Blogged by James Preece 5 Days ago...
I've been meaning to research a blog post like this one for ages and never found the time. This is a great piece of work by Peter Kwasniewski..
Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgated of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (December 4, 1963). If I may borrow a rhetorical strategy from Fr. Fessio, here is what your local liturgical scene would look like if we were all following, to the letter, the teaching of Vatican II:
- The Eucharist would be perceived by all as a “divine sacrifice,” in which, as in the Church herself, action is subordinated to contemplation (cf. SC 2). The Mass would be understood to be, and would be called, a “holy sacrifice” (SC 7, 47, et passim) and the liturgy in general “a sacred action surpassing all others,” whose purpose is “the sanctification of man and the glorification of God” (SC 10; cf. 112). Indeed, the liturgy would seem like a foretaste on earth of the heavenly liturgy of the new Jerusalem (SC 8).
- The faithful would be well catechized and well disposed to receive the sacraments fruitfully (SC 11), and would understand the nature of the liturgy and how to participate well in it (SC 14), led by the example and instruction of the clergy (SC 16-19): “through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration” (SC 48). In this way, they would be unlike the majority of Catholics today, who, according to many surveys, are unaware that the Mass is the re-presentation of the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary or that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ—and who also don’t sing very much, in spite of decades of cajoling.
- The liturgy would look much as Catholic liturgy has looked for centuries, since “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (SC 23).
- The ordained ministers would be the only ones performing the actions they are supposed to do, while the laity would be involved in those ways that pertain to them: “in liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy” (SC 28; cf. 118).
- No one, “even if he be a priest,” would ever “add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (SC 22.3).
- The use of the venerable Latin language would be a frequent and appreciated occurrence, since “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (SC 36.1). The vernacular, of course, will be utilized, but only for certain parts of the liturgy (SC 36.2), and the clergy would remember the Council’s request that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (SC 54).
- Liturgies would frequently be celebrated in their most noble form, namely, “solemnly in song” (SC 113). Most of the singing would be closely connected with the actual texts of the Mass (cf. SC 112, 113) and the music would be such as “adds delight to prayer, fosters unity of minds, or confers greater solemnity upon the sacred rites” (SC 112). There would be an important role for trained choirs or scholas, which preserve and foster the treasure of sacred music—a treasure of inestimable value (SC 112, 114-115). The people, for their part, would sing acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs—and everyone would observe reverent silence at the proper times (SC 30). None of the texts of the songs would be in any way objectionable from a doctrinal point of view, since they would be drawn directly from Scripture or the liturgy itself (SC 121).
- Notably, Gregorian chant, being “specially suited to the Roman liturgy,” would be given “pride of place in liturgical services” (SC 116). Other forms of sacred music would not thereby be excluded—such as, preeminently, polyphony (ibid.). And of course, the pipe organ would be “held in high esteem” as “the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things” (120). Other instruments would only be used if they “are suitable or can be made suitable for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful” (ibid.). Hence, such instruments as piano, guitar, and drums, which, in the Western world, originated in profane settings and are still associated with genres like jazz, folk, and rock, would never be used for sacred music. None of this is surprising, since the Council Fathers announced their purpose of “keeping to the norms and precepts of ecclesiastical tradition and discipline, and having regard to the purpose of sacred music, which is the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful” (SC 112).
- Communion under both kinds would be rare—e.g., to newly professed religious in the Mass of their religious dedication or to the newly baptized in the Mass that follows their baptism (SC 55). Similarly, concelebration would be relatively rare (SC 57).
- Sunday Vespers would be a much-loved weekly occurrence, to which large numbers of faithful flock: “Pastors of souls should see to it that the chief hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts. And the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually” (SC 100).
- The liturgical year would be of enormous importance in the life of the community, marked by the observance and promotion of each season’s traditions and customs (cf. SC 102-110). Images and relics of the saints would be publicly honored (SC 111). Sacramentals and popular devotions would abound, such as Eucharistic Processions, Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, the Brown Scapular, and customs connected with saints’ days, because all of these things deepen the spiritual life of the faithful and help dispose them to participate more fully in the sacred liturgy (cf. SC 12-13).
- The church architecture and furnishings would be “truly worthy, becoming, and beautiful, signs and symbols of the supernatural world” (SC 122), “turning men’s minds devoutly toward God” (ibid.). There would be nothing that could disturb or distract the faithful, since the bishop would have “carefully remove[d] from the house of God and from other sacred places those works of artists which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety, and which offend true religious sense either by depraved forms or by lack of artistic worth, mediocrity, and pretense” (124), since what are rightly sought are “works destined to be used in Catholic worship, to edify the faithful, and to foster their piety and their religious formation” (SC 127).
Is this what you experience, week in, week out?
Is not the monumental failure to implement much of Sacrosanctum Concilium a scandal?
Go to the full post for Peter's full introduction and conclusion.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Week ago...
I'm not sure what I like better.. good deeds or terrible puns? So I'm happy to discover both in Stephen Bullivant's Marython. What am I saying.. it's a wonderful pun, wonderfully terrible...
My name is Stephen Bullivant, and I'm a Catholic husband and father from England. On New Year's Eve 2013, I'm running a MARYthon - a full marathon (my first), while praying the rosary non-stop - along the cold, windy and (quite probably) rainy and/or snowy docks of Liverpool.
Back in July, I was fortunate enough to visit the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Manila. This church, run by the Redemptorists, is the major site of Marian devotion in the Philippines. One of their many outreach programmes is the SARNELLI CENTER FOR STREET CHILDREN. Named in honour of Bl. Januarius Sarnelli, the Center works mainly with abandoned boys aged 8-16, providing them with food, shelter, medical care, counselling, education, recreation - and, above all, a safe and loving community in which to grow and thrive.
I'm trying to raise as much support - through prayers and donations - for their wonderful work as I possibly can.
Get yourself over to the Just Giving page and donate!
Blogged by James Preece 1 Week ago...
I've read on several blogs now about St Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and how people like me are going to be shocked, shocked I tell you!
Except of course we're not (or at least, I'm not) because we have actually seen the gospels and we do actually understand about the mercy of God, we've heard of forgiveness and we kinda noticed that Jesus seems kinda concerned about the poor.
No, I think the only people who will be suprised are the ones who the Church could change her teaching any time she likes and the only thing holding us back are those nasty people over there. The people who think that Pope Francis would churn out 47,000 words just to have a pop at traditionalists.
Personally, I'm reading this and I'm thinking "oh yeah, I could do that better, I hadn't thought of that" etc.. but if you want to really miss the point, try reading it with the assumption that any given parahgraph is aimed not at you, but at Those Nasty People Over There.
In other words.. try reading it like Austen Ivereigh..
Later (93-95) he critiques the “self-absorbed promethean neopalagianism” of self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy or traditional Catholicism who spend their time criticising fellow Catholics (“A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelising, one analyses and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying”). He also criticises those who have “an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people”
Note that Pope Francis doesn't refer to "self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy" or "traditional Catholicism" at all.. but he does warn about "carefully cultivated appearances" and "a business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the Church as an institution".
These paragraphs contain a warning for all Catholics to avoid an obsession with appearance at the expense of evangelisation and are just as much a warning to lefty Bishops Conference media quangos as they are to traditionalists.
When St Paul said "if I understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." was he speaking out against knowledge and faith? Clearly not. It's the "but have not love" part he's worried about. Similarly with Pope Francis, he's not having a pop at people who care about liturgy and doctrine - it's the "without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people" bit that matters.
Pope Francis warns that "supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism" and you can point that one at traditionalists if you like... but do Catholic Voices not claim soundness of doctrine? Do they not engage in an authoritarian elitism? The special club of the trained and approved vs the excluded self-appointed nobodies.
I'm reading Pope Francis' words and thinking "maybe he has a point, maybe I could do some things better, I wonder if I am doing enough for the poor". Meanwhile Austen sounds like the Pharisee in the temple saying "God, I thank thee that I am not like other men".
If you want to know which part of Evangelii Gaudium really shocks me, it's this:
No one must say that they cannot be close to the poor because their own lifestyle demands more attention to other areas.
Yikes! I always thought the "busy being a dad" card could get me out of anything...
We could all be doing more for the poor, that's a given and I'm working on my own personal failings as I hope you are too, but please.. can we end the practice of using the poor as a human shield to defend heterdoxy.
Imagine a little kid chucking rocks through the church windows and smashing centuries old stained glass. A parishioner happens to be passing and says "hey! what are you doing?" to which the kid says "what are you? some kind of self appointed guardian? shouldn't you be more concerned about the poor?".
That's pretty much what is happening here.
The "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" card is as old as the hills. Yes, Jesus told people to care for the poor, but he also had no time anybody who would set love of the poor against love of Himself.
The poor are not a convenient tool to be used for point scoring at the service of particular ideologies within the Church, they are people and in my experience people are better served by beautiful liturgies than ugly ones and better served by the truth than by lies.
Using them as a stick to beat people who disagree with your claims that urging condom use is Catholic pastoral practice is, well, stooping pretty low.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Week ago...
Well, I don't know about modern living, but something has been keeping me busy these last few weeks and I'm not even sure what it was. Life just seems to have been a bit full lately and blogging is always at the bottom of the pile because, frankly, the wife and kiddies win evey time.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Vincent Nichols has been making some interesting comments..
"The Pope has led us to pay attention to the experiences of people," Archbishop Nichols told BBC Breakfast.
"On the one hand we must work to follow Christ, but on the other hand we have to face all of the ambitions of modern living."
On the one hand we must work to follow Christ, but on the other hand...
There is of course, nothing "modern" about ambition - in every age followers of Christ have had to choose between Christ and themselves.. Between the way of the cross and the way of personal ambition. The ambitions of the past might have been different but they were ambitions all the same.
It's like all the cartoons.. the little angel sits on one shoulder and somebody else sits on the other. On the one hand Christ, on the other hand... there is only one alternative. Anything opposed to Christ comes from the evil one.
There are people who will ignore the nose on their face and all it moderation. Look at James Preece getting carried away. What a nutter. Does he seriously think that an Archbishop could ever do anything.. wrong?
A couple of years ago when asked if the Church would change her teaching he said "Who knows what's down the road?" and now he's on BBC News telling us that his leadership of the Catholic Church in England and Wales is based around a compromise between Christ and ambition, between Christ and Satan.
You can write to Rome if you like but I think we're past that. The time has come to pray for the poor man's eternal soul. To quote James 3:1.. "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness."
Thank you Lord, that I do not have to be an Archbishop.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Month ago...
The point of Catholic Voices, if I remember correctly, was to explain Church teaching in a clear way in "the public square". Is there anything clear about this highly misleading article?
Communion for the remarried: Vatican opens door to reform via annulments
An important statement by the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation, the CDF, has reaffirmed existing church teaching on not admitting to the Eucharist Catholics who have remarried without first annulling their marriage.
But in the article in the Vatican’s official newspaper, Osservatore Romano, Archbishop Gerhard Müller also opens the door to widening the grant of annulments in acknowledging that many couples nowadays enter marriage without a proper understanding of it as a permanent, binding union.
Let's charitable assume that Austen Ivereigh isn't doing this on purpose. That he is trying to be clear and only failing by accident. Now pretend you're a busy newspaper editor who has no idea what an annulment is.
Let's read that headline again... "Communion for the remarried: Vatican opens door blah blah blah". Nice one.
Then we have the ludicrous suggestion that the prefect of the CDF "opens the door" to anything. The fact is that Archbishop Müller's article changes nothing. No doors have been opened. Acknowledging that many couples nowadays enter marriage without a proper understanding of it as a permanent, binding union makes no difference.
Canon Law already states clearly that if "either or both of the parties should by a positive act of will exclude marriage itself or any essential element of marriage or any essential property, such party contracts invalidly" (1101) and "A marriage subject to a condition about the future cannot be contracted validly" (1102)
Earlier this year Pope Benedict told the Tribunal of the Roman Rota that the requirement for a valid marriage "as a necessary minimal condition, is the intention to do what the Church does". He quoted Pope John Paul II who said (almost ten years ago) "an attitude on the part of those getting married that does not take into account the supernatural dimension of marriage can render it null and void..."
Archbishop Müller is saying nothing new. He is shoulder to shoulder with Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Francis. It is highly misleading to suggest that any "door to reform" is going to be opened "via annulments".
What does need to change is the attitude one finds in some parts of the Church that annulments are a way of cheating. That they ought to be as difficult to attain as possible because otherwise marriage will be undermined. That's nonsense. That's like saying cars would be less safe if it was easier to fail an MOT.
An annulment acknowledges the reality that there was no marriage. Popes John Paul II, Benedict and Francis (as well as Archbishop Müller) are talking only about the need for annulment tribunals to be aware that in modern times, not every Catholic couple actually has the foggiest idea about what the Church teaches regarding marriage and to properly apply existing canon law on that basis.
It's not a sneaky way to "reform" "Communion for the remarried" "via annulments".
Blogged by James Preece 1 Month ago...
Fr Ed Thomlinson has an important article here.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Month ago...
Fr Tim Finigan observes...
Often, when I talk to priests from Catholic countries, or countries that formerly had a strong Catholic life, I have a sense of déjà-vu, as though they are sincerely and earnestly addressing problems that we faced in England 30 years ago.
Some of the things that Pope Francis has said strike me in the same vein. It is great to hear that he told priests not to turn away unmarried mothers who bring their children for Baptism. When I was newly-ordained (nearly 30 years ago), in the inner-city parish I first worked in, more than 50% of the children that we baptised were of unmarried mothers.
That's my experience as well. Not the inner-city parish 30 years ago bit obviously, I wasn't working in an inner city parish when I was a baby! No.. I mean the sense of trying to address problems we simply are not facing any more.
Fr Finigan experiences this in terms of changing congregations and the sorts of needs people bring to the Church. I experience it in terms of the friends I make in non-Churchy type activities and the attitudes to religion I encounter in the work place, at juggling clubs or even when I'm reading an internet forum I usually enjoy on the subject of wood carving and the discussion briefly turns to religion.
The problem I face isn't "I'd love to be a Catholic, my parents brought me up a Catholic and I love the Church, if only they wouldn't make such a big deal about my remarriage". No, the problem I face is "ha ha ha - have you heard? James believes in the ******* sky fairy!"
The difficulty is that the Church is ran by grand-parent aged people who are still wondering why on earth it is their now adult children don't go to Mass and are seeking a quick fix solution. Oh, if only they could receive communion, then they would be here...
It's a red herring. The mission of the Church is not to go out and make moral exceptions for a small minority of chosen people who happen to be the children and grand-children of older people who still go to Mass.
The Church exists to evangelise. Everybody.
The vast majority of the people outside the door are not Catholics at all. Until we find a way to speak to those people in language they understand, all this fiddling around about tweaking the rules will make no difference.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Month ago...
How hard can it be? I mean - all these blogs, all these contacts... and here we are watching Youtube clips of Papal masses trying to spot whether it looks like the priests distributing Holy Communion may have been instructed to do it one way or another.
Surely somebody knows somebody who knows somebody? Surely?
Now, finally, at last.. a blogging Priest has been involved with the distribution of Holy Communion at a Papal Mass...
We are told to distribute Holy Communion only on the tongue, not in the hand. But few seem to follow this instruction if you watch what happens at these outdoor Masses. Distributing Holy Communion to so many who are forcing their way to the one distributing is, well, down right chaotic and somewhat irreverent.
We distributed Holy Communion to the faithful toward the end of the Piazza and there must have been 200,000 there!
We were told to be very concerned about the reverence for Holy Communion and to be careful how we distributed. We were told to give Holy Communion on the tongue, but it was nearly impossible to do so with such large crowed and people reaching forward to receive.
"We are told to distribute Holy Communion only on the tongue"