Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Counterfeit Diversity

January 31st, 2011, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

In the Church today there exists a wide range of opinions amongst those in the hierarchy over how the mass should be celebrated.  On one end of the spectrum is Bishop Clark’s understanding:

page 65 of Fr. James Callan’s “The Studentbaker Corporation”

Bishop Clark called the Corpus Christi rectory and announced that he was going to celebrate the Thursday Night Mass with us – that night!  People were immediately atrtacted to him.  They appreciated how comfortable he seemed to be sitting on the sanctruary rug with the children and enjoying the flow of the informal liturgy with all the people crowded around him at the Lord’s table.  He especially liked a 7-year-old girl name Laura, who played a flute solo next to him for the Communion meditation.  He commented on the way she spontaneously and confidently shared her gift with the congregation.

Towards the other end of the spectrum is our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI (and pretty much every other pope):

We might say that in 1918, the year that Guardini published his book (cf. The Spirit of the Liturgy), the liturgy was rather like a fresco.

It had been preserved from damage, but it had been almost completely overlaid by whitewash from later generations. In the Missal from which the priest celebrated, the form of the liturgy that had grown from its earliest beginnings, was still present, but, as far as the faithful were concerned, it was largely concealed beneath instructions for and forms of private prayer.

The fresco was laid bare by the Liturgical Movement, and, in a definitive way, by the Second Vatican Council. For a moment its colors and figures fascinated us. But since then, the fresco has been endangered by climatic conditions as well as by various restorations and reconstructions.

In fact, it is threatened with destruction, if the necessary steps are not taken to stop these damaging influences. Of course, there must be no question of its being covered with whitewash again, but what is imperative is a new reverence in the way we treat it, a new understanding of its message and its reality, so that rediscovery does not become the first stage of irreparable loss.

If this book were to encourage, in a new way, something like a liturgical movement, a movement toward a liturgy and the right way of celebrating the liturgy, inwardly and outwardly, then the intention that inspired its writing would be richly fulfilled.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, (from the Preface) 1999

Regardless of how you interpret Ratzinger’s statement here on the old rite, he makes it clear that he is not fond of some of the experimentation going on in the mass.  To keep his remarks above in the proper context, we must remember that BXVI has a great respect for what he’s dubbed the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the mass.  Otherwise he wouldn’t have issued his motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” in which he allowed easier access to the EF.  There is some debate over which mass (NO-novus ordo/OF-ordinary form vs EF-extraordinary form/TLM traditional latin mass) is more appropriate (see our forums).  However the divide between a properly celebrated NO mass and the EF is much smaller than between a properly celebrated NO mass and an FFA (free-for-all), MIUAYG (make-it-up-as-you-go) mass which is so prevalent in the DOR.  Put another way, if you are someone friendly to the EF, then you will almost certainly bring a greater sense of reverence with you to the OF (ordinary form).  If you are someone who favors a FFA, TTBOTW (throw-the-book-out-the-window) mass, then you will almost certainly despise the traditional latin mass.

Everyone knows that the mass was significantly reformed after the second Vatican council.  Lesser known is that the official reform of the mass and the masses that have actually resulted are worlds apart.  Still lesser known is that the TLM was made more widely available not only in 2008, but also by JP2 in 1984 (with permission of the local bishop) and more so in 1988 with his Apostolic Letter, Ecclesia Dei:

To all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition I wish to manifest my will to facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of the necessary measures to guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations. In this matter I ask for the support of the bishops and of all those engaged in the pastoral ministry in the Church.

by virtue of my Apostolic Authority I decree…respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962.

Given all this, a local bishop who favors the FFA mass (such as Bishop Clark) has the following options:

  1. submit to the Holy Father and not allow your personal preferences for FFA masses to supersede what Holy Mother Church requires
  2. allow for a diversity of masses
  3. allow only FFA masses and disregard Holy Mother Church

Asking someone like Bishop Clark to go with option #1 is probably a bit much, but seeing as this diocese is all about diversity one would think #2 would be the logical choice.  After all, this is from the diocese’s mission statement:

As pilgrims nourished by the Eucharist for our journey of faith, we work with other churches and with all who seek harmony within the human family to advance the reign of God.

To the chagrin of many traditionalist Catholics, what Bishop Clark chose is actually #3.  This is an excerpt from the Latin Liturgy Association’s Newsletter (No. 42)

A fine article “A desire for Latin” appeared in the April 27, 1991 issue of “The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle” [The online D&C archives only go back to ’02]. The piece was sent to the Chairman by our member Mr. Dominic A. Aquila [instructor of history and political science at Empire State College and teacher at the Rochester Institute of Technology] to whom the local Bishop, Matthew Clark, had addressed the letter with the five reasons for not allowing the 1962 Missal printed in the last issue of the Newsletter on page 3. Rochester is the only diocese in NY where the Papal Indult of 1984 has not been implemented. Aquila has collected 450 signatures on a petition for the old rite; a petition submitted in the late 1989 had 64 signatures. At present, the old rite of Mass is celebrated illicitly in the diocese; one such location is mentioned, and the newspaper says, “Attending this Mass in the Rochester diocese would not satisfy a Catholic’s Sunday obligation.” The newspaper notes that hundreds of Catholics attend the Latin Masses according to the revised Roman Missal celebrated at the two Rochester churches once a month. A long quotation from a letter of bishop Clark to a priest who had asked to be allowed to celebrate the Old Mass is given:

The Mass as we have it today is Christ’s sacrifice celebrated with and for the community of faith. Its form and development have invited a new sense of dignity for all baptized persons who gather together. The Mass of the 1962 Roman Missal does not reflect this dignity nor this theology [ah – the hermeneutic of rupture]; it reflects a theology where the people were pious and quiet as the priest prayed for them … I cannot see any positive purpose that such a celebration would serve, except the nostalgia of past days [pretty strong words for the pre-V2 Church]..

A local priest, Robert J. Kennedy of St. Bernard’s Institute, is quoted as saying:

Who’s in charge? Is it the Pope or the bishop? The bishop or the local pastor? The pastor or the people?  People insisting on the traditional Mass are challenging the authority of the Church in some way [on odd statement considering JP2’s apostolic letter quoted above].

The Chairman concludes this notice with the comment that the word nostalgia comes from the Greek nostos (return home) and algos (pain); nostalgia is a form of melancholy caused by prolonged absence from one’s home or country. It is a sever home-sickness. It is a perfectly natural emotion, and those insensitive people who are not affected by it would do well not to boast that their hearts are like stones.

I guess diversity and “working together” includes everyone except those Catholics who prefer the traditional latin mass.  Thankfully, Bishop Clark did eventually change his tune (with a little arm-twisting perhaps) and allow the TLM to be celebrated.  Each and every Catholic should at some point or another experience it and it is available every Sun. at 1:30 at St. Stan’s.  If you’re going for the first time, don’t be caught in a state of having to evaluate the whole mass as if you need to give a report on whether you liked it or not.  Just experience it.  And go back again (at least intermittently) until you become comfortable with it (should we ever be completely comfortable encountering our Risen Lord?).  After all, even if you don’t like it, it was the mass celebrated for centuries, if not millenia.  From a purely historical perspective, it is worth experiencing as a Catholic.

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9 Responses to “Counterfeit Diversity”

  1. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    and Pope Saint Pius X adds these few words (near the front of the red missal):

    “Don’t pray at Holy Mass, but pray the Holy Mass.”

    Explaining himself further, His Holiness set forth:

    “The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”

  2. Bishop Clark actually said that about the EF — on the record? after Pope John Paul II in his motu proprio Ecclesia Dei called for bishops to be “wide and generous” in their granting of the (then) indult and said “respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition”? With the advent of St. Blog’s, he wouldn’t dare do so now, which is progress of a sort.

  3. avatar Jim R says:

    “Wide and generous” as translated by the Spirit of VII crowd when dealing with the EF:

    “Wide” in terms of subatomic particles actually means quite narrow in everyday living. The Church exists in everyday living so the applicability of the EF should be quite narrow except in those dealings we have in subatomic matters.

    “Generous” true generosity applies only in granting what is good and useful. The EF being in a “dead” language which is preserved only in ancient texts is not useful. Further, in not being useful it can hardly be for the good since active participation, in any colloquial understanding of the term, is not a part of the EF. Hence, by restricting the EF it is thereby made generously available.

    “respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition” as translated by the Spirit of VII crowd when dealing with the EF:

    “respect” yeah, we, grudgingly, take notice of such – that’s more respect that is deserved.

    “everywhere” we can’t escape the troglodytes – so year, we know they’re out there.

    “shown” yeah, we show them the respect they are due.

    “feelings” yeah, but they’ll get over it…

    “attached” no one is bolted to it

    “Latin liturgical tradition” but that doesn’t actually mention the EF, now does it? o you see “extraordinary form” in that phrase. The Latin liturgical tradition actually now lives in the Mass of Paul VI, so in reality it refers to the OF.

  4. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Ben, your quotes from “The Studentbaker Corporation” have been interesting in solving what has been so puzzling to me – how exactly did our Diocese get so very bad, across the board?? I am still figuring it out. We know for certain the main responsibility is at the top, that is, with Bishop Clark and those he has carefully surrounded himself with, and also from the formation of priests at St. Bernards, under his leadership. You have to wonder how the holier priests of our Diocese made it though it there! It must have been a hardship. If only they could tell their stories! But to be in the Diocese and not with the rigid special agenda here must be a very precarious place to be indeed.

    You wrote: “…I guess diversity and “working together” includes everyone except those Catholics who prefer the traditional Latin Mass. Thankfully, Bishop Clark did eventually change his tune (with a little arm-twisting perhaps) and allow the TLM to be celebrated…”

    Yes, I have noticed that he does do the right thing when backed up against the wall and offered no way out…

    As an aside, only somewhat related, please let me digress a moment. The only thing, so far, that Bishop Clark has ever done that surprised me as being spiritually astute, and of being truly the right thing to do and well done, was his evaluation of alleged locutionist John Leary, here in Rochester. I thought what he said about the revelations was spot on. It keeps coming back to mind, how much his wise decision doesn’t fit with all the other unwise things he has done. Does anyone know: Could someone else have written that for him?? Not that that is such a bad thing for the bishop to have had help evaluating it. He chose to use his authority to say it, even if he didn’t author it. I am curious, though, who in the diocese might have written it, if it in fact wasn’t him? Please know that these questions about authorship are all my own guesses and conjectures; I have no inside information. To explain further, what was written there enlightened me, what I read in the Courier puts me asleep… Thus, I wonder about the authorship.

    Back to the topic at hand. Yes, diversity and working together not only excludes those seeking Latin Masses but wouldn’t you say pretty much everyone not following his personal “progressive” agenda?? Like anyone with an an opinion other than his about how to build a new Church (how about like a barn??) or where to put the Tabernacle when you wreckovate. Because that has been my consistent experience and observation, from the top and from priests and pastoral administrators and those working closely with them.

    New as a convert, I found that at first they are interested in the Protestant convert who is so interested in the Catholic Church. Perhaps because of their agenda to Protestantize, they think I can help. But we Protestant converts want to be more Catholic, not regress to Protestantism. Besides, we came from the real thing. Why would we want the poor imitation? So, very quickly, even in the first conversation, I see the veil come down and sense they are slotting me as someone who doesn’t fit with their agenda.

    Yes, Bishop Clark has systematically created a divided diocese, and anyone in the loop knows to evaluate everyone as “for us” (“get them on board!”) or “against us” (“oh, they don’t matter”). I could give several examples of how I saw this revealed. Its a very real thing.

    Yes, inclusiveness includes only those who are already on their agenda, or those who are so un-churched they are willing to completely accept their authority and “vision”.

    And it has always rubbed me the wrong way to read Bishop Clark extolling the virtue of pastoral care, as that is the furthest thing from what I experience here. I have concluded firmly that “Pastoral Care” for Bishop Clark narcisisstically says that everyone not with his agenda DOESN’T MATTER, and is not deserving of any pastoral care.

  5. avatar Eliza10 says:

    On other thing. You quote Father Kennedy of Blessed Sacrament here, back in 1991, I pressume, saying for the press:

    “Who’s in charge? Is it the Pope or the bishop? The bishop or the local pastor? The pastor or the people? People insisting on the traditional Mass are challenging the authority of the Church in some way [on odd statement considering JP2’s apostolic letter quoted above].”

    I have to shake my head in deep disappointment in Father Kennedy. He is a man of much compassion for the hurting homosexuals in our community — its a misguided compassion, but at least its compassion and that’s a godly thing. But Father Kennedy, what about the people who love and desire the Latin Mass? They don’t matter? The falsehoods woven into the Dioscean agenda you have chosen to internalize have mixed up your thinking! Does having compassion for the gays mean you take away compassion for other people groups, who then don’t get any?

    I am also very sorry to see Father Kennedy throwing “authority” around when it serves his own agenda, to the exclusion of others.

    Father Kennedy, you speak a lot on love and compassion, so here’s a lesson on that for you: Charity, Christian love, is a cup that runs over. There is plenty for all. It doesn’t have to be doled out to only a selected few.

  6. avatar Nerina says:

    Yes, diversity and working together not only excludes those seeking Latin Masses but wouldn’t you say pretty much everyone not following his personal “progressive” agenda??

    Yes, Eliza, yes! I think the struggle for the TLM is a very obvious illustration of false diversity, but there are many, many other examples in any given church in our diocese.

    Your comment regarding Protestant converts is very revealing and I think “spot on.” I have long maintained that diocesan leadership is more interested in eradicating Catholic culture and identity in order to assume a more Protestant-like veneer. And, as you note, they don’t do it as well.

    A few years ago, our church did a massive survey of members to find out what their three biggest concerns were regarding the church and the liturgy. Number two was “Music.” So a committee was formed to address the issue. I sat on the committee and suggested that perhaps a more traditional Mass offered once a weekend might be welcomed. I wasn’t suggesting anything too radical, but things like traditional hymns, placing a crucifix in the sanctuary (instead of the Risen Christ), more silence within the Mass and before the Mass, singing the ordinaries of the Mass – things I thought were simple and reasonable. Well. You would have thought I suggested a TLM. My comments were rejected by some as being “too divisive” or “unwelcoming” or “clubbish.” My priest, to his credit, didn’t automatically reject the idea of a traditional Mass, but he was in the minority and being a consensus type of leader, he wasn’t willing to go against the majority for fear of being perceived as imposing his will on others.

    Looking back I find the whole thing laughable. How is a more traditional Mass any more divisive then the “Children’s Mass” once a month, or the “Teen Mass” on Sundays?

    @Ben:

    Put another way, if you are someone friendly to the EF, then you will almost certainly bring a greater sense of reverence with you to the OF (ordinary form). If you are someone who favors a FFA, TTBOTW (throw-the-book-out-the-window) mass, then you will almost certainly despise the traditional latin mass.

    I think this is a fair and accurate statement.

    I don’t have a desire to create a “we v. them” when it comes to the liturgy, but until the NO goes through some major restoration in our diocese, it is getting harder and harder for me to defend it or feel nourished by it. I read the very lengthy blog post referenced in the forums, and while I respect Dave Armstrong very much, I think his post simply can’t be applied in our diocese because of the way the NO, for the most part, is celebrated here. I agree with Dave Armstrong that historically the NO is rooted in ancient practice of the Mass (heck, we have evidence in the NT of that fact), but so many post-Vatican II liturgists quickly took the directives of Sacrosanctum Concilium and read into them what ever they chose. I say this over and over again, if every church were celebrating the NO the way OLV does, we would not be having a discussion about EF v. OF.

    I am thankful that I have found the TLM because it not only has exposed me to our rich liturgical patrimony, but has also elevated my spiritual participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Thank goodness for the TLM community.

  7. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Nerina, I am commenting on this that you wrote:

    “A few years ago, our church did a massive survey of members to find out what their three biggest concerns were regarding the church and the liturgy. Number two was “Music.” So a committee was formed to address the issue. I sat on the committee and suggested that perhaps a more traditional Mass offered once a weekend might be welcomed. I wasn’t suggesting anything too radical, but things like traditional hymns, placing a crucifix in the sanctuary (instead of the Risen Christ), more silence within the Mass and before the Mass, singing the ordinaries of the Mass – things I thought were simple and reasonable. Well. You would have thought I suggested a TLM. My comments were rejected by some as being “too divisive” or “unwelcoming” or “clubbish.” My priest, to his credit, didn’t automatically reject the idea of a traditional Mass, but he was in the minority and being a consensus type of leader, he wasn’t willing to go against the majority for fear of being perceived as imposing his will on others.”

    This is SO COMMON! This is what happens here in the DOR. Person after person that I met has had a similar story to tell. They they were ignored, despised, made unwelcome for having a heartfelt suggestion or hope for change (or more often than not, “not-change”). Some fought long and hard, only to be ignored, like the St Thomas closing story here and so many, many other closings and wreckovations.

    And look what they called you: “clubbish”, “devisive”, “unwelcoming”. Do you notice that what you accused you of is EXACTLY what thy were doing?? And it always is that way. It reminds me of the ridiculous Catholic Courier discussion on divisiveness in the Diocese, and where did it come from? I wonder WHERE?

    So how did you feel, when you took time out of your busy schedule and away frrom the family, to serve on a committe, meet with others, and share your thoughts, be a part of change, and you are faced with the wall? Its pretty discouraging. I have seen that discouragement all over the place in Rochester, and its gone on so long. Change is going to be SO WELCOME here!

    Yes, its to your priest’s credit that he at least did not chime in with the “automatic rejectors”. The scene was one he’d seen play itself over and over again hundreds of times, it simply being the DOR Modus Operendi (oops – if there is anyone lurking from Buffalo Rd.: please excuse the Latin!).

    However, your priest should have been more manly and taken charge to ensure your thoughts were truly expressed and considered. Where’s the fatherliness in that Father?? Why allow that rude dynamic to be business-as-usual, when he is part of the business?? There is a great lack of manliness here in the DOR. I guess that’s why a visit to Our Lady of Victory is a breath of fresh air to me because Father Antinarelli, not tall, not handsome, not strong, not charismatic – is such a big man, such a manly man, a spiritual tower – a faithful man. He’s a “real man” and a fatherly father, a shepherd of his little flock. I always feel he “carries” his flock with him in prayer. We need more manliness like that and with a new Bishop I think there is hope that many of our priests will begin to discover their own manhood.

  8. avatar Matt says:

    Eliza, you hit on something my brother notes all the time:

    Liberals have one set of rules for themselves, and a completely different set of rules for everybody else. More often than not, liberal “tolerance” only means “i am tolerant of everyone unless they disagree with me.”

    Furthermore, Nerina/Eliza…

    It’s my experience that we’re not ACTUALLY in the minority. The vast majority of people a either don’t have any opinion or share our point-of-view. There’s just this very very vocal minority of (usually) baby boomers that are so loud in their opinions that people assume that they speak for everyone else, causing many of those who disagree to keep silent.

  9. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Matt said, “It’s my experience that we’re not ACTUALLY in the minority. The vast majority of people a either don’t have any opinion or share our point-of-view….

    I agree completely. This is also my observation. We are simply effectively silenced and pushed aside by well-entrenched misuse of authority. Bishop Clark has us all wandering about in dead barrenness. But it will soon be over, and there will be in new springtime in Rochester.

    “…There’s just this very very vocal minority …”

    – that has been nurtured and specifically trained to take charge and impose change on the DOR, who have been systematically taught and encouraged to completely ignore anyone who opposes their dissident ideology…


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