Thursday, September 20, 2007


Even in Missouri

Ya can't win'em all - not even in Missouri, the state with two of the nation's greatest prelates (Burke and Finn). Here's a letter from a Benedictine who is pastor at St. Joseph Church in Springfield, MO (I auditioned in Springfield once, not long before Holy Ghost hired me, but it was Immaculate Conception, not St. Joseph, thank God). Clearly this Benedictine is full of $&!+.

RSCT to Gerald. Keep a barf bag nearby.


PASTOR’S REFLECTION by the Rev. Denis Dougherty

I think that Pope Benedict’s recent decree reviving the old Latin Mass was a step backwards in the implementation of the decrees of the Second Vatican Council, which were approved and promoted by Pope Paul VI. The Council never intended there to be two forms of the Roman rite existing simultaneously. Latin at Mass, yes, but the old rite stemming back to the 16th Century, clearly no. To keep a group of objectors in the Church, Pope John Paul gave permission to have the old Mass on a very limited scale in 1984 despite the nearly unanimous opposition of the bishops throughout the world. Now, Pope Benedict has given permission to go over the heads of the bishops as long as a “stably existing” community requests the old Mass and the pastors can prevent a disruption in their communities. The Council clearly wanted to give such power to the bishops, but in this too the Council’s teaching is being reversed. (Well, let's see - the extraordinary form was never done away with to begin with. The Holy Father clearly stated that. Further, if the ordinary form wasn't toyed with by progressive liberal liturgeists by innovating new things that Pope Paul VI never called for, like liturgical dance and the use of insipid music, maybe there wouldn't be such a call for the extraordinary form to begin with.)

I don’t anticipate having a Latin Mass problem in our parish [Surprise! Sorry, I couldn't help myself], although a group of people who formerly sought to introduce such a Mass here has sought to do so again. We will follow (you mean, "go against") Pope Benedict’s instruction and not introduce the Latin Mass here because we do not have a stable (longstanding) group of active parish members requesting it. You are aware that to be an active member of our parish requires current registration, regular Mass attendance, and tithing to support the parish, as I have told you at least once a year. Very few of those suggesting the Latin Mass here are active members of the parish. (Build it and they shall come. You might surprise yourself.) The vast majority clearly do not qualify as a stable existing group of parishioners. I also perceive that the group would he disruptive if they came here with the idea of ‘gritting their teeth (as one described it) until they could dominate the parish again. (Ah yes, the sign of true arrogance! If a group comes and protests against your little agenda, they're disruptive. How typical!) Also, should we ever be required to introduce a Latin Mass in the future, such a Mass would fall under the supervision of the pastor and the appointed Liturgical Committee, like all other liturgical matters, not under the direction from some other group requesting it. (I can just picture a typical liturgy committee scrambling to innovate ways to blatantly screw up the extraordinary form.)

We should all ask ourselves questions like the following: Do we really want to introduce a liturgy emphasizing sin and its expiation in preference to the celebration of the paschal mystery centering on the death and resurrection of Christ. (Let me ask you something: Are you THAT afraid of acknowledging that we are sinners that need to reform? Yes, the Mass needs to center on the death and resurrection of Christ. But don't we need to be cleansed and freed from sin in order to enter that place in heaven that Christ has prepared for us?) Do we really want to exclude women from the sanctuary, go back to the old lectionary, which had only a one year cycle of readings rather than the three year cycle we enjoy now; Do we really want to go back to the celebration of a Mass in which we do not understand the language in which the priest is praying and reading, and doing so with his back to us. (This is why most Missals have parallel English and Latin pages - so one can know what's going on. With a little time and practice they'll get used to it. And the priest facing the Lord along with the people, which you downplay as "having his back turned to the people" isn't such a bad thing. After all, he prays to the Lord, too, ya know.) Do you really want to reintroduce the disruption the parish previously experienced from some of the very people now requesting the old Latin Mass? (And what the hell is so disruptive about the extraordinary form? And I suppose all that hootenanny music that publishers, composers, and liturgeists, and a certain supporting society all pass off as liturgical music ISN'T disruptive? I beg to differ.)

The old Mass has been called the “traditional” Mass but that is erroneous because the tradition of the Church from the most ancient times was to celebrate the Mass in the language understood by the people. That is the reason the Mass, probably first celebrated by Jesus in Aramaic, was soon celebrated in Greek, and then in the 4th or 5th Century celebrated in Latin in the Roman Church. The “tradition” of the fathers of the Church was to celebrate the Mass in the language of the people. The fathers of the Second Vatican Council were simply returning to this traditional Catholic practice in providing us with the Mass in the various languages which we understand. (And many of us, myself included, stress once again - the fathers of the Second Vatican Council NEVER did away with Latin. They merely allowed the use of the Vernacular, while stressing the need to preserve the Latin language. If you took some time and read at least some of Sacrosanctam Concilium, you'd grasp this.)

So we at St. Joseph’s will follow the ancient tradition of the Church and continue to celebrate the Mass in the language of the people, as we follow the practice given us by Pope Paul VI and the Vatican Council and in doing so we will not be violating the decree of Pope Benedict because we do not have a request from of a “stably existing” community and our parish and because the pastor doesn’t feel we can do so in a non-disruptive way.

I just thought I would explain.

God bless you all!—Fr. Denis
(God bless you too. I'll pray for your reform.--BMP)

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