Thursday, December 6, 2012

Let's Cut to the Chase

Well, this isn't exactly the kind of meditative, spiritual piece I was hoping to post during Advent, but something happened that ticked me off, so I'm writing this to vent. Seriously, the term "remnant" is really beginning to take on a whole new meaning for me as I contemplate the state of our poor Church!

Okay, so we’ve entered the Year of Faith. And the Year of Faith’s grand kick-off date coincided with the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

Now, it may be just a coincidence (cough, cough), but ever since we started living with the misinterpretations of various Vatican II documents, the faith has been going downhill – abysmal Mass attendance, abysmal vocation numbers, etc., etc. There is a crisis. No one really denies that, do they? I mean the reason we need a “new evangelization” is that the old one has failed, and the reason we need a “Year of Faith” is because we have lost so much of it.

So, now we’re supposed to study the Catechism and the documents of Vatican II in order to deepen our knowledge of the faith. All righty, then.

Well, let’s just cut to the chase. Let’s study the misinterpretations of Vatican II right off the bat, and in so doing, set things aright at Mass.

For instance:

Vatican II did NOT say to turn around the altars and take away the altar rail. Let’s teach people that. Let’s teach them what “ad orientem” worship is really about, and let’s explain why the altar rail and receiving on the tongue are important!

Vatican II did NOT say that we could no longer use Latin in the Mass. The opposite is true! We are supposed to use SOME Latin in the Mass!

Vatican II did NOT say “Bring on the geee-tars! Bring on the folk music!” No! Vatican II said that the organ and Gregorian chant have “pride of place”.

Vatican II did NOT say “anything goes in the liturgy”!

I could give a class to cover those things, and it wouldn't take more than one hour.  I could even make it entertaining! Of course, there’s probably not a priest in this diocese that would let me do such a thing! And no one would come, anyway.

So…how about this: let the priest teach it himself! It really is not that difficult (heck, I could write a script for him! [Or the priest could teach himself a few things by taking a look at this post on “Readings from Liturgicae Instaurationes”, in which author Wendell notes some of the points that the instruction  on the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium).]

But the thing is, the pastor has to give the class, and then make the corrections. Period. No debate, no parish council vote, no backing down due to blackmail from parishioners who say they’ll stop giving their whopping $20 per month! The pastor says, “This is what the documents say, and this is how we’re going to do it from now on.”

What’s that, Fr. Friendly? People will leave the parish if you do that? Ummm…sorry to tell you this, but half of your parishioners are Catholic in name only. They left the Church long ago, and only show up to Mass if they feel like it and if it makes them feel good. At least half of them voted for Obama; more than that support gay marriage; and way more than that use artificial contraception. So if they leave, they are at least following their ill-formed consciences.

Who knows? Maybe an unwavering stance on the part of the parish priest will awaken a few sluggish consciences, and some will respond to the challenge and begin to come to a better understanding of what and why the Church teaches as She does on those issues.

You know, good parents don’t give their children an endless diet of fast food and cookies and candy just because that’s all the kids want to eat! They insist that their children eat healthy food, like it or not. A good pastor does the same.

Moving on…

Once we have things straightened out about the liturgy, many of the other problems in the Church would start to correct themselves. For instance, when the liturgy returns to some semblance of Catholic authenticity and reverence, then people will, without a lot of formal teaching, begin to recognize the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist…because of how the Eucharist is treated.

And when the liturgical missteps are corrected, the faithful will begin to understand what they are saying when they recite the Creed. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi, you know: the way we pray is the way we believe is the way we live.

And once people begin to understand what the Creed says, and once they start to believe what they say they believe, then priests can give homilies that reflect those beliefs; homilies that build on those beliefs; homilies that help people live Catholic lives every day of the week...all through the year.

And once that happens, then people might come to sessions on the Catechism and the Bible and Vatican II with an attitude of openness to truly learning more about the faith.

But I don’t think it works the other way around. I don’t week after week of wishy-washy classes will really lead to changes in what people believe, or their level of faith. I don’t think week after week of wishy-washy classes will lead to reforms of the liturgy in individual parishes.

Nope. I think the liturgy has to be corrected first.

Save the liturgy, save the world, ya know.  


  1. A hard fact to accept is this: they are not interested. As long as the bishop is sympathetic to (or one himself) the liberal cause, nothing is going to fly except you right out the parish door where you will be told "If you don't like it here, leave!"

    Also, keep in mind that the pope himself could lay down the law tomorrow if he wanted to no matter what the consequences. Doesn't it ever strike you odd that the Church seems so little concerned about the amount of souls they have lost the past fifty years? It does me. Yet popes have spend inordinate amounts of time apologizing to everyone for everything under the sun. I am still waiting for an apology for the past fifty years.

    Maybe I should start a blog myself. My husband is always telling me to. Then when I read something that ticks me off, like I did yesterday, I can go on line and blow off steam.

    This is turning out to be one awful Advent for me.

  2. Well, Lorraine, you're right, I know. And I agree: the people to whom an apology is owed have never received it, and likely never will. It's our cross to bear, I guess. But that doesn't mean we can't maintain our own faith. We must not lose hope!

    Don't let it be an "awful Advent". The Lord is coming! Hope in Him.

  3. I love it when you get your fur up, Jay! Nothing like some good old-fashioned sarcasm to get me chuckling. I know how you feel and I agree with your statements. Maybe you should send this post, in both letter form and via email, to all the local priests and Bishops out your way. I know, I know, they probably won't read it, but you never know what seed may be planted or nudge towards some courageous action.

    God bless.

  4. LOL, Elizabeth! Maybe I should send it out!

    Funny thing: I have written twice recently to our bishop about the concert shenanigans and the upcoming handbell concert at the Cathedral. Out of courtesy, I sent copies of the letters to the rector of the Cathedral, too; figured he had a right to know what I was saying about him. Of course I did this knowing full well that he wishes I had never crossed his path, and that my husband and I would move far, far away. He sent both letters back to me unopened, marked "Return to Sender". The bishop hasn't responded at this point.

  5. Wow, that's rude, isn't it? As for him wishing you and your husband lived far, far away....well, that is our job now, apparently, to resort to having to hound our shepherds to encourage proper sheepherding!

    Thanks for the chuckle.

  6. Rude? Yes, I think so! Ah, the stories I could tell you! But I won't.

    Anyway, you've hit the nail on the head - we must hound the shepherds...Can we fit any other breeds of dogs in there? Maybe we can shake them like terriers,too...!

  7. I think of your Header referring to St. Francis de Sales. I'm trying to remember what the state of the Church was in his time and what he'd have to say about all this. I do love that saint. By the way, since we're in Advent, one of my favorite books for this time is "Sermons for Advent and Christmas" by him. Have you read that?

    Rorate Caeli has an open thread of reading suggestions for Advent. A couple of books that sparked my interest were: "God In Me" by Fr. Swizdor (just got a used copy today) and "The Other Face" by Philip Caraman (not Advent reading per se, but it's about Catholic life in England during the persecutions under Queen Elizabeth ~ an interest on mine).

    A blessed Advent to you.

  8. Thanks for the tip, Elizabeth; no I haven't read "Sermons for Advent and Christmas". And a blessed Advent to you, too!

  9. Dr. Jay wonderful post!
    Yes let us cut the chase and get serious folks.
    I listened to a sermon by John Vennari on the Diaster of Vatican II.
    I forget right now what site , I will go check and get back with you on that , it is 35 minutes of solid teaching . It might be Catholic News but I will check.
    People in the Catholic Church , for the most part, just go along with the flow. I know I did ....I have been very ignorant of all of this until recently.
    I found St. Francis de Sales Oratory and re-discovered the Traditional Latin Mass which I now attend each and every Sunday and other events as often as I can.
    John Vennari speaks on the Year of Faith also , and how nothing will change until all those who were apart of Vatican II die won't be in my life time.
    The church is in CRISIS.
    I don't think most people even think that , except a few of us.
    There will be a REMNANT and the TRUE AUTHENIC Catholic Church will arise one, I do believe that.
    We need clery, bishops and a Pope who will take us back to the Traditional Latin Mass , and embrace it fully and get rid of the watered down protestant liturgy that we have now. That is my take and opinion .
    I have been attending the Novena to Immaculate Conception at St. Francis de Sales , starts with the TLM and then the Novena and procession to the side altar of Our is majestic.
    I have prayed for each of you during the Novena.
    Stay strong , never lose hope and pray for final preservance .

  10. For all who care to listen to this radio broadcast:
    Go to : Catholic Family News , there home page and it is the first article , click on the link and listen to John Vennari and his take on the Disaster of Vatican II .
    It is well worth the 35 minutes .
    Great solid teaching , I believe.


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