Skip to comments.One reaction to the Pontifical Mass in DC: “offensive… silly… undecorous” (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 04/27/2010 8:30:47 AM PDT by Pyro7480
A reader sent me a link to a reaction from a priest of the Archdiocese of Seattle to the Pontifical Mass in Washington DC for the anniversary of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.
The writer in question is one… well… here is his blurb from his blog:
Jan Larson, a senior priest of the Archdiocese of Seattle, was ordained in 1968. He received a M.A. in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a D.Min. in pastoral liturgy from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He has served as director of the Archbishop’s Office of Worship and as liturgical consultant for the building and renovation of churches in western Washington. For eighteen years he wrote a weekly column on various liturgical issues in The Catholic Northwest Progress, the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Seattle. He currently assists the liturgical ministry of Our Lady of Sorrows church in Snoqualmie, Washington, and St. Anthony church in Carnation, Washington. He teaches for the Archdiocese’s Liturgical Ministry Institute, and presents various workshops.
I watched the first part of the old Latin Mass (the Extraordinary Form) celebrated recently at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Lots of old fashioned vestments, the bishop wearing gloves, men with all sorts of capes and veils. [Here is an old liberal tactic. Liberals usually get around to suggesting that men who are liturgically traditional are effeminate.] But vesture is only one of the negatives so apparent [is it? Is it "apparently negative", as in "obviously bad"?] in the old Latin Mass. I am familiar with this form of the Mass from seminary days in the sixties, but now the rite does appear to be a museum liturgy, a ritual of mystification rather than mystery. [It certainly seemed to be alive in the Shrine on Saturday. These were people who were praying. The writer uses a nice little play on words with "mystification" and "mystery", but I am left wondering what that means… I am mystified, I suppose. I think he means that nobody could possible understand what is going on. Perhaps the writer doesn’t understand the older form of Mass as well as he tries to suggest above. It’s been a loooong time for him, after all, and he is getting older.]
I must be honest in saying that I find this rite offensive by todays’s liturgical standards. [Are these the same liturgical standards which were founded on the violation of liturgical laws and which involve such dignified elements as big puppets?] It isn’t just the endless bows, nods and genuflections, [Apparently the writer doesn’t like physical expressions of reverence to God or signs of respect to the other people who are involved.] nor even the silly dancing birettas. Nor is it the bishop preaching, surrounded by vested ministers sitting undecorously on the steps, [Why is sitting where you are supposed to sit "undecorous"? It strikes me that were that posture, that sitting on the steps, undecorous, it would have been phased out perhaps even before the 16th century. But in those days perhaps people were less concerned about themselves in the liturgical action and more concerned with fulfilling a proper role.] as if the basilica has run short of seating for ministers of the Mass. [Actually, the basilica did run out of seating….] And to whom, exactly, are the readers proclaiming the scriptures? [Here is an indication of the low opinion with which he holds the congregation: If something is not read directly into their faces, they won’t be able to participate. He also ignores the fact that the places for singing the readings have reasons. Perhaps he doesn’t know the older form as well as he thinks he does.] If it’s to the people, then this critical proclamation is in an unintelligible language. If to God, well, God already knows the readings.
I find it offensive that anyone would foster the return of a rite that is immune from the fundamental principles of good liturgy annunciated by the formal teaching of Vatican II. [So, the liturgy before the Council was bad. And the liturgical directives of the Council Fathers were "formal teachings". In that case, we might ask the writer how much effort he has put into obeying the formal teachings (what does that mean, btw? dogmas? definitions?) about how pastors of souls are obliged to teach their flocks to respond both singing and speaking in both Latin and their mother tongue? He has made sure that Gregorian Chant and polyphony has pride of place? Has he made sure that Latin is being used? After all, the Council formally mandated those things. I think the writer is simply superimposing his liberal fantasy about what the Council was about and suppressing what it really mandated.] Why would anyone return to a rite that virtually ignores the Hebrew Bible on Sundays and feasts, that requires no homily on the scriptures, that strictly exculdes any lay ministers? [What on earth is he talking about? The vast majority of those serving at the Pontifical Mass in Washington were lay people.] The Church teaches that full participation is required by all, [No. The Church does not teach that it is "required". This is a goal identified by the Council. Furthermore, what the writer is saying is that everyone should be carrying things, or singing ever word. In his view, we would have to force people to do things externally, to require them to move and sing, etc. Tell that to the old women who is mostly deaf and blind but who knows in her heart what is taking place and longs to unite herself with the Lord’s Sacrifice renewed as she sits in her pew or wheelchair. The writer has a shallow understanding of what "active participation" means. His is the old, cliche view which has so harmed the Church’s worship for decades.] that our rites should be simple, short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repitions. [Tell that to the Byzantines. I didn’t think any of the repetitions in the Mass on Saturday were "useless". Did you? They were all gestures or words of praise of God, which I think are never useless. You can debate whether they are necessary, but they are not useless. But here comes the big one. This is the part that shows his colors:] Our rites should be within the people’s power of comprehension, [Because liberals think you are stupid.] and not require much explanation. The old Latin rite ignores all these fundamental principles. It is a rite that cries out for reform, just as it was crying out the day before Vatican II began. [The Council Fathers thought the rite required reform as well.]
The Council Fathers thought that some reform was necessary. They gave some mandates and the mandates were not obeyed. Even the reforms which we got – which were not actually mandated by the Council – were disobeyed by men such as the writer of the piece above. And now they want people to obey the Council. The irony is rich.
Furthermore, the writer pits the Council against John Paul II (Ecclesia Dei adflicta) and Benedict XVI (Summorum Pontificum). I will just toss this out as a suggestion, but I suspect that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have at least as clear a grasp of what the Council involved as the writer. Am I off base? I suspect that Benedict XVI may know as much about the liturgical vision of the Council as the writer, even though the writer did go to Notre Dame for liturgy!
I particularly liked that "required to participate". Think about that. Surely this explains why liberals are endlessly prodding and haranguing people during "liturgy".
There is a great deal more to say, but this is old stuff…. very old and getting older by the minute.
The words “Jesuit and Berkley” pretty much told me what this priest had to say. Yawn.
A Jesuit. Is he gay?
He went to a Jesuit institution, but it looks like he’s a diocesan priest.
Too bad his very presence has to defile Snoqualmie and Carnation, Washington. Those are otherwise nice places. I have learned to not enter any Catholic Church in Western Washington State without doing extensive research beforehand. This dude is a good example of why, as is the “Rainbow” priest in Black Diamond.
Going back as far as Archbishop Hunthausen, Seattle has been infected with the "spirit of Vatican II" virus and it continues to run a high fever to this day.
The MA from Notre Dame did it for me.
It is the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the spirit of VII and its minions as they realize they are losing.
If this priest did have any sincere dispute with the rite at hand, wouldn't standard procedure be for him to voice his misgivings to his superiors? Wouldn't any criticism (or more like condemnation here) first have to be "vetted" and approved by his superiors before being published?
To me, this is tantamount to an active officer in the U.S. military writing a Letter to the Editor severely criticizing the actions of the Chief of Staff.
The fact that his criticisms are mostly of an aesthetic nature actually makes it worse, in my eyes. If a priest felt that some terrible outrage were being perpetrated in the name of the Church, by leading Church officials, I could understand his "going rogue." But to subject the Church and his superiors to such embarassment by talking out of turn over mere "undecorous" aspects of the old rite??!
He’s GAY and maybe an ATHEIST!! What a FRAUD!!
Fr, Michael Ryan allows a WOMAN to give the HOMILY, which is totally against Canon Law......
Your military analogy is quite apt. Unfortunately, too many bishops don’t take disciplinary action against their wayward priests. Bishop Slattery isn’t this priest’s bishop, but the fact that he wrote this tells us that he doesn’t fear his own bishop, either because his bishop agrees with him, or because his bishop doesn’t exercise his authority to correct or even remove such dissidents.
The American Catholic church os loaded with these guys (so called catholic priests). I had belonged to a parish on the southwest side of Chicago, St Sympharosa,, who’s new pastor replaced a very traditional priest.
Well the first thing this clown did when installed as pastor was declare in the church bulletin that the use of the atomic bomb during WWII was genocide, set specific hours for confession , and go out and play golf.
Nice work, and right on the mark. I seem to recall that in the pre-V II days, going to Mass was called “assisting.” He has obviously equated “old” with “useless.”
Silly, silly old man.
That’s about all I can say nicely. So I’ll quit. But just because you don’t understand the beauty of liturgy and symbolism, doesn’t mean I don’t. Don’t foist your intellectual weaknesses on me!
I don’t know why people get so upset about the liturgy. Was Jesus there? Was the Holy Spirit there? If it’s good enough for them, who am I to worry about it?
I’m sorry that a priest feels the need to sneer at people who pray in the traditional way. Shame on him.
By the way, I went to a melkite rite service on Sunday. Normally, I go to the standard Mass at my local parish. Seeing the enthusiastic orthodox and traditional Latin parishioners here on FR inspired me to see what the fuss was about, so I went to this ancient form of the mass.
I am underwhelmed by the wonderfulness of it all. Not bowled over by the dignity and mystery or anything. Nevertheless, I felt right at home. It was really pretty normal, despite the languages coming and going (there were arabic, greek and english parts). I enjoyed listening to the cantor, joining in the prayers and singing, taking in the icons and candles (and the donuts with the kind old people afterwards). We said a lot more “Lord have mercy’s” than I am used to and there was a lot of incense. But it was still so clearly the Mass, in basically the same order. Two or more were gathered, so to speak, and God was there. The wording of the creed was a little different and there was no physical sign of peace. Not a big deal. Of course, I have been to mass in different languages and different countries, so I’m pretty adaptable.
I came away more impressed with the universality of the Church and the core aspects of the liturgy than with any big need to embrace one rite and reject another.
I trust the Pope to do any adjustments to the liturgy he wants to do, and I’m going to roll with them. I hope the American bishops cooperate with him.
or at least within Fr. Jan's powers of condescension.
Is “Oregon Catholic Press” in this area?