Monday, December 31, 2007

Anglican Seminarian to Convert to the Catholic Church

Over the weekend I attended a Byzantine mass and afterwards at the potluck meal, I met an Traditionalist Anglican in the seminary who said he was preparing to convert to the Catholic Church. Interestingly, my friend who is an elder at an "Orthodox Presbyterian Church" (OPC) had originally tried to steer me to the very parish where he attends. (He knew I was leaning towards high Church liturgy and wanted to steer me anywhere except the Catholic Church. He also knew that this particular Anglican parish was not in communion with Canterbury). Turns out the seminarian also attended the same OPC parish where my friend is an elder for about a year before entering the Anglican seminary.

I asked him what issues had caused him to stop seminary training and become Catholic. He said they were the usual reasons but mainly Church authority. To our shame, he said the one thing he was going to miss about being Anglican was having communion rails.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tridentine Mass in North Carolina

From Sid Cundiff:

SUNDAY, 6 January 2008, 430pm, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh NC, Propers for the Solemnity of Epiphany (a Solemn High Mass, offered by Father Paul Parkerson as Priest, with Father Meares as Deacon, and Father Robert Ferguson, FSSP, as Subdeacon, and Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, at the throne)

Sunday, 13 Jan 2008, 330pm, Our Lady of Grace, Greensboro [Father Ferguson], Propers of the Feast of Holy Family.

Sunday, 20 January 2008 at 1:30 p.m., Davis Chapel, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem [Father Samuel Weber, O.S.B.], Propers for Septuagesima Sunday. (if all is ready, this will be a High Mass [more choir members needed!]. There are no kneelers in Davis Chapel; those attending may wish to bring something to kneel upon.)

After 20 Jan 2008, Mass will be offered in Davis Chapel, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem usually on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Every First Sunday of the month, 4:30pm, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh NC [Father Parkerson]

Every Sunday, 12 noon, Sacred Heart Church, Dunn, NC [Father Parkerson]

Per Father Parkerson, Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be offered also at at the Catholic Churches in Rocky Mount and Wrightsville Beach, NC; I am uncertain as to the dates.

The 13th Century Frat Boys of Nidaros Seminary

From the letter "Cum, sicut ex" to Sigurd, Archbishop of Nidaros (a city in Norway), July 8, 1241:

Since as we have learned from your report, it sometimes happens because of the scarcity of water, that infants of your lands are baptized in beer, we reply to you in the tenor of those present that, since according to evangelical doctrine it is necessary "to be reborn from water and the Holy Ghost" (John III:5) they are not to be considered rightly baptized who are baptized in beer.
Shortly thereafter the fraternity was broken up and the seminarians were ordered to brew tea instead.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mosaic Authenticity of the Pentateuch

Ouch.. smack down for so many RCIA's, Faith Formation and Lay Ministry courses.. This is from the Response of the Commission on Biblical Studies, June 27, 1906:

1. Authenticity — Whether the arguments amassed by critics to impugn the Mosaic authenticity of the sacred books designated by the name Pentateuch are of sufficient weight, notwithstanding the very many evidences to the contrary contained in both Testaments, taken collectively, the persistent agreement of the Jewish people, the constant tradition of the Church, and internal arguments derived from the text itself, to justify the statement that these books have not Moses for their author but have been complied from sources for the most part posterior to the time of Moses. Answer: In the negative.

2. Writer — Whether the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch necessarily postulates such a redaction of the whole work as to render it absolutely imperative to maintain that Moses wrote with his own hand or dictated to amanuenses all and everything contained in it; or whether it is possible to admit the hypothesis of those who think that he entrusted the composition of the work itself, conceived by himself under the influence of divine inspiration, to some other person or persons, but in such a manner that they render faithfully his own thoughts, wrote nothing contrary to his will, and omitted nothing; and that the work thus produced, approved by Moses as the principal and inspired author, was made public under his name. Answer: In the negative to the first part, in the affirmative to the second part.

3. Sources — Whether it may be granted, without prejudice to the Mosaic authenticity of the Pentateuch, that Moses employed sources in the production of his work, i.e., written documents or oral traditions, from which, to suit his special purpose and under the influence of divine inspiration, he selected some things and inserted them in his work, either literally or in substance, summarized or amplified. Answer: In the affirmative.

4. Changes and Textual Corruptions — Whether, granted the substantial Mosaic authenticity and the integrity of the Pentateuch, it may be admitted that in the long course of centuries some modifications have been introduced into the work, such as additions after the death of Moses, either appended by an inspired author or inserted into the text as glosses and explanations; certain words and forms translated from the ancient language to a more recent language, and finally, faulty readings to be ascribed to the error of amanuenses, concerning which it is lawful to investigate and judge according to the laws of criticism. Answer: In the affirmative, subject to the judgment of the Church.
Whether most lay instructors in the Catholic Church need a good country ass whoopin... Answer in the affirmative.

Catholics Now Outnumber Anglicans in the UK

My, how the house built on sand does indeed sink. The house Christ laid the foundations for on solid rock 2000 years ago still towers above all the other man made ones. Not that ecclesial truth is found in numbers, but it does say something when the once outlawed and persecuted Catholic Church has grown even larger than her former oppressor.

London, Dec 24, 2007 / 10:30 am (CNA).- In the United Kingdom, new research has found that services offered by the Church of England are no longer the country’s most popular form of worship. The Press Association reports that Catholic churchgoers outnumber Anglicans for the first time since the Reformation.
Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fathers Raising Daughters

Here's an excellent interview of Meg Meeker, author of "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know". This excerpt was particularly telling of how backwards our culture has gotten:

Q: A father is a daughter's best ally seems to be the consensus of your book. While studies say that it is parents who are the key to their children's happiness, what is the unique offering of a father to a daughter that a mother cannot offer, especially in her relationship to God?

Meeker: I think that one of the reasons I wanted to address this issue head-on, is that a father is a daughter's great ally, which today is not only overlooked, but is directly attacked. If you look at the typical sitcom, the father is portrayed as someone who is comical, humorous and just plain dumb, and as though he has something to learn from his daughter.
We're not fighting a 'culture war' anymore. We lost that a long time ago. We're living in a culturally- post apocalyptic society.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?

I always thought Christmas was Christianity triumphing over a pagan holiday - baptizing it if you will. Even if that were true it would be fine but check out this post disproving that myth from Mike Aquilina. Ya learn something new every day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What Makes a Real Christian?

This post is not meant to point fingers at Protestants - in fact I learned my best Christology from a Protestant (although in all fairness we should remind ourselves that the best in Protestant scholarship is only recently discovering points of Christology which the Church has been teaching for centuries). But any way you look at it, you have to admit that mainstream evangelicalism has skewed the image of Christ beyond recognition. At some point the law of non contradiction has to kick in and say if they are Christian - Roman Catholics aren't.

I'm talking about the people who view Jesus as a Heavenly teddy bear. He is the one in Heaven who understands all your fears and cares intimately for all your emotions and is totally about forgiveness, love and mercy. These are the ones whose songs almost always refer to Him as a possession of theirs "my Jesus" or sing otherwise ridiculous lyrics like "Shine Jesus Shine". The way this movement of sentimentalism thinks and talks about Christ is it any wonder secularists refer to Him as an imaginary friend for grown ups? Their Jesus IS an imaginary friend. He bears no resemblance to the suffering Servant/conquering King/ Lord of Creation we read about in the Scriptures.

Their gospel bears no more resemblance to the gospel handed to us by the apostles than does their image of Christ to the historical One. They teach a gospel of faith alone - explicitly condemned in the book of James. They reject the sacraments instituted by Christ Himself. (They call this rejection "understanding the sacraments differently" - the Gnostics also had a phrase for it). They entertain the erroneous tendencies of nearly every early heresy - most notably Nestorianism, Montanism and various forms of neo-Platonic Gnosticism and eventually even Catharism.

I had a teacher in school remark about Roman Catholics once (I grew up in the Protestant South). One student said "I thought Roman Catholics were just like Christians" she looked at him strangely and scoffed "No. Roman Catholicism is as different from Christianity as Islam is". She associated Protestantism (the Christianity she knew) with true "Christianity". And she was right about one thing - there are huge irreconcilable differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. In fact, it seems to me that one could go as far as to say if one is true Christianity the other isn't. If Protestantism is true, Methodists and Baptists represent two (or rather hundreds of) different ways to be Christian and Roman Catholicism represents one way of getting the whole thing terribly wrong. If Catholicism is true, Methodists and Baptists are two (or again, rather hundreds of different) heretical factions that have retained some elements of truth but have rejected much of true Christianity.

What is a Christian? One who follows Christ right? What difference does it make if group A follows Him in a radically different way than group B? I think it is clear, Jesus' primary mission was salvation and to offer this to a fallen world. So it seems both groups got the fundamental part right. So did the Gnostics. Are they Christian? If so, what honor is the title anymore if it can be so loosely designated as to even apply to blatant heretics?

It seems Eastern Orthodox have a more difficult time viewing Protestants as Christian than Catholics do. Without the sacraments what meaning does the title have?

But the Church has spoken, the Protestants do have a valid sacrament - Baptism. They are baptized into the Church but in an imperfect communion. Some Protestants (like Anglicans) look a whole lot more like the Church in form than others (like Baptists or non-denominationalists). My point in a recent discussion with an Anglican, Phil Snider is that full reconciliation of Christianity can come about in only one way - all Christians returning to full communion with Rome. (It is important to remember that they all were once in full communion and thereby must return as the Holy Spirit has been especially active in calling fallen away brethren like myself to return over the past few decades).

Perhaps the General is sounding His trumpet for battle or perhaps as time moves on history is continuously proving what the Catholics warned would happen at Martin Luther's first inkling of dissent. At any rate, I hope more separated Christians turn from their errors and embrace the fullness of the Christian faith.

Calvin Against Luther

Oh what a tangled web we weave... Check out Dave Armstrong's post on Calvin's thoughts on Luther.

I am carefully on the watch that Lutheranism gain no ground, nor be introduced into France. The best means, believe me, for checking the evil would be that confession written by me .
Funny how it's not the Scriptures that would best expose Luther's errors but rather the magisterial teachings of Calvin. Just what does sola scriptura mean anyway?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Was the Doctrine of Transubstantiation Borrowed From Aristotle?

To continue a somewhat ongoing (if sporadic) discussion that Kenny Pearce and I have been having about the supposed difference between Transubstantiation of Trent versus the undeniable Real Presence of the early Church, I found this excerpt from Lutheran Church Historian, Jaroslav Pelikan (at least he was Lutheran at the time he wrote it) in "The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition" (emphasis my own):

The victory of orthodox Christian doctrine over classical thought was to some extent a Pyrrhic victory, for the theology that triumphed over Greek philosophy has continued to be shaped ever since by the language and the thought of classical metaphysics. For example, the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 decreed that "in the sacrament of the altar... the bread is transubstantiated into the body [of Christ],and the wine into [his] blood," and the Council of Trent declared in 1551 that the use of the term "transubstantiation" was "proper and appropriate." Most of the theological expositions of the term "transubstantiation," beginning already with those of the thirteenth century, have interpreted "substance" on the basis of the meaning given to this term by such classical discussions as that in the fifth book of Aristotle's Metaphysics; transubstantiation, then, would appear to be tied to the acceptance of Aristotelian metaphysics or even of Aristotelian physics.

Yet the application of the term "substance" to the discussion of the Eucharistic presence antedates the rediscovery of Aristotle. In the ninth century, Ratramnus spoke of "substances visible but invisible," and his opponent Radbertus declared that "out of the substance of bread and wine the same body and blood of Christ is mystically consecrated." Even "transubstantiation" was used during the twelfth century in a nontechnical sense. Such evidence lends credence to the argument that the doctrine of transubstantiation, as codified by the decrees of the Fourth Lateran and Tridentine councils, did not canonize Aristotelian philosophy as indispensable to Christian doctrine.
Though as I have stated before, even if it were using language and concepts already proposed by certain pagan philosophers it would not make it untrue. Pelikan does this point more justice than me in this concise quote found two pages after the above (which was on page 44):
In various ways they [the early Christian apologists] joined to assert the thesis that Christ had come as the revealer of true philosophy, ancient and yet new, as the correction and also the fulfillment of what the philosophical mind had already grasped.
Quoting from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The scientific development of the concept of Transubstantiation can hardly be said to be a product of the Greeks, who did not get beyond its more general notes; rather, it is the remarkable contribution of the Latin theologians, who were stimulated to work it out in complete logical form by the three Eucharistic controversies mentioned above, The term transubstantiation seems to have been first used by Hildebert of Tours (about 1079).
Again, this was long before the rediscovery of Aristotle as mentioned above. The article also lists a number of the early fathers whose concept of the Eucharist would seamlessly agree with our modern concept of "transubstantiation" while not employing the exact language - not the least of which is Ambrose of whose opinion on the Eucharist I posted this excerpt some time ago. It also affirms that the ancient liturgies (on which our modern ones are based or in the case of Eastern Churches are still celebrated) bear unequivocal testimony to the doctrine and its ancient roots.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Skeptical Scientists Urge World To ‘Have the Courage to Do Nothing' At UN Conference

Global warming nut jobs are dealt yet another embarrassing blow. Read the whole thing.

BALI, Indonesia - An international team of scientists skeptical of man-made climate fears promoted by the UN and former Vice President Al Gore, descended on Bali this week to urge the world to "have the courage to do nothing" in response to UN demands.

Lord Christopher Monckton, a UK climate researcher, had a blunt message for UN climate conference participants on Monday.

"Climate change is a non-problem. The right answer to a non problem is to have the courage to do nothing," Monckton told participants.

"The UN conference is a complete waste of our time and your money and we should no longer pay the slightest attention to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,)" Monckton added.
You know the good thing about not believing in global warming is similar to the good thing about believing in God: even if you're wrong it doesn't matter. In the case of God - if it did turn out that everything most humans have known about the universe is wrong no one would ever know and it wouldn't matter even if they did. In the case of global warming - if it turns out that most level headed scientific estimates have been wrong and global warming is really a dangerous trend caused by man then we'd all be screwed by the time anyone found out! Hah.

Free Bible Audio

Free Audio bibles including Catholic versions. To get the OT you have to purchase it on CD I think.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bible Translation & Fundamentalism

From livescience.com:

The translation of the Bible into English marked the birth of religious fundamentalism in medieval times, as well as the persecution that often comes with radical adherence in any era, according to a new book.
The 16th-century English Reformation, the historic period during which the Scriptures first became widely available in a common tongue, is often hailed by scholars as a moment of liberation for the general public, as it no longer needed to rely solely on the clergy to interpret the verses.
Yup.. all those English speaking peasants in the 100s & 200s living in the Middle East had to rely on the big bad Catholic Church to dictate what the Scriptures said. And how foolish of Jerome to translate the Bible into Latin when the common language in the Roman empire during the 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries was Swahili.

Although there are some valid points in this article, I simply had to take issue with this (though it might be true depending on how you read it, it's certainly misleading to say the least). Maybe the issue lies simply with 'wide availability'.
But being able to read the sometimes frightening set of moral codes spelled out in the Bible scared many literate Englishmen into following it to the letter, said James Simpson, a professor of English at Harvard University.
Get used to more secular scholarship saying these types of things in the future.
It was Protestant reformer William Tyndale who first translated the Bible into colloquial English in 1525,
(Although Wycliffe's condemned version came out 150 years earlier in.. Middle English which I suppose was "colloquial" at the time.. again, pre-printing press it wouldn't be 'widely available' especially since it was condemned)
"Scholarly consensus over the last decade or so is that most people did not convert to [Protestantism]. They had it forced upon them," Simpson told LiveScience.
Most Protestants seem strangely ignorant of this part of the Reformation. Even a cursory examination of Church history (even if by the hands of an apologetic Protestant) would verify this. See Baptist historian Bruce Shelley for examples.
Without the clergy guiding them, and with religion still a very important factor in the average person's life, their fate rested in their own hands, Simpson said.
Don't you mean in the hands of the Holy Spirit interpreting the Bible through the individual?

New Study Says Global Warming Not Caused by Man

This stuff is pretty much old news by now and should be common sense anyhow. H/T Pro Ecclesia

Monday, December 10, 2007

Did Jesus Baptize Peter?

The words of St. Clement of Alexandria are preserved in the following passage (the original work which the author is quoting no longer exists):

Yes, truly, the apostles were baptised, as Clement the Stromatist relates in the fifth book of the Hypotyposes. For, in explaining the apostolic statement,"I thank God that I baptised none of you," he says, Christ is said to have baptised Peter alone, and Peter Andrew, and Andrew John, and they James and the rest.
John 3:22
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized.
Whereas John 4:2 says:
although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
Especially given 3:22, John 4:2 doesn't seem to completely disprove the possibility of Jesus baptizing Peter if it was indeed only Peter whom He baptized and for specific theological reasons. Yet this is the earliest mention I know of such a tradition (CofA) probably around 200 AD. So the tradition obviously extends well into the second century if not earlier. We have to ask ourselves why the tradition exists. Was it true or merely theologically charged legend invented by the early Church? If it is true then it would fit well theologically with Matthew 16:18 (let's not forget the first disciple was Andrew not Peter) but even if false it would reflect a theological motive in the very primitive Church to set Peter apart from the rest of the apostles in not merely an honorific way.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

St. Clement of Alexandria Against Metrosexuals

How many times do we have to have this cliche reaffirmed - nothing new under the sun:

But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them, how womanly!
He seems to have a problem with men shaving their beards...
But the embellishment of smoothing (for I am warned by the Word), if it is to attract men, is the act of an effeminate person,—if to attract women, is the act of an adulterer; and both must be driven as far as possible from our society. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered," says the Lord; those on the chin, too, are numbered, and those on the whole body. There must be therefore no plucking out, contrary to God's appointment, which has counted them in according to His will.
Yup. Sounds like me and ole' CofA would have gotten along just fine. I have often wondered why it is that men universally prefer a more feminine woman whereas the opposite (or rather the same while we would expect the opposite) is true of women - they prefer a more feminine man rather than a more masculine one. To our modern sensibilities, Clement's words seem archaic, ignorant and unenlightened.

But the outer appearance of man in society reflects an inward reality - the effeminization of Western man. Clement associates this unnatural grooming to be the sign of an adulterous spirit. Doesn't it seem like the greater tendency for men to be 'metrosexuals' today than say 100 years ago roughly corresponds with the greater lust for adultery and all kinds of sexual perversion? I took a jab at beardless men earlier - that's just in fun. There are plenty of effeminate men with beards and manly men without. (But the rule is quite the other way around). The bottom line is that the issue is not with beards or lack thereof but of an unnatural tendency for men to want to be more feminine and women to want to be more masculine.

Women think they will be more happy if they were like men. They become like men only to find themselves less happy and pride keeps them from reversing the mistake. The evils of feminism have taught them to hate their God-given femininity and likewise it is the evils of our adulterous culture which have taught men to hate their God-given masculinity. Embrace the role God made for you - whether masculine or feminine. Happiness is always and only found in cooperation with God's plan.

Friday, December 07, 2007

New USCCB Document on Music

Not that the leadership at many parishes will pay any attention but so that the faithful know what the Church is actually saying about music in worship - here is the new USCCB document on liturgical music. (Remember this is from the USCCB which historically has been pretty lame on this issue)

The use of the vernacular is the norm in most liturgical celebrations in the dioceses of the United States “for the sake of a better comprehension of the mystery being celebrated.” However, care should be taken to foster the role of Latin in the Liturgy, particularly in liturgical song. Pastors should ensure “that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” They should be able to sing these parts of the Mass proper to them, at least according to the simpler melodies.

...

To facilitate the singing of texts in Latin, the singers should be trained in its correct pronunciation and understand its meaning. To the greatest extent possible and applicable, singers and choir directors are encouraged to deepen their familiarity with the Latin language.
That's funny, our schola was forbidden to chant the mass propers even once per month.
In promoting the use of Latin in the Liturgy, pastors should always “employ that form of participation which best matches the capabilities of each congregation.”
Yea, here's the unfortunate loophole my pastor and others like him will use to get out of obeying any part of this document "but our parish isn't capable of doing it". See we have a policy here, keep the parishioners as stupid as possible lest they become liturgically literate and know how bad of a job we're doing...
"The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman
Liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.”
Nothing new here. We've been ignoring this text for some time now, my guess is that many parishes will continue to.
The Second Vatican Council directed that the faithful be able to sing parts of the Ordinary of the Mass together in Latin.
What the hell? I thought Vatican II was all about turning mass into a sing-along??!?! I thought Vatican II was meant to introduce guitars and reggae music into the liturgy. Who knew that the bishops actually wanted to increase the reverence not detract from it? How archaic!
In many worshiping communities in the United States, fulfilling this directive will mean introducing Latin chant to worshipers who perhaps have not sung it before. While prudence, pastoral sensitivity, and reasonable time for progress are encouraged to achieve this end, every effort in this regard is laudable and highly encouraged. Each worshiping community in the United States, including all age groups and all ethnic groups, should, at a minimum, learn Kyrie XVI, Sanctus XVIII, and Agnus Dei XVIII, all of which are typically included in congregational worship aids. More difficult chants, such as Gloria VIII and settings of the Credo and Pater Noster, might be learned after the easier chants have been mastered.
Many of us will have to undertake this duty on our own as our pastors will doubtlessly fail to comply with this. CanticaNova is a good place to buy chant materials since you won't likely find them in your parish.
Moreover, “to be suitable for use in the Liturgy, a sung text must not only be doctrinally correct, but must in itself be an expression of the Catholic faith.”
And finally:
Even when listening to the various prayers and readings of the Liturgy or to the singing of the choir, the assembly continues to participate actively as they “unite themselves interiorly to what the ministers or choir sing, so that by listening to them they may raise their minds to God.”
I would forward this on to a few people I know were it not for Jesus' words "do not cast pearls before swine". I have no intention of giving someone more reason for misinterpretation. But just so you know what the Church (even the leadership in America) truly says about music in the liturgy... Also see Father Z's excellent post on the same document.

A Lutheran Considers How to Respond to Challenges From the Ancient Christian Faith

How's that for a loaded title? Check out the new blog entitled Lutheran Seeker. H/T Ecumenicity.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Church Signs

Just couldn't resist...





So to be fair I thought I should make some Catholic ones too:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Father Z Slams National Catholic Reporter For Dissension

I say dissension, in the old days they called it "heresy". Check out his post. Go Father Z.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Narcissism to Blame for Liturgical Abuse

Oh that every priest in America would read this essay on our narcissistic culture. Reading through this article I am constantly reminded of my own parish. Here's an excerpt:

In 1990 Thomas Day, in Why Catholic Can’t Sing, gave some clear examples of the narcissistic phenomenon in the Catholic liturgy — a phenomenon that he calls “Ego Renewal.”

“It is Holy Thursday and we are at the solemn evening mass in a mid-western parish. The moment comes for the celebrant of the Mass, the pastor, to wash the feet of twelve parishioners, just as Christ washed the feet of the apostles at the last Supper. During this deeply moving ceremony, the choir sings motets and alternates with the congregation, which sings hymns. Finally, this part of the liturgy comes to a close with the washing of the last foot. The music ends; you can almost sense that the congregation wants to weep for joy. Then, Father Hank (this is what the pastor wishes to be called) walks over to a microphone, smiles, and says, “Boy, that was great! Let’s give these twelve parishioners a hand.”

A stunned and somewhat reluctant congregation applauds weakly. Father Hank continues….

One by one, Father Hank goes down the row of twelve parishioners; each one gets a little testimonial and applause. With that job out of the way, Father, Hank, visibly pleased with himself, resumes the liturgy, while the congregation, visibly annoyed, contemplates various methods of strangulation.”

This is a narcissistic example of “personalizing” the liturgy, and Day points out that “Father Hank’s” antics, far from being selfless, are fundamentally intended to draw attention to himself. Any psychologist would be aware of Father Hank’s underlying insecurity and consequent need for personal affirmation, and we can see this same psychology on a lesser scale when the celebrant leaves the sanctuary to shake hands during the sign of peace and nods and glad-hands his way through the congregation during the recessional as though he were a local politician running for office. Day displays acute awareness of the narcissism underlying many liturgical problems, and aptly refers to it as “Ego Renewal.” A similar, real-life example of this personalizing of the liturgy in a way that detracts from its spiritual significance occurred at a large Mass, attended by the junior author, in which the main celebrant introduced each of over twenty other concelebrants at the start of the mass, inviting applause for each as they were introduced.

With rare exceptions the introduction of applause within the Mass is a display of the ego needs of the priest or priests who are modeling the mass on show business and on public demonstrations of emotional support at the expense of Christ and reverence.

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Monday, December 03, 2007

New Patristic Carnival

The new patristic carnival is up at Hyperekperissou. Be sure to check it out. Also let Phil know if you want to host the next one.