"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching

The American Conservative

By PATRICK J. DENEENFebruary 6, 2014, 9:15 AM

Joe P. Carter / cc

For most casual observers, whether Catholic or not, the main battle lines within American Catholicism today seem self-evident. The cleavage overlaps perfectly the divide between the political parties, leading to the frequently-used labels “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics. We have Nancy Pelosi and Andrew Cuomo representing the Left, and Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback aligned with the Right. Mainstream opinion has classified Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI as honorary Republicans, and Pope Francis as a Democrat (hence, why he is appearing on the covers of Time and Rolling Stone magazines).

This division does indeed capture real battle lines, but more than anything, the divide is merely an extension of our politics, and—while manned by real actors—does not capture where the real action is to be found today in American Catholic circles.

The real action does not involve liberal “Catholics” at all. Liberal Catholicism, while well-represented in elite circles of the Democratic Party, qua Catholicism is finished. Liberal Catholicism has no future—like liberal Protestantism, it is fated to become liberalism simpliciter within a generation. The children of liberal Catholics will either want their liberalism unvarnished by incense and holy water, or they will rebel and ask if there’s something more challenging, disobeying their parents by “reverting” to Catholicism. While “liberal” Catholicism will appear to be a force because it will continue to have political representation, as a “project” and a theology, like liberal Protestantism it is doomed to oblivion.

The real battle is taking place beyond the purview of the pages of Time Magazineand the New York Times. The battle pits two camps of “conservative” Catholicism (let’s dispense with that label immediately and permanently—as my argument suggests, and others have said better, our political labels are inadequate to the task).

On the one side one finds an older American tradition of orthodox Catholicism as it has developed in the nation since the mid-twentieth century. It is closely aligned to the work of the Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray, and its most visible proponent today is George Weigel, who has inherited the mantle from Richard John Neuhaus and Michael Novak. Its intellectual home remains the journal founded by Neuhaus, First Things. Among its number can be counted thinkers like Robert George, Hadley Arkes, Robert Royal, and—if somewhat quirkier than these others—Peter Lawler.

Its basic positions align closely to the arguments developed by John Courtney Murray and others. Essentially, there is no fundamental contradiction between liberal democracy and Catholicism. Liberal democracy is, or at its best can be, a tolerant home for Catholics, one that acknowledges contributions of the Catholic tradition and is leavened by its moral commitments. While liberalism alone can be brittle and thin—its stated neutrality can leave it awash in relativism and indifferentism—it is deepened and rendered more sustainable by the Catholic presence. Murray went so far as to argue that America is in fact more Catholic than even its Protestant founders realized—that they availed themselves unknowingly of a longer and deeper tradition of natural law that undergirded the thinner liberal commitments of the American founding. The Founders “built better than they knew,” and so it is Catholics like Orestes Brownson and Murray, and not liberal lions like John Locke or Thomas Jefferson, who have better articulated and today defends the American project.

Proponents of this position argue that America was well-founded and took a wrong turn in the late-19th century with the embrace of Progressivism (this intellectual position, closely associated with intellectuals at Claremont McKenna College and Hillsdale College, was briefly popularized by Glenn Beck. It has been developed not especially by Catholics, but by students of Leo Strauss, but has been widely embraced by Catholics of this school). The task, then, is restore the basic principles of the American founding—limited government in which the social and moral mores largely arising from the familial and social sphere orient people toward well-ordered and moral lives. This position especially stresses a commitment to the pro-life position and a defense of marriage, and is generally accepting of a more laissez-faire economic position. It supports a vigorous foreign policy and embraces a close alignment between Catholicism and Americanism. It has become closely aligned with the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party.

On the other side is arrayed what might be characterized as a more radical Catholicism. Its main intellectual heroes are the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre and the theologian David L. Schindler (brilliantly profiled in the pages of TAC by Jeremy Beer). These two figures write in arcane and sometimes impenetrable prose, and their position lacks comparably visible popularizers such as Neuhaus, Novak, and Weigel. Its intellectual home—not surprisingly—is the less-accessible journal Communio. An occasional popularizer (though not always in strictly theological terms) has been TAC author Rod Dreher. A number of its sympathizers—less well-known—are theologians, some of whom have published in more popular outlets or accessible books, such as Michael Baxter, William T. Cavanaugh, and John Medaille. Among its rising stars include the theologian C.C. Pecknold of Catholic University and Andrew Haines, who founded its online home, Ethika Politika. From time to time I have been counted among its number.

The “radical” school rejects the view that Catholicism and liberal democracy are fundamentally compatible. Rather, liberalism cannot be understood to be merely neutral and ultimately tolerant toward (and even potentially benefitting from) Catholicism. Rather, liberalism is premised on a contrary view of human nature (and even a competing theology) to Catholicism. Liberalism holds that human beings are essentially separate, sovereign selves who will cooperate based upon grounds of utility. According to this view, liberalism is not a “shell” philosophy that allows a thousand flowers to bloom. Rather, liberalism is constituted by a substantive set of philosophical commitments that are deeply contrary to the basic beliefs of Catholicism, among which are the belief that we are by nature relational, social and political creatures; that social units like the family, community and Church are “natural,” not merely the result of individuals contracting temporary arrangements; that liberty is not a condition in which we experience the absence of constraint, but the exercise of self-limitation; and that both the “social” realm and the economic realm must be governed by a thick set of moral norms, above all, self-limitation and virtue.

Because of these positions, the “radical” position—while similarly committed to the pro-life, pro-marriage teachings of the Church—is deeply critical of contemporary arrangements of market capitalism, is deeply suspicious of America’s imperial ambitions, and wary of the basic premises of liberal government. It is comfortable with neither party, and holds that the basic political division in America merely represents two iterations of liberalism—the pursuit of individual autonomy in either the social/personal sphere (liberalism) or the economic realm (“conservatism”—better designated as market liberalism). Because America was founded as a liberal nation, “radical” Catholicism tends to view America as a deeply flawed project, and fears that the anthropological falsehood at the heart of the American founding is leading inexorably to civilizational catastrophe. It wavers between a defensive posture, encouraging the creation of small moral communities that exist apart from society—what Rod Dreher, following Alasdair MacIntyre, has dubbed “the Benedict Option”—and, occasionally, a more proactive posture that hopes for the conversion of the nation to a fundamentally different and truer philosophy and theology.

While the New York Times (and Fox News) focuses on the theater pitting “liberal” vs. “conservative” Catholics, it has been altogether ignorant of the significant and, arguably, increasingly vociferous dust-ups that have been taking place between these two schools of thought. Recently, for example, Michael Baxter wrote a searing critique of John Courtney Murray, which provoked a vigorous response from George Weigel. Not too long ago, I was asked to write an essay about liberalism for the “other team’s” journal, First Things—entitled “Unsustainable Liberalism“—which provoked not just the two critical responses in the same issue, but a critique by Villanova Law professor Robert Miller and another more recently by Andrew Latham. The article was also criticized by my colleague Phillip Munoz and by Nathan Schleuter, with responses by me, going several more rounds, in the online journal “Public Discourse,” a publication closely associated with Robert George and the Witherspoon Institute. More recently still, a shrill salvo was launched by John Zmirak entitled “Illiberal Catholicism,” accusing the “rad trads” of pining for the reestablishment of Inquisition and hoping for an auto-da-fe of a few Protestants at the stake. His broadside provoked numerous responses, and signalled a considerable ratcheting-up of the battles over the fate of Catholicism in America. Just yesterday, Ethika Politika posted a critique of George Weigel by Thomas Storck, arguing that Weigel has been just as likely to act as a “cafeteria Catholic” as those he criticizes on the Left. One can expect the debate will only intensify as the stakes increase.

If one paid attention only to canned accounts of things Catholic in the mainstream media, you would think that there’s something called “conservative” Catholicism that spends all of its time fretting about liberal “Catholicism.” That debate, such as it is, is merely our well-rutted political division with a Latin accent; the real intellectual action that will likely influence the future of Catholicism in America is being fought in trenches largely out of sight of much of the American public, even those who are well-informed. As this debate develops—and, I believe, bursts into public view, and begins to engage the Catholic remnant—major implications for the relationship of Catholics to America, and America to Catholics, hang in the balance.

It is already evident for anyone with eyes to see that elites in America are returning to their customary hostility toward Catholicism, albeit now eschewing crude prejudice in favor of Mandates and legal filings (though there’s plenty of crude prejudice, too). For those in the Murray/Neuhaus/Weigel school, it’s simply a matter of returning us to the better days, and reviving the sound basis on which the nation was founded. For those in the MacIntyre/Schindler school, America was never well-founded, so either needs to be differently re-founded or at least endured, even survived. The relationship of Catholicism to America, and America to Catholicism, began with rancor and hostility, but became a comfortable partnership forged in the cauldron of World War II and the Cold War. Was that period one of “ordinary time,” or an aberration which is now passing, returning us to the inescapably hostile relationship? A growing body of evidence suggests that the latter possibility can’t simply be dismissed out of hand: liberalism appears to be daily more hostile to Catholicism, not merely disagreeing with its stances, but demanding that they be changed in conformity to liberal views on self-sovereignty(especially relating to human sexuality and marriage) or, failing that, that the Church be defined out of the bounds of decent liberal society, an institution no more respectable than the Ku Klux Klan. Whether the marriage between the (Catholic) Church and the (American) State can be rescued, or whether a divorce is in the offing, depends in large part on the outcome of this burgeoning debate about which most Americans are wholly unaware, but to which those with interests in the fate of the imperial Republic should to be paying attention.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jennifer Roback Morse: ‘Remember the Victims of the Sexual Revolution’ (3675)

The marriage expert is working to help individuals and families heal from the ill effects caused by today’s sexually permissive culture.


Courtesy of Jennifer Roback Morse
– Courtesy of Jennifer Roback Morse
The Ruth Institute, which has focused primarily on defending marriage to college students, has changed its mission and now hopes to create a mass social movement to counteract the ill effects of the sexual revolution, such as the breakdown of family life, including cohabitation, divorce and unwed pregnancies.
Speaking with Register correspondent Sue Ellen Browder, Ruth Institute founder Jennifer Roback Morse recently explained why she has drawn up a petition urging bishops at the 2014 Synod on the Family in October to “remember the victims of the sexual revolution.”
The institute is also holding a Feb. 15 conference in San Diego to present its vision for “Healing the 21st-Century Family.”

We see the effects of the sexual revolution all around us, with the hook-up culture, high pregnancy rates among single women, same-sex “marriage,” etc. What is the sexual revolution at its root trying to do?

The sexual revolution is trying to disconnect sex, babies and marriage from each other. That’s the agenda.

Which groups have been pushing this sexual revolution?

A mix of people have promoted it: population controllers (who think there are too many poor people); hipsters (who just want to be libertines); radical feminists who think babies are keeping women from being “equal.” All these groups have one thing in common: They’re controlled by elites, people who want to re-create the world in their own image.

What injuries has the sexual revolution caused, individually and collectively?

I think the single biggest injury on a personal level is loneliness, because we’re replacing truly intimate relationships with sex as a recreational activity. Instead of sex building up marriage and the family, sex is something about “me” and “how I feel.” So it’s all led to the idea that you can discard people, which breeds loneliness.
On a collective level, our higher education system and economy are built around contraception and abortion. Contraception is an expected part of a woman’s career path. So that means the whole system is built around women treating their bodies as if they were men’s bodies. Also, with declining birth rates in every industrialized country in the world, we’re contracepting our way out of a future.

Why is the sexual revolution so appealing to people?

The sexual urge is obviously very powerful, and the idea you can have sex without consequences is a very appealing fantasy. But that’s what it is: a fantasy. Even if you successfully avoid pregnancy, you’ve got emotional consequences. The sexual revolution promises that if you just take the baby out of the equation, you can have all the benefits of sex without any of the costs.

The sexual revolution promised freedom and fun. Yet you say it was — and is — a totalitarian movement. Why?

Because its goal — to separate sex from reproduction and both from marriage — is impossible. When men and women have sex, babies have a way of appearing. So the government has to step in and control people’s behavior and even people’s thoughts about what’s possible, desirable and realistic. The HHS mandate is just one example of the government stifling dissent by essentially saying: “This society will be built around contraception, and there will be no dissent from that.” That’s one example of totalitarianism coming straight from the government and literally shutting down people who disagree.

You say we’re swimming in so much sexual-revolution propaganda that we don’t even see it. What’s the propaganda saying?

That it’s possible — and desirable — to have sex without babies and sex without commitment. One of the biggest and most persistent lies of the sexual revolution is: “The kids will be fine, as long as the parents are happy.” That’s basically a blank check for adults to do whatever they feel like, regardless of how it hurts and destroys the kids.

Are children of divorce and aborted babies the primary victims of the sexual revolution?

Children are the most obvious. But there’s a whole list of sex-revolution victims who’ve been silenced. Consider, for example, people who’d like to stay married but their spouse wants a divorce, so that’s the end of it. The government takes sides with the party who wants the marriage the least.

You call those people “the reluctantly divorced.”

Yes. We all know somebody in this category — the jilted wife or the husband who’s kicked out of the family because his wife didn’t want to be bothered with him anymore, and now the courts are making him pay child support for kids he doesn’t see. These people are all around us. Yet no one talks about them. They’re completely invisible.

You call another group of sexual-revolution victims, who bought into the sexual revolution only to discover its promises of fun and freedom are false, “the heartbroken career women.”

These women are also all around us, but we simply don’t see them. [Culture says] the entry fee into the professions for women is that you chemically neuter yourself during your peak childbearing years in your 20s — and if you have an “accident,” you get an abortion.
By the time a woman figures out, “If I have no children, that’s going to be terrible for me,” she’s 35. The in vitro fertilization industry is making huge profits off people’s infertility problems, which often happen because women put off having kids for so long they can’t do it naturally anymore.
And yet when that woman is a lawyer, college professor, TV news anchor or some other professional, she’s going to dig in her heels and defend the sexual revolution, because her life is literally built around it. We want to help this type of woman “connect the dots” and see that she has been victimized because she built her life around the lies.

Isn’t there another group of female victims — women who can’t find suitable husbands because too many men have also bought into the sexual revolution’s falsehoods?

Absolutely. And I hear it from men, too [about not finding suitable wives]. Our whole culture is so sexualized it’s hard to find a suitable mate. Many young people have told me they wish the Church would do more to facilitate young adults meeting each other in a faith environment, where people won’t always be coming onto you.

Why did you create the “Healing the 21st-Century Family” conference?

Because there are a lot of heartbroken career women out there, along with children of divorce and other victims of the sexual revolution. We need to find each other, take strength from each other and know that we can get something done if we discover each other and work together.

What’s your vision for the modern family?

Our vision is that every sexual act would be an act of integrity and love inside marriage and that every child would be born to a married mother and father who love each other. Every little family should be an island of forgiveness, repentance, generosity, service, gratitude and loyalty. Then the community could be built up from a foundation of love within the family. The family is a little society that deserves to be respected and protected, not disrespected and attacked.

Do you see positive developments that indicate this life-affirming vision of the modern family is becoming more widespread in contemporary societies?

I wouldn’t go that far. But I do see more people getting fed up. There’s a new book out — The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism and the Reality of the Biological Clock — in which the author, Tanya Selvaratnam, recounts her emotional journey through multiple miscarriages after the age of 37. That woman is an activist for NOW [the National Organization for Women] and writes for Ms. magazine, yet her book is all about her being fed up. That’s what our Feb. 15 conference is about: to find these people, give them a voice, give them a name and help them connect the dots.

What can the ordinary Catholic do right now to make this new vision for the family happen?

The very simple thing people can do is go sign our petition to the Synod Fathers, where we say, “Please remember the victims of the sexual revolution.” The Synod Fathers are meeting to figure out how the Church can better serve the family, and we want them to remember the victims and to organize to help people who have been wounded. So please go sign the petition. And then we want you to come to our Feb. 15 conference in San Diego. It’s open to anyone of goodwill who has a sincere desire to improve their own family life, to heal their own wounds from the sexual revolution and to help us clean up the mess.

Sue Ellen Browder writes from Ukiah, California.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/jennifer-roback-morse-remember-the-victims-of-the-sexual-revolution1/#ixzz2ss4JG4HH

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Reforming the Irreformable?

New Liturgical Movement



IT COULD BE evidence of exemplary patience on the part of NLM editor Jeffrey Tucker that I am still counted among the contributors to this blog. More than two years have passed since I posted anything relative to the ‘reform of the reform’. Although I consider myself a capable writer, I am not a fast one, which impairment makes the demands of parish ministry even less favorable to the task of unpacking my liturgical ruminations for those who might care to know them. But that only partly explains the hiatus.

I have the impression that whatever can be said in general terms about the ‘reform of the reform’—its origin and aims, its scope and methodology, the various proposals advanced in its interest (if not in its name), its proponents and critics—has pretty much already been said.1 Although the movement is difficult to define (Is it synonymous with the ‘new liturgical movement’ or but one stage of it?),2 its overall aim was nicely summed a few years ago by the Ceylonese prelate who stated that the time has come when we must “identify and correct the erroneous orientations and decisions made, appreciate the liturgical tradition of the past courageously, and ensure that the Church is made to rediscover the true roots of its spiritual wealth and grandeur even if that means reforming the reform itself…”3

Long before Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, he was critically evaluating the reform of the liturgy following the Second Vatican Council, identifying those aspects of the reform which have little or no justification in the Council’s liturgical Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC) and which undermine the true spirit of the liturgy.4 As pope it was in his power to remedy the deficiencies—the “erroneous orientations and decisions”—of the reform on a universal scale not only by his teaching and personal liturgical example but also by legislation. He accentuated the liturgy’s beauty, promoted the liturgical and musical treasures of the Western Church (including of course the usus antiquior of the Roman rite), and introduced more tangible continuity with tradition in the manner of papal celebrations (e.g., the ‘Benedictine’ altar arrangement, offering Mass ad orientem in the Sistine and other papal chapels, administering Holy Communion to the faithful on their tongues as they knelt). His successor, Pope Francis, is a different man with a different personality and style, and his priorities clearly lie with other aspects of the Church’s life. I am not holding my breath in anticipation of further official progress along the lines marked out by Pope Benedict, who has deservedly been dubbed the “Father of the new liturgical movement.”5

But let us suppose, practically speaking and perhaps per impossibile, that the ‘reform of the reform’ were to receive substantive institutional support. Even so, I doubt the endeavor would be feasible—if we take that term to mean the reform of the present order of liturgy so as to bring it substantially back into line with the slowly developed tradition it widely displaced. It is not sour grapes about last year’s papal abdication that prompts my saying so. Like any movement, the ‘reform of the reform’ stands or falls on its own principles, not on any one pope or partisan. No: the ‘reform of the reform’ is not realizable because the material discontinuity between the two forms of the Roman rite presently in use is much broader and much deeper than I had first imagined. In the decade that has elapsed since the publication of my book, The Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate (Ignatius Press, 2003), which concerns almost exclusively the rite of Mass, a number of important scholarly studies, most notably those of László Dobszay (†2011)6 and Lauren Pristas,7 have opened my eyes to the hack-job inflicted by Pope Paul VI’s Consilium on the whole liturgical edifice of the Latin Church: the Mass; the Divine Office; the rites of the sacraments, sacramentals, blessings and other services of the Roman Ritual; and so forth.8Whatever else might be said of the reformed liturgy—its pastoral benefits, its legitimacy, its rootedness in theological ressourcement, its hegemonic status, etc.—the fact remains: it does not represent an organic development of the liturgy which Vatican II (and, four centuries earlier, the Council of Trent) inherited.

There are significant ruptures in content and form that cannot be remedied simply by restoring Gregorian chant to primacy of place as the music of the Roman rite, expanding the use of Latin and improving vernacular translations of the Latin liturgical texts, using the Roman Canon more frequently (if not exclusively),9reorienting the altar, and rescinding certain permissions. As important as it is to celebrate the reformed rites correctly, reverently, and in ways that make the continuity with tradition more obvious, such measures leave untouched the essentialcontent of the rites. Any future attempt at liturgical reconciliation, or renewal in continuity with tradition, would have to take into account the complete overhaul of the propers of the Mass;10 the replacement of the Offertory prayers with modern compositions; the abandonment of the very ancient annual Roman cycle of Sunday Epistles and Gospels; the radical recasting of the calendar of saints; the abolition of the ancient Octave of Pentecost, the pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima and the Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost; the dissolution of the centuries-old structure of the Hours; and so much more. To draw the older and newer forms of the liturgy closer to each other would require much more movement on the part of the latter form, so much so that it seems more honest to speak of a gradual reversal of the reform (to the point where it once again connects with the liturgical tradition received by the Council) rather than a reform of it.

The twofold desire of the Council fathers, namely, to permit innovations that “are genuinely and certainly required for the good of the Church” and to “adopt new forms which in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (SC 23) could indeed be fulfilled, but not by taking the rites promulgated by Paul VI as the point of departure for arriving at a single, organically reformed version of the ancient Roman rite: that would be like trying to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again. What is needed is not a ‘reform of the reform’ but rather a cautious adaptation of the Tridentine liturgy in accordance with the principles laid down by Sacrosanctum Concilium (as happened in the immediate aftermath of that document’s promulgation in 1963), using what we have learned from the experience of the past fifty years.11 In the meantime, improvements can be made here and there in the ars celebrandi of the Ordinary Form. But the road to achieving a sustainable future for the traditional Roman rite12—and to achieving the liturgical vision of Vatican II, which ordered the moderate adaptation of that rite, not its destruction—is the beautiful and proper celebration, in an increasing number of locations, of the Extraordinary Form, with every effort to promote the core principle (properly understood) of “full, conscious and active participation” of the faithful (SC 14).

[1] A history and analysis of the movement (if it can be called that) with a useful bibliography will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming T&T Clark Companion to Liturgy: The Western Catholic Tradition, ed. Alcuin Reid (Continuum Books, 2015). One of the first studies to take up the question of an alternate reform is Klaus Gamber, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background, trans. Klaus D. Grimm (Una Voce Press and The Foundation for Catholic Reform, 1993) pp. 41-61 [on the Order of Mass], 63-75 [on the Order of Readings]; Gamber held that theOrdo Missæ of 1965 fulfilled the revision of the Mass envisioned by the Second Vatican Council. The earliest typology of post-Vatican II liturgical agendas is Beyond the Prosaic: Renewing the Liturgical Movement, ed. Stratford Caldecott (T&T Clark, 1996). More recently, see John F. Baldovin, Reforming the Liturgy: A Response to the Critics (Liturgical Press, 2008); reviewed on NLM here and here. Various ‘reform of the reform’ schemata can be found in the appendices of my book, The Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate (Ignatius Press, 2003). The only foreign-language proposal (to my knowledge) is Claudio Crescimanno, La Riforma della Riforma liturgica: Ipotesi per un “nuovo” riot della missa sulle tracce del pensiero di Joseph Ratzinger (Fede & Cultura, 2009).
[2] See, e.g., here and here and here and here and here.
[3] Archbishop (now Cardinal) Albert Malcolm Ranjith’s foreword to Nicola Giampietro, The Development of the Liturgical Reform: As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948 to 1970 (Roman Catholic Books, 2009), p. xvi; reviewed on NLM here. Ranjith was then Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and is now (since 2009) the Cardinal-Archbishop of Colombo.
[4] The Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 1986); The Spirit of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2000); “Assessment and Future Prospects,” in Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger: Proceedings of the July 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference, ed. Alcuin Reid (St Michael’s Abbey Press, 2003).
[5] Alcuin Reid, “The New Liturgical Movement after the Pontificate of Benedict XVI”, Address to Church Music Association of America, 15 October 2013; available here and here.
[6] The Bugnini-Liturgy and the ‘Reform of the Reform’ (Catholic Church Music Associates, 2003); reviewed in Antiphon 9:3 (2005) 309-10. The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite (T&T Clark/Continuum, 2010). I was unaware of the former until 2006; my review of the latter is available on NLM here. See also Dobszay’s “Perspectives on an Organic Development of the Liturgy,” in Antiphon 13:1 (2009) 18-27.
[7] The Collects of the Roman Missals: A Comparative Study of the Sundays in Proper Seasons before and after the Second Vatican Council (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013). See the Book Notice; my review of this volume will appear in Antiphon 18:1 (2014).
[8] Also deserving of attention is Father Uwe Michael Lang’s essay, “Theologies of Blessing: Origins and Characteristics of De benedictionibus (1984),” in Antiphon 15 (2011) 27-46, dealing with the substantial revision of blessings in the Roman Ritual resulting from significant changes in the theological understanding of blessings.
[9] The three Eucharistic Prayers introduced in 1968 and included in the Missal of Paul VI as alternatives to the Roman Canon are innovations which the Council fathers had not even contemplated, never mind authorized. Whatever might be said in their defense, they are not the products of organic liturgical development.
[10] Only 17 percent of the orations of the 1962 Missal made their way intact into the Missal of 1970; so Father Anthony Cekada’s The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass (TAN Books, 1991). László Dobszay, in The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite, notes that “the Roman Rite is incarnated more in the Propers than in the Order of Mass” (p. 48), for the Sacramentary is “the most Roman component of the classical Roman Rite” (p. 201). I do not suggest that there is no basis in Sacrosanctum Concilium for modifying the propers (indeed there is); I simply point out the extent of the changes.
[11] The end result, I suppose, would be something like the missals published in various countries following the release of the Ordo Missæ of 1965, with the addition of new saints and prefaces.

[12] The ‘Tridentine’ Missal of 1570-1962 is not the only representative of the historic Roman rite, but unlike the Missal of Paul VI it differs only in minor points from the tradition which had already been alive for a thousand years when the Council of Trent codified the Roman curial rite. In this context the use of the word ‘traditional’ is wholly justified.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

St. Pius X and the Church of Nice

by Kevin M. Tierney on Jan 31, 2014 

In today’s polarized Church, we like to label that which we don’t like. We need to tell people we are the pure, and they are the impure. A lot of Catholics do this by labeling those they disagreed with “radical traditionalists” or “radtrad”, even though more often than not these Catholics were faithful Catholics in union with the Pope and their local bishop. Some fire back with a rather curious gem: those they disagree with are part of the “Church of Nice.” For a variety of reasons, I find this terminology troubling.

First and foremost, it is tough to nail down precisely what the church of nice is. In one of his YouTube addresses, ChurchMilitantTV’s Michael Voris lists a total of twenty-one (!) characteristics of “The Church of Nice.” When you give that many examples, all you are really saying is that “Church of nice” should be translated as “stuff I don’t like.” When dealing with real dangers to the faithful, it is best to be clear and concise. When speaking of the dangers of the modernist, Pope St. Pius X laid out 7 problems with their approach in the encyclical Pascendi. There is a natural flow to his critique.

The critique of the church of nice ranges from the substantial (the RCIA director or priest teaching heresy) to the unfortunate but not heretical (confession isn’t offered enough) to the really annoying (not heretical but bland folk music trying to pass off as “worship music”) to the prideful (father doesn’t tell other Catholics how bad they are living their lives publicly during his homily), to Catholics exercising the lawful rights Holy Mother Church has given them. (Receiving communion on the hand, which even though you can do it, you can also receive on the tongue.) There is no unifying principle other than people really don’t like these twenty-one things. For the Catholic who wants actual substance, they can only walk away disappointed.

That’s a shame, as some (but not all) of the things you typically hear about when it comes to the church of nice are problems. The problem with the Church today is the same problem with the Church throughout history: fallen human beings prefer gimmicks to the transformative power of God’s grace, and we have a tendency of doing what we think is best, rather than doing what God wants. This message won’t drive YouTube hits, but it is the only real way to reform.

Let us take the second problem first. You can think the discipline of allowing communion in the hand has had unintended consequences. You can argue people should receive it on the tongue instead. You can even argue that Rome should rescind the discipline. Yet you can’t say that those who are doing it are part of a bad Church, since they are simply exercising their rights that the Bishop of Rome has given them. In liturgical matters, that is the Bishop of Rome’s prerogative. (Mediator Dei 58)

In like manner, it can be very frustrating when clerics, whether they be priests, bishops, cardinals, or even yes the Pope aren’t performing their ministries as well as they should. We might even think we can do a better job. Sometimes, we probably can. Yet in areas where they have the lawful authority to command, we should indeed do as we are told, even if it is bothersome. King Saul thought the command of the Lord was folly, and that under his vision he could make Israel great. When he disobeyed for a noble cause, God was no less displeased. (1 Sam 15:10-23) Compare that with St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), who spent years under an unjust sentence in quiet obedience. Consider St. Faustina, whose diary was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books. In the end, her obedience was proof of her sanctity, the book was removed from the Index, and she was canonized a saint. King David spent over a decade of his life persecuted by an evil king. When that dynasty is ended, David kills the assassins who ended it. (2 Samuel 5) These saints suffered the wickedness of worldly men, sometimes of the highest authority, yet their obedience shined forth.

These saints tell us that the way to truly reform the Church is reform of the self. We should encourage others to go to confession, but let’s make sure we go regularly, and let’s make sure we don’t make a cheap confession. Catechesis may be awful, but let’s make sure that we are properly catechized, and then let’s go and catechize others. Let’s make sure we are giving people the Gospel of love and forgiveness, not judgment and bile.

Above all else, let charity reign supreme in all we do. When we condemn “the church of nice” we are condemning Catholics behaving badly. Yet any honest Catholic would admit they too are behaving badly more often than not. If we weren’t behaving badly, we wouldn’t need priests to hear confessions frequently. This kind of charity is burdensome and will frequently appear pointless, but St. Pius X tells us it is the only way to live our lives in service to Christ:

“For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix., II) — it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity… This charity, “patient and kind” (1. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (1. Cor., iv., 12, s.)… It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it. (E Supremi 13)

If we really want to eliminate “the church of nice”, we first need to eliminate this bitter zeal from our own souls. As with so many things, St. Pius X showed us how.

Kevin Tierney is an Associate Editor of the Learn and Live the Faith Section at Catholic Lane. He also blogs at http://commmonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com. You may contact him on Facebook, Google+ or follow him on Twitter @CatholicSmark.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Traditional Liturgy Flourishing in the Bible Belt

Catholic World Report

December 03, 2013

A South Carolina parish demonstrates that reverent, beautiful liturgies—in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms—are possible in a modern American parish.
Brian Mershon

Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors, South Carolina

This September marked the sixth anniversary of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, the motu proprio of Pope Benedict XVI that provided juridical recourse to Catholic laymen interested in receiving regular access to the traditional Latin Mass and the sacraments. Since the document went into effect, what results can be seen in the United States and Canada in terms of the availability of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form?

The Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei keeps a comprehensive list of locations in which the traditional Latin Mass is available. At last count, in the 191 dioceses in North America, there are about 485 parishes that offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form with some frequency (monthly, twice-per-month, or weekly), with 335 parish locations offering it weekly.

In North America there are 75 parish locations that offer daily access to the Extraordinary Form. Of those locations, 38 are in the care of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and 13 are provided for by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. That leaves 24 locations run by dioceses or religious communities (such as the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago) where the Mass in the Extraordinary Form is offered daily.

One such parish is thriving in what may seem to some to be the least likely of places—what is often referred to as “the buckle of the Bible Belt,” Greenville, South Carolina. Prince of Peace Catholic Church, located in Taylors, SC, is a diocesan parish with nearly 2,000 families and an evangelical liturgical approach that is beginning to draw national and international attention.

Not only is this parish attracting families interested in regular access to traditional liturgy and the sacraments, it is beginning to be recognized by even the non-traditional Catholic audience as a beacon of the “New Evangelization,” due to the number of converts and reverts it draws into the Catholic Church.

Prince of Peace also has a burgeoning school, a round-the-clock adoration chapel, and numerous other flourishing apostolates.

Father Christopher Smith has been the pastoral administrator of Prince of Peace since December 2011. A native of nearby Easley, he is a former Baptist who converted to Catholicism as a teenager. He is a graduate of Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, and he holds both a licentiate and a doctorate in dogmatic theology. He recently spoke with CWR about parish life at Prince of Peace and the parish’s approach to the liturgy.

Editor’s Note: Since this interview took place, Prince of Peace ceased offering daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form until a second priest is assigned to the parish. The Latin Mass is currently offered on Sundays, Holy Days, and special feast days, and it is expected that the daily Latin Mass will resume when another priest is assigned.

CWR: Why did you decide to offer access to Mass in the Extraordinary Form daily?

Father Smith: We had a community dedicated to the Extraordinary Form for about 10 years prior to my arrival, and the community has grown and has really begun to expect to live its daily life around that liturgy. Because we have had two priests who are able to celebrate both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Forms in a parish large enough to warrant two daily Masses, it made sense to have both forms daily.

Also, it has both consolidated the community of those attached to the Extraordinary Form and has provided the opportunity for those who want to attend daily Mass the opportunity to consistently experience the Extraordinary Form Mass at noon. Some people come more because it is at noon Mass more than because it is the Extraordinary Form.

CWR: What reactions have you received from parishioners?

Father Smith: There was a little bit of concern at the beginning—especially because I was coming in new—from people thinking we were going to completely change it over into an Extraordinary Form parish. But when they saw that we were not taking away anything, but just adding more opportunities to go to Mass, I believe that that helped alleviate those concerns.

CWR: What did you expect when you began this assignment leading a parish, and what have you learned over the nearly two years since?

Father Smith: When I first started, what I thought was those who are already going to the Sunday Traditional Mass might choose to go to daily Latin Mass. We have a lot of homeschool families, so I thought they might go to that Mass.

What I didn’t expect—but which has been very, very wonderful in our parish—is that a lot of people who swore two years ago they would never darken the doors of the Latin Mass now go every day because it is a Latin Mass at noon and they have grown to respect it, appreciate it, and love it. Also, we have members of the Latin Mass community who would previously never go to an English Mass, and they now go periodically because it is celebrated according to the mind of the Church and it is celebrated in the same manner as the Extraordinary Form.

I didn’t expect that to happen and I certainly didn’t think it would happen that quickly.

CWR: Not many diocesan parishes in the US offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form at all, let alone daily. How does this serve to build the Church and aid in the salvation of souls?

Father Smith: I think that children who grow up with both forms of the Roman rite offered daily will recognize that as completely normal. They don’t have any baggage against one or the other forms.

And there won’t be any kind of animus against either the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form because they have had frequent experiences of the proper celebration of both forms. So when they go into other parishes in other locations, they will bring with them a much broader understanding of the “little c” catholic view of the liturgy because it hasn’t been weighed down by any psychological baggage from the past.

CWR: What kind of response—either positive or negative—have you received from other priests in the diocese or elsewhere?

Father Smith: A lot priests, when they hear about what we do—it may perhaps sound very strange to them for some reason. But when they actually come and visit and experience firsthand how both forms are [celebrated as similarly] as possible, while still respecting the unique differences, and they see the participation and the faith of the people—when they see all of this in action, then it makes more sense to them.

No one else in our diocese is doing it the way that we are, but we also have a history in our parish that other parishes have not had. There are places where they would love to have the Extraordinary Form more often, but they don’t have the same level of desire—as shown over a period of 12-plus years now—that our parishioners have.

CWR: What would your advice be to other priests considering a similar approach? There are lots of logistical challenges and practical considerations. How would you answer those practical challenges and considerations?

Father Smith: There are many priests in our diocese who regularly offer five or six [Novus Ordo] Masses every weekend, and often times, at different locations. And all of those are necessary. In situations like those, with one lone priest, it is difficult for the priest to celebrate the Extraordinary Form on a regular basis. It is simply not feasible when they are by themselves. Where there are two priests in a parish covering only one location, then it is a little bit easier.

But I also think it is important that the people don’t feel that it is being forced upon them in any way. So altar rails, ad orientem worship, and the things that are normally associated with the Extraordinary Form—slowly a kind of modus vivendi between the two forms begins without constantly having to redo the sanctuary space. There are all kinds of variables that exist depending upon the parish.

In some places, it can work very easily, and in other places, it takes a lot of creative thinking.

CWR: Wouldn’t the music considerations alone be quite daunting for the average parish?

Father Smith: Right off the bat with the Extraordinary Form, you can build as much as your resources allow. Now, how can that have a positive gravitational pull on the Ordinary Form? That is a little more difficult. What are the resources in your parish? But also, what has the music history of the parish been?

One of the things I would offer is to provide regular, ongoing catechesis on music in the liturgy at Mass [for the Ordinary Form] and then introduce the propers and ensure there is some kind of coherence in a parish between one liturgy and the next.

One of the things about Prince of Peace is that when we have sung liturgies, when we have hymns, the propers are included in all the Masses as well.

I believe you must create a consistent way of worshipping in the parish rather than catering to everyone’s individual taste, because that never really works to unify a parish around the liturgy.

CWR: How do you answer common objections from people who don’t appreciate the Prince of Peace style of liturgy due to their experiences in American parishes since 1970?

Father Smith: People have to understand that the liturgy is not primarily about the externals nor about creating an interesting experience, as many people tried to do after the Council. Nor is it about just fixating on lace, vestments, and the smells and bells. We need to understand the liturgy is not principally about something we do.

If you put the emphasis on the externals, then some people will say, “I don’t like that,” and they will reject it.

Whereas if you understand what is actually happening during the liturgy—and it’s not just what is happening at the altar, but it extends into one’s daily life, then all of a sudden the beauty and the majesty and transcendence of the liturgy is something the people can take with them to their daily lives.

For example, I often speak about reverence for the Body of Christ and that the [way] people receive Holy Communion…shows a specific internal disposition as well as an external disposition.

It is important, but also that same reverence we have for the Body of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament should also be had for the Body of Christ in the Church. We are all fellow members of the Body of Christ—so the life of charity flows from everything we do in the Eucharistic celebration. And I think when people begin to realize that is where you are coming from as a priest, not just kind of re-arranging the furniture, they begin to understand that this all has a deeper meaning rather than conclud[ing], “Father just likes to do things this way and is forcing it upon everyone.” It is a natural outgrowth from a vision of the liturgy that emphasizes its transcendence, but also its relationship to daily life—rather than just making it up according to what is someone’s particular taste.

Pope Francis has said that the Church cannot be shut up in the sacristy. Some people take that as some type of implicit criticism of traditional liturgy. But it really is not at all when it is understood properly.

Because all of the beauty of the liturgy is not just something that “people in the know” kind of do as a hobby; it is something that is to be a school of Christian service so that we can go out and evangelize and perform acts of service and charity in the world.

If that doesn’t happen in the life of the faithful, it is not the fault of the liturgy; that is the fault of the Christian world not making that link between liturgy and life that is the essence of Christianity.

CWR: What has been your experience as far as reverent liturgies performed according to the mind of the Church—both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form—regarding its attraction to younger or older Catholics?

Father Smith: It has been my experience that every place where the liturgy is celebrated according to the mind of the Church, whether in the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form, younger people tend to be those who gravitate toward it.

Even at Prince of Peace, a lot of the older Catholics who lived through the changes following the Second Vatican Council just don’t want to go back again. And for some of them, it is very difficult. When they were in their formational years and they were exposed to all of these things, they were systematically taught to hate them. I understand and I respect that, and I think pastors have to take this into consideration because it is not those people’s fault. You really cannot undo that even with all of the best will in the world.

Whereas with the younger generation, they have no psychological baggage attached to traditional liturgy. When they see it, they don’t automatically think, “Oh my God, they are trying to undo Vatican II!” They think, “Wow! This is really interesting and beautiful. How can I learn more?”

And that is true whether it is the Extraordinary Form or the Ordinary Form done well.

The generations that have survived the liturgy wars have often closed themselves up into these trenches and they are not going to come out except for some kind of work of grace. But the younger people seem to gravitate toward the transcendental you can see within it—truth, goodness, and beauty—because they are not distracted by what these things supposedly mean if you view them through a hermeneutic of rupture.

I would encourage pastors to find a place within their parishes for the Extraordinary Form, but [do] so as gently as possible, and to focus on the solemn celebration of the liturgy in both forms and to get the younger generation to really understand it and participate in it and to love it. I would focus on that.That is why schools and religious education programs are also so important, because once the parish sees you are getting their children involved in the liturgy and they understand the propers and the reasons behind the vestments, as but two examples, it works like spiritual leaven through the families and the parish.

About the Author
Brian Mershon

Brian Mershon is a father of seven living children and grandfather of four who writes from the buckle of the Bible Belt in Greenville, South Carolina, when he is not at sporting or music events. He has a master's in theology and a bachelor's in news-editorial journal.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Meet the new pope — same as the old pope

Sorry, liberals: Pope Francis is not the Barack Obama of the Vatican.
The media’s fantasy that the new pope is a revolutionary determined to steer the Church left reached a new level of fatuousness this week when Rolling Stone gave Francis the full Lady Gaga treatment, placing him on its cover with the headline, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”
No, they ain’t.
Rolling Stone joined Time (which crowned Francis its Person of the Year for 2013), The Advocate (ditto) and The New York Times in a group self-delusion that the pope is coming around to their views on economics, homosexuality and ordination of women.
The basis for all this is a misreading of a few out-of-context quotations, ignorance of longstanding church doctrine and (perhaps most of all) a frenzy to enlist the pope against the left’s favorite bogeymen, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.
In Rolling Stone, writer Mark Binelli swooned, noting that Palin called Pope Francis “kind of a liberal” (before backtracking) and Limbaugh denounced the pope’s views as “pure Marxism.” With enemies like those, the left thinks, Francis must be OK.
But MSNBC shouldn’t go booking the pope to co-host the Rachel Maddow Show just yet.
It’s hard for liberals (and maybe some conservatives) to wrap their heads around this, but Catholic doctrine doesn’t line up neatly with American views of left and right. The church is steadfastly pro-life on abortion (we associate that with conservatives) but equally pro-life on capital punishment (a view we call liberal). Nor has the Vatican altered its commitment to uplifting the poor or its related suspicion of capitalism.
Yes, Pope Francis critiqued “trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market alone, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice.”
But (pace Limbaugh), Francis also blasted Marxism, if not in the same speech: “The ideology of Marxism is wrong,” he said in December.
It’s not like Benedict XVI (whom Binelli compared to Freddy Krueger) was an apostle of Milton Friedman either: “Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures,” he said in 2007. “And this ideological promise has proven false.
Capitalism, Benedict continued, left a “distance between rich and poor” and is “giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity.”
Pope John Paul II showed perhaps the most enthusiasm for capitalism of any pope, yet even he said, “There are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied.” He warned against a “radical capitalistic ideology” that lacks an “ethical and religious” core.
Did Francis (as the Times proclaimed last September) complain that the church was “obsessed” with gays, abortion and birth control? Not quite.
Here’s what he said: “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”
Nothing new here, either: The pope was just focusing on the big picture. Benedict said the same thing, albeit more directly, in 2006, noting that, for press interviews, “I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion. . . If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears.”
Yes, Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” But this is consistent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that gays “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
In 2010, while still just a cardinal, he called gay marriage “a destructive attack on God’s plan” and last year Francis was “shocked” by a gay-adoption bill, according to a bishop who discussed the matter with him. Ordination of women? Francis said in November that this was “not a question open for discussion.” Abortion? “Horrifying,” he said on Jan. 13.
There is a Bob Dylan song that encapsulates the media’s coverage of Pope Francis, but it isn’t “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” It’s “Idiot Wind.”