Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Mass

All of the posts under the "Mass" category.

The Rise of Low Expectations Catholicism

Over the course of the last couple of decades, there has been a growing mentality in the Catholic Church that I would like to coin as “Low Expectations Catholicism”. By low expectations, I mean the average Catholic is willing to settle for far less when it comes to different aspects of the Catholic faith.

Low Bar

There are many examples in the Catholic Church today that demonstrates the laity’s acceptance of a crisis that has gone on for far too long.

The Catholic Church, especially the Catholic Church in America, has been witnessing a decline in the faith for the last 50 years or so. Moreover, the laity has become lukewarm to the crisis at hand that they celebrate what would have been red flags to the Church only a handful of decades prior.

As a Church, we have become acclimated to such low expectations that we have forgotten how high the bar is actually set. There are several instances where the faith has succumbed over these last few decades, that it is crucial we examine them and shed light on them. Several examples that come to the top of my head and I will elaborate further in follow-up posts would be specifically the attitude of the clergy, the sharp decline in vocations for both priests and especially nuns, and the removal of reverence in the Liturgy.

As an example to whet your appetite, when it comes to the clergy, we are so used to poor priests, bishops, and Cardinals, that when we find a prelate who is better and more “orthodox” than your average prelate, we rush to their defense and lift them up on a pedestal. Unfortunately, since they are only slightly better than their colleagues, when they err and their error is pointed out, those Catholics who have lifted him upon this pedestal will rush to his defense and accuse those who point out the error as being too traditional.

Likewise, when it comes to vocations, when a diocese has a “50-year record high of five new priests” there are posts of jubilee that everything is looking better. However, it wasn’t too long ago that five new priests were the expectation for every four or five parishes within a diocese of over a hundred.

Finally, the Novus Ordo has been celebrated so illicitly with all types of novelties that when a priest does celebrate the Novus Ordo with some respect to the GIRM and the rubrics, that we consider that a “very traditional” Mass, when in reality, it is still illicit, just not as much as the average Novus Ordo.

I will be going into further detail on each of the above examples in their own respective posts, as there is much to discuss in relation to each. In the meantime, if you can think of an example in which the Church has settled for low expectations in other areas of our Catholic faith, please feel free to drop a comment and I would be happy to comment on it.

Jeff November 9, 2015 Leave A Comment Permalink

The Liturgy of the Crucifixion

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Mass as:

The memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.

The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church’s offering. The terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, “sacrifice of praise,” spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used, since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church’s whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name. CCC 1330

We also read in the Baltimore Catechism:

The Mass is the Sacrifice of the New Law in which Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers Himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine.

(a) The name “Mass” comes from the Latin word Missa meaning dismissal. In the early days of the Church the catechumens were asked to leave after the gospel and sermon were finished. The faithful, however, remained until they were dismissed after the sacrifice was completed. Then, as now, this was done by saying or singing Ite Missa Est. In the course of time the word Missa, or dismissal, was used to designate the entire sacrifice. BC 357

In short, the Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of Christ on Calvary in which Jesus Christ is fully present in the form of bread and wine. When you go to Mass, this is the image you should be reminded of.

Jesus Crucified

When we see this image of Jesus bloodied and dying on the cross, we are witnessing this at Mass. We enter into this mystery. With the Novus Ordo, and its countless variables at each Mass, we must ask ourselves a serious question. Would this be appropriate if you were at the foot of the cross?

Contemporary Music

Praise and worship music would be inappropriate as it possesses no solemnity, that is, no respect for the dignity of the Holy Sacrifice. Praise and worship music, by its essence and intent, is upbeat, which elicits a response of happiness. Playing a guitar before Christ Crucified and singing “Gather Us In, the Rich and the Haughty” is insulting. If you disagree, imagine yourself dying a wrongful death upon a cross, suffocating in agony and a group of people singing this song. What would you think of them? What would you be tempted to say to them?

Gregorian Chant possesses the somber tone which from antiquity instills reverence and awe. Pope St. Pius X instated in his Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini (Instruction on Sacred Music):

These qualities are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity.

On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.

Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.

Gregorian Chant is the only form of music which will draw us into these Heavenly mysteries.

Standing During the Consecration and Receiving Communion

Standing is inappropriate as this is not just some man dying, but our Lord. When a mother loses her child, she does not stand, but rather, she collapses. She collapses over the despair of losing her beloved child. She collapses at the horror of never seeing him again. She collapses in grief and sorrow.

Much like any of us would collapse after tragically losing a loved one, we too should collapse to our knees out of grief and agony for the loss of Jesus, because He is our Lord. With the appearance of bread and wine, Jesus is fully present, Body, Blood, Soul, And Divinity. We should kneel out of respect and humility as He has dominion over us.

During the Consecration, we should kneel as the Holy Ghost descends upon the bread and wine and transubstantiates the Essence it into the Most Holy Eucharist. We kneel to receive Him because He is our Lord and only hands that have been consecrated to bring forth His transfiguration should touch Him. Those brave men who have been ordained to the priesthood or the diaconate have hands consecrated to touch Him.

Remember the conversion of St. Thomas, in John 20: 24 – 29. Thomas, both doubting and boastful, sees Jesus for the first time since their Last Supper together and the Betrayal in the Garden. Is it too much to imagine that Thomas, upon seeing Jesus, would jump up and run to Him, calling, “My Lord!” in excitement? And then, realizing that the Wounds in His Hands, Feet and Side are neither bloody nor healed, immediately fall to his knees, his face to the floor, exclaiming, “My God!” in breathless ecstasy and adoration? It all happens together, in that Eternal Moment of Sanctification.

If only hands have that have been consecrated to touch Him are allowed, then logically Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should not be allowed, as their hands have not been consecrated. While I understand the distribution of Holy Communion would take much longer, this should never, ever be a hindrance at the Mass, but a benefit. During this time, we should be offering prayers of Thanksgiving to Our Lord for allowing us to receive Him worthily. We should bring our prayer intentions to the Lord, focusing on His Holy Sacrifice on Calvary, and thanking Him for paying the debt which we cannot pay. In a society where we are constantly bombarded by noise, this provides ample opportunity to pray in silence before our Crucified Lord.

Clapping

Pope Benedict XVI, while still Josef Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of the liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.” Spirit of the Liturgy

applause

Applause is used to signify an accomplishment of an individual or group. It is not meant for the Mass, especially when we remember that the Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ Crucified. We would not applaud someone else while we are standing before Christ dying on the cross. We should not clap while we are at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The focus of the Mass is not us, but on Christ.

This includes all aspects of the Mass, even when the Mass is concluded. We are in the House of God, present before Jesus Christ in the tabernacle. We do not applaud the choir, nor any other individual or group of individuals. We read in Sacrosanctum Concilium:

32. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred Orders, and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities. Apart from these instances, no special honors are to be paid in the liturgy to any private persons or classes of persons, whether in the ceremonies or by external display.

Altar Girls

Only men can be elevated to the calling of the priesthood. Many priests, while not all, were formed and called during their time as altar boys. A direct correlation has been observed between having altar girls and boys no longer being interested in serving at the altar. When boys are not interested, they may not heed their calling to a Vocation of Holy Orders.

When boys and young men miss their vocation to the priesthood, we are left in the vocations crisis that we are currently facing. Parishes are closing because we do not have any priests to minister to them.

These are but a few examples of abuses that we should aim to eliminate from the Mass if we want to restore a sense of the sacred. Prayerfully consider encouraging your pastor to begin removing elements that are not aimed at bringing forth reverence to Our Lord.

Jeff October 12, 2015 3 Comments Permalink

The Traditional Latin Mass is Superior To the Novus Ordo

There exist stark differences between the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass. Both Masses are valid in the Church. The Concise Catholic Dictionary defines valid as:

“founded on the truth or fact; in Church law, that which conforms to conditions essential to the efficacy of a sacrament; that is, the proper rite in administration, the intention and jurisdiction of the minister, and the moral fitness and intention of the recipient.”

There is much discussion about what direction the Novus Ordo Mass needs to take in order to be more reverent and fitting for proper worship. I believe the Church should restore the sacred and ban the Novus Ordo, and only offer the Latin Mass. In order to illustrate my line of thinking, I would like to present the following analogy:

The Mass is absolutely necessary for the health of the soul. Likewise, water is absolutely necessary for the health of the body. The Traditional Latin Mass, or the Mass of All Ages, has been celebrated by the Church for the last 2000 years. The Latin Mass is like pure water, which is found at its original source. There are no additives, pollutants, toxins or anything that would ruin its purity. The Novus Ordo is like water from a river filled with dirty pollutants.

waterfall

I want to make it abundantly and absolutely clear that one can drink from either the pure water (the TLM) or the polluted river (the NO) and survive. It is not wise to drink from the polluted river for too long, lest you suffer unwanted side affects. Similarly, attending Novus Ordo Masses in which there is little to no reverence and that resembles a Protestant service has unwanted side affects in one’s spiritual formation.

One can filter the water to help remove the pollutants. With regards to the Novus Ordo this filter would be reverence. However, no matter how many times the water runs through a filter, there will still be some trace amounts of pollutants in the water. It is not pure. The less reverent the Novus Ordo Mass, the more pollutants there are in the water. Similarly, no matter how much reverence is added to the Novus Ordo, there will still be remnants of Modernism and Protestantism. Modernism is defined by Pope St. Pius X as the synthesis of all heresies and was rightly condemned in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. For a great summary of Modernism, please check out The Old Evangelization’s Modernism Series.

Now, using this analogy, if one were to see a vast group of people drinking water from a polluted river, knowing full well there is a pure source of water to drink, you would have them stop drinking from the polluted river and drink from the pure spring. If there were not pure spring available, it would suffice to drink the polluted water after it has been repeatedly filtered. However, we know that there exists a pure spring that has enough water to hydrate the entire world.

River pollution

While it is admirable to want to slowly move people over from an irreverent Novus Ordo to a reverent Novus Ordo, so they can appreciate the Traditional Latin Mass, it makes little sense when the above analogy is applied. Unfiltered polluted water is bad for the body. It will allow the individual to continue to survive, but it will cause other negative effects to the body. An irreverent Novus Ordo, assuming the words of consecration are said properly, will feed the soul the necessary food required for it, but will cause ill formed consciences and catechesis. What’s best for a person who is drinking polluted water is to give him the fresh, pure water, no matter how much he fights it. Filtered water is far better for an individual than unfiltered water, but pure water is far superior and will provide lasting positive effects. Likewise, a reverent Novus Ordo Mass better for Catholics than an irreverent Novus Ordo, but a Traditional Latin Mass is most superior and provides ever-lasting effects which assist Catholics in their sanctification.

The argument that an individual who is attending an irreverent Novus Ordo, or even a reverent Novus Ordo will leave the Church if the Traditional Latin Mass is forced upon him seems silly. If he was to leave the Church because of his Mass preferences, than he wasn’t a faithful Catholic to begin with. It is not our job to keep every single Catholic within the Church, but to give those members of the Church who want to become Saints the tools to do so.

Using the water analogy, if a group of people stop drinking water and die of dehydration because they do not want to drink the purified water, than that is the problem of those who are too prideful to admit they are wrong.

Some argue that if the Church immediately moved over from the Novus Ordo, either irreverent or reverent, to the Traditional Latin Mass, it would cause many Catholics to leave the Church. While it is admirable to bring over as many Catholics as possible to the Traditional Latin Mass, it is imperative to realize we are dealing with souls. We aren’t dealing with hydration and the physical body, but rather, with spiritual food and the soul.

It may be better to drink from the polluted river than to die of dehydration, but to keep people from drinking out of the pure stream because they might die of dehydration if we move them over to pure water too soon is a cop out. If people want to stay alive, they will drink the water that is put in front of them. If Catholics truly believe in the Church and her authority, they will attend the Traditional Latin Mass. It might even be time to realize Pope Benedict XVI was correct when he said “From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge—a Church that has lost much. It will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.” If the Eucharist is the source and summit of  the Christian Life, then perhaps the Novus Ordo Mass is the perfect place to start afresh.

Jeff April 9, 2015 2 Comments Permalink

The Mass, Proper Worship and Megachurch Confusion

Should Catholics look towards Protestant megachurches for tips on worship experience? How about on church design? These are a few questions being asked within the Catholic Church today. In my last post, I examined why this would be a bad idea in regards to Catholic teaching. Now I’d like to examine the theology behind the Mass and our churches, to demonstrate how Protestant’s get them wrong.

What is the purpose of the Mass? The Baltimore Catechism (922) states:

“The ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was offered were:
1. To honor and glorify God;
2. To thank Him for all the graces bestowed on the whole world;
3. To satisfy God’s justice for the sins of men;
4. To obtain all graces and blessings.

Christian worship should focus on Jesus Christ, Who is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. While retaining the physical properties of bread and wine, when the priest says the words of consecration, they have become Jesus’ Body and Blood. His bloodied sacrifice of the Cross on Calvary is re-presented at the unbloodied sacrifice of the Altar, a sacrifice which can only be made by a validly ordained priest.

Tridentine Mass

In order for this reality to become manifest to those present, it is crucial for the space in which we worship to be reverent, solemn, and silent. Beauty adds to this atmosphere, as it draws us in to ponder the mysteries of this world and the next. This is why Catholics place many beautiful pieces of art and gold in their Churches. Sacred art invites those present to focus their prayer and contemplate God’s mysteries.

When churches remove elements of beauty, we lose opportunities to enter into contemplative prayer. Likewise, when the Mass is trivialized, we lose focus on Jesus Christ, and begin to focus on ourselves. Unfortunately, many Catholics believe we should look to Protestant megachurches, in order to influence the Mass and other facets of Catholic life.

We should see what one of these megachurches look like in order to draw a good comparison. Fortunately Boniface from Unam Sanctam Catholicam took a tour of his local Protestant megachurch.

Upon entering this particular “church”, you immediately see children playing soccer in their indoor soccer field. Yes, they have their very own indoor soccer field. Having worked at a high-quality fitness chain for a year and a half, I can tell you that the above church bears many resemblances. Boniface spends time walking around the building documenting all of the different facilities this megachurch has at its disposal.

They have their very own coffee shop, where you can go to get your mocha or latte. Or, if coffee doesn’t interest you, you can certainly grab a bite to eat. There is a play place where all the children can take off their shoes and run through the colorful tubes. Along the way, Boniface finds a timeline where the church traces its roots, all the way back to 2002. Ironically they list Jesus’ death, but ignore 2000 years of Christian history, showcasing their belief that their man-made church is far more important.

It isn’t until the end of the video that we discover the “auditorium”, as they call their place of “worship”, is on the other side of the soccer field. Nothing prepares someone for time with God better than a tour through a gymnasium! Ironically, the doors to the auditorium are locked. No longer do Christians recognize they are in need of the Lord’s saving grace; gone are the days when they go to a Church to pray, in the Lord’s own house. Why bother when you can easily spend your prayer time at the coffee shop?

There is hardly any indication this megachurch is even Christian. This odd building takes away focus from the sacred and spotlights the profane. It is about the temporal welfare of the believer, instead of the spiritual. I suspect they preach a gospel of prosperity, that is, God rewards His faithful with wealth.

the eucharist

As Catholics, we have to realize Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist. He resides in our tabernacles awaiting for us to adore Him. This reality affects how we properly worship God. There is no more perfect way to worship God and glorify Him than by attending Mass, receiving Him worthily in communion, and adoring Him in Adoration. We do not go to Mass to be friendly with our neighbors. We go to honor and glorify God, to thank Him for all the graces bestowed on the whole world, to satisfy God’s justice for the sins of men, and to obtain all graces and blessings. Social benefits should not draw us in, but the desire to come face to face with Jesus at the consecration: a most solemn moment. Once our focus is taken off of Christ and put onto ourselves, we have lost the meaning of the Mass, and what it means to be a Christian.

Jeff February 24, 2015 1 Comment Permalink

TradSpeak Episode 2

On the second episode of TradSpeak, I talk with Rachel Claire, one half of the YouTube show Your Face Is Catholic! We discuss Catholic Identity, specifically in regards to veiling from a woman’s perspective, kneeling to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and we even discuss Friday abstinence.

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Currently, you can download or listen from SoundCloud. Due to some technical difficulties and lack of foresight on my part, this is the only way you can listen to it. I am working on getting iTunes and self-hosted working soon.

Enjoy and thanks for listening!

Jeff January 6, 2015 Leave A Comment Permalink

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