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.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Restoration?

Some on the restoration of the liturgy soon.