Wednesday, March 09, 2011

When Mass becomes a near occasion of sin



Addendum:
I have thought for many years how amazing it is to find individual men and women and families who persevere amidst great affliction in parishes with minimal or no reverence, multitudes of liturgical abuses, romper room music, and those whom George Weigel calls (in the latest issue of Adoremus Bulletin), the "chattering [before & after Mass] classes." It's amazing. Perhaps you know some of these folks -- women in their fifties or sixties who are the mother of 8-12 children, with disheveled hair getting up from their kneelers after a prayer of thanksgiving after a bongo Mass and then coming up to greet you and raving about the BLESSING of it all, how they sensed the ANGELS all around them praising the Lord with the Seraphim of Heaven ... Fathers who persevere in holding fast to the Faith and keeping a close oversight of their family's devotional life, getting up at 3:00am to take their turn at Holy Hour in a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament, serving as Grand Knights in the local K of C Council, leading an annual bus load of people from area parishes to the January March for Life in DC.

How do they do it? Of course it's the Lord's grace -- pure, beautiful divine grace that takes these rather "humble, ordinary vessels," as they would surely see themselves, and makes them into shining examples of saints that will surely reign in high places in Heaven. Compared to these, I sometimes feel like a spiritual cripple. I feel inadequate, like a diabetic who needs good and sacred traditional liturgy as his dialysis. I feel like a refugee orphan who has not long ago escaped the concentration camps of bongo Masses and We-Are-Church parishes of St. Narcissus. I drink deeply from the liturgical Oasis granted to us in the Lord's Providence, but I stand in amazement at how the Lord raises up saints like the magnificent Lotus flower from a pond of sludge and mud.
[Hat tip to Roger Lessa]

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

"MINISTER of music," "Extraordinary MINISTER of Holy Communion," "MINISTER of Spirituality," "Pastoral MINISTER" ...

I agree with Voris. Pretty soon we'll have "MINISTERS of parish yoga," "MINISTERS of restroom sanitation," and "Blood Drive MINISTERS." Give me a break!

Get rid of all the the MINISTERS and put "CHRIST" back in the Mass!

Mass -- It's not about YOU! GET OVER IT!!

JM said...

Wow. A whole new respect for this guy. Well-done, and I am sure it took a lot of work.

Anonymous said...

I've learned to love and appreciate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass for its own sake. The original reason why I began attending it exclusively, however, was disgust with the liturgical anarchy at my geographic parish. I focused less on Christ than on wondering what new outrage they would concoct every week. As Mr. Voris said, the Mass as it was typically celebrated was becoming a near occasion of sin for me. My home parish is only ten minutes away, but to save my faith I'm willing to drive an extra thirty minutes to get to the FSSP parish.

- Kevin B.

Sheldon said...

"The original reason why I began attending it exclusively, however, was disgust with the liturgical anarchy at my geographic parish. I focused less on Christ than on wondering what new outrage they would concoct every week."

My experience as well. When I compare experiences in EF parishes and NO parishes, I begin to wonder whether I'm witnessing the evolution of two different religions that go by the same name.

Anonymous said...

"Eternity is a long time."
Eternity is no time...

Anonymous said...

Voris is aging. His ridiculous statement that 'anything else is protestant' makes me wonder how he got his bachelor in theology degree.

George said...

"Voris is aging."

And you're not?

"His ridiculous statement that 'anything else is protestant' makes me wonder how he got his bachelor in theology degree."

He said "... in the sense that it protests this central truth of the faith," referring to those who downplay the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the reasonable consequent that the focus should be on Christ and not on "Fr. Crowdpleaser" or the congregation.

How is that ridiculous? Do you have an argument, or do you just like venting your spleen?

If you don't like Voris, you must have some reason you don't. Tell us about that. You might have something intelligent to say, but you haven't so far.

The only thing I heard that needed qualification was his addendum, "... like Luther." Luther did not protest the Catholic doctrine of Christ's real presence, although he did twist the dogma of transubstantiation into something a bit dicey called "consubstantiation."

I don't know if Voris is up on all the details about Protestantism. But what about his main point here is either unreasonable or stupid?

Anon. II said...

He sounds angry.

Anon. II said...

I don't like angry Catholicism. I like compassionate Catholicism. We should understand that the church receives all comers and meet them where they're at. Besides, who wants some stuffy pre-Vatican II type of religion anyway? Not me. Religion should be about acceptance, love, compassion and understanding, not judgment, narrow-mindedness and arrogance. Voris is arrogant. Give me someone humble who has a sense of humor.

cyrillist said...

I don't want a Catholicism that's _just_ angry, but I don't want a Catholicism completely without anger either. Love thy enemies and drive the money-changers from the temple. A time and a place for everything.

Anonymous said...

I do not visit this blog often but Mr. Voris could not have said it better. Thank you.

I've gone from parish to parish trying to find one where everyone agrees that the idea is to worship God. We have a mayor problem. Even the priests who are beginning to get it seem more than anything concerned about not losing more faithful. And it's not only the USA. Latin America and US Hispanic churches have very similar problems.

Yet, going to a traditional mass mass has not solved it for me. They have different readings based on the 1962 missal, which separates us further; and the priest seems to be having a private conversation with God, one in which the rest of us, are for the most part left out. I don't think that is Jesus' idea either.

Having heard your talk just reminds me how much all of this weighs on me and how ineffective the Church seems to be in addressing it.

Then one hears about all of these other pronouncements: the pope's book, we only need to convert "Gentiles", whoever they are nowadays, etc. and one wonders what is really going on here.

Hopefully Jesus will intervene.

Roger said...

Catholicism is what it is, the one true Church instituted by Jesus Christ, not a Church of I like this and don’t like that.

Anonymous said...

Voris is not only aging; he is aging badly; morphing into a cantakerous eccentric under our very noses.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Cyrillist and Roger, I'm with you 100%. The "Anonymous" having problems with Voris would despise the prophet Jeremiah or Amos. He says that Voris is "aging badly" and "morphing into a cantakerous eccentric." What a malicious thing to say! I agree with George.

Perhaps what this Anonymous tells us about Voris tells us more about Anonymous than about Voris.

Pertinacious Papist said...

As to the other "Anonymous," I think you're confusing me (Pertinacious Papist) with Voris, because you refer to having "heard my talk." It was Voris' talk, not mine.

Again, you say that "a traditional mass has not solved it for me."

I would be interested in what you mean by "it" in your sentence. What was the traditional mass not "solved" for you that it was supposed to "solve"?

Again, you write: "They have different readings based on the 1962 missal, which separates us further," but who is "us"? It's not the Eastern rite Catholics, Byzantines, Greeks, Copts, or Chaldeans, so you must mean something like "Novus Ordo" Catholics. But why should the rest of the Catholic world have the same readings and liturgy as "you"?

Again, you write: "... and the priest seems to be having a private conversation with God, one in which the rest of us, are for the most part left out."

This is the way the Mass has always been celebrated in the East as well as the West from earliest times. People today seem offended when they feel like something isn't being presented to them. Why do you think that the Holy Father suggests in his liturgical writings that one of the best things that could be done in the Novus Ordo is to turn around and face liturgical East in solidarity with the gathered community? Isn't the purpose of the Mass the Sacrifice of Christ? Aren't we there for Him?

Please not that I'm not being "short" with you here, but sincere. I find it interesting that you use almost the same words as Martin Mosebach in his book, The Heresy of Formlessness, saying that it seems like the priest is having "a private conversation with God." You mention it as a criticism. Mosebach mentions it as a salutary corrective to our narcissistic self-centeredness.

The important thing at Mass isn't what we're "getting out of it." The important thing is the Sacrifice, and what we're doing to actively participate in that Sacrifice by offering up ourselves on that altar with Him.

"I don't think that is Jesus' idea either."

What do you think Jesus' idea is, and, more importantly, why?

Anonymous said...

Pertinacious papist,

Thanks for publishing and for your responses.

" I think you're confusing me (Pertinacious Papist) with Voris, because you refer to having "heard my talk." It was Voris' talk, not mine."

You are right, I'm confusing you. Voris' talk was great.
________________________
"I would be interested in what you mean by "it" in your sentence. What was the traditional mass not "solved" for you that it was supposed to "solve"?"

I expect the Catholic Church, its priests and the laity, to have utmost reverence for God and the most holy sacraments. I expect it not to tell Catholics to stop trying to convert Jews, Buddhists, etc. or to "pray" alongside members of these religions (e.g Assisi III). I expect it not to ever again allow the faithful to come close to ill or criminal priests, if it can avoid it.
--------------------------
"...so you must mean something like "Novus Ordo" Catholics. But why should the rest of the Catholic world have the same readings and liturgy as "you"?"

No, I mean Roman Catholics, all one billion of us.
-------------------------
"This is the way the Mass has always been celebrated in the East as well as the West from earliest times."

No it's not. There were no priests in the earliest Christian community. Apart from the apostles there were administrators, not priests, for the purpose of organizing the house meetings I understand. There were not even masses at first; just the breaking of the bread, the sacrament.
_________________________________

"...the priest is having "a private conversation with God." You mention it as a criticism. Mosebach mentions it as a salutary corrective to our narcissistic self-centeredness."

Why is it self centered if we all are engaged in a conversation with God, and not just the priest? Would not that be more like the Last Supper?

_________________________________

"The important thing at Mass isn't what we're "getting out of it."

Mass is Jesus' most holy gift of himself to his people. So that's what or, better, who we get out of it. Jesus, God himself. We should go to mass to meet The Lord.
_________________________________
"What do you think Jesus' idea is, and, more importantly, why?"

A love affair with his people who he wants to redeem from the path of eternal damnation, which is where we are heading otherwise.

PLEASE REFER TO ME AS "ANON STILL CATHOLIC"

Pertinacious Papist said...

Anon Still Catholic,

I appreciate the spirit of your comments. They do leave me with questions.

You "expect" certain things of the Catholic Church. Some expectations seem unobjectionable, others questionable. The relevant question here, however, is what is the standard by which you are generating your "expectations"? Is it Church teaching? Or is it personal picture preference? If there's any element of the latter, you're in trouble, because then you have no leg to stand on if you object to the personal picture preferences of someone else who disagrees with you.

I hope you understand that not all the Catholics in the world are Roman Catholics, and that there are other legitimate liturgical rites in the Western church, such as the Dominican, Gregorian, etc.

I don't know where you're getting your ideas about what the early Church was like, though they don't surprise me. A lot of teaching and writing on this subject has been corrupted by liberal protestant revisionist thinking these days. I suggest your read some of the early primary literature from the period. The contemporary of the Apostle John, St. Ignatius of Antioch, clearly and repeatedly refers to a hierarchy of bishops, priests, and deacons in the Church. I'm not making this up.

The Protestant myth about "house churches" and "love feasts" involving no ecclesial authority is pure fantasy. Read Didache. Read Clement's letter to the Corinthians. Juridical authority was exercised by the Roman Pontiff from earliest days, even if he wasn't called "Pontiff." The second most frequently cited apostle in the NT is St. John, whose name is mentioned something like 27 times. The most oft-mentioned is Peter, whose name is cited over 129 times, as I recall, and in every listing of the apostles names, his comes first, and Judas' last (where they are all listed); and every listing has a consistent rank with Peter, James, and John at the top. James was the bishop of Jerusalem. Read the Acts 15 account of the Jerusalem Council. It's all there.

"Why is it [this private conversation of the priest with God] self centered if we all are engaged in a conversation with God, and not just the priest? Would not that be more like the Last Supper?"

Pope St. Pius X said that "active participation" meant praying the Mass along with the priest, so you're right. But note: this was well before the Novus Ordo. Active participation doesn't mean the laity have to audibly or physically do everything the priest does. In fact, they can't. Only he can consecrate. Only he can directly offer the sacrifice. We "participate" in his actions vicariously, as it were, by spiritually entering into the act he offers to God.

So you're right in that all should actively participate, but you would be wrong if you insisted this means the congregation must be audible or actively distributing Communion, lectoring, etc. Those things are secondary at best, and a distraction at worst.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Anon Still Catholic

(continued ...)


"Mass is Jesus' most holy gift of himself to his people. So that's what or, better, who we get out of it. Jesus, God himself. We should go to mass to meet The Lord."

Yes, that's true. But you have to also ask yourself what most people mean when they complain that they "get nothing out of" Mass. More often than not, sadly, they mean that they aren't being entertained or engaged in some way vaguely comparable to how a rock concert or stand up comic might grip one's attention. The example's a bit extreme, but the point is that the focus shouldn't be on US in the sense of what WE want, expect, or desire, if it's anything other than our Lord Himself. If we can agree on that, there's no problem.

The Holy Father's argument for turning the priest around to face ad orientem, along with an argument I would support for the EF of the liturgy, is that it reinforces this focus on WHOM we're there to receive -- painfully so for the tyro.

Anonymous said...

Pertinacious Papist --Fine, we agree on important essential matters as you have pointed out, but there are others, well, in process. Here it goes:

"The relevant question here, however, is what is the standard by which you are generating your "expectations"? Is it Church teaching? Or is it personal picture preference?"

Church teaching in the Catechism as founded in "Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Church's Magisterium."

_______________________________

"...and that there are other legitimate liturgical rites in the Western church, such as the Dominican, Gregorian, etc."

I'm not well educated on this. Could you please point to a specific Vatican document that makes your point?

______________________________

"The Protestant myth about "house churches" and "love feasts" involving no ecclesial authority is pure fantasy."

It's not a protestant myth. I refer you to ACTS 1:13-14, ACTS 2: 41-47, ACTS 20: 6-9, ACTS 20:11 ACTS 11: 22-33.

They all describe the Eucharist being celebrated at the homes of believers in rather rugged circumstances, very much unlike any mass today.
_____________________________
"Only he can consecrate. Only he can directly offer the sacrifice. We "participate" in his actions vicariously, as it were, by spiritually entering into the act he offers to God."

A priest can do nothing by himself, apart from Jesus, and as authorized by legitimate apostolic succession. Is that what you mean?
_____________________________
"...you would be wrong if you insisted this means the congregation must be audible or actively distributing Communion, lectoring, etc. Those things are secondary at best, and a distraction at worst."

If this is anything other than your personal opinion please point to where I can read the Catholic Catechism teaching it.
___________________________

"More often than not, sadly, they mean that they aren't being entertained or engaged in some way vaguely comparable to how a rock concert or stand up comic might grip one's attention."

That bothers me tremendously too. One priest a few weeks back explained in his homily how he woke up every morning, looked at himself in the mirror and told himself "how attractive I am". He added that everyone should do it. Therapy. Yet I vaguely recall that he made a good suggestion about something else, but this was the one that stuck.

In addition, the constant talking before mass is very upsetting. I have had to ask people (some older!) to stop more than once. But recently I began to imagine the apostles at the table with Our Lord. Surely they were not silent.

May the Peace of Christ be with you.

ANON STILL CATHOLIC

Anonymous said...

Lately I've noticed Voris Derangement Syndrone. Post a Vortex video and watch every kind of comment about his hair, his bachelor's degree, his emotional state. In short, anything but the actual content.

Anonymous said...

Michael is absolutely right about sometimes Mass can be an near occasion of sin. Our new Fr. crowd pleaser brings his dog to the altar. The dog stretches and yawns and turns with his posterior in the air at the Consecration and other parts of the Mass. He guards his master as he distributes the Eucharist and does a preliminary before Mass to check out the Church. These antics take 'dog is man's best friend' to a new level.And the little old gray haired ladies and older gents think it's cute! I am not making this up. I no longer attend this Church and will travel another 30 minutes to a Mass where there is no 'occasion of sin' present.

Islam said...

Crikey!