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Let Us Pray: A Call for More Orthodoxy, and Latin Mass, for the Troubled Church
The New York Times, New Jersey section (not published online) | May 26, 2002 | Benedicta Cipolla

Posted on 05/26/2002 7:05:39 PM PDT by ELS

Let Us Pray

A Call for More Orthodoxy, and Latin Mass, for the Troubled Church

Jersey City
There was a time in the Roman Catholic Church, a generation ago, when codified rituals and whispered prayers embraced the mysterious power of God. In more recent days, the whispers have been of a more profane nature as Catholics from the occasional congregant to the Pope have wrestled with the painful issue of priests who sexually abuse children.

The ensuing scandal - which is roiling the American Catholic Church as nothing else in its history - has prompted many to call for liberal reform in the church. Yet odd as it may seem on the surface, there is another group of people within the church who are intent on reform of a very different nature, and they recently gathered in Jersey City to participate in a Mass that once united Catholics across the globe.

Traditionalists, as they call themselves, are seeking not less but more orthodoxy in issues of morality and adherence to church doctrine, and are passionate about a liturgy that all but disappeared after the Second Vatican Council.

"The old Latin Mass" said Judith Markenstein, whose husband is a deacon at Holy Rosary Parish here, "gives you a mystical sense of the greatness of God and the smallness of us."

The Tridentine Mass fell by the wayside in the 1960's when the Vatican updated the liturgy - abandoning Latin in favor of the vernacular, encouraging more lay involvement on the altar and turning the priest around to face the congregation.

In 1984 Pope John Paul II allowed the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated, but only under strict conditions. Then in 1988 he issued Ecclesia Dei, which allowed the old rite as long as local bishops gave their permission. Since then, Tridentine Masses have been increasing steadily, if not flourishing. According to the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, an Illinois-based organization that provides help to parishes interested in starting up a Tridentine Mass, 150 traditional Masses are celebrated each Sunday in the United States and dozens more once or twice a month, up from 60 a week and 40 a month in 1991.

As recently as a week ago, a spokeswoman for the coalition said, 117 of the 201 Catholic dioceses in the United States offered a traditional Latin Mass. One week ago, the Newark Archdiocese became No. 118.

The first Tridentine Mass at Holy Rosary Parish in more than 30 years attracted about 100 people from all over North Jersey. What drew them, many said, was the old rite's sense of transcendence and mystery, contemplative silence mixed with the unison voices of Gregorian chant, the pungent smell of incense and the sprinkling of holy water.

For Ron Colombo, a Hoboken resident, May 19 was a long time coming. Since moving from New York City in 1999, he and his wife, Kim, had traveled 40 minutes each way on Sundays to attend a Tridentine Mass, either back to Manhattan or to Pequannock. When Mr. Colombo heard last summer that the Rev. Kenneth Baker was mulling over the possibility of bringing Latin back to Holy Rosary, he helped the church's pastor, Msgr. Joseph Chiang, to circulate a petition, which eventually made its way to the desk of Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, whose jurisdiction includes Jersey City.

Nine months later, with the archbishop's permission in hand, new vestments hanging in the sacristy and Latin-English missals, purchased in part with money donated by the Colombos, his legwork came to fruition.

The 30-year-old Mr. Colombo grew up in Queens, a "typical American Catholic," he said. He attended catechism classes, where he learned to "color, share and be nice to people," but little about Catholic dogma, and dutifully attended the post-Vatican II Mass. In 1997, as a law student at New York University, he stumbled by chance upon a Tridentine Mass.

"I could not believe this was my religion," he said. "For all practical purposes, it wasn't."

Crediting the old rite with making him a "true Catholic," he possesses something like the zeal of a convert, pressing to recapture "traditional Catholic culture."

Being a traditionalist, he said, "is not just Mass. It's a mind-set. It's orthodoxy plus culture, an entire milieu of Catholic living."

That milieu includes shunning meat on Fridays even though the church prescribes abstinence only during Lent, praying the rosary and saying grace before every meal.

Robert Phillips, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut at Hartford, said that traditionalists feel that as Catholic liturgy has gone downhill, so have the moral standards of American Catholics, both laity and clergy. "True devotees of the Old Mass are super-orthodox," said Professor Phillips, who places himself in the traditionalist camp, but does not advocate a full-fledged restoration of the Tridentine Rite. Traditionalists "go against many aspects of American Catholicism," he said.

As Kevin Flynn, the 40-year-old master of ceremonies at Holy Rosary's first Mass, put it, "I hope an attachment to the Old Mass also means an attachment to a traditional interpretation of Catholicism. Mass should be the center of your life."

Mr. Flynn, like Mr. Colombo, is uncomfortable with the dilution of the solemnity of the Mass over the past 30 years or so, and feels that it has been overshadowed by debates on church positions like abortion and contraception, which he does not believe are open for discussion.

In the newer Mass, Mr. Flynn and others said, the crucial sense of the sacred, the idea that something central to the faith takes place on the altar, has given way to a more casual approach. The priest facing the congregation "encourages improvisation," said Professor Phillips, relating an anecdote about a priest who interrupted a Mass to inform the congregation that it was his birthday. The New Mass, he said, encourages such ad-libbing because it is celebrated in English, and also because the priest is "looking at the people, and wants to tell them something."

But others find fault with blaming the English-language Mass for moral and liturgical laxity. While the Rev. Neil J. Roy, a theology professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington, acknowledged that improvisation happened more frequently today, he would like to see more reverence in the newer rite, rather than a return to the old one.

Since for most Catholics, Sunday Mass is the first, and often the most constant, component of their faith, traditionalists see the old rite as a first step on the road to a deeper understanding of Catholicism and stricter adherence to its tenets.

"If you can get people into church, and say this is what liturgy is supposed to be, this is about worshipping God, and then we can get them into moral law, abortion, homosexuality, contraception," said Mr. Phillips.

Mr. Colombo agreed. Asking rhetorically how many Catholics use birth control, he said, " I'd like to see those same numbers at a traditional Latin Mass. If we return to the traditional Latin Mass, you are going to have a change in people."



TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholicchurch; hoboken; holyrosary; holyrosarychurch; hudsoncounty; jerseycity; latinmass; tradition
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I first met Ron and his wife, Kim, last year at a communion breakfast, sponsored by ChristiFideles, where they were seeking signatures for the petition for a Latin Mass. I signed the petition and inquired as to its status when I would see Ron and/or Kim. Well, in December Msgr. Chiang received an affirmative response from the archbishop and the first Tridentine Mass occurred last week on Pentecost.

Ron has done the yeoman's work in getting this off the ground. I have helped where I can and am currently participating in the schola. We have a fabulous schola director who is a priest pursuing a graduate degree in liturgical music. The organ was recently restored and sounds beautiful.

The article is rather charitable, considering its in the New York Times. They couldn't resist getting in a dig or two, but there are also some paragraphs that seem quite out of place for the New York Times.

1 posted on 05/26/2002 7:05:39 PM PDT by ELS
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: Askel5;Goetz_von_Berlichingen;neocon;patent;Romulus
A ConSpiratio bump!

Goetz, this is a possible alternative, accessible via public transportation (PATH), should crossing the Hudson River lose its appeal or convenience.

3 posted on 05/26/2002 7:13:11 PM PDT by ELS
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To: ELS
No offense meant but a mere change of form will not cure what is happening to the Roman church. Apparently the American hierarchy attempted to temporize with homosexuals. Reality kicked in and things blew up in their face. Hope you can cure the mess.
4 posted on 05/26/2002 7:15:39 PM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS
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To: Goldhammer
Thank you for the link on an earlier thread to the ixtmedia site and the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin. That is quite a useful site with some very interesting products.
5 posted on 05/26/2002 7:15:40 PM PDT by ELS
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: AEMILIUS PAULUS
I guess you missed the point about orthodoxy.
7 posted on 05/26/2002 7:17:09 PM PDT by ELS
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To: Antoninus;Atticus;nickcarraway;Incorrigible;Exit 109;Orual;Coleus;hobbes1
Pinging some NJ Catholic FReepers...
8 posted on 05/26/2002 7:21:01 PM PDT by ELS
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To: ELS
Dominus vobiscum!

I'm with you 100% that the Traditional Mass needs to be restored.

Plus, the present scandal demonstrates just how out of touch the bishops are regarding the wishes of the laity. We request the Latin Mass and are ignored; we request the bishops remove pedophile priests and are ignored.

But the Traditional Mass is not in and of itself a solution to the current crisis, as the scandal surrounding the Society of St. John makes clear.

9 posted on 05/26/2002 7:24:20 PM PDT by Dajjal
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To: wideawake;eastsider;StarFan;traditionalist;Proud2BAmerican;SoothingDave;Dr. Brian Kopp...
Pinging a few friends...
10 posted on 05/26/2002 7:24:39 PM PDT by ELS
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To: Dajjal
I read about the St. John nightmare on a traditional Catholic mailing list.

The solution is to return to orthodoxy. Many bishops let the heretics run wild sowing confusion and choose to discipline the orthodox, traditional Catholics (usually for pointing, directly or indirectly, out how unorthodox the bishops are). It's about time they start disciplining the heretics, instead.

11 posted on 05/26/2002 7:30:14 PM PDT by ELS
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To: frogandtoad
Here is the NYT article.
12 posted on 05/26/2002 7:33:05 PM PDT by ELS
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To: Goldhammer
There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the Novus Ordo. The translations into English are abominable, largely due to the influence of liberal bishops in the American Bishop's Conference, who have backed the cretins at ICEL. I agree that the old Mass was preferable. It grew up gradually and organically over many centuries, whereas the Novus Ordo was established by fiat.

Strangely, none of this was mandated by Vatican II, which advocated continuance of the use of Latin and also advocated use of Gregorian Chant. Rather, the liberals kidnapped the council and misrepresented it for their own purposes.

I still remember the first words of the old Mass as an altar server. I quote from memory, so they may not be exact:

Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.

It is, of course, biblical, from the Psalms. Many Protestants would be surprised how biblical the Mass is.

13 posted on 05/26/2002 7:46:26 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: ELS
A heck of a lot of people under the age of 40 don't have the faintest memory of a Latin Mass
14 posted on 05/26/2002 7:50:29 PM PDT by uncbob
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To: Cicero
There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the Novus Ordo.

There's nothing wrong with the Novus Ordo, period.

Peripherals have crept in, some good, some bad. I see nothing wrong with cultural traditions, such as the Mexican Quincianera, being acclimated to the Liturgy.

Latin is simply not going to return to the mainstream liturgical celebrations of the Catholic Church, in America, or France, or Mexico, or anywhere else.

I'm all for granting those who wish to celebrate the Tridentine Mass the opportunity to do so. But the Novus Ordo is determinative. Celebrate it in Latin on occasion, but Catholics in America are not demanding a return to a Latin liturgy.

15 posted on 05/26/2002 7:57:43 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: uncbob
While that is true, what is your point? I was born during the council and had never experienced a Latin Mass until early last year. Many Jewish children with whom I grew up learned Hebrew. Are you saying Catholics can't learn Latin? After trying the Latin Mass, I decided I liked it. In fact, I preferred it.
16 posted on 05/26/2002 8:00:45 PM PDT by ELS
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To: ELS
Thanks very much for this post. I think I could count on both hands the number of sung Masses I attended growing up, and now two in two weeks.

Una Voce Jersey City has a web site.
17 posted on 05/26/2002 8:13:04 PM PDT by Mike Fieschko
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To: ELS
A surprisingly positive article. Thanks for posting it!
18 posted on 05/26/2002 8:14:22 PM PDT by livius
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To: ELS
Traditionalists "go against many aspects of American Catholicism," he said.

Or: The American Catholic Church goes against many aspects of true Christianity.

19 posted on 05/26/2002 8:14:49 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: Dajjal
But the Traditional Mass is not in and of itself a solution to the current crisis

It's more of a problem of teaching actual Catholicism, and requiring that such be taught. True Catholic beliefs can exist well with either modern or traditional masses. But it seems absurd not to offer traditional masses when so many want them and experience God more deeply because of them.

20 posted on 05/26/2002 8:17:43 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: Mike Fieschko
Mike, I'm so glad you found this thread. Of course, I meant to flag you. Somehow, it slipped my mind. You have my profuse apologies.

Holy Rosary Church also has a Web site.

21 posted on 05/26/2002 8:19:10 PM PDT by ELS
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To: Cicero
I still remember the first words of the old Mass as an altar server. I quote from memory, so they may not be exact: Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.

There is a power and majesty and grace in the Latin mass phrases. There is a beauty there that seems watered down in English. But understanding what's going on is also important!

22 posted on 05/26/2002 8:19:57 PM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: ELS
Gloria tibi, Domine! This is certainly good news. I went to a Latin Novus Ordo mass in Baltimore this morning. For the life of me, I can't understand why they didn't just change to the Latin Novus Ordo after Vatican II instead of alienating so many people with novelties in the 1970s and beyond.
23 posted on 05/26/2002 8:22:19 PM PDT by Antoninus
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To: ELS
Crediting the old rite with making him a "true Catholic" he possesses something like the zeal of a convert, pressing to recapture "traditional Catholic culture."

"Being a traditionalist," he said," is not just Mass. It's a mindset. It's orthodoxy plus culture, an entire milieu of Catholic living."

That has been my experience with the Latin mass and the burgeoning community that mass has created. I have never met nor been inspired by so many knowlegable and faithful Catholics as those who attend the Latin mass. I am in full agreement that the orthodoxy that the Latin mass can't help but inspire is precisely what the Church needs today.

24 posted on 05/26/2002 8:22:52 PM PDT by St.Chuck
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To: yendu bwam
Traditionalists "go against many aspects of American Catholicism," he said.

Or: The American Catholic Church goes against many aspects of true Christianity.

Yes, after Mass today many of us met downstairs. Fr. Baker read aloud the article posted above and we all wondered about the sentence you highlighted. I asked a friend near me if "American Catholicism" has anything to do with Roman Catholicism.

25 posted on 05/26/2002 8:23:19 PM PDT by ELS
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To: uncbob
A heck of a lot of people under the age of 40 don't have the faintest memory of a Latin Mass

I'm 30. I'm a child of the 1970s and grew up when guitar masses, clown masses, pandering homilies, and liturgical dancing were all the vogue. The result was that us kids had no respect or reverence for the service and very little understanding of what was going on. Most didn't care. The adults clearly didn't take things seriously so why should we?

I attended my first Latin mass about five years ago. It was like a revelation! The sense of awe and reverence was palpable. The priest spoke with such force and conviction that there was no question whether he'd want us to call him by his first name after mass. It was a whole new world and felt, strangely, like this is the way it was SUPPOSED to be...
26 posted on 05/26/2002 8:32:48 PM PDT by Antoninus
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: sinkspur
> Celebrate it in Latin on occasion, but Catholics in America are not demanding a return to a Latin liturgy.<

7 years ago my family was not demanding the Latin Mass and then we discovered a Church which Celebrates the Latin Novus Ordo AND we kneel at the alter rail to recieve the Eucharist by intinction (no hands allowed). WOW! is all this post Vatican II Catholic can say. What ever posessed the Church to abandon Latin, alter rails and reverence for the Eucharist? People don't demand it because they have no clue what they are missing.

28 posted on 05/26/2002 8:36:37 PM PDT by Diva
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To: ELS
The ensuing scandal - which is roiling the American Catholic Church as nothing else in its history - has prompted many to call for liberal reform in the church.

This scandal probably wouldn't bother the American Catholic Church too much. Goofy journalists need to know that there is a difference between the Roman Catholic Church in America and a group of heretics. Isn't "liberal reform" an oxymoron.

29 posted on 05/26/2002 8:36:51 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: Diva
What ever posessed the Church to abandon Latin, alter rails and reverence for the Eucharist? People don't demand it because they have no clue what they are missing.

You equate Latin liturgies with "reverence for the Eucharist." Most of us who love the Novus Ordo also have a love for the Eucharist.

As I said, those who love Latin should be granted the celebration of the Novus Ordo or the Tridentine Liturgy in Latin.

In my parish, you'd be lucky to draw 20 people.

30 posted on 05/26/2002 8:42:27 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
If "liberal reform" is not an oxymoron, then it is a redundancy.
31 posted on 05/26/2002 8:46:48 PM PDT by ELS
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To: ELS
Thanks for the bump, its good to see another parish and another diocese.

patent

32 posted on 05/26/2002 8:53:12 PM PDT by patent
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To: sinkspur
In my parish, you'd be lucky to draw twenty peopleMaybe so, but in five years you'd have 200 people. When children are raised in that environment, they will be extraordinarily informed Catholics. They will keep the faith. They will pass it on; the Novus Ordo has been a catastrophe when it comes to keeping souls in a state of grace. Unfortunately, the informality of the Novus Ordo mass begat an informality in the upkeep of one's eternal soul, much to the eternal regret of many a lapsed Catholic.
33 posted on 05/26/2002 8:55:18 PM PDT by St.Chuck
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To: ELS
I, too was born in the 1960s and never experienced the old Mass. I think I am going to try it. I have to drive about 40 miles, but I normally have to drive 20 miles to Mass anyhow.

To tell you the truth, I'm perhaps a little intimidated...How easy was it for you to catch on to the different ways things are done in the old Mass?

34 posted on 05/26/2002 8:56:28 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: St.Chuck
the Novus Ordo has been a catastrophe when it comes to keeping souls in a state of grace. Unfortunately, the informality of the Novus Ordo mass begat an informality in the upkeep of one's eternal soul, much to the eternal regret of many a lapsed Catholic.

Let me get this straight.

An English Mass fosters sins; the Latin Mass doesn't?

That's shoe-size IQ thinking.

"Informality" is a nonsenical notion, especially when one equates it with the Novus Ordo. Who are you to decide the reverence of Catholics?

Latin doesn't equal holy, pal.

35 posted on 05/26/2002 9:02:35 PM PDT by sinkspur
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: uncbob
A heck of a lot of people under the age of 40 are attending Latin Mass, myself included. I am 35.
37 posted on 05/26/2002 9:12:02 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: nickcarraway;Polycarp
Ping!
38 posted on 05/26/2002 9:13:07 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: B Knotts
How easy was it for you to catch on to the different ways things are done in the old Mass?

Initially, I stayed in the back of the church so I could follow the more experienced and knowledgable parishioners. I bought a traditional daily missal and was able to follow along. Eventually, I even figured out how to find the prayers that change for each Mass. ;-)

Before any of that, though, I found the Latin Mass to be a more spiritual and reverent experience. My understanding of the Mass is constantly increasing.

39 posted on 05/26/2002 9:16:07 PM PDT by ELS
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To: St.Chuck
Unfortunately, the informality of the Novus Ordo mass begat an informality in the upkeep of one's eternal soul, much to the eternal regret of many a lapsed Catholic.

I am impressed. Strong words of truth. It is what we believe - what you do, say, and how you act externally is a lead to your (internal) piety, as well as expressive of it.

40 posted on 05/26/2002 9:28:09 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: ELS
Good post, and I think you are on the right track.
Keep working and good luck!
41 posted on 05/26/2002 9:31:40 PM PDT by MarMema
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: ELS;Goldhammer
Thank you both for the info. My church is going to be priestless on one Sunday morning in a couple of weeks. I might take that as an opportunity to experience the traditional Mass.
43 posted on 05/26/2002 9:47:25 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: ELS
If the RCC had not sacked tradition, my wife and I would probably be RCs now instead of Missouri Synod Lutherans. We left the Episcopal Church because it sacked tradition. I met with the local RC priest. After listening to my views on things, he told me that I should not bother joinging the RCC because it was going down the same road as the Episcopal Church. How right he was! I really appreciated his candor and vision--I can only believe that he did not want a couple more unhappy, maybe rabblerousing communicants on his hands.
44 posted on 05/26/2002 9:52:32 PM PDT by Pushi
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To: ELS
Yes, let's go back to the good old days, before my time, but I heard they were good :)

We need to go back to a time when we were taught that there were consequences for our indiscretions and sins, that fear of the Lord was a gift of the Holy Spirit.

45 posted on 05/26/2002 9:52:50 PM PDT by Coleus
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To: MarMema
Thanks.

It is what we believe - what you do, say, and how you act externally is a lead to your (internal) piety, as well as expressive of it.

The Latin phrase lex orandi, lex credendi says basically the same thing - the rule of prayer dictates the rule of belief or what you exhibit externally reflects what you believe internally. The inimitable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, "If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave."

46 posted on 05/26/2002 9:52:56 PM PDT by ELS
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To: Goldhammer
You beat me to the Archbishop Sheen quote!
47 posted on 05/26/2002 9:55:49 PM PDT by ELS
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To: Pushi
After listening to my views on things, he told me that I should not bother joinging the RCC

Well, he is going to have to answer for that. You are always welcome to join us.

48 posted on 05/26/2002 9:59:09 PM PDT by ELS
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To: Goldhammer,arrogant_bustard,siobhan
I am so impressed with the posts on this thread, speaking as an outside cheerleader. This group could save your church single-handed.

Reverence and mystery are important in worship.
If your crisis brings about change as you posters are discussing here, it could be all worth it in the end.

This is a great thread.
GO, Catholics!!!

49 posted on 05/26/2002 9:59:25 PM PDT by MarMema
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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