It’s Good to Have Readers Who Can Do the Heavy Lifting

I’m pretty busy for the next week or so and can’t check in in the comboxes as much as I’d like.

So when the umpteenth Traditionalist makes the case for his superiority to the rest of the Church:

Those who argue for the superiority of the Traditional Latin Mass (whether they deem the NO valid or not) do so for reasons of its emphatically *measurable* doctrinal superiority. The orations of the old mass (over the course of an entire year) are doctrinally fuller and richer than those of the new mass, and teach the Catholic faith more authentically. The old mass is a greater didactic tool. This is not a matter of ‘interpretation’ (a less fancy word for ‘hermeneutic’): it’s an empirical fact, and one that can be measured via a shared, objective standard.

I’m grateful that the invaluable Lori Pieper shows up to write:

OK, I’ve pondered it for an hour and I give up. What is this marvelous “shared, objective standard”? Where is it? When was this extraordinary judgment made? And who were the judges? Because obviously to you the EF has already won. And why don’t people know about this contest?

Oh, because it never happened, of course. And as far as theology is concerned, the only conceivable “shared, objective standard” is the Magisterium of the Church itself. And you will wait a good long time, I think, before the Magisterium makes a pronouncement of the kind you want. No, the only thing that the Magisterium has said is that these are the two forms, both equally venerable, of the one Roman rite.

Meanwhile, as various crazy people show up to  insist that it’s not enough for gay Catholics to affirm and live the Church’s teaching, but they must be further punished and subjected to litmus tests, interrogations, and quizzes about their sex lives from combox inquisitors for their vocabulary choices, reader Dan C. nails it:

The issue is your double-standard.  You require a confession from gay participants in a Christian conversation.  They must indicate they are chaste (using the term SSA) or if they are unchaste (and use the term gay).  It cannot be that the gay man can indicate he is Catholic and gay.  You need to know more.  Is he chaste, hence SSA and instead using ambivalent terminology that is confusing you, leading you to believe he may be have homosexual sexual relations.  This is how you categorize them.  You need to know their confessional sins about sex,  Yet, this is unrequired of heterosexual men in conversation.  You have no demand of a similar set of confessional statements indicating that these men are not masturbating, participating in an adulterous relationship, and avoiding internet pornography.

3.  The requirement that your curiosity about a gay man’s sexual activity be satisfied, independent of his thoughts on any given topic, is not Catholic and these coded vocabulary demands are not Catholic.  They just let you know someone’s sexual behavior, and oddly, this curiosity only extends to gays.  Not to heterosexuals, who could participate in any assortment of disordered sexual behaviors.

Your seemingly insatiable desire to categorize folks as “chaste gay Catholic” and “unchaste gay Catholic” and “heterosexual Catholic” is the matter that should not be presented as Catholic for so so many reasons.  You should stop misrepresenting Catholicism as such.

What these two discussion threads have in common is the Traditionalist and arch-conservative Catholic hostility to evangelism.  In both cases, what is being addressed is the peculiar need some Catholics have to limit, as far as possible, the access of other people to grace and to set themselves apart from the unclean.  The Traditionalist with his need to declare that the vast majority of other Catholics are living inferior spiritual lives and the sexual obsessive with his need for passwords and codes and added burdens of suspicion for this particular form of conscupiscence have in common this need to be more rigorous than the Church herself.  If a gay person says he believes and professes the Church’s teaching–including her moral teaching–what the hell is the problem?  Such people should be welcomed and supported and we should thank God for them because they are not only disciples, they are apostles bearing witness to the rest of the gay community that it can and should be done.

And that, I increasingly suspect, is the problem for the More Pure Than the Church crowd.  Traditionalism is, as I discover again and again, deeply hostile to Evangelization because evangelization leads to converts and converts are people from Outside who get into the bunker of Fortress Katolicus and mess everything up.  More and more I come to believe that the core conflict between Traditionalism and the Council is a fundamental hostility to the Council’s evangelical orientation toward mission.

  • Rebecca Duncan

    Well, that website is nuts. I was a convert who was drawn into a radical traditionalist stance for a short period of time in the beginning and it wasn’t because I didn’t want people to convert. I guess a person like that, you may be right about his motivations. Although, really it just seems like he is a conspiracy theorist who happens to revolve all of his conspiracy theories around the Church and not around the government or 9/11…that may come up on his site though, who knows.

    • Rachel

      Shortly after I converted to the Catholic Faith, I fell in with some trads and sadly there is a strain that is very conspiracy minded, especially when it comes to the Church/vatican, etc. Most of this kind of vitriol one sees on some trad site is due to fear. The older trads spoke about being treated terribly since they still wanted the Tridentine Mass. If you look at the history, some bishops were very nasty about it and that has also led to a great mistrust of the bishops and Rome in general. Also, some of these folks attract other less savory characters. I’m speaking in particular the holocaust deniers, some actual KKK racists, etc. It is sad to see and it has NOTHING to do with the Mass, older devotions, etc. My husband and I call these folks bitterman trads or what I call flies in amber. Mark and the other posters are right that some do want to be in their own fortresses, immune to the “evil” around them.

    • Newp Ort

      That’s gotta be satire, right? Right?

      • Beadgirl

        I know. Could they really be so irony-deficient that they took Mark’s title seriously?

  • Robert Harris

    I’m so glad you’re bringing this to light. I read what some Catholics say online and I wonder “Do Catholics actually want all souls to be saved as Christ does?” I mean, that’s the whole premise for their ‘tough love’ approach to speaking the truth in love, right? That they want people to hear the gospel and repent, right? It’s so telling when they don’t want anything to do with certain people unless they fit a certain description and subscribe to their sensibilities. I belonged to a parish like this in my hometown and it was probably the worst four or so years I ever spent in the Church. I kid you not, this is a comment I saw on an Catholic article around the interwebz:

    “IMO, if anything the white population needs to be resuscitated since they are no longer replacing themselves and yet they are the carriers of Catholicism and the Catholic ethos in America. One might say that Latin Americans also carry Catholicism but they also lack the European-Aristotelian tradition which makes Catholicism sensible as opposed to something akin to an indian religion.”

    I don’t know or care what he actually meant by this. This is an example of the way Catholics (white ones, it seems, in particular) talk among themselves as if no one else is watching. I’ve notice this sort of behavior elsewhere, the “othering”. It’s as if those in the American Church really think that people who share an identity that doesn’t jive with their particular way of life (white, middle/upper-middle class), don’t share the identity of “Catholic” or worse, that since those who don’t share white, middle/upper-middle class American sensibilities or identity and yet identify as Catholic are in such a minority that it’s totally okay to talk about these other identities as if they’re “those people” and not at mass with them every Sunday. This is particularly frustrating to me because 1) I can’t change my ethnicity, so no matter how Catholic I actually am, to this dunce, I don’t carry “the Catholic ethos” as he would put it simply because the majority of my race doesn’t carry it with me. 2) I’m 23 now, but I converted 9 years ago (a friendlier time in the Church, I might add) and for the majority of the time I’ve been Catholic, I’ve been a dependent. I didn’t choose my parents or my economic lot in life, which, it suffices to say aren’t the most ideal. 3) Can’t change my sexuality (despite the falling over themselves of others to claim the contrary) and so I’m working out my salvation in fear and trembling while those who have never dealt with my particular situation first-hand want me to tremble just a wee bit more over it.

    Then in the name of a post-racial, ‘anyone can make their own way’, America, none of the distinctions and hang-ups people make and have over this crap actually exists no matter how many times people gaff up and reveal their true thoughts and feelings and we the despised are merely supposed to pretend that if we just act more like white, middle/upper-middle class cogs in the wheel of the country that the majority would like us more and things would be more okay.

    I’m so sick of it, simply sick of it. I’m glad you are, too, Mark. Thank God for you and those like you who stand-up for those whom others openly stigmatize and do mental gymnastics to try justifying such behavior.

    • Beadgirl

      Word, word, word. One of my frustrations over the last few years with the Catholic blogosphere is how, well, white and even anglo it is. I can be part of it, as long as I don’t talk about prejudice too much (because, of course, we’re “post-racial”).

      In the real world, though, and despite the very real prejudices that still exist, the parishes I’ve attended over the last 20 years have been filled with people of every skin tone, nationality, language, culture, class, and ethnicity. How is that not a good thing?

      • johnnyc

        I agree….. my TLM parish is very diverse.

        • Stu

          Ditto for mine as well. Heck, half of our choir are Filipino women. I suppose you would have to come to our parish to know that.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Talking about how many traditionalists in the US appear to be white and how the traditionalist phenomenon is very white, allow me to share something about my own parish in Canada. Our parish priest is a Nigerian who has been sent by his bishop to the “missions” in North America. Last Sunday, which was Mission Sunday here (which is still about foreign missions, however), he was talking about how his own diocese in Nigeria has something like 2 or 3 HUNDRED seminarians! In our diocese of Ottawa, we have the highest number of seminarians in several years: ten (10). Could it be that some traditionalists’ fears have something to do with this phenomenon?

    • Rachel

      I completely agree and this is also what disturbs me about some of the cultural aspects in the Catholic sphere (ie. the trad/EWTN one). It is overwhelmingly white/euro/anglo. Some of the liturgical battles is over inculturation and these are the sort of battles that I think needs to stop. We are Catholic ie. universal, comprised of people from every culture/race/nation, etc on the planet. Of course the style of worship will be different. To impose a definitive european sense on Catholic Culture/liturgy is absurd. I love the Tridentine Mass/Gregorian Chant, etc. But I know that this could not be the only expression. Sadly, there are some groups who think that the only ways things will get better is if we go back to an exclusively Euro Christian culture. I shudder at the thought considering that I know a bit about history and how things were not rosy. Many people were mistreated and ostracized because of their race/culture. There is NO reason for this now. You keep doing what you are doing and don’t listen to these sorts. I have my own issues with them too.

      • Dan C

        I think the Traditionalist phenomenon is very white.

    • Jordan

      You really do get a strong sense of that Eurocentric Catholocism from online trads, at least. I’m not claiming to understand the experience of that prejudice personally (I’m white – but more of an Eastern/Southern European type which historically was even a bit too far away from the super pure to be acceptable, but thankfully that’s never come up in my life as an issue), but I do think that’s a big turn off for people, and an extremely stupid one at that. I think all the beautiful art from the Middle Ages was a bit misleading…I’m sure Mary and Jesus did have beautiful faces, but their skin wasn’t ivory and they didn’t have strawberry-blonde hair.

    • Stu

      In the name of “post-racial”, let’s just stop bringing it up.

      • Robert Harris

        To be perfectly fair, Stu, the first reference to race actually made in my comment doesn’t come directly from me, but comes from a real online comment I saw a Deacon make. Why don’t you do him the courtesy of telling him not to bring it up as well? Hell, I’ll even show you to the article if you’re willing.

        • Stu

          Sure.

          • Robert Harris

            Tweet=sent.

            • Stu

              Rgr. Will look tonight.

              Hey, follow me on Twitter. I will do the same. I think we could have some good dialogue via private message or even email. We might not agree on everything, but I like your style in discussion.

              • Robert Harris

                I’m afraid it would avail little if we did so. As it happens I almost never use twitter and only found it a convenient means by which to discreetly deliver the URL. I appreciate the offer and the sentiment, though.

                • Stu

                  Noted.

      • ivan_the_mad

        I’m sorry, are you suggesting our Mr. Harris ought to refrain from speaking of the wounds suffered at the hands of his own faith family? Because such things are in fact scandals, and must be fought.

        Regardless, “shut up” isn’t a good strategy. Conversion of hearts is.

        • Stu

          “Shut up” are your words and your quote. Not mine.

          I’m suggesting that always appealing to a racial lens in everything isn’t productive. Nor do I think looking for and highlighting extreme viewpoints online to be offended by to be productive either. Scandals should indeed be addressed. But let’s use a laser beam instead of a MOAB.

          Your apology in misreading me is accepted.

          • ivan_the_mad

            You didn’t answer my question. Yes or no will do.

          • Robert Harris

            Until the human population refuses to discuss anyone at all through the lens of a racial group, which includes acknowledging the existence of such groups at all (which simply won’t happen, not even concerning you, I’m afraid) then no, I won’t stop bringing it up.

            • Stu

              Has to start somewhere. Why not us?

              • Robert Harris

                Heh, no. What has to start somewhere is true love and appreciation for all people, not merely the ones who make it convenient or even useful. That starts with the confession that it’s scarce. One has to wonder why.

                • Stu

                  It’s been scarce since the beginning. You aren’t going to change that…or the whole world for that matter. Best you can do is change yourself and influence others around you to do the same. The World will continue in the same churn, we don’t have to follow. I won’t follow.

                  • Robert Harris

                    This attitude is why the gospel and particularly Catholicism are rendered utterly useless in today’s world. With excuses like that, why would anyone believe in the God we claim to serve?

                    • Stu

                      It’s not an excuse.
                      It’s a tactic. You don’t bit the entire apple at once. You go
                      bite-by-bite. You change yourself and influence others and over time they do the same and so on and so on. That is how the Gospel spread. That is how it will spread again in this new “pagan” age.

                      We have a hard time seeing that in our current world. We look for the President of the United States to solve all of our problems when instead we need to simply change our own communities.

  • Andy

    I am not sure it is hostility alone – I think there much fear wrapped up in the way the Traditionalist and arch-conservative Catholic respond. There seems to be a fear of anyone not like me. Of course that really interferes with evangelization, as that process begins by getting to know other people and starting to understand what makes them tick. So of course a person who identifies as gay is different and we cannot come to know him or her. A person who finds the NO most efficacious is different and thus must be shunned. A person who does not see capitalism as the ultimate in economic paradigms is not like us and must be shunned. I wish they actually followed what JPII said “be not afraid”. but we are all weak.

    • chezami

      I pretty much don’t care about the self-pity, fear, and pride of Traditionalists anymore. They can do as they like, but the movement is mostly toxic in my experience.

      • Andy

        The toxic nature of the movement is due to the fear I think – although I agree about the pride. Fear leads to a fight or flight reaction – I think that this group is in the fight realm. I agree that regardless of why it is a toxic and overly judgmental version of the world.

  • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

    Gee thanks, Mark. Does this mean that I get paid something out of the vast wealth of Patheos for minding the store? And heavy lifting to boot?

    • Dan F.

      as Simcha Fischer once said (I think), “You can make *literally* make hundreds of cents as a Catholic blogger…” (paraphrase, but it was something like that…). Or maybe Mark wrote it originally and Simcha quoted him – I can’t remember.

    • chezami

      I hereby invite you to come swimming my Scrooge McDuck pool of gold dubloons if you are ever in Seattle.

      • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

        Sounds swell! I’ll be there.

  • Newp Ort

    It’s telling that often (not always) the people who insist upon using SSA instead of gay also emphatically state “I don’t want to know about it!”

    Keep silent about who you are, but if you can’t do that at least label yourself on our terms so we know you’re not one of THOSE people.

  • contrarian

    Hi folks,
    Since I’m quoted above, I’ll say a few things quickly.
    1) Thanks to Lori for the exchange, and I encourage everyone to read the whole comment thread, and not simply the blurbs offered here. We go into some more reasons for the differences, and I offer some reading suggestions.
    2) Remember that the VII church *must* say that everything is in continuity. In other words, it isn’t going to do much good to convince the skeptic (i.e., the person who doesn’t see continuity between the old mass and the mass of Paul VI, whether this person is CAtholic or atheist or protestant or whatever) if you simply say that the VII Church says it *is* in continuity. The VII Church gave us the new mass, so they are of course going to say that they are in continuity.
    3) The great thing about being Catholic is that we have reasons for things. Sometimes trads are called Protestants, but one of the interesting marks of Protestantism is their dearth of philosophical analysis. For example, Catholics don’t simply have to ‘proof-passage’ to give reasons for why we hold to what we hold in the realm of dogma and moral law. We can give reasons, using natural theology, ramified theology, and arguments from the philosophy of nature. We Catholics are damn good theologians. That’s why Catholicism is so attractive to skeptical intellectuals (well, less so since VII, but historically). So a skeptic can come to understand all of the teachings of the Catholic faith through reasoned arguments, and from these arguments, convert to the faith. The Catholic never has to say, “Because the Church says so, that’s why!” The issue of continuity between the masses is no exception. If there is continuity, the reasons should be apparent, and those who point out troubling discrepancies should be shown to be manifestly mistaken. At the very least, the skeptic is not going to be convinced by the argument that the VII Church, the very church that gave us the new mass, says everything is fine. :)
    4) Be careful with psychoanalysis. Anyone can give a psychological reason as to why one’s ideological opponents hold to the views they do. Certainly, trads can and do play that game too. But it’s not a fruitful game. A psychological reason is not a falsifiable reason. We should make sure to deal with the arguments themselves, and not speculate as to the psychological state of our opponents.
    5) This was said earlier, but it bears repeating. This has nothing to do with personal piety. I would lose that battle in a hurry. Neither does this have to do with *personal* knowledge of the faith. I’m quite sure that many trads are misinformed about many issues of Catholic dogma. It has to do with the content of the prayers and scripture readings (over a one or three year period, respectively). It’s not about the superior knowledge, piety, or character of any one person. To make a poor analogy, those who live in Minnesota, close to the Mayo Clinic, can claim that they have superior health care to other people in the nation. But this does not mean that any one individual Minnesotan is more healthy.
    6) I would encourage everyone to have an open mind about these issues!

    All the best to all, and God Bless.

    • ivan_the_mad

      There is only one Church. There is only one Magisterium. Stop creating false divisions in the continuity of the Church. That is cafeteria Catholicism at best.

      “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.” BXVI

      • bede the venerable

        If only NO churches/priests would follow the rubrics of the 1970 Roman Missal (NOT the little “missalette” found in the pews). Masses would be much more reverent and the widespread abuses would be nipped in the bud. The problem is the rubrics are not strictly followed and ad libing is encouraged.
        I’m willing to bet very few people have see, much less read, the 1970 missal. It is available online, but hard copies are few and far between. All churches should have one, but in many cases I’ll bet the priest would be hard pressed to locate it.

        • ivan_the_mad

          I am not addressing liturgical abuse, which is accidental to the OF per se, but the willful and knowing dissent in positing rupture.

      • contrarian

        Hi Ivan,

        Sorry I’m just seeing this now. The point about cafeteria Catholicism is quite relevant, so thanks for bringing it up. Let’s run with this.

        Let’s say I said I was Catholic…but I didn’t believe in transubstantiation. You would do little good to respond with a quote from a pope, because that would do little good. The cafeteria Catholic is, like a protestant, quite aware of what the popes contend. So instead, you would argue and show that I was wrong to be a cafeteria Catholic on this issue by way of scriptural exegesis and a bit of theological analysis. Perhaps you’d add some good points about propitiation and atonement–assuming I bought other aspects of traditional Christology (that is, assuming I wasn’t an atheist or some such thing).

        Let’s say I said I was Catholic….but I didn’t believe in the Church’s stance on contraception and the gay stuff. You would respond not with a quote from a pope (because the cafeteria Catholic is well aware of what the popes think about this stuff), but with some scriptural analysis, along with a bit of philosophy of nature and philosophical anthropology. If you pointed to any works of the popes, it would be works that did the theological and philosophical heavy lifting. That’s how you convince skeptics. As Benedict XVI reminds us beautifully in the Regensburg Address, the Catholic Church has truth on its side, as its bride is Reason itself. The Catholic Church is cool that way.

        In other words, pretend you work for Catholic Answers, and are hosting a radio show. How do you convince your average, skeptical caller of the truth of some dogmatic issue–any issue–of the Catholic faith?

        Now, if someone says, “I’m Catholic, but I don’t buy the point about the hermeneutic of continuity,” we have to give reasons why this sort of cafeteria Catholic is wrong. But we cannot just say, “This pope says there is continuity.” That isn’t going to do much good. The cafeteria catholic is already quite aware of what the popes say.

        See what I’m saying?

        I content, along with many traditionalists, that the VII Church hasn’t done its homework when it comes to convincing the skeptics (read: traditionalists) concerning the point about continuity. I also contend that the VII Church will in this case have a difficult time doing this, as they do not, in this case, have the arguments or the truth on their side.

        Cheers.

        • HornOrSilk

          True traditionalists understand ecclesial authority and don’t follow Luther’s example.

          • contrarian

            Hi HoS,
            Actually, I would content that Luther’s example is being followed by those who simply accept, without good reason, what the VII Church says. Luther said that reason was a whore, and many Protestants hold to their dogmas for no other reason than what they think God is telling them, regardless of reasons. Protestants, that is, are voluntarists. Catholics, thank God, are not! :)
            We need a reason to accept continuity for a reason other than the arbitrary decrees of a Church. Truth is systematic and not arbitrary. Benedict condemns voluntarism in his Regensburg Address.
            Now, folks who believe in the hermeneutic of continuity no doubt have reasons for holding to this idea that are *not* arbitrary. What I’m saying is that these reasons are never given.

            Feel free to respond, but I’ll be stepping away here for a bit.

            Cheers.

            • HornOrSilk

              You just showed yourself to be just like Luther. He, too, thought he was the authoritative determiner of tradition and Christian thought. He believed, like you, the Pope erred and he had a right to determine this. You are the one who follows Luther in ignoring the authority of the Church and her leaders. You are following Luther in thinking your reading of the past trumps the Church’s reading.

            • ivan_the_mad

              That’s right. Striving to be faithful and orthodox to the Magisterium and the Pope makes you more like Luther. Being like Luther and proclaiming the Church in error and inferior to your own judgement in a matter is more Catholic. This is doublespeak worthy of a heresiarch.

            • bede the venerable

              I really appreciate your efforts to elevate the level and the tone of the discourse here in the comments. Your patience with the flippancy and outright rudeness is commendable, too.

              • HornOrSilk

                The flippancy and rudeness is found in the hyper-trad rejection of the Church.

              • contrarian

                Thanks bede. Love your handle.
                Cheers.

        • ivan_the_mad

          I am speaking to a Catholic who knowingly contradicts the Magisterium and disingenuously cloaks himself in the mantle of tradition.

          There is no VII Church. There is but one; one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic. That is what the traditionalist believes, because that is the tradition. You will stop using such false and divisive terms. The traditionalist does not pit himself against the Magisterium. You are no traditionalist.

          The bottom line is that you don’t presume yourself right and the Church is wrong until the Church convinces you otherwise. If you are not satisfied with reasoning, you are free to search for an explanation until you are satisfied. You will not sow dissent by wrongly proclaiming your judgement superior to that of the Church and her Magisterium.

          St. Tommy tells us what knowingly positing the contradiction of Church teaching is: “On the other hand the will may freely incline the intellect to adhere to tenets declared false by the Divine teaching authority of the Church. The impelling motives are many: intellectual pride or exaggerated reliance on one’s own insight; the illusions of religious zeal; the allurements of political or ecclesiastical power; the ties of material interests and personal status; and perhaps others more dishonourable. Heresy thus willed is imputable to the subject and carries with it a varying degree of guilt; it is called formal, because to the material error it adds the informative element of ‘freely willed’.”

          • contrarian

            Hi Ivan,
            Great response.
            I certainly reject the idea that the new masses are in continuity. I guess we’ll have to differ on whether I’m disingenuously cloaking myself in tradition. Moreover, I’m quite happy to find out I’m not a traditionalist. I agree that labels can be confusing. Quite frankly, I’m happy being called whatever you feel is the most appropriate label for me. Labels, as you know, do not address arguments. Nomina significat ad placitum (sorry–you seem like a smart fellow, so I assume you know a bit of Latin. ;)).
            And obviously, given my stance, I don’t think the Tommy quote applies to me, though I certainly appreciate this perspective.
            Perhaps, then, we might proceed by assuming I’m a Methodist, who has read through the orations and scripture readings of the 1962 missal and then a years (or three year’s) worth of Magnificats.
            The Methodist says, “How the heck can a Catholic talk about a hermeneutic of continuity? I don’t see it.”
            Is there no way to respond to the Methodist? Assuming that the only route for the Catholic is to simply accept what the church says, I’m going to conclude that there’s nothing to say to the Methodist here. Certainly, he won’t care about docility to the magisterium, and he won’t care that a pope said the two masses are squared up, nuf said.
            Nuf said my foot! says the Methodist.
            So the Methodist is wrong.
            Why?
            Is the only thing we can respond to the Methodist is, “Look, you have to be Catholic to understand.” ?

            You can have the last word. Thanks for the exchange, Ivan.

            • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

              Please note that the Magnificat is NOT the NO equivalent of the 1962 Missal. The 1970+ missals are. The Monthly Missalettes in the pews are at least functional equivalents.

              The Magnificat is a monthly magazine, which I have read on many occasions, that does contains the Scriptural readings for the Masses each month, along with reading aids, reflections, commentary, and also articles on other subjects. But it does not contain any of the other prayers or the Ordo of the Mass; in other words, it is not a missal at all.

              That you don’t know this is a good sign that you have very little acquaintance with the NO or general Catholic culture outside your little bubble, and are in the position of the average Methodist you cite in this regard.

              Try being Catholic and maybe YOU will understand.

              • contrarian

                Hi Lori,
                Thanks for the reply. Awesome. Let’s say the Methodist was reading the 1970+ missals then. Perfect.
                My point still applies. The hermeneutic of continuity cannot be sui generisly believed for no reason whatsoever. For every other pronouncement of the magisterium–from the assumption of Mary to its pronouncements on commerce–we have reasons, independent of the magisterial pronouncement, of accepting the pronouncement.
                What’s our reply to the Methodist reading the 1970+ missals, given that he won’t accept the pronouncement of continuity?? We have to give him reasons independent of the pronouncement of continuity that shows that there is in fact continuity, in that he’s wrong for thinking that this idea is wrong.
                What. Are. These. Reasons?

                :)

                Also, Lori. You seem like a nice person. You’d do well to take a different tone on these threads.
                Cheers.

                • ivan_the_mad

                  What reason do you have to believe that you could be right when the Magisterium of the Church is wrong? How can that be possible when the Magisterium enjoys protection of the Holy Spirit and you do not? Or did I miss the part in scripture where you were granted that in addition to the apostles, and in case of a tie your paper mitre would win out?

                  That really is the crux of the matter. You are not here in a spirit of inquiry. *You* decided, and persist in asserting, that the Magisterium is wrong and you are right. That is heresy.

                  • contrarian

                    Hi Ivan,
                    It’s not just me. It’s a whole movement, as it were. And I’m not, nor is anyone else of my ilk, basing our reasons for not finding continuity on subjective preferences or an arbitrary urge to assert our own authority. Quite frankly, I find some of the older teachings that the new mass dodges to be quite regrettable. I don’t particularly like them!
                    And as mentioned, I’m a pretty craptastic Catholic personally. The reasons for seeing problems with the Church’s insistence on continuity, as mentioned in this thread and the other thread, are manifest. I can happily give you more reading material on this, if you like, from people who give this position much more forcefully, and much more intelligently. Do check them out. I am but a casual commenter on a fine blog. :)
                    The arguments need to be addressed, though. When someone challenges any other area of Catholic teaching, we can give rational responses, and we do not simply have to say, “Be a good Catholic and do what the Church says!” The Church has truth on its side, and therefore it has Reason and argument on its side. That’s the beauty of our religion.
                    That you quite clearly cannot argue for your position here, and that you instead insist that I be, sui generisly, blindly obedient to a teaching on a whim (like any good Protestant?), and that you are otherwise giving the equivalent of ‘talk to the hand’ instead of engaging in rational debate, shows that you don’t know the answer to these challenges or have the explanations handy, nor have you a good response to these arguments.

                    And believe me: that’s ok. I don’t expect you to know, as the arguments haven’t been properly addressed by anyone, let alone you. I’m not saying you’re some dummy. You’re clearly a smart guy. But you (or I should say, EVEN you, given that you are a bright fellow) can’t answer the simple request. Hence, the thriving nature of this movement, one that I’m only tangentially a part of. :)

                    I should add. Most Sundays, you’ll find me and my wife and kids at a Novus Ordo church in Queens. I find trouble finding continuity, but I don’t find the new mass invalid, and I’m often too lazy to schlep to Manhattan on the subway early on a Sunday morning (or the cemetery here) with my little monsters in tow. :)

                    Anyway. That’s probably it for now. I wish you well.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      From the fellow who’s yet to give any argument in favor of his position aside from gratuitous assertions, here or in earlier threads.

                      Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

                      These books, by the way … any of them have a current nihil obstat and imprimatur?

                    • contrarian

                      Hi Ivan,
                      You might well be right that I’m assuming too much regarding who has read what thread. My argument is the same argument made by many trads: the new mass has chucked and santized important Catholic-specific teachings, and has a majorly different didactic push as a result. In no meaningful sense can the two masses be called continuous with each other. This can be proven by a reading of the different masses, along with the hypothetical experiment I recommend be done. I guess I feel like a broken record, but blog threads are like that sometimes. No worries.
                      I guess we’ll have to differ as to what constitutes a gratuitous assertion. As my argument is empirical/textual, it speaks for itself.
                      Cheers.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      There is no argument here, but assertions. Gratuitous assertions. You have no authority. The trads have no authority. Do you deny the dogmas and doctrines which give us the Magisterium? Has God broken His promise?

                • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

                  Hi contrarian,

                  Show me that there is such a Methodist and that he doesn’t see the continuity and I’ll play. As it is, your idea is sheer speculation. My guess is that more than likely he won’t see anything but how each Catholic service differs from the Methodist one. Or he’ll see the general continuity insofar as both forms of the Mass differs from his service.

                  You just naturally seem to accept that all “unprejudiced” people see this as you do. Don’t count on it. The continuity is there for huge numbers of Catholics, including myself. I believe it is there for many outside the Church as well.

                  And what does any of this have to do with your need to accept the Magisterium?

                  I’m sorry if I seemed testy in my tone. You were obviously unaware of some of your errors and accept correction well. I didn’t really mean that you are not Catholic. I just wanted you to see that you need a lot more study in this area.

                  • contrarian

                    Hi Lori,
                    Good point re a Methodist (which, in that famous line from A River Runs Through It, is described as a Baptist who can read….heh!). I was throwing out a random Protestant denomination as a hypothetical.
                    I can, however, speak from experience–and to make this real for you– and tell you that lots of confessional (read: traditionalist) Lutherans (I should know, I used to be one) have trouble seeing how Vatican II didn’t jump the shark.
                    So, I’m speaking from experience. In my Lutheran grade school, we were taught that the old Catholic Church was heretical, and the new Catholic Church is schizophrenic. :)
                    My Lutheran pastor friend, for example, makes fun of my Novus Ordo Mass–good heartedly. As does my Lutheran pastor father, who nows Latin fluently, and will always call me on Sunday morning to tell me what the shared Intrioit that the traditionalist Catholic and traditionalist Lutherans share for that Sunday, and the scripture readings they share, and then say, nah nah! I bet you didn’t get that at your Novus Ordo mass this morning! (believe me, we get along great, but he finds Vatican II to be a joke. He says, ‘You guys realize how different your new mass is, right?).

                    But again, who cares what they say. Isn’t that what *you* were saying? They are Lutherans, so what do they know?

                    Perhaps….we have to deal with the arguments themselves, and not figure out who is holding to them (after all, what do you care what some stuffy Lutherans say about modern Catholicism?). Why not engage the Catholic traditionalists? There are a lot of nice folks in their midst.
                    Again, I encourage you to read Cekada’s work. I can loan you mine, if you wish.
                    All the best. :)

                    • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

                      I have heard Fr. Cekeda talk,(on the radio) and he doesn’t have anything to say of any interest except for his misapprehensions of Vatican II.

                      Certainly it’s no surprise to learn that some sectors of the Lutheran Church still have some prayers from the 1500′s that the Church has dropped since the Council. Well, what of it? And if they think the Mass since Vatican II is “different” what does that mean? Is this some sort of standard you want to apply to the Mass as a Catholic?

                      As I said, there is only one standard you should have as a Catholic, and it is the Magisterium.

                      I don’t know if “the hermeneutic of continuity”* is even part of the Magisterium or not, but I don’t think you have understood it correctly in any case. “Continuity” doesn’t means “exactly the same in all respects.” Obviously there are many differences between the two Masses. Nobody denies this. The proper hermeneutic of continuity is that we don’t measure and judge everything by the differences alone, and most certainly don’t exaggerate the differences, and moan and wring our hands over them. Rather we are to look more toward what is the same. Try this sometime, and you will find that the Mass is the same in its essence. I would say that 80 percent or more of the New Mass comes either from the 1962 form or from liturgical prayers that are still more ancient.

                      In all seriousness, I hope this will help, because you are really floundering around and in need of help. I am encouraged to hear that you do go to the NO most Sundays. (And yet you’ve never noticed that people don’t use the Magnificat to follow the Mass?). So your rejection of the VII Mass is apparently more of a notion with you than anything. All to the good.

                      ——————

                      *To be absolutely accurate, the text of Benedict XVI, from which this saying comes, which is a 2005 address to the Curia, speaks of the “hermeneutic of renewal reform in continuity with” the Church’s past. I guess this was just a bit too much for some people :-)

                    • contrarian

                      Hi Lori,
                      Thanks for the response. I understand the issues, believe me. You’ll have to be more specific if you think I’m floundering. My point is that the didactic push is so different in the two masses as to be qualitatively different things, with different theologies. I’m concentrating here, but I could also make a point about the inherent irreverence of the new mass, along with its inherent influence on heteropraxis. But these points are more contentious. It is much less conentious to point out that many Catholic teachings were chucked. That’s easy to point out. IT’s just a matter of reading the text.
                      Merely for this, not the least of which for the issues I don’t get into, the two masses are not continuous in any sense in which the word ‘continuous’ could be taken seriously.
                      I use the phrase hermeneutic of continuity as short hand. I’m familiar with Benedict’s original phrasing. I’m a philosophy professor and have issues with the word ‘hermeneutic’. :)
                      Trad Lutherans see the mass of Paul VI as jumping the shark because it chucked major Catholic teachings (most notably, many of the teachings that the Lutherans saw as heretical), as mentioned earlier, and sanitized the scripture readings.
                      It’s a sanitized mass, given the content of the orations, even in its most reverent form, and even with all serious faces and communion on the tongue and Marty Haugen nowhere in sight or sound.
                      That’s the argument, based on the content of the prayers. :)
                      All the best.

                    • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

                      It’s easy enough to say all this. Please give a specific example.

                      I would appreciate it if your example of things that have been “chucked” didn’t fall under one of the following categories.

                      1) Something was removed from a particular text but is still a part of other Mass texts, or has even been added to them. This doesn’t count as “chucked” in my book. For instance, people complain about how references to “sacrifice” were removed from the Offertory. They never notice, to my knowledge, that the 1969 Missal added to the simple “This is my body” in the Roman canon the words “which is given up for you,” thus completing the woefully lacking sense of sacrifice in the Eucharistic prayer itself.

                      2) Something was removed from the Mass, such as references to the Archangel Michael, say. Does this mean that the Church has ceased believing in St. Michael the Archangel? Demonstrably not. So this does not count as “chucked” either.

                    • contrarian

                      Hi Lori,
                      Sorry for the delay. Real world got in the way. I just wrote up a quick response to your very reasonable request, but I realize now that it runs to about 1700 words. I’ll happily post it here in a comment box, if you don’t think that’s weird. :) I’m too busy to go and edit it anymore. :)

                    • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

                      Go ahead and reply and if it’s too much for the combox, just click on my name at the top of my comments, go to my website, and you will find my e-mail address. Unfortunately, real world is intruding with me, and I might not be able to reply right away.

                    • contrarian

                      Great, Lori.

                      Don’t worry about responding. We are both busy people, so do what you can. So here’s where’s I’m coming from.

                      Thanks again, and all the best.

                      ………………………

                      Apologies for the late reply.
                      The real world got in the way. Ok, I wrote this up quickly, as these things go, so I apologize for
                      the typos. You want some examples. Very fair. This is a bit long, but I promise
                      that this is all I’ll say. We are both busy people, and have real lives and
                      duties, so perhaps we can call it
                      a wrap after this. Though certainly, I’ll read whatever you reply.

                      Keep in mind that I’m
                      referring to the Latin texts of the Mass of Paul VI, and not the 1973 ICEL
                      (i.e., ‘Oh God, you are nice. Help us to be nice too.’) In what follows, I’m
                      talking about the Latin of the new Mass, or ‘what the prayer (in the new mass) really
                      says.’ :)

                      The old mass contains
                      around 1200 orations. Through the many years, the missal was tweaked and changed in small ways for certain days of the year. A few orations in, a few orations out–some editing of some
                      stuff, etc. But for the Mass of Paul VI, the makers dropped entirely over 750 orations. Of the remaining prayers that the new mass kept, and that
                      therefore the old and new masses have in common (technically), the makers of the new mass edited and re-wrote over half of those. So, as a result, the new Mass contains almost entirely different prayers than the mass used up until that point. It was not a tweak, that is. The New Mass–it’s an entirely new thing.

                      Why create an entirely new
                      thing?

                      One thing to point out quickly: huge change per se is not a bad thing. A trad is ‘not against change’ or scared of change. Change is great. So why do trads say that the
                      new mass is nevertheless problematic? Well, this is because the makers of the
                      new mass systematically removed 1) hard teachings and 2) Catholic
                      specific teachings. Certainly, a Venn Diagram would show overlap between 1 and
                      2, but I separate them because they are relevant for me as a former Lutheran. My old Lutheran Mass, one which contained many of the old prayers in common
                      with the old Catholic Mass, held on to the first category, but not the second.

                      That is, the makers of the new mass removed many or all references to—and here’s a short list (and please
                      note that this list collapses the first and second categories): the evil of sin, the divine and just wrath of God, original sin, the sin of Adam and the suffering that followed, our deserved death, the pain of this world, perdition,
                      hell, the wickedness of heresy, our hatred of this world and the longing for the next, our guilt over sin, the warring angles, the merits of the saints, the
                      mass as propitiation, the evil work of Satan, our immortal souls, purgation, the perpetual virginity of Our Lady, the power of the saints, the heroic virtues and powers of the saints, our weak and evil wills, the loss of heaven, the
                      virtues of fasting and mortification, the word SOUL (anima) (e.g., the mass for
                      All Souls Day, or what trads jokingly call ‘No Souls Day’, in the Mass in the Paul VI version does not contain the word anima in nine of its orations, and
                      there is only a faint ‘implication’ of purgation in these prayers!), the Church Militant, the Kingship of Christ, etc. On over 200 occasions in the old mass, the orations make reference to the merits of the saints. There are only 11 such
                      references in the new mass, and only three are mandatory (more on the
                      ‘optional’ variants below), and none fall on a Sunday.

                      No doubt, the old orations make many references to the unending love of God. The old mass isn’t all doom
                      and gloom. THOSE *parts* of the prayers that were sunny could remain in the new mass, and certainly prayers that *only* spoke of such positive (and Christian-generic) things could remain in the new mass.

                      ……………………….

                      *On a side note, I was led
                      to believe by conservative Catholics, contrary to what my trad-Lutheran teachers taught, that the only reason the orations of the new mass seemed so
                      sanitized relative to my old Lutheran mass and the old Catholic mass was that the 1973 ICEL was so screwy. I became suspicious of this Catholic conservative thesis
                      after the new translations went into effect recently, since things still seemed so sanitized even after the new translations were being used. Go figure, after a
                      bit of reading, my suspicions were confirmed. The curmudgeon old trads, along
                      with my trad-Lutheran teachers (who all know Latin well), were saying this stuff for years!

                      ……………………….
                      So, again: as to the hard stuff and Catholic specific stuff–these words and phrases–depending on the
                      word–were either entirely and systematically omitted, as mentioned, or they were *almost* entirely omitted (and moved to days that most people wouldn’t
                      attend Mass–certainly, you won’t get references to the wickedness of heresy for a Sunday Mass’s collect!).

                      Now, I’m guessing you know all of this. But you seem to imply that the *words themselves* don’t matter, or
                      that–quite frankly–none of this matters. I disagree, most certainly. But even if I grant your point about words, we have to understand that in the new mass, many Catholic-specific *concepts* were omitted or moved or edited or softened.

                      The editors made sure that where these ‘hard’ words and phrases remained, or even where the difficult ‘concept’ remained in the old prayer, that they were more often than not coupled with softer or even conflicting concepts. A good
                      example of this is the ‘Blessed are you Lord’ prayer, sain in EVERY mass, and quite laughable to trad-Lutherans,
                      incidentally (since it cheapens the Real Presence), that’s stuck right
                      before the words of institution. OF course, this last argument is one of (trad) interpretation and not of (objective) empirical data per se, so you might say I’m cheating
                      here, vis a vis my thesis. So more on that later.

                      The three-year lectionary
                      did much the same thing: it sanitized the presentation of the
                      Catholic-specific faith, and replaced it not with a heretical faith, but a softer, generic *Christian* faith (we can think of it like concentric circles:
                      to reject generic Christianity is to reject Catholicism, but not vice versa).
                      The mass of Paul VI allows many of the ‘hard’ or ‘Catholic specific’ passages
                      found in scripture to remain off the page, and out of the mouths of the lectors. The new lectionary *gives the lector the option* to purge difficult
                      passages. This is why, to give an easy example, we cannot rightly speak of
                      ‘liturgical abuse’ when hardly any Paul VI pew missal in America has 1. Corinthians
                      11: 27ff printed in it–not for Maundy Thursday, and not for Corpus Christi!! It
                      ‘prudently’ stops at vs. 26. It’s not abuse, pace Ivan’s comment below, to not read nor even *print* verses
                      27ff, since they do not officially have to read or print them, according to the rules of the creators of the new mass! If no one is breaking any rules by not reading those verses, we can’t call it abuse.

                      (There are many examples of this, but this particular example comes to
                      mind right away for me, since an unsanitized 1. Corinthians 11 was read every
                      single Mass at my former trad-Lutheran Church, as part of the Liturgy of the
                      Eucharist.)

                      Moreover, the new lectionary moves around gospel and epistle couplings for various feast days to
                      emphasize different themes. Thus, for Corpus Christi, in the new mass, the readings are the feeding of the five thousand and a sanitized 1. Corinthians
                      11, instead of (in the old missal and in the trad-Lutheran missal) an unsanitized 1 Corinthians 11 and John
                      6:53ff. Very different ideas come across in the coupling, no?

                      But again, you might say
                      that I’m here making an interpretative point and not an empirical one, and
                      therefore I’m changing tunes. Fair enough. So let’s talk about that.

                      I mentioned that we could write up an exam and give it to 100 people of the same intelligence level who
                      were all ignorant of Catholicism. We have fifty read through the old missal, and fifty read through the new one (you said the 1970+ missals…great! You can
                      choose which is the best). I think this could be done, and it would show that
                      those who read through the old mass would get out of it a greater understanding
                      of Catholic-specific dogma. I think this is manifestly true, and I’d love to write up the exam with the help of someone who was convinced I was wrong, but
                      who took Catholic dogma seriously (like, say, you). This study could be
                      done. If you were interested, we could probably do this an get it published.

                      But quite frankly, to make
                      my empirical point about (the lack of) continuity, we don’t even have to make an exam. We merely have to make a questionaire, like they do for psychology
                      studies.

                      Give all of them a bunch
                      of questions like this:

                      1. In your reading of the
                      orations and scripture readings for a year/three years, how important did the
                      masses give to the notion of propitiation? ………..

                      Not at all important

                      Somewhat not important

                      Somewhat important

                      Important

                      Very important

                      2. How important did the
                      masses give to the notion of the Eucharist as a community event? ……………

                      Not at all important

                      Somewhat not important

                      Somewhat important

                      Important

                      Very important

                      Et cetera.

                      My hypothesis–and this empirical study can be done!!–is that those who read through the old missal
                      would give much different answers than those who read through three year’s worth of the masses of Paul VI on this questionaire. I would hypothesize that
                      we would see a particular sort of charting emerge: we would see consistent answers among the 50 who read the old masses, and consistent answers among the
                      50 who read through the new masses, but profound inconsistency between the two
                      groups as a whole.

                      It’s important to do it this way, because this entirely bypasses Marty Haugen and communion in the hand and things like that. Not the point. As far as the questionaire takers know, none of this stuff goes on (remember, they are entirely ignorant of Catholicism prior to reading through their respective missal).

                      That alone would validate my empirical point about lack of *continuity* and differing didactic pushes and foci, in that it would label as trivial any conception of ‘continuity’ still to
                      be believed.

                      However, the questionaire alone
                      would not make my point about the *superiority* of the old mass vis a vis knowledge of Catholic-specific doctrine, however. For that we would need the
                      exam.

                      One more thing. For a debate like this to continue, both sides would have to establish falsifiability
                      criteria. A hermeneutic can’t be falsified: everything can always be *interpreted* to be in line with what you want. This is why a ‘hermeneutic’ is not helpful—or really, why its
                      too ‘hazy’ (as even current cardinals in our great church have said about the writings of the VII Council).

                      So falsifiability criteria
                      are needed. If, based on the criteria, no (quantifiable) difference in Catholic knowledge or ‘sense’ could be shown (I’d study that more and then give a specific,
                      agreed-upon variable), and/or if no difference in didactic push could be charted (based on the answers given in the questionnaire), I would happily concede
                      that I was completely wrong. That’s the beauty of the falsifiability criteria.

                      Then again, if you decided
                      that your falsifiability criteria were such that even though the empirical charting should show manifestly different didactic emphases between the masses,
                      and radically different senses, if this STILL did nothing touch *your* falsifiability criteria, then at that point, we couldn’t have a debate.

                      Also, you might say (and
                      this seems to be Ivan’s very good point): ‘You’re Catholic, so it’s your job to believe the Church’s hermeneutic, and not your own!’

                      But remember:

                      I’m conceding from the
                      beginning that what I’m doing is NOT, per the ideas of you and Ivan, what a
                      ‘good’ Catholic would do. I’m wanting you to deal with the arguments of the
                      ‘bad’ Catholics and dissenters on terms that both parties can agree to. We
                      cannot have loaded dice. That’s now how good debate proceeds. The Church knows
                      this, which is why it has always attracted skeptics and made so many converts
                      among the intellectual class. If this can’t be done
                      when it comes to the continuity point, then the official party line has to be changed.

                      Oh–as to omissions, e.g,
                      of St. Michael in the new mass from the confession (and lots of other places),
                      etc.. The claim I’m making isn’t that the Church changed its teaching, but that
                      they purged the Mass of Paul VI of that teaching, or ‘softened’ this teaching so much that those 50 who read through the mass would get an entirely different sense of the importance of, e.g., St. Michael, who defends us in battle. There’s the difference.

                      This goes for all of the hard
                      teachings and Catholic specific teachings I mention above. The Church wanted to
                      give a different didactic push in the new mass; they wanted to give, in the words of one of the creators of the new mass, “new perspectives and new values”
                      to the mass participants. They didn’t actually have to officially change any Catholic teachings, per se. But given the changes in emphases, there is no non-trivial
                      conception of continuity between the masses, as per the study.

                      That’s the
                      thesis I’m making.

                      I’m not saying that the
                      teaching—any teaching!– of the Church itself changed. However, the Church would do well to officially say: “Look, we want Mass goers to get an entirely
                      difference sense of what it means to be Catholic (vis a vis mass attendance
                      only) now than what they got attending the old mass.” But the only people who
                      say things like that are….um….well…you tell ME who says things like that.” :)

                      The *superiority* of the old
                      mass—the correctness of that thesis, I suppose, would depend on what group of
                      fifty kids were better off at their end of the study, relative to traditional and Catholic-specific dogma. :) Again, we should make this test!

                      Certainly, I’m pretty sure
                      that the folks who run the National Catholic Reporter would have a different
                      conception of ‘superiority’ than me. :)

                      One more thing: I mentioned this previously, but certainly there’s no reason you’d know this: I more
                      often than not attend an NO Church, here in the deep recesses of Queens. I
                      think the new mass is perfectly valid, despite the problems with it I chart
                      here. I’m sometimes too lazy and tired to schlep my family to the OF in
                      Manhattan or here in the Queens cemetery (no joke) or out in College Point
                      (twice a month on Friday mornings at 7 a.m.—no joke!) on Sunday mornings. Ivan said I wasn’t a trad. Probably not! At the very least, I’m a pretty lousy trad. He and you probably attend Latin Masses more often
                      than me!! At any rate, many trads in the middle country would envy the fact
                      that I was only a subway ride from a diocesan approved Latin Mass on a Sunday
                      morning, but didn’t attend it at every single opportunity!

                      All the best, and God Bless.

            • ivan_the_mad

              Labels serve as a useful shorthand for sets of first principles. I’m not interested in engaging in hypothetical apologetics, since each proceeds from a different set of first principles. You’re wasting my time. You can be candid, or you can be quiet.

              As Catholics, we assent to the Magisterium. We acknowledge its teaching authority in matters of faith and morals, and the infallibility of both the extraordinary and the ordinary. You clearly do not accept this, and consider your own judgement superior to that of the Church. Tommy pegged you squarely. You need to address this long before you address anything else. We are not Protestants, each man a church and authority unto himself.

              Comparing a missal to a devotional magazine? Really? Was that meant as a joke?

  • SteveP

    Mark: I do not know if I’m arch-conservative, arch-traditionalist, or arch-supported. That confusion aside, I’ve not seen any bouncers-at-Liturgy; you know — those burly-manly-men who stand at the door, check identification, take a bit of a bribe, and then let the people in question enter. Where can I go to see this interrogation of “gay” Catholics as they attempt to participate in the life of the Church?
    .
    What you posted elsewhere from C.S. Lewis is apt: “I have mentioned humility because male homos. . . are rather apt, the moment they find you don’t treat them with horror and contempt, to rush to the opposite pole and start implying that they are somehow superior to the normal type.”
    .
    I tire of hearing how superior is the suffering of the homosexual – none love like they, none suffer like they, none are bullied as they, none as fair-minded yet unheard as they, none as unwelcomed as they, etc. Belgau’s comment on the other article is an excellent case – in paraphrase — “it is those others who are the Pharisees while I am Christ himself!”
    .
    The only response I can muster is: show up at Liturgy or not. It is your choice as it is you who need account to the Father. If you do show up I’ll be grateful to pray with you. If you do not show up, I’ll be grateful to pray for you.

    • Robert Harris

      Your kindness will always be remembered.

  • Jared B.

    “The orations of the old mass (over the course of an entire year) are doctrinally fuller and richer than those of the new mass, and teach the Catholic faith more authentically. The old mass is a greater didactic tool.”

    Is it just me, or is there nothing hostile to evangelism in that statement? Quite the opposite, I think. Evangelism has to communicate the Gospel, so what is so anti-evangelistic about showing some concern for whether the liturgy is effectively communicating the actual content of the faith? You can’t give what you don’t have; all that guy seemed to be saying was that the E.F. Mass “has it” a bit more than the O.F. Mass does. Whether that is an accurate or fair assessment of those two forms of the Latin Rite is of course debatable, but the argument itself is that the Ordinary Form isn’t evangelizing *enough*.

    In my personal experience one of the barriers to Catholic evangelism is That Awkward Moment (coming soon on Catholic Memes ;) ) when you feel it’s time to invite someone to come to Mass with you, but the typical (read: one in which you don’t have to drive 50 miles out of your way to attend) Novus Ordo Mass is, shall we say, cringe-worthy. It’s effectively a convert-repellent, and I’m saying that as a convert who read the Catechism, then attended my first Mass at the nearby parish…and had to take a while getting over the feeling, “Well, if *this* is the way to worship the God I’ve been reading about in scripture / the Catechism / Church Fathers / etc., then what is all the fuss about? I’m getting mixed messages—I expected to take this seriously or not?” The E.F. is not perfect, but at least it does not create that unpleasant cognitive dissonance, whether we are called by the God of St. Teresa of Avila or “We Are Called” by David Haas.

    • contrarian

      Jared B,
      Your point about the convert-repellent NO Church is very important, and worthy of its own thread!
      That Awkward Moment indeed!
      Great point.

    • chezami

      Meh. I live in Seattle, home of the Ridiculous Suburbanized Mass. You can still find a decent one–and without a subculture full of nutty anti-semites, spiritually superior Pharisees, and butthurt martyrs.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Depends on what is considered so cringe-worthy and repellant. The Star Wars themed First Communion in Germany that Mark posted about a few months ago was double-full-body-cringe. Our college campus priest consistently preaching that Jesus’s message was all about community building–cringe. And I know a lovely priest who enjoys opening his sermons with the more horrid puns, but I don’t cringe because he follows it up with really good teachings on the scriptures. Is a NO cringe-worthy just because it is the NO? Is it just because the hymns sung were written after 1970? Is it because the cantor gets totally lost on the high notes or thinks vibrato applies to every measure? Is it because there is no music at all? Is it because the priest’s homily isn’t about the gospel, readings and Church teaching? Because there are altar girls? Or are people being openly disrespectful during mass (I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard people complain about Catholics on their cell phones during Mass, kids playing handheld games, children old enough to take communion snacking during mass, etc.)?

      • Stu

        Rebecca,

        I think for many it is that you do encounter such things. I shared this story before. In my 20 year Naval career, I moved over 13 times all over the country. One of the big stress issues was always finding a parish with no “wackiness” during the Mass. In my time, I saw it all: Father Flapdoodle and his questionable theology, “Koolaid” pitchers for consecrating the Precious Blood, lay people invited to lay their hands on priests, aggressive hand holders during the Our Father, “Eucharistic Ministers” in jeans and Obama t-shirts up on the altar, asking visitors to stand up so that we can clap for them (I guess because they found the church?), singing happy birthday once a month during Mass, etc. The worst was a Parish in Washington State where people were, throughout the church, talking and eating all through Mass and even during the Consecration. (Thankfully we found refuge in Our Lady Star of the Sea (Bremerton) with Father Freitag).

        As a Catholic, I don’t have to be subjected to that and shouldn’t be that way. Further, I casually dismiss kneejerk claims of “phariseeism” any time someone brings up such nonsense or takes action have it addressed. And in case you are wondering, at some of my parishes I did make some head way in getting things realigned.

        Ultimately, I voted with my feet. I went to EF and found peace. Further, I can go to any EF in the World and almost certainly find the same thing over and over. Is it a cure all? Certainly not as men are involved but I think that is what many who go to the EF want.

        The most beautiful OF Mass I ever attended was in Hanceville at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. The missalettes called it the Mass of Vatican II. I ‘ve always wondered if visitors read that and wonder why their Mass back at home is so different. I do love Mother Angelica.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          We had a priest in TX who had a rich love for the liturgy. I loved his masses (And he was a fine confessor as well), and miss them. I’ve lived most of my life in a sparsely populated, mostly rural, politically conservative diocese. We might sing happy birthday at the end of mass, and jeans often make an appearance (Because in this part of the country, dressing up means the boots without any manure on them), but I’ve come to realize that our Catholics are very respectful before, during and after mass. I often wonder if the farming/ranching environment that necessarily values responsibility, hard work and respect for authority has helped prevent some of the casualness you describe.

          I think my sister went to Our Lady Star of the Sea when she was in Bremerton, though I know she often rode over to Everett and attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help with our grandmother.

        • enness

          Yeah, that’s some pretty bad stuff.
          I almost lost it to hear applause for the choir on Good Friday at a church that shall remain nameless. Most other days, whatever…but who would feel like applauding at the foot of the Cross?

    • Marthe Lépine

      Memories from my childhood do not lead me to think that the old way of saying mass was doing much evangelism – even the readings were in Latin! At a time when Latin had truly been a “dead” language anywhere else than the Church and most people did not have the means to attend those Catholic private colleges where it was still taught, or the motivation to purchase fancy prayer books in two columns, one in Latin and the other in French or English. (My parents did make sure that my brother and myself did have age-appropriate versions of those missals, but not everyone did.) And during the same period of time (granted it was a long time ago since I am now 71 years old) many Catholics in my area, the very Catholic province of Quebec, were under the erroneous but widely spread impression that they were not allowed to read the Bible on their own. (Another error that my parents knew enough to avoid; they kept the Bible on the coffee table.) And very often the homily had nothing to do with the readings. What on earth is even a Catholic going to learn from a priest with his back to to the congregation mumbling the Gospel in some incomprehensible language? Many of the older people spent their whole time at Mass saying their rosary and did not seem to understand anything of what was going on around them, except when it was time to receive Communion. This is the reason I readily accepted the new Mass (the one you call NO) as soon as it was introduced.

      • Beadgirl

        This was my mom’s experience with the older form, and she (very devout, very orthodox) absolutely does not want to go back.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          My grandmother’s as well. Nor does she want to go back at all.

          • James

            My great-aunt, still alive at 89, misses the Old Mass and still has her childhood hand-missal. She says, “Did they think we were dummies or something? We knew what was going on! Ask your typical massgoer today if they believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, and you’ll be shocked at how few do.” Of course, it all was passed down: from parents to children, and from popes to popes and bishops to bishops. It was a GIVEN thing, a treasure out of the mists of ancient eras, not something each generation creates anew. Then it all got thrown out for a new creation crafted by a committee in Rome. Is is any wonder that virtually my entire family fell away in the chaos of lex orandi/lex credendi? My father said he got the impression around 1970 that everything in the Church was man-made, ready to be suddenly altered on a whim by the pope or a bishop or priest. It was a traumatic experience for him. Now he’s a Baptist because, he says, at least the BIBLE doesn’t change to suit the zeitgeist. I think too many people here minimize the trauma inflicted by all the novelties on so many loyal, pious Catholics of that time. Not one part of the liturgy and devotional culture was left untouched, and following the wholesale changes was doctrinal chaos which has never since abated.

            • Marthe Lépine

              I just cannot resist this As you mentioned a “new creation crafted by a committee” an old joke came back to mind: A camel is a horse designed by a committee!

            • Rebecca Fuentes

              It seems like there was a pretty big break down of “passing things on” in many families. Maybe someone older than I can answer if the attitude that, “The Church will teach the kids everything” suddenly and magically appeared the minute VII ended, or if parents were abdicating their responsibility to teach the faith to their children before then. According to my grandparents, on both sides, the attitude was present long before the council. It’s why my grandfather, a convert from the Presbyterian church, made sure he knew his Catholic faith well and that his children did too–even though they were in a Catholic school and getting religion class every day.

      • enness

        “except when it was time to receive Communion”
        Sounds like they understood enough.

  • Irksome1

    Having often been on the receiving end of any number of unflattering psychoanalytic diagnoses or uncharitable accusations that what I say I’m concerned about conceals ulterior motives, I hesitate to do the same for Traditionalists, even though they make it SO very tempting.

    • Stu

      It might be your avatar. ;)

  • An Aaron, not The Aaron

    I’m happy to call people what they want me to call them. Generally, I think that is only polite. However, I can’t do that when what they want me to call them is a lie or would harm them. The question I have, then, is whether or not calling someone “gay” violates either of those exceptions. I get the human tendency to identify oneself by that which makes one stand out from the herd. Is that tendency part of the drive to identify as “gay?” Is the experience of the guy struggling to suppress his desire for the man in the next cubicle all that different from that of the married man struggling to suppress his desire for the woman in the next cubicle? What I mean is, what is the difference on a day to day basis that inspires the first man to adopt those desires to the extent that he would identify himself as a “gay Catholic” (whether or not he ever acts upon them) where the second man wouldn’t even think of calling himself an “adulterer Catholic?” Both desires are disordered in the sense that they are not ordered to the good of the human person (which is what the Church means when she calls something “disordered”). Part of my struggle is figuring out whether calling someone gay (even when they request that I do so) aids or inhibits a healthy outlook on their own sexuality (yes, I know its not my job to police anyone else’s sexuality, but we still have an obligation not to help people jump off moral cliffs). I know people have commented that “gay” is used in different ways. That’s fine, but I think that also might be part of the problem with using it. It is too imprecise. If anyone who wants to be called gay can help me out here, I’d appreciate it. How does calling you “gay” get you closer to God? By the way, I’m genuinely asking, not looking for a fight. What am I missing here?

    • Robert Harris

      “Is the experience of the guy struggling to suppress his desire for the man in the next cubicle all that different from that of the married man struggling to suppress his desire for the woman in the next cubicle? What I mean is, what is the difference on a day to day basis that inspires the first man to adopt those desires to the extent that he would identify himself as a “gay Catholic” (whether or not he ever acts upon them) where the second man wouldn’t even think of calling himself an “adulterer Catholic?””

      Based on the way just about everyone reads CCC 2358-’59, yes, it is different. It isn’t different in some bad way that’s worthy of stigmatism, but it’s different enough to get quite a lot of ink spilled over the course of (particularly recent) Church history. No other disordered appetite warrants the sort of language that is found in the Catechism or anywhere else. No other one.

      What I find so annoying about hetero commentary on this matter is that it tends to be so schizophrenic. “It” is so different when trying to beat orthodoxy over someone’s head yet, at the same time, “it” isn’t so different when merely discussing semantics with the orthodox.

      I don’t have some ‘desire’ to be called gay and I don’t think many gay people actually do. What I have a problem with is the irrationality that so often arises when Catholics try to co-opt gay Catholics into their political kultur-kampf with gay activism by saying “you’re not really gay; gay is a political term”, while trying to “other” gay people in general by using CCC 2358 to promote the idea that gay people are somehow deficient in some special way. It’s like telling your overweight daughter who feels horrible about herself in her moment of distress that we all have things about our physiology we wish we could change and that she’ll never be happy until she loves herself and realizes that her weight is just one thing that makes her unique just like everybody else, but then in the same breath telling her in a brusque, off-hand way that her eating is horrible, she should be more active, and that she should lose some weight if she wants to feel better about herself, reemphasizing the shame she already feels. There’s a kernel of truth in each approach, but when they’re coupled side-by-side, it’s just one huge ball of irrationality.

      And honestly, if “gay” is a political term, I’m taking the ever-stupid, ever-annoying “SSA” right down along with it. They’re merely two sides of the same political coin. They’re two banners in the same culture war. That’s why I call myself gay. I refuse to participate and I would swallow glass before I was ever co-opted by my fellow Catholics in order to merely be some political prop.

      • An Aaron, not The Aaron

        I’m not sure how much of this was responsive to my question and how much was venting, but I’ll try to respond anyway. First, I didn’t say anything about politics. I don’t care if either term (“gay” or “SSA”) is co-opted for political purposes. I’m not using them that way. What I want to know is simply whether I can morally refer to someone as “gay.” Implicit in my question is that the struggles the two hypothetical men have are analogous in a moral sense. I don’t think you can defend the statement that special condemnation is reserved for homosexual acts in the Catechism. It doesn’t say anything good about any sexual act outside of the context of marriage. As to the ink spillage, I agree with you. But then, adulterers don’t throw pride parades. I’m sure the Church would love to talk about a lot of things other than sex, but people keep doing it wrong.

        One thing I think I should consider is that the Catechism refers to “homosexual persons” (CCC 2359). I don’t know if this can be used as evidence that the Church approves of catagorizing people in this manner or whether it is merely an acknowledgement that such a catagorization exists. Part of my problem is that calling oneself “gay” just feels so alienating, not just because it distinguishes the person who uses it from those around him, but because it distinguishes on the basis of a disordered appetite over which he has no control (by that I mean he can’t cut off all attraction to other men at the outset). That’s why I used the adulterer analogy. I just don’t know who would do that to himself. And that’s why I’m asking the question in the first place. Is the analogy off-base? If so, why?

        • Robert Harris

          You asked: “How does calling you “gay” get you closer to God?”

          My response was to that. Calling myself gay has nothing to do with being closer to God. It has everything to do with what I said, which I and others have observed and believe to be true.

          Moreover, while I’m often a sucker for sentimentality, it isn’t your job to get me closer to God. Your job is to be like him so that I see him through you. If what you want is for me to experience God more fully, do what you think God would do.

          “Implicit in my question is that the struggles the two hypothetical men have are analogous in a moral sense.”

          I won’t deny that. Where your analogy doesn’t quite come together is that the two scenarios aren’t comparable objectively (that is related to the two objects of desire). The straight, married man cannot have the woman, not because it is naturally forbidden, but because it’s circumstantially forbidden. The same doesn’t go for the gay man. That’s what makes them completely different.

          “I don’t think you can defend the statement that special condemnation is reserved for homosexual acts in the Catechism.”

          That’s interesting because I don’t believe anyone said anything specifically about acts. As I recall, we were discussing the inclination. As I recall, it’s CCC 2357 that discusses acts specifically. In the next paragraph the inclination is discussed.

          “As to the ink spillage, I agree with you. But then, adulterers don’t throw pride parades.”

          Well, that’s a good point. Other facts to consider are that adulterers don’t face near the amount of stigmatism and overt bigotry in the world as adulterers and most adulterers who ARE stigmatized are women, both in history (especially in history) and now. It seems that you have a rather shallow understanding of gay pride. As it turns out, only you can remedy that. A good first step would be not to make snide remarks about pride parades. As deplorable and tasteless as many of them are, there are more facets to gay pride than just floats and half-naked men (ie. lesbians exist and they have pride, too).

          “I’m sure the Church would love to talk about a lot of things other than sex, but people keep doing it wrong.”

          I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. The Church discusses lots of things. Catholic bloggers discuss lots of things. Catholics who make comments on Catholic blogs discuss lots of things. Many of them don’t involve sex. As a matter of fact, I would say most of them don’t directly or indirectly involve sex. I don’t know your interests or commenting habits, but as far as I can tell, this statement means nothing.

          “Part of my problem is that calling oneself “gay” just feels so alienating, not just because it distinguishes the person who uses it from those around him, but because it distinguishes on the basis of a disordered appetite over which he has no control (by that I mean he can’t cut off all attraction to other men at the outset).”

          Now, this is where you’re just moving off of your territory onto mine. The only person for whom the feeling of the word matters is for people who actually deal with the circumstance. You can feel however you want about it, but it’s immaterial. Sorry, but not sorry.

          I accept the Church’s teaching on sexuality. As it happens, the Church doesn’t actually teach anything concerning what we are to call, as I call them, gay, queer, or LGBT people. Mark has reiterated this numerous times and you just choose to ignore it: it should be enough for you that there are gay people who accept and live the teachings of Mother Church. Get. over. it. Get over this sense that you have some moral (HAHA) obligation to tell me what or who I am.

          • An Aaron, not The Aaron

            Hmm. I was really trying to engage in discussion rather than combat, but let’s see if we can salvage something from this.

            “My response was to that. Calling myself gay has nothing to do with being closer to God. It has everything to do with what I said, which I and others have observed and believe to be true.”

            Good grief. If it has nothing to do with getting closer to God, then why do it? I guess you’re assuming that “gay” is something we discovered rather than something we invented. I don’t think that’s the case. Surely you understand that calling yourself gay is a choice. Why choose “gay Catholic” rather than “model train enthusiast Catholic” (if in fact you are a model train enthusiast. Don’t lie of course.)?

            “Moreover, while I’m often a sucker for sentimentality, it isn’t your job to get me closer to God.”

            True. I isn’t my job. Neither is it my job to pose as cheerleader while you jump off a spiritual cliff. Which is why I’m asking, am I helping you get closer to God by calling you gay, or helping to foster a barrier between you and God by calling you gay? I want to do the former, not the latter.

            “Your job is to be like him so that I see him through you. If what you want is for me to experience God more fully, do what you think God would do.”

            Yes! Exactly! Do you think God would call you “my gay son,” or just “my son?” Whatever God would do here, that’s exactly what I want to do.

            “I won’t deny that. Where your analogy doesn’t quite come together is that the two scenarios aren’t comparable objectively (that is related to the two objects of desire). The straight, married man cannot have the woman, not because it is naturally forbidden, but because it’s circumstantially forbidden. The same doesn’t go for the gay man. That’s what makes them completely different.”

            The Catechism addresses this. It calls homosexual desires “intrinsically disordered,” while adulterous desires are simply “disordered.” It is a difference of kind, though, not degree. In other words, it isn’t worse to be attracted to a member of the same sex, just different.

            “That’s interesting because I don’t believe anyone said anything specifically about acts. As I recall, we were discussing the inclination. As I recall, it’s CCC 2357 that discusses acts specifically. In the next paragraph the inclination is discussed.”

            Again, the identification of the inclination as “intrisically disordered” is difference of kind, not degree. Acts, by the way, are what the Church is actually concerned about. She doesn’t condemn people for inclinations. Based upon your comments, though, I will hazard a guess that you already know that.

            “Well, that’s a good point. Other facts to consider are that adulterers don’t face near the amount of stigmatism and overt bigotry in the world as adulterers and most adulterers who ARE stigmatized are women, both in history (especially in history) and now. It seems that you have a rather shallow understanding of gay pride. As it turns out, only you can remedy that. A good first step would be not to make snide remarks about pride parades. As deplorable and tasteless as many of them are, there are more facets to gay pride than just floats and half-naked men (ie. lesbians exist and they have pride, too). “

            I’m not trying to remedy anything. I’m simply asking, “how can I help?” I’ve been to a few gay clubs and I think I know what you mean by the other facets of gay gatherings. There was definitely a palpable sense of comraderie in those clubs (along with the meat market-esque quality that infests all clubs of any stripe). Gay clubs, however, are different in the sense that people felt they could let their hair down. Is that the kind of thing you mean? I think I’ve already admitted that I’m an outsider (which is why I was trying to be respectful and ask a question, rather than issue a challenge).

            “I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. The Church discusses lots of things. Catholic bloggers discuss lots of things. Catholics who make comments on Catholic blogs discuss lots of things. Many of them don’t involve sex. As a matter of fact, I would say most of them don’t directly or indirectly involve sex. I don’t know your interests or commenting habits, but as far as I can tell, this statement means nothing.”

            Maybe I misunderstood your comment. I took you to mean that the Church has spent an inordinate of time talking about homosexuality (and sex in general). I was merely saying that the obsession isn’t that of the Church, but that of society.

            “Now, this is where you’re just moving off of your territory onto mine. The only person for whom the feeling of the word matters is for people who actually deal with the circumstance. You can feel however you want about it, but it’s immaterial. Sorry, but not sorry.”

            So it’s not alienating then? That’s the kind of thing I’m looking for. Remember that I’m approaching the issue from the perspective of the adulterer analogy, which I thought was apt. If not, please correct me. If I was approached by a friend who wanted me to call him an “adulterer Catholic,” I would think that would alienate him unnecessarily and would advise against it. I was thinking the same response would apply to a friend who wanted to identify as a “gay Catholic.” Why should my response be different in the latter scenario? I grant it’s your territory, not mine. So help me out here.

            “I accept the Church’s teaching on sexuality.”

            I assumed that. I’m not one to speculate on one’s fidelity to Church teaching. I’m just asking, “how can I help?”

            “As it happens, the Church doesn’t actually teach anything concerning what we are to call, as I call them, gay, queer, or LGBT people.“

            True. If it did, I wouldn’t bother asking the question. You do realize it was me who brought up the fact that the Catechism refers to “homosexual persons,” right?

            “Mark has reiterated this numerous times and you just choose to ignore it:”

            Yes he has, I read his blog virtually every day. I haven’t ignore it. The Church hasn’t taught on it, so I thought I’d ask the question of people with more experience in the area.

            “it should be enough for you that there are gay people who accept and live the teachings of Mother Church.”

            That’s true, and thanks be to God for it!

            “Get. over. it. Get over this sense that you have some moral (HAHA) obligation to tell me what or who I am.”

            I’m really struggling with this comment. I know, looking back on what I’ve written, that there is no way you could take from my comments that I actually believe I am trying to tell you what to do. I struggle because I always try to put a charitable spin on others’ actions (“never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompentence,” for example). I’ll assume, in the interest of charity, that you have radically misunderstood my purpose. So, I’ll ask again, assuming the appropriateness of the adultery analogy, how does it help you for me to call you gay?

            God bless you, Robert.

            • Robert Harris

              “Good grief. If it has nothing to do with getting closer to God, then why do it?”

              Overly sentimental. It has nothing to do with this discussion whatsoever.

              “Neither is it my job to pose as cheerleader while you jump off a spiritual cliff.”

              I suffered your other condescending remarks concerning my spiritual state and your assessment of it based on what I prefer to call myself, but I’m calling you on it this time. What gives?

              “Yes! Exactly! Do you think God would call you “my gay son,” or just “my son?” Whatever God would do here, that’s exactly what I want to do.”

              I identify as many things including homosexual. I don’t think God would find it useful to forbid one identity simply because it doesn’t sum me up or something like that, which is why it’s so curious to me that you and others like you DO find it useful and even necessary. Could God call me his gay son? Sure. What would stop him? It isn’t like he would forever label me his “gay son”. It isn’t like I constantly go around saying “I’m a gay son of God”. It’s as if me calling myself gay is a bigger deal to you than it is to me, and yet gay people are always the ones upon whom this “need to identify” rests. It’s a preference, nothing more. If you call me anything but gay, I’ll still call myself gay, but you’ll still have a huge problem with it. Does that say more about me or about you?

              “The Catechism addresses this. It calls homosexual desires “intrinsically disordered,” while adulterous desires are simply “disordered.” It is a difference of kind, though, not degree. In other words, it isn’t worse to be attracted to a member of the same sex, just different.”

              I fail to see your point. Yes, we now agree that they’re different. The whole point of your analogy, though, was that they’re not very different at all. Now you’re saying that they are because you realize that the object of the straight man’s desire is circumstantially forbidden because he chose to get married to his wife instead of another woman, perhaps a woman with whom he might be happier, but the gay man couldn’t have one man even if he’s the only man he would ever want. Even the straight man who becomes a priest and finds that he must sublimate desires for women who surround him, say, in the parish office, chose the priesthood and so his obligation of denial is circumstantial. He COULD have gotten married and chose not to do so, and so he must live with his choice. The gay man doesn’t have a choice concerning the object of his desire, though. The scenarios we’re discussion between the gay and straight man are very different circumstances and present very different crosses. That’s why they’re different.

              See? We’ve been back and forth between “they’re dissimilar” and “they’re not so dissimilar” and this is in a discussion with only two people.

              “Again, the identification of the inclination as “intrisically disordered” is difference of kind, not degree. Acts, by the way, are what the Church is actually concerned about. She doesn’t condemn people for inclinations. Based upon your comments, though, I will hazard a guess that you already know that.”

              I invite you to reread your catechism. I did a blog post last year on these three paragraphs because I got so sick of people mixing up terminology and misquoting things, misunderstanding meanings, etc. The inclinations, as stated by the Catechism are not “intrinsically disordered”. The acts are. The inclination is “objectively disordered” because of the nature of the object of desire. The acts are disordered by their very nature (intrinsically). The inclination is disordered not by its nature, but by its object (the same sex). The two are slightly different but people mix the two words up all the time and so say things that aren’t actually true.

              “I’m not trying to remedy anything. I’m simply asking, “how can I help?” I’ve been to a few gay clubs and I think I know what you mean by the other facets of gay gatherings. There was definitely a palpable sense of comraderie in those clubs (along with the meat market-esque quality that infests all clubs of any stripe). Gay clubs, however, are different in the sense that people felt they could let their hair down. Is that the kind of thing you mean? I think I’ve already admitted that I’m an outsider (which is why I was trying to be respectful and ask a question, rather than issue a challenge).”

              Well, I appreciate the fact that you at least have walked into a gay club and spent some time there. More than a sense of comraderie, there’s a sense of acceptance, something that straight people or people of any majority demographic so often take for granted. You’re presumably white, male, and straight. Has anyone ever mistreated you for those reasons (I’m not counting your potential ivy-league dream school rejecting you along with 93% of other applicants)? Well, the thing with minorities is that there are many (more than you’re probably willing to believe) who have something against those of the minority for…I don’t know. Existing. *shrug* While I’m the first to say that some facets of the gay scene are brutal, shallow, and cold, gay people have always had to find the comfort and acceptance within their own ranks that they couldn’t find elsewhere. I’m not talking about some cerebral, philosophical acceptance. I’m talking about the kind of acceptance you probably give to a swearing, somewhat crude bartender who’s also chatting it up with you and you happen not to mind because he’s just a regular guy like you. Yeah, that sort of acceptance isn’t given too commonly to minorities of any stripe in wider society. Most of the time there’s a barrier. Other times there’s passive-aggressiveness or even hostility. Sometimes you’ll find a gem of a person. Basically, what you can do to help is to treat gay people the way you would treat yourself. I mean, really treat yourself, and to encourage others to actively do so, not just tolerate the fact that they’re around with this underlying foreboding of “it’s THEM.” We get sick of that.

              “Maybe I misunderstood your comment. I took you to mean that the Church has spent an inordinate of time talking about homosexuality (and sex in general). I was merely saying that the obsession isn’t that of the Church, but that of society.”

              Wow. ‘Us and them.’ Really original. Very noble. So old.

              “So it’s not alienating then? That’s the kind of thing I’m looking for. Remember that I’m approaching the issue from the perspective of the adulterer analogy, which I thought was apt. If not, please correct me. If I was approached by a friend who wanted me to call him an “adulterer Catholic,” I would think that would alienate him unnecessarily and would advise against it. I was thinking the same response would apply to a friend who wanted to identify as a “gay Catholic.” Why should my response be different in the latter scenario? I grant it’s your territory, not mine. So help me out here.”

              The whole damn homosexual experience is alienating at one point or another. I personally think it’s shallow to merely qualify a label as alienating when even at times where there wasn’t a particular label for this sort of thing, those who engaged in sex acts with those of the same sex (particularly men, surprise) were tortured brutally. There’s the shame of anyone knowing once you realize it because you’ve heard all your life that it’s such a bad thing. There’s this weird perception that kids are ashamed of their sexuality before they come out because they ‘know it’s not natural’ or some BS, but the fact is, kids listen. Kids listen to the way adults talk, even when adults aren’t even listening to themselves. Christian adults tend to say some not nice things about “those people.” Then if you get up the courage to let someone know about this deep, dark secret that’s lurking, people lose their damn minds and sometimes, worst suspicions are confirmed. You think a damn word is alienating? Please.

              I will say that if a male actually approached me, asking me to call him an “adultering Catholic”, I would comply and say that it’s a step up for men everywhere. If there’s a movement, even greater. At least this perception that only women who are caught cheating are worthy of scorn will have finally been challenged thoroughly. Heh.

              “I’ll ask again, assuming the appropriateness of the adultery analogy, how does it help you for me to call you gay?”

              Autonomy. Minorities of every stripe have always been subject to what the majority called them. Nigger. Spic. Kike. Fag. Dyke. Gook. Chink. Unfortunately, I can go on. I think on some level, when you try to decide what a group of people can be called, it’s a chip at their self-determination. That’s just on a fundamental, basic, human level. No high-falutin’ philosophy. Just basic human respect. Sometimes I wonder why so many people who don’t care for gay people would even care what they call themselves. At the root of it, I honestly believe it’s just the will to control. That’s the God honest truth concerning what I see.

              I only speak for myself when I say this next bit: No, it won’t get me closer to God, but at least I can feel like I have SOME control in this matter I didn’t choose for myself, thanks. That’s why it would help me.

              God bless you as well, Aaron. I know I can be quippish and curt. I don’t mean it personally. It’s just a less pleasant element of my personality (on and off the internet). I’ll give the benefit of the doubt more often. Thank you for your patience with me.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

        A very large chunk of us heteros, in my personal observation, would just like to not be called bigots and at the same time vaguely realize that the labeling game can be used to put us at a disadvantage, on some points to the level of losing our jobs/social positions. We don’t like being disadvantaged (who does, really, in any context) and it’s extra annoying when it’s about something as trivial and difficult to keep up with as labels.

        This week is it gay, queer, or homosexual? is it LGBT or LGBTQ? Where does SSA fit in? And will my witness to Jesus be negatively affected? Pick some label and stick to it people. For most of us outside your group, we’re happy to, in good will, adopt a label to promote communication and brotherly love but there are limits. Coercive practices don’t get to normalize themselves with innocuous labels for one thing.

        All in all the labeling thing is a mess and at the heart of it is that those who are inside the situation themselves have not agreed on their own terms in a stable way.

        • Robert Harris

          It’s fascinating how far nuance and flexibility can (or simply can’t) go in a discussion depending on who is on the other end. If I wanted to join liturgy nerds (one of which I am simply not) in a discussion and I was falling all over myself to understand all the jargon that isn’t part of wider Catholic discourse on it, they would simply tell me to brush up on some things. But when people like you want to talk to gay people about their sexuality, you demand that we dumb down our verbal approach for you, but it has a twist. You claim fidelity to orthodoxy as your aim, when really no such claim holds any water because the Church claims no teaching on labels. This desire to limit labels is really just an attempt to control the argument rather than engage in it. If you want to participate in the discussion so badly, learn some things (they aren’t as complicated as you people let on; in fact they’re quite simple) or just don’t participate. It isn’t your obligation and you certainly aren’t doing Jesus or gay people any favors by acting this way.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

            Homosexuals, in my personal experience, have used the label ignorance of outsiders as a weapon. If liturgy nerds are doing that, it is just as offensive though probably less damaging because they don’t have the power to hurt you socially or economically. Having separate homosexuals chide you within a short space of time for using or not using queer is evidence of a civil war in language, not my lack of sophistication or good will. The only thing that unified the two was the vague threat that accompanied the critique in each case.

            You neither know me nor my claims or attitudes other than through my writings. My knowledge of you is similar. Please do not stuff words and attitudes in my mouth and I will give you the same courtesy.

            About fidelity to orthodoxy, Catholicism is not totalitarian. A great deal of flex is in it on purpose. You are perfectly correct that there is no teaching on labels. Nor should there be. Once you’ve run through gopher colony of these conversations a few times and twisted your ankle on this issue enough, an understandable caution develops that has nothing to do with Catholicism, but more to do with BF Skinner. People generally resent being put in metaphorical skinner boxes no matter what their ultimate reaction to the conditioning. No doubt this applies to homosexuals who have others attempting to condition them as well.

            It is this Skinner aspect on language and terminology used when talking about this subject that was the sole aim of my intervention.

            I think I’ll just go along and nurse my ankle now.

  • Beefy Levinson

    If I may,
    We must remember the distinction between the objective graces of the sacrament (ex opere operato) and our subjective openness to those graces (ex opere operantis). Jesus is as truly present at a 1970s hootenanny Mass as he is at a Solemn Pontifical High Mass, but how much we personally benefit from reception of the Eucharist depends on our subjective disposition. Given this point, it’s worth asking whether the Mass as it is celebrated in a particular parish promotes a better disposition to receive our Lord. In other words, look less at the letter of the law and more to the spirit ;)

    • Robert Harris

      Based on your colorful description there, I’ll take it you’re rooting for the EF OVER the OF. Why is it so hard for traditionalists to take the Church’s word for it when she says that they’re both equally valid, that they merely differ in matters of preference, and that one should not be emphasized OVER the other?

      • Beefy Levinson

        You missed the point sir.
        The question of validity is a red herring. I never denied that they were equally valid as an objective matter. It isn’t a question of EF vs. OF. When the OF is celebrated reverently with all of the smells and bells so to speak, it tends to attracts more people than an OF celebrated with felt banners and liturgical dancers. Our host readily admits that some parishes in his Archdiocese are, ah, objectively more in line with what the Church envisions than others.
        In the old days, the priest who rattled off a Low Mass in fifteen minutes was following the letter of the law but not the spirit. A 1970s hootenanny Mass followed the law but not the spirit. I can’t believe I, a stark raving mad Traditionalist, am pointing this out!

        • Robert Harris

          I understood your point just fine. It is true that our disposition when receiving the sacrament opens us to more or less grace, but to say that our disposition is dependent on the mass is just wrong. That’s essentially blaming someone else for your disposition, which, correct me if I’m wrong, is generally frowned-upon. Moreover, you, a self-proclaimed stark raving made Traditionalist proved Mark Shea’s and Lori Pieper’s point splendidly: the ability of one liturgy over the other to teach the faith is 100% subjective and anyone who claims otherwise is claiming superiority of one over the other. Period.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

            I wouldn’t go as far as you’ve just done. There are objective elements which, if not present, make a mass invalid. I would suggest that it is highly unlikely that the finest mass ever given teaches the faith 100% equally well to the worst valid liturgy ever stumbled through by a priest but then when one of the essential elements is not there, bang, you get a discontinuity dropping effectiveness down to zero as it’s no liturgy at all.

            I would suggest that it is more likely that there are objective elements that teach the faith better or worse and their presence or absence is not like a flip switch on an electrical circuit but more like a dimmer switch. Others may be more like a flip switch. It will vary depending on the nature of the element and some elements may be present more than others depending on the form of the liturgy. For instance, teaching the faith on the point of the universality of the Church is built in to the EF through the use of latin while teaching the faith on the point that the Church comes to and adapts its expression of universal truths to the people is more baked in to the OF. That doesn’t mean that both liturgies can’t teach the other point and often do, but the choice of language matters. The disability inherent in making the choice one way or another also varies. For instance the linguistic difference between Romanian or Italian to Latin is short enough that with a bit of effort latin is understandable. Not so much mandarin or english. To teach the faith equally well, adjustments have to be made.

            If you want to push the conversation further, we could try and figure out what those objective elements are and see which ones are flip versus dimmer switch in nature, up to you. It would probably be a learning experience for me, which is half the reason I hang out here anyway.

    • bear

      If I understand you correctly, and it is a matter of the subjective reception of two objectively valid forms that is in question here, then I would say that whether or not one form was subjectively superior would vary from person to person. For some, it would be the solemn high mass, and for others it would be the hottenanny Mass. For most, somewhere in between. There are strenths and weaknesses to this argument. The main weakness, as far as I can see, is that it would lead to “party” churches, where people are united in taste more than they are in faith. I think that in manyplaces, this has already occurred. The second weakness is that it leads people to places like this combox, where people are debating badly which is better. It is almost inevitable, for where there is difference sooner or later the question of superiority will creep in. I don’t see any solution to the problem.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Is that RCImperialist blog for real, or is it a parody? It seems so extreme that it does not make any sense.

    • chezami

      Just another bitter, crazy Traditionalist that I’m not supposed to notice when he kicks me in the groin.

      • Stu

        These blogs, that no one else reads, really hurt your feelings don’t they? Seriously.

        How is it that you manage to find every mention of yourself at the hands of obscure and wacky bloggers that have no discernible following?

        And after that, why in the wide, wide world of sports do you care what they say?

        • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

          I suspect that Mark does what a lot of people in the chattering classes do, set up search engine alerts on his name so it goes straight to his in box. Alternatively, somebody else is setting up alerts and forwarding the venom on to Mark without him doing anything. Google makes it easy to catch the blows.

          • Stu

            Kind of sad, really.

            • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

              Actually not as this would be a protective measure for his family’s income. Mark lives by his reputation to a certain extent and it would be irresponsible, IMO, to wait for book sales to fall off the cliff before he notices some scurrilous accusation that’s gone viral.

              There are side effects to casting your ears wide to the Internet though, which you’ve laid out fairly well. Just remember that there are bad effects the other way too. It is not a situation with an unambiguously good choice.

              • Stu

                So, to protect his income he is forced to respond to every marginal wacko that mentions his name by highlighting said wacko’s comment and giving it credibility?

                I can understand addressing credible issues. But this is just wrestling with pigs in the mud. Not particularly reputation enhancing.

                • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                  No, he’s not forced to charge after every red cape out there. Your critique has merit there. But he does need to monitor them, or pay somebody to monitor them and filter out the no-impact losers to be ignored.

                  Ignoring the whole thing is not an option and it’s a constant temptation for him. If you want to help, figure out a better way from there.

                  • Stu

                    Oh, I’ve tried.

  • Patrick

    Can you define “Traditionalist” for us? As a huge fan of the EF, having grown up in nominally Catholic schools from 1st grade through college (Jesuit, Holy Cross…i.e. I basically left the Church at 22 for want of any real catechesis), I am also quite a fan of evangelization and I’ve never felt a desire or need to hate Jews. I also know that a huge number of cradle Catholics who wouldn’t know the EF if it landed on them (they are OF through and through) get really really uncomfortable when anybody talks about God in a way that implies that we do actually need to take Him seriously, especially if it’s done in public. So a definition of “Traditionalist” is probably a useful thing.

  • Logic
    • ivan_the_mad

      That’s why a priest opines as he does? Ok. Good for him. But I’m not swayed by magazine articles republished on the internet. I’m interested in what the teaching authority of the Church has to say, or failing that something with a nihil obstat.

      • Logic

        Thoughtful reply.

    • contrarian

      Nice link, Logic.
      Folks might also want to look at the new video put out by the Remnant people–a little tete a tete between Matt and Ferrara on traditionalism in the blogosphere. Nice nice stuff there. One small contention: I don’t think that Matt and Ferrara are aware of how much the term ‘neo-Catholic’ makes certain folks cringe and immediately shut down the part of their brain that would otherwise lead them to engage in cheerful debate (much as the word ‘radical traditionalist’ is for the other side). It would be better if they talked about the problems with the faulty arguments and stances themselves, and not use short-hand labels. Folks (on both sides) need to be careful to engage with others as charitably as possible, even though its difficult. But otherwise, Matt and Ferrara have some really nice things to say.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVhuT_c1vn8

  • Patrick

    Again, can we please get definitions of “Traditionalist” and “Traditionalism” so I can figure out if I need to start hating Jews and get hostile to evangelization, or if I can attend and even love the EF (and still get nauseated by the Life Teen Show) without being a “Traditionalist”?

    • contrarian

      Ha ha! Good question, Pat.
      Well, one of the problems of traditionalism is that, depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different definition (in fact, certain folks have differentiated between neo-traditionalists and paleo-traditionalists (which sounds to me like an oxymoron or a redundancy, respectively…but whatever).

      You might say that–and I hope that this is a general enough definition–a traditionalist is: someone who sees the current problems of the catholic church–from liturgical clown shows to the insanity that goes on in seminaries to dwindling seminarian numbers to iconoclastic music and architecture in Catholic art to widespread heteropraxis in schools and churches and homes, etc.–to be caused by something other than mere *abuse*, but instead that these problems have their source in the problematic nature of the stuff that came out of Vatican II itself. In other words, in some such way, Vatican II itself is part of the problem.

      After that, traditionalists will probably tweak the definition of what it means *for them* to be a traditionalist.

      • contrarian

        Oh–and but I think that neo-traditionalists (I think I’m getting the term right?) actually buy the abuse line. In other words, a neo-tradionalist is someone who perhaps exclusively attends the old mass and keeps to traditional devotions and such, but doesn’t actually see Vatican II as problematic *per se*, but instead buys the abuse idea. At least, that’s what paleo-traditionalists say.
        Yeah, it’s confusing.
        I’m sure I’m getting this wrong too. Ha ha!

  • Patrick

    Just saw this, perhaps it may help the discussion. Cardinal Burke on abuses and Vatican II.

    http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/bringing-the-liturgy-back-to-the-real-vatican-ii

    For those who can still have a sense of humor…Pope John XXIII arrived at the pearly gates and was having trouble with the paperwork. St. Peter couldn’t find him on that day’s list, but they were having computer problems so he was trying to sort things out. John XXIII was telling him that there couldn’t be any mistake, he was the Pope, Pope John XXIII, etc. Then he said, “I’m the one who called the Second Vatican Council!” In the next building, the Holy Spirit, reading but overhearing, said, “OH MY GOODNESS….I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO TO THAT!!”

    • Patrick

      I will assume the down-voter does not fit in the category of “has a sense of humor”.

  • enness

    Sorry, but huh?


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