Monday, May 18, 2009


“Come Israel, thou jade of blue and gold,

Now laud the common calf of reason’s fire.

The mind transcends, so scorns the caster’s mold,

Enlightenment supplants cold Sinai’s sire.


“Behold thy priest, betrayer of the rood:

Inverts he Calvary with a turgid jest,

And Pilate in the bowels of Dante’s wood

Doth flap expansive wings to say ‘Quid est’?


“When priest and Pilate bind thy hands and feet,

When smiles and words and laws call evil good,

Then shalt thou bleat, and bleat, and bleat, and bleat,

And cackle I while thou art drowned of blood.”


So saith the snake; but goes he fore the fall

Our Lady’s heart will triumph over all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

SPIRIT OF THE LITURGY: Not the "Spirit of Vatican II"

From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's Spirit of the Liturgy, published in 2000:

In the Old Testament there is a series of very impressive testimonies to the truth that the liturgy is not a matter of "what you please".  Nowhere is this more dramatically evident than in the narrative of the golden calf (strictly speaking, "bull calf").  The cult conducted by the high priest Aaron is not meant to serve any of the false gods of the heathen.  The apostasy is far more subtle.  There is no obvious turning away from God to the false gods.  Outwardly, the people remain completely attached to the same God.  They want to glorify the God who led Israel out of Egypt and believe that they may very properly represent his mysterious power in the image of a bull calf.  Everything seems to be in order.  Presumably even the ritual is in complete conformity with the rubrics.  And yet it is a falling away from the worship of God to idolatry.

This apostasy, which outwardly is scarcely perceptible, has two causes.  First, there is a violation of the prohibition of images.  the people cannot cope with the invisible, remote, and mysterious God.  they want to bring him down into their own world, into what they can see and understand.  Worship is no longer going up to God, but drawing God down into one's own world.  He must be there when he is needed, and he must be the kind of God that is needed.  Man is using God, and in reality, even if it is not outwardly discernible, he is placing himself above God.

This gives us a clue to the second point.  The worship of the golden calf is a self-generated cult.  When Moses stays away for too long, and God himself becomes inaccessible, the people just fetch him back.  Worship becomes a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation.  Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking, and making merry.  The dance around the golden calf is an image of this self-seeking worship.  It is a kind of banal self-gratification.

The narrative of the golden calf is a warning about any kind of self-initiated and self-seeking worship.  Ultimately, it is no longer concerned with God but with giving oneself a nice little alternative world, manufactured from one's own resources.  Then liturgy really does become pointless, just fooling around.  Or still worse it becomes an apostasy from the living God, an apostasy in sacral disguise.  All that is left in the end is frustration, a feeling of emptiness.  There is no experience of the liberation which always takes place when man encounters the living God.

Why is this important?

As long as the liturgy continues to be abused on the Peninsula, so too will this "apostasy in sacral disguise" continue.  If one thinks these words too strong, remember Pope Paul VI's words regarding the misapplication of Vatican II:

For a more obvious "apostasy in disguise", check out the 2008 Palm Sunday Mass at St. Joan of Arc parish in Minneapolis, via Fr. Z's blog.

Please pray for Our Lady of the Angels, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and St. Joan of Arc parishes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

RATZINGER REPORT: Like Fine Wine, Aged thus Augmented

Between stale draughts of homemade liturgical innovation, 'tis good to sip some salient words on the liturgy from the erstwhile Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI:

The liturgy is not a show, a spectacle, requiring brilliant producers and talented actors.  The life of the liturgy does not consist in 'pleasant' surprises and attractive 'ideas' but in solemn repetitions.  It cannot be an expression of what is current and transitory, for it expresses the mystery of the Holy.

Many people have felt and said that liturgy must be 'made' by the whole community if it is really to belong to them.  Such an attitude has led to the 'success' of the liturgy being measured by its effect at the level of spectacle and entertainment.  It is to lose sight of what is distinctive to the liturgy, which does not come from what we do but from the fact that something is taking place here that all of us together cannot 'make'.  In the liturgy there is a power, an energy at work which not even the Church as a whole can generate: what it manifests is the Wholly Other, coming to us through the community (which is hence not sovereign but servant, purely instrumental).

Liturgy, for the Catholic, is his common homeland, the source of his identity.  And another reason why it must be something 'given' and 'constant' is that, by means of the ritual, it manifests the holiness of God.  The revolt against what has been described as 'the old rubricist rigidity', which was accused of stifling 'creativity', has in fact made the liturgy into a do-it-yourself patchwork and trivialized it, adapting it to our mediocrity.

-- The Ratzinger Report, p. 126, Ignatius Press, 1985.

Please pray for Pope Benedict and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

ECCE HOMILY: Nun Continues to Preach in Breach of Canon 767

KENAI, AK - Sr. Joyce Ross, R.C.M, again delivered the homily at the Saturday night vigil Mass at Our Lady of the Angels parish in Kenai.  Rev. Andy Sensenig, O.M.I. was the celebrant otherwise.

This is in persistent and knowledgeable disobedience to Canon 767, as posted earlier on this blog here.  Here are some comments from parishioners regarding this 'sermon' and the equivocations used by the Pastoral Team to explain it:

Last night's Mass featured Fr. Andy turning over the sermon to Sr. Joyce.  I would say the time was 30/70, maybe 40/60 in balance between Fr. Andy's sermon and Sr. Joyce's.

At times the priests have used phrases like 'Sr. Joyce will share with us her reflections', I would guess as a way of screening what she is giving really isn't a sermon.  But yesterday she referred to her time as a 'a homily', as in 'whenever I prepare a homily...'

To quote Shakespeare:

Faith, here's an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven.

Please pray for Our Lady of the Angels parish.