Saturday, October 30, 2010


This article (from last year) doesn't strike me as a good sign. Though the L'Osservatore Romano is, of course, not an official mouthpiece of the Pope (as the American media often seems to imply; portraying "the Vatican" as making trivial pronouncements about The Beatles or The Simpsons) still represents an attitude in the Church that I find troubling:

The Holy See has warned that parents should not allow their children to dress up as ghosts and ghouls on Saturday, calling Hallowe'en a pagan celebration of "terror, fear and death".

The Roman Catholic Church has become alarmed in recent years by the spread of Hallowe'en traditions from the US to other countries around the world.


The paper quoted a liturgical expert, Joan Maria Canals, who said: "Hallowe'en has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian."

Parents should "be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death," said Father Canals, a member of a Spanish commission on church rites.

Last year a newspaper controlled by the Italian bishops, Avvenire, called for a boycott of Hallowe'en, calling it a "dangerous celebration of horror and the macabre" which could encourage "pitiless [Satanic] sects without scruples".

Earlier this week the Catholic Church in Spain also condemned the growing popularity of Halloween, saying it threatened to overshadow the Christian festival of All Saints' Day.

The Bishop of Siguenza-Guadalajara, Jose Sanchez, said there was a risk that Halloween could "replace Christian customs like devotion to saints and praying for the dead."
This is as absurd as when Ratzinger was condemning Harry Potter.

These are men who prance around in costume 365 days a year talking about spirits and kissing bones and drinking blood...and then they get mad when everyone else does it for one day?

There may be nothing more pagan than Halloween, but there is also nothing in our secular world more Catholic (at least as I understand it). This new "purist" fundamentalist Catholicism is really starting to get on my nerves. If anything is objectionable about how Halloween is practiced, it is as an excuse for adults to binge drink and dress like whores, definitely not the ghouls and goblins.

Oh, Those Orthodox...

I have made my sympathies for the Eastern churches quite evident, and yet, I can't help but find this pithy little quote from John Zmirak to be hilariously spot-on:
Of course, this holiday was born to commemorate the many nameless saints and prepare for the feast of holy souls in Purgatory -- that scary, fascinating middle place that only we Catholics really believe in. That makes All Souls' Day (November 2) the most distinctively Roman Catholic holiday in the calendar. The Orthodox pray for the dead, but if you accuse them of agreeing with Catholic teaching on this subject -- as on any other --they will vigorously deny it. Likewise, their liturgy and traditions affirm truths suspiciously similar to the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, which they only began to deny once Rome declared them infallible. Had I the pope's ear, I'd beg him to teach, ex cathedra, that Jesus really existed -- if only to hear the monks of Mt. Athos find ways to deny it.
Lol! So true, sometimes...

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Great Gatsby

"But I didn’t call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone — he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward — and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness." (Ch 1)

"Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one." (Ch 5)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Napoleon on Elba

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Further Acadecadence

I've referenced before my contempt for the sham which is most of humanities academia. In that vein, I'm further recommending this article along with the following video:

Monday, October 25, 2010

When We Remembered Zion

I try to avoid this topic as much as possible, so that I don't look like some crazy antisemitic trad. But this is just insane. The Melkite bishop said nothing wrong:
The World Jewish Daily referred to comments made by members of the recently completed Vatican meeting of Catholic bishops of the Mideast. The paper, which is widely circulated in the US, referred to "a number of shocking statements that appear to set back Jewish-Catholic relations to pre-Vatican II days, a Vatican synod denied the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel."

“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” said Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, a Greek Melkite archbishop who resides in Massachusetts, in an October 23 press conference at the conclusion of the synod.

“We Christians cannot speak of the 'promised land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people—all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people. "

Archbishop Bustros also called for the return of Palestinian refugees, while some of his statements were interpreted to call for the nullification of Israel's Jewish character.

Mordechay Lewy, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, described Bustros remarks as “returning to successionist theology, contradicting Second Vatican Council teaching and Pope Benedict himself—who has welcomed the return of Jews to their ancient homeland.”

Butros' statements concluded a two-week meeting called by the Pope to address the plight of Christians who are fleeing the Middle East.

Although much of the criticism at the conference focused on Israel, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor pointed out that Christian flight from the Middle East is actually occurring in countries where there are no Jews.

"Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the number of Christians has increased over the years," he said.

He also remarked that theological disputes over the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures were a phenomenon of the Middle Ages. "It doesn't seem like a wise move to revive them," he said.
This is ridiculous. So now the Jews are saying that the Catholic Church not only has to accept the State of Israel (fine, in itself, I suppose) but must also believe that it is, specifically, justified by the Bible in some theological way? That's absurd. There are plenty of realpolitik reasons to support a State of Israel (though I'm rather ambivalent myself), but now a specific religious justification must be accepted? We now not only need to believe the State of Israel exists (and it does, there's no getting past that) or has a right to exist (I'm just for peace, I guess, whatever that takes) but that its existence is part of some divine mandate?! And not recognizing that, or not recognizing some secular political "chosenness" or exceptionalism for the Jews, is now some big "set back" or sign of antisemitism!?

Somehow, Zionist extremism (which actually kills and displaces people) is mainstream and acceptable, but not the "extremism" of other religions (such as, God forbid, praying for the Jews on Good Friday! Which harms no one...) It really gets me angrier than I should get sometimes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Taliban Catholicism"

Many of you probably saw this on Fr. Z (who, as one of the most strident voices himself, was not surprisingly dismissive of the article's alleged anti-conservative tone), but I think it's a very relevant article in terms of what we are trying to accomplish here.

I, of course, tend to also be disturbed by the lack of civility and self-righteousness among the New Inquisition (which, of course, is largely composed of self-appointed laity). On the other hand, I do like the "democratizing" dynamics of the internet, which at least allows lay people (of all the various outlooks) to finally call out the incompetence of the bishops and to fill some of the gaps caused by the negligence of the institutional church. It allows us to have a meaningful Catholic voice for ourselves. So, it's a mixed bag:

Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it's not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn't Catholic enough.

Enraged by dissent that they believe has gone unchecked for decades, and unafraid to say so in the starkest language, these activists are naming names and unsettling the church.

_ In the Archdiocese of Boston, parishioners are dissecting the work of a top adviser to the cardinal for any hint of Marxist influence.

_ Bloggers are combing through campaign finance records to expose staff of Catholic agencies who donate to politicians who support abortion rights.

_, working from studios in suburban Detroit, is hunting for "traitorous" nuns, priests or bishops throughout the American church.

"We're no more engaged in a witch hunt than a doctor excising a cancer is engaged in a witch hunt," said Michael Voris of and St. Michael's Media. "We're just shining a spotlight on people who are Catholics who do not live the faith."

John Allen, Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, has dubbed this trend "Taliban Catholicism." But he says it's not a strictly conservative phenomenon -- liberals can fit the mindset, too, Allen says. Some left-leaning Catholics are outraged by any exercise of church authority.

Yet on the Internet and in the church, conservatives are having the bigger impact.

Among Voris' many media ventures is the CIA - the Catholic Investigative Agency - a program from RealCatholicTV to "bring to light the dark deeds of evil Catholics-in-name-only, who are hijacking the Church for their own ends, not the ends of Christ."

In an episode called "Catholic Tea Party," Voris said: "Catholics need to be aware and studied and knowledgeable enough about the faith to recognize a heretical nun or a traitorous priest or bishop when they see one _ not so they can vote them out of office, but so they can pray for them, one, and alert as many other Catholics as possible to their treachery, two."

The blog "Bryan Hehir Exposed" is aimed at a top adviser to Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, who is the former head of national Catholic Charities and a professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Among the bloggers' claims is that Hehir is a Marxist sympathizer who undermines Catholic teaching on abortion and marriage.

Hehir, who has advised church leaders for four decades, hasn't responded to any accusations and neither has O'Malley, a Capuchin Franciscan friar known for his humility. However, O'Malley said in April on his own blog that Hehir "inspires us with his compassion, vision and fidelity to the work of the Church." In August, O'Malley blocked access from archdiocesan headquarters to one of the critical blogs, the anonymously penned Boston Catholic Insider.

"The lack of civility is very disturbing," said Terrence C. Donilon, the archdiocesan spokesman.

The work of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is another frequent target.

Activists and bloggers, including Bellarmine Veritas Ministry of Texas, have been investigating the bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a national grantmaking program created in the 1970s to support community organizing and economic development.

The activists concluded that some of the grantees back same-sex marriage, artificial contraception or abortion rights. As part of the push, activists accused the director of the bishops' national social justice office of serving on the board of a nonprofit while it advocated for gay marriage and abortion. The claims against him were shown to be unfounded.

Still, the bloggers had an impact.

The bishop who oversees the anti-poverty grants said that a few, but not all, of the accused grantees had indeed taken positions contrary to church teaching and had been defunded. Since the controversy erupted, 10 of the 195 U.S. dioceses have suspended or dropped annual parish collections for the program, and the bishops are reviewing their grant policies.

Thomas Peters, who runs the popular "AmericanPapist" blog, said fellow orthodox Catholics have embraced the Web because they feel they finally have a platform that can compete with well-established liberal Catholic publications, such as the National Catholic Reporter. (Some conservative bloggers call the paper "the National Catholic Destroyer.")

Peters, 25, considers himself on the more positive side of the orthodox Catholic blogosphere, although some targets of his commentary disagree.

He condemns the vitriol he sees online, and promotes a blog feature called "bishops with backbone," in praise of church leaders who rein in dissenters. He also added an online function to send thank you notes when leaders take tough stands, recently generating 500 letters in one day for Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis who refused Holy Communion to gay rights protesters at a recent Mass.

"All of these things that we say in public are meant for the best good of the church," said Peters. He began his blog several years ago and now works for the American Principles Project, a conservative advocacy group founded by Princeton University scholar Robert George.

The rise in lay conservative fervor comes at a time when the need for activism would seem less urgent. The U.S. hierarchy has seen a wave of retirements in recent years that has swept out leading liberals. The men taking their place are generally more traditional and willing to take a harder line against disobedient Catholics, from politicians to parishioners.

But even with these changes, bloggers say too few prelates speak out. The activists also say that since the 1970s, after the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council, liberals have filled the bureaucracy of the church, hiding dissent from the bishops they serve.

"There's an old saying: Once you become a bishop you never get bad news or a bad meal," said Carol McKinley, 53, a Boston-area blogger who named her site "The Tenth Crusade." "Not a single bishop will look at the whole. They enjoy their ignorance."

Critics of the bloggers contend the activists are motivated mostly by politics, not theology. The blogs feature nearly as many attacks on President Barack Obama as church leaders. McKinley's site, until recently, was called "Throwthebumsoutin2010," in anticipation of the midterm elections.

The late Saul Alinsky, the father of modern community organizing, is also a common topic on the conservative Catholic blogs. Activists complain that many groups that receive grants from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development use the tactics of Alinsky, a hero of the political left and a preoccupation of the political right since the 2008 election. When Obama was a community organizer in Chicago, he worked with people trained by Alinsky.

However, the conservative Catholic activists insist their faith, especially church teaching on abortion, inspires all their work.

Catholic officials are struggling to come to terms with the bloggers and have organized several recent media conferences on the topic, the latest at the Vatican this month. The U.S. bishops' conference issued social media guidelines in July calling for Christian charity online.

Still, no one expects the Catholic blogosphere to change tone anytime soon. Many of the conservatives most active online had spent years raising the alarm about dissent on their own in their local dioceses without much effect. Now, they feel they are finally being heard online.

"There's a general sense among many faithful Catholics that no matter how much they write their bishops, no matter how much they go to the pastors, all of these unfaithful things keep getting taught," Voris said. "I think enough Catholics are saying, 'That's it. I've had it.'"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cardinal Sins

Since April and May, I've been less inclined to just post outside articles on the massive corruption in the Church. You all know it exists now. However, I thought this article was very good in light of the announcement of the upcoming consistory:
In passing over Dublin’s courageous Archbishop Diarmuid Martin when he named a batch of new cardinals at the Vatican today, Pope Benedict XVI has finally closed the book on the shocking child sex-abuse scandal and its cover-up in Ireland.

What’s that, you ask? How can the case be closed when there are still priests and other Church officials whose roles in the crime have not been fully explored, when there are very likely still guilty clerics who deserve punishment – both from the Church and from judicial authorities? And what has been done to trace the “exporting” of predator priests from Ireland to all corners of the world where they can escape investigation and continue their crimes?

And what became of justice for the victims of this horror?

Well… We said we were sorry, Benedict and his Vatican entourage endlessly repeat, as if to ask: What else can anybody expect? Why can’t everybody just forgive us and start paying up again when the collection plate comes around?

It’s the understatement of the century to say that Irish Catholics are not in a forgiving mood, and it’s hard to blame them. They have heard all the Church’s regrets, apologies, anguish, concern, contrition, disappointment, discomfort, dissatisfaction, grief, heartache, heartbreak, lamentation, misgivings, nostalgia, penitence, remorse, repentance, self-accusation, self-condemnation, self-disgust, self-reproach and sorrow for a long time now.

Benedict has even allowed the hard-charging Martin to evict a few obvious targets from their lofty Church positions.

But is that all there is? By stacking his list of new cardinals with longtime Vatican insiders – like himself – and carefully avoiding anyone who might bring a reminder of “problems” back to front-and-center – like Martin – Benedict is veering back to the closed and conservative Vatican that vigorously condemns other people’s sins, but hides its own.

Martin is not perfect, but his courage and conviction in fighting the scandal and rooting out the guilty has not earned him the high respect in Ireland he truly deserves from Irish Catholics, who expect instant justice and results from an institution that is simply not built for speed.

His zeal was originally lauded by Rome, which was happy to have someone – anyone – doing something about the mushrooming scandal. But at some point, the increasing volume and stridency of Martin’s campaign grew too sharp and incriminating for the Vatican. They were fine when he fingered and cast out a few of the worst abusers, but as he saw the true scale of the crimes, he knew and proclaimed that it was the Church as an institution that was the biggest part of the problem.

And that was a no-no. The always-right, supreme judge of others was guilty of something? Impossible! Almost heresy! There were just a few bad apples, Rome claimed. A little housekeeping and the dirt would be gone – so what’s this guy Martin trying to stir up?

Small wonder that Benedict called off the crusade – refusing in August to accept the Martin-inspired resignations of two Irish bishops named in the Murphy Report, and then reinstating them. There had previously been wide speculation that Martin was soon to wear a new red hat as one of the Church’s cardinals. Up in smoke!

In a letter to seminarians a few days ago, Benedict – for the first time – spoke of the Church’s much-debated policy on priestly celibacy in the same breath as the sex-abuse scandal:

“Even the most reprehensible abuse cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure … in the life of celibacy.” This from the same pontiff who has cynically invited conservative Anglicans and their married priests to leave their church and join the Catholic Church!

Does Benedict just not get it? Far from it: Passing over and undercutting the fiery Martin is simply part of the overall strategy to fill the Curia with even more-conservative loyalists who will, at any cost, protect the Church from its “enemies.”

Like the innocent victims of predator priests and their fellow conspirators.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Una Voce Portugal

Just wanted to put this out there as a follow-up to this post about my friend working on promoting traditional liturgy in Portugal.

It's the new blog for the Una Voce chapter they've started (the first and only in Portugal!):

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Funny Thought

A friend sent me this after Mass today:
This morning I was thinking about the Byzantine practice of naming Sundays for their gospel pericopes (ex., Sunday of the Prodigal Son, Lazarus Saturday, Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, Thomas Sunday, etc.) I remember that this did exist to some extent in the West too inasmuch as we were traditionally also on a one-year lectionary (which allows for this sort of rhythm to become familiar and ingrained). So how pleasantly surprised I was when today at St. X's in the front of the church I saw a sign "Donut Sunday"...I couldn't help but laugh and think, "The kingdom of heaven is like a donut covered in sprinkles..."
Sigh, lol. Indeed.

"Humanly Impossible Absolute Guarantees"

So, I found this vademecum for confessors from the Vatican, which says something that would seem to favor (whether they intended it that way or not) my view that "living in sin" is an arbitrary category and a false double-standard. It seems to lend some official weight to my interpretation that someone in such a situation could still confess and commune "between" falls like anyone else, that their sins should be addressed only as the discreet individual acts which are sinful as opposed to their whole life-state, and that the benefit of the doubt given and burden of proof put on them regarding the strength of their resolution not to do it again shouldn't be any different than for "normal" sinners:
Sacramental absolution is not to be denied to those who, repentant after having gravely sinned against conjugal chastity, demonstrate the desire to strive to abstain from sinning again, notwithstanding relapses. In accordance with the approved doctrine and practice followed by the holy Doctors and confessors with regard to habitual penitents, the confessor is to avoid demonstrating lack of trust either in the grace of God or in the dispositions of the penitent by exacting humanly impossible absolute guarantees of an irreproachable future conduct.

The Power of Women

In the past I've always worried that no matter how much "equality" women gain in society, it's always really just men "letting" them have it, almost patronizingly...because at the end of the day, if we had to, our physical strength combined is much greater than theirs, and if all the men in the world got together, we could easily "revoke" any and all womens' equality. Institutions and laws only work by using men against each other when we have some investment in it, but at the end of the day women are just always going to be at a collective disadvantage because of their lower physical strength; their "equality" is always tenuous that way. If it came down to an actual battle, we could always take back whatever concessions have been made to women, we simply have the sheer physical advantage.
 But now, I realized, the structural reality makes things much more complicated. I also realized that it is really only maternal love that has protected the human race from being entirely women-dominated. Because...women ultimately rock the cradle. Women "control" infanticide basically. We tend to think of sex-selective infanticide or abortion being about killing of girls and having a disproportionate number of men. But then I thought of a sort of variation on The Lysistrata. What if the women in some polis (or the whole world) all secretly agreed to just start smothering male babies. Leave them at a ratio of only 1-to-5 with female babies. And then blame it on some mysterious disease (I pictured this happening back in ancient Greece or Rome where people were more credulous). Then women would come to predominate society and would have more strength even just physically (because they'd outnumber men, left at all mainly just for breeding, 5 to 1).
 Of course, we tend to associate polygamy with male dominance, but in this case it would be clear female dominance. The 5 wives would be able to overpower 1 husband. The only reason "oppressive" polygamy works is because of the "lost boys of polygamy" (ie, all the "extra" males who don't get women) being used by the men who do have wives as armies and enforcers to, essentially, protect the alphas from their own women. But if the surplus was killed off by mothers right from the start...women would have all the advantages, even physically.
 So: the continued existence of the male sex is pretty much entirely at the mercy of women. So to anyone who questions the power of women: just thank God that mothers still love their sons!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Sublime

Everyone seems to be talking about Žižek lately.

Do I take him seriously? I don't know.

From his Wikipedia article:

There are also three modalities of the real:

  • The "symbolic real": the signifier reduced to a meaningless formula
  • The "real real": a horrific thing, that which conveys the sense of horror in horror films
  • The "imaginary real": an unfathomable something that permeates things as a trace of the sublime. This form of the real becomes perceptible in the film The Full Monty, for instance, in the fact that in disrobing the unemployed protagonists completely, in other words, through this extra gesture of "voluntary" degradation, something else, of the order of the sublime, becomes visible.
Does any of that actually mean anything? The original reference in his works can be found here, for example, and admittedly it sounds somewhat more persuasive in context. Still, judge for yourselves. But I will say (and you know who you are)..."you give me reason to live!"

Something Simple

Like this perhaps:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More of My Liturgical OCD

I don't think I've posted this before.

One of my pet peeves about the Novus Ordo is the sometimes incomprehensible inconsistency whereby only certain parts of the Ordinary are sung, or where some things are spoken even though other parts are sung or chanted on a tone. The same thing goes for the use of Latin vs. Vernacular. I'm all for the use of the vernacular, and am perfectly comfortable with all Latin too, but what I absolutely hate is the random sprinkling of just a little token Latin that some parishes try to do (especially around Advent and Lent).

If one part of the Ordinary is sung, they all should be. No more spoken Gloria but sung Agnus Dei. Likewise, if one part of a logical grouping is in Latin, they all should be. No more vernacular Kyrie with Latin Sanctus or inconsistent stuff like that. Definitely not, like, a sung Latin Sanctus with a spoken Latin Agnus Dei, with a sung vernacular Kyrie, but spoken vernacular Gloria and Creed, etc (which I've actually seen!)

And for God's sake: if one of the Collects is chanted on its tone, they all should be. How many times at Mass do I have to hear the "Opening Prayer" chanted, but then by the time the Post-communion rolls around the priest merely speaks it as if he just forgot what he did at the beginning or ran out of steam?? With the readings too and the dialogue parts. No more arbitrary combinations of sung vs spoken, Latin vs vernacular! Certain combinations should be approved only.

At the Old Mass, of course, either everything is sung, or everything is spoken. There are no random arbitrary combinations. For either liturgy, I would propose the following schema for combinations of sung/spoken and Latin/vernacular:

Low Mass

1. All Latin

2. All Latin except for the Propers (ie, all unchanging parts in Latin). To be encouraged as eventually the most common form.

3. Mostly Vernacular but with Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, [Silent] Canon, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, and Ite Missa Est in Latin. Likely would remain the most common for a long time.

4. All Vernacular except for [Silent] Canon (#4 to be discouraged and phased out eventually.)

Note: A "partially sung" Mass, as is common in the Novus Ordo, should be allowed, but classed as a Low Mass. In other words, the Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, and Ite Missa Est may be sung by the congregation while the priest reads them, even though the rest of the Mass and the Propers be merely spoken. This would replace the former principle of allowing the singing of hymns during Low Mass. However, it is only to be allowed if those parts of the Ordinary are sung in Latin. In other words, the all vernacular #4 (which would be discouraged and to eventually phased out soon enough anyway) would always remain an entirely merely spoken Mass.

High Mass

1. All Latin

2a. All Latin except for the Propers. The Minor Propers are encouraged to use a melody recognizably similar to and adapted from the Graduale melody; each country should approve an official "Vernacular Graduale" for this purpose. The Minor Propers may also use, however, a simpler unofficial melody for the vernacular text. They may even be chanted on a tone or adapted to a small set of stock-melodies, though this is not to be considered ideal.

2b. All Latin except for the Lessons and Collects (chanted on their tone nonetheless). Minor Propers in Latin according to the official Gregorian melody from the Graduale. Psalm verses associated with the Minor Propers may be chanted on their tone in the vernacular. This is for the parish that still wants/needs the longer Propers in the vernacular, but is willing to take the shorter Propers in Latin for the sake of maintaining the authentic Gregorian melody.

3a. Mostly vernacular but with Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, [Silent] Canon, Agnus Dei, and Ite Missa Est in Latin. The Minor Propers are encouraged to use a melody recognizably similar to and adapted from the Graduale melody; each country should approve an official "Vernacular Graduale" for this purpose. The Minor Propers may also use, however, a simpler unofficial melody for the vernacular text. They may even be chanted on a tone or adapted to a small set of stock-melodies for the first few years of the transition.

3b. Mostly vernacular but with Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, [Silent] Canon, Agnus Dei, Ite Missa Est, and Minor Propers in Latin. For the parish that still wants/needs the longer or less-memorized texts in the vernacular, but is willing to take the Minor Propers in Latin for the sake of maintaining the authentic melody. Thus, if this combination is to be done, it should only be if the true Gregorian melody from the Graduale is used for the Minor Propers. Psalm verses associated with the Minor Propers should, however, be chanted on their tone in the vernacular.

(A hypothetical #4, all vernacular except for the Canon, should not be allowed for High Mass)

So there are six acceptable internally consistent language combinations ranging from All Vernacular [except canon] to All Latin. And, really, there are only three main combinations (seeing as All Vernacular is being phased out): All Latin, Latin with Vernacular Propers, and Vernacular with Latin Ordinary.

Options 2b and 3b wherein the Minor Propers are in Latin even though the other Propers are in the vernacular for the High Mass are merely variations of 2a and 3a for the sake of maintaining the Gregorian melody, thus requiring the Minor Propers to be treated separate from the others and put in Latin. Such combinations do not exist in the Low Mass because they only make sense in a situation where the Minor Propers are going to be
sung. When they are going to be spoken anyway, it makes no sense to separate them linguistically from the Major Propers.

You will also notice three acceptable internally consistent singing combinations. Two Low Mass options: all spoken, or spoken with sung Ordinary. And the one High Mass option: all sung (with the various options for the melodies of the Minor Propers).

At least, I think, some sort of set combinations like this would make things a little less arbitrary. If I have to sit through one more Novus Ordo with a random Latin Sanctus (and no other Latin), or where what is sung and what is spoken has no particular logic behind it...I'm going to scream. I know there is this idea that "some is better than none" when it comes to Latin and music in the Mass, but sometimes that isn't really true. If you can't even make the matching parts match...don't even bother. I also always want to shout that if people can stand the Agnus Dei in Latin during Lent, that probably means they could handle it all year!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In Feudal Times...

A friend brought up this quote from John Steinbeck's East of Eden in a conversation after Mass today, and I thought it was funny for a variety of reasons. I've highlighted one of them (the anti-clerical one):
Some men think big and some think little. Samuel and his son Tom and Joe thought big and George and Will thought little. Joseph was the fourth son-a kind of mooning boy, greatly beloved and protected by the whole family. He early discovered that a smiling helplessness was his best protection from work. His brothers were tough hard workers, all of them. It was easier to do Joe's work than to make him do it. His mother and father thought him a poet because he wasn't good at anything else. And they so impressed him with this that he wrote glib verses to prove it. Joe was physically lazy, and probably mentally lazy too. He daydreamed out his life, and his mother loved him more than the others because she thought he was helpless. Actually he was the least helpless, because he got exactly what he wanted with a minimum of effort. Joe was the darling of the family.

In feudal times an ineptness with sword and spear headed a young man for the church: in the Hamilton family Joe's inability properly to function at farm and forge headed him for a higher education. He was not sickly or weak but he did not lift very well; he rode horses badly and detested them. The whole family laughed with affection when they thought of Joe trying to learn to plow; his tortuous first furrow wound about like a flatland stream, and his second furrow touched his first only once and then to cross it and wander off.

Gradually he eliminated himself from every farm duty. His mother explained that his mind was in the clouds, as though this were some singular virtue.

When Joe had failed at every job, his father in despair put him to herding sixty sheep. This was the least difficult job of all and the one classically requiring no skill. All he had to do was to stay with the sheep. And Joe lost them-lost sixty sheep and couldn't find them where they were huddled in the shade in a dry gulch. According to the family story. Samuel called the family together, girls and boys, and made them promise to take care of Joe after he was gone, for if they did not Joe would surely starve.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Triumphalism Triumphant

I thought this was pretty cool, even if the attitude strikes me as sort of...wrong (click the image to enlarge):

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What I've Been Saying All Along

A reader recommended this article:
The Will Know We Are Traddies By Our Love
Steve Skojec

Over the course of the seven years I've been writing on Catholic topics, I made no attempt to hide that I was flirting with, then later became, a "traditionalist" Catholic. The process was, for me, a surprising one, since despite my liturgically conservative tastes, my first few exposures to the Gregorian liturgy left me cold.

To be fair, I also didn't like beer or coffee until I'd tried them countless times, and I used to think Livingston Cellars' Red Rosé was good wine. As we mature, our tastes evolve, and we come to appreciate the complexity and subtlety of the finer things in life. From a personal standpoint, I've always been the sort who likes to share these epiphanies, introducing anyone I can to a favorite bottle of wine, a favorite cheese, the most impressive beer, or the best coffee I can find.

It's the same with the liturgy. When I stumbled on this ancient and venerable form of Mass of the Roman Rite and saw it with new eyes, I shared it every chance I had. I argued for it, defended it, got angry at those who sought to demean or suppress it, and generally kept my verbal sword at the ready for any challenge to this newly discovered ecclesial treasure. I even blogged for a time (tongue-in-cheek) as "The Evil Traditionalist," poking fun at those who painted the Traditional Latin Mass crowd with a broad, derogatory brush.

Over time, the arguments grew old. You can only spend so many hours in comment boxes, or start so many heated debates at family gatherings. The pope liberated the Traditional Latin Mass from the false shackles with which it had been kept from the faithful, and my life became simpler and less concerned with "traditional apologetics." The heady days of doing battle for the Faith faded from memory, and I focused more on being a Catholic husband and father than developing my reputation as a liturgical pugilist. However, as I settled down and sheathed my blade, I became gradually and uncomfortably aware of something: A lot of traditionalists really are jerks.

In a way, I was lucky. As someone who came to tradition shortly before it was cool again, I was able to soften my stance before the bad habits became too deeply ingrained. But for those who had suffered being abused and marginalized for decades, the transition must be hard. Can you imagine having the Mass that you grew up with taken away and replaced with something alien and unfamiliar? How do you think it would feel to be treated as though you are schismatic for simply clinging to the Catholicism of your youth? Would you appreciate being called a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a Pharisee for holding to your traditions and devotional practices? And how would you like to be marginalized, forced to drive 50 miles just to get to a Mass held at 1:30 in the afternoon in a parish that doesn’t want you there, and where it’s impossible to build real community because it’s local to none of the attendees? It’s as if everything these people knew about Catholicism was suddenly gone and replaced by a cheap imitation, and when they expressed their dismay, they were met by smug replies that Vatican II "did away with all that."

Many, shellshocked by such treatment, had become hardened veterans of GIRM warfare by the time Pope Benedict freed the old Mass. And so, young advocates of traditional liturgy like me found ourselves heading to worship God every Sunday in the company of individuals who, as often as not, seemed dour and judgmental. They spoke in effusive terms when they described their Mass, but appeared pained when they actually attended it. No smiles ever seemed to touch their lips, and they would glare at women (like my wife) who would at times forget their chapel veils, or wear makeup, or fail to provide some means of instant corporal punishment at the first sign of a squirming toddler. In short, they had become terrified of novelty, and accustomed to betrayal, they had seemingly lost the capacity for joy.

That joylessness became the traditionalist brand, and they spread it everywhere they went. From the condemning, anonymous masses who pass judgment on all things Catholic on forums like Angelqueen to the rantings of The Remnant; from propositions that the solar system is Geocentric to the pamphleteering Fatima Crusaders to the seemingly endless discussions on whether it's ever appropriate for women to wear pants, the attitude of many of the "trads" we encounter is often petty, conspiratorial, uncharitable, or out of touch with reality. Sometimes, it’s all of the above.

Years ago, when I first became enamored of the traditional Catholic liturgy, a friend of mine who enjoyed going to the Extraordinary Form (but wasn't committed to it) asked me a pointed question: "If traditional Catholics have this great treasure, as they say they do, shouldn't it make them the happiest people you know? Shouldn't their joy over so beautiful a liturgy be overflowing, and thereby draw others in to find out what they have that's so great?"

That's an important point. I do believe that those of us who have been drawn to the majesty and solemnity of the ancient liturgy have a pearl of great price that should make us excited to be Catholic, and to share the goodness we've found with others. We should be happy at Mass, friendly to our fellow parishioners, welcoming to those who are new, and understanding to those who don't yet see why we make so much effort to be a part of something so outside the norm.

Condemnations, judgments, specious arguments, and morose dispositions do no favors for our cause, or its future. We've got something great going on, and it's about time we acted like it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

They're On To Us!!

From my Stat Counter, click on the image to see it large:

Servanthood and Freedom

A reader sent me this article, "A Word to Neurotic Christians" from another blog, that some of you may find helpful:
"Be both a servant, and free: a servant in that you are subject to God, but free in that you are not enslaved to anything – either to empty praise or to any of the passions.

Release your soul from the bonds of sin; abide in liberty, for Christ has liberated you; acquire the freedom of the New World during this temporal life of yours. Do not be enslaved to love of money or to the praise resulting from pleasing people.

Do not lay down a law for yourself, otherwise you may become enslaved these laws of yours. Be a free person, one who is in a position to do what he likes. Do not become like those who have their own law, and are unable to turn aside from it, either out of fear in their own minds, or because of the wish to please others; in this way they have enslaved themselves to the coercion of their law, with their necks yoked to their own law, seeing that they have decreed for themselves their own special law – just when Christ had released them from the yoke of the Law!

Do not make hard and fast decisions over anything in the future, for you are a created being and your will is subject to changes. Decide in whatever matters you have to reach a decision, but without fixing in your mind that you will not be moved to other things. For it is not by small changes in what you eat that your faithfulness is altered: your service to the Lord of all is performed in the mind, in your inner person; that is where the ministry to Christ takes place."

St. John the Solitary, Letter to Hesychias, 25-28.

I have entitled this post, in part, “A word to neurotic Christians.” We all suffer from our personalities, that cluster of fears and fearlessness, of anxiety and over-confidence, of false images and hopeful dreams, guilt and cares – and our “religion” is often lived out precisely in that arena. My meager understanding of modern psychology uses the term “neurotic” to describe those who tend to take more responsibility upon themselves than is appropriate. Those who take too little responsibility are far more difficult personalities – falling generally somewhere in the category of “narcissists.” Neither is the path of true freedom as a Christian.

The “neurotic” path can seem extremely religious, precisely because of its deep sense of responsibility. Those of us who are “neurotic” always feel responsible. The troubles of the world are not something we ignore – and the closer the troubles come to our doorstep the more responsible we feel. Many clergy are neurotic – if we didn’t care so much we would never have yielded ourselves to this level of responsibility. Sometimes – even often – those reponsibilities crush us.

The words of John the Solitary seemed particularly appropriate to many in our modern age. Not satisfied with striving to keep Christ’s commandments, we create laws for ourselves, our internal rules, which hound us and persecute us and grind us into dust (greatly driven by the enemy of our faith as well as our own proclivities). Frequently, we give more weight to these self-made laws than to the true law of Christ (love).

We establish a rule of prayer (sometimes without so much as the blessing of a spiritual father). Our failure for even a few days (sometimes just one) can send us into such a spiritual funk that rather than repent, we simply quit.

Most of us would never be so hard on another. We find ourselves able to extend mercy to all but ourselves – or we extend mercy to ourselves where we should be strict and strict with ourselves where we should be merciful.

John the Solitary’s words (from the early 5th century) demonstrate how unchanged the inner life of human beings has remained despite the passage of time. The outward concerns of our culture are perhaps little more than phantasmagoria, while our inner lives remain the same. And thus his sane advice to our modern neurotics continues to read true.

There is indeed a marvelous freedom vouchsafed us in the mercy of Christ our God. His liberty is often more than we are willing to grant to ourselves. And thus we remain slaves – indeed worse than that – we become both Pharaoh and slave.

But the freedom that is ours in Christ abides forever. It is not an idea nor an ideal, but the truth as it has been established in Christ. Thus, if we err, and submit ourselves again to a yoke of bondage, our true liberator remains by our side, speaking a word of liberty and calling us to the life of the Spirit which is manifest in the life of love.

Many of us are tormented by the continuing process of life that confuses us and returns us to various yokes of bondage. But the good God, who loves mankind, is persistent and steadfast. He will not yield until every yoke of bondage is destroyed and we are established in His true freedom.

Glory to Christ who has made us free!