, black pants and ties, incensing of the altar, the REVERENT joy – whatever other faults one may find with it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWy-vsn67Bg&feature=related

  22. disco says:

    In this votive housewarming mass, the deaconess elevates the fondue, while the deacon presents the wallpaper samples…

  23. flyfree432 says:

    I often remind our parishioners that just because you believe something to be true, does not make it true. DRE’s, CYM’s, and DFF’s are not quasi-Protestant unless if the person filling the role tries to practice some sort of clericalism. If they are there to assist the priest and bishop properly, it is a perfectly legitimate function in the Church.

    Yes, ideally one day these roles will no longer be filled by laity. Yes, a lot of damage has been done by weird lay commissioning ceremonies. For now though more and more conservative and orthodox catechists are filling those roles, fostering vocations, teaching the faith, promoting the Latin Mass, and fostering a renewed respect for our priests and bishops. I would love to have so many priests and faithful nuns again that there is no need for me to be the DRE at my parish, but unfortunately that is unlikely to happen in my lifetime. Perhaps in 3 or 4 generations. The cult of weirdness hasn’t been able to reproduce themselves, but it takes time to purify the nonsense.

    Michelle, Father Z has not criticized any of those positive things you mentioned about the conference, such as Adoration or confession. But that does not mean it is not wrong to berate the awful, scandalous liturgy above.

  24. southern orders says:

    I was truly shocked to see the altar boy not wearing appropriate attire to serve the EF Mass!

  25. Gail F says:

    I am glad to hear from Michele that the whole conference is not like the ridiculous videos that I have seen posted. Of course I hope that most of the conference is wonderful! But I do think that any of it that is like the videos needs to be jettisoned ASAP. That kind of nuttiness casts a long, long shadow.

    I too would like to know the history of the incense bowl. We do incense bowls in our parish, I have no idea why. I agree, they do seem rather dangerous. But mostly they look ridiculous. My husband just rolls his eyes and says “here come the Roman priestesses!” They are almost always carried by women in our parish, although a couple of men do venture into bowl-wafting territory. Yes, they waft the incense around, they don’t just carry it. At least no one wears modern dance costumes. They all wear those dumpy polyester albs that look like potato sacks and make everyone look fat. For a church that used to be all about ceremonies, we seem to have forgotten how to do good one.

  26. wmeyer says:

    The reform of the reform cannot come soon enough! In my parish, the Easter Vigil begins with dance (thankfully) prior to Mass, and is round after round of applause, with each baptism and confirmation. Decorum is altogether lacking.It is the stuff of nightmares.

  27. NancyP says:

    I think it’s interesting that when I looked at the first photo, I immediately thought “L. A. Religious Education Congress,” even though it has been 32 years since I attended one.

  28. MissOH says:

    Michelelyl, I am certain there were other’s there that also were not dissenters and that strongly uphold church teaching. There are also many dissenters and those who are are operating on 1970′s “Spirit of Vatican II” ideas that, once you read the documents of Vatican II you realize were never thought of by the council. I heard one on EWTN radio last week and he was talking about some loving witnessing regarding church teaching he did with a woman dressed as a priest (and self identifying herself a Catholic womynpriest).

    The point of the picture is that , as others have pointed out, the focus is on the participants- the navel gazing me, me liturgy instead of the sacrifice of the mass. The incense pot (look at me, I am involved and “obviously” actively participating) . Even liturgical dance is not supposed to be a part of masses for those in the west as it was never a part of western worship. It is allowed for those cultures that always used dance as part of their worship, though some bishops from some of those cultures don’t want dancing or liturgical dancing.

  29. Legisperitus says:

    Why does modern liturgy always end up looking like an old Star Trek episode?

  30. Andy Milam says:

    @michelelyl, I know that you directed this at Fr. Z, but since he rarely responds in the comboxes and since others have taken it upon themselves to respond to you, I’ll wade into the deep waters and attempt the same….

    “maybe, just maybe, if you went to Religious Education Congress once you would understand how much that the overwhelming majority of the speakers and attendees are faithful to the Roman Catholic Church and follow its precepts, dogmas, and teachings faithfully.”
    –How so? You go on about the RE Congress, but you don’t give any facts about the speakers who are faithful to the Roman Catholic Church.” Can you give some examples of who they are and what their talks are about? I can read their bios and have, but I want your perpsective.

    “Did anyone ever send you a photography of the lines of 50 booths of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, with lines as long as an hour long from RE Congress every single day every single hour the Congress is open? Or the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel PACKED with people, on their knees, praying round the clock when the Eucharist is present?”
    –I’ve never seen photographs of the lines of penitents or of the Adoration chapels, either. I actually did a little hunting around the internet and found the website. There is nothing that speaks to Confession or Adoration. I’ve also looked at some of the photos and there is not one photograph of Confession, but there is an awful lot of liturgical dance. So, your own conference doesn’t seem to be promoting your view.

    [...]

    “Maybe it’s time you gave it a chance and didn’t ONLY focus on the ‘liturgical dance’ at one liturgy where a Bishop is the main celebrant.”
    –The reason that we don’t “give it a chance” is that we understand and recognize that the bishop (who has been given permission to celebrate the Mass by the Ordinary) is a principle teacher of both the faith AND the liturgy. So, when an abuse is committed and it is at the bishop’s Mass, it should be called out as being unacceptable. I can assure you that “liturgical dance” is an abuse.

    [...]

    But I am very tired of your constant criticism of the Religious Education Congress. My experience of Congress as a faithful, traditional Roman Catholic has been positive, uplifting, prayerful, and good since 1975. And no, I’m not in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles…I am currently in the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. I live and worked most of my life in the Diocese of Orange, CA.
    —Then don’t read his post on the RE Congress. There are some things on this blog that I don’t read. I’m not a gigantic fan of the birds, just so you know, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to run down the blog for it. I am, however, a great fan of the cooking posts, mainly because I’ve been privileged enough to break bread with him at meals where he has been the cook. His lamb is especially good, btw.

    You probably won’t publish my comments, but I hope you do.
    —Obviously he did. That should go to show you that on HIS BLOG, Fr. Z is incredibly charitable about the comboxes. He could very easily block a lot of the posts that go on in here, including some of my posts.

    My analysis is this. The RE Congress is not faithful. It is a hotbed of dissent and heterodoxy. I’ve gone through the list of people who are speaking and there are a couple, maybe 2 orthodox speakers for 2011 (Fr. Barron and John Allen, Jr.). The rest are suspect at best and out and out dissidents at worst. Interestingly enough, there is a United Church of Christ “liturgist” (which is a misnomer, because they are not a liturgical communion) speaking about the Catholic Liturgy in Marty Haugen (who I know, btw. I am a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and he was a frequent contributor to the Liturgical Choir there, of which I was a member, before I made the move to orthodoxy and tradition.). That speaks volumes. VOLUMES.

    While I applaud you for posting here, I think that you need to seriously evaluate what is faithful and traditional. I think that now the Archdiocese has a good chance of becoming more orthodox now that Roger Card. Mahoney is no longer Ordinary. I also think that changing the focus of this RE Congress would be a great first step for His Excellency to take, regardless of your view.

    Thanks for your time.

  31. Henry Edwards says:

    Nathan,

    An excellent reply (as usual). ”Don’t you think it would be much better if the Mass said by the Archbishop there looked more like what the Holy Father does …?”

    For instance, click here for a photo of the most recent papal Mass for the Octave of Christmas, and here for more photos of “what the Holy Father does”.

    Plainly, the liturgy at the annual Los Angeles RE Congress is a slap in the face and a poke in the eye of everything Pope Benedict is doing to restore sanity to the Roman rite.

  32. Andy Milam says:

    @southern orders,

    Two possiblities….

    1) It is an OF Mass. There are no altar cards that I can see.

    B) It is a painting by a liberal French impressionist, trying to make a statement about the participation of the laity.

    LOL!!!

  33. tealady24 says:

    God help us! Now this is why I cannot stand being in churches anymore with the “regular” mass. My husband and I attend a beautiful Tridentine mass every Sunday. The pious nature, and total focus on God is what I am there for to begin with; not to watch bell-ringers or prancing parishioners who want all the attention on themselves! Once while I was a lector, about 15 yrs ago, one of the other participants at that mass referred to it as “showtime”, and that’s exactly what it is to too many Catholics! This is total laity gone wild; I’m surprised they don’t have a reality show for this yet.

  34. SimonDodd says:

    Legisperitus says: “Why does modern liturgy always end up looking like an old Star Trek episode?” Trendy people who follow fashion never seem to grasp that what is in today will be dated tomorrow.

    Nathan says: “Don’t you think it would be much better if the Mass said by the Archbishop there looked more like what the Holy Father does, or (yes, I’m stretching reality here) a Pontifical High Mass?” Well, but that’s the problem. A lot of those folks don’t want it to look more like those things. Hard as it is to believe, they want it to look more like the first picture. Personally I think they’re nuts, but there’s a lot of them.

  35. Brooklyn says:

    I’ve been told that the further west you go in the US, the more liberal the Church becomes. I did a bit of googling on the Religious Education Congress, and I came up with this from 2005. Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania talked about the then proposed changes to the Mass, and his apprenhension of same. “Bishop Trautman expressed apprehension about the U.S. bishops’ upcoming June vote on the new sacramentary (containing the order of Mass) translation, which reflects a more traditional style closer to the original Latin. ”

    Trautman continued, “in the proposed translation of the sacramentary, we meet words and expressions that many would consider not in the speech of the mainstream assembly.” For example, he said, the proposed translation of the Nicene Creed uses the phrase, “consubstantial with the Father,” to replace the present wording, “one in being with the Father.” Also, “by the Holy Spirit, He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary” replaces “He was born of the Virgin Mary.”

    “Both words, ‘consubstantial’ and ‘incarnate,’” said Trautman, “are not readily intelligible to the vast majority of those in the assembly.”

    Commenting on a proposed change to the first Eucharistic Prayer (the “Roman Canon”) — “grant them, O Lord, we pray, and all who sleep in Christ, a place of refreshment, light, and peace,” Trautman drew audience laughter when he quipped, “the phrase, ‘a place of refreshment,’ is a literal translation that conveys the image of a heavenly spa or tap room at the heavenly hotel.”

    Trautman addressed another proposed change to the first Eucharistic Prayer — from “cup” to “precious chalice.” Said Trautman: “‘precious chalice’ — when I hear those words, I think of a gold vessel with diamonds on it. Did Jesus, at the Last Supper, use a precious chalice or a cup? The gospels clearly say ‘cup,’ but even in the lectionary from Rome we have the word ‘chalice’ imposed on the inspired text to carry out this ‘sacred language.’”

    Alluding apparently to defecation, the bishop garnered more audience guffaws when he recited the following proposed translation for Eucharistic Prayer II: “make holy these gifts, we pray, by the dew of your Spirit — D-E-W.”

    Susan Larker, 37, of Long Beach, who attended Trautman’s talk, said the bishop “doesn’t want to say that ‘Jesus took bread into His holy and venerable hands.’ He laughed at the Vatican wanting this translation and said that that the laity can’t relate to this sort of language.”

    http://www.losangelesmission.com/ed/articles/2006/0606as.htm

    Forgive me, Father, for this long excerpt. I know you discourage that, but I felt it was important to show what kind of talks are given at the RE Congress. Seems to go along with the picture you posted. Personally, it makes me a little sick to read these words, especially coming from a bishop.

  36. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Where else could you gather Marty Haugen, Dan Schutte and Michael Joncas in the same place? All three spoke at this year’s Congress. One could say that the participants experienced the Real Presence of this Tacky Trinity, while the rest of us in AmChurch have to settle for their musical presence every Sunday.

  37. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I do hope people are patient with Archbishop Gomez. Imagine coming in to replace the Castro brothers in Cuba with the Party apparatus still in place and loyal Fidelistas in all the positions. That is what His Excellency is up against. He will need time—and prayers.

  38. Jack007 says:

    Jack007 – A little charity goes a long way.

    Funny, the word charity gets thrown around a lot when someone speaks clearly and truthfully.

    Jeffrey, there is NOTHING in my post remotely uncharitable. Quite the opposite. Had I instead suggest burning at the stake (some of my fellow traddies I go to Mass with would be happy with nothing less) I could understand. :-)

    I am reminded of the debate regarding the “Fair” or “Flat” Tax. There is only one group that is always 100% against it; those that have a stake in the current system, mainly tax preparers, accountants etc.

    How about meeting me halfway, then? Instead of “Directors” of this or that…let’s try “Catechism Teacher”? Which, by the way, is what we have in my parish. A wonderful older and learned woman who opens the Catechism to page 1 and goes on from there. I wouldn’t worry about knowing both Creeds. Once someone really KNOWS the Catechism, the rest will follow. As far as the Order of the Mass, our ten year old altar boys could teach that. My whole point here is that while the modern Church has been busy creating positions for the laity, the average soul in the pew doesn’t know the most basic things. As my old FSSP pastor said after asking a local Catholic high school student a few questions (she was actually interviewing HIM for a class project), “I couldn’t even pass you if you were one of my First Communion candidates”. That’s sad.

    I would hope that the whole “not enough priests” issue, would be self evident. Have the Church get back to the True basics, and priests will follow.

    Meanwhile, in all charity, I wish you graces in your work amongst the souls.

    Jack in KC

  39. Centristian says:

    I’m not sure I entirely care for what either image represents, liturgically-speaking.

    The upper image is evidently of Mass at some conference in a convention center or something (I can’t say for sure, I’m only guessing), and in such a setting I don’t suppose I expect that the liturgical setting is going to be quite the same as it would be in church, of course.

    On the positive side, there is some semblance of liturgical solemnity visible in this image. There is an actual Gospel procession, and the Gospel (borne aloft) will be proclaimed by a deacon (accompanied by acolytes) from the Book of the Gospels. Excellent.

    I also like certain elements of the arrangement of the liturgical environment in this picture. I like the fact that the celebrant’s chair is placed a good procession’s length from the altar, elevated and dramatic. The ambo, though invisible, appears to be opposite the sedilia. It is probably also elevated and dramatic. Good.

    Replace the altar with something normal-looking (at least something rectangular), appoint it properly with six candles and an altar cross, maybe a nice antependium, celebrate the Mass correctly, get rid of the Vicky Lawrence look-alike in the Oleg Cassini knockoff carrying the piping hot bowl of oatmeal aloft, and suddenly it isn’t all that bad.

    Alas, that’s not what’s going on, here…and there’s the bowl of oatmeal.

    In the second image, I think what we see here is an image of a Low Mass in the Lady Chapel of some parish church (although the four lit candles baffle me, in that case, since this doesn’t appear to be a bishop…but who knows what the rules said in 1801, or whenever this painting was done).

    I was present for this sort of Mass on a daily basis, once upon a time, and what it amounted to, I’m afraid, was we worshippers in attendance reading from a personal Missal the text of the Mass of the day as fast as we could, just to keep up with the priest, who whispered the entire Mass. Except for the occasional “Dominus vobiscum” that would startle you and alert you to the fact that you weren’t keeping up and needed to read faster, Mass was all but completely inaudible.

    I think both pictures show how each form of the Mass can benefit from the example of the other. Just as the ordinary form of Mass can benefit from the piety and reverence that is always seen at the extraordinary form of Mass, so too can the extraordinary form of Mass benefit from the participation of the faithful that is usually found in the ordinary form of Mass.

    Just as the sort of Mass represented by the first picture could actually be made wonderful if the appointments, actors, vestments, and liturgical actions were faithful to the traditional expectations of the Roman Rite, those hushed Low Masses I once knelt through day after day would have been vastly improved had the priest been allowed to recite at least the Epistle, Gospel, and Last Gospel in English, facing the congregation.

    The Dialogue Mass, of course, was a tremendous improvement over the typical whispered Low Mass. It gave us both Latin and congregational participation, and Mass couldn’t be unduly rushed; the celebrant had to accomodate the congregation. One couldn’t just kneel there and fall asleep, or pray her rosary, or bury his face in a book. One actually had to join in the celebration of Mass with the priest and the rest of the congregation, as is the case with the ordinary form of Mass, today.

    Whereas the ordinary form of Mass, with it’s typical versus populum posture for the celebrant and its too-inclusive habits could often stand to be rather less “open”, the extraordinary form, on the other hand, with its typical (not inherent, perhaps) aversion to congregational participation or to allowing anything to be recited in the vernacular, could stand to be a little more “open”.

  40. rfox2 says:

    If it’s a choice between the emasculated garbage depicted in the L.A. photograph or the simplicity of true worship depicted in the painting (if only that were a contemporary photo!), and if we can’t achieve the latter rather than the former in our Masses, we may as well all renounce the Faith, become pagans, and die in some hedonistic blaze of glory.

  41. Andy Milam says:

    @Centristian,

    I have to disagree with you on a couple of accounts…..

    “I was present for this sort of Mass on a daily basis, once upon a time, and what it amounted to, I’m afraid, was we worshippers in attendance reading from a personal Missal the text of the Mass of the day as fast as we could, just to keep up with the priest, who whispered the entire Mass. Except for the occasional “Dominus vobiscum” that would startle you and alert you to the fact that you weren’t keeping up and needed to read faster, Mass was all but completely inaudible.”
    —You’re missing the point. Worship is the key. It shouldn’t matter how fast or how slowly the celebrant is going. And I daresay the “Dominus vobiscum” isn’t startling, but rather participatory. The fact that it is inaudible is a blessing. It allows for the worshipper to worship. It allows him to enter into a more authentic participatio actuosa. Rather than focusing on participatio activa. Which brings me to my second point.

    “The Dialogue Mass, of course, was a tremendous improvement over the typical whispered Low Mass. It gave us both Latin and congregational participation, and Mass couldn’t be unduly rushed; the celebrant had to accomodate the congregation. One couldn’t just kneel there and fall asleep, or pray her rosary, or bury his face in a book. One actually had to join in the celebration of Mass with the priest and the rest of the congregation, as is the case with the ordinary form of Mass, today.”
    —I completely disagree that the Dialogue Mass was an improvement. The Dialogue Mass was the start of the disintegration of worship in the Mass. The Dialogue Mass was the start of the paradigm shift from interior to exterior participation being viewed as more important. Congregational participation is never as important as personal, interior participation. For it is when we unite our souls to the altar; not simply our voices that we truly worship at Holy Mass.

    On another note, the idea of “hearing Mass” is an important distinction to be made too. When we abandon the hand missal (admittedly, something I have not done completely, yet) and simply hear Mass, then we can more properly accomplish participatio actuosa.

  42. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I have to come to Michelle’s defense here, not in her criticism of Fr. Z, who is right to criticize the liturgical craziness, but in her assertion that the Congress is a much more mixed bag of tricks than it is given credit for. Very little of the Congress has to do with the modern liturgy or dancing with bowls of incense or even the agenda to attack the Holy Father.

    I have attended the Religious Ed Congress the last two years, after hearing and reading ghastly reviews, and afterward I have to disagree that it is all a waste. Yes, there is a line-up of dissenters.

    But I also heard talks of bio-ethics, response to atheism, scripture exegesis, the issues of child and teen pedagogy, the encroachment of secularism in the Catholic family, and the need to recover/restore strong Catholic identity in couples and parents. These speakers were all graduate level educated, faithful to the Church, and extremely well prepared with their materials.

    And when it comes to competence, delivery, and knowledge of the material, I can be very critical with speakers of all theological leanings. Michelle is right. In the midst of “three days of darkness” jokes we should also realize that Los Angeles has outdone every Catholic diocese and puts on a gathering of speakers and catechists which has no equal on earth.

    Thousands of people go to confession with dozens of priests round the clock. Religious are running around in a variety of habits/cassocks. Adoration is well attended. And the exhibit booths give you an opportunity to purchase Catholic religious articles from across the country and the world–at times, items you would need to leave the country to purchase. To give you an idea, at no time in the exhibit booths alone, are there less than 3,000 to 5,000 browsing and looking at all the religious items for sale.

    It is easy for us to have righteous anger and be indignant. How dare they? Who do they think they are? Well, no one forces 40,000 to spend $60 a pop to attend a three day conference. No one drags these folks out of their house to convene for the largest Catholic catechetical event on earth and listen to almost 5 hours of workshops a day and expend the energy and stamina it takes to make it through the three days. Hand it to the L.A. archdiocese–they know how to bring out the crowds and keep them coming back, and it is not all froth and fluff. Crowds like that attending a religious gathering show up because they found something of substance.

    For logistics and the ability to pull something like this off, hook people and keep them coming back, it is a monumental success. But how can we take this and now mold and form it to better serve the Church? It needs to be made more traditional but without the “I am so bored I could cry” atmosphere that plagues some traditional gatherings. And that is Archbishop Gomez’ challenge. One thing is for sure. He himself referred to the gathering as “awesome.” It was overwhelming for him to see the potential he has to shape and form catechists through this venue.

  43. Brooklyn says:

    Fr. Sotelo – with all due respect, I think you should look at anilwang’s comment above: “As for the Religious Education Congress, all I can say is drinking milk is good…it’s full of calcium and vitamins. But if you mix milk with a bit of poison, the milk is bad. It doesn’t matter even if you’ve enhanced the milk, it’s still bad.”

    Also, take a look at my prior post about Bishop Trautman and his comments at one RE Congress. Confession, adoration – all these things are, of course, good. But if you also have events such as are pictured above, you are harming people, and it’s better not to have it at all. Just because there are a lot of people willing to shell out bucks to go to these things doesn’t prove anything. People shell out billions of bucks for a lot of garbage in this world (e.g., 99% of all movies).

    I’m very sorry that you find more traditional events in the church “boring.” I, for one, do not go to Mass or any other church event to be entertained, but to enter into union with my Creator.

  44. Henry Edwards says:

    Centristian,

    Your comment above suggests a fly-in-amber view of the extraordinary form that many have been applicable at some places in the past–though not in the parishes I experienced prior to Vatican II–but does not reflect the EF as celebrated in current parish settings.

    At both the daily EF low Mass and the Sunday EF high Mass available to me, the participation of the faithful exceeds that at any of the numerous OF Masses in my area. Virtually all present at an EF mass join in the responses (spoken at low Mass, sung at high Mass), as opposed to an apparent minority singing the hymns at an OF Mass. At EF high Mass, the congregation joins in singing the Gloria, Credo, and (especially) the Pater Noster.

    I never notice anyone praying the rosary instead of following in their hand missal or in the ubiquitous red missalettes and the propers leaflets that are available on Sundays. At daily EF Mass, I even get the impression that people are listening as the priest reads the Epistle and Gospel in English rather than Latin, whereas at the daily OF Mass which I attend more frequently, it often seems that there are a lot of 30-yard stares during the readings.

    Indeed, I sometimes wonder whether the typical bishop might need to attend the nearest EF Mass in his diocese in order to witness the actual participation that Popes Pius X, XI, XII urged and Vatican II endorsed.

  45. Jack007, I found your kool-aid reference to be uncharitable.

    I would be happy if we called (or COULD call!) people “catechists” or “catechism teachers”. It seems reasonable that one person (not necessarily the pastor, or even a cleric) would be the director of the catechists.

    I wouldn’t worry about knowing both Creeds. Once someone really KNOWS the Catechism, the rest will follow.

    Considering the Creed (Nicene-Const.) we pray at Mass is not the same Creed (Apostles’) used as the structure for catechisms, I think it’s very worth our while and important to know both Creeds. I had to hunt around the Church Fathers for an explanation of “Light from Light” (thanks, St. Hilary of Poitiers!).

    As far as the Order of the Mass, our ten year old altar boys could teach that.

    There’s more to the Order of Mass than the “order” — there is the scriptural and theological content behind our words, gestures, postures, and actions. Liturgical catechesis (which is where I try to excel) requires more than just a copy of the Catechism. I was pleased to find older catechisms (like the Douay) which actually do provide explanations for things like vestments and prayers.

    while the modern Church has been busy creating positions for the laity, the average soul in the pew doesn’t know the most basic things

    Fair enough. That’s what I’m trying to change.

  46. digdigby says:

    Dialogue mass… is so right for a CERTAIN kind of person but not for all . We farouche, tongue-tied, damaged sinners, prodigals and solitary oddballs who find ourselves at the foot of the crucified Christ, skittish, ready to run as we’ve run all our lives say, with Simon Peter, “Where would I go, Lord, for you have the words of life.”

    Maybe I don’t understand a lot, and I am mortified by the depth of understanding and subtlety I see on this site and that I lack BUT I try to remember what Brother Gilles (companion of St. Francis said). ” I would rather hold one point of faith in reverence, even without understanding it than speak learnedly of a hundred without reverence or piety.” REVERENCE is the diff.

  47. shane says:

    I disagree with Centristian’s comment concerning “congregational participation”. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people who “pray [their] rosary, or bury [their] face in a book” during the Holy Sacrifice. Pius XII states in Mediator Dei that “[the faithful] can adopt some other method which proves easier for certain people; for instance, they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them”.

    Furthermore what about the lay people who do not want (and they are legion) to “join in the celebration of Mass with the priest and the rest of the congregation”? While I have no problem with dialogue Mass being an option for those who want it, a silent Low Mass also has its many advantages (it’s highly conducive to meditation). People are all very different and can’t all be expected to participate in the liturgy in the same way. Consider this letter by JF Foyle discussing his experience of the transition to the vernacular (The Furrow, February, 1973):

    “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.”

  48. MichaelJ says:

    Centristan,
    Your comments serve to illustrate a vast difference that exists between many Catholics and you and I in particular. I in no way mean this as a criticism, but only to point out the obvious that the things important to you are not at all important to me. I am sure the converse is true as well.

    That the Priest in an EF Mass “whispers” inaudibly is a perfect example. It bothers you that you cannot hear what the Priest is saying, presumably because it hinders your ability to offer worship to God. I am just the opposite. I know that the Priest is not speaking to me so the fact that I cannot hear what he is saying does not bother me in the least. It is sufficient to know that he is offering prayers on my behalf and it helps me supress my prideful inclinations.

    Neither of us is “wrong”, in my opinion, just different. Perhaps, then, the eagerness to unify the two forms of the Mass is not as prudent as it appears at first.

  49. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Fr._ Sotelo says:

    “Hand it to the L.A. archdiocese–they know how to bring out the crowds and keep them coming back, and it is not all froth and fluff. Crowds like that attending a religious gathering show up because they found something of substance.”

    “…found something of substance.”

    Okay, how has the “substance” found at the LAREC translated into vocations for that diocese? I ask this will all charity and respect for your office, Fr. Sotelo.

    You say, “Yes, there is a line-up of dissenters” – dear Lord in Heaven, how can this offer any kind of “substance” to the 40-50,000 people who may not even begin to be able to give you a Catholic definition of the virtues of faith, hope and charity?

    You may be able to sift through the acknowledged “dissenters” talks as compared to the other speakers whom you say “were all graduate level educated, faithful to the Church, and extremely well prepared with their materials.” (and bully for those speakers who are loyal to the Church)

    But you, dear father, have been well educated enough to be able to know when a dissenter is actually dissenting from Mother Church – in their talks – as compared to the acknowledged speakers who are loyal to Mother Church.

    I have to agree with anilwang when they say, “drinking milk is good…it’s full of calcium and vitamins. But if you mix milk with a bit of poison, the milk is bad. It doesn’t matter even if you’ve enhanced the milk, it’s still bad. ”

    Spot on, anilwang!

    I encourage those reading this thread to read this article by Donna Steichen on the LAREC:

    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=7717&repos=1&subrepos=0&searchid=734971

  50. amenamen says:

    (@ Fr Sotelo “Los Angeles has outdone every Catholic diocese and puts on a gathering of speakers and catechists which has no equal on earth … Los Angeles has outdone every Catholic diocese and puts on a gathering of speakers and catechists which has no equal on earth”)

    It is sad, but true, that no other diocese has been able to “put on a gathering” of this size and complexity. As an organizational accomplishment, a conference of thousands, or tens of thousands of people, it is very impressive. It must be a logistical nightmare. Who else has even tried such a thing? The expense, the effort, the planning, and the sheer size of it all are too much to handle. Not to mention the horrifying problem, the obvious problem, the pervasive problem, of screening the speakers for orthodoxy.

    The question of “how” Los Angeles is able to pull it off, however, points to a big part of the problem. Where does one find so many competent speakers, “graduate level educated, faithful to the Church, and extremely well prepared”?

    Speakers who are “graduate level educated” have to be educated at … graduate schools. How many such graduate schools (Catholic or otherwise) are completely orthodox, and “faithful to the Church”? This is precisely the problem. There are hundreds of Catholic colleges in this country. But how many are completely trustworthy? If another diocese wanted to “put on” an annual confernce for 40,000 people, where would they find so many speakers? Would they call up the theology departments at the ten biggest universities? Go ahead, try to name ten big universities in this country that have a faculty that is completely and unquestionably orthodox. Try to name even one.

    It is relatively easy to find speakers who are “graduate level educated.” It is much harder to organize a huge spectacle if you felt you had to limit all of your potential speakers to those who are faithful to the Magisterium in every respect. Not just most of them, but all of them.

    If you have to make a choice between a full roster or a much smaller conference, what do you do?

  51. Henry Edwards says:

    Shane,

    It’s amazing that Mr. Foyle was able to capture so vividly in 1973 what many of who were there then already felt intuitively. That the intense prayerful participation in Holy Mass, that had seemed to us to be the norm before Vatican II, had pretty much disappeared already from Catholic worship.

    And that degree of interior participation (for most) has never returned. Although I have a daily choice between OF and EF Mass, I more frequently attend the OF Mass. At which I have to (and do) work very hard to participate in the prayerful way that’s de rigueur at an EF Mass.

    I don’t spend a lot of time at Mass observing other people, but when I do glance around, there’s precious little appearance any prayer taking place. Indeed, the constant noise and being “talked at” surely makes it really difficult for people not having exceptional powers of concentration.

    Although I favor Pius X’s praying the Mass itself along with the priest, and seldom see anyone praying the Rosary behind a pillar at Mass, I recall Cardinal Ratzinger writing somewhere that we ought not be too quick to feel superior to that “little old woman with her Rosary” who may well be participating more meaningfully than we ourselves.

  52. patrick_f says:

    Top Picture – Directed at God

    Bottom – LOOK AT US!!!!

    I say look at us…because its NOT the central altar that does that…something can be said for altars in the middle of the church (and despite some traditionalists claims..is actually a very OLD concept)

    All you need to see is the …I guess its incense…maybe pot….who knows… That the …err….umm….what ever she is is carrying … it is not a thurible..in stead… she holds it high…aloft..so all can see how special she is – Had it been a proper thurible…swung low as to only make the incense spell pronounced…which is the proper way to incense in procession (I was an altar boy..I know these things)

    In contrast , the young server in the top picture..you barely notice him – he merely fulfills his job, and he moves on to the next item of his duty at the altar

  53. Centristian says:

    Henry Edwards:

    “Your comment above suggests a fly-in-amber view of the extraordinary form that many have been applicable at some places in the past–though not in the parishes I experienced prior to Vatican II–but does not reflect the EF as celebrated in current parish settings.”

    Well, okay, but my remarks really refer to Low Mass, specifically, and not to the extraordinary form of Mass, generally. My comment shouldn’t be seen as an indictment against the extraordinary form of Mass, at all, but rather as a criticism of the specific scenario represented by the picture that was actually presented.

    I praised the Dialogue Mass option for the extraordinary form, and I certainly have nothing but praise for sung and solemn Masses according to the extraordinary form, particularly if the congregation is encouraged to sing.

    If Low Mass is not typical of what is found in parishes that offer Mass according to the extraordinary form, excellent. Glad to hear it. I don’t believe that it should be typical. The Low Mass as I formerly experienced it should, in my own always humble opinion, be relegated to private Masses, and not used for public congregational worship. The Dialogue Mass or the Missa Cantata or the solemn forms of Mass should typify public worship according to the extraordinary form of Mass.

  54. Andy Milam says:

    @patrick_f;

    You have your pictures reversed, but I get what you’re saying….I will say this though, I’ve been in churches all over the world…I’ve also been in some very ancient churches, some that go well back into the first millineum, both in Israel and Italy, one in Egypt and several in Greece, but I can honestly tell you I’ve never seen an altar “in the center.” I’ve seen freestanding altars, but they have always been in a well defined sanctuary with the faithful in a well defined nave. The freestanding altars have either been skewed by an iconostasis or covered by a baldachin. It isn’t until the 20th century that I’ve noticed freestanding altars without a cover or without definitions of sanctuary and nave.

  55. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Brooklyn: I did not say I find traditional events boring. And, yes, I understand that the purpose of Mass is not to entertain. However, if people attend Catholic conferences, they are not going just for Mass and so entertainment at Mass is not the issue. The issue is nourishing their minds and hearts with the marks of a good Catholic apostolate–fervor, holy joy, enthusiasm, the desire to build up the unity and communion of the Church.

    So, if they are bored and do not return, you have to ask why. Poorly prepared talks? Incompetence with the material presented? Discussing topics of no practical relevance to the apostolate? A demeanor in the faces and voices of speakers which is dour, complaining, and cynical? Please understand that I said that some traditional events are plagued with boredom, not that I was bored with traditional events. There is a difference.

    And the analogy with milk and poison is a poor when when applied to the L.A. Congress. Poison kills immediately. However, attending the L.A. Congress is not going to kill you, no matter how much dissent is present. And even the dissent will not kill you spiritually if you have other sources of the truth to counteract the dissent, as most catechists do. Even liturgy with abuses in one weekend will not kill you spiritually, if you have other Masses to attend which are offered in the Catholic sense.

    Remember that Our Lord said that the heavenly Father permits the weeds to grow alongside the wheat. He permits dissent and bad liturgy to exist in the Church along with orthodoxy and true Masses. It makes no sense to say that if you are harming people, “it’s better not to have it at all.” Why don’t we just abolish parishes because there is dissent? Why don’t we abolish entire religious orders because some members are corrupt? In fact, when anything in the Church is broken, let’s not fix it, let’s just abolish it.

    It is easy to whine, to stomp our feet, to pout, and hold our breath till we turn blue, because of all the damage done by liberal catechetical Congresses. And we can pass time making fun and mocking their antics. But if we actually want to do something which is constructive and helpful to spread the cause of orthodoxy in the Church, why don’t we do something as radical as asking what is it that liberals at times do which is right and helpful? What if we try to take such a Congress and make it more Catholic for a ready-made audience of 40,000 people?

    I am not going to respond to criticisms of the L.A. Congress by defending it as it is in its present state. But I am not going to waste my time with solutions which are reactive instead of proactive. Catholic history is full of examples of cutting off our nose to spite our face. We don’t need to do that in this case if we would just be bold and have initiative to go back to the drawing board where this Congress is concerned. Because if I was an avowed enemy of the Catholic Faith living in the L.A. area, nothing would delight me more than to hear that inner turmoil in the Catholic fold caused them to do away with the largest Catholic gathering of catechists in the world.

  56. becket1 says:

    Here is a good understanding from an OCA Bishop in regards to Eastern Orthodox /Greek Catholic Divine Services. And their structure and meaning, and how it is far from Protestant style worship. Just watch the whole video, it gives us a good understanding of proper scriptural worship from a Greek perspective. Most of what is said, can apply also to the EF Mass in it’s meaning. And it clearly show how evangelical style mega services are meaningless.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjlfq

  57. Gail F says:

    Thank you, Centristian and Fr. Sotelo, for your posts. Thanks too, to Shane for posting that long and interesting reflection on the vernacular. It is nice to hear people expostulate on what they have experienced, especially when those experiences are different. It is so easy to read someone who agrees with what you think, or what your knee-jerk reaction is to something; it is harder but more rewarding to find out opinions and/or experiences that are different from yours, or different from what you expect. I have very much enjoyed this long thread and it has given me a lot of food for thought.

    Fr. Sotelo, I hear what you are saying! I love this: “…attending the L.A. Congress is not going to kill you, no matter how much dissent is present. And even the dissent will not kill you spiritually if you have other sources of the truth to counteract the dissent, as most catechists do. Even liturgy with abuses in one weekend will not kill you spiritually, if you have other Masses to attend which are offered in the Catholic sense.” Be not afraid, fix what’s broken, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater… AGAIN. Good messages for the Catholic Church!

  58. Brooklyn says:

    Shane – thank you so much for posting that letter from 1973. The succeeding four decades have only proven how true that letter is. Everyone is up in arms about how the changes in the liturgy are going to be accepted by the people later this year. I contend that most people won’t even notice! As stated in the letter: “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.” Many theologians and priests are getting upset about the changes because it is threatening their theology, but Joe Catholic will hardly notice.

    Fr. Sotelo – you and I profoundly disagree. The fact that we have found such glaring examples of dissident theology at this particular conference tells me that even though there may be some good things happening, there is enough bad to make it spiritually dangerous. The evil one’s best tactic is to give enough truth to draw us in, and then spike it with just enough lies to make it deadly. The picture posted by Father Z is from a Mass at this conference. Are we trying to tell all of these people that this is how Mass should be celebrated?

    Your statement: “It is easy to whine, to stomp our feet, to pout, and hold our breath till we turn blue, because of all the damage done by liberal catechetical Congresses. And we can pass time making fun and mocking their antics” is very sarcastic and critical of those of us who believe as Fr. Z has said so many times: “Save the Liturgy, Save the World.” We are not acting like spoiled little brats. Some may use humor to make their points, but the truth is that we love our Lord and
    Savior and we love the beautiful Mass which he has given us, and it cuts us to the core to see such horrible abuses as this. It is almost like crucifying Christ anew.

  59. JKnott says:

    Here is the video of the 2011 “event”.
    If you can stand it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL9tmkBS9K0&feature=player_embedded#at=62

  60. Henry Edwards says:

    Fr. Sotelo,

    I don’t know that over the WDTPRS years I’ve ever previously been unable to understand the view you were expressing.

    Many of us know of people who have had dissident, heterodox, and even seemingly heretical views of faith and liturgy validated by the LA RE Congresses. It seems to us that the cumulative effect on thousands of U.S. parish opinion leaders over the years has been a measurable force for dissent and even evil, one that very possibly has been a significant contributor to the multiple crises that now plague the Church in this country.

    Few of us know of any balancing good that has come from these events, and which would suffice for an argument that their net result has been good rather than bad for the Church, and hence to argue that they should be continued rather than terminated, absent a profound change in future congresses whose likelihood no one has suggested.

    It seems apparent that you do know of such beneficial results. You can perform a valuable service by telling us plainly and concisely what these are.

  61. benedetta says:

    I tend to agree with Fr. Sotelo on this one, so long as catechists can readily access the sources of truth as alternatives. This post was about the contrasts in the liturgy shown by the photos, not about the L.A. catechist congress. I think that a lot of people would agree, had they not known where these images were from, that the bowl of incense lady in leotard with the giant purple banner unfurled behind, is, a “theme to avoid”.
    Whether that liturgy sets the tone to catechists and others who attend the congress to embrace their inner liturgical dancer, is a different question. The poster who chided Fr. Z above to say that the congress includes time for confession, adoration, and other hopeful elements seems be asserting that this liturgy does not tell the whole story.
    When you look at the content of the congress it does indeed seem top-heavy with particular points of view, to the general exclusion of most else. If the aim is to include everyone and be a voice of the heterodox impulse, then, it would follow that the organizers should make available perhaps Mass in the Extraordinary Form, workshops on chant and formation of a schola, etc. Overall the failure to include everyone points to a pastoral failure to know and understand all points of view. A sort of closed mindedness that could ably be addressed by participation of all catechists and others involved in religious education who are interested in presenting the fulness of the faith. Perhaps it just did not occur to organizers that other points of view could be nicely represented because they do not know in their circle people who do not totally enjoy a liturgical dance presentation.
    I think we all would agree that catechesis could use some shoring up. Catechists have a difficult task and they deserve our support. If I might add another suggestion to the organizers and participants of the L.A. religious ed congress, might they include homeschoolers, their curricula and suggestions? Because they are also on the front lines of catechesis in the Church and can lend many worthwhile suggestions as to what works and often work in catechesis in parishes in addition to all that they do in their vocations in daily life.

  62. Andy Milam says:

    @Fr. Sotelo;

    “And the analogy with milk and poison is a poor when when applied to the L.A. Congress. Poison kills immediately. However, attending the L.A. Congress is not going to kill you, no matter how much dissent is present. And even the dissent will not kill you spiritually if you have other sources of the truth to counteract the dissent, as most catechists do. Even liturgy with abuses in one weekend will not kill you spiritually, if you have other Masses to attend which are offered in the Catholic sense.”
    —Poison does not always kill immediately. Have you not read ‘Arsenic and Old Lace?” Have you not seen someone die from overdrinking and cirrhosis of the liver. I patently disagree that the poison in the milk analogy doesn’t work. I can subsitute the achoholic analogy if you like. What is more disturbing though is that you admit the “lack of Catholicity” in the Masses, yet still advocate their attendance. “…if you have other Masses offered in a Catholic sense.” What are those Masses offered in, a UCC sense; since Marty Haugen is one of the presenters? Thank you no. I will will assist at a Catholic Mass which exudes Catholicity.

    “It is easy to whine, to stomp our feet, to pout, and hold our breath till we turn blue, because of all the damage done by liberal catechetical Congresses.”
    —No it’s not. It’s very difficult. But we do it, because we expect not only validity, but licitness. It is precisely this reason why I have abandoned the regular attendance at the OF, in favor of the EF. I am holding my breath and I am making a statement (which is not a very popular one, as I was an influential liturgical presence). But to fight heterodoxy, sometimes one needs to follow the example of St. Athanasius.

    “And we can pass time making fun and mocking their antics.”
    —Much less so than what those liberals you talk about are doing to the EF crowd.

    “But if we actually want to do something which is constructive and helpful to spread the cause of orthodoxy in the Church, why don’t we do something as radical as asking what is it that liberals at times do which is right and helpful?”
    —What exactly is that?

    “What if we try to take such a Congress and make it more Catholic for a ready-made audience of 40,000 people?”
    —If it’s put on by the Archdiocese of LA, shouldn’t it already be Catholic? Why should we need to make it “more” Catholic?

  63. benedetta says:

    Also should add that it seems that from what Fr. Sotelo is saying that where he is and perhaps on the west coast there are choices available to the laity such that if you have become worn out with the haugen etc you can find alternatives as to where to attend Mass. That in and of itself bespeaks of an authentically “liberal” tolerance which is not evident where I happen to be right now which is more of a situation where authentically liberal impulse, whatever commendable about Second Vatican, is simply no longer recognizable, no longer discoverable. That is a pity because the excellent impulse to be of service and to aid the poor is obscured by the strident, excessive moralizing which goes hand in hand with irreverent, self-satisfied liturgy. Here they seem to have missed the memo that it is possible to be orthodox, to be reverent and joyful in liturgy, and still serve the poor.
    At any rate some time ago I was able to attend a conference sponsored by that wonderful publication, Magnificat. The opportunities for prayer and the Masses were really very beautiful, though quite a large number of people attended and it was held in a large conference space. That is an example of a publication which does a tremendous work for the Church. Perhaps they were also an exhibitor at the L.A. congress?
    As to saying something nice about liberals, I’ll take a shot at it…I like very much that they admire Dorothy Day. I don’t have an opinion on sainthood, I could certainly go either way. But I always have been and continue to be edified by her voice. Also I like the writings and poetry of Thomas Merton. Both struggled to live out their faith in challenging times and both had to leave the comforts of their social strata to live out a new life in Christ, and in living out their vocations both had to take views and stances that were/are deemed unpopular by some. We can benefit still from the strength of their convictions.

  64. Andy Milam says:

    @Benedetta,

    “…That in and of itself bespeaks of an authentically “liberal” tolerance which is not evident where I happen to be right now which is more of a situation where authentically liberal impulse, whatever commendable about Second Vatican, is simply no longer recognizable, no longer discoverable. That is a pity because the excellent impulse to be of service and to aid the poor is obscured by the strident, excessive moralizing which goes hand in hand with irreverent, self-satisfied liturgy. Here they seem to have missed the memo that it is possible to be orthodox, to be reverent and joyful in liturgy, and still serve the poor.”
    —How does serving the poor have anything to do with the licit celebration of the Mass? The point of the Church is not to be an outlet of social justice to the poor. I know that is a news flash, especially in the days of the Alinsky-inspired CCHD. There certainly is a place for helping the poor, but it isn’t to be placed on the same level as a Sacrament or the Divine Liturgy. The point of the Church is to save souls, the souls of her members. If social justice is a tool to help, then it is one of many tools. However, the Mass is one of seven signs which bring about grace. That is a big difference. No amount of social justice will ever do that.

  65. benedetta says:

    Well, is it not true that for the Church, “love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel”?

  66. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Andy: I did not write that I advocate attendance at Masses where there are liturgical abuses. At least five different Congress Masses are offered at the convention center during Mass time, and so I would tell attendees to go to one of the other Masses which are normal Masses, or even leave the convention center and attend Mass at one of the ten parishes which are in close proximity. But the point holds that you do not have to cancel Congress because there have been liturgical abuses, or even consider your weekend there a waste because you attended one Mass with liturgical abuses.

    But I would offer you, Brooklyn, and others some advice about this discussion. In the same way that we get angry at Catholics who condemn the EF Mass without ever having even attended an EF Mass, I would ask: is it wise to condemn wholesale the L.A. Congress without having attending the entire conference?

    Because like the EF critics, you can end up speaking from your ignorance, not your knowledge that comes from experience of the Congress. Now, condemn a particular Mass, or a particular speaker, fine. But as far as what the L.A. Congress is in its entirety, that is a much broader experience to speak to, and by people who have actually been there.

    Henry: I could not speak to the cumulative effect of the L.A. Congress for the Church, whether that be good or bad. I could not even speak to its overall usefulness for the L.A. Archdiocese. My personal experience with attendees I have spoken to is that they have volunteered or been roped into some form of the apostolate, mostly catechetics, youth work, and parish outreach of some kind. They tend to get little training from their priests or parish staff. After a little while, they feel intimidated, inadequate, and in various ways burdened by the tasks assigned to them.

    So, they sign up for the Congress. A speaker informs them of the do’s and don’ts when you visit the incarcerated and the materials you can use for detention ministry. Another speaker goes into specific methods for teaching kindergarten or elementary grades. Another speaker presents ideas for getting the parents involved in the CCD program. Another speaker gives a talk on the gospel of St. Matthew. Another speaker teaches at a medical school and explains in detail what is done at fertility clinics and why it goes against Church teaching. Another speaker may talk about the aging process, and how to deal with seniors who have doubts in their faith because of depression. It goes on and on. Everything from conducting pre-baptism instruction in the parish to forming a bereavement committee in the parish to help at funerals. There are at least 20 conferences in each session, and there are 8 sessions if I recall. You sign up for whichever topic is related to your part of the apostolate.

    In the more theological talks, you run into the dissenters, but they are not always dissenting. For instance, a Jesuit who is a famous dissenter might just be explaining the history of the Catholic-Orthodox split and what still causes division between East and West, without taking any pop shots at the Pope.

    But the people I have met and spoken to usually don’t understand the finer points of theology. They just want to gain some knowledge for their apostolate so that they can return to the parish and teach, visit, reach out, with less intimidation and with more practical tips on how to do what they need to do in the parish, so that they can carry out the apostolate with renewed zeal and joy. In the meantime, they meet others, many others, make friends, form bonds, and in general feel emboldened about being Catholic and staying Catholic.

    Of course, there are also the liberal parish professionals. They are the “empowered laity” who are a headache. But these are the folks who would greatly benefit from an archbishop who utilizes the Congress as a vehicle for bringing in more orthodox speakers and changes the landscape of catechetics, brick by brick.

  67. MichaelJ says:

    Fr Sotelo
    You present the faithful with an untenable position. You admit that the LA Religious Conference – all sponsored by the Catholic Church – presents good and bad teachings. It has a lineup of both orthodox and heretical presenters. Your confidence that the faithful will be able to figure out the difference is admirable, but I wonder if you realize what this means. It means that the faithful must decide for themselves what is true and false. They can no longer rely on their Bishop to teach them truth and supress error. From now on, the faithful must judge everything presented to them by their Bishop to separate truth from lies.

    I wonder. Are we Catholics now expected to take this independent attitude all the way to Rome?

  68. Fr_Sotelo says:

    MichaelJ:

    I believe that some knowledge and practical tips on carrying out the lay apostolate is better than none. The Congress is of some help, in that the laity can at least come into contact with very excellent speakers and materials, and meet other good laity in California who network with them and tell them who to avoid. The option is to do away with it and leave them with nothing by way of training for the apostolate.

    You are right that by no means is this an ideal situation, in that some of the speakers must be discerned as far as their level of dissent goes. But is not that the situation across the country? Do not the laity everywhere have to often supplement their teachings and know-how from other sources outside the parish and diocese? It is not the reality of the L.A. Congress which presents laity with these dilemnas. It is the reality of the entire Catholic Church in today’s world.

  69. Dave N. says:

    I honestly don’t think that the new translation will have much of an effect on “picture A.” What COULD have an effect is reform or elimination of the LAREC by Abp. Gomez. Despite many rumors that something would definitely happen this year (and various assertions that the Abp. would never preside at such an affair) nothing so far.

  70. becket1 says:

    Here is a good understanding from an OCA Bishop in regards to Eastern Orthodox /Greek Catholic Divine Services. And their structure and meaning, and how it is far from Protestant style worship. Just watch the whole video, it gives us a good understanding of proper scriptural worship from a Greek perspective. Most of what is said, can apply also to the EF Mass in it’s meaning. And it clearly show how evangelical style mega services are meaningless.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjlfq4eYaWs (correct link)

  71. Andy Milam says:

    @Fr. Sotelo,

    You say that you don’t advocate attendance at Masses where there are liturgical abuses. I disagree. You said, “Even liturgy with abuses in one weekend will not kill you spiritually, if you have other Masses to attend which are offered in the Catholic sense.”

    That sure sounds to me like all you have to do is endure the abuses for one weekend. Then you can go back to the other Masses which are offered in a “Catholic sense,” whatever that means. There is no mention at all of finding other Masses at the LA Religious Conference, as you later state.

    You say that attendance at one of the Masses will not kill you spiritually. I absolutely disagree. It is precisely these abuses which undermine Faith. Precisely. It is through this undermining of the Faith which WILL kill a Catholic spiritually. For our spirituality first resides in the proper celebration of the Sacraments, then it radiates out from there. Hundreds of saints have said as much. From St. Paul, to St. Augustine, to St. Thomas Aquinas, to St. Robert Bellarmine, to St. Pius X, up to and including modern liturgical theologians, including the current Pontiff. When we undermine the Mass, we undermine the Church’s life; for the Mass is the Summit and Source of our Catholic lives.

    I refuse to relent on this point.

    You say, “But the point holds that you do not have to cancel Congress because there have been liturgical abuses, or even consider your weekend there a waste because you attended one Mass with liturgical abuses.

  72. Andy Milam says:

    Mea culpa, my touchpad is very sensitive.

    It is exactly this point that a Religious Ed Congress should be cancelled. If abuses toward the Church are being promoted at a Congress which is to teach the Faith, then it should be shut down and reworked. Reworked completely, so that it is in line with orthodox Catholic thought, 100%.

    Why should we acquiesce to heterodoxy at a Religious Ed Congress? That does not follow logically.

  73. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Andy: Let’s look at my words, “Even liturgy with abuses in one weekend will not kill you spiritually, if you have other Masses to attend which are offered in the Catholic sense.” I don’t see the word advocate in there, as if I am encouraging someone to attend such a Mass. That is your assumption and reading into the text.

    I am speaking of the situation where a person is at a L.A. Congress weekend and they want to attend Mass, and then walk into a Mass not knowing what is coming down the pike. That is what typically happens at conferences, regardless of what I might “advocate.” And yet if the Mass has unpleasant surprises, you do what you typically do at your average parish when there are unpleasant surprises. You endure it. You offer it up. Or at the L.A. Congress you can walk out and attend another Mass at the Congress or at a local parish. There is no need to jump to the conclusion that I am “advocating” this type of Mass.

    Since you do not mention which L.A. Congress you have attended, and therefore do not have an experience of actually having been there, I will just say that we have pretty much gone as far as we can go in this discussion.

  74. Andy Milam says:

    @Fr. Sotelo,

    I’ll speak to your last paragraph first. It’s true, I’ve not attended a LA Congress, but I don’t have to attend one to know that heterodoxy is something that should be avoided. It is like saying to a priest, “you can’t possibly understand marriage, because you’ve never been married.” I do have a vast amount of liturgical and theological understanding. I hold a BA in Theology and Catholic Studies and have 21 hours of a MA completed in Systematic Theology from an accredited seminary. I have the ability to discern appropriately, I can assure you. Not to mention (sorry if it seems as though I am name dropping, which I am to a degree to establish credibility) that I am a protege of Monsignor Schuler; I lived in the St. Agnes rectory for almost 3 years. So, I can tell you with all certianty, I will not be attending the LA Religious Ed Congress. I have other conferences that I would rather attend and do, albeit they are smaller and not as “prestigious.”

    You don’t have to actually use the word “advocate” to be implicit in it. So, I suppose that if you want to parse words, that is fine. I will relent. You didn’t actually say “advocate.” But you also didn’t say, “avoid.” So, in plain language and not playing the linguistic game any longer…which I find a little tedious….Do you advocate assisting at the Mass which is clearly illict, insofar as it includes actions which have been specifically deemed as inappropriate for Catholic worship?

    But that really isn’t the question now is it. The real question is complicit acceptance of heterodoxy. I’m certainly not saying that you are advocating that! But, I am wondering if the Archdiocese of LA is. They are inviting a whole host of dissenters and heterodoxy in to speak.

    So, on to your second paragraph. Do you REALLY think that someone who goes to the LA Congress is so oblivious to the atmosphere that they don’t know what is “coming down the pike?” I’ve never been to any Congress where the attendees are that oblivious. Come on, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that they have at least a small clue as to what is going on….

    As for what happens when there are “unpleasant surprises,” well, I won’t speak for the rest of Christendom, but I will tell you that I have been known to get up and leave. That’s right, I’ve walked out of an illict Mass. Before I knew better, I went to a “Mass” at St. Joan of Arc in MLPS, MN. About 3/4 way through the homily I stood up and walked out. I wasn’t going to listen to the deacon go on any longer about the merits of women being ordained. It has happened several times in my life, and that was advocated by my spiritual director at the time. And the word advocate is used. So, while that may not be the couth thing to do; while it may seem a little crass, I’m more inclined to keep the scandal from my soul than to simply “endure.” Illicitness can and often does bring scandal. The problem is that when scandal and illicitness become the norm, that is when the numbness of indifference sets in. I can’t stand by and let that happen. I may only be one voice, but one voice can start a revolution. Will I? I hope so.

  75. SusanfromCalifornia says:

    I have been attending and observing the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress for the past 16 years. This year I set out to specifically to speak with my new archbishop, Archbishop Gomez, about a issue that was troubling my heart. Thanks be to God , I was able to speak with him. On the Friday afternoon of the LAREC. I approached him after a radio interview he was doing. I bent down to kiss his ring and introduced myself and my young daughter to him. I said to him ” I came out here specifically to speak with you on something that has been troubling my heart.” He told me to proceed. I said ” I am toubled that you my new Archbishop ,would join forces with the organization La Raza.” “They are a racist,marxist, militant organization whose goals are to reconquest the western region of the United States.” The archbishop said “They were not that type of an organization.” I said,” No they are. I have done research on them.” ” I suggestyou do research yourself or have someone you trust do the research.” The Archbishop said ” I joined with them “, because the USCCB works with them on public policy. ” The Dream Act”. I said” It would be like if Cardinal George of Chicago worked with the KKK or some neo-Nazi group for a public policy issue.” “That as well would be very troubling. ” You and the USCCB must renounce working with La Raza.” Archbishop Gomez said” I will ponder and consider what you are telling me.” I said ” Thank you , for your time.” I bent down again to kiss his ring . I spoke respectfully but with a firm purpose in my heart towards Archbishop Gomez.
    The keynote speaker on the Saturday was Jack Jezreel of “Just Faith” ministries( a social justice organization with ties to Call to Action, women priestess movement,and Industrrial Areas Foundation a Saul Alinsky type organization). I had several heated conversations with representatives for this LAREC and with a man representing” Just Faith” ministries. These individuals were outspoken in their belief of the “seamless garment”,which they admitted justified their voting for Barack Obama. I also attended a workshop given by a priest who spoke on the” New language for the Mass comming this Advent”. The priest promoted women to be ordained and said that, “Pope John Paul II left it open for women to be ordained deacons.” I attended a Mass on Saturday evening, which had liturgical dance. The priest apologized to the women present for St. Joseph having a Solemnity. I took it he was calling the Church “sexist”for doing that. His entire homily was very bizzare. It had a politically left bent to it. I walked out when he finished his homily.
    On Sunday afternoon I attended Archbishop Gomez’s closing Mass. I was shocked that there was liturgical dancing. I was hoping for a change around.The entire weekend was pretty much a disapointment ,except for the few solid Catholic vendors like a Pro life booth, Ignatius Press, and Fr. Barron you tube ministry. I also saw a women dressed up as a priest ( a black suite with white colar) walking around the vendor area. Several priests spoke with her and didn’t seem surprise by what she was wearing. That was something I never witnessesd before. So I took a picture of her to show my husband.
    I was optomistically hoping for a 100% solid Catholic Religious Edcuation and Liturgical Congress, but I left very disheartned with what I experienced that entire weekend. My young son whose first time at the LAREC, told me during the Archbishop’s Closing Mass . “Mom they make Jesus look silly, I don’t like it here.” Needless to say I had a long conversation with him on the way home.

  76. Maria says:

    Comparisons:

    Ist – Ugh, gag, horribilis. Reminds me of, as someone else here says, a Startrek scene. Also makes me think of those happy clappy protty things I used to go to before I was Blessed with my Catholic Faith.

    2nd – I feel very comfortable with this and think that all through the ages, our Church would be comfortable with the quiet dignity, traditional respect and as someone else here says, the fact that the altar is the main point of focus.

  77. digdigby says:

    Andy Milam says: “The real question is complicit acceptance of heterodoxy. I’m certainly not saying that you are advocating that! ”
    That is EXACTLY what he is advocating and if our shepherds will not protect us we must protect ourselves. No apologies.

  78. Charivari Rob says:

    I think Michelelyl and Father Sotelo have made excellent points.

    One question: Can anyone tell me if the photo at the top actually from this year’s Conference, or some previous year? Thanks in advance.

  79. Henry Edwards says:

    C.R.: Can anyone tell me if the photo at the top actually from this year’s Conference, or some previous year?

    Here’s the video of the the corresponding LA Congress “liturgy” this year:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL9tmkBS9K0&feature=player_embedded#at=62

    Watch the first minute if you can stand it. Looks a bit worse to me.

  80. Henry Edwards says:

    Actually, after another minute it looks worse, and getting worser. Don’t know if I want to see a third minute.

  81. Andy Milam says:

    @ Benedetta;

    “Well, is it not true that for the Church, “love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel”?”

    In short, no. The Sacraments are key. While it is laudable for us to love those which you state, the Church would continue if that didn’t happen. If the Sacraments ceased, the Church would cease. What you list is a product of preaching the Gospel, not the Gospel itself.

    When we make the faithful the Sacrament, we undermine the Church. The faithful are not the Sacraments, they are the recepients of the Sacraments.

  82. Fr_Sotelo says:

    digdigby:

    “That is EXACTLY what he is advocating.” This is a discussion. It is not a contest for the Academy Award in Drama. If I were advocating complicit acceptance of heterodoxy, I would not bother calling for the reform and improvement of the L.A. Congress away from dissent and towards orthodoxy under the new archbishop.

    Of course, I’m assuming you read my posts and perhaps that is a leap. And not to push the obvious, but I have no control over the L.A. Congress and what goes on there. I have no control of Catholic events at all, except what goes on in my own parish. But what I can control is my attitude, my knee-jerking, and my leaping to conclusions about events I have not attending and know nothing about.

  83. benedetta says:

    Andy Milam, Well I’m not so convinced that one or the other is prioritized by the Church in the way that you state, and I’m not so sure that the Church would be able to continue with just the sacraments alone.

    I am reminded of Fr. Z’s Lentcazt of the past week, of St. Lawrence, and what he considered to be the “treasures of the Church.”

    I comprehend your interest in debate however I am in all honesty put off by your “alinsky” reference above. There are orthodox and traditional orders which hold the two facets together described in the quotation I supplied above. Just as the teaching of social justice with a disregard for the reverence of the sacraments is dubious, it is not clear that the Church could in fact stand on liturgical celebration alone, no matter how rooted in tradition or Church history.

  84. digdigby says:

    Father – I looked at the VIDEO. A gut reaction is not a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction. Are we to drain the cup of abominations before this ‘springtime’ is finally over? I find you are being actually very sensible, reasonable and fair ….which means, in 2011, that you are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  85. robtbrown says:

    Centristian says:

    The upper image is evidently of Mass at some conference in a convention center or something (I can’t say for sure, I’m only guessing), and in such a setting I don’t suppose I expect that the liturgical setting is going to be quite the same as it would be in church, of course.

    It wouldn’t be seen in a parish simply because most lack the time and resources for it. Instead of that show biz approach, another tactic is used: We’re treated to masses with the Sacrament of the Sick administered after the Gospel to anyone with so much as a headache without any mention of the true purpose of the Sacrment. This, IMHO, is an abuse of the Sacrament that leads to misunderstanding its essence.

    On the positive side, there is some semblance of liturgical solemnity visible in this image. There is an actual Gospel procession, and the Gospel (borne aloft) will be proclaimed

    I have major league theological objections to holding up the book. Revelation is not a book. Neither in the primary nor secondary sense is Revelation considered to be written.

    I do, however, agree with you about the public low mass. IMHO, the strength of mass acc to the 1962 Missal is the high mass and the private low mass. The public low mass was the weakness and was/is just a private mass that happened to be said in public. In the early 80′s I went to the SSPX chapel one Sunday in KC because no other Latin masses were ever available, not even a Novus Ordo. There was no choir–I did not hear one word of Latin at the mass. As far as I could tell, it could have been said in Swahili–there was no way for me to know otherwise.

    Dialogue masses are a good solution.

  86. Brooklyn says:

    Henry Edwards – thank you for posting that video. I got through about 45 seconds and I just couldn’t stand anymore, but it gives us a good idea of what this “Congress” is all about. SusanfromCalifornia’s post was also very helpful. Fr. Sotelo, I just don’t know how you as a priest can support something like this. You say that Catholics just need to be discerning. Would you send someone into a physical mine field? I’m assuming your answer is no, so why do you think it is okay to send someone into a spiritual minefield, where it isn’t their physical life that is in danger, but their eternal life is at stake? If you, as a priest, urge people to go to an event like this where you even admit there are theological abuses and even heresy being promoted, you will bear a great responsibility if that person is spiritually blown up.

  87. Fr_Sotelo says:

    From what I have heard, Archbishop Gomez understands Pope Benedict’s call to restore a strong Catholic identity and beautiful, reverent litury, and will work for this in his ministry as the Archbishop of Los Angeles. However, the Archdiocese is larger than the entire Catholic Church in Ireland. People need to cut him some slack. Weaker men would have a nervous breakdown trying to run that archdiocese for one month.

    Geographically, the L.A. archdiocese is larger than many states of the U.S., and if you left the Orange Country border at 9am you could not reach the northern part of the archdiocese until 3pm on a typical day of traffic. Unwieldy doesn’t begin to describe it. It is fascinating to meet catechists at the L.A. Congress from over 40-50 countries and from every continent, and to realize each of them is teaching within the Los Angeles archdiocese. People think L.A. means Mexicans. With ethnic challenges, think more United Nations, and Copts, Maronites, Byzantines, Syro-Malabars, Chaldeans, Armenians, and Melkites, and that is all within the Catholic fold.

    Gomez will get around to dealing with the L.A. Congress. There will eventually be staff changes at the Religious Ed office. Some day, I would love for someone like a Dr. Brown or Fr. Z to eventually be able to recommend a new lineup of solid but dynamic speakers from the cream of the crop of Catholic orthodoxy. I would love to see the Solemn High EF Mass offered as an option to the catechists. But I don’t expect this right away, and in fact I would be “non sui campos” to think this could happen right away. That doesn’t mean I can’t hope that eventually the good will come, as a wise priest said, brick by brick.

  88. What Fr_Sotelo said….

    The Pouring of the Precious Blood after the consecration will end in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I’m being patient, I have to tolerate it at the parish I currently attend. Brick by brick, sudden change would get the entire dicoese (almost) to rebel.

  89. Brooklyn says:

    Has anyone watched through the video posted by Henry Edwards? The “gifts” for the Eucharist are brought out with the bread in huge baskets and the wine in big glass kool aid pitchers. It is my understanding that it is a litugical abuse to use glass instead of chalices made of precious metals. The archbishop consecrates a huge piece of what looks like flat bread. I won’t even get into the “music” and the “liturgical dance.” If you can stand it, you can start watching the offertory and the consecration beginning at about 50 minutes into the video. I really had high hopes for Archbishop Gomez. This is not making me optimistic.

  90. Henry Edwards says:

    Susan: My young son whose first time at the LAREC, told me during the Archbishop’s Closing Mass . “Mom they make Jesus look silly, I don’t like it here.” Needless to say I had a long conversation with him on the way home.

    Truly…. ex ore infantium et lactantium perfecisti laudem! Actually, it sounds like your fine son doesn’t need “talking to” as much as many thousands of adults at the congress, including some of the bishops clapping and grinning inanely to the beat of the music.

  91. @Brooklyn, change can’t happen overnight, expect better next year

  92. At all the Masses I’ve been to with him, no Pouring of the Precious Blood after the consecration has occured

  93. John Nolan says:

    “Miasma di Satano” indeed. Every bishop participating in this neo-pagan rite should be excommunicated forthwith. No ifs, no buts. The people probably don’t know any better because they have had lousy pastors for years. How long, O Lord, how long?

  94. Brooklyn says:

    Joseph Therese – to quote the Beatles – “Can’t get no worse.”

  95. Midwest St. Michael says:

    +++Susan: My young son whose first time at the LAREC, told me during the Archbishop’s Closing Mass . “Mom they make Jesus look silly, I don’t like it here.” Needless to say I had a long conversation with him on the way home.+++

    Mr. Edwards is correct to point this out. I was wondering when somebody would pick up on Susan’s post. Well said, Susan!

    Susan effectively proves the point of those who are critical of the LAREC.

    A wise old priest once said to me – in regards of tolerating “bad” with the supposed “good”:

    “No doctrine is better than false doctrine.”

    True.

  96. I’m watching the 2011 LAREC video… can’t really tell it’s Lent at all!

  97. rfox2 says:

    @Andy Milam said: “How does serving the poor have anything to do with the licit celebration of the Mass? The point of the Church is not to be an outlet of social justice to the poor.”

    I’m glad someone else made this point. As Catholics, meaning the current Church militant, we have forgotten the end game. Every act of love, whether the corporal or the spiritual acts of mercy, should lead all involved to Jesus Christ. In order for our acts of love to be effective in this regard, we must have complete fidelity to Jesus Christ ourselves. To knowingly, and through sloth and laziness, depart from that fidelity is to destroy charity. The so-called “liturgy” in the photos and videos from L.A. does not exemplify fidelity to the Lord for many, many reasons. The Church persists on earth with the sole purpose of leading souls to Christ (no pun intended), and what was exemplified in L.A. is doing precisely the opposite by leading people to a false Christ.

    @Fr_Soleto: unfortunately any decent catechesis that went on at the L.A. conference was obliterated by the de facto pagan rituals of that Mass. I’m sure there were other infidelities as well, but that alone is enough poison to spoil the entire apple.