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).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

And so it goes. Like priest, like liturgy. Etcetera.

There appears to be a correlation between how a priest understands his/the priesthood and how he understands and enacts or configures himself to the ars celebrandi.

The less a priest understands the ars celebrandi, the less he understands his priesthood in continuity with Tradition. A priest who does not appreciate his priesthood in continuity with Tradition is practically incapable of celebrating the Mass in a manner in keeping with liturgical norms which are intended to protect the Sacrament from cheap impositions or innovations, slack theology, irreverent humour and other dopey behaviours.
38. In the course of the Synod, there was frequent insistence on the need to avoid any antithesis between the ars celebrandi, the art of proper celebration, and the full, active and fruitful participation of all the faithful. The primary way to foster the participation of the People of God in the sacred rite is the proper celebration of the rite itself. The ars celebrandi is the best way to ensure their actuosa participatio. (114) The ars celebrandi is the fruit of faithful adherence to the liturgical norms in all their richness; indeed, for two thousand years this way of celebrating has sustained the faith life of all believers, called to take part in the celebration as the People of God, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (cf. 1 Pet 2:4-5, 9) (115).—Sacramentum Caritatis.
A priest deprived of or willfully ignorant of the ars celebrandi, of a sense of art or artfulness in liturgy, is a priest who deprives his parishioners of the true, the good and the beautiful, not to mention depriving his flock of the treasure of the Faith—the patrimony of the Faith—which moulds sinners into saints. As it is, most priests and parishes are simply mouldy. The lingering protest of the 1970s still infects good men who are rotted by poor seminary formation.

The more homilies listened to, the more narcissistic behaviour and more rituals made shabby by careless priests observed, the more this blogger is convinced that the blame lies with Canadian Diocesan seminaries that have yet to provide a rigorous intellectual environment wherein priests are properly formed in order to form saints. Most priests ordained in the last 30 years seem preoccupied with canonizing the faithful who, in this life, could care less about Jesus Christ and His Church.
Funerals become the occasion for sappy, sentimental and, quite frankly, heretical (universalist) proclamations that state we can be confident Ted is with the Lord. Y'know Ted— the womanizer, twice divorced, never darkened the pew of a parish church since his confirmation... Ted. Ted, who every Friday mockingly prayed for the winning lottery numbers. Ted, the conniving office manager who lied about another employee in order to get a promotion. Ted, the online porn junky. Ted, who said going to confession was a waste of time. Yup, that Ted. We can all be happy that, no matter what Ted did in this life, it doesn't matter a hill of beans. Father Universalist has proclaimed Ted among the blessed.
Ted, having been raised to the altar, inspires the following question in the typical low information Catholic: If everyone is going to be saved, then why bother to go to church? Good question. (A question asked at Fr. Longenecker's blog.)
The Gospels remind us that God's justice and mercy is different than man's. Two thieves were crucified beside Jesus on Good Friday.
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”—St. Luke 23:39-43
One of the men, Dismas, was repentant and asked to be remembered by Jesus. The other thief—let's call him Ted (Gestas)—is known as the impenitent thief. People who die impenitent should expect to find themselves in a state that is the logical outcome of their sinful lifestyle. Well intentioned priests who attempt to console people by dumbing down the Faith are merely making a mockery of God's justice, the Sacrament of Penance and, very dangerously, forming in people a sense of presumption that hails 'yes', we can do anything in this life and get away with it because, no matter what, Jesus will forgive us our sins. Of course Jesus will forgive us our sins! But, we have to ask God for forgiveness of our sins:
Romans 2:5
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
Rex Murphy's recent stinging critique identified mediocrity in humanities departments of many universities. Where secular educational institutions have gone, so it seems Catholic seminaries have whole heartedly ventured with regards to providing students with ample opportunity to avoid reason and to reject configuration to Tradition. If the example of their graduated seminarians is any indication, many seminaries have missed the memo acknowledging that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life (Lumen Gentium 11; CCC1324). 

Somehow, like university and hospital cafeterias that always manage to turn decent vegetables into a drab tasteless mush, Canadian seminaries still tend to produce priests who turn the Liturgy into a bland mix of narcissism and unsanctioned changes. That is, liturgies saturated with awkward (and illicit) improvisations.


  1. We are so lucky in Southern Ontario to have St Philip's Seminary run by the Oratorian Fathers!!

    1. Thanks be to God for the Oratorians! Thank you for the excellent reminder, Joyce. A ray of sunshine in a cloudy day.


"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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