High Mass Low Class

Why do so many people feel it necessary to find a category for the new pope and place him into and a label with which to brand him? Is he a liberal? Is he a conservative? Is he low church? Is he high Church? So many seem to want a label so they can either love him or loathe him. With a label they can keep him safe. I understand he is new, he is also non European. They want to find a way to fit him into their category structure by which they make sense of life, but maybe, like Aslan, he’s not a tame lion. What if here were both liberal and conservative? What if he is both high church and low church? What if he’s unpredictable?

I see that he is known for his work with the poor. He has lived a Franciscan kind of life. He has a folksy style. He is a people person. All that is good and refreshing. However, some suspect that this people centered style is also what we in the Anglican church called  “low church”. The low churchman was for simplicity in worship, a people centered ministry and a distrust of fancy stuff. The ones who went in for lace, incense, processions, pilgrimages, vestments and vespers were “high church”.

They were the Anglo Catholics. I must admit that I was never an Anglo Catholic, and I didn’t much like them. When I was an Anglican in the 1980s, too often the men who were high in their churchmanship were also rather “high” in their personal proclivities. To be blunt, they were effeminate and campy. They were all silk chasubles and china teacups, and you got the impression that when they were leafing through catalogues searching for materials for their vestments that they were also ordering a new set of drapes for the vicarage window treatments. I worry that some of this has crept into the traditionalist movement in the Catholic Church too. Perhaps at times there may be just a few of the traditionalist clergy who are a bit too concerned with the brocades and lace and riddle curtains? Maybe there are some who are a bit too fond of fine dining and “the good life”? Perhaps their fine taste and high church liturgical style distance them from the “ordinary Catholic”?

I make this mild observation, by the way, as a priest who, himself  wears a biretta on Sundays, and has lace on his alb, and appreciates fine architecture, art, sacred music, good liturgy and a nice restaurant.

On the other hand, have not those who are “good with people” and have a “people centered ministry” sometimes done injustice to the liturgy? Have they not thrown out the venerable traditions of the church? Have they not, in an attempt to be relevant and up to date, gone to the other extreme and wrecked our churches, destroyed our ancient traditions, dumbed down the liturgy to the extremes of being casual, flippant ,heretical and even blasphemous? Haven’t they sold us short; replaced solid catechesis with sentimentality and turned the divine liturgy into a kind of game show, self preening showtime or teen entertainment? I think so.

OK. Let us put aside the criticisms. Let us drop the stone we were about to fling and the mud we were about to sling. Let us see what is positive.

Instead of judging others, I recall one of the good things about the Anglo Catholics, and it may give us inspiration and instruction.

Still in the 1980s, when I was a priest in the Church of England there were a few of the really good old Anglo Catholics left. The old time Anglo Catholics–the good old men of the Oxford Movement won the hearts of the English people to high church Anglicanism in a way I would love to see come alive today in the Catholic Church today.

They combined high church worship for lower class people. It was high Mass and low class. When I say “low class” I simply mean the underclass, the poor, the marginalized and the needy. Read More


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  • Bill

    I did some studies in grad school on Parliamentary review of Anglican worship in the nineteenth century (really it was all, ultimately, Parliament taking on the Roman Church through regulating the Puseyites). The common thread was that the Anglo Catholics, even back then, were latently homosexual.

    I don’t know if that’s true or not, and I do like fiddlebacks and high worship (honestly, I like the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostum best of all), but I do tend to think there is a kernal of truth there. High Churchmen do seem to be fussy and major in minors a lot, and I tend to see a similar kind of cattiness among SOME (certainly not all) of them.They’re the Elton John of priests, even if they are actually straight. Now saying that, some of the most obviously gay Catholic priests were about as broad church/low church as you’d find in the Roman Communion.

  • http://cause-of-our-joy.blogspot.com Leticia Velasquez

    You are absolutely right, the poor deserve the beauty of the Mass well celebrated.
    My church is 100 years old and the windows are in French. It is glorious, ornate with gold leaf on the dome over the altar and richly colored stained glass windows, gorgeous statues of Our Lady, St Ann and the Sacred Heart. We have marble altars and creaky oak pews, a traditional choir loft with a lovely old pipe organ. St Mary’s in Baltic, CT was built by poor Irish and French Canadian factory workers. The poor deserved all the beauty we can give them. They crave it. They will pay for it and if you don’t believe it, visit St Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC built by the pennies of Irish chambermaids.

  • midwestlady

    I’m going to ask what sounds like a dumb question because I really want to know something. I’ve heard over and over that the “source and summit of the Catholic faith is the liturgy.” What exactly does that mean?

  • u3

    So many people today are so superficial and care more about style than substance. Pope Francis is a man of substance…people just have to look past the surface. Fr. Dwight, it would seem that so many people criticizing our new pope would be guilty of the sin of calumny…I hope this is not the case. This man professes Christ and the Cross! This man has a huge devotion to Our Lady–just read locutions.org–reading those locutions will give one chills because they have come true. The style comments are merely petty comments by people who forget that we are called to leave the walls of the church and go out and feed the poor, clothe the naked, provide shelter for the homeless, and proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. By our baptism we are all called to be missionaires, each in his own way to spread the good news…not to spread our liturgical preferences. Pope Francis may not always wear the mozzetta but the man has a backbone which is founded on his strength and love of Christ crucified…and he is orthodox…that’s all that matters.

  • Paul Rodden


  • http://yorkshireshepherd.blogspot.com Fr. John Abberton

    I noticed in previous comments reference to the Liturgy as “God wants it” but that reference seemed to mean according to the Extraordinary Rite. This is dangerous language. Also, the name of the Ordinary Rite is the “Missa Normativa” How do I know this? Because I was in the seminary when it was published and I remember quite clearly what it was called when it was first announced. Polarization is a dangerous thing in the Catholic Church. We should all drop the kind of language which sounds like judgement on somebody who does not agree with ME. Pope Benedict spoke out against a damaging individualism in the Church and this can be extended to small cliques (or large ones for that matter) where there is a camaraderie that seeks to shut others out or look down on them. I also wear the biretta now and then and I remember not too long ago a priest friend of mine speaking about another priest of our acquaintance who admitted he did not trust me. When my friend asked why, the answer came back…”He wears a biretta!” Faults can appear on both sides of a divide – a divide which should not be there, and no one should assume that they can invoke the phrase “God’s Will” against someone else unless we are talking about the official teaching of the Magisterium the Sacred Scriptures and the example of the saints. Let Pope Francis lead us and show us what he is about. Some people resist categorisation. Pope John Paul 11 was like that, and those who tried to claim Pope Benedict for themselves were sometimes blind to his openness to others (such as the Bruderhoff Community). Christ will not be minimized and He belongs to all of us.

  • Bill


  • Anna J

    SPOT ON!! That was the spirit of my clerical grandad, great grandads and great uncles! – including my grandad Rev Verney Johnstone, who wrote The Anglican Way. In amongst the people in outreach, liturgy that raises us to heaven.

  • Paul Rodden

    I vouch totally for what you say, Father, and it brings a lump to my throat and very fond memories.

    I boarded at the school founded by a certain Fr Arthur Tooth when I was small (as did Leonard Cheshire). He was one of the old-style Anglo-Catholics you talk about, and went to prison for it.

    We were woken by the Angelus, had Mass before Breakfast (ad orientem, of course), Morning Prayers before lessons, Angelus at Noon during lessons, Angelus as 6pm, Compline before bed, as well as Benediction every Sunday and magnificent Corpus Christi Processions through the grounds to an outside chapel.

    They wiped the snot off the faces of the grubby kids from the street, combed their hair, shined their shoes and trained them to be first rate altar servers…They ministered to their working class parents. They built up the faith and didn’t compromise, and they did not dumb down the liturgy in some kind of patronizing nonsense to make it “accessible” to people. They taught them to sing fine old Anglican hymns which were full of solid theology and splendid poetry set to grand and noble tunes.

    I know. That’s what they did for me. I was one of those working class kids who went to the school free of charge from a very poor background and learnt how to sing Benediction and plainchant.

    Then the last of that generation died and it was given to a liberal Anglican vicar who wiped it all away on his arrival. Abolished Latin, smashed down the chapel and built dormitories in its place and of course, no place for non-fee paying kids with the budding Thatcherism that was driving anything that used to be charitable… In other words, the drive to be relevant.

    Today, I’d suggest many people in the church today love the idea of being in love with the poor, and the way they do it is paying people to do it for them, unless the images of cute baby Snow Leopards trumps the images of dying babies with flies round their eyes in Africa. Everything seems to be driven by sentiment, ‘high’ or ‘low’ church.

    The only means of getting the food to survive the harshness of the work of the Gospel – the Holy Eucharist – was what fed Fr Tooth, and I experienced that. In one sense, it’s always Viaticum without which we would starve spiritually, but thank God for the Mass being always ‘valid’, ex opere operato.

  • vox borealis

    I have a hard time believing that “being orthodox” and “having backbone” are all that matters for the office of Pope, the successor of Peter. I mean, if that’s the case then we’ve set the bar awfully low. I’ve said it before, what a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in when we are supposed to be excited that Pope is by all reports Catholic.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Bewdiful. Thanks for your witness.

  • http://www.diary-of-a-sower.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I agree that the traditional liturgy can appeal to children, too. I am an accredited catechist for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a hands-on catechism work developed in the 1950′s by a Roman Catholic biblical scholar. We introduce the children to beautiful religious artwork, teach them to pray and meditate, give them hands-on work to help them understand the liturgical year, help them learn about the deep symbolism of the Mass, and much more. The children often have profound responses to it.

    However, I must say that one’s heart must be open to seeing, hearing and understanding the beauty of tradition. We begin our work when the children are three years old, and they come to us hearts that haven’t been cluttered by commercialism, secularism, relativism and the heavy darkness of our current world. They come with open hearts and an innate desire to learn.

    Many adults don’t come from that place. They grew up in a confused time in our church (beginning in the 1960s.) Therefore, they can’t appreciate the beauty of tradition, unless they have listened to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit or they seek something different for their children (i.e., they don’t want their children to learn the faith through textbooks or workbooks). Sadly, many of them look at our program as old fashioned and behind the times, rather than realizing the things we teach are timeless.

    I love the profound beauty of the traditional liturgy. But I was raised in a very conservative parish in the 1960s, one whose pastor did not quickly adapt all the changes of the Vatican II. I experienced the beauty and craved it when we moved and started attending a parish that had quickly adopted many of the new changes. I remember feeling a bit empty.

    However, many adults did not have that experience. They may be coming from another place. They need to be properly catechized so they can appreciate the profound beauty of our traditions.

  • u3

    Sounds like you have a hard time believing then.

  • Catholic Cowboy

    We met in Houston at the Installation mass of Monsignor Steenson to the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. You will remember that I “look” like I am from Texas.

    To the point, you are describing the late Father George Moore Acker of Saint Timothy Church to a “T”. In a working class neighborhood of Fort Worth, Father Acker converted Southern Baptists and Church of Christ members until the pews were overflowing, with his powerful preaching and beautiful “High Church” liturgy. His work ethic and dedication to his parish and parishioners was inspirational and contagious. In a sermon once, Father contemplated if this devotion might be a topic for his next visit to the confessional.

    Sadly, when the Ordinariate was erected, the church was split and some continued as Anglicans and others came into full communion. The continuing Anglicans kept the building, but will probably lose it to The Episcopal Church USA in a long standing lawsuit.

    My family came into the Catholic Church last year and I no longer worship at the same altar as my Grandfather and Father. The spirit of Saint Timothy High Church worship and the memory of Father George Acker are alive and meeting at Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Fort Worth, Texas. His son and daughter were among the faithful to embrace full communion with the See of Peter.

  • Will J

    I appreciate the reverence and beauty of the post-Vatican II liturgy. Sorry if it feels empty for you.

  • Caroline B

    Dear Father,

    This is really what many of the traditionalists do hope for and desire. Even some of the blogs, such as Rorate Caeli, that have been angering people have spoken positively of Pope Francis’s upholding of faith and morals. Far and away, the traditionalists that I have spoken to are very hopeful for this pontificate. They see Pope Francis as a humble, holy, and strong-willed enforcer. I see much of what I admire in Cardinal Burke in this regard in Pope Francis. He has surprised us liturgically, too. So we agree that there’s no clean label to put on him, but I think many of us love him because he is our Holy Father, and we have been impressed by him so far. I’ll take a minute to note that NOT loving the Holy Father is decidedly NOT traditional.

    But many of the families with which I go to the TLM tend not to be from the upper class for the reasons you mention, and for the reason that they have too much common sense to mess around with soppy, sentimentalism. I’m NOT saying anything about the Holy Father here, because so far he has shown that he is anything but. However, I think that this is another reason that they are attracted to more traditional liturgy…I think they often have a greater sense of the fact that they are trying to do something beautiful for God and a lesser sense of doing it to feel good.

  • vox borealis

    Well, I have a hard time believing that is all that matters for the pope. ALL of us are supposed to be orthodox and have a backbone. That’s the barest minimum, but surely not all that matters. Moreover, I reject your formulation of a style v. substance contrast. I would expect from our church leaders (and by their example from us all) both style AND substance. In fact, I would argue that style and substance are not only NOT in conflict, or even in contrast, but are bound up inextricably. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi and all of that business.

    So yes, I have a hard time believing. I have a hard time believing, as I stated above, that we in the Catholic world have such low expectations that we claim not only to be satisfied by, but also to be enthralled with, the barest minimum. Nope. That doesn’t cut it for me.

  • Rick

    The “Eucharist” is the source and summit.

    The Eucharist is the self-emptying of God making himself small and insignificant, allowing us to take him even when we are unworthy. The Eucharist is the sacrifice of Calvary and the Risen Body of Christ. The Eucharist is the eternal sacrifice of the Son to the Father. The Eucharist is the highest and most perfect worship we can give because in it we are sharing in the perfect sacrifice of the Son.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com Jessica Hoff

    One of the best comments on this I have ever read – just right on the money Father.

  • http://beatencopperlamp@blogspot.com Copper Lamp Sarah

    Spot on! When I interviewed Anglo-Catholic clergy for my master’s thesis on vestments, I often got the feeling I was trying to infiltrate a snobbish boy’s club. They verbally patted me on the head, sometimes with pity when I told them I belonged to the less-elegant RC Church.

    But not all were like that. Some clerics were kind and welcoming pastors. The Anglo-Catholic parishes I toured were magnificent storehouses of public art, and there’s something to be said for that. Around the same time I led activities for an inner-city day camp. The kids had never heard of mosaics, but they oohed and ahhed at the pictures I showed them of Roman ruins. Even the poor, and especially the poor, deserve to experience beauty.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    This was part of a comment (with clean up typos) I have made on a few Catholic blogs. It applies to this too.

    “The last few days have made it apparent that B16′s strengths were intellectual at the expense of human contact. Given what I’ve seen of Francis’s human contact approach to his ministry, human contact is much more important than intellectual pontificating, pardon the pun. The intellectual underpinnings of Catholicism are there in the magisterium. Whatever updating B16 did to it is marginal, and non-Catholics weren’t listening anyway. I like what I’ve seen Pope Francis. This contact ministry is the human contact that I’ve argued brings Christ to everyone. Through human contact is where Christ is revealed. Pope Francis is a shot in the arm!”

    God bless Pope Francis!

  • Paul Rodden


  • u3

    You sure seem like an angry person. Sounds like you need a hug. That’s okay you’ll start believing one of these days.

  • midwestlady

    And is that all a Catholic needs to do to be Catholic? Receive the Eucharist?

  • midwestlady

    Categorizing, followed by gloating. Nice.

  • Nicholas

    No. By receiving the Eucharist we are united with Christ, the source of our life both temporal and eternal, and are thus strengthened for the works of our vocation in the world. After we do these works we bring them back and offer them spiritually to God during the Offertory of the Mass.

  • vox borealis

    not angry. In fact, being a both/and Catholic, I rejoice every day at having it all. So, nope, I won’t start believing in the minimalist position you are championing. Thanks for the hug, though.

  • chris awo

    Dear Fr,
    it seems majority of us dont appreciate the maxim – if you dont understand the old testament you can not understand the new testament.
    The eucharist has replaced the former animal sacrifeces of the old testament by which sinners were reconciled with God.
    Instead of the blood of bulls and sheep the priest offers to God the body and blood of the Lord Jesus to take away the sins of the priest and that of the people. Therefore as in the old testament the ideal position during the liturgy of the eucharist is for the priest to face the altar of the most high God appealing on his own behalf and on behalf of the people behind him.
    This is the essence of the sacrificial character of the mass: the priest with tears and prayers united to the crucified Christ offering supplications to God for himself and the people (usually assembled behind him).
    The vestments, the music, the brocades, the lace are all okay. But the essence of the Mass is the priest with tears and prayers united with the Lord Jesus praying for the people of God.
    In short the quinessential priest is Prophet Samuel with prayers and tears and penance praying and atoning for the sin of King Saul.
    The catholic priesthood (Pope, Cardinal, Bishop, Parish pastor) has to return fully to its roots in the mode of the Priest Melchizedek to rediscover its true vocation and overcome all modern and post-modern temptations.
    Lord Jesus, help us.

  • rjh

    “Why do so many people feel it necessary to find a category for the new pope…?”

    I think because after 50 years of strange liturgies, teachings and a tremendous loss of faith and all the rest of it, many concerned Catholics thought we were getting back on track during the papacy of Benedict XVI. Now there is uncertainty and people are looking for clarification. It isn’t complicated, really.

  • Freda

    Pope Benedict was very approachable, but dignified. There was a huge outpouring for him in Scotland and at World Youth Day – he appealed to the youth because he was approachable while retaining his authority. Unfortunately, Pope Francis at the moment, and it may just be the exuberance of taking office, but Pope Francis appears to have forgotten the dignity that comes with the office. How many will keep coming if he rides the bus and is just one of the boys? I doubt it. Christ drew the crowds, not because he was ordinary and dressed the way they did but because He performed extraordinary miracles and lifted them up out of the ordinary. People want to escape from the ordinary, the mundane. They want to be lifted towards heaven, and the extraordinary.

  • Charlotte

    I think “Jesus of Nazareth” will be bring people closer to Christ for centuries. That’s human contact too. No need for invidious comparisons. Each man will wear the papacy in his own way. We’ve been blessed by both.

  • Paul Rodden

    I agree Father but, at the same time it’s sooo difficult (well it is for me!).

    If I were to make a stab at analysing it, I’d suggest the philosophical mindset behind the sort of thinking you and Father L are pointing out is actually part of the cultural water we swim in. It’s toxic, just like sewerage, and I find my immune system’s low.

    As an analogy, like a fighter pilot performing complicated manoeuvres, we have to learn to rely on our ‘instrument panel’ rather than our senses which, in that situation, are totally unreliable. But, that’s easier said, than done!

  • Brennan

    I have to agree with Fr. Longenecker’s article. Serving people and beautiful liturgy are not mutually exclusive, they are one and the same.

  • midwestlady

    There’s a lot of fear and distrust. And even more than that, ignorance about what it is to be Christian. People fear that they are going to lose something that they think they’re barely hanging onto. And they attribute it to the things they can grasp with their own two hands. It’s sad, really.

  • Paul Rodden

    I think it’s more the subtlety of British humour :)

  • midwestlady

    And that’s all there is to being a Catholic. Is that what you’re saying?

  • midwestlady

    Translation: I win, therefore you lose. It stinks to be you.

    Reality check: a) It doesn’t really work like that, so cool your jets for the sake of others. b) Be really, really careful that you don’t get a BIG surprise, because it really doesn’t work like you think it does.

  • Paul Rodden

    Hi, Midwestlady.
    Sorry for my flippant comment. It was in jest, but I was assuming people would get the play on words.
    Nominalism is very principle of reducing reality into mere categories (or names – ‘nomen’). It was a problem in the late middle ages (Ockham and Berengarius), and the Church knocked it on the head pretty sharpish – but Martin Luther ran with it, and so, through Nominalism, the Blessed Eucharist ceases being something real and substantial (trans-substance-iation) and becomes a symbol, a mere category.
    I’m sorry if you know this already, but I hope you can see the irony I was intending. :)

  • Paul Rodden

    While I’m at it – and if anyone’s interested and doesn’t know – ‘Integrism’ – which Bill mentioned, is broadly where form takes precedence over substance, but I’m open to correction as it’s a slippery term.

    In other words, Integrism is where Latin, Rubrics, frilly cottas or wearing exactly the right outfit for the occasion (form), take precedence over what’s actually happening (substance), and so the mass becomes reduced to ‘perfect ritual’ – as in the description of the 1980′s ‘high church’ in the article. Bone china, chintz and Debrett’s Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners.

  • Maiki

    Source: the origin of. The Church, the liturgy, the Sacraments, what is embodied in the Mass is the source of all the graces for Christian Life. It is the beginning, but not the end. After Mass, we are “sent out” to apply those graces to the world.
    Summit: Highest point. What we get from God, and what we offer to God is the highest point in the faith. Love God above all things. The Mass should be the highest expression of our worship to God. But it is not the only expression of our faith or worship to God.

    No, the Eucharist is not all there is. But it strengthens us to be able to do everything else that needs doing.

  • Elija

    Thanks for the article ( be generous please with my mistakes – I am German) and the comments.
    I agree to see the good aspects of our new Pope and to love him means also to trust him. Of course the question of the liturgy is most important. And I think there is not the point to look to someone in a proud way if we are hurt by so much terrible things which had entered into the holyness of the liturgy. I think it is not a question of style or personal attitudes how we look to he Holy Mass. To mention: I am not a member of Piusbrothers nor do I prefere only the traditional Mass – I admire for example the Byzantine Liturgy. But the Holy Mass is a whole in his substance and expression. If there are entering elements not belonging to the Holy Mass going to banalize (for example modern music etc.) the Eucharistie we reduce the transcendance and rub a most important element of the Liturgy. Regarding from this point it is not unimportant to see how Pope Francis will deal with this.
    I experienced a lot of liturgies for example in Ecuador in an “informal southamerican-style” which are more than hurting the beauty and dignity of the Holy Liturgy. To be simple, to be open for the poor, to be most interested in evangelization is not at all a contrast to be sensible for the Holy Liturgy. But it seems that this fight is nearly lost. May God give our new pope a strong light for this and to follow our beloved Benedict XVI. who tried to repair something in our Holy Church what is going apart.

  • doughboy

    well said, Father.

  • midwestlady

    Short question: Why?

  • midwestlady

    Thanks for the note, Paul. Yes, I remember these things from college. But one has to be careful with such humor. The post-modern situation, that we’re currently in, has changed considerably the notion of what is and isn’t captured by these words. This is an interesting thing that might make a fascinating thesis for a philosopher, but hardly an appropriate comment in a blog. Well, for someone actually trying to learn something from others, at any rate.

    One of the most interesting things you see in postmodern culture, particularly that part that is Catholic postmodern culture, is that traditional isn’t traditional anymore, and progressive isn’t progressive. The whole spectrum is on its head and even twisted. In their zeal to be traditional, traditional extremists insist on interpretations that would have been unthinkable only a few hundred years ago (which is incidentally where they think they got all the things they’re insisting upon), and progressive extremists are absolutely retrograde about the things they insist upon, almost pagan in the ancient European style. And some of this seems quite transparent to those who hold these views; they are ignorant of it even though they propose it, if what they propose is what they say and believe that they propose–something that’s not entirely certain. These words and philosophical concepts can all change meaning as the commonsense paradigm changes, and they have.

    The only thing that doesn’t change meaning is the basic Christian message, which is discipleship, and then fellowship with other Christians, as described in the Scriptures and the lives of the Fathers of the Church. That endures. It has taken different appearances down through history as the message has required, but the meaning of the central message and the God who offers it to us have not changed.

  • Rose

    Manny: what proof do you have that B16′s strengths were intellectual at the expense of human contact? What were those young people doing at WYD/ Eucharistic Adoration in Madrid or Cologne? Following an automaton? And those of us who followed every homily, read all his books, revelled in the beauty of how he celebrated Mass and gave Holy Communion…what were we doing, being happy with all that “intellectual” stuff but not yearning for “the press in the flesh”? B16 always pointed to the Lord, away from himself, to the point of being so self-effacing that he disappeared; now the MSM has a new beef with B16. He was just too pompous and showy. If I may be so bold as to say it bluntly: this is the unintended but forseeable consequence of certain gestures of our saintly new Pontiff, I repeat, it was unintended but there was an “in your face” quality to it that fed straight into the MSM narrative about our saintly former Pontiff
    I find it rather odd that B16 always referred to the Cardinals having elected him; Pope Francis has asserted that B16 resigned at the promptings of the Holy Spirit to clear the path for his own election at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Not sure what I make of that.

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar

    Because anything God wants us to do, is a way of making His love manifest. A beautiful church and/or liturgy may be the only beautiful things in a squalid place. Bringing people in squalor closer to beautiful things brings them closer to God, who is Beauty and the source of all beauty.

  • Nicholas

    midwestlady: the blog software won’t let me reply to your comment, so I am forced to reply to my own….

    I guess I’m wondering (as others may be) why you’re asking the question. I haven’t been around Fr. Longnecker’s place for long, so I don’t know much about his readers; are you not Catholic and seeking more information? Or are you Catholic, and are you suggesting that there’s something wrong or insufficient with the idea that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life?

  • Briana

    I think this is one of my most favorite posts of yours.

  • Meg

    I grew up in the 70′s and so have had to learn a lot to raise my own children in the faith. Last year we switched to another church because I couldn’t take the new priest-cold and rude ( to my children no less!) I figured that when he retires in 4 years we’d go back. But my childen have said that attending the new church has opened up their faith in new and beautiful ways. At the time of our switch, I didn’t know the Mass I selected at the new church would be a high Mass. The kids have no interest in going back to the parish they attended since birth. This new place also offers many new rituals/traditions/activities that are new to us and the kids are drinking it all in! They want to participate in everything and mark their calendars for all the feasts and events.

  • Will J

    I prefer the Mass in English. I have not seen the lack of reverence people talk about. People can attend the Mass in Latin, but should not think it better. Sorry.

  • AnitaT

    Thanks Father. We find coming from the Anglo Catholic faith that we have had to adjust to a lower culture in the mass as well. Where is the honor and glory to be in the presence of our King and to revere him? Its more about community and making everyone feel welcome, in fact we stand and greet each other around us at the beginning of mass and then again after the Lord’s Prayer during the Peace? It’s more about making you feel like you belong now than thinking about how you will be adoring Him in his glory for eternity. There is no mention of who can and cannot take communion. In fact, they encourage all to come forward during the communion. If you want a real eye opener look up on Facebook St. Stephens Catholic Community in Winter Springs Florida and see the welcome message from their priest there Fr. John. I pray that our new Pope will bring the Eucharist back to a reverent, beautiful, edifying mass that when you leave you feel like you participated with the heavenly host in showing our King and God how much we appreciate his faithfulness to us.
    15 minutes ago · Like

  • William H

    I prefer the Ordinary Form with no singing. It is as beautiful as a James Taylor Concert, but less talent and sadly about the same focus on God.

  • M E Wood

    The dumbing down of the services in Churches puts people off. If the Church comes across just a social organisation which enjoins people to do good in the community they obviously feel they don’t need the bother of getting up and going to a boring building with the sort of people they normally avoid . The heart of the service in all churches should be the Creed.. Nicene. The midwestern lady can look up the origins on the internet. Those who don’t continue to attend feel they have accumulated enough virtue to get in to Heaven anyway.. :-)