It’s. Another. Religion.

ruined church detroitI was once in a parish with a school. I visited class rooms. I was asked to blessed the class rooms by the pastor. By way of explanation of what blessings are all about I wanted to make the distinction between sacraments and sacramentals. That’s when I discovered that even in the 8th grade, not only could not a single student say what a sacrament is, none of them could name one of the sacraments. And yet I was the one who got into trouble for asking the question in the first place!

This, friends, is what we are dealing with.

This is from First Things. It reminds me of experiences I have had.  My emphases and comments.

At noon I have to be at the local Catholic school—let’s call it St. Dismas—to train altar servers. I will arrive a few minutes early, and by 12:05 most of the kids will have trickled in. We are in Southern California, so most of the boys at St. Dismas wear short pants year-round. Students are required to attend one Mass per month with the school, but it has never occurred to anyone, not their parents, not the pastor, not the teachers, and certainly not the students, that they should wear pants to Mass. The girls wear skirts that in 1966 would have been described as “micro-minis.” When I told the boys’ parents that I expected them to wear their uniform pants to Mass when they become servers, the school principal—a genial thirty-something man who insists on the rigorous use of the title “Dr.” but often wears sweatpants and flip-flops to work [See how decorum plays into this?] —cornered me outside his office for a talk. He warned me that I might get some pushback from parents on the pants requirement. “We are only a medium-Catholic school,” he informed me. “We’re not really that Catholic.”

When we walk as a group into the nave (the church itself is almost barren of Catholic art or iconography), none of the kids bow or genuflect before the tabernacle. They are unaware that this is something they should do. [At the same parish I mentioned above, I was asked to show the soon-to-be 1st Communicants around the church.  When we came to the tabernacle, none of them knew anything about genuflecting.  I showed them and explained why.  “Because the Blessed Sacrament is kept in there!”  Blank faces.  Not a flicker of recognition… and 7 year olds aren’t usually stoic.  I tried several ways of saying what and WHO was in that big ornate box.  Finally, one little boy screwed up his face and said, “You mean that piece of bread thing?”] They don’t know, because none of these children attend Mass on Sunday. When they do become altar servers, they will be dropped off moments before Mass begins and picked up by an idling SUV before the organ has finished the recessional. From time to time, the parents of altar servers can be seen standing outside the church, hunched over a smart phone, killing time while they wait for Mass to finish.

At this point in the school year, the first-time altar servers have developed a rudimentary understanding of what is expected of them during Mass, but when they began their training in September they needed quite a lot of attention. As I said, they attend Mass once a month with their class, but never on Sunday. Therefore, none of them are aware of the Gloria, the Credo, or the Second Reading. On the first day of training, several kids made the Sign of the Cross in the eastern fashion, and I had to take several minutes to correct them. I brought this up with a member of the school administration, and she was somewhat surprised. The kids say a morning prayer each day, she said, and they begin with the Sign of the Cross. It’s possible that no one ever corrected them. I have never seen any of the teachers at Holy Mass, so it seems likely that this sort of attention to detail isn’t a priority for them either.

The children know nothing of vestments, sacramentals, [That’s for sure!] the prayers of the Church other than the Hail Mary and the Our Father, feast days, or the concept of Sanctifying Grace. None has been to confession since the first one, but all receive communion without any thought. If their parents are forced into Mass, they too will line up for communion and receive it happily and without qualm. The teachers aren’t practicing Catholics, the parents aren’t practicing Catholics, and the parish priest would never dare suggest to the congregation that they go to confession. He correctly understands that there would be outrage among his flock.

The pastor at St. Dismas is a gay man. It is quite possible that this priest—let’s call him Fr. Dave—lives a life of celibacy. I have no reason to doubt that he does. He presents himself, however, as a traditional, American “queen.” He is a kind and gentle priest, and I think the kids genuinely like him. He does everything he can to take part in the life of the school, and he always has a warm word for parishioners, students, and parents. Fr. Dave has been my primary confessor for about six years. His style in the confessional is orthodox. He makes no attempt to psychoanalyze me, and he levies a serious penance when I deserve it. He is also quite reverent as a presider at Holy Mass. He does not improvise, and he makes it plain that he considers Mass to be a grave and solemn occasion.

Fr. Dave knows better than to suggest to his flock how to live as Catholics. He does not speak of sin. Ever. He does not discuss the saints, devotions, the rosary or prayer of any kind, marriage, death, the sacraments, Catholic family life, the Devil, the poor, the sick, the elderly, the young, mercy, forgiveness, or any other aspect of the Catholic faith that might be useful to a layperson. His homilies are the worst sort of lukewarm application of the day’s Gospel reading—shopworn sermons that sound very much like they were copied word for word from a book of Gospel reflections published in 1975. No one in the pews ever discusses his homilies as far as I can tell.

The pews are not full. The most crowded Mass is at ten-thirty on Sunday morning, when the church is usually about two-thirds full. Holy days of obligation draw almost no one. I attended the Easter Vigil last year and the Church was half empty. The crowd at a typical Sunday Mass is mixed. There are quite a few elderly parishioners who sit together and ignore the rubrics of the Mass. They refuse to kneel after Communion, they hold hands during the Our Father, they chat loudly before and after Mass, and they roam the Church greeting their friends, seemingly unaware that others might want to pray in silence. The most prayerful and reverent congregants are the handful of Filipino families. The other Mass-goers are a smattering of middle class families, stray Catholic singles, and a few Latin American die-hards. After Mass, the older people hang around and shake hands with the pastor. Everyone else drives away. I know only a small handful of my fellow parishioners, and I hesitate to bring any of this up with them. It doesn’t seem worth it.

Yes, that’s how it ends.

Just a shrug of the shoulders.

It’s. Another. Religion.

If it’s a religion at all.

This is what the Olympian Middle eventually degrades to.

Those poor people have never had anyone to shepherd them.

And Jesus went about all the cities and towns, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease, and every infirmity. And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd. Then he saith to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.

This is why we needed Summorum Pontificum.  This is why certain people will do anything to stop Summorum Pontificum.  This is why we will never stop.

Summorum Pontificum and the vision that Benedict XVI offered us is the best way forward with a New Evangelization. 


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Cri de Coeur, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Olympian Middle. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. zrhaskell says:

    I only have two memories from my early catechesis. One was doing a crossword puzzle, the other was me asking the question, “What is the difference between a Catholic and a Christian.” To which I received the answer (Instead of correcting me on the fact that it is actually the difference between Catholic and Protestant); “Christians do Communion a little bit differently.”
    It took me another nine years to realize the silliness of that answer!
    I also remember distinctly, while I knew of purgatory, that I never knew souls suffered in purgatory until I was 15 years old!

    God Bless both Fulton Sheen and my dad for saving me! I just wish I had known earlier. Catechesis is so watered down today, we need to pray to get Holy Mother Church back in a fighting stance!

  2. John Grammaticus says:

    Sadly one could say this of so many parishes these days

  3. Netmilsmom says:

    This is what happens when the Church becomes Man centered instead of God centered.
    Men make the choice not to attend.
    We are simply the remnant.

  4. Johnsum says:

    When the usher signals just about everyone stands up to take communion, everywhere. Why not? He cant be more Catholic than the Pope, can he? The Pope is about to recommend communion for remarried whose first marriage has not been annulled. What is the layman to think? If he is like me, he will worry some about being too scrupulous. He will also reflect about not having killed anyone, that he donated to charity, and is struggling to raise several little children; also, that he is faithful to his wife. Well, he may not be too sure about some other matters but hey, nobody is perfect, right? And when he further reflects about his last confession where he mentioned receiving communion when unsure whether he was in a state of grace but the confessor did not think it important to counsel him about it, then he is totally confused.

    He will probably take communion again when the usher signals it is time to go. But he does not feel 100% right about doing it, yet the silence in the confessional gives him the excuse to proceed. Please, God have mercy on us all.

  5. This description simply announces that the objectives of the Freemasons and Communists to wipe out God have been achieved. Religion is gone, replaced with materialistic humanism.
    Orthodox priests who won’t say anything are common, even in conservative parishes. They allow themselves to be bullied by parishioners and bishops. Even here, an orthodox priest might preach in simpering platitudes that teach nothing and don’t help one bit, without concrete and specific directions. Men have got to grow a spine and take charge, both in parishes and in family life. We have all got to get over this fear and our love of comfort, all of us, laity and clergy alike.

    How can anything but incessant prayer [and the Rosary] overcome this?

    Isn’t this why we hear the prophecy that St. Peter, Enoch and Elias will return to re-evangelize in the Latter Days? We will have completely forgotten what Christ taught us.

  6. q7swallows says:

    Sans the presentation of “queens,” welcome. to. my. world.

  7. Genevieve says:

    He is deacribing my patish. My children are not yet school age, but how can I send them to Catholic school here? (Well, the administration hasn’t yet described her school as ‘middle Catholic’ but, semantics, right) I still struggle with guilt over not wanting to send my children to the parochial school. Father, what should we do? Support a lame school or send our children elsewhere?

  8. Lin says:

    This re-confirms what I have been experiencing at far too many Catholic parishes. And why too many people think that I am the extremist. In my attempt to find a Mass said according to the rubrics in our local area, I found myself genuflecting to the Tabernacle in the church lobby. The Tabernacle is in a small chapel with a glass wall facing the lobby. It appears that no respect is paid as parishioners pass back and forth directly in front of the Tabernacle. The Mass is said in an auditorium-like room with no kneelers. The church was built in the 70’s. Adequate catechesis ended in the 60’s in most parishes. Much prayer and fasting is required.

  9. Midwest St. Michael says:

    This may help you, Genevieve:

    “If you want your kids to defend their Faith send them to a public school, if you want them to lose their Faith send them to a Catholic School.” — Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

    To me, what the author of the article describes is what Michael Voris calls “The Church of Nice”. Yet, could one even call it that?

    “It’s. Another. Religion.” Yep.


  10. John the Mad says:

    Very grim that. My parish in Pickering Ontario (Saint Isaac Jogues) has two wonderfully orthodox priests (one newly ordained) and two permanent deacons. The pastor uses the Benedictine arrangement for the altar and the Holy Sacrifice of the mass is celebrated in a reverent manner. Solid homilies.

    We have a senior choir, a youth choir, and a Gregorian chant choir. We sing the mass, including the propers, and the senior choir uses a lot of Latin (at the mass with the Gregorian choir it is all Latin, of course.). Confessions are heard before every mass and on Saturdays. Everyone genuflects. Even the chatter before and after mass is beginning to subside. There is a prominent sign in the vestibule asking for silence.The tabernacle was recently moved to the centre of the sanctuary with a new reredos surrounding it. Once a month the mass is celebrated in the chapel in Latin. New statues. Sanctuary carpet ripped out and replaced with beautiful marble tile.

    There is a robust youth ministry and an active Life Teen ministry (The pastor hired a full time youth coordinator.) Many, many, altar servers with organized formation for them by a volunteer coordinator. Priest are brought in to run missions, Holy hours are held every month and we have overnight vigils before the Blessed sacrament. Oh yes, we have two prie dieu beside the priests at communion to allow for the reception while kneeling of the Blessed Sacrament. My parish is a joy to attend and I am a better Catholic today because of it. Thanks be to God and to our pastor Father Paul Dobson.

  11. Matt R says:

    I an shocked they even know the Pater and the Ave.

    Medieval peasants knew better, and in a largely illiterate age, the English rebelled against the imposition of the Protestant services. That ought to tell us something.

  12. mamajen says:

    People questioned why my oldest child is not in Catholic school. I am sure, if they had the chance (and decided not to pretend I am invisible now), they would question why I left the parish altogether. THIS.

    MSM, that Fulton Sheen quote is spot on! Exactly my thinking on the matter. I would rather my son receive no religion at public school than what passes for religion at our Catholic school.

  13. robtbrown says:

    Johnsum says,

    The Pope is about to recommend communion for remarried whose first marriage has not been annulled

    Do we know that?

  14. Chiara says:

    Father – I read this article and was deeply troubled by it. It does not refer to my parish. But the parish life and the faith of our people at my parish is being undermined, and I do not know what to do about it. We are an inner-city parish in a very old, magnificent building. The neighborhood has long disappeared, so all of us travel a bit to get there. We do it because we love each other and the mission of the parish, which is to worship God, actively serve the poor and homeless, and to provide comfort to strangers. When our former pastor of 26 years retired, we eventually were blessed with a new pastor who seemed uniquely suited to our situation, and all was well for the first couple of years. We truly loved him and wanted to please him and follow him. Lately, however, things have changed. Father is selectively enforcing boundaries, weeding out those parishioners he does not favor. He is also “pink-slipping” long-time volunteers he dislikes and is replacing them others who seem to be part of a “clique” of parishioners who he is appointing to positions from parish council to various other jobs. In recent homilies at various weekend Masses, he has told us to leave our pews and line the walls of the church and look at the empty pews. And then he told us if we did not get friendlier with one another, we would lose our Masses and eventually our parish. He is making plans to eliminate all weekend Masses except one – in a parish of over 1,000 parishioners. Father Z, it breaks my heart. I have tried to “parish shop”, and I just cannot bear the thought of leaving my beloved fellow parishioners and church. Several of us have been praying a continuous rosary novena for Father’s spiritual, physical and mental health and well-being. Any thoughts or advise for us?

  15. Mike says:

    This is sadly very common.

    On a good note, at the school where I teach, students have the opportunity for daily Mass and frequent Confession, and we don’t dodge or ignore the challenging truths of our Faith. Thanks be to God, we have provided our bishop with more vocations than any other nearby school. Fr. Z is right, it’s not rocket science.

  16. JBS says:

    We are the spiritual version of Belgium. We now have two religions united by little else that the papacy.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    These are practical and also supernatural matters. We can try to help in both, but this huge problem is ultimately God’s, because it is way bigger than us. Properly educating as many young people in our families and vicinity is something we all can do, and of course praying more. I no longer wish to attend or support lackadaisical parishes. It is time for us to realize attendance and offertory send a message of support that is noted by church administrators. Are we supporting what we do not agree with? If so, we need to stop.

  18. yatzer says:

    I don’t understand what a “traditional, American queen” is. Somehow that cultural reference has passed me by.

  19. The Astronomer says:

    This is why I have to drive 45 minutes to my parish of choice. The RC parishes closer to my home are doing the “Church of Nice” thing with a vengeance.

    In addition, as the article above makes reference to women/girls in ‘micro-miniskirts,’ has anyone ever dared broach with their pastor the third-rail topic of inappropriate attire of young women being an occasion of sin AT MASS for the men present? When you have a ‘theater-in-the-round’ setup with the table altar in the middle and the congregation on all four sides, visual contact with other people is sometimes unavoidable. When parents permit their daughters to dress like extras in a Britney Spears video, it’s wrong.

    Can you imagine this confession? “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I couldn’t take my eyes off the Schotzenheimer Twins last Sunday at Mass….”

    Yes, we’ve reached the point where attendance at Mass can be an occasion of sin…

    I keep thinking back to Luke 18:8… “But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? “

  20. Gretchen says:

    I am thinking of a priest in my diocese who began to implement some of the traditional elements of the Catholic faith in his parish. He was quite successful. It wasn’t too long before he was sent to the outer limits of the diocese. I attended Mass once at his new parish. It was clear he was suffering greatly. The spiritual crisis must be especially acute to a faithful priest.

  21. Robbie says:

    A perfect, yet sad, recitation of the fruits from the 1960’s and 1970’s.

  22. Latin Mass Type says:

    I heard one priest bring up the immorality of in vitro fertilization in a homily. Of course this was a weekday Mass with a dozen gray haired ladies in attendance. He may have been testing the waters.

    I meant to thank the priest for this foray into dangerous waters but I didn’t do it and he has moved on to another parish.

  23. Orphrey says:

    This report from First Things is really saddening, even depressing. It makes me grateful for the relative faithfulness and Catholicity of my parish and diocese. This example shows how the Church is being “hollowed out,” with just the shell of some externals remaining — i.e., practical atheism. Within a generation or two, what will be left? “…When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” It makes me reflect on the fact that no pope has yet consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart together with all the bishops — could it be because the popes have feared there are bishops who would refuse, thus exposing further the rifts and unfaithfulness within the Church?

  24. ChrisRawlings says:

    My diocese is by no means perfect, but when I hear stuff like this I feel at least a little better about living in Denver. Or maybe I just don’t get out enough. What I do know is that our TWO seminaries are full of vibrantly orthodox men giving themselves to God, and that gives me a lot of optimism

  25. Mike says:

    We are the spiritual version of Belgium. We now have two religions united by little else than the papacy.

    If Fr. Z’s Gold Star of the Day were awarded based on a reader poll, JBS would get my vote. Maybe (at least in the epigram division) for Gold Star of the Month and of the Year, too.

  26. q7swallows says:

    Homeschooling has been our only solution. What MSM says is true though–at least here in CA where we live too. But I promise you: if you will persist with the utter punishment of surviving on a single income and dedicate yourself to teaching the Faith & the 3 Rs to your kids, imbibing lots of stories of the saints, and watching the company they keep–real and virtual–you will have dividends that will pay off supremely well on so many levels that you will not believe it. But since I discovered the TLM, I do not think I could do an adequate job of homeschooling anymore without it. I wish you all the best.

  27. Noelle says:

    When my son made First Communion, the class cleaned out pumpkins and learned that “sin is yucky.” The only prayer they memorized was the Hail Mary; one Filipino boy petulantly insisted that he would not refer to Mary as “thee,” only “you” as his parents did. The teacher looked at me as if I had three heads when I suggested the class learn the Prayer to St. Michael…much too difficult. The teachers are just using material recommended by the Diocese. Isn’t most of this to be laid at the feet of the Bishops?

  28. jacobi says:

    Personally, I blame the priests.

    Firstly, the Children in this school don’t know their religion because they haven’t been taught. If their R.E. teachers have failed, then it is up to the priest to step in and do it.

    Secondly, language. The priest says Mass not the “pastor” whatever that is. If the priest is celibate, he is not gay, etc. Language is so important.

    Thirdly, as has been discussed elsewhere, The Crisis in the Church is about to fall on all of us due to the shortage of priests, not to mention of Mass attenders. The available resources i.e. priests will have to be deployed where they are of most use – and this school does rather look like a waste of time and resource.

    Tough I know, but that is now the reality!

  29. chantgirl says:

    mamajen- Kudos for finding a safer parish in which to raise your children. I pulled my oldest out of Catholic school in the second grade for similar reasons. However, I gently, gently suggest that religion is taught in public school; it is tolerance and secular humanism, with a smattering of feminism and “alternative” sexuality. I know sometimes homeschooling is not possible. Raising Catholic kids right now is extremely difficult.

  30. MrsMacD says:

    I went to public, “Catholic school.” Thank God(!) my parents taught us the Faith at home. It was a daily martyrdom. I wouldn’t do it to my children. It’s like putting them in the colleseum, with the lions, tigers, bears and a whole pack of ravenous wolves. It was my daily chant as a little girl, ‘Forgive them Father for they know not…” They know nothing!

    It’s the sad truth that this is where the next generation of priests are coming from. Impregnated with the gospel of holywood, who they frequent with much more devotion.

    We have one of these parishes just fifteen minutes walk from my house. No, not quite, Father doesn’t do confession except once a year and drops a heresy here and there. I go because Jesus is really present and I wouldn’t be able to recieve Him otherwise, plus the Mass is really a Mass. Jesus suffers it why shouldn’t I. And I love Him. Okay a couple times the thought of the kiss of peace has kept me away. Forgive me Lord!

  31. onearmsteve says:

    Fr Z,
    You might like this article from Joseph Pearce’s STAR page. goes with your post
    ad Jesum per Mariam

  32. steveesq says:

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,
    Your post on Friday about supplication led to me to post a remark, but it also led me to expand and expound on it on my own newly started blog, which I have named Ex Magna Silentium. As a concerned Catholic man, husband and father, I have decided I will not be silent about this kind of stuff any more, even if no one actually reads my stuff. However, what I wrote yesterday is along the lines of this post of yours and I’d like to offer your readers a link to my post. But I only would want that done if you are OK with it. The link is

    Father, you can choose to not post the link and I will not be offended in the least. Your blog has been very important to me over the past several years and I don’t want to hurt what you’re doing. So, I leave it to you and I won’t be “mad” at you if you choose to pass.

    I love the Church, and I have come to believe that I am complicit in this heinous state of affairs because I kept quiet. If it wasn’t for good priests such as you, I may have lost hope long ago. Thank you for answering the call and being a priest. I beg God to bless you and others like you and I thank Him for men like you and your steadfastness in the fullness of the Faith.

    Steven Hansen

  33. Theodore says:

    My son (I’d be willing to bet) went to that school. St Dismas is the giveaway.

  34. Midwest St. Michael says:

    To q7swallows and Genevieve:

    For the record, our children are homeschooled. (TBTG and my dear bride) We go on what we call “Rosary drives”. Sometimes while leading the prayers I will stop, in mid-decade, and ask them CCD-type questions about the mystery we are praying at the time.

    I am amazed at what they can remember! (and truthfully I am somewhat dismayed about what they don’t)

    We are in a very rural area and the nearest Catholic school is down the road a piece. Though fairly solid, with a fine orthodox priest, we simply cannot afford the tuition and it is too far away. Besides, my lovely bride wants the children home with her. I am all for that. :^)


  35. @ John the Mad

    Thanks for chiming in about St. Issac Jogues! Yes everyone, what he is saying is true. I know this for a fact as I’ve worked with their choirmaster, who also heads St. Patrick’s Gregorian Choir in Toronto, ON. The choir he heads organizes a few Latin Masses a year, whereby I assist via serving. The Church is also quite beautiful in terms of its sacristy, recently remodeling it with a stone reredos with the tabernacle in the center. Also, yes it has other thriving programs such as their youth ministries, of which use the MOST CURRENT version of EDGE/LifeTeen models. Before you poo poo that, I did spend a portion of time in one that used that model, and the packages outline how to conduct the nights, and each night has Scripture, Catechism of the Catholic Church, and YouCat references to be looked up.

    Yes, they have on the first Saturdays once a month the Latin Mass at 11am. For more information on the parish, please see here at Also, if you are looking for more info in Toronto on Latin Mass offerings, check out my blog, Servimus Unum Deum by clicking my Name. I might also expand my coverage (or at least my routine offerings page) in future to include Latin Masses in Ontario but outside Toronto as well.

    I wish that most parishes had the setup that St. Issac Jogues has in Toronto. Sadly where I live in the west end, no Novus Ordo parish has that complete setup, with anything from internal conflict issues, pastors who think that Traditional Catholic practices including the Latin Mass are “not necessary to contemporary Catholicism” and hire heretical youth ministers to run their programs who study liberal theologies, to crappy music with bongo drums and are too weak to kick the misguided musicians out, liberal clergy and laity, or priests who just simply want to maintain the status quo and not rock the boat, as it were.

    You are blessed Mad. We must storm heaven with prayers to undo this awful situation.

  36. rinkevichjm says:

    If Fr Dave is too uncomfortable teaching then he should have Cardinal Arinze do it with a service of the Apostolate for Family Consecration. He needs to have all his parishioners catechized properly, as it will make his faith stronger too.

  37. gramma10 says:

    Thank you Fr. Z.
    My experiences have not been that horrible, thank God. If this is happening in many places, God help us.
    Here in my conservative diocese, we have many new orthodox seminarians. We have lots of homeschool families teaching the true faith. There is hope.
    We are all in a new sprouting garden. The old bushes are dying off. The new sprouts are rising and growing to eventually become the strong trees in this garden. The birds of the air will have plenty of nesting places in this blooming garden of the New evangelization!
    But it is hard to be patient, that’s for sure.
    I feel like we are replaying Moses in the desert. A new generation with faith is coming! Yes it is.

  38. rinkevichjm says:

    And then I test that website out and find AFC has taken it down and is making a new one. Having just bought their catechism and DVDs, I haven’t been to it recently. And the Parish should use those any way.

  39. arickett says:

    This is a major problem and it depresses me know that instead of putting in the time and effort to improve the teaching of the faith we have two camps are spend most of there efforts Trying to force women prest etc or dead languages and secret hand shakes on to us its no coincidence that the faith shines best when it is under pressure from outside it’s the only thing that gets us pull together.

  40. Thanks, Father. I am so glad my mom made sure I learned the Faith. I think I knew the Rosary by the time I learned to speak. The daily family Rosary is a must for all Catholic families. And sacramentals. We were always taught to kiss a blessed object if it had fallen to the ground, to never place anything on top of a Bible, etc. My Mama was awesome, and I miss her!

    I still find it odd, when someone tells me they are Catholic, I go into their home, and there are no holy pictures or Crucifixes, or statues around. Being Catholic is really so awesome. We have the greatest art, the greatest music and literature, we created Western Civilization, science would still be in the stone age if not for the Church.

    The sacramental Rites of the Church, East and West, are sublime. Visual, aurally, and olfactorily, the most beautiful of religious rites on earth! I am glad my life, from childhood, was never devoid of this. I grew up going to the Old Mass, the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, and the NO Mass.

    At the age of 36, I am just barely starting to understand how much grace and how many blessings God and Blessed Mother have granted my brothers and I. We need more parents like my mother!!

  41. Titus says:

    “If the priest is celibate, he is not gay, etc. Language is so important.”

    Yes, language is important. The word “celibate” means “not married.” The word “continent” means “abstains from sexual intercourse.” The word “chaste” means “following the rules for sex that apply to you.”

    Regarding Father’s story at the beginning, I had a similar event in 8th grade. The parish pastor decided to have an interactive homily with the junior high during a school Mass, and asked something along the lines of “why do we celebrate at Christmas?” Of course, some wag raised his hand and quipped, “because we get out of school.” In our defense, most of us probably could have given a serious answer. In the pastor’s defense, not only was he livid at the time, he eventually relented of having us all shipped to salt mines.

  42. Cajetan says:

    Something tells me that parish has the best guitar and tambourine Masses in their diocese.

  43. Orphrey says:

    Chantgirl wrote something thought provoking: “mamajen- Kudos for finding a safer parish in which to raise your children.”

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to go the principal of a “medium Catholic” school and tell him, “I’m not sending my kids to your school because it is unsafe. You do not provide a safe environment for my kids.”

    I’m sure he’d be shocked: “What do you mean? We work hard to create a positive, inclusive, innovative, progressive, non-judgmental, non-offensive, safe environment for all our kids! We took the crucifixes off the walls so the muslim and non-religious kids wouldn’t be offended, we started a gay-straight alliance, we adopted common core to meet state standards…”

    And you can reply, “Exactly. It is an unsafe environment for my kids’ souls.”

  44. Athelstan says:

    And you can reply, “Exactly. It is an unsafe environment for my kids’ souls.”

    Well said, Orphrey!

  45. eulogos says:

    I think the writer ought to speak to Fr. Dave. Fr. Dave is orthodox in the confessional. He says mass with reverence and according to the rubrics. He seems to be a serious man. Couldn’t he be urged to preach with a little more substance? There is a lot he could do without getting into the contested pelvic issues. He could preach on the meaning of the mass. He could preach on the Eucharist and the importance of not receiving unworthily. He could preach about what sin means, talking about the goodness and perfection of God, and how Our Lord told us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, and how all of us fail at that, about the help available to us to grow towards it, and yes, about confession. I realize that if he comes on strong there will be complaints, but so much can be done short of that.
    I know priests like that, except for the “queen” part. (Well, I know some clearly and some reputedly gay ones also, who seem to be serious about being priests, in this same way.) They were pretty much taught in seminary to preach like that. They get in no trouble preaching like that. Something needs to wake them up, to let them know how much we need them. Perhaps a lay person saying, ” You preach so well father but there are somethings we never hear about. Can you preach about what the mass means, why we do what we do on Sunday? ” or “Father, I don’t really understand what it means when we say Jesus is really there when we go to communion, can you explain it? ” or, “Father, I read things with the word ‘grace’ in it, but what is grace?” Let them know the hunger is there.

  46. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    It is interesting to juxtapose the words of Anonymous, “On the first day of training, several kids made the Sign of the Cross in the eastern fashion, and I had to take several minutes to correct them. I brought this up with a member of the school administration, and she was somewhat surprised. The kids say a morning prayer each day, she said, and they begin with the Sign of the Cross. It’s possible that no one ever corrected them”, with those of Christopher Hunt, “The sacramental Rites of the Church, East and West, are sublime. Visual, aurally, and olfactorily, the most beautiful of religious rites on earth! I am glad my life, from childhood, was never devoid of this. I grew up going to the Old Mass, the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, and the NO Mass.”

    The first of Anonymous’s sentences I quote made me think he was concerned with them as altar servers – with what is appropriate to such a server in the Latin Rite. But the last two seem to refer to general practice, even in private devotions.

    Do people, notably like Christopher Hunt, ‘at home’ with both the Mass and the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, make “the Sign of the Cross in the eastern fashion” at the latter, and ‘in the western fashion’ at the former? And what do they do in their private devotions? If ‘visible’ among ‘westerners’, in ‘the western fashion’, and among ‘easterners’ in “the eastern fashion”?

    Why does Anonymous seem to think “It’s possible that no one ever corrected them”, almost as if it were somehow radically incorrect for them to make “the Sign of the Cross in the eastern fashion” when they “say a morning prayer each day”?

  47. A perfect example of “Save the Liturgy, save the world.”

    The people in this school/parish may very well have been lukewarm with the TLM, may very well have ignored it and gone on with their lives as they are. But vice-versa, if homilies are tepid (for whatever reason, the priest is not necessarily fully culpable for that), if Mass is not an aesthetic experience of Transcendence and Beauty and Mystery, which chant and incense and ad orientem inculcate in people — in short, if it’s the Novus Ordo as typically celebrated in this sort of place with all the pressure to keep it that way apostates can levy — it will not challenge anyone nor is it likely to act as a vehicle of grace to convert them.

  48. carmel says:

    All this reminds me of the ‘Judas-vs-ointment’ syndrome. Remove reverence, ‘don’t stand’ on ceremony, reduce Christ’s Gospel of salvation to the social gospel of the materially poor, go on with the modernist Protestantisation of the Catholic Church in the name of an iconoclastic simplification of ritual, and this is what you end up with. St Francis chose poverty as his bride, but when it came to the awe and reverence of the sacred liturgy, he spared no effort or expense. Unfortunately, the haters of beauty and their horizontal church have returned with a vengeance.

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  50. Caritas says:

    It seems to me that wearing shorts to mass is hardly the problem… Not knowing about Christ is the problem. In the broken window theory of Catholicism I can see the point on stressing these things. Reverence is very important, but if they don’t understand why, then it is ceremony. Those Jesus spoke to directly suffered a lack of food and clothing and comfort, they were Lazarus at the door…we are dealing with American “rich men” who lack for no physical comfort. The message is necessarily different for these two. One has a heart open to anyone who would show love, the other needs a reason to worry…. But the fear of some invisible damnation and sin will not work, the sleeping don’t realize they are asleep until they wake up…. How to wake them?
    Let me suggest their children will be their redemption … They are in a catholic school, teach them the love of Christ and they will rally to him. Suffer the little children come to me… Don’t beat them over the head, show them the work of the church towards the suffering and their innocent hearts will open wide and drag their parents to their catholic faith, like to a recital or a soccer game. Teach the children the source of the love shown in the work of the catholic church and they will be drawn to the sacraments and maybe their parents will step inside if it’s raining or cold or need a restroom, and get a glance of the sacred…
    The children came to learn to be alter servers…. Here is your opportunity, do not despair, rejoice! Jesus came to seek and save the lost…. Looks to be a big job, Maybe we can help some… One soul at a time…. Talk to the priest about the concerns and don’t be surprised if some of it finds a way into the homily…

  51. Mike says:

    It seems to me that wearing shorts to mass is hardly the problem… Not knowing about Christ is the problem. . . . teach them the love of Christ . . . Suffer the little children . . . [etc.]

    Lack of modesty in the presence of Our Lord, who merits infinite respect, and of our neighbor, who is weak of will and clouded of intellect, is the problem.
    Irreverence toward the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ who is really present on the altar of Sacrifice is the problem.
    A half-century and more’s distortion of the purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the problem.
    Depreciation of worship to the point that the miracle of Transubstantiation is virtually lost among pious platitudes and distorted, anti-contextual presentations of the Gospel is the problem.

  52. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Let me suggest their children will be their redemption …”

    If they have any. The number of Catholics with large families is shrinking.

    “They are in a catholic school, teach them the love of Christ and they will rally to him. Suffer the little children come to me… Don’t beat them over the head, show them the work of the church towards the suffering and their innocent hearts will open wide and drag their parents to their catholic faith, like to a recital or a soccer game.”

    What, exactly, does it mean to teach them the love of Christ? Should they be shown the work of the Church towards the suffering as envisioned by the LCWR, for instance? That doesn’t seem to have drawn many people into their Orders. Let me be clear: one cannot love what one does not know. One cannot fall in love with Christ until they know Christ. How will they even know what love is if they don’t know Christ? The LCWR preach a love detached from the knowledge of Christ, except for a few cherry-picked sayings that amount to little more than platitudes. Some Protestants think that pre-marital sex is okay because one person is showing the love of Christ to the other person. The same with homosexual acts.

    No. It is crucial to reveal Christ through the teachings of the Church so that His love may be properly understood and identified. St. John says that the man who claims to love, but does not keep the Commandments is a liar. What we need is clear education of the truths of the true Catholic Faith. That is, in many cases, especially among adults, exactly what we don’t have.

    The Chicken

  53. Caritas says:

    All of theses are true problems, but these people don’t have a clue what you are talking about. The first commandment is to love God above everything and they don’t know who God is…the second is to love your neighbor as yourself, but lecturing your neighbor is not meeting them where they are. You can’t teach someone to read if they don’t know their ABCs. Be part of the solution. Teach them with joy all that truly moves your heart but don’t expexct them to immediately understand what you are talking about. If your favorite song is jingle bells, it’s doubtful you will immediately appreciate an opera… But they will if we introduce them to the beauty… And if we don’t know how to show the love of Christ without reciting a bunch of rules(as important as they are) we need to look in our mirrors.

  54. The Masked Chicken says:

    “And if we don’t know how to show the love of Christ without reciting a bunch of rules(as important as they are) we need to look in our mirrors.”

    Explain this to Christ, who said [John 14:15 – 21]:

    If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
    And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever,
    even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
    “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.
    Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also.
    In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
    He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

    The personalist form of love practiced by so many, today, is dangerous. As St. Pope John Paul II said, “Do not accept love without true nor truth without love.”

    The Chicken

  55. Jared B says:

    What does “The Olympian Middle” mean?

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