Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I like this picture; but then there's the real thing...


I like this picture. I nicked it from the Cooees blog on "That Petition". I presume the monk is supposed to be Martin Luther. It's complete bollocks, of course. Luther never appeared before a council of bishops, only the "parliament" (or Deit) of Worms. Nevertheless, it expresses the contention of the times well...

Ah yes, "That Petition". I am amazed at how it is being likened to the "95 Theses". Again, one must object with "bollocks!" The "95 Theses", despite the fact that they called the practice of selling indulgences into question, were actually quite submissive to the Pope, and did not (as is popularly believed) dismiss the doctrine of Purgatory. Futhermore, they were theses intended for an academic debate in the University of Wittenberg (which never actually took place), and not something that the laity were called upon to sign. It was never included in the Lutheran Confessions (largely for the reasons I have already pointed out: Pope and Purgatory).

It is even supposed that Luther's legendary act of nailing the "95 Theses" to the wall is just that: legend.

Nevertheless, here is one point where at least one priest in at least one diocese in Australia has gone one better than Luther. This PP has actually put "That Petition" at the entrance of his parish church, and (during Sunday mass mind you) called upon all present to sign the bloody thing. And I understand that this has the approval of the authorities that be in that diocese, although the ordinary himself is not currently in situ to answer objections directly.

Keep in mind that one of the things that "That Petition" calls upon the bishops to do is:
4. Encourage a wide-ranging discussion of the role of women in ministry and in the authority structures of the Church, including the question of women’s ordination
And keep in mind too (for those of you whose memories are fuzzy) that John Paul II concluded his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis with the following words:
4. Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate [eg. by the writers and signers of "That petition"], or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.
Of course, one must remember that most of those signing "That Petition" have even less regard for papal authority in our day than the author of the "95 Theses" had in his.

Anyway, I say no more. Maybe the Cooees blokes (and blokette--sorry, Sr Kumbayah, I meant "blokes" in a non-sexist way) will pick up on this story and give you all the juicy details.

27 Comments:

At Wednesday, September 19, 2007 3:19:00 pm , Blogger Athanasius said...

David, the "resemblance" of the Petition to the 95 Theses is not really intended to suggest there is any similarity in content. The move is purely rhetorical: to exploit the images (like yours!) that "95 Theses" can conjure up, and to tap into whatever adolescent rebellion might linger in the breast of the 60s generation.

The one thing these petitioners have in common, more than anything else, is grey hair. The younger generation are having none of it. They either demand real Catholicism, or they buy into the rhetoric and drift into agnosticism (or occasionally into ranting atheism).

Either way, these guys have no heirs in the Church. In thirty years, their cause will be nothing but a memory. Hence the growing shrillness; they know their time is almost up.

 
At Wednesday, September 19, 2007 3:58:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Nonsense. Their heirs are the ones who buy into the rhetoric and drift into agnosticism. Ipse dixit.

Younger people find these guys are offering the world, and the world offers the world much better.

As to the ones who demand real Catholicism, no comfort there either, because sooner or later that demand will lead one to the conclusion that the Roman church no longer offers it either.

 
At Wednesday, September 19, 2007 5:57:00 pm , Blogger Athanasius said...

Strange, because so many tell me they have found it. And I can think of no reason to value your belief over theirs.

Of course, you are right to curse the inanities of post-Vatican II mumbo jumbo, but I fail to see what that proves. For Catholics to get off the rails is hardly unprecedented, and I can't see what difference it makes whether a small or a large number do it. And even if I do think that these failures undermine the Church's claims about itself, what should I then make of the Church's unlooked-for and amazing recoveries and triumphs? What do they prove?

From the stump, the sprig of Jesse grows. The basic difference between you and me is that you see only the stump.

 
At Wednesday, September 19, 2007 7:41:00 pm , Anonymous Joshua said...

Dear David,

Like your other comment-leavers, I say: Don't worry about these sad, tired people and their inanities. "They have no seed" as someone once said. The Vatican will one day listen to them, they say - as if!

For the same reason, don't worry about reading "The Swag", or "Eureka Street", or any of that ignorant garbage; and dump any internet reading of such tiresome persons too. Your blood pressure will drop, your free time with family and friends will increase.

The only trouble, I guess, is that professionally you may encounter more or less well meaning souls who still think the sun shines out of these types. But I'm sure you can fire them up about the real issues, like salvation and not some quest for power.

If these folks practised what they never cease to so self-importantly preach, they'd have buggered off to swell the sinking vessels of Anglicanism and the Uniting Church long ago. But I wouldn't want to bring more pain to those unhappy houses; Newman, before becoming a Catholic, complained, "The Pope throws his weeds over our fence!"

 
At Wednesday, September 19, 2007 7:41:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Oddly enough, as I see it it’s not the petitioners who display a “growing shrillness”, but their critics.

The petition has one thing in common with the 95 Theses; its critics assume that it says things that, in fact, it does not say, and then do battle with their own assumptions.

People persist in treating the petition as a call for the ordination of women. It makes no such call; it calls for a wide-ranging [i]discussion[/i] of the ordination of women, and even that is put firmly in the context of a wider discussion about the role of women in ministry and in authority structures more generally. And all this is in marked distinction to the Petition’s treatment of the ordination of married men, for which it does call. Any half-way careful reading of the petition must observe the difference in treatment of these two issues.

While many, no doubt, would advocate the ordination of women in the course of such a discussion, it is quite obviously possible to discuss the question without favouring the ordination of women. It is, indeed, possible to discuss the question and [i]oppose[/i] the ordination of women. Less confrontationally, one could discuss a wide range of associated issues, such as the consequences for the Church’s mission and ministry of the decision not to ordain women, or the light which such a decision casts on our understanding of priesthood. And yet a large class of people seem to be offended at the suggestion that any aspect of this question should be discussed at all. It seems that they simply cannot conceive of anybody discussing the question and [i]not[/i] advocating the ordination of women.

Why should anybody be afraid to discuss [i]any[/i] aspect of the faith? How are we supposed to “teach all nations” if there are some things we’re not supposed to talk about? This attitude suggests to me a deep insecurity on the part of many critics of the petition. And, yes, it comes across as shrill. Shrill and panicked, I’d almost say.

 
At Wednesday, September 19, 2007 8:44:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello David,

I’m from the parish in question and must make some corrections. It was at the end of Mass, during ‘notices’, that the celebrant mentioned the petition.

He spoke of the urgent need for more priests and concluded by saying people could sign if interested. He made no mention of any controversy surrounding this petition and no mention that it included discussing women’s ordination. I know people were signing without reading all the details. I know some hold anything coming from the priest as being a ‘good thing’ and would have signed with an attitude of trust in ‘Father’s’ judgment.

I will say no more here as I have more urgent concerns for now,

God Bless,
D.

 
At Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:33:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

A few comments:

1) PE, Athanasius said that these folk have "no heirs in the Church". You are of course correct: they have plenty of heirs outside the Church. Oddly enough, they claim that their agenda will keep people in the Church. Go figure...

2) Good comment about the stump and the sprig.

3) Josh, my blood pressure doesn't go up or down with these issues. Rather, I find them stimulating and (at times) entertaining. All such "contributions" to the theological discussion spur me on to greater analytical thinking.

4) Peregrinus, yes, I apologise for my shrill confreres. I hope you do not detect the same "shrillness" in my comments. Light amusement, maybe... I could get "shrill" about the public promotion of the petition by a priest in his parish, but my reaction to that is more along the lines of "oh dear, oh dear, oh dear"...

5) Also, Peregrinus, I believe the great weakness of "That Petition" is that it included "that comment" about the ordination of women. If it had not been included, the petition might have stood a snowflake's chance in Hades of being taken seriously. Unfortunately, its inclusion showed that the authors have no regard for the authoritative magisterium of the Church. As Rocco Palmo said recently about the Voice of the Faithful, the authors of the petition "could use a thorough education in the ways and culture of ecclesial governance... That is, if it truly seeks to be of service, or get its point across..."

6) Again, Peregrinus, I have nothing against the discussion of the ordination of women if it is aimed entirely at explaining why the Church does not ordain women. This is right and proper. However, if it is discussed as if the question were still an open to debate, as if the Church might, at some stage in the future, change its mind on this matter, then it is out of order on the basis of the pronouncment of JPII in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and displays nothing short of flagrant disobedience to the teaching authority of the Church. Its just not on, old boy.

7) And finally, thanks, anon, for those clarifications. We wish you and all suffering under such pastoral misguidance all the best. You are in our prayers.

 
At Thursday, September 20, 2007 12:00:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Oh, this takes me back to the year or so before I was received into the Catholic Church.

Anyone remember this?

In April, 1996, Sister Maureen Fiedler of Maryland’s Quixote Center launched a petition drive aimed at getting one-million Catholics to sign a statement calling for radical changes in the Church’s teachings on women and sexuality. The campaign was dubbed We Are Church, and was well-greased by fat cats who hate the Catholic Church: the Ford Foundation, which funnels millions to Catholics for a Free Choice, used its ‘Catholic’ group to give big bucks to Fiedler. ‘We were blessed with substantial grants,’ Fiedler admitted. ‘We had organizing kits,’ she said, ‘we had grass-roots [efforts]; we did full-page ads [in newspapers]; we had massive mailings; we did public collections in front of cathedrals, like St. Patrick’s in New York.’ They even bribed kids by giving them a dollar for every signature they got. When the year was up, the campaign was such a bomb that it was extended for six months. In the end, it netted only 37,000 signatures. It was at the Call to Action 1997 convention in Detroit that Fiedler reported the sorry results. She blew up at lay Catholics, saying that progressives overestimated their ‘theological maturity’....

What arrogance.

I'm with you, Athanasius. The sprig keeps on sending up shoots.

 
At Thursday, September 20, 2007 1:46:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

These calls for "discussion" are absolutely bogus. Nothing but a smokescreen for eventual change. Just like a little kid who knows mom or dad will never go for this, but let's keep them talking about that instead and maybe we'll get something.

You're quite right, Bruder. The RC church has declared it a matter of normative belief that not only may the church not ordain women, it does not have the power to do so even if it wanted to. What's to discuss, except to explain why this is so?

This all reminds me of what it used to be like being me as a Catholic in the post conciliar Church -- 99.9% surrounded by neither what used to be nor what is supposed to be, desperately trying to tell myself it's really OK, what used to be is essentally still there with needed updating and what is supposed to be will eventually prevail and the silly season, the cafeteria, whatever, will soon be closed. So you hang on to the .1%.

Good Lord, they were saying this will all pass in thirty years thirty years ago! News flash -- it ain't passing, it's normative now, and apart from a few creaky celibates who couldn't buy a bag of doughnuts wthout a staff, EWTN, a few publications and now blogs (such as this one) here and there, and the random parish where something remotely like the documets of Vatican II are followed, the Church is mostly made up of people going about their lives and raising and supporting their families with the Church supplying the cultural and psychological niche of "religion" should they deem that helpful.

Unless one puts on the blinders, what an excruciating agony -- and how absolutely unneeded. I cast it aside not for a replacement, because at the time I saw none and wouldn't for some twenty more years, ten years ago. Hey, there's thirty years!

Then again, it' kind of fun to come here in 2007 and see it's still 1967 in the RC church, though if I want a 60s fix a little Jimi (especially Red House, now THAT'S some blues!) might be better.

 
At Thursday, September 20, 2007 2:52:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I think the only thing more entertaining than reading Past Elder's (God love him!) comments is reading the Traditio site (by the way, they refer to Annibale Bugnini as "Hannibal" Bugnini -- isn't that a hoot?)

Somehow, I don't feel excruciated.

 
At Thursday, September 20, 2007 12:56:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

What's a hoot? Annibale is simply the Italian form of Hannibal. Judas H Priest on a raft. Of course the implied reference to the movie character is entirely apt, since it's the Bug Mass whether it's 1962 or novus ordo.

My only real reason for being here is to say you guys who swam the Tiber got into a church that calls itself Roman Catholic but holds out something quite distinct from and in places opposite to the Roman Catholic faith, which is why I swam the Tiber too -- out!

But speaking of being entertained, it really is amusing to read all this stuff again like it's 1967 all over again. What you guys don't get is that it isn't real Catholicism or a sprig of Jesse about to prevail, it's obverse and reverse of the same coin minted in the 60s and frankly neither side sounds much different now than when I first heard both of them forty some years ago.

Both "Catholicisms" are enemies of the real thing, led by a pack of howling dogs who, if anyone needs to worry about what they will say to Christ at the Last Judgement, it is they. Swim the ruddy Bosphorus. At least you'll get Orthodoxy on the other side.

 
At Thursday, September 20, 2007 1:59:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

“4) Peregrinus, yes, I apologise for my shrill confreres. I hope you do not detect the same "shrillness" in my comments . . .”

I’d never accuse you of shrillness, David!

But I have to admit I do find your response to the petition disappointing. In the comments you reveal that you actually find most of what the petition could be taken seriously; you only have a problem with one of the six points. And you seem to adopt a very narrow reading of that point; one which is, with respect, not supported by the actual text of the petition. The impression I get – and forgive me for speaking plainly - is that your response to the petition, as it appears from your blog post, is to reduce it to a caricature of just one of the points it makes, and then to respond to that caricature.

“5) Also, Peregrinus, I believe the great weakness of "That Petition" is that it included "that comment" about the ordination of women. If it had not been included, the petition might have stood a snowflake's chance in Hades of being taken seriously. Unfortunately, its inclusion showed that the authors have no regard for the authoritative magisterium of the Church.”

What? Blind Freddie can see that a decision not to ordain women has all kinds of implications which need to be addressed – implications for our understanding of the priesthood, for our understanding of ministry, for our theology of gender and sexuality; a potential challenge to our evangelical mission, given contemporary understandings of sex equality; practical issues, given our problems with numbers of ordained ministers; ecumenical issues; I could go on. The petition calls for discussion, and it calls for discussion explicitly in the wider context of ministry and mission.

This call displays “no regard” for the authoritative magisterium? If we just ignored the consequences and implications of magisterial teachings, which seems to be what some of the shriller critics want in this instance, would that display a greater regard? I think, at a minimum, regard for the magisterium requires us to take it seriously and to engage with what it teaches, not to live in some state of happy denial that its teachings might actually have real-world implications that demand our attention, and that may be problematic.

Yes, in any conversation about the teachings of the magisterium dissenting views are likely to be expressed, but anyone who sees this as a reason to avoid discussing the teachings of the magisterium is not, on any view of the matter, displaying “regard for the authoritative magisterium”.

“6) Again, Peregrinus, I have nothing against the discussion of the ordination of women if it is aimed entirely at explaining why the Church does not ordain women. This is right and proper. However, if it is discussed as if the question were still an open to debate, as if the Church might, at some stage in the future, change its mind on this matter, then it is out of order on the basis of the pronouncement of JPII in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and displays nothing short of flagrant disobedience to the teaching authority of the Church. Its just not on, old boy.”

Again, you’re reading in here things which are not to be found in the petition. You’re making assumptions about the motivations of the promoters of the petition (and those assumptions, I agree, are likely to be at least partly correct) but ignoring what the petition actually says, and basing a response on those assumptions, is the silliest kind of ad hominem approach.

Even given that your assumptions are correct, the petitioners are not demanding that their viewpoint should be accepted, or even that it should be placed on the table as an option. They are simply asking that the issue be addressed.

And it needs to be addressed. There is disagreement in the church on this issue; both within the Catholic church and more broadly within Christianity. We can try – unsuccessfully – to conceal that disagreement by refusing to talk about it, but we can never heal it, or understand it, or move on from it.

And what is so dreadful about talking about it? This is what gets me. The almost hysterical reaction that meets this section of the petition give me the impression that many of the petitioners are in fact deeply insecure on this point. Surely it is precisely where Catholic teaching is not well understood, or well accepted, that proclamation is most required? And what better opportunity to proclaim Catholic teaching than when someone comes to you and wants to talk about it? Yet on this occasion the suggestion that the subject be discussed is seen as almost offensive. Some of the supporters of this particular aspect of Catholic teaching seem to be almost desperate in their attempts to avoid an opportunity to engage with it. I cannot but wonder why.

 
At Thursday, September 20, 2007 4:32:00 pm , Blogger Athanasius said...

Peregrinus, I think you make a good point about the need for a discussion of how our concept of priestly ministry should develop after the debate of the last few years and where it has led. I assume the consequences will take decades to unfold. But are we really expected to believe that this is the debate the petitioners want to have?

I am sceptical that this petition is an invitation to some kind of even-handed debate on the issues. The views of its organisers are well-known. The debate has already been had, and they lost. Given that, I suppose they have nothing to lose by calling for another debate, but do they really have any intention of allowing their positions to be challenged? They seem to see themselves very much as critics, not inquirers. And I doubt there would be much appetite for a major rethink on the other side either, given that the “conservatives” (for want of a better term) already have the advantage.

By all means, l'd be happy to have an infomed debate on the theological and pastoral implications of the Church's teaching on priestly ministry, including the role of women. But would I really find interlocutors whose debating framework is commensurate with my own i.e. who share my starting point? Or am I just going to get caught up in a re-run of the debates of the 1980s and 1990s?

These aren't rhetorical questions. You may know the answer.

 
At Thursday, September 20, 2007 6:06:00 pm , Anonymous Peregrinus said...

Hi Athanasius

“Peregrinus, I think you make a good point about the need for a discussion of how our concept of priestly ministry should develop after the debate of the last few years and where it has led. I assume the consequences will take decades to unfold. But are we really expected to believe that this is the debate the petitioners want to have?”

It’s not the debate that I suspect at least some of those promoting the petition want to have. But they are calling for a wide-ranging discussion, and it’s in the nature of such a discussion that you can control the agenda you bring to it, but you can’t control the discussion itself, or what agenda others will bring to it, or where the discussion will go, or what it will lead to. The petitioners are evidently willing to take the risk that the discussion will move in directions which are not the direction they hope for.

In fact, its an absolute certainty, given where we are now and the context in which the petition places this issue, that any discussion is going to spend a good deal of time looking at the consequences and implications of the current stance, rather than simply looking at the justification for the current stance. But even that will scare some opponents of the petition, because some of the consequence and implications may be unpleasant.

“I am sceptical that this petition is an invitation to some kind of even-handed debate on the issues. The views of its organisers are well-known. The debate has already been had, and they lost. Given that, I suppose they have nothing to lose by calling for another debate, but do they really have any intention of allowing their positions to be challenged? They seem to see themselves very much as critics, not inquirers. And I doubt there would be much appetite for a major rethink on the other side either, given that the “conservatives” (for want of a better term) already have the advantage.”

Depends on what you mean by “advantage”. Yes, the “conservatives” (I share your sense that inverted commas are called for here) have a weighty and strongly-expressed magisterial ruling on their side. On the other hand, what they do not have is any assurance that the ruling is joyfully accepted and received by the faithful in the pews, or any argument for saying that the ruling has solved the problems, or met the challenges, that the church faces with regard to ordained ministry. Authoritative as it may be, the ruling is problematic, and my guess is that the distaste many “conservatives” have for discussing the issues is that they don’t want to face up to the problems, or to call attention to them, or perhaps even acknowledge their existence.

“By all means, l'd be happy to have an infomed debate on the theological and pastoral implications of the Church's teaching on priestly ministry, including the role of women. But would I really find interlocutors whose debating framework is commensurate with my own i.e. who share my starting point? Or am I just going to get caught up in a re-run of the debates of the 1980s and 1990s?”

That’s a risk you have to run, I’m afraid. You’re in communion with the Church as it is, not with some ideal church.

As for people who share your starting point, I don’t think that’s the problem. I think for the bulk of people on all sides of this issue, the starting point is Jesus. It’s the intermediate points that start to diverge. Which is why going straight to the end point (“Shall we ordain women?”) is a really bad idea, but the petition deliberately does not do that. And, of course, this is also why the counter-argument to the end point (“JPII has authoritatively said that we cannot ordain women”) does not adequately deal with the demand for a discussion.

“These aren't rhetorical questions. You may know the answer.”

I’ve no special knowledge, if that is what you are delicately asking, of the motives or hopes or even standpoints of the promoters of this petition. In fact, as a newcomer to Australia and as someone who is not professionally involved in the church in any way, I probably know rather less about them than many others. Whether that enables me to approach the petition with a relatively open mind, or with a relatively vacant mind, I leave to others to judge.

 
At Thursday, September 20, 2007 11:48:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Of course the implied reference to the movie character is entirely apt,

That's the part that tickles me!

My only real reason for being here is to say you guys who swam the Tiber got into a church that calls itself Roman Catholic but holds out something quite distinct from and in places opposite to the Roman Catholic faith, which is why I swam the Tiber too -- out!

Bist du wieder am Ende damit? :-)

Nope, I refuse, I say refuse, to swim East. They simply don't know how to make a decent Faschingskrapfen.

I'm happy in my Roman home!

 
At Friday, September 21, 2007 4:48:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Actually, I had resolved not to post here any more. I wouldn't even know about this blog except that its host posts on a Lutheran blog I regularly read -- in fact, I think I first noticed him when he concurred on a point about RC theology I had made.

Then the Brian deal came up.

In a way, it is helpful to me to watch post conciliar Catholicism in action. Reinforces daily why I left!

 
At Friday, September 21, 2007 6:29:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Oh no Past Elder, I didn't mean you shouldn't post here! Far from it! After all, I have cradle Catholic/Lutheran relatives. I've heard these kinds of debates from childhood.

What I meant was, I think we've got a pretty good idea why you aren't Catholic -- and why some of us here are.

Kinda beating the old horse, no ?(and I love horses, let it be said).

 
At Friday, September 21, 2007 7:51:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well then, it's time to go.

I only came here because the host and it turns out some of you were Lutheran, and having been where you think you now are, I'm not saying come home to Wittenburg or some such thing (it doesn't even rhyme like home to Rome), I'm saying what you have found is a foul, stinking, rotten and vile impostor of both what you seek and what it once was, and sooner or later, like all snakes, if you handle it long enough it will bite you and this is a poisonous snake.

Still, it is amusing to see one side of a 1960s religion go on against another side of a 1960s religion!

 
At Friday, September 21, 2007 7:55:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

God bless me. Make that Wittenberg. Three lashes with a hard bound copy of McBrien's "Catholicism".

 
At Friday, September 21, 2007 11:29:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Three lashes with a hard bound copy of McBrien's "Catholicism".

Oh rats. My copy is only paperback! McBrien's McCatholicism doesn't exist in my parish. He's one of the graying heads that will soon fade out.

Hey, have you ever (and I won't be surprised if you have) read Thomas Day's "Why Catholics can't sing?" One chapter really gave me a fit of the giggles as he recounted trying to pass the peace at Mass to a little old lady who was busy mumbling her rosary. She snapped at him "I don't go for that sh*t!* and went right on back to mumbling her rosary. Laudate Dominum!

Ah yes, the good old days.

 
At Saturday, September 22, 2007 5:06:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

You are of course correct. The faithful were nothing but foul mouthed old ladies with no understanding of liturgy at all before Vatican II. No doubt a wider angle lens for the picture elsewhere on this blog would have caught several of them. How silly of me to think otherwise. Of couse everything will soon fade out, they've been saying that for forty years now, gotta come true sometime, because the Catholic Church is right, always. I forgot. Sign me up for the nearest re-education camp.

As they say, sarcarsm mode off. If only the supposedly authentic Vatican II types would be as forthright from the outset as the Brians of this world in their rejection of anything not read into the ink blot of "Vatican II".

 
At Saturday, September 22, 2007 6:52:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Aw come on, Past Elder. You're not the only one who "served Mass" back in the day. My husband did, his brother did, my father did. All was not as rosy as you make it out to be.

My husband remembers plenty of low Masses that were dry, banal and fast, not to mention that on Christmas Eve the back of the Church was full of guys exuding vapors from the pre-Mass Christmas Cheer they had imbibed. And yes, there were lots of little old ladies who prayed the Rosary throughout the Mass while (as my husband puts in snarkily) "the priest and altar servers entertained us" but their language would probably have not been quite as salty as the lady Thomas Day encountered. My husband's grandmother continued to do it even after the Novus Ordo came to her parish (I know, I used to take her to church even before I converted).

It is precisely because of my Lutheran roots that I am comfortable with the Novus Ordo, but I also welcome the opportunity to attend the *Old* rite that my Dad took me to as a little girl. It's all Catholic to me.

 
At Saturday, September 22, 2007 8:18:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Apparently I must seek help immediately. I cannot remember ever saying everything was rosy pre council. I think I remember trying early on to make the point that this is not about what this or that person calling himself Catholic did or said before or since the council, but about what the church itself says or does, both in its documents and in those who teach or preach with its approval. Of course I must be wrong. Surely there must be a post somewhere in which I characterised the pre council Church as one in which rapt faithful went home to search Scripture and the Fathers for a deepening of what they had just participated in at Mass. There just has to be.

Wirklich, the Roman church has no ears for anything but itself. Like a bad public restroom, the longer one is in it the less one notices the stench. The Roman faith is nothing but faith in the Roman faith. The longer I am out of it the clearer that is, and the less used to the stench I am.

If anything is fading away it is this 1960s cult religion in its various forms arguing over which is authentic. Well, party like it's 1967 guys!

 
At Monday, September 24, 2007 7:37:00 am , Blogger William Weedon said...

Great story about little old ladies praying rosaries. Read this, I think about a church in Philly. A visitor to the parish noticed an older lady praying her rosary through the service, but when the time came for the Pax, he went up to her and extended his hand to give her the greeting of peace. She paused from her rosary long enough to look up and say: "Sorry. I don't believe in that shit." And she went back to her rosary. :) Pardon the language, David, but it struck my funny bone!

 
At Tuesday, September 25, 2007 12:07:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Pastor Weedon, that's exactly what Thomas Day encountered and wrote of in his book. Bet it's the same incident.

Of course, just as stained glass and statuary served to reveal the stories of the Bible to the laity before many could read so the Rosary served as a sort of substitute "Divine Office" for those who could not read the Psalter.

The little old (and not so old) ladies at my parish do pray the Rosary before Mass (in which I happily participate) but when it's time for the Pax they share the Peace of Christ with cheerful hearts.

 
At Tuesday, September 25, 2007 12:02:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

How nice to be able to agree with Christine.

Stained glass, the Stations of the Cross, and the Rosary were all things the church used to teach major things in Scripture to a literally illiterate society.

Which should also moderate the "reading the Bible" thing in past centuries when few could read anyway, let alone buy a book from the inspirational rack at the grocery store.

In fact the number of Hail Marys said in a full Rosary is 150, in imitation of the number of Psalms. Which is another thing destroyed in post-conciliar "Catholicism", with JPII adding yet another set of five mysteries.

 
At Tuesday, September 25, 2007 11:24:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Gosh, Past Elder, I'd bet there's a lot of things we would agree on!

Of course Catholics were never forbidden to read the Bible. That's an old canard that just won't go away. But they were, especially in the U.S. with its Protestant culture, admonished to read the Bible with "the mind of the Church" because there's no getting around the fact that the Protestant culture that once existed in the public schools offered differing interpretations, especially as regards the sacramental life of the Church.

Right, the number of Hail Marys does correspond to the 150 Psalms but I can't get too excited about the addition of the Mysteries of Light. The Rosary over the centuries has been prayed in various ways, especially by the religious orders. Focusing on the Baptism of the Lord, the Wedding at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration and particularly the Eucharist seems very appropriate, especially for those of us to like to pray the Scriptural Rosary. It really does make it a compendium of the Gospel.

For those who are not so inclined they can pray the Rosary the old way.

Now that the laity are rediscovering the Liturgy of the Hours it seems fitting in our time to allow the Rosary to stand on its own as a devotional prayer.

Or so it seems to me :-)

 

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