A Lutheran explains the importance of preaching the reality of Christ at Mass

If you haven’t got the faith, it doesn’t mean a thing.

[W]hen Christ is not proclaimed as the One who sits on the altar—whose true body and blood that were offered to God for the sin of the world are given to the Church for the remission of sins—when this reality is not understood or clearly confessed, then there is nothing left but window dressing and show.

Why concern yourself with paraments and vestments, or with liturgical propriety and rubrics, if the reason for all this is missing? Gottesdienst [a Lutheran movement and
organization] aims to provide a defense for the liturgy by confessing in no uncertain terms what the liturgy is for.

We don’t genuflect, or make the sign of the cross, or bow, just because it’s the faddish thing to do, or because we happen to think it would be stylish to look Catholic. We do happen to do those things for pretty much the same reason they do them, though in their case it might be more of a matter of obligation than of confession, considering the fact that they have for centuries had a penchant for speaking of matters of the Gospel in terms of “holy obligations.” We are, however, quite willing to agree that where Christ is present, there solemnity is appropriate, and any lack of solemnity is inappropriate.


In Poland, a Roadside Billboard: “Stop Communion in the Hand!” — Catholicism Pure & Simple

That’s it. We have nothing to add. Just our most heartfelt congratulations to the Polish Association of Christian Culture for their beautiful campaign (click here) in promotion of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. (H/T to Rorate Caeli)

In Poland, a Roadside Billboard: “Stop Communion in the Hand!” — Catholicism Pure & Simple

Old-style Catholic mass in Oak Park, 1993, as in Chicago Tribune by Jim Bowman

Every time Julie Badon, a 46-year-old Berwyn homemaker and lifelong devout Catholic, goes to church in Oak Park on Sunday, she violates an edict of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

The mass, in which a priest stands with his back to the people, who pray to God with prayer books and rosaries, is celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X, founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a Frenchman who rejected the reformist Second Vatican Council as the work of the devil and was excommunicated for ordaining bishops on his own.

For Julie Badon and hundreds of other worshipers at Our Lady Immaculate, 410 W. Washington Blvd., ostracism by her church is not too high a price to pay for the consolations of the pre-Vatican II mass and the devotion it inspires.

Every time Julie Badon, a 46-year-old Berwyn homemaker and lifelong devout Catholic, goes to church in Oak Park on Sunday, she violates an edict of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

She does it anyhow, convinced that she has found at Our Lady Immaculate the one, true mass rejected for the most part by the one, true church she grew up in.

It’s a Tridentine Latin mass, outlawed for 13 years by one pope and only partly permitted by another, as of 1984.

The Lefebvre phenomenon is unique in recent Catholic history because, as a bishop who ordained other bishops, he set in motion a self-perpetuating rebel structure. It was the first major schism within the church since the turn-of-the-century exit of the Polish National Catholic Church of America.

Lefebvre ordained his four bishops in 1988, having broken off talks with the Vatican authorized by Pope John Paul II in an effort to head him off at the pass before he institutionalized his rebellion.

Lefebvre and his followers, the equally excommunicated priests and bishops of his society, have essentially told the Vatican to take the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), source of virtually all that is changed and modernized in the church, and shove it.

For Julie Badon and hundreds of other worshipers at Our Lady Immaculate, 410 W. Washington Blvd., ostracism by her church is not too high a price to pay for the consolations of the pre-Vatican II mass and the devotion it inspires.

It’s not the only Latin mass in town. Since February 1990, the archdiocese has allowed a Latin mass at three churches, one on Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, one on the South Side, and one in Antioch in Lake County.

But Our Lady Immaculate is the only local church run by the St. Pius X Society, an international organization that remains by far the biggest traditionalist thorn in the side of the Vatican since the Second Vatican Council.

At the heart of the rebellion, symbolic and symptomatic of the society’s rejection of changes in the church, is Sunday mass with incense and Latin and statues all around, as the mass used to be before the council.

To Our Lady Immaculate, worshipers come from Aurora, Oak Lawn, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, the Northwest Side and points in between, self-described refugees from “the new mass” and the new church-what Catholicism hath wrought in the last 30 years.

`I feel like a dinosaur’

Balloons in church for her son’s first communion pushed Badon over the edge of churchly respectability 17 years ago; that and mass for a much-loved uncle held in the school basement around a small table surrounded by folding chairs.

“I wanted a mass for my uncle,” she said, “and instead I got a paraliturgy”-not a mass at all, but a prayer service modeled on a mass.

It wasn’t what she’d been raised on in several South Side parishes and a South Side high school-all of them gone now, like the Latin mass. She and her husband wanted their five children to have what they had as kids, “the sacraments, the way we were taught. Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur. Everything from my past is gone.”

At Our Lady Immaculate, it all returns. Rev. Peter Scott, a 35-year-old Australian ordained in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre, who died in 1991, commutes weekly from Kansas City, Mo., where he is U.S. superior for the Society of St. Pius X.

A slight, lean, dark-haired man who says mass with grave demeanor and preaches with verve and intensity, he is the chief deliverer to Badon and others of old-time Catholic religion, with its deep suspicion of the outside world, its emphasis on asceticism, and its confidence of possessing the true faith.

Living for the afterlife

“So many Catholics are Sunday Catholics,” Scott says from the pulpit after reading Scripture passages twice, first in Latin at the altar with his back to them and then in English from the pulpit. “They are a very common species. They don’t want to get involved.

“It’s a natural tendency. But we must overcome the spirit and influence of the world, perform our daily prayers, say the rosary, examine our conscience. We must watch closely over our daily lives, shunning immodesty, rock music, TV. The world is controlled by the passions of the flesh. The modern world is full of despair. It has no future, no hope.”

He decries “the liberalism of the day” and bids his listeners look ahead to the afterlife. “The torments of the world are allowed so that we might live not for this life but for eternity.” He extols “the joy of depending on God” and predicts, “Our sorrow can be turned into joy.”

Preaching like that keeps Francis Gaul coming back for more. Gaul, 74, a 1937 graduate of Mt. Carmel High School on the South Side, and his wife commute weekly from Des Plaines to Our Lady Immaculate. He hasn’t been to a new mass in 17 years.

He won’t attend any of the archdiocese-sanctioned Latin, or “indult” as they’re called, masses in the Chicago area. “The sermons would not be what I get here. The church isn’t Catholic anymore. It’s Protestant.”

“Today’s church is in direct contradiction with what the popes have taught,” Scott said. He argues that the church is in conflict because it approves religious liberty, ecumenism and the non-Latin mass, which were condemned, respectively, by Pius IX in 1864, Pius XI in 1929, and Pius XII in 1947.

The new mass is “Protestant in its inspiration,” vetted of its Catholic meaning for ecumenical reasons, Scott said. As such, it is “dangerous” to the faith of Catholics because it teaches the wrong things, de-emphasizing the sacrificial and emphasizing the communal-meal aspect of the mass.

For instance, worshipers in the new mass often hold hands while saying the “Pater Noster,” or “Lord’s Prayer.” Asked about this, Scott said derisively, “Oh, please.”

Hand-holding, balloons in the sanctuary, wine served in paper cups, wooden chalices and folk songs-it’s all anathema to members of Our Lady Immaculate, who worshiped 10 years at the Hillside Holiday Inn before coming to Oak Park.

At the Holiday Inn, they set up an instant chapel, bringing statues in garbage cans that they up-ended and draped as pedestals.

This sort of preparation is crucial for Miguel Garcia, a Northwest Side computer programmer and father of four small children, here 17 years from his native Mexico. Garcia rejects the “party atmosphere” of masses where the priest dresses in “ethnic colors so Spanish people can relate to it.” He finds it disrespectful, “because God is King.”

A `vertical’ approach

The more than 400-year-old Latin Tridentine mass (established by the counter-reformation Council of Trent) is “the true mass,” he said. “God instituted it one way, and we shouldn’t be changing it. That’s what happened at Vatican II.”

Something else happened, according to organist and choir director John Cooper of Clarendon Hills, an insurance salesman and part-time jazz pianist. It’s not just that the new mass “an atrocity.” The new church “hasn’t worked.” Seminaries are closing and mass attendance is down, thanks to “all this liberty baloney. People need some kind of regimentation,” he said.

As Scott put it, “No condemnation, no obligation. Popes always used to condemn things, but liberals don’t believe in condemning anybody.”

Scott terms Pope John Paul II “a conservative liberal” who is “very weak in governing the church. He has not acted against heresies.” One such heresy, Scott argues, is to “make man the center of the liturgy.”

Indeed, at Our Lady Immaculate, worshipers look to the altar. There is no handshake of peace before communion (received kneeling and on the tongue, not standing and in the hand), as in the new mass. It is what’s called a “vertical service,” teaching people to look up, to God, rather than “horizontally,” to one another.

“The way you worship affects your view of God,” Scott said. “It is not just sentimentality. We like Latin, the Gregorian mass, and incense. But none of these are the point.”

“What was touted as church renewal and revival has obviously fallen flat on its face,” said John Pfeiffer of Forest Park, a 32-year-old Loop attorney, referring to priestly defections, shortage of vocations, and the like.

“People don’t realize their Catholic faith is being snatched away from them, like in the time of Henry VIII,” said Rita McCarthy, a 40-ish Orland Park typesetter.

“At a funeral, there’s no mention of purgatory. In baptism there’s no mention of original sin. In marriage, emphasis is on the couple. But the first purpose of marriage is to have children, and the relationship of the couple is secondary. All of the sacraments have been watered down. People don’t know anything about sin anymore. Divorce, abortion, birth control condemn you to hell. People don’t seem to know that.”

The church is not amused

Authorized Latin masses are offered at three churches weekly-St. John Cantius, 825 N. Carpenter St.; St. Thomas More, 2828 W. 81st St.; and St. Peter, in Antioch-and every other week in Libertyville and Techny.

But Catholics are forbidden to attend Our Lady Immaculate in Oak Park, though an archdiocese official is wary of saying that it is a sin to do so or that specific penalties will be meted out.

The Society of St. Pius X is “not schismatic,” meaning it hasn’t formally split from Rome, notes Rev. Robert Flinn, vice chancellor of the archdiocese. Its bishops and priests are excommunicated, but its parishioners are welcomed back “just by coming, with no need for special absolution.” They need only “disassociate themselves from their Pius X church.”

That’s “moral persecution,” Scott said. “We remind (archdiocesan authorities) continually of what they ought to be. We have a sense of identity and purpose and mission which they have lost.”

Scott himself is a convert from Protestantism, drawn to Catholicism by the writings of St. John of the Cross, the 16th Century mystic who wrote from a prison cell after getting in trouble with the church, and by the traditional Latin mass. Scott had found the new mass “more Protestant than Protestant services” and lacking in reverence.

He met Lefebvre in Melbourne, asked to be ordained, and went to Switzerland for six years to study theology. Ordained in 1988, he was sent to the U.S., where he taught for two years at the society’s seminary in Winona, Minn.

Now based in Kansas City, he heads the society in the U.S. with its 35 priest members (of 250 worldwide) and 100 chapels and other installations in 38 states. He says mass in Elkhart, Ind., or Memphis on alternating Sundays after his Oak Park appearances.

A former Jesuit theological seminary in St. Mary’s, Kan., near Kansas City is the site of the society’s coed kindergarten-through-high-school “academy,” with 345 students, and its 50-student college. At St. Mary’s the society has its biggest parish, where 1,300 attend weekly. The Oak Park parish has 90 families. Weekly attendance is around 235.

The church, formerly Second Presbyterian of Oak Park, was bought for $390,000 by members of the Holiday Inn group. The society took over payments and spent $20,000 to rebuild the altar area and install new stained-glass windows and an altar rail-“to remake it as Catholic,” Scott said.

Traditional worship and morality are the key to Our Lady Immaculate’s attraction, but members’ finding a home away from home is strong as well, as with any successful church.

A sympathetic ear

Scott talks a tough game from the pulpit, but he also offers a good shoulder to cry on, to judge from Julie Badon’s experience. One of her daughters sought him out in the midst of a recent crisis.

“Father Scott counseled her and was very patient with her,” Badon said. “She really loves Father Scott, and has no qualms about approaching him.”

Triangulating Sanctity: How the Word of God in the Domestic Church Renews the Liturgy

Making silk purse out of sow’s ear:

As we move beyond COVID-19-induced cancellations of public Mass and their replacement by more regular domestic prayers, it is worth a look back to see what good has come of it all. While the participation in the Eucharistic Prayer and the reception of the Blessed Sacrament were not options for most families, the reading and praying with the Sunday scriptures became a regular means to engage, albeit imperfectly, with the Word heard behind closed parish doors.

Bible Christians.

Wearing a mask at Holy Mass, pro and con, Part 1

The Mass Mask: Guest Post by Uncle Mike, Rebuttal by Briggs

Uncle Mike Speaks:

It has come to my attention that some people resent having to wear a face mask when attending a Catholic Mass. I have little (some but not much) sympathy for these complainers.

He goes on to speak of when he was “a wee lad” and his mother “would dress all the kids up for Mass.”

I had to wear a tiny suit with a vest, a starched white shirt buttoned to the collar, and a clip-on bow tie! I also had to wear hard shoes that hurt my feet and which I had to shine myself!

Poor kid! “The old ladies” had it no better. They “wore all black even though they were not nuns. Many wore veils as well as scarves over their heads. Any woman without a head covering was considered an apostate harlot.”

Now it’s another story.

Some folks . . . are grumpy about wearing a face mask to church.

He gets it. “The masks have little prophylactic value and are largely symbolic of submission to a Godless authority. That grates on freedom-loving Americans who value their liberty, rights, and independence from tyranny.” He feels that too.

But our ancestors probably had it far worse, he said, citing restrictions under the rule of Ottoman Turks, “who sold them into slavery” and Mass was “held in secret in sheds and wine cellars” and “discovery meant death or worse. And yet the religion survived. The Faithful remained so under extreme duress.”

More recently Communist dictators

destroyed churches and persecuted Christians (as well as other religious adherents). Marxism is diametrically opposed to Christianity. Karl Marx infamously wrote “Religion is the opium of the people, and Lenin/Stalin murdered millions of Catholics (Eastern Orthodox and Roman).”

Another thing:

It is very troubling to see Catholics today embrace Marxism, as is the case with Bishops who gladly suspended Masses and the sacraments while endorsing the (self-avowed Marxist) Black Lives Matter movement. I shake my head. How shameful, how cowardly, how blind to history.

But Masses are still being held in public, in churches, and perhaps in secret. I am not going to reveal anything more.

So let’s try not to get in a twist over the face mask thing. It’s minor. There are some far more serious issues. And trust this: the Faithful will not falter despite oppression.

God is all-powerful, man is but an ant. Lucky for us God loves us. Hang on to that. And go to Mass even if you have to wear the silly mask. You owe it to yourself, to the Faithful, to all who came before you, and to your Savior.

Well. More later with rebuttal from Nephew Briggs. . . .

“All We, With Face Unveiled”: Masking Christian Worship

Monday, August 10, 2020

by  Peter Kwasniewski

desacralization 1

A friend sent me the following note.

Dear Dr. Kwasniewski:

In our State of ———, masks were recently mandated in public places. Failure to comply with the new order can result in a petty misdemeanor or fine. Even at Holy Mass, all are supposed to wear masks.

I think that all this COVID “hype” is being manipulated for other ends and I am opposed to mandatory mask-wearing. Yet I do not see how the law is unjust, since it is promulgated under the auspices of protecting the health of all, even if science fails to show that masks do protect health. The order cannot be considered to be simply a penal law, since it is supposed to protect people from disease and death. (For “medical conditions” one may be exempt from wearing a mask and these conditions may be physical or psychological. I could think up some condition which prevents me from wearing a mask, but it seems quite a “mental reservation” to make.)

Have you, as a philosopher, thought about the matter?

My thoughts fall into three areas: (1) Church authority; (2) the scientific/medical domain; and (3) the theology of worship.

The State may not mandate how the Church should do her liturgy or make use of her sacraments. The Church fought for centuries against state encroachments and arrogations, establishing that her ministers have a God-given right to make liturgical and sacramental determinations.[i] On May 7, an open letter, led by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Joseph Zen, and Jānis Pujats, and signed by many clergy, reminded politicians that “the state has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the Church.”

This autonomy and freedom are an innate right that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given her for the pursuit of her proper ends. For this reason, as pastors we firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, just as we claim absolute autonomy in matters falling within our immediate jurisdiction, such as liturgical norms and ways of administering Communion and the Sacraments.

In a time of infectious disease, bishops may freely decide to issue the same or similar guidelines as the secular authorities have done, but they do so by their own judgment and authority, not as subservient to the State.[ii] Unfortunately, what we have seen instead is a simple capitulation to health “experts” and civil governors. In some cases, Catholic bishops have imposed even more restrictive and ridiculous conditions than secular leaders. In this way they seem to abdicate their pastoral responsibility of due diligence and evaluation, trample on canon law in regard to the rights of the faithful to worship and sacramental life, and evince a total lack of awareness of what is fitting for sacred rites.desacralization 7

Second, there is the medical/scientific domain. For quite some time now, doctors and specialists have been coming out left and right saying that the typical face-coverings do little to protect anyone from microbes. Fauci initially said masks would not help, then changed his tune when industrial production and supplies were finally in place. Doctors who have found success with simple and inexpensive cures for COVID have been mocked or ignored. It takes little effort to discover that, whatever the truth may be, it is not equivalent to the “official line” that is being promoted by wealthy and powerful interests. From this perspective, it’s eminently reasonable to question the basis of this kind of state law and, having discovered its irrationality, to conclude that it lacks what is necessary for legality.

The foregoing points have been well-covered in commentary. What I have not seen much commented on, however, are the theological and psychological implications of masking in the context of Christian liturgical worship, which has its own specific nature and requirements.

The curse of man under sin and under the Law is to be hidden from God’s face, and, in a sense, to be thwarted in one’s social intercourse with other men (cf. Gen 4:14). In Mark’s Gospel, the covering of Christ’s face is a sign of contempt, treatment worthy of a wretch: “And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’” (Mk 14:65). Through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, which tears the veil of the Temple (Mt 27:51) and permits us to enter heaven through the veil of His flesh (Heb 10:20), the curse begins to be reversed, as St. Paul memorably describes in 2 Corinthians:

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Co 3:12–18, RSV)

While a head covering for a woman symbolizes her honorable subjection, even as the uncovered head of the man symbolizes that he stands within the family in persona Christi capitis, no Christian (as far as I know) has ever used face coverings the way strict Muslim women do.[iii] The mask seems to be a symbolic cancellation of something deeply true about Christian identity and worship.desacralization 6

When I enter the church, I am going before God as a person: I present my open face to Him, and He sees me as I am, and leads me closer to seeing Him as He is. Although this is primarily a matter of my spirit vis-à-vis the Spirit of God, we depend as rational animals on our bodies as external reminders and supports of what we are aiming to do interiorly. In other words, showing our face to God and to others in church is not altogether disconnected from showing Him and them myself. Those who play hide and seek don’t say: “3-2-1, here my body comes!” or “You found my body!” When we start looking, we look with body and soul; when we are found, we are found in body and soul.

And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise. And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: “Where art thou?” And he said: “I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Gen 3:8–9).

So intimate and all-pervasive is the union of body and soul that Adam thought he could hide himself from God by hiding himself bodily; and the omniscient God, who has no need of bodily sight, nevertheless indicated that he wanted Adam to come before him as a man, not hiding his face. Where art thou?

When we come into the church to meet the Lord, we fittingly begin with Psalm 42 said at the foot of the altar, before daring to approach Him more closely. We almost turn around the Lord’s question to Adam by posing to Him questions of our own: Quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus? “Why hast Thou cast me off, and why go I sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?” And turning to ourselves: Quare tristis es anima mea, et quare conturbas me? “Why art thou sad, O my soul, and why dost thou disquiet me?” The psalmist, model of the Christian, knows the one and only solution: Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei and Deus meus. “Hope in God, for I will still give praise to Him: the salvation of my countenance and my God.” The Mass is inherently pointed toward heaven, where we will finally see, and will see that we are seen. “I have seen God face to face, and my soul has been saved” (Gen 32:30). “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is comely” (Cant 2:14).desacralization 8

Citing the Canticle of Canticles always brings to my mind the members of the Church who are most evidently the brides of Christ: consecrated virgins. Rorate Caeli published not long ago a beautiful meditation on the wimple written by a superior of a community of nuns. She says:

The wimple always leaves the face uncovered… [A] woman who wears a wimple is not seeking to hide herself totally; she is not seeking to exclude or separate herself from others. She is not excluding communication with other persons. Her face is left free; in fact, the wearing of the wimple draws more attention to the face, since there is nothing else to draw our eye. The wimple “forces” someone who meets us to focus on our face, not on our body.

In a real sense, our face most fully expresses who we are. Our face reveals who we are more than our body does. Consider that we learn so much more about a person by looking at his or her face than we do by looking at his or her hands or feet. The eyes are called the “windows of the soul,” and these eyes are almost highlighted by the wimple. The wimple, then, helps us to relate to other human persons in a way that harmonizes very well with our vocation. The wimple draws attention to the “inner man” which finds expression in our face. Our wimple helps others to look at us in that way.

She then goes on to express the stark contrast between a Christian head covering like the wimple and the modern mask regime:

The civil government ordered that everyone must wear masks in public places. The mask covers half of the face: the nose and the mouth. It is hard to recognize people when they wear masks; this is why burglars wear masks (the same kind, where only the eyes are visible). We can look from our convent to see people walking the streets who wear masks, but who are otherwise dressed indecently. The symbolic message such people convey is almost an exact inversion of the message we convey. One cannot “see” the “inner man” because of the mask, but one’s eyes are drawn, instead, to the body.

(I apologize for sharing here a pictorial illustration of the modern side of the equation, but never was it truer that a picture is worth a thousand words.)contrast

The superior completes her analysis with this observation:

The mask is a barrier to truly human communication, for communication is so much more than the exchange of words. We speak with our face, with our expressions. When we add the wearing of masks to the other regulations, especially that of so-called “social distancing,” and to the increase in “virtual meetings” and “on-line classrooms,” we can see the mask as just one element in the dehumanizing tendency of our society.

Even though people may think it “dehumanizing” that we sisters wear all the coverings we do as part of our religious habit, the truth is that the layers we wear can be aids to make our relationship with other human persons “more human,” more personal. Because the use of masks is an element that frustrates truly human relationships, we have an instinctive aversion to wearing masks. The mask hides the human person; the wimple reveals the human person. 

That is why we can speak, with justice, of dehumanization and depersonalization as bound up with the enforcement of masks in public places, above all in Catholic churches. It clashes with both natural goods of human fellowship and the supernatural reality of what we are doing when we assemble for prayer in the name of and in the presence of Christ. The wearing of masks has a natural “evil” attached, namely, that of obscuring half of the face of the person, and that evil is transmitted into the liturgy where, in a symbolically heightened environment, it becomes a countersign.

Remember, the logic of symbols in the liturgy is not the same as the logic of arguments with words. Something can be suggested or bodied forth with a symbol that would sound strange in verbal form. So, even if the following statements are not declared outright or intended to be inferred, they are nevertheless suggested or bodied forth by the wearing of masks in church:

(1) The Christ whose crucifixion the church building represents and whose life-giving flesh is present for sacrifice and communion is not the all-sufficient Savior of body and soul.

(2) The health of the soul is inferior to and less urgent than the health of the body.

(3) We are endangering to and endangered by our fellow Christians.

(4) We are not willing to take reasonable risks when we do the single most important thing in our lives.

Perhaps there are still other subliminal messages. What they all have in common is a symbolic refusal of koinonia or communicatio: natural and supernatural communion in sacred realities, face to face with God and neighbor.

If this is not seen to be problematic, I’m not quite sure what disruption of liturgical symbols would ever be problematic. That is why I have maintained that what pastors of souls are allowing or enforcing at this time amounts to a program of radical desacralization and ritual deformation, which is putting the final nails in the coffin built by the liturgical reform.

Resistance is not futile, but it will not come at a light cost. The only way forward is to double down on the traditional Roman Rite, celebrated digne, attente, ac devote according to its own rubrics, with love and reverential fear—but without the servile fear of our overlords.


Silence squelched in Novus Ordo mass — a meditation on noise

The parish has N.O. masses and also Extraordinary Form (Latin) masses. Today I attended one of the former, said by a visitor, where I had to start jotting just as the sermon began. Only a six-minuter and something acceptable, I trust, in any case not unusually good or bad.

Feeling dreaded ennui coming on, I reached for the little black pad and pen, and there I was again. In the few recent weeks when I made Extraordinary (Latin) my mass of choice, I had not done this once!

Why now? Because the service was losing my attention, and I had to wrench it back into place by recording my reflections. It’s a ploy I learned decades ago, in my exclusively N.O. days. This was my first trial of attention, of cooperation, collaboration, indeed participation in the holy sacrifice.

Most preachers fall short and thereby constitute a distraction. On this occasion Father urged us on sincerely. (Sincerity is not usually the problem.) But sincerely or not, the weekday homily, short as it is, constitutes a distraction at this point. It becomes an interruption to the worship experience.

At least there were no petitions — “prayers of the faithful,” name-dropping of a dozen or so issues demanding our attention, many of them ripped from the day’s headlines. Many the times when this worshiper thought we might as well put in a good word for the White Sox while we’re at it.

With the sermon was done, the head trip began, and the sounds of silence went missing. Father is miked, of course, and he is in the minds of not hearts of us all, reading the “ordinary” parts so that we do not miss a syllable. He kills the silence.

He puts his imprint on the service. He’s supposed to. It’s the post-Vatican 2 norm. Let there be light, the Creator said at the Beginning.

Let there be noise, said Vatican 2, or at least its “spirit.” And the priest, being chief, or only, noisemaker, performing according the script given him, unwittingly makes it all about him.

His performance matters. All, or so very much, depends on him. Or made to look that way.

Traditional Latin Mass gets worshipers’ attention . . .

Supplies perspective:

“As the priest offers the Mass ad orientem (facing the altar or the liturgical east) we immediately recognize that the liturgy is not about us.”

From: Mass Appeal: How the Traditional Mass Engages All Five Senses | The Catholic Gentleman

US cardinal dismisses prayer power during pandemic: We can’t just pray and think things will change

We have to wonder why he beats this drum in this way at this time. It’s a harsh way to put down foolishness. Does he know of Catholics who dismiss self-help and ignore danger for the sake of magical prayer? Is this how he sees the day’s challenges?

It’s as if he sees his role as designated apologizer for the supernatural, front man for an organization eager for majority support. A little nuance might work better. It’s unseemly for him to appear so eager to cater to the suspicious or uninformed.

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Blithe Spirit

We have to wonder why he beats this drum in this way at this time. It’s a harsh way to put down foolishness. Does he know of Catholics who dismiss self-help and ignore danger for the sake of magical prayer? Is this how he sees the day’s challenges?

It’s as if he sees his role as designated apologizer for the supernatural, front man for an organization eager for majority support. A little nuance might work better. It’s unseemly for him to appear so eager to cater to the suspicious or uninformed.

View original post