Did they stand at the "Pray brethren" where you went to mass this morning?

‘Coz they didn’t where I went to mass.

Nothing said. No-one moved. Nor did I see any bowing before receiving communion. The very slight changes to our liturgical ritual that were to have begun everywhere throughout Australia today went completely unremarked and unnoticed.

Now, I hasten to add that I attended Mass in a parish just outside the borders of the Glorious See of Melbourne, in a diocese that is currently without a bishop and under an administrator, so there is every chance that the changes were not given sufficient airtime for the priest and people to be aware of them. Always put the best construction on everything, as the eighth commandment teaches us.

So how did things go in your parish? I’d be interested to hear.

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35 Responses to Did they stand at the "Pray brethren" where you went to mass this morning?

  1. Joshua says:

    Having checked with my housemate Steve – “Steve, what’s the eighth commandment?” – “Thou shalt not bear false witness” – “Thanks, Steve” – I can now see where your phrase “”. I’d never read this before, except on PW’s blog, and I assume it must be a Lutheran catechetical explanation of the the commandment. David?

    Unfortunately, due to an absence of catechesis, I have only the haziest idea of the commandments and their order: let’s see, I’ll try:

    1. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only thou shalt serve.

    2. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    [This is the only one, BTW, which wouldn’t occur to a philosopher or a thinker with commonsense; is this in the wrong order?]

    3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

    4. Honour thy father and thy mother.

    [Oops, today’s Mother’s Day: I’d better ring her…]

    5. Thou shalt not kill.

    6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    7. Thou shalt not steal.

    8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife.

    10. Thou shalt not covet any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

    Having checked with Steve, I got these more or less right; he pointed out that Protestants [not Lutherans, I think, right?} combine nos. 9 & 10, thus putting one’s neighbour’s wife – a human being, heir to the life of grace – on the same level as his donkey and other chattels. What the difference between no. 6 and no. 9 I asked him? The first is greed, the second, envy, quoth he.

    Steve was home schooled; I went to a state primary school and a Catholic high school. Sigh.

    Oh, and I haven’t been to Mass yet: I decided to sleep in and go later, and anyhow I go to the Latin Mass, so the issue doesn’t arise.

  2. Joshua says:

    P.S. And the phrase I intended to cite was “Always put the best construction on everything, as the eighth commandment teaches us.”

  3. Past Elder says:

    Actually, God put 9 and 10 to-gether. Or rather, he issued a commandment against coveting, period. We split it up.

    As given by God, there are two tablets with five commandments each. The first state our duties to God, and in the Biblical text have short explanations or promises attached to them. They conclude with “Honour thy father and thy mother” which is not the full commandment, and is number 5. It is included with our duties toward God since our parents are God’s first representatives to us.

    The second tablet states our duties to each other. Which are quite terse. No explanation needed. The first of these, Number 6, is actually Thou shalt not murder, not Thou shalt not kill. The remainder prohibit adultery, theft, false witness and coveting.

    These are incumbent upon Israel, not all men. For what is incumbent upon all men, see Genesis 9, the Noahide Law, whose validity for all men was reaffirmed by the Council of Jerusalem in Acts which spells them out again.

    Any questions, ask your rabbi. (Orthodox, that is, there being no other kind.) Or I’ll chime in without being asked.

    I’m sure David will uncharacteristically agree with me that the “best construction on everything” thing is a typically Lutheran catechetical phrase.

    It derives from Luther’s explanation of the commandment in The Little Catechism. “Put the best construction on everything” is the traditional translation; our more recent translation has it “explain everything in the kindest way”. The German is: alles zum Besten kehren.

    A side note: Lutherans are fond of the phrase “What does this mean?”, which is the phrase Luther used after each commandment to introduce his short explanation.

    Luther did not, by the way, follow the Hebrew order of commandments. I much prefer it the way God gave it, but I reckon as long as all ten of them are there we’re good.

    Orate fratres! That our sacrifice MAY be acceptable???? The whole point is it IS acceptable — because it’s not ours, it’s his!

  4. Clara says:

    I also went to Mass in a diocese adjoining Melbourne, but on the western side.

    All went well this week with the Parish Priest, but last week was a different story – one of the assistants launched a diatribe against the Vatican and the changes. “I don’t know what these changes are about. Apparently you have to bow before you receive communion, and I am not allowed to leave the sanctuary at the sign of peace- ‘Can’t shake your hand next week’ ” he said to one parishoner who probably breathed a sigh of relief.

    I think I’ll send the priest Bp Jarrett’s article to enlighten him.

  5. Schütz says:

    No, Terry, you have it wrong too. There are in fact 11 “Commandments” (as determined by the number of “thou shalts/shalt nots”) in the texts in Exodus and Deuteronomy. At the beginning was the double commandment against idolatry (against other gods and against images) and at the end was the double commandment against coveting (either your neighbours house or your neighbours wife/servant/ox/ass etc). Two different traditions for dividing the commandments into 10 emerged among the Jews, and these two traditions carried on in the Church, the West taking the first double commandment as one and the last one as two and the East taking the first double as two and the last as one (do you follow me?). Thus the image problem in the East but not in the west. At the time of the Reformation, the Lutherans simply continued with the Western tradition, but the Reformed (again because of sensitivity toward images) took the Eastern view.

    Now, with regard to the phrase “put the best construction on everything”, yes, that is from Luther’s Small Catechism with regard to the eighth commandment, BUT you will find in the Catholic Catechism too at para. 2478 where it says “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way”, and quotes St Ignatius of Loyola to that very effect. The fact that a near contemporary of Luther should use similar language with regard to the eighth commandment says to me that it was a part of the standard catechetical tradition of the 16th Century. It’s just that the Lutherans remember their catechism better than the Catholics…

  6. Peregrinus says:

    We’ve had notes in the parish bulletin a couple of times in the past four or six weeks, plus catechesis from the altar. As it happens, nothing was said about it today, probably because the regular parish priest is away this Sunday and someone else is filling in.

    In my parish the congregation is incensed just before the Orate Fratres and we all stand to be incensed and remain standing until after the Hosanna, so we’ll have no trouble in that department.

    We’ve been told about the gesture of reverence. The woman immediately in front of me in the communion line bowed and so did I; I can’t tell you what anyone else did. I have noticed some people bowing in the last few weeks.

    Our PP likes a good liturgy and puts some effort into seeing that it is well done. He likes the idea of the gesture of reverence, and will encourage it. But he’s not one to be too heavy-handed about these things. He certainly won’t have a problem with anyone who genuflects, though at the moment very few do.

  7. Arabella-m says:

    Last Sunday we had the following in our weekly bulletin.

    “A brochure outlining the changes is available at each of the entrances. You are invited to take and read – here in Hxxxxxx parish due to the celebration of Confirmation and Eucharist on Pentecost, Trinity and Corpus Christi Sundays we will look to introduce the changes on Sunday 1st June”.

    This was followed, in the bulletin, by the following catechesis:

    Standing is an active posture, always the principal and most basic posture of prayer. We stand in the presence of those we honour – it indicates a readiness to serve.
    Kneeling is basically a posture of penitence and humility (in the early Church, it was forbidden on Sundays!) it has become a posture of reverent adoration, but it tends to be rather passive.
    Sitting, introduced only at the end of the Middle Ages, is a receptive posture, used for listening to a reading of the homily. It is also a more relaxed posture for times such as the preparation of the gifts.”

    Today about 15 children were confirmed and made their first Holy Communion. They were dressed in their normal Sunday best and with a white fringed stole with symbols worn over the shoulders. Other similar sized groups will receive these sacraments on the next couple of Sundays. The priest spoke to them at length about them ‘sharing a special meal’ and ‘becoming the Body of Christ’ when receiving the Eucharist.

    They were all invited to stand around the altar for the Consecration. The congregation stood throughout the Eucharistic prayer including the Consecration. Standing for the whole Eucharistic prayer has become the usual ‘custom’ at Christmas and Easter, Weddings, Requiem Masses and at all School Masses. This is not due to lack of space.

    For once the congregation did not pray the prayer of confirming, which according to the norms the celebrant alone prays (as he is the one conferring the sacrament!), asking the Holy Spirit be sent upon the confirmands (i.e. the prayer with the words ‘All powerful God, … send your Holy Spirit upon….’). This may have been because someone forgot to project the words upon the overhead screen!

    It seems odd that the two new changes are being introduced when so much else is routinely not done according to the GIRM.

  8. Joshua says:

    Peregrinus – I’m curious as to what parish you attend: if it’s in Melbourne I may know it. After all, the number of parishes with incense used at Sunday Mass is probably rather small, alas!

    And do forgive me for arguing intemperately.


    I think there is a ‘Lutheran’ way of parsing the Orate fratres – the response is:

    Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ.

    – in which the operative phrase is “at your hands”: for of course God regards with good pleasure the Sacrifice of His Son made once and for all, and which He will presently behold before Him upon the altar since His Son’s most holy Body and Blood are to become present there, but we sinners must pray on behalf of our mortal shepherd standing to make present this Mystery and to present our humble petitions, that, for the sake of His most dearly beloved Son, God may overlook the wickedness of His unworthy servant and people, and instead grant them and His Church universal every good gift and blessing to the praise of the glory of His great Name. For God could be forgiven, so to speak, for averting His Face from such hypocrites as would dare to set His Son before Him as a propitiation, if their hearts be not filled with humiliation and penitence (which themselves are the gifts of His prevenient grace).

    (Irenic) comments?

  9. Peregrinus says:

    Hi Joshua

    I live in Perth.

    Oh, and please don’t worry about aruging. I’m Irish; we like to argue.

  10. Joshua says:

    In Perth, W.A.? So we are neighbours! I am curious as to where you go that has such a liturgy; I can think of Fr Piumatti’s parish, or Fr Kevin Long’s pleasant chapel, but apart from that I can’t quite imagine where…

    No blog of your own? I’ve been meaning to track down any fellow Perth Catholic bloggers.

    I wonder if I have met you in real life at any Catholic events here? It would be amusing if you are a real-life acquaintance online unbeknown to me!

  11. Past Elder says:

    False. And falser.

    The reason the Gentiles have trouble with the numbering is they insist on thinking of these as Commandments. If you take it that way, as a list of thou shalts and thou shalt nots, you can run up a list of 14 or 15 of them, not just 11. Scripture however, gives their number as ten elsewhere with the phrase aseret hadvarim (EX34:28, DT4:13, DT10:4).

    The problem is, these are not just commandments. The word for them is better translated “Words” or “Statements”, which is preserved in our term Decalogue, cognate from the Septuagint for Ten Words. Therefore an attempt to number them as ten based on their being commandments is doomed to fail and based on a misunderstanding of what they are in the first place. The Rebbis are quite clear that there are more than ten “commandments” here, but there are ten statements or words from God. So, an enumeration of commandments is not the same as an enumeration of statements. You are right, though, that Luther retained, along with the bulk of Western tradition, the traditional Western commandment enumeration of St Augustine who got it from one of the synagogue enumerations.

    Not once, ever, anywhere, at any time, in twenty years around Orthodox Judaism (there being no other kind since the destruction of the Temple) did I ever see anything other than the 5+5 enumeration I mentioned above.

    Yes I quite follow your double commandment thing. We were taught that in grade school as kids, to explain why neighbour kids may not number them as we do. Both breakings-up of supposed double commandments arise from misunderstanding these as just commandments. As it came from God, the first “commandment” isn’t a “Thou shalt” at all, it’s a simple statement by God of his existence, not just as a theoretical point but an agent in history toward the people with whom he was now making a covenant (Israel, not all men) — who brought thee, etc. ALL Christian traditions miss that entirely, therefore they make attendant mistakes about supposed double commandments. Other gods and images thereof is a single commandment, the second, as is the commandment against coveting, the tenth. It is only when you miss the First Word, or Statement, that you find “double” commandments and have various ways of splitting up what God did not split up.

    The only other theory about how much was on each tablet having any merit is this: some Rabbis say each tablet had all ten — this being a covenant, there is a copy each, as was and still is the custom.

    That said — these are not just commandments, and all Christian enumerations of “commandments” are mistaken because they understand neither the First Word nor that the ten are all words in the sense of ststements or ideas — I think God, having established a new covenent between himself and Man in Christ, believers in which are the new Israel, is not as concerned with how we number “commandments” in the older Mosaic covenant as he is that we use them now as a mirror to show us our sinfulness, a curb to our natural sinfulness, and a guide to God-pleasing living. So I am quite happy to use Luther’s exposition in the KK (Little Catechism) even though he follows one of the Christian misunderstandings about “Commandments”.

  12. Mike says:

    In my parish in Melbourne, they did stand at the right time! We arrived slightly late and missed any last-minute reminders, but however they remembered, people did stand up on time. Took me by surprise – I’d forgotten that it was time for the changes to come in, too. Very few people bowed before communion. That may pick up, of course – but at the moment, if they remember, some people will find it a bit confrontational to put themeselves out there making an obvious gesture by themselves, at the front of the line, but if the practise picks up, I’m sure they’ll get over it.

    It is just a tiny bit irritating to think that it *seems* that the main people likely to be affected (aimed at?) by these changes are those who have been faithfully genuflecting as their gesture of reverence for years, rather than simply ignoring it (or not knowing about it). But we’ll also get over it.

    I hadn’t heard that the priests were told not to leave the altar – although I understand that’s not a new directive.

    Regarding the commandments, I had also heard – or read somewhere – pretty much what Past Elder says: that in some renderings, the first “commandment”/statement of the decalogue is, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery”. Fullstop. I think that’s a very powerful beginning and one that I like very much. It would also be a good heading for a section of the catechism, if we had grouped them that way.

    I just don’t understand from Past Elder’s post – how do you actually *know* how God grouped them? So Orthodox Rabbis have their traditions – as do we – but you then imply that they differ with each other in the details anyway.

  13. Peregrinus says:

    Hi Joshua

    My parish is Fremantle. I’m not really active outside the parish, so unless you’ve been to Fremantle it’s unlikely that we’ve met.

    I don’t have a blog. I’ve written quite a bit for Catholica Australia, and there’s an archive of my pieces there, but at the moment I’m on a bit of a break from that.

  14. Past Elder says:

    Hey, having how God did it is what makes Orthodox Rabbis Orthodox!

    Yes, that’s a bit of a joke, but seriously, I would suggest anyone interested in “Old Testament” should really engage in how it is understood by those for whom it is neither Old nor New but simply the Bible, and not a cultural artifact which contains things of God along with lots of stuff we can analyse away along the lines of modernist revisionists in all religions.

    There’s publication data for the Hertz Chumash on my blog, which to this day I find fabulous. It would be on my “desert island” list of books, or one of the ones I would seek to save from a fire once the kids, dog, cat, fish and gerbil were secure (wife is already secure in heaven). Bible, BOC, Hertz Chumash, and God Grant It! (Walther’s writings arranged as devotional material according to the “historic” — read: not the Vatican II remake — lectionary) in that order.

  15. Schütz says:

    PE, I know that the the Jewish take on our 10 Commandments is the “10 Words” (learnt it in seminary–Lutheran seminary). Modern Orthodox numbering may be 5 + 5, but there were, historically, the two traditions. Modern Judaism has not preserved every form and aspect and tradition of the multi-faceted thing called “ancient Judaism”.

    Josh and Perry, you too should get together!

  16. Joshua says:


    I was at Notre Dame’s Freo campus last year… so, you go to the Basilica, where the OMI’s are? I know a few Oblates from my years in Melbourne, where, among others, dear old Fr Austin Cooper OMI taught me.

    Surely not – Catholica Australia?!

    Never been there, isn’t it meant to be a nest of the most appalling heretics and worse? (That’s the impression I got from the acid comments on Coo-ees from the Cloister. BTW, any clues as to who they are?)

    I do hope you assent to the Deposit of Faith without indulging in fancy footwork… :-)

  17. Peregrinus says:

    Yes, I go to the Basilica.

    I’ve no idea who is behind Coo-ees, but I think their judgment about Catholica Australia probably tells you more about them than it does about CA – and that would be generally true of their judgments. They have a very definite line to peddle – and, I cannot but suspect, a few scores to settle.

  18. Past Elder says:

    It’s not the “Jewish take”, it’s the way it is, from God.

    Of course modern Judaism has not preserved every form and aspect and tradition of ancient Judaism. The Temple was destroyed and the priesthood killed, for starters.

    Neither would is be desirable that it should. Perhaps you also learnt at sem that operative in Judaism is something rather similar to the “development of doctrine” thing we hear so much about on this blog. When something is accepted in rabbinic consensus, then it can be said of it “It is as if Moses heard it at Sinai”. And among the many functions this serves, is to weed out as needed those of the forms and aspects and traditions that are not quite right, which exist in the multi-faceted thing called Judaism, and which problem is found in all religions (ie things develop within it that are not quite right, and so the argument begins over which is quite right).

    Interesting that this function should not be recognised (which is not to say agreed with) in one religion when it is so prominent in your own. Then again, in Judaism this happens by consensus, not by a defined institution such as, say, the Roman Catholic Church.

    Which I suppose explains it. Nothing is right unless Rome does it. Rome is god.

    The “Ten Commandments” is a Christian invention. God gave the Ten Words. As the Ten Commandments contain, however numbered, the text of the Ten Words, it’s not that big a deal I think, and God is more concerned about our use of them (mirror, curb and guide) than our numbering of them.

    If anything, the real problem with all this “Ten Commandment” stuff is that it obscures the Noahide Covenant that actually was made with all men, whose “commandments” are traditionally numbered as seven, and which the Apostles retained in Acts, quoting them specifically.

    Or as my rabbi used to say, seven (weighing one hand) or 613 (weighing the other, 613 being the traditional number of commandments in the Law), which should I choose — his point being, you’re a Gentile and this is what God wants of you, not to become a Jew. The Apostles knew that too, regarding the Law.

    For God’s sake, get the Hertz Chumash! It’ll be a lot better for you than Newman’s “How To Find Catholicism Just Protestant Enough To Join”. Give me Manning any day. There ain’t gonna be no more Mannings.

    Caught a little of the papal Pentecost Mass on EWTN while channel surfing for a good movie. Nice show. The audience seemed to think to too — audience being a better word as other than the boys around the altar in the red get-ups no-body’s lips moved even with the “parts that pertain to them”. At least he doesn’t speak “German” Latin, though I did hear a hard g in “agere” once — maybe he converted during all those years in Italy bashing those who uphold tradition and “dialoguing” with those who don’t. Found a good movie, so it wan’t a total loss.

    Isn’t CA Brian’s deal? I like Brian, believe it or not. Don’t agree with him, but he’s straight up, as we say.

  19. Joshua says:


    I think it would be nice if you dumped the offensive and blasphemous line about Rome being – I cannot bring myself to repeat it.

    And Benedict is not a basher of traditionalists! You sound like the kooky soul who put up a webpage entitled, I kid you not, “Ratzinger versus the Immaculate Heart of Mary”!

    And the cheap shot at Newman was nasty: as the man said himself, he spent all his life fighting liberalism.

    Smile, laugh, be happy!

  20. Past Elder says:

    Spoken like a true post-conciliar “Catholic”! Arguments are never, ever, addressed. Instead, there is a sort of ad hominem. No-one would say these things unless he is, say, unhappy, not laughing, unable to smile — because, since we are right, he would be right too and is not so much wrong as just terribly lost and therefore miserable, and the poor bloke really wants to be one of us and won’t be happy until he is.

    At least our host hasn’t given me Monty Python psychoanalysis in a while.

    Relax, good Joshua! If the Roman Catholic Church is not the functional god of the faith it promotes, then it is I an not you who will bear the consequences of maintaining such.

    Ratzinger is a deadly enemy of the traditional faith of the Roman Church. The Roman Politburo left it alone as long as it seemed it was just a movement that would die out along with its cranky old French archbishop, but when bishops were ordained — whom they knew would be true bishops quite apart from their canonical licitness — the storm troopers were dispatched with Ratzinger leading the charge against those who did nothing but carry on with what the Roman Church had taught every one of them. And why? — to maintain the god of the institution. And now he allows it as a museum piece, on condition that one accept as valid what the institution says.

    As to Newman, what a joke. Anglican to Calvinist to Anglican to Catholic, hell, had he lived longed who knows what he would have converted to. He believed nothing on the basis of revelation in Scripture, which along with everything else he found too confusing unless an authority sorts it out for you, so his search was for the god who would do that, eventually locating it in the Roman Catholic Church.

    Which brings us full circle. As with Newman, there are only two positions allowed as even possible, agnosticism and Roman Catholicism, and if you aren’t one or the other you just aren’t paying attention.

    Sorry pal, it just ain’t so.

    I’m sure he was a nice enough guy, too bad he couldn’t have had a girlfriend and some football. Smile, laugh and be happy indeed.

  21. Schütz says:

    Terry, I am past trying to “Monty Python” psychoanalyse you. I think I might have intimated at some point in the past that your argumentation bears more resemblence to the serpent in the garden: the persistent and untiring nagging of truth-mixed-with-lies.

    I continue to resist the impulse to simply delete your comments. Please don’t force me into yeilding to this particular temptation…

  22. Joshua says:


    I began the comments with a question on “Always put the best construction on everything, as the eighth commandment teaches us” – where in your comments is this monition to be found instantiated?

    I should think a recovered apostate from Christianity, who abandoned Our Lord when things in the Catholic Church went loopy after the Council and denied Him with the Jews, should be the last to crow loud and long in condemnation of Newman’s movement through Anglicanism to Catholicism, a trajectory far less objectionable by comparison.

    And what nonsense about the present Pope being the enemy of Tradition! What foolishness! It doesn’t require any disproof because of its utter risibility…

    And when without ulterior motive I wish you well, you round on that too – I do wish you weren’t so curmudgeonly and difficult.

  23. Past Elder says:

    Well fellas, I got a deal for you.

    Since it will apparently strike neither of you that to respond not with “reasoned debate” of ideas but calling them truth mixed with lies like Satan the serpent in the garden or needing no refutation only confirms that no positions are allowed except “Catholic” and “wants to be Catholic but may not know it yet”, that nothing else will be found worthy of discussion, that all is allowed as long as it in some way holds a place for and does not deny the one great god the Roman Catholic Church — that being the case, maybe I should spare you the trouble of your “temptation” and retire from this blog altogether.

    Oddly enough, that was my intent at the turn of the year. And the only thing that overturned that was a call on this blog for one of our pastors who comments here to convert — that being in true Newman fashion the only possible position other than agnosticism.

    It’s OK to call on us to come in. It’s not OK for us to call on you to come out. Wonderful.

    Nonetheless, it has shown me for yet another time that whatever Church you are thinking with, it is not the Roman Catholic Church but a monstrous impostor. And if this impostor were to be proven to be the true Church of Christ or the church in which its fulness subsists, then it would indeed be time to deny him and look for another, so foul is the deception, not of you personally but of those whose Kool-Aid you currently drink.

  24. LYL says:

    PE, I have no idea what Kool Aid is, but do you think you could articulate your thesis as to why the Church as it currently is, is not the True Church? Preferably without unnecessarily inflammatory remarks. I’m sure you know what such things are.

    That way, when I have a moment, I might be able to make a proper rejoinder to you. Unless, of course, I lack the intelligence, which is entirely possible.


  25. LYL says:

    And David, we had a diocesan Mass on Sunday for the reception of the WYD cross and icon. And no, we haven’t heard anything here in the Archdiocese of Hobart about these 2 changes. So nothing changed.

  26. Past Elder says:

    God bless me ten times.

    Kool-Aid is a powdered fruit concentrate bought in stores and mixed with water and usually sugar too. Being from Omaha, I might add it was invented in Hastings, Nebraska, down the road.

    In the early 60s, proto-hippies would put LSD in it, and those who drank the LSD spiked Kool-Aid were said to have “passed the acid test”.

    But the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” derives from the Jonestown Guyana self-massacre in which the faithful drank Kool-Aid spiked with potassium cyanide in 1978. The phrase has spread from a specific reference to this event to any giving over of one’s judgement to an authority, or a fervent belief based on such an authority.

    Funny thing is, Kool-Aid was not used at Jonestown. It was a similar but lesser known product called Flavor-Aid.

    As to my thesis, it does not admit of exposition in a combox, even it it were it is not welcome here, and has been articulated by many far better equipped than I am anyway. There are links to some easily readable ones on my blog. And also a recent post called “A quia subscription to Trent”, one of whose points, but not the main one, is that the Roman Church may have brought itself under its own anathemas with the Joint Declaration. However, on my own blog I speak as a Lutheran, whereas here it was my original intent to confine myself to why I reject the conciliar church, a conclusion I came to as a Catholic and twenty some years before I saw Lutheranism as anything but a sincere but misguided effort to be Catholic without being Catholic.

  27. Schütz says:

    Louise, we have, many times, asked PE to follow through with a logical step by step account of why he continues to say the Catholic Church is not the Catholic Church but “an imposter”, and time and time again all he does is give us links to SSPX websites. I do not find this satisfactory, and neither do any other readers of this blog. I once again invite PE to give such an argument here. In fact, if he deigns to do so, I promise that I will rescue his clear statement from the depths of this combox and post it as a post all on its own for all readers of this blog to see. I ask simply that he write clearly and tersely (without wandering from the point) so that we can all understand where he is coming from and engage his argument. To date, as I have said, he has not done this. Frustrating.

  28. LYL says:

    PE, I know that most of our reasons for believing what we believe often require mre spacae than a combox permits to fully explain the matter. But I should think that a person of normal intelligence could at least give a sufficient kind of an outline or summary of the main points.

    For example, I can rarely be bothered articulating all the points others have made against gay marriage, so I usually link to an article (which David here has seen and appreciated) yet I usually do make one or two pertinent points to whet the appetities of others, that they may perhaps follow the link/s I provide. The points I choose, usually reflect something of central importance which I have yet to hear proponents of gay marriage address, thus if they are unable/unwilling to do so in a combox (even if it’s just one specific link to something they believe addresses the issue, then in my opinion, they don’t really have a case.

    Would you be willing therefore, to give me a specific point or two and provide say one specific link you think is of central importance?

    Or just a very simple outline of your main thought? I am absolutely certain that David, myself and other commenters here would give it serious thought and reply respectfully after proper consideration. Really, I think David’s frustration is perfectly understandable.

    Thankyou for the Kool Aid info. I’ve always wondered what the reference was. Strangely enough, we Aussies don’t know everything that happens in the USA!

  29. Christine says:

    that being the case, maybe I should spare you the trouble of your “temptation” and retire from this blog altogether.

    Oh heh heh, Past Elder. You can’t do it. You just can’t. How many times have you stated that now?

    I really think you need to return to the world of academia. It seems to be the paradigm you operate the most successfully from.

    Meantime, us poor unenlightened Romanists will try to carry on!

  30. Joshua says:

    I think the statement monstrous that “Nonetheless, it has shown me for yet another time that whatever Church you are thinking with, it is not the Roman Catholic Church but a monstrous impostor. And if this impostor were to be proven to be the true Church of Christ or the church in which its fulness subsists, then it would indeed be time to deny him and look for another, so foul is the deception, not of you personally but of those whose Kool-Aid you currently drink. “

    So much for faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.


  31. Past Elder says:

    For openers, here it is not at all a matter of faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a matter of faith in the Roman Catholic Church. I am sorry if the difference is not apparent. Yes, I was an academic and am a PhD, but my faith journey, as some call these things, was not an academic matter primarily. I did not read this or that and come to some conclusions. While it did include some classes while in high school and college, primarily my conclusion re the RCC was something arrived at over time as a lived out experience. So to summarise it, the result would be not so much a position paper, but a, shall we say, apologia pro vita sua.

    Nietzsche, the only philosopher worth reading, wrote once that a person’s life is the compost, sometimes the dung, that results in his thought, and what is important is not the compost but the thought. That is why I have always referenced those who ask why I think what I think about the RCC to paricularly two papers on the SSPX site, the Ottaviani Intervention re the novus ordo, and the paper on the new Catechism. These two — which I did not read until years after I had left, for that matter the catechism itself did not appear until years after I had left — state as papers things which did not at all happen for me in academic form, but express in a straightforward exposition things that to me were collected over time in experience in no particular ordering, some of them clear and some not clear other than a sense that something is wrong here. I should think it much more to the point to read them, since I find them an organised exposition of things that grew within me in anything but an organised fashion, rather than for me to either attempt same when it has already been done or to attempt a summary of my experience in a single post or even a separate blog — perhaps entitled “Years of Agony” (wink, Nietzschean dance).

    That said, I will set out a few things experientially rather than academically which are things I have already tried to say over time on this blog.

    The council convened when I was 12. I had been an altar boy already for several years. Serving Mass, and the RC faith and church generally, were far and away the most important things to me. I continued to serve well past the years when boys generally didn’t, and served as what would become the novus ordo in 1970 when I was 20 was introduced piecemeal. In both this and the religion classes in school, it was explicitly clear that with “the changes” we were emerging from a dark reactive era to the Protestant Reformation into a breath of fresh air of the Spirit where we were actually becoming more and not less Catholic by stepping out of this late mediaeval ghetto mentality both forward into our own times and backward to more consistency with the earlier church.

    Of course, exactly how this was to be effected admitted of all sorts of things, all of them OK by the invocation of Vatican II and/or the spirit thereof. To the extent that I was actually afraid to read the documents of Vatican II for fear of what I would find. After all, there clearly (I thought at the time) was no other church that had any tenable claim to be the church founded by Christ, therefore however well intended they were there was no point in looking at them for an answer, and if the RCC had stumbled then the gates of hell had prevailed and Christianity itself unravelled.

    Many then argued as many do now on this blog, Oh, but that’s not what the church REALLY teaches. After getting a little tired of various versions of what the church REALLY teaches and having to pick and choose where to go based on that, finally in academic year 1972/3, my first year of graduate school, I determined to read the documents myself.

    If there was a turning point, that was it. I was amazed at what I found. On the one hand, I found little to justify most of what I experienced, and on the other, what I did find did not sound like the voice of the Church I knew. You want details. It wasn’t something I wrote out. It was more like the reaction of an infant put at some other woman’s breast who instinctively knows this is not mom (or mum).

    I was aware of the good archbishop and the society he formed, and was sympathetic with their efforts, however, I found their position untenable. It cannot be that Truth would be conserved in this manner, the Roman faith held apart from Rome and against Rome, yet on the other hand, Rome allowed anything and everything except that which it formerly only allowed. Those who taught what the church doesn’t really teach continued on their merry way in pulpit and podium, those who taught what the church really taught me were squashed, all the while this post-conciliar church of the documents, neither what I saw around me now nor what I had seen around me before, existed as a mirage, and even when found, wasn’t home at all though it said it was. And so, at the start of the 1973/4 academic year, it was clear enough to me that even if the post-conciliar church of the documents prevailed (which those loyal to it have been saying is just around the corner for 35 years now) what would emerge is not, to resume the imagery, the mother’s milk at breast.

    The Roman Catholic Church had ceased to exist. Which meant, so I thought, Christianity was false. Therefore, not only was what they taught now false, what they taught before was false too. It had all been false all along. I asked myself, borrowing from the title of one of the books I read at college) if the fulfillment turned out to be not the fulfillment, does that mean the promise was false too? My answer was no, and as the High Holidays were nigh, I attended services at the Jewish Student Center, and began twenty years as a Gentile believer in Judaism (which is to say, Orthodox Judaism).

    That’s a lonely business. A Righteous of the Nations (look it up if you don’t know) remains of the Nations, and periodically over that time I would read this or that, watch this or that, go here or there, in an attempt to prove myself wrong, only to find the “spirit” of Vatican II, the religion I knew outside the church from which I learned it, or the religion of the documents of Vatican II that was not my mother.

    I’ll leave the Lutheran part out, except to say that did not begin until 1993 when I married an LCMS woman — as estranged from that by the Serminex years as I was from the RCC by Vatican II. You don’t like my tone now? You should have heard my first discussions with the LCMS pastor who married us, as I was concerned for the religious identity and upbringing of such children as we hoped to have! (PW, I find out, has known him for years, small world!)

    Wir sind am Ende damit. No, Christine, I will quite happily retire from this blog. How many times have I said that? Once. Retracted because I quite frankly was pissed (by which, for our Aussie readers, I mean angry, not drunk) by the call on this blog for one of our pastors to convert — Newmanism all the way, one is either agnostic or Roman Catholic, or just not thinking it though, so think it through and come home.

    Which is, ironically, the only way I could come to what you call your, my and everyone else’s home. Newman’s way. Belief by first believing in the authority of the Roman church. Since this is the Church of Christ, it remains the Church of Christ, its tribulations being ever present and notwithstanding, and if it says it is the same then it is the same, because it cannot err on such matters.

    Aw geez, no specifics, no points to argue, no proof texts. No, there isn’t. At least, not from me. You will find the things that were clear to me, the things that at the time were but partially clear to me, and the things that were akin to the instictive reaction of an infant to another woman’s milk, laid out in expository form on the links provided on my blog on the sidebar “The Tiber, For Swimmers er al.” I read them years later, in the Internet age, and they spell it out — what I might be able to, what I might in part b
    e able to, and what I sensed rather than spelled out even to myself, and minus all the compost and dung to which this post has subjected those who read it.

    Further the deponent sayeth not (Nietzschean dance, my Germans, and my non-Germans!!).

  32. Eilidh says:

    Thankyou, PE, for telling us some of your story. Given that the internet is often a place of rancour, I am at a bit of a loss to express my thoughts sincerely, but without being over the top.

    At any rate, I found this to be very moving (sorry if that sounds cliched or stupid). I think I can at least begin to see why you think and feel as you do. I will certainly think about what you have written more deeply and I may visit the links you suggested as time permits.

    If I have anything of any use to say (not by way of argument) I might drop by at your blog and leave a comment, with your permission.

    In the meantime I will pray for you and I hope you may say a little prayer for me.

    God bless,

  33. LYL says:

    oops! That was me. I seem to have been signed in as my daughter!

  34. Joshua says:

    Thanks, PE.

    Oremus pro invicem.

  35. Christine says:

    I am not unsympathetic to PE’s position. As I’ve stated probably one time too many I grew up in a milieu of Lutherans and Catholics and was able to observe the Catholic Church pre-and-post Vatican II. My husband, too, attended parochial schools from Kindergarten on.

    My paternal (Catholic) grandmother would probably have agreed with PE word for word. Some of my other Catholic relatives would not. Even my husband’s grandmother, a daily communicant in her parish, weathered the storms of those turbulent years with grace and continued love for the Church she was raised in.

    But that’s neither here nor there. PE’s experiences are what they are and they are his and must be respected as such.

    We will continue to disagree on some essential matters but that doesn’t change the fact that Lutherans and Catholics have far too much of a common history to ignore each other.

    As I’m always fond of pointing out, Lutheran/Catholic marriages are very common and I consider myself fortunate to have been given the best of both worlds.

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