How to make your parish more self-centered!

A reader alerted me to this.  Pop over to National Catholic Register for a peek at an old (2011) satirical piece by Tim Drake about…

14 Steps to a More Self-Centered Church

[…]

14. Community Center
Rather than describing your parish as a Church, adopt the practice of naming yourself simply a “community” (e.g. Holy Spirit Community). Evangelical Christians anxious to disassociate themselves from anything too closely resembling any kind of traditional Church—and bearing such names as Hosanna, The Vine, The Door, The River, Joy Center, or Tree of Life, will especially welcome this change.

13. Move the Music to the Front
Make music the focal point of Mass. Place the musicians as close to front and center as possible. Eschew the choir in place of a band. Situate a drum set right within the sanctuary, and specifically implement this step in conjunction with Step #1 for full impact. Make the music as banal and silly, and self-centered as possible. Applause—for songs meant for God—is mandatory.

[…]

Read the rest there.

14 more reasons for why we need Summorum Pontificum!

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11 Responses to How to make your parish more self-centered!

  1. Elizabeth D says:

    I never thought about how our candle addiction is exploiting bees. Poor dear mother bees. But on the other hand the alternative is candles made of the fins of para fish, sliced off the living fish which are then thrown back into the sea to die writhing in pain, all for the sake of clean burning candles. Another alternative involves brutally beating olive trees then pitilessly crushing the fruits. I hear that Japanese research whaling produces a lot of spermaceti oil that I imagine there is no longer much market for, maybe it is time to look into that. But we should be sensitive that any type of candle with a flame has a carbon footprint and contributes to global warming, and there are very realistic battery powered candles with flickery flames now. If there was a demand they could easily start to make the real tall kind for high altars. Only self-absorbed promethian neo-pelagians need real fire, that is the meaning of the phrase in fact, they are promethian because they light fires and pelagian because they think lighting it depends entirely on themselves. They never remember God, who gave us battery-powered artificial candles.

  2. Mike says:

    My parish, alas, does all 14.

    On a good note, the other day my 21 year old son and were about to leave after morning Mass and we saw our associate pastor–ordained about 2 years ago–at the front of the altar, kneeling. A consecrated host fell on the ground during Communion (thanks to the battalion of EMHC’s) and the priest had consummed the host and was asking for a purificator.

    As we walked out of the Church, I said, “Reason #12,245 for Summorum Pontificum”.

    My son, who reads your blog, got the reference right away, and nodded.

  3. Patti Day says:

    I smell smoke and it isn’t from candles or incense.

  4. Athelstan says:

    This is also a great 14 step plan for driving the male quotient of your regular Mass attendance down from 45% to about 20%.

    But perhaps we are not seeing all the advantages: The upside to these rec room/ gathering space style churches is that it will be easier to unload them ca. 2020 when the parish is forced to close for lack of attendance.

  5. JonPatrick says:

    15. Don’t forget to use the Protestant terminology that “sanctuary” refers to the entire worship space rather than just the area behind the altar rail where only the priest and other ministers are normally allowed to go (that is if there had been an altar rail which of course was taken out a long time ago). This helps break down the idea of sacred space hearkening back to our roots in Jewish piety and the Holy of Holies in the original temple. Encourage people to come into the area around the altar for example by placing the Jesse tree there during Advent so we can have much hustle and bustle before Mass, which is especially good if there are people who are being antisocial by trying to pray the rosary, to encourage them to stop overly focusing on God and to focus on the people around them instead.

  6. One of those TNCs says:

    Sounds like a recipe straight out of a book called “Rebuilt” that’s shaking up Catholic church thinking. Has anyone out there read it? I’ve read the 5-star and the 1-star reviews, and am inclined to believe the opinions of the latter.

  7. frjim4321 says:

    I see many of these pet peeves derive from a lack of belief in the Incarnation which causes a failure to appreciate the immanence of the divine in balance with the transcendence.


  8. I see many of these abuses pet peeves derive from a lack of belief in the Incarnation which causes a failure to appreciate the immanence of the divine in balance with the transcendence.

    There you go, Father. Fixed it for you.

    (You’re welcome.)

  9. Charivari Rob says:

    One of those TNCs:

    Trying not to go too deep into a rabbit hole, so I’ll try keep this concise. Yes, I have read Rebuilt. I would not give a 5-star rating (for either content or format), but neither is it as low as 1-star.

    I nearly didn’t read it. I had heard part of a live interview with a couple of the principal people involved with that parish and the book. In what I heard, they didn’t come across very well at all (to put it kindly). They seemed to be making broad assertions – one-size-fits-all blanket statements which were contrary to my own direct, observed, non-interpretive experience. I wasn’t inclined to waste my time or money on the book.

    I did end up reading it as a matter of keeping good faith with a certain priest. I’m part of a group involved in a project, he’s one of the point men, and the book is among the recommended reading for the discussions.

    I’m happy to say that the book was better in tone and approach than the unfortunate interview segment led me to believe. They’re writing about issues and responses (successful or not) at their parish – best viewed as a way of jump-starting the discussion about issues and possible responses in your own particular place.

    At the same time, it suffered some lacks – questions unasked and/or assumptions unchallenged. Also, the formatting could have been much better.

  10. Militans says:

    I went to midnight mass in the chapel of the (ages 3-16) school I attended. The celebrant was the priest who baptised me.

    Last year I had been using magnificat to help me to pray more often (ie morning / midday / evening prayer) and tried to follow the mass using this. Unless he was using a eucharistic prayer for special occasions (eg children) he had altered eucharistic prayer 2 significantly. This would be easy as he doesn’t use a sacramentary / lectionary but instead a decorated binder with the prayers in for the sacramentary and sheets of paper for the lectionary.

    This year we arrived to find a re-ordering of the chapel had occurred since the brothers left and the school was handed over to lay control: the organ had been removed, kneelers removed, projection screen hanging in front of/above the altar, and some pews placed in the sanctuary. This school now has about 70% of the numbers as when I attended (I left in 2008) – so this wasn’t exactly necessary to allow extra seating.

    Last year there was a photo outside the chapel showing how it looked before the post-Vatican II re-ordering which I heard several people comment on approvingly. This is nowhere to be found and has now been replaced with a large version of the whole school crest (the crest for individual departments [nursery / junior / secondary] has replaced the cross surrounded by 5 birds in the lower left corner with the initials of the department). What was the brothers’ oratory is now the headmaster’s office.

    There was no bell when the priest left the sacristy, but the priest asking us all to remain seated as they processed in to place the baby Jesus in the crib. The only candles lit on the altar were those of the advent wreath. The gospel was read by a lay woman. Nobody kneeled for the consecration. There was clapping after mass when the flautist finished (led by my father!). The prayers of the mass were changed (‘Lord God, father of creation’ became ‘Lord God, father of the universe’ … and of course ‘Sisters and Brothers’). And the most awful canary yellow polyester chasuble.

  11. Mike says:

    . . . a lack of belief in the Incarnation which causes a failure to appreciate the immanence of the divine in balance with the transcendence.

    My New-Age-to-Catholic reverse translation engine (still under development) renders the following:

    In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt: et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est. In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum: et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt. . . . In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his qui credunt in nomine ejus: qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiae et veritatis.

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. . . . He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    A blessed Yuletide to all!