Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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The Latin Mass

February 7th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

Last July we celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the issuance of Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum.  This is the Apostolic Letter, issued by His Holiness motu proprio (on his own initiative), granting every priest of the Latin rite permission to celebrate Mass in Latin using the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962.  In doing so the Pope also did away with the requirement that the priest must first obtain the approval of his bishop before celebrating what His Holiness termed this “extraordinary form” of the Roman rite.

Michael Voris observed this anniversary in the July 8th issue of The Vortex, with one sentence in his report bringing to mind the situation in the Diocese of Rochester.  In describing the state of affairs in many dioceses in the years preceding the appearance of Summorum Pontificum, Voris says,

Even where some bishops have “allowed” the Mass, it’s almost always in some run down parish in the dangerous or seedy part of town at some really bad time of the day that makes it difficult for families to get to for all the above reasons.

Sounds an awful lot like home, doesn’t it?

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57 Responses to “The Latin Mass”

  1. avatar Abaccio says:

    except for the “run down parish” part!

  2. avatar Mike says:

    Sorry, Abaccio. I meant to add that and then forgot.

    Mea culpa!

  3. avatar Abaccio says:

    Haha, I figured as much. But it’s terribly true. I know lots of people that don’t want to go because it’s inconvenient, or discouraged by their priest/the bishop/nuns, they dont wanna go alone to the ‘hood, or some other reason (i like to stay in my own parish). In a few years, we’ll have a good number of priests offering the EF Mass in their own parishes. I’d bet that by 2020, we’ll have at least 10 parishes offering a TLM weekly.

  4. avatar Dr. K says:

    10 might be a pipe dream so soon in this brainwashed diocese. I think four more (five total) in a decade’s time is a worthy goal.

  5. avatar Abaccio says:

    well, doc, i count potentially 6-7 new priests who are latin-mass friendly who are at least discerning the call right now, or further along. Figure that with the 2 latin-mass friendly priests we already have, plus one that wants to learn, and figure we could see one or two more incardinated (plus perhaps the new bishop)…I could see 10 in 10…that’s my prayer

  6. avatar Dr. K says:

    It’s my prayer too!

  7. avatar Nerina says:

    I know for my family, the biggest deterrent is the location of St. Stan’s (which is a beautiful church). My husband cringes whenever I have to drive there to sing the Mass. The time is not great, but I don’t mind it so much.

  8. avatar Jim R says:

    One reason so many EF churches are in poor areas is that those churches often didn’t have the money to wreckovate – they still have the High Altar and often altar rails.

    In some measure, we need to give thanks that God can use poverty for His purposes and our benefit. Just a thought, folks.

  9. avatar LaSandia says:

    I will grant that St. Stan´s is in a bad part of town. However, during the day there´s usually nothing to worry about, and the Polish community has done an amazing job of keeping the building beautiful and well-kept. The time, however, is pretty inconvenient, but a small inconvenience for such a wonderful liturgy!

    Where I live right now, the closest Latin mass is 30 minutes away in a sketchy suburb of Trenton, in an ugly church at 3 in the afternoon.

    Wouldn´t it be nice if the FSSP or the Institute of Christ the King could set up shop in Rochester?

  10. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    What puzzles me about this discussion is that it seems to ignore the fact that the former restrictions on saying the Latin Mass were inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council, which, as a genuine council of the Catholic Church, is covered by the ordinary magisterium if anything is. So if you believe in the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium of the Catholic Church, then you must recognize that Vatican II was right to restrict the saying of the Latin Mass, right? It was a Council, after all. Furthermore, that implies that there must have been good reasons to restrict the saying of the Latin Mass. Now, it’s fine to now say that there should be more Latin Masses, but I don’t see how you can consistently believe that there has been something wrong with the previous restrictions, since they have their origin in a genuine council of the Church. Moreover, even now this is a prudential matter over which the local Bishop has some discretion, isn’t it? Do you only respect the authority of your Bishop when you agree with his theology? How is that consistent with an unqualified respect for the magisterium of the Church?

  11. avatar Abaccio says:

    Gord,

    I mean no offense, but…don’t you have something better to do than bicker on a blog? I do hope you’ll complain about CF in your classes at Brockport. It would be most welcome.

    That said, you sound ignorant (again). Vatican II itself did not abrogate the Mass of Pope Pius V. I might suggest the book “Sacred Then, Sacred Now” by Thomas E Woods. As the Mass was never abrogated, its use has always been acceptable in at least certain circumstances. Pope John Paul II liberalized its use in Ecclesia Dei afflicta, and Pope Benedict further liberalized its use in Summorum Pontificum. Ecclesia Dei afflicta encouraged BISHOPS to be ‘generous’ in their allowance of the Mass of Pope Pius V. Pope Benedict, knowing that some Bishops refused to implement Ecclesia Dei afflicta, issued Summorum Pontificum, which went around the Bishops and allowed priests to say the Mass of Pius V if the faithful desire it. Therefore, NO. The Bishop does not have the authority to dictate this anymore, although many try.

    As for restricting its use in the first place, the major reason was to force this change onto the Church in a show of pseudo-unity.

  12. avatar Persis says:

    Posted by Abaccio
    Pope Benedict, knowing that some Bishops refused to implement Ecclesia Dei afflicta, issued Summorum Pontificum, which went around the Bishops and allowed priests to say the Mass of Pius V if the faithful desire it.

    With all due respect, I am not sure if this statement is entirely accurate.
    It is my understanding that what SP did was lift the restriction of any priest having to get permission from the Bishop to “privatly” celebrate the Mass in the extraordinary form. I thought that if said Mass was going to be “public” one still needs permission from the local Ordinary. Is this correct?

  13. avatar Abaccio says:

    No.

    Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

    The priest, if a “stable group of faithful” approaches him, is to accept their requests.

    Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 § 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

    Basically, if the priest refuses, tell the Bishop, if the Bishop refuses, tell the Holy See.

  14. avatar Abaccio says:

    Fr Z likes to point out how eager some Bishops are to institute Ecclesia Dei afflicta now that it’s been superseded by Summorum Pontificum.

  15. avatar Dr. K says:

    I would imagine that a Parochial Vicar does not enjoy the same rights to offer the TLM in a parish unless he has approval of the pastor. However, a pastor no longer requires the permission of his bishop to meet this need for his flock.

  16. avatar Abaccio says:

    As SP is written, you are correct, DrK. That said, it does not mean that a PV cannot pray it in private, and it does not mean that he cannot do so at another parish with the permission of THAT parish’s pastor

  17. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    Nothing that Abbacio says above contradicts my main point, and his last statement actually confirms it. The Second Vatican Council decided that the Mass would be celebrated in the vernacular, and the Latin mass would be an exception, not the rule. That is the fact of the matter, and no one disputes it. Since then, the restrictions on saying the Latin Mass have slowly been lifted. No one disputes that either. My point was that the Second Vatican Council, which was a duly convened council of the Catholic Church, made the decision to celebrate the Mass in the vernacular, and thus the restrictions that have existed until recently were instituted by a council of the Catholic Church, which means that they fall under the ordinary magisterium. In his last statement, Abbacio tells us just what he thinks of a council, and by implication, the ordinary magisterium, when he says that:

    “As for restricting its use in the first place, the major reason was to force this change onto the Church in a show of pseudo-unity.”

    Hmm…, so a Council of the Church, which consists of all the Bishops in concert with the Bishop of Rome, is here described as “forcing a change onto the Church in a show of pseudo-unity.” For anyone who would describe himself as an orthodox Catholic, this is seriously confused. You claim to believe that the magisterium has the authority to decide these matters, but then you dismiss a statement from that very same magisterium, made in a Council, when you don’t like what it says. That is simply inconsistent.

  18. avatar Louis E. says:

    Gordon Barnes,what measure of the legitimacy of the Second Vatican Council within the RC tradition other than the extent to which it was in agreement with previous Councils?…if it had declared the canon of Scripture to be redefined as the Koran and the Urantia Book,limited the episcopate to active lesbians,and redefined the normative liturgy as the live cooking of newborn infants every Wednesday evening,would it still have been entitled to supersede all prior norms?

    In any case,the Council made the decision that Mass in the vernacular could be allowed,there was no intent to make it the norm.How closely have you read the Council documents?

  19. avatar Dr. K says:

    “The Second Vatican Council decided that the Mass would be celebrated in the vernacular”

    I disagree with that claim.

    From Sacrosanctum Concilium:

    “36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

    2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.

    3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.”

    The Council did not in any way require Mass to be said entirely in the vernacular, but rather allowed greater use of the vernacular at the discretion of bishops.

  20. avatar Abaccio says:

    1) NO. Sacrosanctum Concilium states, “36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” The Novus Ordo is supposed to be in Latin, ad orientem, and the featured music is supposed to be gregorian chant.

    Therefore, your premise is faulty. The “Latin Mass” you reference, the Mass of Pope Pius V, is an entirely different Ordo, and it’s not about the vernacular.

    These restrictions were never dictated, but rather the choice of individual bishops or bishops’ conferences. Our Holy Father has graciously permitted that the faithful not be restricted from something that’s always been permissible.

    VII never made the “decision” to celebrate in the vernacular. It permitted in part, but by no means said that was to be the norm.

    This restriction was not made authoritatively, but by people wishing to restrict something that was the liturgy of the Church for over 1500 years. This was not a decision of the magisterium. It is VERY key to READ what the documents of the Second Vatican Council actually SAY instead of assuming based upon what you’ve heard. The documents of Vatican II often do not say what this “spirit of Vatican II” crowd claims they say. Read first, then try to explain. I promise you, PhD or not, you don’t know what you’re talking about, Gord.

  21. avatar Anonymous says:

    If Vatican 2 did not decide that the mass should be celebrated in vernacular, then why is it that the mass is celebrated in every country in every church – including Rome – IN THE VERNACULAR????? Are you trying to say all the Popes since Vatican 2 have been wrong? If you want to celebrate the mass in Latin you can every Sunday at 1. What more do you want?

  22. avatar Dr. K says:

    If Vatican 2 did not decide that the mass should be celebrated in vernacular, then why is it that the mass is celebrated in every country in every church – including Rome – IN THE VERNACULAR????? Are you trying to say all the Popes since Vatican 2 have been wrong? If you want to celebrate the mass in Latin you can every Sunday at 1. What more do you want?

    Huh? The Holy Father celebrates in Latin…?

  23. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    I am prepared to stand corrected here, but I’m not yet sure how much. The passages quoted above from Vatican II seem to say that, as of that document, it will be permissible to say the Mass in the vernacular (admittedly, this is different from saying that it is “the norm,” so I was wrong about that), and that the use of language will be decided by “the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority.” Now, that would be the Bishop, right? I understand that since Vatican II there have been several statements that have affected the practice of the Church, but these latter documents do not have the same authoritative status as a Council, so I think there is still room for disagreement here. However, with that said, I agree that my understanding on this issue was somewhat inaccurate. Point granted.

  24. avatar Abaccio says:

    Thanks, Gordon. Basically, Sacrosanctum Concilium, “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” was the document that brought about the liturgical reform written as the Mass of Pope Paul VI. This was written primarily by a fellow named Annibale Bugnini. Now, Bugnini said a great number of troubling things, including this:

    “We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.”-Bugnini, 1965. Note here that he does not uphold doctrinal clarity, but false ecumenism that is not rooted in Truth. This is troubling.

    In any case, Bugnini had definite aims in creating this new liturgy,and it faced great opposition at the time, particularly from Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani and Antonio Cardinal Bacci (Two of my favourite 20th century churchmen, might i note). If you have the opportunity to read up on some of the issues they brought up, you might very well understand the differences between the forms of the Roman Rite.

    I would suggest, further, if you have never attended, to visit St Stanislaus Kostka to see the Mass of Pope Pius V, and also to Our Lady of Victory/St Joseph downtown to see a very orthodox rendering of the Mass of Pope Paul VI. The issues of liturgy are a fascinating study, and should not be taken lightly.

  25. avatar Abaccio says:

    Anon 7:42, you said
    “If Vatican 2 did not decide that the mass should be celebrated in vernacular, then why is it that the mass is celebrated in every country in every church – including Rome – IN THE VERNACULAR????? Are you trying to say all the Popes since Vatican 2 have been wrong? If you want to celebrate the mass in Latin you can every Sunday at 1. What more do you want?”

    The norm remains Latin, even if this is rarely practiced. Vernacular is permitted, but it was the idea of the Council that it be used in certain parts of the Mass, while others remained in Latin. The only parish in the Diocese of Rochester that has, with some degree of credibility, instituted the reforms of Vatican Council II is Our Lady of Victory/St Joseph downtown.

    No, I am not a sedevacantist. I think John Paul II, while a saintly man, was a horrendous liturgist. I think Paul VI was personally Orthodox, but very weak-willed. I don’t have an opinion on John Paul I. Benedict has a sense of these issues, and has written about them in great detail, and has done a tremendous job trying to heal the ruptures created by centuries of predecessors. Pope Benedict is truly the Pope of Christian Unity.

    Anon, why should we see just one EF Mass, and ZERO Latin NO Masses, ZERO ad orientem NO Masses, ZERO parishes that still use the altar rail for the NO? What I want is for the entire world to have a conversion of heart and soul, and to gain eternal salvation. I believe that proper liturgy is one key way in which souls can be won. Surely you do not mean to tell me that the church is in a better state in 2011 than she was in 1961, do you? 1961 had its issues, but Mass attendance and Catholic identity were much stronger. If our goal is the salvation of souls, and as Catholics that MUST be our goal, we need to do whatever it takes to do Christ’s work here on Earth. Quite frankly, I find your dismissal of tradition-minded Catholics to be offensive, and in bad taste.

  26. avatar Anonymous says:

    Abbacio quit frankly what I find to be offensive and in bad taste is people trying to shove the latin mass down everyone’s throat and claiming it to be the correct way to say mass. Clearly it is not the right way for if it were then every parish would say mass in Latin. Of course there would be a mass exodus of people from the Catholic church because most people do not speak Latin. Come to think of it Jesus did not speak Latin either, why don’t you demand the mass to be said in Jesus’ native tongue?

  27. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    trying to shove the latin mass down everyone’s throat and claiming it to be the correct way to say mass.

    Is that happening? Really? There is 1 latin mass in the diocese now. Some optimistic guesses on CF were that in 10 years time there could be 5-10. Somehow I wouldn’t call that shoving down throats. Also, many people who appreciate the EF also have a deep love of the OF. It’s not an either-or, but the Catholic both-and.

    Come to think of it Jesus did not speak Latin either

    perhaps not (although I’m not sure that we know for sure). He did, however, know the languages of this “church” (which was not the vernacular). Latin wasn’t the language of the church at the time. You are trying to make a false anachronistic point here.

  28. avatar Nerina says:

    Of course there would be a mass exodus of people from the Catholic church because most people do not speak Latin.

    This exodus has already and continues to take place. Prior to VII, weekly Mass attendance was at 75%, now, we’re lucky if we reach 15%.

    No one is shoving the EF down anyone’s throat. What I advocate for is the right to expose the faithful to our liturgical heritage which includes the TLM. Why are you, Anon, afraid of that? How does it hurt you to let others worship in a way that has always been allowed by the Church? As Ben notes, this is not an “either/or” situation but a “both/and.”

  29. avatar Nerina says:

    What more do you want?

    I’ll tell you what I want. I want a liturgy befitting of a King – the King. I don’t care if this liturgy takes the shape of the TLM or the NO, but I’ve had enough of the happy-clappy, superficial, kumbaya, make-it-up-as-you-go, reinvent-the-wheel Masses that are foisted upon unsuspecting or unwitting congregants. And I am really tired of being laughed at, ridiculed, mocked and judged because I find traditional expressions of piety and devotion important. I am tired of hearing people with titles like “Director of Faith Formation” or “Liturgy Coordinator” condemn Eucharistic Adoration as “nothing but a show” or saying at a First Communion retreat that people “aren’t allowed” to kneel to receive Communion.

  30. avatar Abaccio says:

    Though, to be fair, the Novus Ordo that we will presumably see in the future will look quite a bit more…Tridentine. Pope Benedict has spoken very clearly about the “hermeneutic of continuity”

  31. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    The Catholic Church is supposed to be the Church that was founded by Jesus Christ, and thus his words are authoritative if anything is. The magisterium always alleges that everything they say is consistent with his teachings, but on close inspection there is often an apparent tension, at the very least, and outright contradiction at the most. Here is an example to illustrate the point. When Jesus and his disciples gathered food on the Sabbath, they were accused of violating the law, and Jesus famously responded “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” So Jesus appears to be saying that the sabbath, which is a divinely ordained observance, existed for the well being of the people, and not the other way around. Moreover, he seems to be suggesting that in the observance of the sabbath the well being of the people should always take top priority. Now, contrast that with the obsession manifested on this site with exactly who says what, and even where they sit, and with whom at the Mass. Every little detail of the Mass is scrutinized. Is that consistent with Jesus’ teaching that “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”? I think not. I’ll close with this thought. Orthodox Catholics often say that liberal Catholics are not “real Catholics” because they do not really accept the authority of the Church. In response, a liberal Catholic would say that any Church that claims to be the church of Jesus Christ had better remain consistent with the spirit of his teaching, and on the orthodox interpretation of current Church teaching, many of the current teachings of the Church are simply inconsistent with the spirit of Jesus’ teachings. At this point, orthodox Catholics will say “Then why don’t you just become a protestant?” And to that I think a liberal Catholic would have to respond “If you’re not going to be consistent with Jesus’ teachings, then why don’t you stop calling your Church the Church of Jesus Christ?”

  32. avatar Dr. K says:

    Of course there would be a mass exodus of people from the Catholic church because most people do not speak Latin.

    Really… because the mass exodus took place after many churches stopped using Latin.

  33. avatar Abaccio says:

    This is almost too easy.

    First, we don’t celebrate the Sabbath as did the Jews. As Gentiles, the Sabbath is not binding, Gord. This has been the consistent teaching of the Church for nearly 20 centuries. Where the Sabbath is the 7th day of Creation, we treat Easter as the 8th day of Creation. Each Sunday is a “mini Easter” of sorts. You didn’t even give Our Lord’s full quote there…he continued, “Therefore the Son of man is Lord of the sabbath also.”

    If you would like to understand the Catholic approach to the third commandment/Sunday etc. Check out The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part Three, Section Two, Chapter One, Article Three (CCC 2168-2195.) I will not type it all here.

  34. avatar Dr. K says:

    the obsession manifested on this site with exactly who says what, and even where they sit, and with whom at the Mass.

    Where is this alleged obsession about ‘where’ and ‘with whom’ people sit? Are you reading the same blog that we’re writing?

    Secondly, on what do you base your assertion that progressive/liberal Catholics follow Christ’s teachings while orthodox Catholics do not? Is it not the progressives who often support such evils as abortion, homosexual marriage, and all-inclusive Communion regardless of one’s belief in the Real Presence or preparedness to receive?

  35. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    This completely misses the point, and I think you know that. The point has nothing to do with which day of the week we worship. The point is that Jesus clearly and emphatically objected to the attitude of his contemporaries towards the sabbath, and what he objected to was their prioritization of the strict adherence of the sabbath over the good of the people. Jesus’ teaching here indicates clearly that he disapproves of any obsessive insistence of strict adherence to the letter of divine instruction even when it is to the detriment of the people in the context in which it occurs. Consequently, the spirit of Jesus’ teaching here is clear: you should care more about the people who are participating in worship, and their well being than you do about the strict adherence to the letter of the law.

    There is a place on this site where a list of parishes is given in which “liturgical abuses” occur, and the list of abuses includes lay people sitting next to the priest at Mass. There are also people screaming about children going up to the altar at St. Mary’s and imitating the priest when he blesses the gifts. These are obsessions with the letter of the law, and as such they are inconsistent with the spirit of Jesus’ teaching that the form of worship exists for people, and not people for the form of worship. I hope that you will now address this point directly and honestly, rather than pretend that I am forgetting why we worship on Sunday. That sort of misrepresentation starts to look like deliberate deception.

  36. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    I forgot to address Dr. K’s second question — about liberal Catholics and Christ’s teachings. Here is something to think about. Jesus never talks about abortion or homosexuality. Never. he never mentions either one — not even once. In fact, abortion is never mentioned anywhere in the New testament, or even anywhere in the entire Bible. Homosexuality is certainly mentioned and condemned, but by contrast with other moral issues, even homosexuality is discussed only very rarely. So what does Jesus himself talk about? What is he concerned about? Well, let’s recall some of his actual words from the Gospels. The rich young ruler asks Jesus, point blank, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus tells him to observe the law. The young ruler says “I’ve done that.” And then Jesus says “There is still one thing that you lack. Sell everything you have, and give it all to the poor, and then come follow me.” So when he was asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life (notice: not what he had to do to be a saint, or something else extraordinary; no, what he had to do to inherit eternal life at all), Jesus told him to sell everything and give it all to the poor. Then Jesus makes the famous statement that “It is easier for a Camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Then he tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is simply described as “a rich man.” Nothing else is said about him. Then he refuses to feed Lazarus (who is simply described as “a poor man,” and nothing else, not a cripple or disabled in any way), and the rich man then goes to hell and Lazarus to heaven. When Zachaeus tells Jesus that he will give half of his wealth to the poor, Jesus then declares “On this day salvation has come to this house.” Now, there are even MORE passages I could quote (like the parable of the sheep and the goats), but I assume you get the point. Do you see a theme here? It’s pretty obvious: wealth should be given to the poor, and those who don’t do not “get eternal life,” or go to heaven (as with the rich man in the parable). Now, in a liberal Catholic Church, one hears that instruction, in some form or other, almost every week. But what about in conservative parishes? Well, let’s put the question this way: how often is wealth and poverty the subject of discussion here on “Cleansing Fire”? You know the answer: not very often.

  37. avatar Abaccio says:

    Oh look, you’re throwing feces again. I love this game.

    My point was not merely one of semantics. Sunday to Catholics means something EXTREMELY different than the Saturday abbath means to Jews. Did you read that section of the catechism? Well, did you? Learn first, then pontificate. We argue that proper liturgy IS for the good of the people. Nothing about disobeying the Church is good for anyone.

    Yes, Our Lord does not like phariseeism, so to speak. There is a reason for this. We are called to worship God in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. Pharisees were ONLY worried about the idea of worshipping in truth, to the point that they ignored the spirit of the whole thing. These hippie-heretics are only concerned with the spirit of the thing instead of the actual truth. Both are bad.

    Doctrinal and moral rectitude is not the ONLY important thing, but it is ONE of the important things. Just as the atheist doing works is not, in the end, all that laudable, the prayerful man who does no good works is missing a key component. Read the Epistle of St James.

    The problem with many of these liturgical abuses is that they stem from great pride. Pride is, after all the original and most severe of the deadly sins. Pride is defined as, “a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God).” When a wanna-be priestess insists upon disobeying the Church, she echoes Lucifer’s famous words: “Non Serviam!” “I will not serve!” She holds herself out of proper position toward God.

    Before you go screaming “logical fallacy” on me, read the source material I give you. Otherwise, you wind up generating more heat than light.

  38. avatar Gen says:

    Folks, I really and honestly recommend that, before you type anything as a comment, do some research. The people who write for this site are knowledgeable about things such as the documents of the Second Vatican Council, the liturgy (in either the Ordinary or Extraordinary Forms), theology, canon law, etc. We aren’t making things up to suit our purposes. (If only the same could be said of all of our commenters.)

    If you don’t know what you’re talking about, do yourself and us a favor and read up about it. I have. The staff here has. Even our civilly-tongued opposition has. Join the ranks of the prudent and rational before you think about saying things that are just plain ludicrous.

  39. avatar Dr. K says:

    Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor and to love our God. Where is the love of our neighbor if we kill the unborn child in the womb? Just because our Lord does not specifically address each and every evil does not make these sinful activities any less evil or any less serious. Perhaps our Lord felt no need to beat a dead horse on the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” because it is painfully obvious what was meant by it, whereas the lack of concern for the poor was a problem which needed to be addressed to the people to whom he preached at that particular place and time.

  40. avatar Abaccio says:

    In response to your response to DrK, a saint is, by definition, someone who is in the heavenly kingdom. Cleansing Fire’s mission is to promote Truth and Tradition in the lay-run Diocese of Rochester. We do not go out of our way to promote things that are amply promoted already. Just as St Paul explains the various charismatic gifts, just as different orders of religious men and women do not share the same charism, our mission is not to shed light on the plight of the poor. We know about that. We’re inundated with that. Is it important? You betcha! Is it the end-all be-all key to what Jesus taught? No. Simply look at the story of the Annointing of Our Lord:

    6And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper,
    7There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table.
    8And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste?
    9For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
    10And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
    11For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always.
    12For she in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial.
    13Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her.

  41. avatar Anonymous says:

    All you have to do when you’re in a “bad” part of town is to act like you belong. Scared people usually get messed with. If people look for trouble, it will find them. If people go to Hudson Avenue for Mass, God will be with them. Trust in God. I would like to go to the Latin Mass; however, it’s hard for people that work nights to go at 1:30 in the afternoon. What that the time that Bishop Clark convieniently gave to the faithful flock?

  42. avatar Nerina says:

    Mr. Barnes,

    Well, let’s put the question this way: how often is wealth and poverty the subject of discussion here on “Cleansing Fire”? You know the answer: not very often.

    You seem very concerned that “conservative” Catholics are greedy, stingy bastards only concerned with dotting our liturgical “Is” and crossing our liturgical “Ts.” Perhaps the reason we don’t post much on caring for the poor is because it is second nature to all of us who write for the blog and to most, if not all, of our readers.

    Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, wrote a book called “Who Really Cares.” In it, he demolishes the myth that conservative, religious people are ungenerous. In fact, the exact opposite is true. By any objective standard, the most charitable people in monetary donations and physical effort are…conservative, religious people. It is not even close.

    Finally, and I am very reluctant to do this since our Heavenly Father is fully aware of my family’s stewardship, we gave over $10,000 in charity last year while raising five kids with only one parent working and not having had a raise in 10 years. What about your “liberal” Catholic friends? We do it cheerfully because Christ commands it. If offering this example will give you one moment of pause to rethink your assumptions about “conservative” Catholics, then I hope God will forgive me my momentary pride.

  43. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    I wonder if we can lay down a couple of ground rules. First, if I offer a reason for thinking something, such as that Jesus’ teaching implies it, then please do not say that I am “throwing feces again.” That does not respond to the argument that I gave. If I offer an interpretation of Jesus’ teaching, then you can certainly disagree with that interpretation, and argue against it, but please acknowledge that I have offered what I take to be a correct interpretation of Jesus’ teaching, and as such it is not “throwing feces.” Second, could we please dispense with the ALL CAPS? You seem to think that an argument or point suddenly becomes stronger of you put it in ALL CAPS. But that just isn’t so, and it feels like you are shouting. Finally, let’s not get into a war of credentials and who-knows-what. My credentials in this area are ample, but I’m not going to trot them out because that never proves anything. If you know a relevant argument, or some relevant evidence, then just let it speak for itself. No bragging about how much you know, or how much your friends know is necessary, nor does it really prove anything, since there are lots of people who know far more in these areas than any one of us, and who are on both sides of these issues. That’s just the fact of the matter. Ok, with that said, let’s go through this argument carefully.

    Let’s break this down into a series of steps. The sabbath was a divinely ordained religious obligation for all Jews in Jesus’ day. That is a fact. And in that particular respect, even if only in that respect, the sabbath was to Jesus’s contemporaries what the Mass is to contemporary Catholics. And that is why Jesus’ statement about the sabbath is relevant for our attitude towards worship in the Mass today. Now, if you want to insist that this is not so because the Sabbath was “completely different” from the Mass, then you are rendering Jesus’ statements completely irrelevant to us today. But you don’t really think that Jesus teachings are irrelevant, do you? Surely Jesus’ statements are relevant to us today, and that is true even when he was speaking of Jewish religious traditions, rather than our own Catholic traditions. So we have to take Jesus’ statements about Jewish worship to be relevant to our own worship, because otherwise everything that Jesus says about worship is completely irrelevant to us, and that can’t be right.

    I also want to comment on two statements that Abbacio made. Here is the first one.

    “These hippie-heretics are only concerned with the spirit of the thing instead of the actual truth. Both are bad. ”

    Name-calling never proves anything, and so the use of the phrase “hippie-heretics” doesn’t prove anything, and therefore it doesn’t help us. Second, when you say that these “hippie-heretics” are not actually concerned about the truth, that is simply false. Liberal Catholics hold their beliefs to be true, just as much as you do. This is a real disagreement. Your next statement indicates that you are probably making a claim about their motives. I’ll get to that next. So here is Abbacio’s last statement:

    “The problem with many of these liturgical abuses is that they stem from great pride.”

    You aren’t a mind-reader, and so there’s no way for you to know that. People have sincere disagreements. That’s life. And that includes the “Lucifer-Loving-Priestess,” as you so fairly, impartially call her. So this is just more name-calling, and that doesn’t help us either. I confess that I have done my fair share of name-calling at times, but the truth is that it never proves anything. So from now on, in the interest of an honest, rational dialogue, I’m going to try to refrain from doing it. I hope that you will do likewise.

  44. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    Nerina: I am aware of Arthur Brooks’ book, and other evidence that supports the same conclusion. So i know that you are right about this. My comment was about what gets preached in the pulpit, and what gets emphasized by conservative Catholics in their commentary on our society. In that respect, my comments were accurate, since there is little or no discussion of issues of wealth and poverty on this site. Now, I understand what you mean when you say that this is because it is second nature for you to give to the poor. I do not doubt that — not one bit. But how many Catholics are extremely wealthy? Frankly, it’s quite a lot. And how is this consistent with Jesus’ command to sell everything and give it to the poor? How is it consistent with what he says about the rich man and Lazarus? I have no doubt that conservative Catholics like you give to charity until it hurts. I know that’s true. But what about those Catholics who are millionaires? Is anyone in your parish repeating what Jesus said to those people? What Jesus said, without any qualification, is that they needed to give it all away. Those are his very words. But no conservative Catholics today say that. Why not? Where are the followers of Jesus today, who are willing to challenge even the wealthy and the powerful to give up their wealth and power? That is what Jesus spent most of his time doing — challenging the wealthy and the powerful, and demanding that they give all that up, in order to follow him. I’m just not hearing that from any conservative Catholics today, and in that respect, they just don’t sound much like Jesus to me.

  45. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I wonder if we can lay down a couple of ground rules. First, if I offer a reason for thinking something, such as that Jesus’ teaching implies it, then please do not say that I am “throwing feces again.” That does not respond to the argument that I gave. If I offer an interpretation of Jesus’ teaching, then you can certainly disagree with that interpretation, and argue against it, but please acknowledge that I have offered what I take to be a correct interpretation of Jesus’ teaching, and as such it is not “throwing feces.” Second, could we please dispense with the ALL CAPS? You seem to think that an argument or point suddenly becomes stronger of you put it in ALL CAPS. But that just isn’t so, and it feels like you are shouting. Finally, let’s not get into a war of credentials and who-knows-what. My credentials in this area are ample, but I’m not going to trot them out because that never proves anything. If you know a relevant argument, or some relevant evidence, then just let it speak for itself. No bragging about how much you know, or how much your friends know is necessary, nor does it really prove anything, since there are lots of people who know far more in these areas than any one of us, and who are on both sides of these issues. That’s just the fact of the matter.

    agreed.

  46. avatar Dr. K says:

    the sabbath was to Jesus’s contemporaries what the Mass is to contemporary Catholics.

    When did the sabbath become one hour in length? As far as I am aware, we still celebrate our sabbath as an entire day, beginning Saturday evening and extending through Sunday evening. The Sunday Mass is analogous to a Jewish worship service in a Synagogue. For example, we see in the Bible that our Lord was asked to read from the Hebrew Scriptures at one of these services. The Gospel of Luke says, “He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day (Luke 4:16) I don’t think it is correct to claim that the Jewish sabbath is analogous to our Catholic Mass. The sabbath refers to the day of rest then and now.

    As for the Lord’s comments about the sabbath, it seems to me that Christ was criticizing the man-made laws and rather strong interpretation of the Mosaic Law which resulted in transforming a day of joy into a day of hardship for many. For example, not being able to gather food to feed oneself when necessary, and being unable to care for those who were hurt or sick because it could be perceived as “work.”

    I don’t see how faithfully following the Catholic Order of Mass is the equivalent of placing an unreasonable burden on people.

  47. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I don’t see how faithfully following the Catholic Order of Mass is the equivalent of placing an unreasonable burden on people.

    I agree, DrK. I was a protestant. Protestants read the bible with a very protestant mindset – meaning when “works of the law” are condemned by Paul (or the strict hypocritical adherence of the law as described by Jesus here) that obviously was written directly for Catholics. I literally thought, “there it is – right there in scripture that Catholicism is all wrong. The only explanation for people still being Catholics is that they don’t read scripture”. Obviously I’ve realized how wrong I was. Scripture must be closely interpreted and to try to pull it out of its context and apply it to modern day divisions (protestant/catholic or orthodox/progressive) is very dangerous. In this case Jesus was talking about hypocritical Phariseeism. They strictly adhered to the law as if it was some kind of magic formula for attaining salvation. They did this while ignoring the law of God written on their hearts by not loving God or neighbor. They assumed that they could earn God’s salvation instead of receiving it as a gift. In my understanding, these are the things that Jesus condemned. As pointed out, this passage is also highlighting his authority (crossreference Paul’s epistle (can’t remember exactly where) “he who was above the law, died under the law”). To sum that up:

    1) ignoring God’s supreme law of loving God and neighbor
    2) attempting to earn salvation as if God owes them something
    3) treating salvation like a magic potion – do this and this will follow

    These things are all condemned by orthodox Catholicism. A reverent mass is meant to draw you closer to God and help you understand your need for his mercy. It is not meant to be a magical potion where if you genuflect at all the right times, then God rewards you with 10 salvific points. He knows your heart. Following the rubrics is a means, not an end. Worship is meant to draw us into a deeper relationship w/ Christ. But that does not mean it should be spontaneous and left completely up to the individual. The Church is put in place for just this type of reason – to help people worship God (one of the main reasons we were blessed w/ our lives). This passage condemns orthodox Catholicism only in as much as orthodox Catholics forget these principles. But for one to forget, they’d have to seriously plug their ears, hearts, and minds shut because the mass is so rich and full of reminders that we are in need of God’s mercy. (it’s much easier to ignore such things at a poorly celebrated NO mass where all to often man becomes the object of worship)

    It is meant to make you recognize God’s law through revelation, but certainly not ignoring His law written on our hears. We realize how short we have fallen in living up to that law and how much in need we are of His mercy. We realize that we are not in control – God is. We realize that if we have not love, that we are a resounding gong.

    I have repeated this to my protestant friends and I repeat it to my progressive friends. I have yet to meet an orthodox Catholic who is working their way towards heaven. I have yet to meet an orthodox Catholic who doesn’t care about their neighbor. I have yet to meet an orthodox Catholic who is more concerned with the rubrics than with God’s mercy. This mythical “taliban Catholic” is more elusive than bigfoot.

  48. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    there is little or no discussion of issues of wealth and poverty on this site.

    we are not all things to all people. I would repeat Abaccio’s quoting of our mission statement. Our site is for Catholics. Any Catholic is going to hear the message of helping the poor from the pulpit, from reading scripture, etc. Lack of desire to help the poor is not a problem in our diocese. I don’t have a desire to give my free time to a blog that only reiterates what we hear from our pulpits. Our major problem in the DOR is hypocrisy. It is disguising secular humanism as Catholicism. That is our problem and that is a problem that I am willing to sacrifice my time for. We are inoculating our youth to Catholicism, by making them think what they are digesting is Catholicism – when in fact it is not. This is why so many people when they hear the gospel in a protestant church say something of the sort, “I’d never heard the gospel message in all my Catholic life.” Gordon, I’d also encourage you to take these discussions to our forums where we can focus on one issue at a time in a better arena than this combox.

    how many Catholics are extremely wealthy? Frankly, it’s quite a lot. And how is this consistent with Jesus’ command to sell everything and give it to the poor? How is it consistent with what he says about the rich man and Lazarus? I have no doubt that conservative Catholics like you give to charity until it hurts. I know that’s true. But what about those Catholics who are millionaires?

    Gordon – this is again a very poor interpretation of Jesus’ message. Yes, Jesus commanded the man to give up everything. He did not say that to everyone. Orthodox Christianity has never commanded “rich” people (rich being defined as those who have more money than me) to give up all of their wealth. Such a message isn’t Christian in any flavor – it is secular humanism.

    (I can’t possibly keep up with the pace of these comments, but will find a resource in due time.)

  49. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    A lot to cover here. I’ll start with the most important thing, which is Jesus’ command to give up all one’s wealth. Dr K. says that “Jesus commanded the man to give up everything. He did not say that to everyone.” But this ignores the question to which Jesus was responding: “What must I do to have eternal life?” In his response, Jesus was telling this man what was necessary to have eternal life. Now, at this point I think you could say that what was required for this particular man to have eternal life was different from what was required for others to have eternal life. On the face of it, that sounds strange to my ear, because I would have thought that the conditions for eternal life were the same for everyone. However, you could certainly claim that in the case of this man, his particular problem was his attachment to his wealth, and that is why he, and he alone, has to give it all up to get eternal life. That is very plausible, but only until you realize what this method of interpretation entails: it entails that whenever Jesus says something to a particular person in the Gospels, we can dismiss it as “just for that person, and not for the rest of us.” But that renders almost all of Jesus’ sayings in the gospel completely irrelevant to us today, and you don’t really think that, do you? That is the sort of move — dismissing the words of Jesus as somehow irrelevant to us today — that a liberal catholic cannot accept. But if that weren’t enough, you have forgotten what Jesus actually gave this very command to anyone who would be his disciple. These are the words that every Christian must come to terms with. Here they are:

    “… none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

    Luke 14:33

    That command is directed to anyone who would become Jesus’ disciple. What are you going to do with it? Water it down? Rewrite it? Say that “well, it doesn’t really apply to us.” Do you see how you are literally gutting Jesus’ own teachings when you do this. How can you claim to be a follower of Jesus if you ignore just how radical his message is when it comes to wealth and poverty?

    Now back to the sabbath and the Mass. The relevant similarity between these two is that they are both Divinely ordained religious obligations. It is not consistent with orthodox catholic teaching to say that these are just “man made laws.” The command to keep the sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments, and according to Catholic teaching those came form God if anything did. And what was happening in that story was that the Pharisees were trying to enforce the letter of that law on others. Now, when you try to enforce on others the strict observance of every minor detail of the Mass, without regard to the circumstances of the people in the parish who are participating in it, then I think that you are doing exactly what these Pharisees were doing, which is trying to enforce the strict observance of a divinely ordained religious obligation on others, but without regard for their particular circumstances, and that is exactly what Jesus was condemning when he said “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.”

  50. avatar Anonymous says:

    I think that Mr. Barnes makes a critical point and would be interested to see what the moderators and contributers of this site have to say toward it.

  51. avatar Dr. K says:

    “Dr K. says that “Jesus commanded the man to give up everything. He did not say that to everyone.””

    I don’t recall saying this.

    As for Luke 14:33, isn’t this passage saying that we shouldn’t place material wealth or earthly relationships ahead of our relationship with Christ?

  52. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    One more time, here is what Jesus said:

    “… none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

    Luke 14:33

    Now which part of “give up all your possessions” seems unclear to you? I realize that you are suggesting that he really just means something much less demanding than what he said, like that we really just need to “get our priorities straight,” but that is just the sort of watering-down that I find disingenuous. If Jesus had only wanted to say something about our priorities, then he could have said that, couldn’t he? But that’s not what he said. It’s quite clear what he said. It’s just that it directly contradicts the contemporary, materialistic way of life that dominates the Western world. If so-called Christians started giving up all their possessions, and gave all the money to the poor, then they would have a lot more credibility as true followers of Jesus.

  53. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I think that Mr. Barnes makes a critical point and would be interested to see what the moderators and contributers of this site have to say toward it.

    Gordon Barnes seems to have much more time to devote to this argument than we do. His arguments are nothing new – they are refuted up and down many times over – we just need the time to respond.

    I don’t recall saying this.

    I think Gordon meant to refer to me. I’ll get more info on the passage when I’m not sitting in an airport.

    Another thought I had in regards to telling “rich” people to give away all their money – they same thing could be said of all people in regards to their time. Our modern culture is so sympathetic to poor people (and rightfully so), but all too often judgmental of “rich” people. Often times the only thing separating the two is that the wealthy man worked his butt off while the poor person decided to watch TV. If you’re gonna claim rights to the wealthy man’s money, then to be consistent, you should demand something of the poor (their time and effort).

  54. avatar Dr. K says:

    He also says we should hate our mother and father. What is your interpretation of that?

    If so-called Christians started giving up all their possessions, and gave all the money to the poor, then they would have a lot more credibility as true followers of Jesus.

    And what are the poor to do when they receive the possessions of the rich? Throw them into the garbage? With your interpretation of the text, the poor would then be condemned to Hell because they are now the ones with possessions, and would have to relinquish them in order to become a disciple of Christ. Given your understanding, wouldn’t our love for the poor be better demonstrated by not giving them anything at all, whereby we would not place them in a position to risk their salvation?

  55. avatar Gordon Barnes says:

    The truth is that Jesus was a radical who preached a very radical doctrine. His own statements speak for themselves in that regard. It’s just that those statements are so radical that everyone in the Christian tradition has to misrepresent what they say because no one really wants to live up to what he told them to do. As for what the poor would do with the possessions of the rich, there is a very easy answer to that in the world as we now have it. In the world today, more than 80% of the human race lives on less than $10 a day. So right now, if the wealthy gave all their wealth away, it would probably just bring people up to a decent standard of living. Jesus instruction was intended for a world in which there is lots of poverty. He didn’t tell us what to do after that.

    Let me reiterate, for the record, that I, myself, am not a liberal Catholic. However, some of my family and close friends are liberal Catholics, and theirs is a faith that I can respect, because they have not completely stopped using their own reason and their own consciences. They are not completely ignorant or deluded about the historical abuses of the Catholic Church. Consequently, they have a healthy amount of suspicion of the hierarchy. And they are aware of the fact that jesus’ main priority was the problem of wealth and poverty in the world. So my defense here is a defense of them.

  56. avatar Matt says:

    Now, Gord, you know that’s intellectually dishonest:

    “80% of the human race lives on less than $10 a day.”

    You KNOW that in these countries, certain things need not be purchased. I’m not saying these people are not impoverished, but rather that the 10 dollars a day number is a scare tactic. This fails to take into account subsistence farming and other such mechanisms, fails to address the fact that land is generally not “for sale,” and that certain ‘amenities’ that cost money here are not widely used in other parts of the world. Any reasonable professor of history will explain that this is not an entirely truthful way to measure wealth in, say, Nigeria.

  57. avatar Nerina says:

    And they are aware of the fact that jesus’ main priority was the problem of wealth and poverty in the world. So my defense here is a defense of them.

    Mr. Barnes,

    This really has been a very interesting discussion. Thank you for sticking with it.

    Regarding the quote above, I would argue that Jesus’ main priority was redeeming the world for God and reconciling man to his heavenly Father (please note that I include women, too, but I’m not so sensitive about gender-inclusive language). Obviously Jesus had a great concern for the poor, but he also said we would always have the poor with us (I apologize if that has been mentioned above).

    I do wish there was more preaching against our culture of materialism and consumption. But I honestly don’t think that’s the big battle here. I agree that it can be destructive to people’s souls and that many people have made idols out of their possessions, but I think we should be presenting the face of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Until we introduce Him to people we have no way of moving on to addressing the issue of poverty. One way to present the face of God is through good liturgy and a reverently celebrated Mass.


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