So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tried and found useless. Stop the liturgical carnage!

Sorry to be a nag, but... .

The casual celebration of the Mass, which is to say its weak celebration replete with unsanctioned and awkward improvisations and liturgical abuses demonstrating unimaginable carelessness, has compounded poor liturgical formation and led to a massive loss of faith. What does liturgical abuse say about us? It says we really do not believe that the Mass, the Holy Eucharist, is the source and summit of the Christian life. By permitting irreverent celebrations of the Mass and turning a blind eye to the unworthy reception of the Holy Eucharist (e.g., casual and even careless reception of the Host in the hand), we bring a shame upon ourselves worse than the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah brought upon themselves, for we permit the very Body and Blood of the Son of God to be subject to abuse. Why not twist the crown of thorns on our Saviour's head while we're at it? Maybe spit on Him and deride Him? That's what we are doing when the Mass is treated like entertainment or a parish's personal plaything.

Souls are starving because they are (continually) being fed pablum instead of the cuisine of the Faith: chant and sacred polyphony (à la Palestrina and Duruflé, for example); orthodox homilies; care-filled sacred gestures appropriate for man's approach to the sacred mysteries. Mass celebrated facing the people has turned us in upon ourselves. We should worship God as was the norm from the beginning and remains so with our eastern brethren and tradition-minded brethren (e.g., FSSP, ICKSP, Ordinariate): ad orientem.

Why is there such widespread abandonment of Catholic worship? Bad information and bad example! Nowhere in the documents of the Second Vatican Council is versus populum (Mass facing the people) advocated as the norm. What is the result of the innovation? A loss of the sense of the sacred. Communion is now a snack taken (in the hand) instead of Holy Communion received on the tongue. The most sacred Body and Blood of our Lord and Jesus Christ is passed around like potato chips or crisps at outdoor papal Masses! Kyrie eleison!

Priests and people who cling to the dangerous myth of the "Spirit of Vatican II" are an obstacle to the Holy Spirit. The religious orders, priestly fraternities and parishes that are thriving—surely the fruit of blessing by the Holy Spirit—are those which preserve the dignity of the Mass! Surely there are enough signs to convince people that drab "Folk Masses" and large outdoor papal liturgies where sacred Hosts are trampled in the mud are definitely not the way to go! Apparently not, for the vile debasement of the Sacred Liturgy continues while many if not most of the clergy and people twiddle their thumbs or cower in fear of being labelled un-pastoral should they actually celebrate the Mass as it was intended by the Council, i.e., in continuity with all that has been and continues to be held holy.

Can anyone be blamed for leaving the Ordinary Form when Masses are routinely subject to the crude inventions of people and priests?
  • Priests: leave aside the awkward invitations to pray the Creed, for example. No introduction is necessary. We know what comes after the Homily. Return to the chair and start the Creed. Better yet, return to the chair, allow time for a moment of silent meditation (on the homily), then intone Credo in unum Deum and let the choir (and people) chant the Creed.
  • Stop the prayers that are not even prayers but mere slogans and crude attempts to manipulate the congregation during the Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful).
Week after week, month after month, year after year priests (and pushy laymen) persist in troubling and embarrassing behaviour that contributes to a loss of the sense of the sacred and the banishment of the transcendent from the Mass. Enough already!


Vox Cantoris recently exposed a shocking event that occurred during a nationally televised Mass sponsored by the Archdiocese of Toronto.
The following text was sung as a "closing hymn" (27:30) at the conclusion of the Mass.
O Gaia calling us home. O beautiful Gaia calling us on.
Waves crashing on granite. O Gaia calling us home.
Waves crashing on granite, calling us on.
It is troubling to think that the person responsible for the Liturgy, i.e., the priest with the authority of steward of the sacred rites, actually approved the song for inclusion. More likely, the priest probably trusted the musicians to present suitable music. Whoever selected the "music" apparently does not have the catechetical formation to distinguish between texts that are worthy for inclusion in Catholic worship. It is embarrassing that the offending song should be included on a nationally televised program that purports to be Catholic. The impression given is that Catholics approve of such utter banal and un-Christian nonsense.

Sadly, many of the hymns with revised texts sung during the Mass are only a little less offensive than the above text. We have succumbed to the thinking that every musician is a theologian equal to St. Thomas Aquinas, theologian par excellence and composer of orthodox chants. Well folks, most lay people do not have a clue, and neither do their pastors, as to the subject of sacred music. Instead of allowing themselves to be properly formed, proud musicians frequently retreat into their personal inventions that have worshippers dwelling in a mythical world called Gaia, for example, which is really just one name among many that could be used to describe the heterodox and heretical focus of constructions that attempt to pass as Catholic music.

No wonder chant has been banished when priests and people do not have the catechetical formation to distinguish truly sacred music from saccharine devotional ditties that have us worshipping Gaia.

In addition to the production of a truly suitable hymnbook/missal, it's time to abandon the multiple options for Mass music and return to the chanting of the Propers: Introit; Offertory; and Communion. There are prescribed texts for the music of the Mass. Let's use them.

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