4 Ways (and a Bunch More Besides) That YOU Can Heal Our Stupid Liturgical Wounds

And that means you!

Talking the liturgical talk just don’t add up to squat without the liturgical walk. I challenge every single human being in the entire universe who has opinions on the Liturgy to pray for the unity of the Church after every. single. exposition of those opinions. I mean it.

If you’re on Father Z’s blog and you spend twenty minutes articulating why the Latin Mass is beautiful, you should spend twenty minutes imploring Our Lady for a greater devotion to the liturgy. If you are taking the time to defend the Novus Ordo, you better be absolutely sure you take the time to pray for the unity of Holy Roman Catholic Church. If you argue with Traddys, get your head down, hands folded and pray with the Traddys afterwards. If a particular parish’s liturgy offends you – stay afterwards, in the pew that may or may not have kneelers, and pray for the parish. Otherwise don’t bother complaining. Don’t bother pulling up your favorite Church documents without real, earnest prayer to the writers of those Church documents, for their intercession and guidance.

I can’t guarantee it, but this man may very well arrive at the doors of all those who speak much and pray little:

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I can guarantee that if we pray, we will see the wound healed. If we pray before we speak, love before we debate, and truly seek unity, we will have it. As that Christ fellow said, “Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” Now I may be wrong — for I am Catholic and thus skeptical about this whole ‘Bible’ business — but I do not believe Our Lord can be accurately quoted as saying, “Sit near the door and bitch for an hour, then I’ll poke my head out and tell you who’s right.” No, we need beg from Our Father, not bash on our fellows. He alone promises to answer.

This is the point where one usually fades out and thinks, “Well that certainly is a nice thought.” Cut it out. Pray for unity! If we can be united in this regard we can be united over things like –oh I don’t know — abortion, contraception and divorce – sins which Catholics commit no less than the rest of the world. (Another post, methinks.) A couple more things, then:

1. If you are painfully aware of a parish’s lack of proper vestments/crucifix/altar/chalice/tabernacle/etc…buy and donate them to that parish.

2. If a church ‘band’ spent the entire Mass playing terrible, distracting music, with one – only one – redeeming Agnus Dei, or hymn, or objectively beautiful song, go up and thank them for playing that one song. “Thank you so much for the meditation hymn, it elevated my soul to God.” Pray about the rest.

3. Instead of starting a relationship with your pastor by informing him of his various liturgical abuses, start a relationship over a commonly-appreciated beer. A month of beer. A whole freaking year of beer, if that’s what it takes. Love your pastor, then mention that Vatican II in no way allows one to change the words of the Eucharistic prayer.

4. On November 30th I am holding a Rosary at the Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio, in Christ the King chapel, in the narrow amount of time between Mass and Confessions — 7-7:30 — for the intention of greater universal devotion to the Liturgy. Come! Or if you can’t, hold a similar event. Don’t pray “A Rosary That God Might Wreak Vengeance Upon People Who Hold Hands During the Our Father.” Just pray for His will.

With God’s grace, we can destroy the false dichotomy of Traddy vs. Modern and learn what it means to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Feel free to add your own methods below.

If you’re interested in the ongoing discussion we’ve been having on the Liturgy, it is all being most excellently compiled HERE.

There Is No Such Thing as a Charismatic Mass
Reverent Rebellion
Why I Receive Communion on the Tongue
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1258030134 Michele E Finley

    Once again, Marc, you hit the nail on the head–and I, who have been murmuring in my heart lately about the perceived idiocy of “messing with the mass”, am taking to heart your exhortation! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxime culpa–and THANK YOU!

  • Ishmael Fischer Ahab

    I agree with you here. The problem with us, Catholics, is that we fought one another and claim that we fighting for the Church. Alas, the Enemy deceived us for he uses such division to make us forget that the center of the Church is our Lord and King.

  • Benjamin Baxter

    You assume too much, padawan. How do you know that we “Traddys” by-and-large don’t walk the walk? For someone labeling a group pejoratively, that’s some eye-log. For the most part we grouse about the same things you do — Womenpriests, irreverence for the Eucharist, the tacky old translation of the Missal, abysmally poor architecture and far too often banal homiletics. That’s why we’re going to the TLM in the first place. You might say that we’re in the habit of putting our money where our mouth is.

    This is, of course, speaking very generally. We do have two or three sinners. But you are defining your term of insult far too narrowly if you mean “those who reject the Mass of Paul VI ipso facto” or “sedevacantist” or even really anything but “those who harbor an affection for things older than us and a burning love — or at least a desire for burning love — of things beautiful and true, of which the lame duck translation harbors less and the coming liturgies will still lack.”

    (If you are going to call us Traddys, you might as well go whole hog and call us Archie Bunker. That way we can at least call you Meathead.)

    • Marc

      what? You’re reacting to insults I’m not throwing at you. Call “us” Traddys? I’m calling those who call themselves “Traddys” Traddys. If that’s you, I certainly am calling you out for creating division within the Church. If not, I don’t understand your offense.

    • sarah

      The point is we all need to pray more…I think your tone is exactly the attitude he was addressing, it’s very off putting. It is commendable that you are trying to not sin and be reverent, but you are presumably not a saint yet, nor are the majority of people in any of these factions. If we pray together, and for each other, it will do a lot more for reverence at mass and liturgical rightness than the tone of voice in your post.

      We need to fall more in love with God and that starts with really showing each other love (I don’t mean anything mushy) and praying for hearts to change. Your arguing can’t change anything on it’s own, only God does that when we pray.

      • No One Important


        We “traddies” are not perfect. But assuming we haven’t “fallen in love” with God is a bit much. Do you really think traditional Catholics don’t pray? Or love? Just because we are critical of the Novus Ordo doesn’t negate everything else. And being scolded to forget all of our liturgical concerns and just “come together” is not a program. And it’s not feasible. There are legitimate problems with the Novus Ordo, which cannot be swept aside simply because people want to do so.

    • GrumpyGrampy

      Benjamin, you were on quite a roll all the way down the alley, but in trying to bury the ball in the pocket, you hit the head pin that Marc set up for you and ended up with a seven-ten split.
      Yes, a “solid” TLM each and every time will trump.
      But don’t for a moment think your example proposition at the end was the bow on the top of the TLM wrapup. Even if you limit the setting of St. Francis’ prayer to the Temple version, I’ll give you five equally crappy psalm tone examples, some of yore, some written yesterday.
      In other words, build up your appreciation of the Graduale, the Gregorian Missal, the Liber, a Kyriale, a Hymnarium, whatever. But don’t invite “taste” or “like” into the equation unless you want to undermine your points.
      Just recommendin’

  • jcm

    Dear Marc,

    One thing I’d appreciate your thoughts on… a lot of what you’ve said is noble sentiment, but quite negative, and (though it grieves me to say it) I fear a bit simplistic. I haven’t quite grasped what you say positively about how liturgy should be. I know, that’s the point. You don’t give your opinion because it’s not about opinions. But it must be about something… It is, as you say, a gift. Does that basically mean “Say the black, do the red”?

    That said, there is not a shade of disagreement with the above. And I’m sure you did not intend to imply that people are not already praying. eg. the SSPX Rosary crusades… etc.

    • Marc

      Yep! “Say the black do the red” is a fantastic way of saying: See the Liturgy as a gift we receive from God through the Church, do not attempt to make the Liturgy what you want it to be, obey the liturgical instructions set down by the church.

  • Athelstane

    “With God’s grace, we can destroy the false dichotomy of Traddy vs. Modern and learn what it means to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”

    I can’t help but think that you’ve come down with a possibly terminal case of Mark-Shea-itis this last week, Marc.

    Which might not be a coincidence, given that Case Zero recently joined Patheos’s stable of writers. You know: conservative Catholic blogger desperate to gain credibility works overtime to find opportunities of gnat straining to establish an image of being “in neither camp,” thus conveniently leaving no partisan hostages to fortune. This works well in politics, but has real value in theological food fights as well, apparently.

    Your dichotomy here seems to suggest that there is a moral and theological equivalence between the progressive and the traditionalist. Leaving aside the nuances that a spectrum between the two presents, it ignores the history at work here, and I don’t just mean which has been producing new life and vocations over the last forty years and which has been dying. I’m all for sugar over salt, but too many of us have tried the sugar approach with our pastors and liturgists, to no avail. Positions are too entrenched. But one of those positions (however imperfectly embodied at times) at least has the advantage of not being an almost complete rupture with the long tradition of the Church.

    • Marc

      You misunderstand, good sir or ma’am,
      I’m not arguing that a progressive Catholic and a traditional Catholic are equal heresies. I’m arguing that there should be no “camps” within the Church AT ALL. There are people who are wrong about what the church teaches — with various degrees of wrongness — and people who are right about what the Church teaches. All labeling ourselves has done is create divisions that seem insurmountable. (For instance, you may convince the most crazy, liberal Catholic that liturgical dancing is ridiculous, but you will not convince him by the promotion of “Traditonalism”, only by the promotion of true Catholicism.) I’m not looking for a middle ground between progressive and traditional, I’m looking for obedience to the Church. We need people like you, who have such a fantastic understanding of what the church teaches. We need you more than ever, to stand up for truth — not to polarize, but to reveal what the Church actually teaches. Make any more sense?

  • LT

    I see a lot of defensive back and forth about TLM, NO, and Latin Masses. It doesn’t have to be either/or. The TLM is wonderful, and I hope that parishes will continue to offer it; however, there is nothing wrong with the balanced Vatican II approach, as Marc points out on this blog. We are wasting a lot of breath and creating a lot of division in an attempt to reinstate TLM in every parish. I completely sympathize with traditional Catholics when it comes to some of the atrocious abuses. They are awful. I hope those parishes will reign in liberties and, as Marc stated, this is best done through prayer and fellowship. Yes, there are exceptions, but this is the general point here.

    My family and I were parishioners at a wonderful parish in Virginia before moving to another state. Our priest was highly intelligent, very well education, and the depth of his knowledge and faith impressed us as no other priest we have met before or since. He loved the TLM, but he also loved the Church beyond that. Our 11:00 Mass was very much in the spirit of Vatican II — mostly Latin, with homilies and readings in English. We had a breathtaking choir where even non-Catholics sang, because it had a reputation throughout the city. The church was packed with families – large families! – Most of the parishioners were under 30, but we had young and old alike. People drove for 45 minutes just to be a part of the parish, and vocations flourished. Parishioners were extremely generous in tithing. And even the slightest abuses to Vatican II were absent.

    My point — TLM is not the only beautiful or correct way. We can have Mass in the spirit of Vatican II and avoid all the abuses. A Mass in the true spirit of Vatican II is beautiful, and the parishioners are blessed to have such a gift. I understand that many parishes took things waaaay too far in their modifications. But the solution is not to hit the delete button on Vatican II. I think Marc does a wonderful job articulating this in his blog. He is not trying to just appeal to everyone in order to maintain an audience. He makes some pretty bold statements on this blog, so that would be counter logical.

  • Karyn

    I guess it’s the Catholic blogs I happen to read, but I haven’t read nearly the amount of arguing over liturgy as I have here on this blog – which is arguing that we shouldn’t argue???

  • Ross

    By no means are the differences between the Traditionalists and Modernists minor or unimportant. They are two fundamentally different understandings of the Christian Faith. I am a traditionalist, as in the fact that I realize tradition is key and contains Truth, and I am horrified at the abuses of Modernism, but true traditionalism includes the recognition of Authority, doesn’t it?
    All I can say is thank God we have a great theologian as our Pope. He is the only one who can manage this horrible ‘wound’ right now. For we are conditioned by our age in the fact that we still believe that Authority lies in ourselves. The greatest liberation is to yield. Obedience is beautiful. One may argue with individual points, and have opinions, but the thing that holds us together is the recognition of Authority outside ourselves. Unity, folks.
    Thanks for a fine article