For progressivists even the sloppiest Mass is not “diverse” enough

From Damian Thompson‘s blog.  Be sure to go over and take a look at the comments there, too.

My emphases and comments:

I recently came across this parish magazine article, by a former seminarian called Damian Rhodes, which shows that for some progressive Catholics even the sloppiest modern Mass is not “diverse” enough. Please read it. Oh, and make sure you pay close attention to the final paragraph.

Recently I found myself meditating about our own local faith community. Worshipping our loving and vulnerable parent God in the company of fellow journeyers, I feel pained on behalf of people who are victimised in society.

Only last Sunday, the bidding prayers asked for God’s healing for those facing challenges of health and wholeness, and for those of other faith traditions, but are we really brave enough to embrace true difference?

When did you last hear a bidding prayer for the transvestite, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual or asexual communities? What about a prayer for our divorced and civilly-partnered sisters? It is common to hear us addressed as “sisters and brothers”, excluding – albeit without meaning to – those who refuse to identify with either gender.  [Ummm…. how are these people "victims"?]

Throughout our celebrations, when we should raise our hearts to our Parent-Creator, [yuk] the celebrant looks down on us from on high. Instead of worshipping alongside his sisters, brothers and sister-brothers he faces us like an accusing judge .

We worship in foreign languges – but has it ever occured to us that for some worshippers even these carry imperialist associations? [blech]

Our native-Nicaraguan sisters must feel excluded when the words are those of their Spanish oppressors. What about our sisters from Africa who find that the colonial languages of French or English are often used, rather than their local dialect? What thought is given to persecuted Roma who have to hear the tongue of a contemtuous majority rather than their own?

How often have I longed for a liturgy that unites rather than divides, a worship in conformity with the Spirit of Vatican II rather than the culturally compromised liturgy we have today.  [As do most of us, I think.]

I am delighted to say, though, that a nearby parish recently had a novel and radical solution to this problem. They have discovered a way of expressing our desire to gather as people of faith without siding with oppressors. In conformity to Vatican II they avoided using the language of any of wou world’s oppressive regimes.  Instead of us proclaiming that God became “man” in the Creed it uses a word meaning “human being”.

Not only this, but the worship-facilitators faced the same direction as us, [!] pilgrims together with those marginalised in our communities. Instead of hearing a man’s voice throughout, I was able to enjoy silence in which I could meditate on humankind’s oneness with nature.

Alas, most presiders are far too entrenched in their traditionalist-conservative outlook to even consider this novel solution. But what is the name of this diversity-aware service, I hear you ask?

It is called, I believe, the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman Rite.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Nick says:

    Wow. Just wow.

  2. Frank H. says:

    Pretty amusing!

    Let us pray, sisters, brothers and others…

  3. MargaretMN says:

    The language issue is more complicated than he makes it and isn’t all about colonialism like he wants it to be. Some of these people he’s talking about no longer speak their “native” languages. I know there are some Indians in Nicaragua who speak fluent English and German and are Protestant, thanks to missionary work there.

  4. Maureen says:

    I’m torn between “We’re not worthy!” and “OMG, u win teh Intarwebz!”

    Somewhere, St. Thomas More is laughing appreciatively.

  5. Jack says:

    Do these people even have the faith anymore ?

  6. Patrick says:

    The patent absurdities of the “now” church he alludes to in order to make his “turn the tables” point does indeed represent exactly the outcomes “progressives” bemoan, in other words, the more language and cultural symbolism is used as a salve the more it turns in on itself and creates, somewhat ironically, a greater sense of division then the “ills” it sets out to fix.

    This peiced brilliantly focuses on the real problem: man centered worship. Bravo.

  7. Pete says:

    Is this for real or a ploy to get progressives of all genders and nongenders to give the EF a try? Frankly, Fr. Z I don’t know how to take it other than to say that the EF is the perfect expression of the Church’s universality while all other fabricated liturgies fall short and lead to national, regional, and parish specific worship.


  8. TomG says:

    Come on, people; this is a parody! “[A]sexual communit[y]”??

  9. Mark says:

    LOL. Amazing.

    I remember a little incident a parish where one of the associates needed to say his private mass that day (he uses the Old Rite in his private masses, and I was to serve for him that day) but the little rectory chapel where he usually says it was leaking and was unusable that week. But, there wasnt a Mass in the main chapel for an hour and a half, so we went and did Mass there, we were done with a half-hour to spare. And the pastor, a neoconservative, who was going to say the next Mass and arrived to prepare just as we were finishing, was acting all huffy and stuff, was really angry. And I thought, “And THEY accuse US of being rigid and intolerant and not ‘nice’?” Their saccharine sweetness is just a political act. Militant novus ordo types are some of the most joyless legalists of them all.

  10. TomG says:

    Mea culpa. Should have read the whole thing.

    Very clever.

  11. Patrick says:

    Some of us are not seeing the satirical nature of this piece and are reading it literally – so –

    Please re-read!

  12. David says:

    “Not only this, but the worship-facilitators faced the same direction as us, [!] pilgrims together with those marginalised in our communities.”

    Seriously, along with the bit about the presider “facing us like an accusing judge,” this could be an excellent way to present ad orientem worship to our liberal minded brothers and sisters…

  13. TomG says:

    Most telling, however, is that you have to read *the whole thing* to know that it’s *not* a parody!

  14. Mark says:

    “I don’t know how to take it other than to say that the EF is the perfect expression of the Church’s universality while all other fabricated liturgies fall short and lead to national, regional, and parish specific worship.”

    One of the problems of post-tridentine liturgy. The EF is the Rite of one particular Church, namely the Latin. It should NOT be interpreted as the Universal Liturgy of the Church. That is insulting to the Eastern Churches and to the medieval ideal of local rites and usages.

    I love the Old Rite, but one of the reasons is its inherently local character. One of the things we notice about the Novus Ordo is that it was stripped of all its Rome-specific character and historical idiosyncracies. It was the idea of a one-size-fits all Globalized Liturgy that was one of the main CAUSES Of the Novus Ordo.

    The “I can go anywhere in the world and see the same Mass” argument is the worst argument in favor of the TLM and betrays a wrong attitude towards liturgy and catholicity.

  15. TomH says:

    that was funny. Thanks for pulling our legs, Fr.

  16. It’s certainly worth a laugh but I really don’t believe such people are unconciously longing for the EF. That reduces the EF to a fad as in “what goes around comes around”.

    The liturgical crisis of our times is caused by the Liturgical experts having gotten of the train at the wrong station and boarding the bus to hades.

    To repair the situation it is necessary to go back to that same station, get back on the train and proceed into the future.

  17. jp says:

    for those of you who may not have checked out the comments on damian’s blog…damian thompson said: Damian Rhodes is a friend of mine, an ex-seminarian now working in Hong Kong who attends Mass regularly in the older form of the Roman rite. He did indeed submit this parody to his (English) parish magazine, and they were quite happy with it until they got to the last bit :)

  18. Choirmaster says:

    I found myself reading it and saying: “This guy probably doesn’t realize that these things can all be found in the TLM. What a hypocrite!”

    Then he slipped in that part about “facing us” and I thought I smelled a trick, but all that stuff about “Parent-Creator” kept me believing.

    Hilarious! The irony is palpable! And it brings to mind a little old saying that I know called ‘Quinn’s First Law’:

    Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of it’s stated intent.

  19. Alfred says:

    Bwahahaha. Hilarious. Thanks Father.

    I went through three distinct phases as I read this.

    1. Standard disgust. Feeling hackles rise.

    2. Amusement at how thoroughly insane the article was. Grudging respect at the ability to include so many buzzwords in such a short space.

    3. Uncontrollable laughter. The need to make sure everyone I know reads the article, preferably while I get to watch their reactions.

  20. Fr. Charles says:

    Great satirical critique. I have forwarded it to a bunch of confreres.

  21. Pete says:

    Quite right to call me out. I did not intend to say that only the Tridentine Ritnly was “true” liturgy nor the “only” liturgy of the Church. I only meant to compare its consistency to the localized silliness that we still see all to often

  22. Henry Edwards says:

    After seeing “local faith community” in the first line, I figured I knew what would come next. So I immediately skipped down to the last line, and thought … Wow, I must have missed something in between.

    Seriously, I read somewhere about a region in central America where there are so many indigeonous dialects spoken by people who know none but their own, not even the local version of Spanish — allegely, many central American Spanish-speakers cannot understand the schoolboy Spanish mouthed by Anglo priests in U.S. Catholic churches, but that’s another story — so the only lingua franca language suitable for Mass in that remote area is …. Latin!

    Actually, I know of a parish where the pastor bridged the gap between English and Spanish speakers — who were roughly 50-50 in his parish — with much success and claimed success with both groups, but he ran into much trouble with the chancery. But this was several years ago before the enlightenment we now enjoy.

  23. Jeff Pinyan says:

    *Looks at today’s date…*

    Three months late, Damian!

  24. Beautiful parody. I had read the name of Damian Rhodes before, so I was surprised to see the apparently liberal tone. Even then, in the beginning it didn’t sit right – it read a bit contrived. Still, remarkable second half.

  25. Joe Magarac says:

    I liked this a lot. I do something similar when asked why women can’t be priests. I note that throughout history God always picks the least likely to be his servants: a wandering nomad fathers God’s people; a stutterer and convicted murderer named Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt; the youngest son of the least prominent man in the smallest tribe becomes King David; et cetera. After men abandoned Christ in His hour of need while women rallied around him, given the foregoing history it only makes sense that men should be priests and women not.

  26. Joe says:

    Mark, I would say that each of the Liturgies of the Church, whether from the East, the West, or the Orient, expresses the universality of the Church. That is not the same thing as to say that they are universal Liturgies; as you say, they are rooted in their history and tradition. But they function as Catholic Liturgies because each one unites all creation and all time with the eternal God. They are universal in that sense, not in the sense of ‘makint the others redundant’.

  27. Edward Martin says:

    Well done for a former NHL goaltender(I thought I recognized the name. The only goaltender to score a goal without taking a shot!)!

    Hook, line, and sinker…

  28. Jacques says:

    Political correctness: I, as French citizen, feel much offended by the use of Latin language in the TLM, since this was the language of our Roman oppressors by the time of Christ. I recommend that we use the celtic language our ancestors spoke when the Gaul was free instead of the French language which I consider as nothing but a decadent corruption of the Latin.

  29. Virgil says:

    I don’t find this so much amusing as TRUE!

    Both of my EF parishes are extremely diverse, and part of the grace is the fact that so many of us are sick and tired of “Progessive” folks who want us all to be victims, and “Conservative” folks who think that being Catholic means being mean.

    We come together, Left and Right, Musical and Tone-deaf, Old and Young, Gay and Strait, Black and White and Other-colored, American and European and Third World, Citizens and Clandestini. We worship together the same True God and True Man.

    Deo Gratias!

  30. Jordanes says:

    TomG said: Most telling, however, is that you have to read the whole thing to know that it’s not a parody!

    No, you had it right the first time — it is a parody, and one so well done that you can’t tell it’s a parody until the end.

  31. Virgil says:

    I must say, this really (REALLY) is not a parody. (Okay, maybe it was intended as such…)

    But I look at the exponential growth of the Faith, among my friends, and it is due to simple facts.
    – When the Church focuses on Christ, rather than politics, people listen to Her moral authority.
    – When parishes welcome, without trendy efforts, without caveats, people come.
    – When priests offer Mass with dignity and respect, men and women see Jesus, rather than some political message.

    The antiìspam word I just put in was “identity.” This is the key.

    Our identity is Catholic. Not political party or race or family status. We believe. Full stop.

  32. MenTaLguY says:

    Throughout our celebrations, when we should raise our hearts to our Parent-Creator, the celebrant looks down on us from on high. Instead of worshipping alongside his sisters, brothers and sister-brothers he faces us like an accusing judge.

    Well the obvious solution is celebration ad orientem, isn’t it? :)

  33. Don says:

    Yeah – I’m pretty sure it’s a parody.

  34. A Parry-Dee says:

    That some people took this seriously (both here and on Damian Thompson’s blog) is quite incredible…is parody peculiarly British?

  35. meg says:

    I started to get suspicious here…

    “We worship in foreign languges – but has it ever occured to us that for some worshippers even these carry imperialist associations? [blech]”

    Blech is a great word.

  36. Ma Tucker says:

    Very funny. Reads really well in a mock fe GLTBABCDEF… accent.

  37. DarkKnight says:

    What? He can’t find a Mass said in the holy, pure language of Esperanto? A completely, cobbled together language designed to be completely devoid of ethnic identity or imperialist baggage.

    I really think he’s looking for a Unitarian prayer service.

  38. CLEVER! Wish he stayed in the seminary… For a minute there, I thought he had a liturgical training with Cardinal Mahoney.

  39. Hans says:

    Nicely done.

    Alas that I’m not British and so can’t get it.

    And alack.

    Curiously, though, the most ‘progressive’ parish I was ever in was also the one where I’ve experienced the most use of Latin in the OF.

  40. Catherine says:

    Really could be legitimate…I loved the part about the “civilly-partnered sisters!”

  41. Kimberly says:

    Yep, I had to read it twice also. First time I had steam comming from the ears. Second time, I had a great laugh.

  42. Ohio Annie says:

    parry-dee, what has happened here doesn’t show that parody is British, it shows humorlessness. You will even hear people claim that Jesus never laughed.

  43. Athanasius says:

    Thank you O God for giving me the grace to see the glory and beauty of the Traditional Liturgy, otherwise I might be some tambourine smacking mother earth worshiper. We should be thankful because we are not worthy of the Tradition.

  44. Peony Moss says:

    What Maureen said. We are not worthy, and this winz the Intarwebz liek whoa.

  45. Damian Rhodes says:

    I am delighted that this gained such notoriety. That some people took it at face value makes me wish to either laugh or cry! I just hope that it also made people think … :-)

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