Hi folks! Still here!

Just quickly popping in to say I am still here and have been reading the great discussion on the end of the last post.

I have been attending a super colloquium on Deus Caritas Est at the local John Paul II Institute here in Melbourne. Some great speakers. Check out the program and be jealous!

Janet Smith is a real hoot. Apparently she had them rolling in the aisles at the Anima Conference on Saturday. They want to get her back for the Melbourne Comedy Festival next year. Her impersonation of a young lad’s reaction to his girl friend’s reply to his question “Will you have sex with me?” (her reply was: “Are you ready to marry me?”) was priceless.

The real highlight of the day though was Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Peter Elliott in the JPII chapel. The beauty of the liturgy just shone through. It was a simple mass but he celebrated it with such dignity that I was just carried away to the third heaven. He caught us all by surprise when we reached the Holy, Holy, Holy of the Liturgy, and he entoned “Sanctus,…” I knew the words but was only vaguely aware of the classic Gregorian setting. Agnus Dei likewise (although we didn’t sing the Pater Noster–I know that one!). Good sermon by the assistant priest, and Communion in both kinds. If the Mass was like this in the days of Luther, I don’t think there would have been a Reformation. Mass celebrated with this degree of decorum and attention may even be the salvation of the modern Church…

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21 Responses to Hi folks! Still here!

  1. Past Elder says:

    Well, as one who can do the mentioned Sanctus and Agnus Dei on demand still — not to mention the Kyrie, Gloria and Credo that go along with them — may I suggest you have it backwards: had there not been a Reformation, there would not have been Mass like that in these days.

    Having a Lutheraned over liturgy no more addresses the substantive concerns of the Reformation nor the faith confessed in the Confessions than buying a bunch of vestments and a copy of the novus ordo makes it a Catholic Mass

  2. Paul says:

    Hi David,

    I wish I could have been there at the conference. Carol and I drooled over the program. Thanks for telling us a bit about it.


  3. Schütz says:

    Dear Paul,

    Hooroo! What a joy to get a comment from you!

    Yes, the conference was superb. On farewelling Prof. Janet Smith, Tracey said “We often have people over from America–lecturing for a term, or even studying for two years or more–and then they go back just when they have become like family to us.”

    That would about describe the situation, eh? (America includes Canada, I guess, in much the same way as Britain includes Ireland? — Don’t bite, Peregrinus!)

    In fact, I was listening to Sr Joan Chichester on the wireless (aka the mp3 player) this afternoon, and she was complaining that the Church didn’t address the real issues for women. Well, this conference did–but I don’t think that’s what she meant by “the real issues”…

  4. Christine says:

    David, oh, I AM drooling. What a splendid lineup. Janet Smith is super. Was the reference to von Hildebrand in connection with the great Dietrich von Hildebrand?

    I still have vague memories of Gregorian chant from the days in Bavaria when my Catholic Papa took his little Lutheran daughter to Mass. Since becoming Catholic I’ve learned the joys of Victoria and Palestrina as well as Bach. Ah, the riches of it all!

    And since Past Elder brought up the Lutheran Confessions — now that good President Kieschnick has been reelected and the fact that the LCMS has hooked up with the pentecostal loving AALC, let’s see how long it takes for the Jesus First/Daystar bunch to achieve even greater levels of influence in the LCMS.

    As I’ve stated before, it ain’t the Missouri Synod I grew up in.

  5. Schütz says:

    I know there has been a LCMS Synod just recently, but I don’t know any of the issues (hints only on Weedon’s blog). What can you tell me?

  6. Christine says:

    Well, from what I’m hearing from those who attended the convention the Synod is still very divided. President Kieschnick was relected by a very slim majority.

    I guess what puzzles me the most is the fundamentalist tendencies I’m seeing in so many LCMS congregations. That simply was not the case in my childhood and young adult experience. The last LCMS congregation I worshipped with was in the early 1980’s. They were solidly liturgical and truly catholic in their spiritual practices. No one blinked an eye if one made the Sign of the Cross, the pastor led wonderful Bible studies that were firmly rooted in authentic catholic tradition and no one ever suggested that there were dinosaurs on Noah’s ark. The crucifix was prominently displayed and reverenced.

    I’m also hearing that the LCMS is adopting a somewhat “corporate” mentality in its governance which seems to be moving away from lay influence. The “business” model is troubling to me.

    Another pressing issue seems to be President Kieschnick’s vision of how the LCMS should evangelize. Again, the rich Lutheran heritage of Word and Sacrament were very prominent in the churches I knew growing up. Kieschnick and those in agreement with him seem to be adopting a decidedly American evangelical model.

    More’s the pity.

  7. Past Elder says:

    I don’t have vague memories of Gregorian Chant. They’re quite specific, as from childhood until the Revolution, er, Vatican II, it was a regular feature of worship, not something to be drooled over if it happened. I remember the last time I did any as part of the Catholic Church: my music theory professor, who was also ordained ad organum (if you don’t know what that means, ask the sspx), had been removed from the faculty and abbey worship by the Vatican II Geheim Kirche Polizei (Gekirpo, if you will, quite as effective as the original state version) had a few of us from the schola cantorum in the abbey church to record some before it slipped under the waves.

    Still comes in handy. I could join right in watching the coronation, oops, don’t do that any more, installation of Benedict XVI, when they tried to look at least superficially Roman Catholic and chanted some — while everyone under 50 looked as blank as if they were at a Hindu temple.

    As to the LCMS convention, there are a number of confessional Lutheran blogs with posts relating to that. As a veteran of what the Black Shirts did to arrive at what you take for Catholicism, the problems in the LCMS are a walk in the park.

  8. Christine says:

    Well, I guess I should have been more clear. As my Lutheran mother was determined that my sister and I were going to be raised in her tradition, not my Catholic father’s, my exposure to Gregorian chant in a church setting was limited as I moved out of childhood. That didn’t stop me from scarfing up recordings later as an adult, ergo it is heard regularly in my home (and increasingly in parishes across the U.S.) There’s a wonderful Franciscan parish in my area that has been given Shrine status and that is forming a schola to sing historic sacred music. It’s in a formerly Polish/Czech neighborhood and the woodcarvings and other ecclesiastical appointments are absolutely magnificent.

    I suspect “ad organum” (organum referring to a distinguishing name) is connected to descriptions of part singing, i.e., polyphony. Please do correct me if I am wrong.

    What I “take” for Catholicism for me IS Catholicism. My Catholic worldview wasn’t formed by what went on at Collegeville, the abbey or university. But we’ve gone round and round about that before, no need to rehash.

    Meanwhile, the LCMS mission down the street from my house is busy praisin’ the Lord. Since I regularly receive flyers from them inviting me to worship I finally called them and told them (in a kindly manner, of course) to not waste their valuable time. Their “youth pastor” (who has not yet been ordained by the LCMS) told me they are “not trying to reach Lutherans” and that folks who are nourished by liturgical worship are making an idol out of worship forms.

    I suspect they are competing with the considerably larger evangelical church further down the street (who, interestingly, are equally downplaying their Southern Baptist affiliation).

  9. Christine says:

    I’ve also been surfing some of the sites discussing the LCMS convention and lo and behold, the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau tells me that another new Lutheran organization has sprung into being — the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America ?? They have parishes bearing the names of St. Boniface and St. Laurence wow!!

    They also are making an argument for a Lutheran episcopacy.

    Most interesting. And on it goes …

    I do agree with them on one salient point — a “synod” does indeed refer to a meeting of bishops, not a Lutheran (or any other) organization.

  10. Christine says:

    Clarifying that I do understand “synod” to mean “walking together.”

  11. Past Elder says:

    FWIW, my Catholic worldview wasn’t formed at Collegeville either. It was in my local parish and parish school, staffed by Franciscan sisters TOR and parish priests of the Diocese of Winona, who managed to convey to me an understanding of the Catholic faith consistent with the understanding of the Catholic faith at the time conveyed to others in other Catholic contexts. This was on the basis of what is now the “extraordinary” Roman rite — it would not have occured to anyone back then that in addition to the mystery of one God in three persons we should also have one rite in two rites — the Baltimore Catechism series, and believe it or not the Bible.

    Among the various Catholicisms one finds now, the only one consistent with what I was taught is what you find on the SSPX site. All the rest are varying degrees of rejection of that.

    As to synod, in Roman usage it is quite right that it refers to a gathering of bishops. Neither its Greek roots nor its general meaning in English restricts it in that way. So one would first have to accept Roman authority to accept the restrictions beyond the English definition, let alone the canonical definition of bishop as not legal unless appointed by the bishop of Rome — hence the presence of bishops that are “real” bishops but canonically illicit according to Rome.

  12. Christine says:

    the only one consistent with what I was taught is what you find on the SSPX site.

    I understand that, Past Elder. It was the Catholicism my husband, his family and my father’s family were raised on. But you reference your experiences at St. John’s so much that it sometimes seems that that’s your only referent. With the advent of societies such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter at least we now have a core group dedicated to celebrating the Tridentine Mass actively training priests. Time will tell where we will go now that the Motu Proprio has come down. Whether in Latin or the vernacular, the Holy Sacrifice is offered and the Body and Blood of the Lord are made present.

    I believe that the Orthodox also use the word “synod” in the context of a group of bishops, so it’s not limited to Roman usage.

    At any rate, I really do appreciate your posts and am grateful for the opportunity to share views.

  13. Past Elder says:

    Yes, Eastern usage also means a gathering of bishops by “synod”.

    Speaking of Orthodoxy, I don’t think Mr Moto will help things much there. To leave the choice of rite to a priest rather than a bishop, as I understand reaction to the Motu from Orthodox sources, is almost too bizarre to contemplate, something only Rome could do.

    The Fraternity of St Peter is a completely bogus organisation and a complete traitor to traditional Catholicism. Two days after Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated bishops, JPII offers to recognise those traditionalists who won’t challenge him and poof, SSPX defectors take the bait and you have the FSSP. Their flaw is the same as the Motu itself: you can have your silly old rite as long as you recognise the bogus ordo as a valid rite, ie as long as you deny the basis for continuing the “old” rite, namely, the apostacy, heresy and anti-Catholic nature of the novus ordo.

    My experience at die Abtei is hardly my only point of reference. It is my most protracted one, and the one connected to a locus of activity for decades that was at the forefront of the devastation eventually wrought by Vatican II, so I mention it more often than the others, because it was there that I learned ad fontes, so zu sagen, including a peritus, what was afoot. But the deadly fruit I have experienced in varying degrees in every “Catholic” university student centre or parish it has been my misfortune to have to spend time and the two conversions, er, receptions, in which I regretably had a part.

    And again, it’s not the Latin, it’s the rite.

  14. Christine says:

    And again, it’s not the Latin, it’s the rite.

    Yup, I know that. The beautiful (and I do mean beautiful — German woodcarving at its finest) German parish of St. Stephen’s in northeast Ohio is fortunate to have a German speaking pastor who offers the Novus Ordo Mass in English, German and Latin. I suspect he will also be offering the Tridentine in the future because this building is still very well suited to it, having retained the altar rail et al. and he is old enough to have offered it in the past.

    Also read this morning that younger priests are flocking to be trained in the Tridentine Rite.

    As for the Orthodox, I predict things will only get better between Rome and the East.

    Don’t feel too badly about the two conversions you were involved in.

    It may speed up your time in purgatory :) (sorry, couldn’t resist)!

  15. Past Elder says:

    As to the two conversions, I was thinkng the opposite — if we missed the boat on the Purgatory thing, they will lengthen my time there!

    One was done without Confirmation, as the person’s Methodist “confimation” was held to be valid, the other is now divorced but of course a “good” Catholic, the person’s prior marriage pre-conversion to a renegade Catholic (not me) having been judged null by the local tribunal, as presumably the last one will be too next time around (which will also not be me).

    Not your grandfather’s synod indeed — this ain’t even my old church but some bizzare cult using the same name!

  16. Christine says:

    Now, be fair, Past Elder. Becaus esome Catholic parishes are renegade doesn’t mean all of them are any more than all LCMS congregations resemble Willow Creek.

    I had to wait a little under a year to enter the Catholic Church. I am so grateful that in that time the folks who were my spiritual shepherds were loving, supportive and always spoke the truth to me, i.e., I could not receive Holy Communion until I was formally received into the Church and that as a candidate for full communion I would receive the sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Eucharist (my Lutheran baptism being, of course, rightly accepted as valid) and my husband and I would receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony (we have been married a total of 30 years now).

    As far as annulments go, interesting you should mention that. My husband needed to get an annulment in order or me to enter the Church (his first wife initiated divorce proceedings). I won’t go into all the details save to say that his marriage involved a wife who didn’t share his views and a child who was very, very sick due to a severe reaction to her DPT shots and there was stress that was simply irresolvable. The fact that his wife was not Catholic factored in her decision to initiate a civil divorce).

    The point of all my rambling is that he was very surprised at the support and encouragement he received from the Tribunal, and said that for the first time he felt that someone had really listened to his side of the story unlike the civil lawyers.

    Much has happened since you left the Catholic Church, Terry, and things are changing. The silly season is slowly but surely beginning to wind down and I thank God for the gift of being Catholic and praise Him that you have found spiritual nourishment as a Lutheran.

  17. Past Elder says:

    Well Christine, you might enjoy this re annulments. In her late teens, years before I met her, my late wife was married to a renegade Catholic in a non Catholic ceremony, which ended in divorce in less than a year.

    Our original plan was to get married by an Orthodox Rabbi (there being no other kind IMHO) in a religious but non Jewish ceremony. However he got booted by his congregation for not winking at Kashrut as they wanted. So we settled on LCMS, since that is what she was raised and it was the only Christian denomination I respected (the list isn’t much longer now).

    But my family being RC, I did make an effort to see if we could be married in an RC service, preferably the one using the real Roman rite here in town, so the magnificent wedding prayer invoking many of the great women of faith that was among the many things axed by Vatican II could be used. It was explained to me by the chancery official, a sister of course, that the prior marriage would be defect of form, which I knew, but if we were married in that church in that rite, since it was not part of the Catholic Church I could later ask the marriage to be blessed by the Church. I replied that if getting married in the only way Catholics were married for centuries put one outside of the Catholic Church now and needed to be later recognised by the Catholic Church, then I was quite happy to be outside the church and perhaps it might consider who really is apart from the Catholic Church, then slammed the phone in her ear.

    Yes much has changed since I left. There are two silly seasons. One is the “spirit” of Vatican II. The other is Vatican II itself. The latter will slowly assert itself, because that is what it must do — it is all about power and position, and everything is allowed except that which contradicts those who think their man made power and position derives from God. Content means nothing, allegiance to the power and position is everything. As long as you don’t step outside of that you can be as silly as you want. What a pathetic substitute for the Law and Gospel, the Word and Sacrament, of Jesus Christ.

    My only regret about that conversation is that I did not slam the phone harder. There is no more vicious and determined enemy of the Roman Catholic faith than the post conciliar Roman church, which will be more and not less so as the real intent of Vatican II settles into place. I predict this will take a quantum jump with the first pope not himself formed before Vatican II and a product rather than a fashioner of post conciliar Rome. Depending on how long the current pope lasts, this may well be the next one. In the events surrounding the death of the last pope and the installation of the current one it became conclusively clear to me — as if that were even necessary — that the post conciliar church emerging from the immediate ruckus after the council will more removed than ever from the Roman Catholic faith, further than the silliest of the silly season.

    The only thing worse than the “spirit” of Vatican II is Vatican II itself. For those who hold to Roman Catholicism (which I now know was itself a mistake) the real fight for it is only beginning, only just beginning. Motu proprio will no doubt deceive a few into submission, as was intended. Too bad Bergman just died. What’s coming he could have made into a great movie.

  18. Christine says:

    Past Elder:

    An orthodox rabbi getting the boot from his congregation because they didn’t want to observe kosher ?? What a hoot!

    There was a great deal of suprise in the Catholic world when Benedict was elected. Certain factions felt sure that a “progressive” pope would assume the Chair of Peter and it didn’t happen. I’m not too worried about the prospect of future popes who might implement a more radical vision of Vatican II. If anything, the younger priests coming up are far more traditional that their immediate post-Vatican II confreres and reports are that many priests are flocking to become reacquainted with the Tridentine Rite. Bishops and Popes do come from the laity, after all. Personally I’d be delighted to see Cardinal Arinze elected.

    And then there is, of course, the sensus fidelium. I’m seeing a renewal in my own parish of traditional devotions and prayers and I have faith that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in the laity, who are giving birth to many wonderful and orthodox apostolates.

    Am I correctly understanding that you wanted to be married in an SSPX chapel? If so, the response at the chancery was what I would have expected. Catholics are not united by the wedding rites they undergo, but you know that. For that matter, in the earliest days of the church Christians weren’t required to be married in church at all. The “way Catholics were married for centuries” was only one aspect of Catholic nuptial life and I simply can’t get overly concerned about it.

    Word and Sacrament, Past Elder. I receive them every time I go to Mass.

    I’m content.

    Ah, Ingmar Bergman. Son of a Lutheran pastor, grew up in a devout Lutheran household but self-described himself as having lost his faith around the age of eight. Nevertheless much of his film was informed by the religious imagery of his childhood.

    Some things just aren’t so easily exorcised.

  19. Past Elder says:

    Well Christine, my partner in the “ever present trio”, though Peregrinus peregrinates us at considerable distance —

    It was not that the Orthodox congregation didn’t want to observe Kashrut, but that they were accustomed to “winking” at certain things at which Rabbi would not wink.

    No I am not referring to an SSPX chapel. We do not have one here in Omaha. What we have is a parish and a seminary of the Congregatio Mariae Reginae Immaculatae (CMRI), which is sometimes called Thuc-line, after the Vietnamese bishop whose authority is the basis of their apostolic succession claims. They are also sedevacantists, the position that there is no pope. Considering the apostate behaviour of John XXIII, Paul VI, JPII and B XVI I can understand what would lead anyone who loves the Catholic faith to such a position, but I do not hold that position. Neither does the SSPX, which firmly rejects sedevacantism, has a prayer for the current pope on its home page (an incredible act of charity considering the black shirted jack booted efforts of Rome against them) and contends Thuc line priests are schismatic and as protestant as those against whom they think they defend the Church, and regard any doings with them as schismatic and illicit canonically. So getting married in one of their churches would be a distinctly un-SSPX thing to do. Then again, I do not claim to follow the SPPX, only that they teach the Catholic faith as taught by the Catholic Church, a true hermeneutic of continuity, to borrow one of the now current phrases.

    I am inclined to go along with the SSPX in their rejection of the Thuc-line. My approach to the chancery was not based on an acceptance of the Thuc-line, nor of SSPX for that matter. It was based in a desire to find a way to be married in what had become the traditional Catholic observance of Matrimony. Had become, not always was. Always was has never been a Catholic determinant, because the divine authority given to the Church (in Catholic belief) allows for the legitimate development or ritual and doctrine. There is nothing new in that. What is new in post conciliar “Catholicism” is the employment of this concept to find things which directly reject or contradict or both what was once taught and obseved as legitimate developments of them.

    What lies behind this post conciliar “hermenutic of continuity” is simply idolatry — a human institution and power structure is held to be of divine origin, therefore, communion with this institution and structure is the sine qua non, and continuity must be there therefore it IS there.

    That is the incredible irony of the post conciliar Church — that communion with this institution and structure is more central to the “faith” it teaches than in the darkest of days of the “mediaeval triumphalism” from which it thinks it has freed the Church. You can do pretty much what you want, as long as you don’t “leave”, don’t challenge the authority of the structure — redefine it fine, but the root is always the institution, the structure. And it is the recognition of the authority of this structure which is the basis of the “conversions” of which we hear — that having come to see it of divine institution one can no longer remain visibly outside it, and once in it, no evidence whatever can be accepted that might suggest this is a human and not divine institution.

    Nor is this ever seen as apart from the Gospel. He who hears you hears me, he who rejects you rejects me: once “you” is identified as this institution, then fidelity to it come what may is fidelity to Christ himself and precisely the opposite of idolatry. These days there is a good deal more awareness that those who reject that institution are not at all trying to reject Christ but trying to follow him according to inadequate lights, therefore the rejection can be addressed in terms of the adequacy of the lights rather than a rejection of Christ which is unintentional and unrecognised. But the institution remains at the core.

    As to Bergman, I think his inability to escape the religious imagery of his childhood, specifically some form of Lutheranism, is entirely unreligious but existential — he could not let go, because a meaning, though false or at least mythical rather than literal, imparts an identity, and it is the loss of meaning, of identity, rather than a particular religious faith, that is the issue. This is alienation, philosophically. The order of God, king, church and state may indeed be a myth, but when one comes to see it as a myth and not a reality or truth, how does one not also lose identity, how does one retain identity when the bestower of identity is a myth? One answer, retain the myth, not as a belief but as the source of self, as the source of identity. This is what flaws Bolt’s portrayal of Sir Thomas in Man for all Seasons; it is what allows the knight in Seventh Seal to remain a Christian knight; it is what marks post conciliar Catholicism and non Catholic, the relocation of truth to what reveals Man to himself, a most hideous inversion of the whole doctrine of Incarnation. Bergmanian alienation and Vatican II are diffent versions of the same path to the same thing, alienation and the hermenuetic of continuity each allowing the rejection and loss of something to be swept aside in a Man centred ongoing indentity and self.

  20. Christine says:

    Oh, CMRI. I’ve seen their website. Frankly, they are a bit too much for me. Too, too heavy in their monarchial culture, a virtual paradigm of “medieval triumphalism” as you put it and their sedevacantist position puts them in good company with a lot of other pseudocatholics who exercise the right of private judgment as much as some extreme Protestants.

    That’s at least one saving factor with the SSPX; they may be in schism with Rome but at least they don’t deny the papacy.

    I do predict that if the Tridentine Mass re-roots and flowers in the U.S. that there will be an eventual reconciliation with the SSPX. I just got a catalog from them a couple weeks ago (how DO I get on all these mailing lists ?)

    I’ll never forget a couple I knew when I was still Lutheran and attending an ELCA church. The wife was a very committed, very well informed Roman Catholic, her husband Lutheran. They both used to participate in our adult education classes. One Sunday she said something to the effect of, “look, the Church is Jesus Christ, not the Pope, not the Bishops, not the institution” — this coming from a woman who could never envision herself as being at home in any other tradition and was no left-wing radical. Her husband, whose father was a Lutheran pastor, eventually became Catholic because among other things he couldn’t stomach that the money he put in the collection plate was going for abortion coverage for female Lutheran clergy.

    I think you overestimate the “authority” aspect of contemporary converts to Catholicism. Many of them remember a time when most mainstream Protestants sang the same or similar hymns and pretty much believed the same things. The upheavals in the Protestant world after the 60’s were very far reaching in some quarters and they see in the Catholic Church the historic beliefs that all Christians once shared, even though I know you would disagree with that. Add to that the consistent witness of the Church on marriage and life issues and they indeed detect a “hermeneutic of continuity” that many in the non-Catholic world have long abandonded. I know many converts with just that worldview.

    Plus, the liturgy of the Catholic Church, when observed reverently and meaningfully (yes, that doesn’t always happen) proves irresistable for those fleeing the cultural wilderness that the U.S. has become.

    As for Bergman, consider this bit of information about him:

    His father was a rather conservative parish minister and strict family father: Ingmar was locked up in dark closets for infractions such as wetting the bed.

    That might have done more to destroy his faith than any later existential angst, not to mention that the Church of Sweden is not exactly a thriving institution anymore.

  21. Past Elder says:

    Since this post is about to hit archives, I’ll continue the conversation in the Maybe I Jumped the Wrong Way combox.

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