Thursday, October 25, 2012

Feel the Pain


In the comment section of “Squelching Latin in the Mass”, some of us got to commiserating about the state of liturgical affairs in our various parishes and in the Church as a whole.

Now, we all know that things can be really, really, really bad – like clown Masses and beer tent Masses, and bishops high-fiving each other and holding balloons at Mass – or they can be “sorta-kinda bad”, with bad homilies, adlibbing of prayers, lay ministers in shorts and flip-flops, etc… and all gradations in between. Sadly, we hear few reports about parishes that have liturgies where the rubrics are faithfully followed, and where there is liturgically correct music as well!

Those who desire truly reverent and correct liturgical worship do experience pain at Masses that fall short in the rubrics department. And many have found that the Masses that don’t fall short are the ones offered in the extraordinary form, AKA the Traditional Latin Mass.  Funny how that works.

Here are a few comments from the post mentioned above:

The final straw in my parish church occurred on Sunday. I have been hanging on by a frayed string for some time now there, but Sunday's "homily" on the sin of "individualism", building the Reign of God on earth, and the priesthood of the people did me in. It is often a straw that breaks the camel's back. But [it was] the conversation between the priest and an EM in front of the open tabernacle that caused me the most pain. As an afterthought, the priest made a reluctant bow, and the EM thought to imitate him and do the same as they hurried away.

As I think I already mentioned here, I am a former sedevacantist/SSPX chapel goer.  
That is where I am on the brink of returning - to my sedevacantist chapel.
Our diocese is bad….

…I have been advised to sit home, but I cannot do that. I just want a place where I have my faith and a reverent Mass.

Another commenter lamented:

I am struggling right now. I have people telling me I need to go to the NO Mass…but I can hardly stand to be there after 3 years of the diocesan TLM only. This difference is wearing on me and the children.

Lately, I began going to the local SSPX chapel for First Fridays only and have found such an oasis there that I want to keep going back…

I often wonder why it is that the people who just want a liturgy that’s celebrated according to the rubrics and according to the various documents of the Church – even the Vatican II documents! – are ignored, at best; and at worst they are ostracized, ridiculed, and otherwise brow-beaten. The minute a pastor makes a change in the liturgically correct direction, a handful of “progressive” voices protest and say they’ll leave the parish if they don’t get their way. And the pastor waffles. Why is that?!

Whatever the reason, that’s the way it is. Of course, we should still respectfully make known our desire for a properly celebrated Mass – it’s our right to have a decent liturgy, and it’s even a duty to bring to pastors’ attention the abuses we observe. However, I suspect we will have to endure bad liturgy for some years to come.

Yet another commenter on the “Squelching Latin” post mentioned and provided a link to an article by Fr. John Hardon entitled How to Cope with Abuses in the Eucharistic Liturgy (thank you, CK!). I’ll give you a few excerpts here with a few comments interspersed (my emphases  throughout), but I recommend reading the entire article at the link.

Fr. Hardon notes from the outset that “[f]rom the very beginning of the Church’s existence Catholics have been obliged to assist at Mass every Sunday and at…Days of Obligation”, and that Catholics are well aware of this.

Catholics commonly recognize the seriousness of their duty. As a result, their conscience tells them to participate in the Holy Sacrifice… This same conscience is now being tested in not a few cases to the breaking point because of the widespread liturgical abuses going on throughout the United States as well as other countries in the Western world.

Basically our question is, how does a Catholic satisfy this grave duty of assisting at Mass…on Sundays and days of Obligation where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in ways that are frequently, very often nothing less than scandalous to the faithful?

Fr. Hardon gives us an example of a hypothetical parish

…[L]et us suppose we are members of Ethel Rita Parish, located in the town of Middleburg. Our pastor and the only priest of the parish is Fr. Filbert Imbecilius who introduced altar girls many years ago. He refuses to distribute Holy Communion to anyone kneeling. Either you are standing for Holy Communion or he will pass you by.

Fr. Filbert regularly omits the Gloria and substitutes what he calls the “Prayer of Belief.” He never says the Nicene Creed. He changes the wording of both the Sacramentary and the Lectionary to eliminate every even suggestion of sexist language. He uses strange looking and even stranger tasting altar bread. Regularly he refers to God as Father, Mother or pronouns He or She. He insists that everyone stand for the whole Eucharistic Prayer. He regularly changes the words of the Mass including the words of consecration to suit his own fancy. He hardly ever celebrates Mass without a crowd what he calls facilitators. Most of whom are well known as zealous feminists who join their hands around the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer.

Fr. Hardon goes on in a way that would be humorous, were it not so true! And he notes too, that in this hypothetical parish:

Countless letters, letters of complaint have been sent to the Bishop of the diocese. Every letter has gone unanswered, and there is no reason to expect that the Bishop will make any effort to change the abuses in this parish. In fact, the only occasion when the Bishop made any public statement on the subject of the liturgy was when he rejected a petition to allow the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in his diocese. Said the Bishop, “There is no need to return to the past.” and the petitioners were labeled, “Liturgical Reactionaries” by his Holy Excellency.

Sound familiar?! Then Fr. Hardon addresses the problem of the distance one must travel to attend a Mass “celebrated with some regard for the lawful norms” – again addressing a concern many of us face. He also addresses the remedy some have found:

A few years ago some members of St. Ethel Rita became so disgusted that they formed a private liturgical association, and now hold meetings every other Sunday in an old Protestant church building which they have purchased and converted into a small parish. These meetings are followed by a Tridentine Mass celebrated of course without the permission of the Bishop of Middleburg.

Fr. Hardon also addresses the canonical considerations involved in attending an SSPX Mass. He notes:

In my judgment, Catholics do fulfill their duty of assisting at Sunday Mass by attending in the Holy Sacrifice a church affiliated with those who are members with a schismatic group like the Lefebvres. But then I also must add the Catholics be sure that those seeing them attending these schismatic Masses are not scandalized into thinking that professed Roman Catholics have given up their fidelity to the Bishop of Rome.

Unfortunately, many do assume that anyone who attends an SSPX Mass no longer maintains “fidelity to the Bishop of Rome”. Perhaps they can be educated!

In order to cope with the abuses of the liturgy, Fr. Hardon suggests that the faithful must increase their understanding of the Eucharist, noting that there has been an unfortunate abundance of wrong theology about the Eucharist, with

…books [that] teach widely …that the Eucharist is essentially the gathering of the faithful

They will tell you a priest saying Mass alone is not offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice. What we are calling liturgical abuses are only symptoms of deep doctrinal errors that have penetrated once Catholic circles and are causing untold damage to the faith, and I mean it, of millions!

…So many people nowadays are speaking about Eucharistic celebration. So few are ever talking about the Sacrifice of the Mass… [T]here is no substitute for understanding the Holy Eucharist as the Sacrifice of the Mass which is, we believe, a representation of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary.

…The main reason for the loss of millions of once believing Catholics is they have not understood what they have believed. Either you understand the meaning of the Holy Eucharist or today’s world you will cease to remain a Catholic.

Fr. Hardon also suggests that it is extremely important to

…keep up to date [with] the Church’s directives on how the Holy Eucharist is to be celebrated, worshipped and received. And hear it, the final arbiter on the Holy Eucharist is not, is not, the Bishop of the diocese. It is the Bishop of Rome.

Fr. Hardon’s third means of coping with liturgical abuse is “prudential courage”. He says:

We must be courageous, and I mean courageous in professing our faith in Jesus Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament and offering Himself in the Sacrifice of the Mass in today’s world and what I am saying refers not only to the laity but also and with painful emphasis to priests.

…The Catholic Church will survive only where there are still bishops, priests, and the laity who have the supernatural, even heroic, fortitude to live up to what they know the Vicar of Christ expects of those who call themselves Catholics.

There is much more to this article, so please go and read it! And keep in mind this prayer Fr. Hardon offers at the end of the conference:

Lord Jesus, we beg you to give us the strength to not just believe internally in your Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Give us the strength to profess our faith, especially in the company of people who have accepted widespread Eucharistic liturgical abuses and consider us out of touch with the times.

Mary our Mother, ask your Son to make us strong in following Him really present in the Blessed Sacrament even if this would cost us our lives. Amen.

12 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you for posting this, Dr. Jay!

    I will send you and Lorraine via email two examples of the "bad theology" of the Holy Eucharist that was being taught in our seminaries back in the 50s through the 90s. Pope Paul VI addressed these in his encyclical Mysterium Fidei in 1965.

    It has *directly* affected my diocese. Lorraine is right saying on the previous thread "Squelching the Latin Mass" that some of our priests have subscribed to Lutheran theology concerning the Most Holy Eucharist.

    For now, I must retire - 04:40 comes early here in the Midwest!

    More tomorrow.

    CK

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  2. I just wish you could all come to my church. I am so blessed with the TLM - the first time I attended a High TLM was the first time I ever understood what Jesus meant when He said He was the Water of Life.

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  3. So do I, Nilk, so do I. :)

    Continuing my thoughts from last night - here is the first conference from the 12-tape set titled "The Blessed Sacrament" by Fr. John Hardon, S.J. It also contains "How to Cope with abuses in the Eucharistic Liturgy."

    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Faith/Faith_006.htm

    You can order the set here (it is pricey [35$], but worth its weight in gold):

    https://store.lifeeternal.org/products.asp?p=357

    In this conference Fr. Hardon gives examples, and names, of certain theologians and their "theologies" concerning the Holy Eucharist.

    Dr. Jay quotes Fr. Hardon above: "What we are calling liturgical abuses are only symptoms of *deep doctrinal errors* that have penetrated once Catholic circles and are causing untold damage to the faith, and I mean it, of millions!"

    This conference delves into what Fr. Hardon is talking about. These theologians were the darlings of the theological world during the time leading up to and just after Vatican II. They were invited to speak at seminaries all across the Western world.

    So concerned was Rome with the theology these men were teaching it caused Pope Paul VI to release his encyclical "Mysterium Fidei" (The Mystery of Faith - which was on the Holy Eucharist) *during* the last session of the council. Never in the history of the Church has a reining pontiff done this.

    Dr. Jay says:

    "Fr. Hardon suggests that the faithful must increase their understanding of the Eucharist, noting that there has been an unfortunate abundance of wrong theology about the Eucharist..."

    This is exactly what I did when I came home to the Church in the late 90s not only because of abuses in the Sacred Liturgy, but also because of certain questionable catechesis I was hearing in catechetical circles at the time.

    Lorraine and Jeanne, I suggest reading the following documents from the Holy See when you have the time:

    Mysterium Fidei, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Dominicae Cenae, Liturgiam Authenticam, Inaestimabile Donum...

    Also read the entire section on the Holy Eucharist from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (it starts at paragraph 1322)

    Sorry for the length, Dr. Jay. I just want to try to help folks understand what and why they are encountering at their parishes in some cases.

    Don't lose heart folks! Remember that great axiom the Church has always taught:

    Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? So He can bring a greater good out of it!

    CK



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  4. Forgot to mention:

    All of the conferences by Fr. Hardon from "The Blessed Sacrament" tape-set are transcribed and available at therealpresence.org website.

    Just go to the homepage and scroll to the bottom. Look for "Hardon Archives" and click on it. Then look for "Eucharist." Father has dozens of conferences on the Holy Eucharist and many other topics.

    God bless,
    CK

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  5. Thank you so much CK for all the info on this topic and for all your suggestions : Lorraine and I will have some great reading on all these papal documents that you have asked us to read...oh my, what a blessing this will be !
    Yes , and I will go to the web site on the real presence ...I will in their yesterday and read many wonderful articles by Fr. Hardon and Fr. Mateo Crowley. Any other suggestions CK for us so we can be informed and learn the TRUTH, PLEASE , PLEASE share all you can with us! Thanks a million Dr. Jay for this post , as always may God Bless you and also NIK the BEAUTY of the TLM is breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL ! The Best thing this side of HEAVEN ,we are bleassed !

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    1. Miss Jean,

      I sent Dr. Jay a private email attached with a "study" or presentation on heretical theologies on the Holy Eucharist. (based upon Fr. Hardon's tape-set)

      I asked her to pass it on to you for your personal reading/study on this topic.

      If Dr. Jay does not have your email - hers is listed at the top of the page. Send a note to her so she can forward my presentation to you, if you would like to read it.

      God love you,
      CK

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  6. Please take seriously my comment left on the other post: http://bit.ly/RnkcGZ

    I could not be more sympathetic to the SSPX as a temptation for those suffering through the insults to Our Lord at so many Novus Ordo Masses. But it is terribly easy to rationalize one's participation on a regular basis as if we were recusants during the period of the English Reformation. The Church Herself has not declared a "state of emergency" and it is hubris to assume that WE can.

    SSPX priests are validly ordained, their Masses are valid, but they are in all cases acts of disobedience to the Church. SSPX priests do not have faculties to hear confessions. I, personally, do not wish to "gamble" on "Deus supplet" on a matter so urgent. I, personally, experience even MORE pain at the idea that a priest of God offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in persona Christi disobediently than I do at the worst excuses for Mass that I have experienced in Novus Ordo settings.

    Suffer through Novus Ordo Masses, even refrain from receiving Holy Communion, rather than rationalize your participation in a Mass that quite likely is even more insulting to God than the Masses you now endure. The cry of Satan was "Non serviam," the penultimate act of disobedience. It is conceivable that SSPX Masses are as offensive to God as Black Masses. God is not mocked, and God does not bless disobedience. Stay with the Church and, in the best traditional sense, "offer it up" as an act of redemptive suffering within the divine chastisement that we all so painfully experience.

    The SSPX are not formally in schism. But the consecration of bishops was declared by Pope John Paul II as "schismatic." This is just a case of hearing "quacks" before definitively concluding that it's a duck. SUFFER through the Novus Ordo Mass and fulfill your obligation to keep holy the Lord's day. Don't pamper your spiritual needs with rationalized disobedience. Pray that the SSPX responds to grace and enters into communion with the Church. This is what the Holy Father asks. As faithful Catholics, THIS is what we should be doing, not reinforcing disobedience.

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    1. Terry, you don't have to ask twice. I see all too clearly where and how they are wrong. I was only in search of my own spiritual comfort. I see clearly now that that is not for me - Our Lord has called me to join with His Mother and friends at the foot of the Cross.

      After accepting for years the reasons the SSPX put forth for the "validity" of their absolutions, one day I actually read them and concluded all by my lonesome self that they were hogwash and did not apply at all. Common error didn't apply, and, while there were bad parishes and not so good dioceses, you couldn't say that the entire Church was in such a state of crisis that God would supply jurisdiction. Initially, they put the doubt in everyone's mind about the validity of the new Rite of Ordination to bolster their "crisis" argument. They've since abandoned using that, and I have no idea how they justify their absolutions these days. I left them many years ago.

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    2. There is always hope. We have a priest at the church around the corner who is former SSPX. He has come home to the Church, and he also instigated a Low TLM once a month. Sure, it's only once a month, and very early in the morning, but it's an excellent start.

      That particular church has also upset potential parishioners because Father at the time (this is going back a few years and I'm not sure if it's the same one who was SSPX) refused to allow a couple to enrol their children at the school because they were unmarried.

      He was apparently quite firm on this matter, and the parents were most offended. ("How could he do that? We're Catholic! Just because we're not married, it's our choice!")

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  7. What a gift all of you are! Thanks be to God a zillion times for what He has given me through you.

    I am too overcome at the moment to write more...

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  8. Thanks CK for the sharing of this informative article that I received through email from Dr. Jay!
    Thanks a million.
    We all want to worship Our Jesus in the most reverant of ways ...and the TLM is a gift from above .
    I realize the NO mass is valid ....BUT...for me it is most distracting and offensive , but that is just me!
    I will keep praying and loving for Holy Mother Church and her purification is coming ...how and when is up to the good God.
    But as one has said : In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and that my friends is GREAT NEWS!

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    1. You are welcome, Miss Jeanne. :)

      You say: "I realize the NO mass is valid ....BUT...for me it is most distracting and offensive , but that is just me!"

      [sigh]

      I agree. I, too, am very frustrated. I will offer myself up to our crucified Lord on the cross and deal with it the best I can. To whom shall I go? (John 6:68)

      CK


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