Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Causes of Liturgical Abuse (For Beginners…namely me)

July 11th, 2010, Promulgated by Nate

It seems to me that the problems and abuses that have occurred in the Diocese of Rochester, and indeed the Church abroad, have resulted from a misguided, but altogether honest, misunderstanding of what the liturgy is. All abuses in doctrine, teachings, and traditions stem from abuses in the liturgy. The liturgy is the central aspect of the Church, and abuses in the liturgy inevitably result in abuses in all aspects of Church life. An understanding of what the Church and liturgy are and proclaim must first be understood if we want to truly effect change in the Diocese of Rochester.

So what is the central point of the liturgy? It is first and foremost to honor and revere God. All other aspects, such as community, inspiration, teaching, etc are secondary. God is the center of the liturgy, and the center of the Church. It must be made clear that all other aspects are secondary.

This has largely been lost in this “Spirit of Vatican II” age. Abuse stems from the belief that the Council opened up the Church to the laity, made it more interactive, more inclusive. While this is not debated, what should be debated is how this belief has led to the people being the central aspect of the liturgy, which is a profoundly dangerous and heretical ideal.

A belief that the people make up the central aspect of the liturgy leads to a community that honors and reveres nothing. What is the central celebration of such a liturgy? It is inevitability a community that merely celebrates itself, which means it celebrates nothing. It looks inwards for inspiration, looks to people for greater truth and understanding, which is again dangerous and heretical.

G.K. Chesterton points out what makes true Christianity different from every other religion, is it that it looks outwards, looks to something beyond what is natural, to that which is greater. This belief needs to be rekindled. We need to be reminded to again look outwardly, to begin to encourage others to do the same. This outlook will lead to people honoring and revering God.

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10 Responses to “Causes of Liturgical Abuse (For Beginners…namely me)”

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    Welcome, Nate!

  2. avatar Gen says:

    Well said. There is a “chain reaction” of orthodoxy which is only set into motion when people stop focusing on self and community, and start to focus on God as He comes to us through the Liturgy, which is truly Heaven on Earth.

  3. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    Now if we could get everybody in our diocese (including the clergy) to meditate on this post, things just may get better. Nice job Nate!!!

  4. avatar John F. Kennedy says:

    “abuses that have occurred in the Diocese of Rochester, and indeed the Church abroad, have resulted from a misguided, but altogether honest, misunderstanding of what the liturgy is.”

    I can’t speak personally about the DOR, but I do know that much of the liturgical abuse has been deliberately taught and fostered by people who knew/know better. They teach liturgical abuse to a variety of people, including people who are “misguided, but altogether honest,” and to people who are willing to accept it and become ardent supporters of the liturgical abuses.

  5. avatar John F. Kennedy says:

    Here’s a good example of purposeful liturgical abuse that is taught and fostered at the highest level in the DOR and elsewhere. “Liturgical Dance” has been repeatedly condemned as not part of our liturgical history and is not appropriate for Mass and other Catholic liturgies. So those who want it now call it “Liturgical Movement,” clearly in manner to try and circumnavigate the clear prohibitions on the activity whatever the name.

  6. avatar Richard says:

    WHat upsets me is the scantily dressed men and women who parade in front of Jesus. Being male, I find it distracting and to be honest, some of these attractive and well endowed, scantilly dressed women are a near occasion of sin.

  7. avatar Martha says:

    So what would lead Assumption’s Pastors to eliminate kneeling during the consecration? Granted it is a Life Teen Mass that I will no longer be attending! How sad that they think this is ok? I feel that it reduces respect for the most important part of the Mass, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They are a confusing place however as they sent the teens to Stuebenville for a retreat this summer!

  8. avatar John Smith says:

    I think, that from a historically accurate perspective, and if YOU wish to remain true to TRADITION, all those who participated in the event that is the basis of the initiation of the Mass/Priesthood/Eucharist, reclining was the position of those at this celebration. The nest position that was acceptable was standing. It wasn’t until the barbarians became Christians that kneeling began.

  9. avatar Dr. K says:

    So we should recline around the altar during Mass?

  10. avatar Gen says:

    Kneeling only began, in a liturgical sense, after the Barbarians? Then how can one possibly explain the following, taken graciously from the people at

    Kneeling in the Old and New Testaments
    Genesis 41:43 – …and he [Pharaoah] made him [Joseph] to ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow the knee”! Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. [respect, obedience to a ruler]

    I Kings 8:54 – Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and supplication to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven [prayer, supplication]

    I Kings 19:18 – Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed down to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him. [worship, reverence]

    II Kings 1:13 – And the third captain of fifty went up, and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, “O man of God, I pray you…” [supplication]

    II Chronicles 6:13 – Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood upon it. Then he knelt upon his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven [public worship, invocation, reverence to God]

    Ezra 9:5 – And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garments and my mantle rent, and fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands to the Lord my God. [penitence, supplication]

    Daniel 6:10 – When Daniel knew that the document [condemning him to the den of lions] had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem; and he knelt on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God as he had done previously. [petition, worship]

    Isaiah 45:23 – By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.’ [public worship, reverence to God]

    Psalm 95:6 – O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! [public worship, reverence to and humility before God]

    Matthew 8:2 – …and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”. [prayer, supplication]

    Matthew 9:18 – While he was thus speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live”. [prayer, petition]

    Matthew 15:25 – But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me”. [prayer, petition, supplication]

    Matthew 17:14, 15 – And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him [Jesus] and kneeling before him said “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic…” [homage, supplication]

    Mark 10:17 – And as he [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life”? [homage, humility]

    Mark 15:19 – And they struck his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and they knelt down in homage to him. [mock worship]

    Luke 22:41 – And he [Jesus] withdrew from them [his disciples] about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed [worship, supplication]

    Acts 7:60 – And he [Stephen] knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. [petition]

    Acts 9:40 – But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, rise”. And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. [prayer, invocation, petition]

    Acts 20:36 – And when he [Paul] had spoken thus, he knelt down and prayed with them all. [public worship]

    Romans 11:4 – But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal”. [worship, reverence]

    Romans 14:11 – for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God”. [reverence, public worship]

    Ephesians 3:14, 15 – For this reason I [Paul] bow my knee unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you …” [reverence, petition]

    Philippians 2:10 – that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth [reverence, worship, homage]


    There’s precedent, sir. If it took the Barbarians to make the early Christians realize it, fine, but don’t try to make it sound as if it wasn’t a genuine aspect of religion. It was.

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