Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


It’s not likely to be easy here, either

May 8th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

Bishop Weighs In on Parish Revolt

Rare warning comes as attendance, donations drop after traditionalist priests enforce dress code for Mass and stress orthodoxy

From the Wall Street Journal


A Wisconsin bishop’s rebuke of Roman Catholics who bristled at the conservative practices of their parish priests has become another example of tension among U.S. Catholics over tradition’s role in the church.

The two priests are members of a Spanish group assigned two years ago to Platteville, a farming community 60 miles southwest of Madison. They have attracted new parishioners but driven away many others by banning females as altar servers, enforcing a dress code for Mass (no shorts or short skirts) and emphasizing

Read the whole article here

Tags: ,


32 Responses to “It’s not likely to be easy here, either”

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    Father Ruiz and the other priest in Platteville are members of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, a group of several dozen traditionalist pastors from Murcia, Spain, that emphasizes traditional Catholic practices and concepts such as the importance of regular confession as a means of salvation.

    Our next bishop should bring priests from this order to Rochester!

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    Weekend attendance at St. Mary’s is off by a third since 2009, just before the first priests arrived, said the diocese.

    This isn’t different than what has happened to St. Anne in Rochester (but for the opposite reason).

  3. avatar Scott W. says:

    Restoring authentic Catholicism is going to mean stuff like this. I recall a youth director for another parish we were working with to implement our own youth program. When he first got the job, the program was being run by several open homosexuals and an atheist (I know, nuts eh?). He didn’t show them the door, but he did make it clear that the program was going to be 100% orthodox. They hung around for a short while, but when it was clear that their usual nonsense wasn’t going to get any traction, they left of their own accord.

    Ain’t no nice way to say it, but most parishes are choc o’ full of secular humanists with a spiritual veneer of Episcopresbylutheranism running around in Catholic drag. Most of the time i’ts not their fault, but the result of decades of bad catechesis, false ecumenicism, and liturgy informed by secular therapeutic culture. Correcting this is going to cause some drop off for sure, but this kind of self-pruning yield more fruit in the long run.

  4. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    When and if you are invited to have dinner with the Queen of England, you receive a letter ahead of time telling you what you are expected to wear. The same goes for the White House!! But for a dinner with the King of Kings, we grouse because we can’t wear jeans or beach attire????

  5. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    Part of the priesthood is being both priest and prophet. Being a priest, people accept, but when he becomes a prophet and tells them what they don’t want to hear,HE IS PROBABLY DOING HIS JOB.

  6. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Taking a hard stance and making sudden changes (either progressive or orthodox) is going to drive some people away intially. What I’d be interested in, is seeing what happens over the next decade. Will the Spirit show fruit or not? The Spirit is capable of working beyond our own human understanding. This is where faith comes in. We do what is right first and trust that God will bless us for following his command. The fruit of heterodoxy is apparent in this diocese. If we follow God, will these will these dry bones come to life? (Ezekiel 31)

  7. avatar flowerchild says:

    If the jeans are clean, fit properly and in good repair, I don’t see the harm in wearing them to Mass. Although, I do agree that shorts, tanktops and bare midriff attire are inappropriate. A little common sense goes a long way here.
    But, isn’t the fact that the individual attended Mass more important than what they are wearing?

  8. avatar Scott W. says:

    But, isn’t the fact that the individual attended Mass more important than what they are wearing?

    The Eucharist is Our Lord’s sign of what He thinks of us. Our liturgy and how we present ourselves at Mass reveal what we think of Him. When one comes into church in casual or even sloppy clothing and kemptness, it says what we think of Him is not much.

  9. avatar Bernie says:

    I would certainly outlaw clothing with phrases, team names, school names, slogans and other ‘messages’ (text or visual). I would have ushers stop anyone wearing such things from entering. Sell cover up shirts at the door for those who don’t want to go home and change. Do the same with shorts, tank tops, etc. Sell skirts. They do it at St. Peter’s in Rome! Not too worried about PR there. BTW, just try to enter a mosque with your shoes on or an orthodox synagogue without wearing a kippah. Just a couple of weeks of crackdown would eliminate the problems. Don’t like all the ‘rules’ -go somewhere else where THEY don’t care that YOU don’t care. WWJD? I’m seeing the cleansing of the Temple.

  10. avatar Bernie says:

    We Catholics have become so wimpy!

  11. avatar Thinkling says:

    >> But, isn’t the fact that the individual attended Mass more important than what they are wearing?

    By going to Mass we are obeying rightful authority (“Do This in memory of Me”). Casual dress is by itself not sinful, but may be near occasion for sacriledge or for losing one’s faith altogether by losing track of what is really happening at the Mass.

    But a dress code is not sinful either. And the priests are rightful authorities in pronouncing a dress code (so long as the bishop or pope hasn’t insisted on casual dress already 🙂 ). So since they are not dictating one to sin, they should be obeyed, and it would be the sin of disobedience to not do so.

    One need not agree that the dress code is a prudent idea. But given the priest is licitly exercising rightful authority to install the dress code, both going to Mass and the dress one has while there are important: one can sin by either not going, or by not dressing appropriately.

  12. avatar annonymouse says:

    I know many here are chomping at the bit for retribution for 30+ years of a lack of orthodoxy, but I am reasonably certain that our next bishop will not take quite as hard-line, “my way or the highway” approach as have, apparently, these two priests. Honey works better than vinegar, according to St. Francis deSales, and a shepherd must be careful to not lose any of his sheep.

    I might be wrong, but it’s my guess that many here will be sorely disappointed at the pace of change.

    And to these two priests – confession and sin should be preached often, yes, but we must never forget that the core message of Jesus was about LOVE.

  13. avatar Scott W. says:

    *Sigh* Ok, one more time. Yes, you are wrong because most of us here agree that even a moderate bishop will be 6.023×10^23rd times preferreable to someone deliberately trying to obliberate all traces of sound liturgy and doctrine. The difference between a middle-of-the-road, or even mildly left-leaning bishop and +Clark is the differnce between arid soil difficult to cultivate and land that has been scoured down to the bedrock and salted. So kindly stop posting about how grumpy people are going to be with the new bishop. We got the message after about the eighth time it was said.

  14. avatar 14860 says:

    Do I denote a hint of wishful censorship?

  15. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    anonymouse said:

    a shepherd must be careful to not lose any of his sheep.

    Just because people show up at mass doesn’t make them part of the fold. I think awareness needs to be raised that a significant % of people who identify themselves as Catholic (or even come to mass regularly) are not in full communion. Sadly this includes many priests in the diocese.


    Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine16 and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    anonymouse also said:

    And to these two priests – confession and sin should be preached often, yes, but we must never forget that the core message of Jesus was about LOVE.

    and what evidence do you have that these priests are not “about LOVE”?

  16. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: When I was growing up at St. Thomas the Apostle many years ago, Msgr. Burns would remind the congregation, when the weather turned warm, not to attend Mass in shorts, tanktops, flipflops, tee-shirts, jeans, etc. The reason he gave was to have respect for the Eucharistic Presence in the Church. I believe that it is one of the responsibilities of the pastor of the parish to remind his flock to dress appropriately for Mass.

  17. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    “But, isn’t the fact that the individual attended Mass more important than what they are wearing?”

    I would remind you of the first sentence in the “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. “It’s NOT about you”.

    Moses took off his shoes in the presence of God. Some Jews and Muslims wash their feet before entering a place of worship.

  18. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    By your attire ,as a member of the congregation, you either add to the solemnity of the Mass by your outfit or you detract from it.

  19. avatar Jim R says:

    While I agree we could use some tightening of standards of dress at Mass, I also believe we don’t need to be too rigid on the matter.
    1. Standards of dress in all areas of life have changed over the last 50 years and things are less formal like it or not.
    2. Visiting the White House or Queen is in no way like going to Mass – sorry, it’s a red herring to compare them.
    3. You often simply don’t know the circumstances surrounding why certain people wear certain things. E.g., not too long ago I was at a Noon Mass and a man came in sweaty, dirty and smelly. His entrance was somewhat noisy, and everyone saw him. He was not crazy or destitute. The tsk-tsking and clucking was palpable. As it turned out he had been working in the yard when he received word his son had been killed. He came straight to Mass.
    4. As a father of 3 I am reluctant to criticize kids and young adults or their parents as just getting them to come can often be a small victory.

    I’m not saying we couldn’t use some formality; I am saying be careful how you implement it.

  20. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    So if you look good on the outside, but wallowing in sin on the inside, that’s okay. As long as you look the part. I could understand modest dress, but c’mon now. How disrespectful for St. John the Baptist for wearing what he was wearing in the presence of our Lord. How do we get away with showering with nothing on while God sees us. If our dress is an occasion of sin for other people, then obviously do not wear it. Nice jeans and shirt for Mass is not disrespectful. There are some people who can’t afford top of the line clothing who are very faithful, and there a people who dress immaculately who perform misdeeds when leaving church.

  21. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: To Jim R and jetscubs86….The circumstance of the man whose son was just killed is a rarity! And wearing a nice pair of jeans to Sunday Mass just doesn’t cut it in my opinion. Most people have and do wear nice, neat slacks and better clothing to a concert, a ball game, a graduation ceremony, or even more formal attire for the Eastman Theater. If people take the Eucharist seriously, then they will desire to dress more appropriately for Sunday Mass. There is a church that I occasionally attend, where most of the Sunday ushers wear jeans. It kind of sticks out to me, when I think back to when Msgr. Burns required all ushers to wear a sportcoat and tie.

  22. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    Maybe all the “Examination of Conscience” booklets need to be revised. It should have in them: “Did you wear jeans and a t-shirt to Mass? If so, how many times?” Would that be a mortal or a venial sin? Tight jeans worn by anybody is unacceptable. Tight shirts are an obvious no-no too. If what you wear to anywhere causes another person to sin, then you are committing scandal. Three piece suits may be ideal, but highly unrealistic. What good is your house if the outside looks nice, and the inside looks like a dump? Maybe I have to look back at the Catechism to find the dress code for Mass.

  23. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    “What good is your house if the outside looks nice, and the inside looks like a dump? ”

    That’s why we are there at Mass. Most of us have internal lives that are in bad repair and need some attention from God.

    Some jeans may be acceptable however. Their name?? Guess!!

  24. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    My point exactly Ray.

  25. avatar Bernie says:

    jetscubs86: I think you’re just being silly and argumentative. “So if you look good on the outside, but wallowing in sin on the inside, that’s okay. As long as you look the part.” Of course that’s not okay. No one said or implied that.

  26. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    Far from the truth Bernie! There are more pressing issues in our Church than whether someone wears jeans to Mass or not. I’m all for Orthodoxy, and I agree with 99% of what is presented here on Cleansing Fire; however, modest clothing is all that should be required. Liberalism is what’s keeping the numbers on the decline (Rochester vs. Lincoln). Clothing shouldn’t be added to that. This of course is my opinion. I may be wrong, or I may be right. The way a person dresses does not signal the level of love they have for Jesus.

  27. avatar snowshoes says:

    Excellent discussion. I try to remember that what I wear is, or should be, symbolic. The priest says special prayers when he vests for Mass, and so should we.

    “Lord, make these clean clothes remind me and everyone who sees me of the purity to which You call us, until You clothe me in the wedding garment of heaven. Amen.”

    As has been so aptly stated, the restoration of our Catholic life involves many practical, homely prayers and works such as “getting ready for Mass”. Remember your Mom and Dad calling, “It’s time to get ready for Mass!” God bless.

  28. avatar Bernie says:

    Let’s keep in mind that it is not just “me and Jesus”, especially in the Church’s Liturgy (Mass and otherwise. It is a symptom of our society since the sixties to idolize individualism and demonize societal norms –the “it’s all about me mentality”. I believe that is a deadly attitude for the individual as well as the welfare of society (and the Church). Modesty? Of course. Some however seem to have no sense on what modesty might mean and so it has to be spelled out for them –“this and not that”. The same is true with other norms for ‘appropriate’ dress for Mass. I don’t think we have to return to coat and tie and ‘Sunday best’ fashions for women. But, T-shirts (especially with ‘messages’) and jeans that don’t approach in styling what we might consider ‘business casual’ slacks, should be ruled out. In fact,’business casual’ might make a good minimum standard. You can dress up from there if you like. We have degenerated to a point of a loss of awareness of the concept of appropriateness and has contributed to societal and cultural coarseness.

  29. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    I agree Bernie. I for one have never given a second thought to one’s apparel at Mass, unless it was immodest (provocative). That would obviously be unacceptable. You can be modest without being fancy. T-shirts with writing on them are inappropriate, especially beer advertisements. If I see a t-shirt with “I Love Jesus” written on the back, or a pro-life message, then I would think that would be a great witness for our Lord. Good post!

  30. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: I would agree Bernie, that we’ll probably never see everybody going back to wearing a coat and tie and Sunday best again, but I have to admit, at Our Lady of Victory/St. Joseph Church, a lot of men and women of all ages do indeed wear Sunday best, with coat and ties.. every Sunday… at least at the 10:00 Mass that I usually attend.

  31. avatar Scott W. says:

    Let’s not indulge make-believe. Parishoners on the whole aren’t dressing dumpy for Mass out of some principled “my interior disposition is such that I don’t need the exterior trappings of better dress”. It’s that few think that anything serious is going on. Why should they when the liturgy is trivial, the music is pablum, the homily vague and sonambulistic, and the platoon of EMHC’s makes it all look like chow line in the mess hall? These feed off each other. Perhaps if people dressed as if they intended to come to Mass as opposed to looking like they woke up an hour ago on the floor of a stranger’s college-dorm suite, maybe liturgy would follow suit [Badum-tish!].

  32. avatar y2kscotty says:

    Perhaps a dress code could be implemented in stages. Stage 1: Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of HC must dress in a formal manner – shirt, tie, jacket for men, and longer dresses or skirts or pants and long sleeve, preferably with a jacket. Stage 2: A sign at the door about respectful dress at Mass. All the formal lay ministers should set the tone and be told it is their responsibility – otherwise, they may not serve. And the parish should be notified of this code for these lay ministers.

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-