Separating The Mass From Its Purpose…

From the Catholic Herald, 8th September, 2017…

Matthew Schmitz is right that young Catholics are more traditionally-minded. But that doesn’t always mean the Old Rite

Everyone, including Catholics, wants to figure out millennials, the much-maligned generation to which I undeniably belong. 

Last week, my fellow native Nebraskan Matthew Schmitz wrote a piece for the Catholic Herald entitled “The Kids Are Old Rite”. Schmitz argued that the younger generation today – us millennials – are trending increasingly traditional, much to the dismay of some older, more liberal generations of Catholics.

On that point, generally, I don’t disagree. I see in myself and among my fellow millennial Catholics a desire to return to more orthodox practices, teachings and ways of thinking. We saw what happened when our parents’ generation flung open Pandora’s box – sexually, religiously, morally – and we’re not loving the results. Divorce, abortion, and the breakdown of the family have had less than desirable effects on the society we’ve inherited.

In particular, the quotes from Archbishop Augustine DiNoia that Schmitz included on the subject were spot on:

My sense is that these twenty- and thirty-somethings have been radicalised by their experience … in a way that we were not.” After “God-knows-what kinds of personal and social experiences”, they have come to know “moral chaos, personally and socially, and they want no part of it”. A sense of narrow escape guides their vocations. “It is as if they had gone to the edge of an abyss and pulled back.

However, the piece implies that young people are increasingly preferring the Old Rite – the Traditional Latin Mass – over the Novus Ordo, and that the “liturgy wars” of old will now be divided along generational lines.

But based on my experience, and that of my peers, I don’t think it’s true that we’re clamouring for the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in large numbers. I also don’t think we’re interested in reviving the so-called “liturgy wars” of old.

I have some friends who prefer the TLM, or the Byzantine rite. But they’re still the exception, rather than the norm, among my wide circle of Catholic friends that comes with living in a Catholic millennial hub like Denver.

My TLM friends think that the old rite is beautiful, but they aren’t going to go so far as to “shove it down the throats” of others, as one of my friends put it.  
 
From what I have seen, the Traditional Latin Mass appeals to some Catholics, but I don’t think it will ever become the norm again. I personally prefer the Novus Ordo Mass, because it’s the form with which I grew up and with which I am most familiar. I’ve gone to public school my whole life and have never formally been taught Latin, and so I prefer a Mass I understand.

An unscientific poll of my young people friends tends to agree – we haven’t been taught Latin like the previous generations, and we don’t see what’s wrong with a prayerful and reverent Novus Ordo Mass.

Judging by the ever-growing crowd of young people at the Novus Ordo Mass I attend weekly, at which we chant the opening antiphons in English and have incense galore, we’re looking for reverence, but at a Mass we understand.

In true millennial fashion, however, I’d like to take a moment to check my privilege.

As a daughter of the notoriously traditional Lincoln Diocese in Nebraska, I never felt the need to seek out more reverent, prayerful forms of Mass, because the Novus Ordo Masses I grew up with were lacking in neither. Similarly, when I made the move to Denver three years ago, I had little trouble finding a Novus Ordo Mass that was celebrated beautifully and reverently.

I realise that the story might be different if I had lived in other dioceses. Given the choice between the Latin or a questionable liturgical dance Mass, I’d choose Latin any day.

At the end of the day, it’s hard enough to be a young Catholic today, that I think most of us recognise that can’t let “liturgy wars” bring us down.

Do you feel closest to God while wearing a veil and chanting Latin? Great. Is the Novus Order Mass in English, with the promise of coffee and donuts afterwards, the only way to get your butt into a pew on Sunday? More power to you.

We’re just happy you’re here, because we want you to meet Jesus.    Source – Catholic Herald, 8/9/17          

                                 

Comment:

Support for the above thesis / praise for the novus ordo came from an unexpected source in last week’s Catholic Herald – none other than Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society (LMS):

“Rather than throw every parish into confusion with a new top-down reform, it is better to foster the existing liturgical pluralism, which includes the reformed Roman Rite [Ed: the novus ordo, the new Mass], the Ordinariate Use, the growing presence of Eastern Catholic Rites, and the pre-conciliar Latin liturgy, now widely available once more. Among these, surely, we have something for everyone… the liturgy should not be a battlefield, it is a table at which the Catholic soul is nourished.”  Joseph Shaw: After the ‘liturgy wars’, a pluralistic truce? Catholic Herald,  1/9/17.

What seems to have been forgotten by these writers is  the fact that the Mass is not for us.  This appears to be an error peculiar to our times, for although there are various rites within the Church, the novus ordo alone appears designed to cater for personal whims of taste and fashion of various types – for example, popular music, lay activity.  But the Mass is not for us, in that sense.  The Roman Rite  was approved centuries ago by the Church, in the form we now term “the traditional Latin Mass”  for the purpose of offering true worship to God – not because the locals found it entertaining, or held their attention or suited their imagined “spiritual” needs. 

So, how can this concept of “pluralistic truce” be justified in the current crisis of Faith in the Church?  Is the Mass primarily a “table at which the Catholic soul is nourished” or an altar on which the Holy Sacrifice of the Lamb is re-presented to the Father in order to offer Him true worship, which is wholly orthodox and pleasing to God… Does our often superficial “enjoyment” of Mass in the vernacular, easily understood with popular music and easy on the ear and conscience homilies, trump our duty to offer the worship which has nourished saints and martyrs down the centuries, and is manifestly pleasing to God? Think: “by their fruits…” 

In summary: what’s your take on a “pluralistic truce”?    But before you answer, check out this critique of the new Mass

Venezuela: Pope Francis’s Downfall?

The Wall Street Journal points out that while Pope Francis is not slow to denounce President Donald Trump, he is not so quick to take Nicolás Maduro to task – click here

The Bishops of Venezuela Appeal to Our Lady for Deliverance from Maduro. 
From Francis, Only Silence. 
by Christopher A. Ferrara
August 11, 2017

Francis and Maduro: Happy together?“Will Venezuela be Francis’s downfall?” That provocative question is posed by Monica Showalter in an important article at the American Thinker blog. There is no arguing with her opening line: “The world’s first Latin American pope isn’t exactly covering himself with glory as the hellfire of Venezuela immolates that God-forsaken nation.” There has been nothing but silence from Francis as the socialist tyrant Nicolás Maduro oppresses the Venezuelan people and destroys the nation’s once vibrant economy, reducing many to rummaging through garbage cans for food.

For their part, the bishops of Venezuela know a tyrant when they see one: during the run-up to Maduro’s sham election of a new “constituent assembly” to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution in his favor, the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference posted this prayer to their Twitter account: “Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Coromoto, heavenly Patron of Venezuela, free our homeland from the claws of communism and socialism.” It seems certain that no such words will ever escape the lips of Francis.

The bishops’ prayer is most telling from this Fatima perspective. Our Lady of Coromoto is a title of the Mother of God the Church has assigned to Her apparitions to the chief of the Coromoto tribe in 1591 following the arrival of the Spanish in Venezuela. Instructed by the Virgin to undergo baptism in order to be saved, the chief at first complied but then changed his mind before receiving the sacrament. During a second most impressive apparition of Our Lady, the chief became enraged and tried to grab the Blessed Virgin, but She disappeared, leaving in the chief’s hand a kind of holy card relic, quite small in size, which is preserved to this day in a protective monstrance. It depicts the Virgin, with Child, seated on a throne, both bearing crowns on their heads.

No mere legend, the apparition of Our Lady of Coromoto received approbation from the highest authority in the Church, with Pope Pius XII declaring Our Lady of Coromoto “Patroness of the Republic of the Venezuela” at the request of the country’s bishops, whose successors appeal to Her today.

No such appeal to the Virgin on behalf of the poor nation of Venezuela can be expected from Francis. As one columnist notes in the Wall Street Journal (quoted here):
“Venezuela’s crisis doesn’t fit into Pope Francis’s standard way of explaining contemporary political and economic problems. It’s very hard for the pope to blame Venezuela’s problems on the tyranny of Mammon, financial speculation, free trade agreements, arms-dealers, nefarious ‘neoliberals,’ or any of his usual list of suspects.”

This is not to suggest (as do American neo-conservatives) that the Bergoglian list of usual suspects does not come in for legitimate, indeed harsh, criticism according to Catholic social teaching. Rather, the problem here is blindness to that same social teaching with respect to its equally harsh condemnation of socialism, summed up in Pius XI’s dictum in his landmark social encyclical Quadragesimo anno: “Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”

It is an axiom of our religion that no person on earth can judge the Pope in the sense of a penal sentence with juridical effect. But the bar of history offers its own inescapable judgment of Popes. In that sense, I must agree with Showalter’s conclusion: “What it all points to is that the pope needs to either blast the nightmare in Venezuela or watch his own credibility go down the drain as civil war engulfs that country… Either he slays the Venezuelan dragon or the Venezuelan dragon will slay him.”   Source

Comments invited… 

Organ Donation – The UGH! Factor…

The Church is very clear on the meaning of death. “Death can mean decomposition, disintegration, a separation,” Pope John Paul II said in a 1989 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. “It occurs when the spiritual principle which ensures the unity of the organism no longer exercises its functions in and upon the organism, whose elements, left to themselves, disintegrate.”

The scenario has become a familiar one in the news media. There is a tragic accident, a young victim, and a distraught family. Within the next few days, follow-up stories report approvingly that the organs of the brain-dead patient have been donated. The family expresses relief that at least some good has been derived from what might otherwise have been merely a senseless tragedy. Most readers find little controversy in these stories. Donating the organs of a brain-dead patient has become a routine procedure at both secular and religious hospitals throughout the US, and throughout the world. However, a small but growing number of ethicists tire protesting what they deem an overly hasty rush to procure organs for transplant a rush which, they contest, is sometimes so hasty that “brain-dead” patients are in fact alive when they are put to the knife.  Click here to read more…

Comment: 

The Scottish Government plans to bring forward legislation to change the current situation where it is necessary for patients to  choose to donate their organs at death, and such volunteers often carry a card specifying that they wish to donate organs.  Read more here.  

The system is to be changed so that patients must opt-out – otherwise, our organs may be presumed to be available.  I have sent the following email to Aileen Campbell, MSP, Minister for Public Health in Scotland: 

Dear Ms Campbell,

With reference to the planned legislation to enforce “opt out” of organ donation, please advise how to go about opting out.

I presume this entails notifying my GP, but I would also like to ensure that I carry a card to indicate that I do not wish to donate an organ, NOR do I wish to receive one, in any emergency situation that may arise, so I presume that there will be a card to read “I do NOT wish to donate”, as there is an opt-in card already available.

I look forward to your advice on these matters, as soon as possible.  Thank you. END

Now, I know that the new Catechism of the Catholic Church praises organ donation in the highest terms:  Donation of organs after death is a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as a manifestation of generous solidarity… (#2296)

So, why do I have such a revulsion against the very idea?  Whatever happened, I ask myself, to accepting God’s will when afflicted with serious illness, albeit allowing for the pursuit of available treatments to improve or restore health. Having someone else’s organs transplanted into us, seems to me, to go way beyond that.  However, I get the feeling that I’m very much in the minority on this subject.  I won’t be won over:  the revulsion I felt when I first heard about organ transplants has never left me – but I look forward to learning how other bloggers view this matter.  Over to you!  

Is Doubting The Faith No Longer A Sin?

quote-about-faith-st-elizabeth-ann-seton

VATICAN CITY – Everyone experiences doubts about the faith at times – “I have” many times, Pope Francis said – but such doubts can be “a sign that we want to know God better and more deeply.”

“We do not need to be afraid of questions and doubts because they are the beginning of a path of knowledge and going deeper; one who does not ask questions cannot progress either in knowledge or in faith,” the pope said Nov. 23 at his weekly general audience.

Pope Francis said that although the Year of Mercy has concluded, he still wanted to continue his general audience reflections on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

With fewer than 10,000 pilgrims and visitors present and with rain forecast, the Vatican moved the audience indoors to the Vatican audience hall.  Click here to read more

Comment:

Am I alone is not having experienced “doubts” about the Faith? Maybe I was taught, too thoroughly, that wilful doubt is one of the chief sins against the Faith (Scottish Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Chapter XXVIII, The First Commandment – Section 1: the Worship of God, # 541)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), # 2088 teaches that the first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith: Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness. End of extract from CCC

I was taught that God cannot deceive, and thus, we are obliged to accept, in the spirit of Faith, what He has revealed. Obviously, such Faith is accepted in the context of learning about the nature of Church, that the authority of the Catholic Church comes from God, and that, thus, there is no need for “doubts”. Of course we should continue to study and read about the Church, but not in a spirit of asking God to prove Himself to us.  It has become a fashion to doubt, the implication being that unless we entertain doubts we are somehow less intelligent that those who do. The opposite is, in fact, true. It is entirely against the nature of true Faith to entertain doubts. The legitimate questions which arise, and to which we seek answers, are not “doubts” so it is a pity that Pope Francis is using the word and encouraging the idea that it is a good thing to doubt. 

Personally, I think that Pope Francis is confusing the duty to keep ourselves educated in the Faith through study and prayer, with doubting, which is, as indicated above, one of the chief sins against the Faith.  What do you think? 

Church Crisis: Educating The Masses…

alberteinsteineducation-quote

We often receive emails asking questions about the state of the Church and how to deal with it. I’m afraid that I sometimes feel impatience with certain enquirers, especially if they are members of the older generation, when we were all taught very clearly that our Catholic Faith could never contradict Reason. Therefore, it seems to me, any (older) person of average intelligence should know, through their Catholic sense, that everything, from the introduction of a new Mass right up to and including Amoris Laetita, cannot be from God.  In any event, I replied to the most recent enquirer  – who is a younger Catholic, really seeking answers to questions others have asked – by sending some suggested reading. I think, however, that these latest questions might spark some very knowledgeable and interesting responses from our bloggers, so I recommended that our enquirer wait while greater minds than mine go to work…

Catholic Truth Question Time

(1)   Were there things in the Church that were needing ‘fixed’ at the time the Second Vatican Council was called?

(2)   Was the Mass in Latin alienating to people and preventing them from becoming close to Our Lord? Note:  I would like to know where to find evidence to back up my opinion that this was not the case – apart from statistics which show that the Church was thriving in the 1960s

(3)   Where did the initiative to change the Mass come from….did the faithful want it? And if it did come from an infiltration of  Freemasons in the Church how can we prove this e.g. I have heard that Bugnini was a Freemason but where is the evidence?

Well, folks?  To work!  

Papacy: Elect One Pope, Get One Free?

You MUST read these Catholic Truth newsletter. If you want to be a good pope, read them...

This box contains all my copies of the Catholic Truth newsletters, Francis. A MUST-read, if you want to be a good pope…

I’m finding myself getting short on patience, to put it mildly,with those who keep telling me that “Benedict is still pope” – having me choking on my morning tea – and, as if that’s not annoying enough, I get regular emails containing the same message from the other side of the world. Anything, rather than accept the fact that it is perfectly possible for a pope to be a bad pope. I mean, we’ve argued the Sedevacantist  theory to death, now we’re faced with more Theology For Dummies thanks to the rise of  Benevacantism…  Is there no end to it?  

Anyway, when I complained to Athanasius about this annoyance, he emailed as follows, and subsequently gave permission for me to use his pearls of wisdom to kick start this discussion: note: Pope FRANCIS is the pope, a terrible pope, no question about it, and while we will certainly permit those of a different view to express their opinion, allow me to say at the outset that we are not about to go round in circles with this. The purpose of this thread is to nip this nonsense in the bud, so anyone who doesn’t “get it” reasonably quickly, can expect to be erased from the face of this blog, in due course. Be warned! No more Mzzzz Nice Gal!

ATHANASIUS WRITES…

Below is Pope Benedict’s declaration of Papal Renunciation with highlighted words showing that he renounced both spiritual and pastoral aspects of the Papacy and then confirmed this by speaking of the election of a new SUPREME PONTIFF, where “Supreme” means over everything, not shared. He even stated that he was renouncing the ministry entrusted to him by the conclave and we know that was the Petrine ministry in all its aspects. These conspirators are just trouble making schismatics. 

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.  And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

Comments invited…  

A Tale of Two Priests & Two Masses

From America Magazine…

An ordinary Sunday morning. No parish assignment, no preaching. So I decide to go to a church that celebrates the Latin Mass every Sunday at 11 AM. I knew it would be in Latin, but I wasn’t sure if it would be the old Tridentine or new post-Vatican II Latin Mass. Clearly it was Tridentine! One reason to attend was to see if I could feel comfortable being the main celebration of the Latin Mass.  

A female altar server assists at a Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley in 2013.Pilot file photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

A female altar server assists at a novus ordo Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley in 2013.

The church was half-filled, older men and women, some families with children, and a number of people in their 30’s who followed with their missals. The music, all in Latin, was in abundance with 90 percent sung by the choir and little by the congregation. The opening procession included 8 servers in surplices (all male), an assistant to the priest and the main celebrant…

REACTIONS. During the celebration I felt very uncomfortable. It was strange and foreign. Even though I was very familiar with the Tridentine Mass from my childhood, it seemed remote and distant. The Mass seemed to focus on the priest whose words for the most part could not be heard (they were in Latin anyway!) and who rarely faced the people. The choir performed well and their singing overrode the priest, who had to wait several times until they finished singing.

In my mind I could not but think back to the Second Vatican Council, and all that the Council and subsequent documents tried to bring about – active participation, emphasis on the important things, vernacular, elimination of accretions and repetitions, etc. It was sad and disheartening. What happened? Why would the Catholic faithful seek out and attend this older form of the Mass? Is the Tridentine Mass an aberration? What does it say about the reforms of Vatican II?

After the Mass, I was tempted to talk with some of those present. But I decided not to as I feared I would have been negative and perhaps controversial. My feelings were still very raw. One thing I know: I myself will never freely choose to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.  Click here to read article in full

From Traditional Catholic Priest (Blog)…

Constantly I hear from people that they do not go to the Latin Mass because they do not understand Latin.  (Some even think that the homily is in Latin.)  So please, just for now, let us put aside the argument of the language; Latin or English and go to the prayers and actions that are part of the rubrics of the two masses.  Let us also look at who is the center of focus and the way the people participate, dress and receive God in Holy Communion at the two masses. 

Traditional (Latin) Mass

Traditional (Latin) Mass

As a priest, I want to re-clarify what are the differences on how Jesus is treated in the two masses.   This will be from my own stand point as a priest who has for years celebrated the New Mass in English and Spanish, and now, for the last 7 years offered the Ancient Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…

From my view up on the altar, the difference between the Ancient Mass and the New Mass is like day and night.  Archbishop Sample, from Portland Oregon, put it well when he said at the Sacra Liturgia Conference in Rome, that he wants all of his priests to learn and offer the Latin Mass because of the effect it has on them understanding their role as priests.  He said that offering the Holy Latin Mass has changed him completely and now he finally understands the sacrificial aspect of his priesthood..

As a priest who says the New Mass and the Latin Mass, the Latin Mass has by far more rubrics built right into the Latin Mass to protect the Body and Blood of Jesus from being desecrated in any manner.  It clearly has the strong sacrificial component of the Holy Mass and priesthood.  It does not have the protestant emphasis on the Last Supper and “doing this in remembrance of Me” like the Luther advocated.  It also has prayers and gestures that facilitate more easily the adoration that Jesus deserves from us His creatures.  And because of this, the Latin Mass pleases God way more than the New Mass. Click here to read article in full

 

Comments invited – how did YOU vote in the poll: and why?