Cleansing Fire

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More Obfuscation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

August 9th, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

We’ve seen this before.  We’ve seen it at St. Monica, St Mary Downtown, and at countless other parishes.  A large poster at Camp Stella Maris shows Fr. Brian Cool doing the same thing, a practice he even uses at the University of Rochester with young adults during some Daily Masses.  Now, it seems, Our Lady of Peace in Geneva has joined in on this racket–inviting children to stand around the Altar during the Eucharistic Prayer.

Now, it is noteworthy that this picture comes from 1st Communion at the Spanish Mass–this illicit practice (and use of children to promote a heterodox liturgical and theological agenda) is not simply contained within the old, white subset of the population.  The hand-colored altar linen and the blurring of the lines between the priest and the first-time communicant both indicate a mindset that goes like this:

1) The Mass is fundamentally a communal meal.
2) The closer you are to the table, and the more involved in the actions involved in “preparing” that meal you are, the more it will mean to you. (This is the next illogical step from the one that states, “active, conscious participation means talking and doing things, rather than kneeling and praying.”)
3) This Mass, the focus is fundamentally on these four girls.
4) If children create something, even if its senseless, tasteless, and inappropriate, we should definitely utilize it at Mass. (Similarly with hand-drawn stoles made of cloth and magic marker)
5) Quiet reverence bores children.  They will be far more engaged if they can get up and do things.

This fifth point is especially incorrect.  Young people by the thousands at the National Catholic Youth Conference were reverently praying during Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, then kneeling in the streets of Kansas City for a Eucharistic Procession–and loved it!

When, from the first time they receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, children are taught that it’s snack time, THEY WILL FALL AWAY.  They can have snack time at home while watching football.  The only way to encourage a holy, Catholic Faith is to teach the TRUTH: That the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  It is GOD.  Not a symbol, not a reenactment play of the Last Supper, not communal snack time.  It is a re-presentation of Calvary, where Our Lord was brutally, painfully murdered, caked in blood and dirt for me, for you, and for each and every one of us wretched sinners.  Until children are taught that you need to be ready to receive Our Lord each and every time you do so both physically (by, for instance, fasting) and spiritually (be in a state of Grace), they will not be transfixed by the incredibly awe-inspiring moment of consecration.  Instead, they will find Mass boring, and fall away from the Church.  Bad Catechesis is the leading cause of atheism, conversion to protestantism, and agnosticism.  When the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is used for improper Catechesis, the effects are clear.  This is precisely why Mass attendance in the Diocese of Rochester is at 23% and falling, whereas Mass attendance in the much more liturgically orthodox Diocese of Lincoln, NE is over 62%.  A blessed Day 340 to all!

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7 Responses to “More Obfuscation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”

  1. avatar Bernie says:

    Amen.

    The overemphasis of the Mass as a meal has been a gross disortion of the reality of the Christian Eucharist and has done great harm.

    “…the Eucharist that Christians celebrate really cannot adequately be described by the term ‘meal.’ True, the Lord established the new reality of Christian worship within the framework of a Jewish (Passover) meal, but it was precisely this new reality, not the meal as such, that he commanded us to repeat. …Very soon the new reality found its proper and suitable form… …the Eucharist refers to the Cross and thus to the transformation of Temple sacrifice into worship of God that is in harmony with logos …the synagogue liturgy of the Word, renewed and deepened in a Christian way, merged with the remembrance of Christ’s death and Ressurection to become the ‘Eucharist’, and precisely thus was fidelity to the command “Do this” fulfilled. This new and all-encompassing form of worship could not be derived simply from the meal but had to be defined through the interconnection of Temple and synagogue, Word and sacrament, cosmos and history.” POpe Benedict XVI in “The Spirit of the Liturgy” pp 78-79

  2. avatar christian says:

    What a complete difference to my First Communion Day! I did however, at the time, thought more education, study, and pondering should have been given to us as we were preparing for our First Communion. Although we had some preparation (basic preparation), there appeared to be more emphasis on formality such as our procession. We had a very large First Communion class of boys and girls. Boys and girls were paired up with each other. We continually practiced processing into church and then taking our spots in the front pews; boys on one side, girls on the other side. We also practiced coming forward from our perspective pews as a couple, boy and girl, to receive the sacrament, and then returning back to those pews.

    I would bring up certain questions of a spiritual nature during our time of preparation and the nuns had difficulty coming up with an answer. It was though they hadn’t thought about it before. Many a time I was sent to talk with a priest in his study and direct my question at him. Apparently, it made him think and he tried to come up with an answer. One time he was stumped and told me that I asked too many questions for a young child.

    For First Communion held on a Saturday morning in the Spring, boys were dressed in white shirt, tie, and dress pants and girls wore white dresses with white veils. We all received our First Communion Kit which contained a child’s book which followed the mass and included prayers, a set of rosary beads, and a scapular. We were asked to learn a collection of hymns in Latin beforehand. We sang hymns in Latin at our First Communion. We did not enter the sanctuary to concelebrate mass with the main officiating priest who was our pastor. We came forward to the priest at the altar to receive Jesus in Holy Communion at the altar rail. We received Holy Communion on the tongue. We knew that this was a very special and sacred occasion. We were receiving Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. Family, friends, and relatives, regardless of Christian denomination, were gathered to celebrate this time with us. We had a huge celebration at home afterward. A neighbor of a different denomination gave us gifts for this very special occasion.

    I prefer the special ceremony of yesteryear to the lack of formality today. In many parishes, there is nothing special about that day than any other day. The child just processes up in line during mass with their family as just another communicant for the first time. I would not trade the sacredness and specialness of my First Communion Day with any of the informal practices of the modern progressives.

    I remember the words of a priest in his homily at the First Communion of one of my sons which had formality at the Sunday mass. He said stated that people can become complacent when coming up to receive the Eucharist every Sunday. He told us that when we come up to receive Holy Communion, we should approach it as our First time and our Last time.

  3. avatar Dr. K says:

    What if one of the parents were to stand up and say “NO” to this? It’s long overdue.

  4. avatar brother of penance says:

    Bernie, thank you for the quote from “The Spirit of the Liturgy.” It is worth re-reading and perhaps memorizing. Christian, your First Holy Communion reminds me so much of mine. Thank you for those memories.
    Often I repeat the same prayer I prayed that first time I returned to the pew when I covered my face with my hands and closed my eyes. Careful not to chew, but allowing the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ to dissolve on my tongue, I prayed: LORD JESUS, I KNOW YOU ARE GOD WHO CAN CHANGE THIS BREAD INTO YOUR BODY. I DO BELIEVE. The special sacredness of that day is with me always. What joy to receive the Body of Christ! How so very good of the Lord to invite us to the renewal of the everlasting covenant in his blood. It would be 28 years after First Holy Communion before I would understand and be able to articulate what the Catholic Church has believed and experienced since the very first Mass in the upper room. “Our Savior instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood…..in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross….and to entrust to his beloved Spouse…..a memorial of his death and resurrection: a Sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us. (Constitution on the Sacred Litury, 47) How so very good of God to make present to us in Holy Mass the one, eternal, sacrifice of Jesus Christ on calvary. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

  5. avatar monk says:

    Bernie,
    Wonderful memories. I will add to them with memories of my First Penance days before my First Communion. It is sad today that some parishes deny their children First Penance until well after their First Communion.

  6. avatar christian says:

    Brother of Penance, Monk, Bernie, Dr. K, and Abaccio: I also remember preparing for my First Penance, which took place before First Communion. First Penance was a significant, special holy event. I remember having to memorize a collection of prayers ahead of time, including the the Apostle’s Creed. My parents helped me in this endeavor. I also learned about sin, contrition, and penance. I was nervous about telling a priest my confession, beginning with the proper formula. I remember my maternal grandfather, “Papa”, helping me out by standing in for the priest and having me practice kneeling near the side of the armchair where he was sitting at my house. My grandfather got a lot of ribbing from the rest of the family but this exercise helped me immensely. I loved my grandfather and I knew I was the apple of his eye. It was easier to come before someone you love and who you know, loves you. (My maternal grandmother was very involved with my First Communion).
    When it came time for my First Confession (Penance), I was prepared and was able to muster up the courage to go in and talk with the priest, using the proper formula.

    We had a modern progressive agenda brought forth by the liturgist in our parish for second son’s First Communion. The pastor was agreeable to formal conditions when my first son made his First Communion at Mass. My first son also made his First Confession (Penance) before First Communion per my preference. The liturgist really fought me when it came to my second son. She did not want him to make his First Confession (Penance) before First Communion. She insisted that the sacrament of Confession (Penance) had nothing to with the sacrament of Communion and was not necessary for preparation for First Communion. She told me that currently it was preferred for children to wait until another time to make their First Penance and it was done after First Communion. I had a figurative “knock down drag out fight” with her while at the same time, trying to get the priest pastor involved. Eventually, I got my way. My son was prepared for First Confession (Penance) with the family involved, and made his First Confession (Penance) before his First Communion (formal conditions).
    Parents have to be willing to battle the modern progressive agenda in their church parishes which usually comes in the form of a female liturgist involved with catechism. They also have to be willing to battle any priest who supports and follows a modern progressive agenda which tends to minimize the sacredness of Holy Communion.

  7. avatar christian says:

    5) Quiet reverence bores children. They will be far more engaged if they can get up and do things.
    I think that attitude is reflective of those who teach the children. A lot of the adults, including priests, who teach children in the keeping busy manner most probable have difficulty with quiet reverence themselves. You can’t teach something that you are not able to practice yourself.

    Also, I think there is a great deal of underestimation of children. I have noticed this when it came to Confirmation classes for both of my sons. Those that planned for Confirmation preparation purposely mixed children of different parishes together for teaching purposes but than used the excuse that they couldn’t do this, or couldn’t do that, because the group was too big. This was especially true for doing a Christian service project in the community. I, as well as other parents from our parish and other parishes, were willing to help. Then the excuse was that preparations hadn’t been made in advance. For the next time, before my next son made his Confirmation, I attempted to have a Christian service project organized in advance for Confirmation preparation. I then encountered excuses that there wasn’t time and it was too difficult to fit into the schedule which had become even more limited. The priest that was present told me that if I felt so strongly about a Christian service project, I could do it independently with my son.(I was told the same thing with my previous son’s Confirmation preparation). I got the idea that they simply didn’t care and also that Confirmation wasn’t taken that seriously anymore.

    In regard to underestimating children for Confirmation preparation: More wasted time was spent on “ice-breaking” exercises and not enough time was actually spent on real teaching. And there was a limited amount of meeting times for Confirmation preparation.
    I thought the situation was inadequate when my first son made his Confirmation, but it only grew worse when my second son made his Confirmation.

    When my younger brother made his Confirmation (this was after Vatican II-mid-1970’s), there was a longer time spent on preparation for Confirmation. The age was raised from 10 years old to 14 years old. There was a component added to Confirmation preparation of Christian service in the community. It emphasized what it was to be a Christian in the community and Christian service. For this part of their preparation, they got together with Confirmation classes from other Catholic churches, and also Confirmation classes from different denominations, for their service projects. These young people visited people in the nursing home and did different activities with them like playing checkers, and also did other service projects within the community which would benefit people. I thought it was wonderful! More time and preparation was spent on Confirmation at an older age, and Christian service was involved. I’m sure that Confirmation was a more meaningful and memorable experience for those young people than those who have been simply pushed through and only had to show up to x amount of meetings.

    You have to ask what changed about Confirmation between the time my brother made his and the last decade and a half when those who plan for preparation simply do not want to put the time and planning into it to make it a meaningful preparation and sacrament. What has changed when preparation is seen simply as a chore and there are a limited amount of meetings. What has changed when children/young adults are underestimated and there is thought to having to spend more time on “ice-breaking exercises” and other activities and games to obtain and keep their focus, and the thought that more spiritual matter won’t interest them. You have to ask who plans the criteria for Confirmation preparation. I think it is an insult to children/young adults to not take them and their sacraments more seriously and not be willing to spend more time and effort in diligent preparation.

    I did spend the time in exposing my children to the lives of the saints in addition to the elements of Confirmation. (They independently pondered what saint’s name they wanted to chose for a Confirmation name). And my children did a Christian service project for preparation for Confirmation. They had volunteered visiting people in the hospital and nursing home before,during, and after Confirmation. My children were grateful for being able to have the opportunity to help others. I think it also gives children/young adults dignity and affirmation that their gifts do matter and they can bring about good in the Kingdom of God.

    Several years ago, an elderly priest who had spent most of his life as a missionary in Japan told me how disappointed he was with the preparation for Confirmation here and how “making your Confirmation was too easy for young people here.” He relayed that as he saw young people file up to make their Confirmation, knowing a certain amount of them were pushed into it by their parents because it was time, and saw gum chewing and half-heartedness while going through the motions, he thought about the teenagers in Japan he had prepared.
    He went on to tell me stories of teens by name he had prepared for Confirmation in Japan. He talked of their attentiveness, sincerity, and piety. He told me that they knew by making their Confirmation, they were signing their death warrant. He had tears in his eyes as he recounted individual teens by name being killed by their families directly after making their Confirmation. He said when making their commitment, they knew full well the price the had to pay. They were being called to Christian martyrdom.
    Others who were of an age, had the martyrdom of having to live in exile on some far off island for the rest of their life. He concluded, we make Confirmation too easy here.


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