Tuesday, August 28, 2007


My daughter started kindergarten today. Time moves on.

Thank God she is attending a GREAT Catholic school. One that actually teaches the Catholic faith, in addition to their outstanding academics. And I thank God that I am able to support her going there. I hope and pray that in four more years I'll have two more joining her.

Monday, August 27, 2007

How Good It Is....

I had the priveledge of attending mass at my home parish this morning, and what a beautiful thing it was. After spending so many hours seeing and reading all about the horrific masses that so many have to put up with, seeing mass celebrated so well just served as a wellspring of grace for me.

Rarely do I get to attend mass at this hour (8:00AM) and alone. Doing so allowed me to concentrate, pray, and sit right up front where I could easily see every detail of the mass. Because of my seat, it struck me right away that our Priest, Father Duong, celebrates the mass with an amazing level of care and precision. It is a true pleasure to watch. Every movement is "just right" and wonderfully executed.

And to make it all even better, our 8:00AM Sunday mass is celebrated in "low mass" style - no singing at all. What that means is there is time for prayer and reflection, time to digest and internalize what is happening on the altar. Don't get me wrong, I love to sing, and I sing all the time (ask my wife). But I have always thought that the singing of hymns in the middle of mass was a distraction at best - intrusion is more like it. All made worse by the fact that virtually all of the hymns found in Catholic churches nowadays suck, both musically and theologically. I know that he who sings prays twice, but I'll settle for praying once, well. To paraphrase an old movie line "When I sing, I sing - and when I pray, I pray". Chant is a tertium quid, and truly does count as prayer, doubled.

Sure it would be better to get Father to "turn towards the lord" and lose the table altar. Or maybe to celebrate in Latin. But, even as it is, this mass is as good as the "new mass" gets. We are truly truly blessed.

So for all my friends out there who feel that they are stuck in a liturgical wasteland, if you want to see a reverent mass in a reverent parish, with a reverent priest and congregation, come to St. Benedict's in Greensboro for the 8:00AM Sunday mass. I hope to see you there.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I never knew I had it so good

Well, actually, I had a pretty good idea. But now I know, REALLY KNOW, just how good I have it.

I read a blog post some months ago from the Carolina Cannonball about the futility and counter-productive results of whining about liturgical abuses. I realized at that time, that I had fallen into that trap of negativism. I swore off such bitching unless I saw the abuses myself, in person. Fortunately for me, both of the churches I attend have pretty good, reverent masses. About as good as the novus ordo gets, for the most part. So I have not had opportunity to bitch at all.

Until Now.

I attended mass on the Vigil of the Assumption, featuring a stand-in priest, who shall remain nameless. The whole mass was the perfect example of why the priest should NEVER face the congregation. Father _______ was constantly using the most overtly theatrical expressions and choreography. It was extreme and right out of acting school, or so it appeared. That made the whole thing just plain cheesy. But then, to make it even more about himself, and to show how "post conciliar" he was, the priest took to CHANGING THE WORDS OF THE MASS!!! So the agnus dei became "This is Christ, our brother and friend, who takes away our sins...", and it went on that way through the whole mass. I actually started to walk out when he began the mass with "Sisters and Brothers" instead of "Brothers and Sisters", a change which told me, correctly it turns out, that this mass would be an exercise in inclusiveness. And it turned out that this whole mass was a distillation of all that happened in the "spirit of the council" that has caused the church to go through hell for these past decades.

Then, having stayed through a mass, not even knowing if it counts as the mass, I stayed in my pew to pray for a few minutes ( I am going through a bit of a personal crisis, and I NEEDED to pray). Well, two rows behind me, there congealed a crowd of about 15 people, who proceeded to start their reunion right there, LOUDLY. They were in fact so loud that when I finally got fed up, I turned to them and said in a loud voice "CAN YOU TAKE THE REUNION OUTSIDE!!!", and they didn't even hear me!!!! And as the ultimate in cake icing the priest came walking back up the aisle, and JOINED IN!!!

I swear I'd drive to the SSPX in Charlotte if I had to endure that every week. Thank God, I don't. But I'm keeping my options open.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Highly Impressive Statement

Father Z, on his blog, has a report on the statement of His Eminence, Cardinal Egan of New York on the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. This is merely the latest in Father Z's running account of Bishop's statements accompanied by his thoughtful (and helpful) commentary. Of all of the statements I have read, I must admit that Cardinal Egan's statement is by far the most thoughtful and moving. Not just because it is so well presented, though it is, but because it comes from a powerful Cardinal Archbishop of what is arguably the most visible see in the US.

What strikes me is the openness of Cardinal Egan's attitude. He seems to be saying that, while he believes that the liturgy as we have it now is good, it can be even better. And the older Mass deserves a very special place, and it is right to have it in place, and respected. It is nice that he did not bend over backwards to tell people that it would have no affect on them, but rather put its affect into perspective for those who may be wondering.

I don't live in New York, but I know enough about human nature to know that what Cardinal Egan says will be well noted around the country. And I also well know that one positive statement by His Eminince is worth a lot more than a dozen of those urinating-and-moaning "party line" type statements that have been coming from some of the chanceries out in the hinterlands.

As time passes it is becoming clearer and clearer just which way the wind is blowing. The pattern is getting harder and harder to miss. I just continue to pray that my Bishop, Bishop Jugis of Charlotte Diocese, enthusiastically supportes those of his Diocese who want to celebrate the older mass.