IRON LITURGY CAGEMATCH SHOWDOWN … and a question

Save The Liturgy Save The WorldI have been posting some liturgical compare and contrast pictures and videos lately.  Some readers have taken me to task for being unfair by posting images that are great when traditional, really nasty when liberal.

Fine.  Let’s try this again.

Yesterday we saw the “celebration” for the annual Los Angeles Education Conference.  This was the closing liturgy. I think most liturgical liberals would say that this is about as good as it gets for doing their sort of thing.

Let’s refresh your memory about opening minutes of last year‘s closing Mass, 2010.

And now, by way of contrast, here is the sample video of the opening minutes of last year‘s Pontifical TLM at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in 2010.  This was in honor of the anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI.   I think must of the traditionally-minded would say this is about as good as it gets for their sort of thing.

Let’s refresh your memory.

QUAERITUR:  If the organizers of this year’s Mass for Pope Benedict’s anniversary at the National Shrine had wanted do something like the Los Angeles liturgy instead of a Pontifical TLM, would they have encountered so many obstacles that they were forced to cancel the event?

You decide.

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74 Responses to IRON LITURGY CAGEMATCH SHOWDOWN … and a question

  1. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Is it known for certain how it was the Mass was cancelled or is there only speculation?

  2. Marcin says:

    Negative: I don’t think there would be such obstacles. But truth be said, I don’t know whether liberals even tried to honor the pontifical anniversary anyway, so the Shrine’s establishment may not have been challenged from that side and so my hypothesis tested.

  3. TNCath says:

    Yes, well, see, that’s different. I mean…You just can’t…It’s just that…Uh, well, you know…

    Of course, they wouldn’t have encountered any trouble whatsoever. Remember the Papal Mass at the stadium in Washington a few years back?

  4. Andy Milam says:

    Fr. Z, you ask, “If the organizers of this year’s Mass for Pope Benedict’s anniversary at the National Shrine had wanted do something like the Los Angeles liturgy instead of a Pontifical TLM, would they have encountered so many obstacles that they were forced to cancel the event?”

    No, I don’t believe they would have been. The bias is clear.

    In critique of the youtubes….the closing Mass was worse than the pictures. The Mass celebrating Pope Benedict should be the expectation going forward for all Masses in the USA, if not the world.

    Perhaps I’m biased, but I cannot understand the need for “improvization.” Where in the rubrics does it call for women to be moving in circles?

    A final thought, the Mass in the form as presented in video #1 has inspired how many saints? The Mass in the form presented in video #2 has inspired how many saints?

  5. Christo et Ecclesiae says:

    Oh my.

    Being involved in a lot of charismatic prayer, I always struggle with one key thing and that is sacred music… All the same, I adore the organ. Either way, this is not scared music, it’s silly music.

    Whatever, man. Either way, the first video is sickening. I get discouraged when I see the one-chained thuribles as opposed to the three-chained ones, people dancing like that with incense bowls actually brought about chest pain. I just pray that we can all remember how to be CATHOLIC.

    In other news, the New Translation shows great promise in my diocese! We already got our act together, things are going to get so much better!!!

  6. Denis says:

    One Mass is RC, the other PC; in one the focus is Christ, in the other, the cultural diversity and general wonderfulness of the volk. With a few exceptions, bishops embrace the latter, and suppress the former. Maybe it’s because the Traditional Latin Mass can’t be maniuplated to suit their modernist sensibilities. It has a tough, heresy-resistant exterior.

  7. Andy Milam says:

    One more aside in watching the top video…

    I notice that none of the faithful in the first few pews are coughing and gagging at the copious amounts of incense; 10 or twelve pots. However, whenever we use incense in my parish the coughing birds start before we start the entrance procession and don’t stop until the thurible is out of the church and emptied into the ground outside, and we only use one thurible….

    Hmmmmmm…………

  8. Scott W. says:

    “Some readers have taken me to task for being unfair by posting images that are great when traditional, really nasty when liberal.”

    Ok some readers, show us a bad traditional liturgy. Oh that’s right, you haven’t got any. The moon is made of green cheese until proven otherwise. :)

  9. Central Valley says:

    Both videos bring tears to the eye. One video brings tears of joy, the other tears of pain. Cappa Magna and Episcopal gloves, talk about eye candy. Great posting Fr. Z. Keep up the good work.

  10. Fr. Basil says:

    \\I get discouraged when I see the one-chained thuribles as opposed to the three-chained ones, people dancing like that with incense bowls actually brought about chest pain. \\

    Thuribles traditionally have FOUR chains, not three. And in mission work we used a ONE chain censer so it wouldn’t get tangled up in transit.

    However, the number of chains is a minor issue. As I looked at the opening video, I wondered, “Has the Latin Church forgotten how to use incense liturgically?”

    I don’t think the use of these ceramic bowls as subsidiary cencers is forbidden. The Russian Liturgicon calls for several of such vessels to be stoked and charged an hour before the Paschal Midnight Matins “to permeate the Church with a sweet smell.”

    **However, whenever we use incense in my parish the coughing birds start before we start the entrance procession**

    Could it be the brand of incense used? There is one called GLORIA that is designed to be non-choking and even hypo-allergenic. It comes in several formulations and is available from Christ the Savior Seminary in Johnstown, PA.

    ||Ok some readers, show us a bad traditional liturgy. Oh that’s right, you haven’t got any.||

    Bad traditional Liturgies. I’ve seen sloppy celebrations of the Extraordinary Form (as it’s now called) with my own eyes and more than once. I just don’t have any pictures of it.

    And I will also say, in fairness, that I have seen awful celebrations of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom where doubtful matter was even used.

  11. Hieronymus says:

    If you wanted to be completely uncontroversial in method, you could, were video footage available, pick N.O. parishes at random from across the US and the world, and compare them to the masses offered by traditional orders, again picked at random.

    The deep division would remain, and the choice for Catholicity would still be obvious.

    SAVE THE LITURGY, SAVE THE WORLD!!!

  12. “If the organizers of this year’s Mass for Pope Benedict’s anniversary at the National Shrine had wanted do something like the Los Angeles liturgy instead of a Pontifical TLM, would they have encountered so many obstacles that they were forced to cancel the event?”

    Yes, when they discovered they could not order enough bulk clear glass pitchers from Pottery Barn for the wine and when they realized the only manufacturer of the smoke pots was a non-union shop, the entire event would’ve been cancelled! [Do I detect a little irony?]

  13. Hieronymus says:

    Bad traditional Liturgies. I’ve seen sloppy celebrations of the Extraordinary Form (as it’s now called) with my own eyes and more than once. I just don’t have any pictures of it.

    Sloppy is a far cry from the buffoonery displayed above, or in the average parish for that matter. I have traveled quite a bit and have assisted in at least 60 different Latin Mass apostolates in the US and Europe. Though they are extremely few, I have seen sloppy traditional masses, too — nearly every single one offered by a priest who primarily offers the new rite. But none of those “sloppy masses” was anywhere near as bad as what I see when I walk in to the average parish church. It isn’t even close.

  14. Sword40 says:

    That first video was so distasteful to me that I couldn’t finish it. I’m just so grateful for our FSSP parish, even though its over 100 miles away. I wouldn’t be able to handle a Mass celebrated in the Los Angeles, Cal. method. The replacement for Cardinal Mahoney just is not “cutting it” in my humble opinion. Just another liberal.

  15. Brad says:

    The second video is breathtaking! Obviously the treat of seeing the cappa magna, but more so the treat of seeing enormous Christ with opened arms!

    Needless to say, one can see and hear the choir kids as our Lady sees and hears them. Sheer heaven! It is so joyful to know that occasionally we are pleasing and inoffensive to not only the Holy trinity but to Her.

  16. SimonDodd says:

    Made it fifty seconds into the first one. Everything seemed fine until about the 27 second mark where alarm bells went off, and at the 29th second, I was wondering what the hell are they doing? I dipped back in somewhere around the two minute mark and it was only getting worse. Just vile. Everyone involved should be ashamed.

  17. @Sword40, I’m in Archbishop Gomez’s Archdiocese and don’t expect him to change things over night. In the Masses that I’ve been to with him, he has used the “Benedictine Arrangement” and there was no pouring of the Precious Blood after the Consecration. He gets it; however, with the state of things in this archdiocese, he can not change things all at once. He didn’t look particularly happy at the Masses when the flagons were being used. He’s only been Archbishop for a month. There are parishes that do the Liturgy correctly in the Archdiocese, they’re just hard to find.

  18. Marius2k4 says:

    Who pulled strings where to get this year’s Pontifical Mass canceled? It seemed to be a resounding success last year; what in the world happened this year?

  19. Malateste says:

    My difficulty with these cagematch posts is (first) that they are clearly presented as antagonistic. Liturgical traditionalism becomes, imho, much harder to defend when it’s at heart an imperialist proposition aiming at the ultimate extirpation of the NO, vs. when it’s just a plea for the higher Tories among us to be given their place at the liturgical table.

    But second, I wonder how intelligent or ultimately productive it is to lay a lot of stress on how ridiculous their liturgy is, vs. how uplifting ours is. At the end of the day, most religious celebrations are (or can be made) ridiculous to outsiders, however inspiring they are to the participants.

    If I wanted to put on my strictly objective hat, I’d say that even the TLM presents plenty
    of matter for ridicule. Really, aren’t the hats ridiculous, with their jaunty pom-poms? The cloaks are certainly ridiculous, like highwayman’s costumes in a bad college production of the Beggar’s Opera. The legion of small terrified children in polyester robes, piping out that overwrought Schubert warhorse based on a secular art-song, is ridiculous. The looooong train– are we savages, that we think too-long clothing makes someone taller and therefore more worthy of respect?– is eminently ridiculous. So in the end, the only possible thing that a juxtaposition of one liturgy vs. another can do is illustrate that everybody wishes to incorporate into their worship what they personally find beautiful and holy, and that some people go in for interpretive dance and synthesized tribal music while some people prefer fussy Baroque ornamentation, faux-medieval costuming and ninetheenth-century parlor music.

    Is it really possible to argue that the latter is (not just equal to, but) better than the former– or worse, that God loves Schubert but hates dance– and still come out sounding like a charitable and intelligent person? I’m all for liturgical arguments based on textual fidelity, symbolic resonance, accessibility to various participants, practicality, etc., but the question of taste just seems… not worth disputing.

  20. I think that there wouldn’t have been any hoops to go through for a “WREC” style Pontifical Mass. But we all know that only union glass shops/pottery barns would be supported by those planning the event. They’d be on strike, so the Mass wouldn’t be executed.

  21. EXCHIEF says:

    There is no comparison. One is a feel good performance. The other is a sacred liturgy. The former is geared to people and the later to GOD.

  22. benedetta says:

    Perhaps there is nothing that says specifically, “do not dance around in procession with the Word of God as if in private home to the strains of vh1″. According to that approach we should also then not prohibit or discourage celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. What would put you in a more prayerful disposition and readiness to hear the Word of God and put it into practice, cool jazz dancer with the Book, or, processing solemnity in biretta…If you are mesmerized and distracted by the swirling dance moves, then, probably, you’ve already missed the boat and I do not think that this was what Second Vatican was aiming for, a distractedness about spectacle which winds up in non-participation and bystander status.

  23. Gregorius says:

    I’m going with what Banjo pickin girl said.

  24. asophist says:

    benedetta- You’re saying that birettas, cappa magnas, etc., do not present a distracting spectacle? Maybe it depends on the person and how accostomed he/she is to that type of spectacle. Don’t mistake me, I abhor the modern liturgical inventions. But, I’m afraid that Malateste has a valid criticism: our arguments are not credible if they are based solely on a matter of taste.
    Malateste – Thank you for pointing that out.
    Nonetheless, I think this forum is a perfectly legitimate place to air our opinions about taste. However, it is indeed pointless to argue about taste. So lets get down to the objective reasons why the sort of mass illustrated by last year’s Pontifical TLM is superior to what happened in Los Angeles. Traditionalists should know how to enumerate the points by heart. Go.

  25. SemperAMDG says:

    Sword40, I too am in Archbp. Gomez’s diocese and don’t worry, good change is coming, he just can’t do it all overnight. We are so very fortunate in that while there are many Masses in LA that I avoid as “near occasions of sin” for me, we also have many, many faithful parishes and priests. And they are growing in number, thanks be to God! Many parishes distribute the Eucharist at the altar rail (and have for years – I think of St. Victor’s in the heart of West Hollywood right off the bat) and even more are starting to offer the TLM regularly…perhaps they are noticing the uptick in attendees when this is offered? Who knows…

  26. Evangeliman says:

    Father,

    I don’t think the complaints meant that you were opposing TLM to the worst of liberal/modernist liturgical practice. Rather, from my read, those complaining thought that in using only the liberal/modernist practices you were equating the Novus Ordo with said l/m practices.

    All the best,

    Stephen

  27. Scott W. says:

    Italics off?

    Anyway, Hieronymus has it. It is one thing to have a liturgy and not doing it well, and having a liturgy and deliberately putting monkeys in the sanctuary so to speak. One liturgy is highly resistant to monkeying; the other isn’t. No points for guessing which is which.

  28. amenamen says:

    Satire is hard to write, but …

    (@ Andy Milam – ‘I cannot understand the need for “improvization.” Where in the rubrics does it call for women to be moving in circles?’)

    It does not seem to be “improvisation” at all. It seems they are following a strict set of Rubrics, which must be followed to the letter. Perhaps there really is a book of rubrics, but we have just not seen it yet. It could be a Really Big Book, bound in leather, with words in Red.

    Does anyone have a copy of the book of Rubrics for Really Big Worship Spaces? Or perhaps it could be reconstructed by close observation:

    At the head of the procession, the thurifers, not less than ten, or twenty if the Worship Space is of sufficient size, are to be clad in purple, or a similar color, footwear having been removed prior to leaving the sacristy. No more than two footsteps, of moderate length, shall be taken before wafting the Big Bowls to the side, alternating to the right, then to the left. A full twirl, to the right, shall be executed at appropriate intervals, unless impeded. …

    I think there is a market for this Book, if we can get the rights to publish it.

  29. benedetta says:

    asophist, I wasn’t talking about personal taste but a prayer response or participation. And personally no, I don’t think that liturgical garb represents a distracting spectacle. Though it might generate any number of feelings on the part of this individual or that one, the fact remains that when we experience sacramentals we have every right to have an expectation of what they are in substance based on what their outward representation and symbolism.

  30. sheilal says:

    I think Evangelima said just what I thought – it is as though you are saying that all ordinary form Masses are like the videos or picturs that you are displaying. I would also prefer to see some information about where the picture/video came from (you have done this in some cases, but not all that I could see). I have not ever attended a Latin Mass, and truthfully, I thank God regularly that I can understand the words of the Mass. But the thing is, in all the Masses I have been to in several states, I have never seen anything like you are showing. The only thing even close is when the priest comes out before Mass begins and asks if there are any birthdays or anniversaries. I could certainly skip that, but again, it is BEFORE Mass begins. In my own home parish, all the Masses are very reverent (and the priest doesn’t ask about birthdays, etc., either). While I support those that wish to attend the Latin Mass, I also am SO very thankful that I can attend Mass in hear everything in a language that I can understand, without fumbling through some sort of translation or just sitting there not knowing what is being said. And yes, I would eventually learn some Latin, but the full effect would always be lost on me, because I have very little ability with language.

  31. benedetta says:

    sheilal, Many of us wish we lived in localities where reverent NO Masses were the norm. Where I am, I haven’t heard of any (recent) use of liturgical dancers, or giant puppets, but clowns, check. And then a lot of the other issues people tick off here or in the other post who watched the entire video of the Mass, yes, all of that is common. We can leave off discussion of the TLM for a moment and ask, if it is ok to have what we see in great abundance then it should also be ok to have plenty of more reverent NO Masses offered in any given area as well. It is not entirely clear that the people are united in a demand for all of the unusual innovations to the rejection of reverent NO (which could have, beautiful music, great homilies, active participation). It’s not even clear that the liturgies as innovated are teaching what those who advocate for more and more of it seem to think it does.

  32. Joseph-Mary says:

    What a pagan looking procession in Los Angeles!

  33. flyfree432 says:

    If the bishops are willing to put up with it (or endorse it) there is little the laity can do but pray for the reform of the reform.

  34. benedetta says:

    flyfree432, Yes prayer is essential, but that is not the only thing the laity can or should do. It’s amazing what can be done even when not “empowered”.

  35. brent says:

    One video is man’s attempt at ascending to God. The other is God’s descent upon men. Our Holy Father calls this the Unbeliebigkeit of the Mass. I’m a Catholic convert and my experiences before the Church were the height of the first video. Don’t Catholics realize that Protestants could care less if we can play guitar as well as them, dance as well, or our incense matches the intensity their fog machines? No, it only reinforces the concept that we’re wrong. Protestants aren’t looking for that, they are looking for the Eucharist. That’s what they don’t have and that is what our Lord left us as the source and summit of our faith and worship. The solemnity and unspontaneity of the Mass portends the coming descent of God in the Holy Eucharist. God and God alone raises us up to Himself. Ave Maria.

  36. Giambattista says:

    It is interesting to me that many NO advocates are irritated that one form of Mass is being pitted against the other. Of course they have been pitted against each other. It all began when an attempt was made to REPLACE one with the other!

    To answer Fr. Z’s question, if something like the first video would have been proposed for the Holy Fathers anniversary in DC, it would NOT have encountered obstacles, it would have been encouraged.

  37. Centristian says:

    I don’t think there is any question that the first video is an excellent example of the sort of mis-presentation of the ordinary form of the Mass of the Roman Rite that has plagued the Church for too long now, and which the current liturgical trends seen at Rome stand in stark contrast to.

    From the barefooted twirling…thurifers, I suppose…to the dancing deacon, to the silly music, to the clapping pontifical celebrant, it is all very banal, very passe’, and very disheartening. It is disheartening precisely because this remains normal, even today, despite how dated it all is. Of course, “dated” is the most charitable adjective one could use. It is that monster that still dogs the contemporary Roman liturgy, under which the Church continues to groan.

    At Rome, we see the example of the Pope, who shows us the way the ordinary form of Mass is meant to be celebrated. Alas, as someone has pointed out elsewhere, the papal liturgical example is only recently a good one, and even now only at Rome. Papal liturgies over the past 40 years have often been no better than the liturgy shown in the first video. They have certainly been nothing like the liturgy shown in the second. And so as awful as a Mass like the one in the first video is, it was Rome that taught the Church how to worship that way. It was Pope John Paul II who popularized and made ordinary that sort of celebration. The Pope, himself, lead by example; there’s no denying it.

    Pope Benedict, who began his pontificate in the very same liturgical style as his predecessor, suddenly did a 180 not far into his reign and, [Your image of a 180 suggests that he has turned back, is taking things backward, which is the liberal accusation. I suspect that is not quite what you meant to say.] astonishing everyone (certainly me), got it together at Rome for the first time in a long time. Thank the Lord. But alot of time will pass, I fear, if we have to wait for the Pope’s relatively recent good liturgical example to trickle down to the rest of the Church.

    If only we did not have to wait another generation or two for the typical celebration of Catholic Mass to return to what it ought to be. If only the Holy See would actively intervene and tell bishops that the Pope is no longer leading by example, alone…he’s now leading by laying down the law. The Pope has returned to the proper Roman celebration of the Roman Rite. He expects, nay commands you, to do likewise.

    Otherwise we’ll all be on blogs like this one complaining about the same things for 40 more years. It’s not an attractive inevitability.

  38. MichaelJ says:

    So in the end, the only possible thing that a juxtaposition of one liturgy vs. another can do is illustrate that everybody wishes to incorporate into their worship what they personally find beautiful and holy, …

    I disagree with this. It in no way reflects the reality as evidenced by the numerous comments on this blog. What I have found is that the progressive Catholics( in particular) wish to incorporate into my worship what they find meaningful. The ink had not even dried on the Holy Father’s signature before there was endless clamoring (including by many who comment here) for changes to the EF Mass. What is it about modern Catholics that makes then so unable to resist tinkering?
    I do not accept the notion that this is all a matter of “taste” or “personal preference”, but lets say for the sake of argument that it is. By what right do you demand that I change my “personal preference” to something mor acceptable to you?

    Just leave my Mass alone.

  39. Malateste says:

    It is interesting to me that many NO advocates are irritated that one form of Mass is being pitted against the other. Of course they have been pitted against each other. It all began when an attempt was made to REPLACE one with the other!
    Giambattista: but isn’t that sort of oppositional/cagematch thinking what the Motu Proprio specifically deplores? Continuity cuts both ways: reviling the NO and praising the EF does just as much to preserve a hermeneutic of rupture as would dismissing the EF and praising the NO. If we really believe that there is “one rite, with two usages,” then surely the respective adherents of both EF and NO have a duty to treat the other form with reverence and respect.

  40. amenamen says:

    What do you call a Barefoot Twirling Lady Wafting a Big Bowl of Charcoal and Incense?

    I suggest:
    Bowlerina
    Potpouri Pot Bearer
    Thurfress / Thurfrix (pl, Thurfices?)
    Whirling Dervix
    Minister of Odor

  41. SimonDodd says:

    Centristian says: “If only we did not have to wait another generation or two for the typical celebration of Catholic Mass to return to what it ought to be. If only the Holy See would actively intervene and tell bishops that the Pope is no longer leading by example, alone…he’s now leading by laying down the law.” I suspect that the Holy Father has followed a kind of Postel’s Law: “be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others.” In principle, that can help avoid the kind of “baseline creep” that otherwise plagues liberality, but it seems to me that the problem with leading by example in this case is that those who want to follow were probably already getting it right, and those who are getting it wrong won’t follow. Sterner measures are needed. There are a lot of people who may be willing to ignore an example but who would not go one step further into disobeying a directive.

  42. THREEHEARTS says:

    Dance and tongues two words that in today’s scriptures are gross etymological errors. The decree on Divine revelation and the boasted masoretic method of translation state that each translation must correspond to the words used previously;y. Well it used to carouse in the older English translations. The appropriate one would be the carousing Moses caught the Hebrews at when he came down with the Tablets of commandments. Carousing in the English was used to describe the sexual escapades that took place that day. I remember the outcry when Heston’s Ten Commandments was released and the woman climbed on the back of the brass bull. It took the orthodox jewish rabbi’s jn S.Cal to say it was exact. remember what God did later to the huge crowd that blasphemed at the celebration of the communal meal. By the way dance only became a part of the English Language in 1660, see the Oxford etymological Dictionary. So carouse should have described the so called dance. By the way God also froze or dried up the wombs of the women who watched David dance so it would look like God also was stirred to a violent reaction there too.
    As for tongues it became language in 1660 too, and there are two greek words for tongues. One is the unintelligent glossalia, prayer without the mind I would say and the other word that Chrysostom used for communication purposes. It is in his letter “Commentary on First Corinthians. Let me use the way of argument by the supporters of liturgical dance and unintelligible prayer . In opinion they are wrong headed and extremely hard headed. Truth is we are beyond bringing them to an intelligible scriptural agreement. They and the prelates etc who support them are closely related to the Albigensians and their practice. One other question I have been to many Charismatic Prayer meetings and there are no translations possible although the claim is made but never proven just the over wrought opinions of heated women. Why then do they still disobey Paul who was adamant if no one can say what you utter then shut up because you make our faith foolish

  43. David Homoney says:

    The “mass” from LA was one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen. If I was anyone within 250 miles of that abomination I would still be hanging my head in shame. Disgusting, absolutely disgusting. While the pontifical Mass is divine. The contrast couldn’t be greater.

  44. thickmick says:

    Man, that was just embarrassing. I feel like fasting for a month after watching that. What happened to us?

  45. Henry Edwards says:

    Pope Benedict’s strategy is simple and transparent. He knows that younger priests and seminarians are following his lead with zest and fidelity. He knows that older priests (and bishops) of a certain age cannot be changed by anything he might do. They can only be replaced in the natural course of events.

    There’s a lesson in his own papal liturgy. Initially, he could neither fire nor change Marini I, so initially his Masses resembled his predecessor’s. But in due course he was able to install Marini II as papal master of ceremonies, and papal liturgy pretty rapidly became an exemplary model for all those younger priests to follow. And so will things change as faithful young priests take charge in rectories and chanceries.

  46. Henry Edwards says:

    In addition to the preview clip of the beginning of last year’s pontifical Mass that Father Z has embedded in his post above, there’s a very nice 4-minute animated slide show (with music) of the whole Mass posted at

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N8hVSUxZBU

    Also, some additional video clips of the Mass in the sidebar there.

  47. UncleBlobb says:

    @Malateste: … but the question of taste just seems… not worth disputing.

    I disagree with this: I say that there is such a thing as absolute beauty, written in the minds of men, and in the universe, e.g. “the golden mean”. And St. Thomas Aquinas I believe writes about the transcendentals relationship to each other, as well as evidence of God Himself, those being Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Love, Being. Then is it not better to have a higher level of Beauty, to be as close to the ideal of Beauty as possible at The Mass? Isn’t it also a form of relativism to equate or even dismiss the level of beauty, to use one example, in the pop-folk-based music of the first video with the “19th century parlor music” and Sacred Chant heard in the second video?

    I would appreciate any corrections by any available Unreconstructed Ossified Manualists.

  48. SusanfromCalifornia says:

    I was at the LAREC “closing mass” the only thing that was different from previous LAREC ‘closing masses” were the silver chalices. They continued the practice of distributing The Precious Blood of Christ on the 2nd and third levels of the convention center arena. This is a very dangerous practice. I have seen in the past, “extraordinary ministers” accidently spilling Our Lord’s Precious Blood on the stairs. I have lost any hope for real change in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Archbishop Gomez is busy with “immigration policies” and that requires alot of traveling to Washington DC. too work with “La Raza” and similar organizations to lobby politicians. Personally, I disagree with his application of the Church’s teaching on ” welcoming the stranger and helping the poor”, I find it to be socialist and very troubling. Maybe he will hand out “pink slips” or have aids that will make the needed changes. However the “progressives” are so entrenched, it would be WWIII. The “progressive social justice types” are in his camp regarding “immigration policies” so ,I don’t think he wants to rock the boat. That is my honest opinion. I hope I am wrong.
    Below I will repost my experience at the 2011 LAREC

    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.

  49. Denis says:

    “everybody wishes to incorporate into their worship what they personally find beautiful and holy, and that some people go in for interpretive dance and synthesized tribal music while some people prefer fussy Baroque ornamentation, faux-medieval costuming and ninetheenth-century parlor music”

    This relativist interpretation won’t do. The difference isn’t between two equally valid ways of understanding beauty; it’s a choice between two cultures. The culture exemplified in one mass is entirely secular; it borrows from the varied secular worlds of the congregants–a little Mariachi, a little Afro-American, a little folk-pop, etc, etc. The TLM, on the other hand, exemplifies a uniquely Catholic culture. It isn’t western, eastern, baroque, medieval, but a uniquely Catholic and universal culture, manifesting in gestures, ritual, architecture, music, vestments the distinctness, universality, timelessness of the Church. It’s hard to be confused about what the Church teaches in the second Mass; the theology is loud, proud, and obvious. In the LA Mass, it’s hard to know what Catholics believe, other than that cultural diversity is wonderful, that we should all be nice to each other, use politically correct language, and support liberal causes.

  50. Jason Keener says:

    The SSPX claims that they had to take the actions they did after the Council because of the dire situation of the Church. When one sees this Mass that took place recently in L.A. and all of the bishops and priests who happily partook, it seems the crisis still exists. The Mass in L.A. truly looks like a strange pagan celebration in parts. Why are these kinds of Masses allowed to go on? Who can doubt the dire situation of the Church? Could you imagine if a Mass like the one in L.A. had taken place only 50 or 60 years ago? Everyone involved would have been declared insane and excommunicated. It is amazing to fathom how far Satan has really penetrated the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. What is even more amazing is that so many Catholics go along with this kind of nonsense.

  51. jlmorrell says:

    If an outsider were looking on and knew nothing about the Catholic religion or the Mass, I think he would be right to infer that these were two completely different religions.

    As I watched the first video I couldn’t help but say to myself, “The SSPX are right, a state of necessity exists in the Church” – the LAREC Mass is pretty persuasive to me. By the way, what percentage of Catholics in attendance do you think really have a divine Catholic faith?

  52. EXCHIEF says:

    If Gomez actually supports La Raza the situation in Los Angeles is hopeless. La Raza is, itself, a racist, violence supporting, communistic organization. That Abp Gomez justifies his La Raza alliance by saying the USCCB supports that group says a lot about how gullible the Bishops are as a whole. I am really begining to think that we will have two “catholic” churches in this country very soon. One Catholic and the other cino. Unfortunately most of what we have now including most Bishops and Priests is cino. Harsh? Maybe. But I think accurate. It is time the Pope firmly exercised authority, stop hinting, start directing and start excommunicating.

  53. acroat says:

    @ Susan from Los Angeles. The Catechism reads:
    2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

    Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

    You seem to disagree on the “to the extent they are able” with the Archbishop. He works slowly in change according to friends in San Antonio. He has acknowledged coming here without documents us against the law and there should be penalties. Please give the complete story.

    P.S. Contact Teri S

  54. HyacinthClare says:

    Two different religions.

  55. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    2010 and they still have hippies using censure bowls around a non-altar “altar”. And that was a cross, not a crucifix the altar server had. Sigh. Man this is making me reel.

  56. Fr. Basil says:

    \\Sloppy is a far cry from the buffoonery displayed above, or in the average parish for that matter.\\

    They are two different sides of the same thing.

    At least what you call “buffoonery” is an attempt to make the Liturgy beautiful, even if their attempts were mistaken. (It still came across as an add-on, rather than an intrinsic part of the rite.)

    And is it really just to compare Mass celebrated in a public arena where there has to be a lot of adjustment to non-sacred space with Mass celebrated in a large beautifully-decorated church (such as the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception) with well-rehearsed clergy, servers, and choir?

    \\…nearly every single one offered by a priest who primarily offers the new rite. \\

    Not what I have seen. These were celebrated by priests who REFUSED to celebrate the Pauline Mass and had nothing good to say about Vatican II. They also spouted the same sort of garbage I hear from so-called Orthodox Traditionalists. Only the venues differed.

    But as one of these last said, whether covered with ketchup or bechamel, bee ess remains bee ess.

  57. Brad says:

    Threehearts: if I recall correctly, inn Carson Weber’s brilliant 30 hour itunes podcasts, he clarifies that what Moses caught them doing around the golden calf was more than carousing, but full on religious orgy en masse. And I mean orgy. Orgy and child sacrifice was what the non-Jews did for religion.

  58. @Malateste, UncleBlobb, Denis: I certainly see what you’re saying: but surely that Catholic culture came from somewhere. The Apostles didn’t celebrate the Tridentine Mass; the liturgy developed historically over many centuries.

    This is, I think, a very tricky issue because there are several different issues involved, but they overlap to the point at which they are easily mistaken for each other. One is obedience: to even discuss the other issues, we have to assume we’re discussing Masses that follow approved rubrics. Given that… well, the Mass is an objective act of worship. The question is then what sort of Mass best shows/symbolizes visibly what is going on invisibly. I’m not certain this question is itself objective, however; it seems to me that symbolism does have cultural aspects. There’s also the matter that the Mass has multiple aspects to it, and a particular celebration can emphasize one while deemphasizing others.

    The issue of objective beauty is far trickier, and probably too deep of water for me. But while I agree there is such a thing, it’s not necessarily something that can be linearly compared; there can, I think, be different kinds of beauty which are ‘incommensurable’. And there really are cultural factors to at least the reception of beauty. It’s not too clear (at least to me) what part of the experience 0f a solemn TLM is objective beauty and what part is … concurrence, if you will… with our cultural background. I don’t consider myself a traditionalist as such, but even so I see that I largely find myself living in a different cultural world from those around me . And I think the gap is in our time becoming, or has already become, so wide that what is meaningful to one group is nonsense to the other.

    Certainly the bad Masses are … well, bad. And I certainly don’t mean to minimize that. But I fear that there are very few who have really criticized, as opposed to accepting or to merely rejecting, the modern aesthetic … whatever… from a historical and Catholic viewpoint. It may prove to have nothing worth saving; I certainly have some sympathy to that view. But if there is anything salvageable, we should find it, because it’s hard to communicate the Faith to someone whose intellectual and aesthetic climate is alien.

    If we lost the OF, I think we’d lose a lot of people; not just the lukewarm types, but a possibly not insignificant number of people who really want to be, and should be, Catholic, but can’t recognize what’s going on in an EF Latin Mass. (And I also think it would prove to be not nearly the improvement in reverence one might expect — right now, only the more reverent priests try EF Masses. If it were the only option, the puppet-Mass perpetrators would be saying EF Masses.)

  59. Malateste no you are wrong. Everything the OF contains that is valid and good is in the EF. It is pretty obvious that there need to be no false juxtoposition. It is true because the OF didn’t really add anything of substance to the liturgy that was not contained in the EF. Even the rite of peace is contained in it (albeit we don’t shake hands during it). Now what is missing form the OF is the Credo (rarely receited in my experience), invocations of the saints (not as numerous), a confusing number of options, genuflections virtually none existent, and some really bad music (yes I agree it isn’t integral to the OF but it happens nearly everywhere the OF is celebrated). Sort of joking about it but it is true. Before the OF was there was the EF and the OF still has its DNA (though not its complete code). Personally I have no problem for the most part with an OF that is the “full version (nothing lopped off and not using a different Eucharistic prayer, etc at random) that is celebrated ad orientem reverently and in Latin (that way none of those silly banal additions or English translations). Isn’t it is odd the more reverent an OF is the more it looks like the EF? Is that just coincidence?

    sheilal I too am greatful to attend a Mass where I can understand everything being said and when I don’t there is my missal. It is odd but after awhile you do pick up a bit. It was nice to be able to attend Masses in Latin while in France in Latin. I understood more during the Latin Masses than during the French ones (basically totally cluless as to what to do/ say). I must admit though in the beginning I understood virtually nothing during th EF. To add to that those little red books from the Ecclesia Dei Coalition are not designed for former protestants. I kept wondering how I got lost during the Epistle and Gospel. Only much later did I realize the ones in the book are only an example. Lol.

    Fr Basil:
    Sorry but you will never find liturgical dancing or puppets during the EF. Well I guess you could always stage one and then prove me wrong. Yes it can be celebrated sloppy but no puppets or dancing girls- ever. Just like the Greeks, etc we don’t like people “playing with the liturgy.” We recently had the bishop and parish priest try to get everyone to recite the Our Father (only suppose to recite Sed libera.. at the end). Why he did when virtually no one recite the responses they should be doing is beyond me. I suppose they wanted to play with the EF just like the OF. After awhile it died out- no one really went for it and most people refused to. Now if we were Greeks maybe the priest would have been dragged from the church, etc but us traditional Catholics aren’t really as violent as people make us out to be (though the love of the Greeks for their liturgy is admirable). Yes just like the “NO Catholics” (as the video shows) we do have our own loveable nuts. The only difference is we don’t let them do looney things in the sanctuary and especially during the liturgy. We would never dream of parading them out in public like that. Personally never saw what you have told us you have seen. To support your claim perhaps you should provide evidence- otherwise its just hearsay. Besides the difference between sloppiness and a love of novelty is not so subtle. . Sloppiness is from laziness or indifference (or sheer exhaustion) while what the video show is from a love of novelty. We all know what the Scriptures and the saints preach about a love of novelty.

  60. Clinton says:

    In the first video, at about 5:02, the announcer informs us as the deacons and their
    wives process in that they are “… getting ready to give praise and worship to God’s
    chosen people”. A revealing slip of the tongue.

  61. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Z, your question has not really been answered, which is whether an L.A. Congress-style Mass could have been offered at the National Shrine this year.

    I’m going to take a stab at it and say that having the solemn pontifical EF Mass gave some folks at the Shrine cold feet or made them less than inviting at the prospect of a repeat of last year.

    At the same time, I am going to guess that if you showed them the L.A. Congress You Tube recording and said, “We would LOVE to do this exact type of Mass at the Shrine in honor of Benedict XVI’s anniversary, with all the California-isms of Cali-liturgy” you would not get teary-eyed hugs and delightful squeals of welcome.

    One Mass is too “royal pomp of the court of Louis XIV” and the other is too “Californians being Californians.” The Shrine seems to go for solemn OF a la the typical cathedrals of the East, not West, coast.

  62. Amy Giglio says:

    SemperAMDG said: “I too am in Archbp. Gomez’s diocese and don’t worry, good change is coming, he just can’t do it all overnight. ”

    Exactly. If you want to boil a frog, you don’t dump him in a pot of boiling water; he’ll just jump right out. You put him in a pot of nice, cool water and slowly turn up the heat. I think that the good Archbishop is simply turning up the heat slowly.

  63. GrogSmash says:

    I don’t have time to read through all of the comments posted here- a quick perusal shows that I definitely want to come back to this asap to get caught up! However, one of the early comments was a question of seeing a bad Extraordinary Form Mass. I have never seen a “Bad” one, but I have been to a few (about 4 years ago or so) by the same priest whose Mass was said as quickly as possible. I can follow along in my missal at a pretty good clip, but this priest was light speed! I would hang in there as far as the Canon, then that’s when I would give up the fight. He blasted through that as if he was double parked out on the street! I make lite of it now, but it was rather upsetting. It can be quite difficult to be a “Traddie” so as it is, but to be walloped from within like that is unacceptable. I hope and pray that he has had a change of heart and has re-established the reverence needed since the last I was there. (He has since been reassigned.)

  64. Centristian says:

    “[Your image of a 180 suggests that he has turned back, is taking things backward, which is the liberal accusation. I suspect that is not quite what you meant to say.]”

    Pardon me; no I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that what the Pope is doing is “backwards” or that he is attempting a nostalgic journey back in time, as some accuse him of (as indeed they accuse all traditionally-minded Catholics of). Not at all. The Pope’s efforts are, on the contrary, entirely forward looking, particularly if we regard the salvation of the liturgy as essential to the rescuing of a Church and a world that become more bewildering and disappointing every day.

    What I meant to express is that the papal liturgy (in keeping with the Catholic liturgy, generally)was on a very unfortunate “leftward” (not the same thing as “forward”) trajectory until Pope Benedict, quite suddenly, slammed the brakes and brought an end to the type of disappointing papal services that had become typical. He then restored much of the dignity and majesty that used to (and always ought to) typify papal liturgies at Rome, without simply going backwards in time to the pre-Conciliar papal liturgy. He rescued the modern papal liturgy by immersing it in tradition.

    Pope Benedict still celebrates only the Conciliar form of the liturgy (the ordinary form), but he does so in Latin, and he surrounds that liturgy with many of the traditional elements of the papal ceremonies that were once, inexplicably, swept away, as though the popes had become somehow embarrassed of what they were.

    I look forward to the day when the chaotic disruption of the normal development of the Roman liturgy is healed, so that the Church can at last get past the nonsense and return to the good work of genuine liturgical reform. Although it’s difficult to say what that even implies anymore, it’s sure that good things were happening in the development of the liturgy until the grenade went off and all hades broke loose.

    It’s time to clean up the mess. It’s time to cut the comedy and to get back to the serious questions that would, by now, all have been resolved had we not had this interruption to contend with. When I see, in the year 2011, posts filled with debates about the pros and cons of Low Mass as though it were still 1955, I lament not the conversation, but the fact that this debate should have (and would have) been resolved 30 years ago had this prolonged disruption not occured. I’d love to know what we would be talking about, today, instead of what we still are talking about.

    Liberals may attack Benedict XVI and traditionally-minded Catholics for being backwards all they please but they are merely projecting their very own nostalgia onto those Catholics who are walking past them. Those in the Church who are dedicated to the preservation of the disruption of development over the return to the normal flow of the genuine development of the liturgy are the ones who are truly backwards and stuck in the past.

    Imagine the Church’s continuing liturgical journey as the flow of traffic interrupted by a big accident at an intersection, if you will. Boom. It happened. Can’t change the fact that it happened, it did; now we have to pick up the pieces and move forward. But we can’t because a large segment of the Church, for some bizarre reason, is mezmerized by the accident and has lost sight of a need to move beyond it. It actually prefers the disruption of traffic to the normal flow of traffic; it desires to remain at the site of the accident forever, rather than move beyond it.

    But the Pope, now (at long last), like a traffic cop come to clear up the accident, is saying, “alright, everyone, there’s nothing to see here; move along, move along.” Finally. Let’s, please, just listen to the man and move along. There’s nothing to see here, anymore. So let’s just move along.

  65. benedetta says:

    If we are serious about our interest in welcoming all, inclusion, diversity, tolerance, acceptance, embracing all where they are at just as Our Lord did, and “winning the future”, then, I will expect our illustrious Bishops to assure that every parish offers, liturgical abuse-free, reverent NO Masses, EF Masses, and a Haugen style Mass for the folks who want to relive a certain nostalgia and to avoid ageism.

    What would be so horrendous about, a solidly pro-life parish which prays for vocations and offers faithful catechesis, offering, say, the Saturday anticipated Mass as a reverent NO, one Sunday morning Mass in the Extraordinary Form and one as a reverent NO, and, say, the 6 pm Sunday evening Mass gathering ’round in the parish center for Haugen and friends with guitars and folk songs for those who want it (albeit Haugen a living composer is not a Catholic and is outspoken about his dissent from Church teaching, even towards those who wish to remain Catholic). Wouldn’t this be better than the plethora of peace and justice slash dissent parish versus the Latin Mass adherents in one place (if that?) whereby the peace and justice folks are permitted to perpetuate calumny and celebrate their piety and holy status over those dreaded demonized others (as un-Christian as that may in fact be)?

  66. Denis says:

    @Fr. Sotelo: “One Mass is too “royal pomp of the court of Louis XIV”…”

    This is what the priests of the National Shrine think of the Extraordinary Form? If the clerical mainstream is this ill-informed, we’re doomed! It’s true, the EF plays up the fact that we are in the presence of Christ the King, but is there anything wrong with that? It is part of the Christo-centric character of the TLM that has been watered down, and, in many cases–e.g. in the war against kneeling and genuflecting–even suppressed in the Novus Ordo. That’s why the typical Novus Ordo looks more like a folksy celebration of a civic holiday than a Christian liturgy.

  67. irishgirl says:

    SusanfromCalifornia-I read your post when you met with Archbishop Gomez. I’m glad that you said what was in your heart! I can’t stand it when there is so much emphasis on the passing things of this world (politics, etc.) on the part of bishops and clergy. They should be spending their time pointing the way to eternal life in heaven, not to the temporal life of earth, which will soon pass away.

  68. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Denis: I don’t want to speak for the priests at the National Shrine, who may or may not be part of the collapse of plans for another beautiful EF Mass. If they are uncomfortable with the EF Mass from last year, I am conjecturing as to why they would be uncomfortable. You have expressed well my own feelings, though. In the presence of Christ the King, the liturgy should show the ceremony and ritual which is fitting for Him.

  69. Gabriel Austin says:

    Am I the only one who notes the resemblance of the Los Angeles Mass to the many dancing ladies sequences in the “Oriental” movies? I recall Elizabeth Taylor [RIP] as Cleopatra, inviting Robert Burton to a simple meal on her barge [aka The Nile Hilton] and presents many dishes for his pleasure, as well as several hundred dancers who move around with the same graceless movements as those depicted at the Mass.

  70. SusanfromCalifornia says:

    @acroat, I agree with the CCC. I am a Catholic in good standing. I was honestly stating here I personally, disagree with the archbishop’s application. I base this on previous speeches he has given. However, the Archbishop and I didn’t discuss “immigration” policies. We dissuss briefly his and the USCCB joining forces with La Raza, to lobby politicians for their “immigration policies”. I have serious problems with the part of working with La Raza. I would hope that any fellow faithful Catholic would feel the same. Am I missing something here ? Is it Catholic to work with racist, marxist , militant groups. I am very leary of many bishops and clergy in this country because their close ties with so called “social justice” organizations. The archbishop could “clean house” liturgcally speaking (which I find hard to believe he would because of the deep entrenchment of the liturgical progressives , but if he did and still works with La Raza or similar type groups. He might keep some liturgically conservatives quiet. Sorry, but I will not give him a pass.

  71. SusanfromCalifornia says:

    Irishgirl , thanks for your support. I hope that I was not the only one, face to face who respectfully questioned the archbishop’s involvement with La Raza.

  72. SusanfromCalifornia says:

    acroat, Yes I disagree with the archbishop on the part of “the extent they are able.” Due to the economic situation this country finds itself in. Last year I watched on you tube a Catholic priest who explains the Church’s teaching regarding immigration. It was really good and I learned alot on this issue. I think he wrote a book on it as well. I find it very troubling the lack of preaching against socialism, marxism and communism from the pulpits. Call me crazy, but I am begining to think it is done on purpose.

  73. acroat says:

    @Susan please post the link for YouTube video you mention. I am not troubled by lack of preaching concerning Marxism, socialism etc. I am more concerned about the lack of preaching about artificial birth control, homosexual activity, voting for pro abortion candidates, “shacking up” as they called in my day, why women can never been ordained, what constitutes a sacramental marriage etc…

  74. SusanfromCalifornia says:

    @acroat, here is the link for Fr.Bascio on illegal immigration.

    http://gloria.tv/?media=141296
    I am too concerned about the lak of preaching on abc, homosexual activity, voting for pro abortion candidates, etc.. I however get this preahing from the parishes I attend. I have yet to hear a substanial amount of preaching concerning Marxisim, socialism and communism. However there was a missionary priest from Russia who preached last year at the parish warning us Americans about communism,marxism and socialism , and obamacare.