Sunday, October 30, 2005

still here

Just need to see if I can blog about the church, economics and politics and try to make it work.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Problems in growing TLM mass attendance

While many blogs talk about the growth of the TLM in their diocese with many large, young familes, that is not the case everywhere. Here at Holy Family in Columbus Ohio, there are many things going for the weekly TLM indult. There is a supportive pastor(Fr. Kevin Lutz), the weekly mass is a high mass, the Pastor makes sure the TLM will be celebrated for all days of obligation and high feast days as well.

That said, attendance, while it has gone up in the last 2 years while I have been going to mass at Holy Family, still is not growing as it should. While there are some young familes, and a decent amount of young adults, the conregation tends to skew older. The most fustrating thing is there isint the increase in the number of young familes that all have hoped for when Una Voce Columbus first started two years ago to promote the mass. Here I will give what I think are the two main reasons why there hasnt beenthe growth that other indult communities have experienced.

1.) Mass Time- While the start time of the mass at 9AM is not unreasonable, it is not optimal either. It takes a while to get a family going in the morning, especially is there is a distance to travel to get to the indult mass, and at my old indult mass location(chapel really) in Sacramento CA, St. Stephens, the 10:30 AM mass was by far the best attended, and anything in the 10AM-11:30AM range is the most optimal as far as attdence is concerned. Also a 9 AM start time makes it difficult for many young adults who may be intrested in attending the TLM as well to check it out.

2.) A Traditional leaning Novus Ordo parish.- I blogged about this parish a month ago, St. Patrick ran by the Dominicans not too far from Holy Family. It has none of the flashpoints that pople usually associate with the Novus Ordo, and for orthodox Catholics in the area, it is hard to convince them to try to attend the indult. Also St. Patrick has 4 mass times on Sunday as well(5 if one counts the 6PM Sunday vigil mass). To me, this is the bigger reason why the indult is not growing as it should at Holy Family, and again, the liturgy done here is very traditional compared to the vast majority of suburban parishes in the diocese. Trying to convince many who attend here, who would be otherwise well disposed to attending the TLM is not an easy task.

If anyone has any suggestions(the best comparions would be trying to grow the TLM communities in Detroit and St. Paul-Minneapolis if face of competition from well done Novus Ordos), I would like to hear them.

Thoughts on the ban of homosexuals seminarians

The last few days, the world of Catholic bloggers has erupted on the supposed document that bans the admission of homosexuals to seminaries. Now there is yet to be any definitive word on if the document is even going to be released or not, since now some sources in the Vatican say there has yet to be any approval of any such document.

That aside, I will say that if the church and society were in good shape, and the issue of sexuality wasnt so warpped(and this applies to hetrosexuals as well, with the large amount of porn, "gentelmens clubs and the like becoming mainstream"), then a gay man who is celebate, who holds temptations in check, and views himself as not being part of the gay culture would not be a problem.

That said, the problem is that a very large number of priests view themselves as openly gay, and even the ones who are celibate, with them viewing themselevs as gay and part of the gay culture, they are clear and present dangers to the church and her integrity. It comes as no suprise that many of priests who have a gay inclanation also are less than orthodox, in terms of liturgy, in terms of how they present theology, dogmas and doctrines to their flocks, now there are allways exceptions, but the strength of the gay subculture in many seminaries to the detriment of hetrosexual seminarians shows how dangerous this issue has become for the health of the church. My opinion is that many bishops want to continue to admit gay seminarians not because they are for all of the gay agenda per say, but they want to keep the doors open because at least in the West, gay men are pretty much so the biggest source of vocations with "progressive" views.

I honestly feel sorry for the men who struggle with homosexual inclanations that are trying to put up a fight, trying to live a life of virture, trying to follow church teachings, and they need support, but with the past 40 years of the church falling apart, and the abuse scandals, feminine priests, clergy who make up their own doctrines, dogmas and liturgy up, it is a risk the church can not afford to make. Likewise, not all hetrosexual men are fit for the priesthood as well because of twisted sexual desires they may have.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Some thoughts on the last week

The destruction and suffering in the New Orleans area bring into perspective that the world is far bigger than any of us, in what can be often petty aspects of our own lives and communities. The destruction is staggeing, an entire metro area has been evacuated, the disruption will last for months, and unthinkable, there are over one million people displaced and possibly thousands dead, and all of this in what is the United States.

As a pundit said, whoever died in the hurricane itself was the result of a natural disaster, whoever died in its aftermath was a man made disaster, and while there is plenty of blame on all levels of govrenmnet to go around, one must wonder why Bush was not more forceful in his initial response to this disaster. While of coruse the initial response, or therefor lack of is mostly on the shoulder of the local authorities, one wonders why he didnt to to Baton Rouge Tuesday to at least give the apperance of him being in charge and to show moral support to the victions of Katrina. One wonders why he wasnt more forceful in getting emergency forces under federal control in place. It seems Mr. Bush is obsessed with Iraq, and delegates most every thing else. Many questions to be asked here.

Lastly, one thing that distresses me is how so many so called "conservatives" defend Bush no matter what, with 5 cent Limbaugh talking points. It seems mainstream conservatism is every bit as bankrupt as liberalism was by the late 70s.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Prayer request..............

It seems like hurricane Katrina may be just as bad as hurricane Andrew was back in 92, please pray that the storm changes course to avoid New Orleans or loses strength. As someone whose family home was a devsatating house fire when I was growing up, I know what its like to lose a home, but on this scale, if it hits New Orleans dead on, the devastation will be many magnitudes worse. Even in the California Earthquates, the devastation tends to be in pockets, not area wide. All of us, lets pray.............

Thursday, August 25, 2005

De Facto Mainline Protestants?

In the debates about liturgy, theology, and when it comes down to social issues such as homosexuality and abortion, and economic teachings, one wonders if a majority of parishes, in the English speaking world, and in probably the West as a whole, have not indeed become, when it comes down to the religous, what people hear from the pulpits, what they know of church teachings much less theology, are de facto mainline Protesant chapels.

Now at this point some people may write about the rotten afthermath of VaticanII, about the radical changes in the liturgy, in poorly formed priests, and they all have points here, but this goes beyond liturgy. I have in fact, seen some parishes that have rather pedestrian liturgy, basic if one can call it it "broad church" Novus Ordo, but still at least try as best they can, authentic church teachings. Now I think that to be fully successful in passing on church teachings and re enforceing theology, the high church approach, either St. Agnes/Brompton Oratory style Novus Ordo or the Tridentine mass is the best, at least some parishes that do not try this approach do try to make an effort to present and teach the Catholic faith.

That said, most of the parishes I have seen, do not even try to make an honest attempt to teach the faith. While I do not deny that their sacraments are valid, because no doubt in the vast majority of cases they area, their liturgical life, what is heard from the pulpit, to what people see in the bullitens or literature in the racks in the front of the church, they do not even come close to being fed church teachings. Like in mainline Protestant churches, there seems to be a fairly big push on social justice, it seems rather than the 10 commandments being pushed, it is the golden rule being pushed, and it seems that Jesus and his teachings are distilled to "He was a nice guy!". The sense of sin seems to be gone, and in fact, when I first returned to the faith a few years back, imagine my confusion when in the confessional, a priest told me the only sin is when one sins against the Holy Sprit(The fundamental option theory). In one of the greatest ironies, even many of the most progressive of mainline liturgical denominations, such as ELCA Lutherans and Epsicopalins, the quality of the liturgy is quite a bit better than what one would find in most Catholic parishes.

I consider myself lucky I managed to overcome this kind of enviroment when I first came back to the faith to find authentic church teachings and to get to know traditions of the faith. For someone who grew up well after Vatican II, well after the 60s and saw the afthermath of what took place, someone who like most of us saw fallen bahavior as the norm, there is little to sustain, there is little of substance to sustain oneselves in such enviroments, and it is of little surprise that many parishes, same as mainline protestant denominations have a greying population base, because if you tell people they are ok, if they tell there is no sin, then what is the goal for people to strive for, what is there to lift people up out of whatever situation they are currently in? What would the point be of going to mass at all?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Psalm 42

Whenever I have a difficult day, when I see what is unjust is simpily ignored in whatever area, or when society overwhelms me, I refer to this psalm.

Judge me, O God, and take up my cause against the nation that is not holy. Free me from the unjust and deceitful man. For You, O God, are my strength, why have You cast me off? And why do I walk in sorrow, while the enemy troubles me? Send forth Your light and Your truth, they have led me, and brought me to Your holy hill, and to Your dwelling. I will go to the altar of God, to God who gives joy to my youth. To You, O God, my God, I will give praise upon the harp, why are you sad, O my soul? And why do you trouble me? Hope in God, for I will still praise Him, the salvation of my countenance and my God. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit

The Reboot of the liturgy

When a program, much less the hard drive of a computer gets corrupted, the normal course of things are one of two choices, either a reboot, even a reformat of the hard drive to get the computer back t o the state before it was corrupted, or the far more difficult scanning and cleaning of the computer by anti virus/anti spyware programs, the more corrupt the PC, the amount the difficulty increases in trying to rid it of its corruption.

This brings us to the current day mass. It seems that many clerical and lay powers that be want to continue making the mass in irreverent experience, devoid of any sense of the sacred, sense of tradition, much less any connection to the theology and teachings of the church. Things that started out as abuses such as EMHCs, altar girls and communion under both species have become instituionalized, and many elements of tradition such altar rails, much less use of them have been close to being banned(in a handful of dioceses in the US, some parishes, either because of pastors or Bishops have been forced to stop using the altar rail for communion). It almost seems that to get a reverent mass, the only option is the Traditional Latin Mass(TLM). While there are a few exceptions, such as the parishes I mentioned in my previous post, the truth is the manner they celebrate mass in can be changed at the whime of either a Pastor or a Bishop. All and all, the corruption of the mass seems to grow, to the point that even the new (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) has been used by many clerics to strip even more kneeling away from the mass. It seems that the longer this goes on, the more corrupted from tradition it gets.

To me, there is a potential solution, and that is to reboot the official liturgy of the church(It can be called for example Roman Usage). Bring it back to where it was in the fall of 1964, and re read what Vatican II actually said about the mass. On the core elements of the mass, such as its very structure, keep the Tridentine structre, do not tamper one bit with its rubrics, and keep the core of its lectionary intact, with moderate revsions down the road with respect to its lectionary cycle. Make these elements have cannomical protections so no priest or Bishop can tamper with them.

Again, some elements that Vatican II asked for such as use of more vernacular in the mass, estabislhment of permanent deacons, and even a restoration of instituted acolytes and lectors(male only) can be looked at as potential ORGANIC developments of the liturgy. To ensure the protection of this mass, initially have Rome set up a personal parish in every Vicarate with only this liturgy, so the faithful can have a real choice, and if Bishops do not go for this, then look at the possibility of setting up in extreme cases of personal dioceses, and last but not least, set up a different seminary and vocational structure so seminarians would not be turned away as being "too ridgid".

That said, one may ask"How is it possible to bring the entire church back to the TLM"? My awnser it isint, so anyone attached to the way the Novus Ordo is typically done, with the instituional abuses taking place in a large majority of parishes can continue to attend such parishes. Grant a indult to any priest and parish that wishes to continue to celebrate the mass in such a manner, though heresy from the pulpit nor a St. Joan of Arc style celebration of the mass should be tolerated.

I am under no illusion that the church as a whole is either ready or willing to go back to the Traditional mass, though many polls I have read state that about 10-15% of active Catholics would like a traditional mass, though most do not because of a lack of a convinent time or location or they simpily do not know such a mass exists, and giving cannonical protection and allowing those who prefer a traditional liturgical useage to expand freely as other movments(notably the Charismatic movment) will give these Catholics a clear and visible choice, and also lay the foundation for future growth. As for vocations, of a Traditional usage of the mass is given free reign, then I expect within a deacde, a majority of priestly vocations would come from a traditioanl usage of the missal. As for the Novus Ordo, In the West at least, I would expect within two generations, that its viability would be no better than the mainline Protestants in terms of priestly, religous or matrimony vocations(again with a few exceptions).

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Abnormal missa ordo

While I do prefer the old mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass(TLM), I am not as dogmatic, for lack of a better word in saying the New Mass(Novus Ordo) is invalid and the TLM is the only real mass. That is not to say I agree with how the Novus Ordo was constructed, that isint to say there are severe issues in how it was translated, not to mention it has too many options, but that said, it can be celebrated in a reverent manner, that can bring much of it in line with tradition.

Today I got up a little late to go to the indult mass here in Columbus, so I went to the 10:30 AM mass at the Dominican staffed St. Patricks . This parish is the Columbus equivlent of St. Agnes in St. Paul MN or The Assumption Grotto in Detroit, and while it is not as "high mass" as these two other parishes, it retains many elements of tradition, such as no EMHCs, no altar girls, no female lectors, all kneel at the altar rail for communion, and traditional hymns, many in Latin. The preaching is very orthodox, the pastor sermon of today was being about how the desire of Christ was to be all united to his sucessor the Chair of Peter, The Pope. The parish also has RCIA classes taught by the priests staffing the parish.

The mass was packed, and there were many young familes, and many young adults, and by seeing the size of the familes, it was clear they were following the full church teachings. This brings me to the point despite the fact this mass was a Novus Ordo, mostly in English, the mass, this parish is far closer to what one would find to the TLM than what would typically take place at a suburban parish. If one wants to see what the so called "reform of the reform" would look like, they would very well see it here. It is also ironic that the parishes that seem to be the most successful in having people follow church teachings, being faithful to the magesterium, and producing vocations, are the parishes that have many so called "pre Vatican II" elements.