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« Why Did Pope John Paul II Kiss The Koran? | Main | Will Pope Benedict XVI Allow A Wider Use Of The Tridentine Mass? »

Saturday, May 06, 2006



Regarding such tactics as "open letters" and picketing and leafleting and non-stop bitching and moaning in public, perhaps these folks should also listent to what else Cardinal Arinze has to say, in his book God's Invisible Hand --

"if a person thinks something is not going well in the Church, and the first thing he does is to call the TV or the newspaper or the radio and tell the whole world, then I begin to ask myself, 'Does this child love his mother?' If so, why go to the marketplace to discuss the defects of your mother? Or what you hold to be the defects of your mother, because they may not even by defects, but you think they are defects. Even so, why don't you do it lovingly in the family?"

All of this muck-raking, especially that coming from the hate-mongers from St. Mary's by the Sea needs to stop, and it needs to stop NOW.


What if there were a group of parishioners who wished to stand during the Agnus Dei during a Tridentine Latin Mass?

Would that be ok too?


This kind of discussion goes nowhere and foster division. Why can't people just obey the directive of their Bishop period.
What is being enacted here has nothing to do wiith standing or kneeling - it's a group of misguided "ultra orthodox" Catholics wishing to appear more Catholic than the rest. It's childish and silly. These people need to grow up.

john chrysostom

I agree with Cardinal Arinze.  These things should first be done lovingly, within the family.  Restore The Sacred did speak with the pastor lovingly and asked to speak with the bishop.  The pastor became unwilling to dialogue and the bishop was not willing to meet with Restore The Sacred's members. This was before a single flier was handed out or a single media outlet got hold of the story.

As for whether or not the things Restore The Sacred considers defects are actually defects, I would encourage people to read the entirety of the Open Letter To Bishop Brown for themselves, including all of the linked articles, and decide for themselves if these are legitimate concerns.

The letter is long, but it connects a lot of dots and a pattern emerges that some Catholics either don't want to see, or don't want others to see.

Consider this: During the Arian heresy, approximately one third of the bishops in the Church became Arian, along with countless priests and entire dioceses. Yet if we are to believe, as apparently some Catholics do, that priests and bishops may never be corrected, never challenged, and/or never exposed, it was wrong to say that Arian priests and bishops were teaching error.

The same would follow for the Nestorians, the Donatists, the Montanists, and countless other heretical sects that had their origins in heretical Catholic clergy.

However, according to the thinking of some Catholics, these priests, religious, and bishops could not be corrected or challenged, only obeyed.

It is ludicrous to think that clerics are beyond correction, as if infallible simply by virtue of their office. It is disturbing that such a simplistic outlook exists after the egregious wrongdoing (and that is putting things mildly) of so many priests and even bishops was exposed through the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Church in recent years.

Remember: Catholics at St. Mary’s by the Sea are within their canonical rights to question the actions of Bishop Brown and Fr. Tran in accordance with Canon 212 of the Code of Canon Law.

Canon 212

§1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

I encourage Catholics who are squeamish about exposing corruption within the Church to read: A Few Blunt Words To Catholics

I also include the following for consideration:

“Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning." (1 Timothy 5:19-20)

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)

"When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects." – St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4

"It is better that scandals arise than the truth be suppressed." – Pope St. Gregory the Great

"The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops." – St. Athanasius

"The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops." – Saint John Eudes

“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their sign posts." – St. John Chrysostom

"...a new situation has come about within the Christian community itself, which has experienced the spread of numerous doubts and objections of a human and psychological, social and cultural, religious and even properly theological nature, with regard to the Church's moral teachings. It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine, on the basis of certain anthropological and ethical presuppositions. At the root of these presuppositions is the more or less obvious influence of currents of thought which end by detaching human freedom from its essential and constitutive relationship to truth. Thus the traditional doctrine regarding the natural law, and the universality and the permanent validity of its precepts, is rejected; certain of the Church's moral teachings are found simply unacceptable; and the Magisterium itself is considered capable of intervening in matters of morality only in order to "exhort consciences" and to "propose values", in the light of which each individual will independently make his or her decisions and life choices.

In particular, note should be taken of the lack of harmony between the traditional response of the Church and certain theological positions, encountered even in Seminaries and in Faculties of Theology, with regard to questions of the greatest importance for the Church and for the life of faith of Christians, as well as for the life of society itself. – Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, August 1993

john chrysostom


The mind of the Church is that a local norm can be set so as to have a general uniformity with respect to posture (as opposed to random chaos), but the Church respects the Real Presence to such an extent that the Holy See has explicitly stated that kneeling is not only to be allowed, but that no one may ever be denied Holy Communion for doing so.

Cardinal Arinze clearly stated:

“…the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.”

If kneeling when the local custom is standing were as incorrect as you imply, then the Church would have said: These people should never be denied communion, but must be instructed to follow the local norm and should be aware the disobedience to the local norm is, in fact, an act of disobedience to legitimate authority and contrary to the mind of the Holy See.

But that’s not what the Church said, Tony.

The Church says that people can kneel and they can’t be denied the Blessed Sacrament for kneeling. Moreover, Cardinal Arinze specifically said the people must be free to kneel "for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass...."

Strictly regulating the posture of the congregation at Mass becomes ridiculous. That’s why the Church doesn’t do it.

Some people have babies and need to sit down sometimes when everyone is standing, or kneeling. Other people have issues that prevent them from kneeling when everyone else kneels.

That's why there are general guidelines, but not hard, fast rules in this regard.

Yes, it would be dumb for someone to stand at the consecration while everyone else kneels, and they should probably sit, not stand (if they are unable to kneel), when everyone else is kneeling so as not to stick out, but human nature is such that some people stick out no matter what they do.

People are people. They do things differently. They respond to God differently. So long as their response isn’t sinful or so disruptive as to interrupt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (which is one example of how it could be sinful), why should people be overly concerned about it?

I would submit that standing when everyone else is kneeling during a Tridentine Mass would be disruptive, though. Whereas quietly kneeling when everyone is standing during the Novus Ordo is not.

In the case of St. Mary's by the Sea, the members of Restore The Sacred kept kneeling and Fr. Tran began literally patrolling the church during Mass, scanning for anyone who knelt and then attempting to intimidate and rebuke anyone who knelt. He dismissed people from the parish council for kneeling quietly at Mass. One woman he dismissed isn't even a member of Restore The Sacred. He dismissed altar servers for kneeling when they weren't even serving at Mass, but attending Mass with their families.

Does that sound right to you, Tony?

It sounds like strictly legislating posture in a way that was never intended by the Holy See to me!

Here is my solution:

A local norm for receiving communion while standing in line can be established.

That local norm is a general guideline, not an inflexible law that is binding in conscience, and certainly not a dogma of the faith.

The same could apply for kneeling during certain parts of the Mass.

A sign of reverence is required before receiving Holy Communion. A local norm may be set for this sign of reverence as well, but it is as binding in conscience as the norm about standing to receive.

Kneeling is one sign of reverence, and kneeling to receive Holy Communion does not require any additional sign of reverence.

So most people can stand (if that is the norm), some can kneel (as is their right), and nobody runs around like a Pharisee trying to browbeat or force anyone to do it one way or the other (just as the Church does not do, or else the Holy See would have come down hard and fast about posture), while everyone recognizes, remembers, and respects, that the Church has a special preference for kneeling.

It’s really not so difficult.

Why should such a compromise be upsetting to anyone?

Why is there this need to force these poor people to stand?

john chrysostom


Why can't Bishop Brown just obey the Church and not try to strictly regulate posture at Mass?

Why is Bishop Brown cracking down on St. Mary's parishioners for kneeling, but not other parishes within his diocese who are known to remain standing through the consecration?

Why does Bishop Brown allow the other liturgical abuses documented in the Open letter?

Why does Bishop Brown personally commit liturgical abuses? (For examples, see the Open Letter)

Why do people keep demanding that Catholics obey priests and bishops who do not obey the Holy See?

It can honestly be said that often, within the Church, disobedience to the disobedient is truly obedience.

In this case, it is not even disobedience. It is parishioners exercising their right to kneel. The right to kneel is assured by the Holy See.

So how can it be disobedience?

It seems to me that the ones trying to force these people to stand are the ones who are being disobedient.

What I don't understand is why it is so important that these people stand?

Why does it bother people?


The very name "Restore the Sacred" is provocative in itself. It suggests that the Sacred is missing or worse has been removed. There is a definite "Holier than Thou-ism" in this mob which should be faced squarely and defeated.
I have no intention of wasting my time reading such an open letter since it clearly comes from closed minds.

john chrysostom


You sound pretty closed, yourself. Lighten up.

Your talk of facing people off and squarely defeating them and your judgment that people you don't know and whose ideas you admit you have not and will not read sounds pretty high and mighty for someone who wants people to think he condemns all forms of arrogance and pride.

None of the people think they are holier than anyone.

They are called Restore The Sacred because they want traditions that reverence the sacred, like kneeling before God to be restored at their parish. These traditions were present for more than 20 years under the previous pastor.

When he retired, Bishop Brown used the retirement to squashall the remnants of traditional Catholicism from the parish, piece by piece.

First, he removed his permission for having an indult Tridentine Mass. Although most Sunday Masses at the parish were well attended, the Tridentine was frequently packed, almost to standing room only.

Removing that Mass displaced hundreds of Catholics. Some of them had been driving 100 miles on Sundays to go to that Mass.

Then people were told they couldn't use the communion rail anymore. The communion rail was previously used at all Masses. Now it is not used at all, because Bishop Brown abhors people kneeling to receive Holy Communion.

They then tried to demand that people not kneel when they receive Holy Communion in line, but to refuse Holy Communion for that reason is reprobated by the Holy See, so they weren't able to do that.

Next, Bishop Brown ordered that the sign of peace be given at all Masses. This had not been done at the parish for over twenty years.

Then Bishop Brown demanded that parishioners no longer kneel after the Lamb of God, as has been the custom in the United States since the Novus Ordo was promulgated by Pope Paul VI.

Parishioners who quietly continued to kneel at the parish have been singled out for discipline by the new parish administrator and if they were involved in any type of parish ministry, they were dismissed. Fr. Tran has called little old ladies on the phone and made them cry because he was so insistent that they stand after the Agnus Dei, unconcerned that they had been kneeling for this part of the Mass all of their lives.

So, based on these things, I would say that respect for the sacred has been removed, and is, therefore, now missing. In fact, it is now discouraged.


I am sure that the Tridentine Mass was pack by a strange collection of like minded time warp Catholics who came from miles around. It did not serve the parish needs therefore should be finished with.
Th use of the communion rail has been abandoned in most parishes throughout the Catholic orld since the Liturgical reforms. In fact the rails have in most cases been physicall removed since they were seen to constitute a 'them and us' scenario vis-a-vis clergy and people.
In my own parish there are people who insist on an ostentatious kneeling while in line - it is unnecessary and delays the distribution of communion. Reverence is an affair of the heart which should issue in some suitable action which does not draw attention away from that which is being reverenced i.e. the sacred host - this most certainly does distract and calls attention to the person instead.
The sign of peace is an integral part of the Mass now for many years. Traditionalists want the Mass to be a private devotional affair and the very idea of having to greet another in this way calls them out of the realm of private piety into communal encounter - hence they hate it!
There is a real issue at stake here - the Mass as an activity of the church as community versus the Mass as Fathers thing at which we are spectators. The little old ladies who so easily weep, it would seem to me are more attached to outmoded devotional practice than to the essence of the Mass.

john chrysostom

The sign of peace is an integral part of the Mass now for many years.

adj 1: existing as an essential constituent or characteristic; "the Ptolemaic system with its built-in concept of periodicity"; "a constitutional inability to tell the truth" [syn: built-in, constitutional, inbuilt, inherent] 2: constituting the undiminished entirety; lacking nothing essential especially not damaged; "a local motion keepeth bodies integral"- Bacon; "was able to keep the collection entire during his lifetime"; "fought to keep the union intact" [syn: entire, intact] n : the result of a mathematical integration; F(x) is the integral of f(x) if dF/dx = f(x)

The sign of peace is, and always has been, optional. How can something optional be integral?

john chrysostom

Traditionalists want the Mass to be a private devotional affair and the very idea of having to greet another in this way calls them out of the realm of private piety into communal encounter - hence they hate it! There is a real issue at stake here - the Mass as an activity of the church as community versus the Mass as Fathers thing at which we are spectators. The little old ladies who so easily weep, it would seem to me are more attached to outmoded devotional practice than to the essence of the Mass.

Karl, why would you seek to marginalize people who love the Mass of the ages? You speak of the Tridentine Mass, the Mass at which most of the saints worshipped, the Mass which nourished their souls, as though it is something terrible. That is not the mind of the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI, had this to say about the Traditional Latin Mass:

"I am of the opinion that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It is impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it declares that what was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent." — Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, (From his book) "Salt Of The Earth", Ignatius Press, 1997

To truly love THE MASS is to accept it in the form laid down by the church. Trouble is those "Traditionalists" who profess a love of The Mass mean Love for a form of the Mass of a former age. In essence the Mass is the one and the same reality, Novus Ordo or Tridentine. As someone else on another Blog point said - We are not Amish types who reject all things modern and wish to remain just as we always are. Liturgy develops and changes to better embrace the culture of the time. It does not make sense that the Mass of PiusV should remain for all time. The Vatican council recognised this fact and we have moved on.
The weeping old Ladies are free to join The LeFebvrist schismatic faction should the be so in love with the past.

john chrysostom


The Tridentine Mass was and is one of many forms "laid down by the Church". There are several Catholic rites. The Pauline rite is only one of them.

Moreover, you are heading for heartbreak if you have your heart set on the abolition of the Tridentine Mass.

It really looks like Pope Benedict XVI is going to allow the Tridentine rite to be said by any priest who wants to celebrate Mass in that rite.

He also wants union with the Society of St. Pius X, which may well happen, so your wish to marginalize elderly women in schism (which sounds most uncharitable, by the way) will also go unfulfilled.


What specifically do you not like about the Tridentine Mass? I sense a real hostility there.

Joseph D'Hippolito

Why do you think Bishop Brown has decided to crack down on this specific issue?

Because it's an easy issue that enables him to display his power and control in a way that the clerical sex-abuse crisis certainly didn't. We must never forget that, because of the closed, isolated environment in which our bishops are chosen, we get candidates who are essentially self-important bureaucrats who view themselves as indispensible. In this regard, Brown is no different than Mahony, who is no different than Law, who is no different than McCarrick, and so on down the line.

The whole problem is that such a view of the episcopacy directly contradicts Jesus' commands in John 14 for those who hold authority in His name not to "lord it over others" and to focus on service, not power. Any bishop making a significant issue over kneeling during communion is doing anything but following those commands.

Roger Mahony

Oh go jump in a lake!

Joseph D'Hippolito

Rog, Ladbrookes has 3-5 odds that *you'll* be jumping in the Lake of Fire... ;)

Karl, If I didn't know any better, I'd swear your last name might be Marx. You have too much venom in your dictatorial, uncharitable comments.I thought the liberal (TRUE LIBERAL) view was theres room for us all under the tent! I thought that diversity was king! Of course, we've learned that diversity is queen! Now we know that the only touted diversity is perversity!


Pope Benedict has had over a year now to make changes, he has chosen not to do so.He met with the loonies of Lefebvre and as a result NOTHING. I am old enough to have served the old Mass and I have no hatred for it. What does annoy me intensly is people who would use this issue to further polarise our church. It is not a single issue agenda o their part,rather the thin edge of a wedge which would create -in their minds-two grades of Catholic- the ultra orthodox and the rest. I say let us unite in our celebration of the one Mass abd leave the past behind. Christ has not changed and nhe is as really present in the Novus Ordo as he ever was.


I believe Bishop Brown desires to desecrate the sacred as he is a deconstructionist, so that is why he won't allow people to kneel directly after the Agnus Dei or while receiving Communion. It's these little changes and subversities in the Mass, these seemingly small lack of reverences that cause people to lose their faith and make parishes (and arcdioceses for that matter) go downhill.


What is so disturbing about the Bishop and some of the comments is that reconciliation or inclusion is out of the question.

In Corde Jesu

I am not certain to what extent the power of a ordinary of a diocese has pertaining to the kneeling. Some cited a cannon law passage saying that after the Agnus Dei and a during communion the ordinary could set a norm on posture. But what I do know is that there are many who claim they follow the "true orthodoxy"and make a show out of everything that came after Vatican II. I agree that the effects and results are yet to be fully seen, yet there was a splendor that just isn't there today. But I will never go into a mass with disgust because of some idea that mass could be better. The best is already there. Our Lord Jesus Christ, God, humbles Himself with the apearance of bread and wine, but truly is his Body and Blood. That Our Lord is not given glory as best as we could is another issue. But the old rite isn't neccesary for Our Lord to be given a most glorious and splendid ceremony. The new rite can have a splendor only the angels can rival it. With the correct use of music and liturgical vestments and a beutiful church. I have seen the Vatican ceremonies. I also saw an intersting website from a new order or something. . Very interesting, checkout their other links on the top with the flags. Look at the vatican site . Check out the Swiss Guard, they add a very nice touch, so do other organizations like the knights of columbus and Order of Malta. The uniforms and the liturgical vestments add alot. The music is also very important. Compare an electric guitar with a bad drummer to a whole band of trumpets and other brass with an organ along with a choir, plus a snare and bass drum corp along with it. Its not boring and it isn't improper for Church either. The Eucharist is the essentail part of the mass. That the sermon was about something his mother taught him or the movie he saw last night, hold it in your heart and not in the newspapers ear. It could be wrong, but making a mess isn't going to help. Pray, because at this point only God can change somethings. Try to follow the local customs, as long as it isn't sinful and sacriligous. If the people or the priest dance and do a windmill or start claping and shouting like its a mettalica concert, just don't do it. But if there is a stuborn priest or bishop, don't lower to his level, raise your soul to where his level should be. He is a priest of Christ, don't curse him, pray and stand like he wants. It won't be your sin if it is one. When it comes time to pray the Our Father and they want to hold hands or shake the whole churches hand, smile and follow the custom. Not doing it could do more harm than good for the souls of the people. Contempt for Church authority is not something you want people to think your doing. If people want to adapt to the times, adapt to God, He Is, Was and Shall Be for all eternity. Our Lord Jesus Christ never left the temples and the priests of Israel, even in there corruption and sin, He even spoke respectfully when interogated by them and was slapped, cursed and spit at, and died for their sins on the Cross. Christ is the model for all, take your Cross and follow Him.

In Corde Jesu


Corde Jesu,
In addition to taking up our cross, what abuse would, in your opinion, warrant standing up to a priest and/or bishop?

In Corde Jesu

The most certain one is a sin commited publicly. Heretical ideas are complicated, do your research and then ask privetly if it was a mistake or on purpose. An immediate action would be very rare, like he frisbees the Holy Eucharist or starts cursing in the middle of the sermon. The rest is not a square thing.
It depends, but a lot has to do is how one "stands up" to a bishop or priest. I wouldn't go to a news reporter to say something I should say in private to him. But most of the times, an audience is rejected by the bishop when he is notoriously "scandelous". But an attempt must be made. Tactics, but most of all, pure intentions are neccesary for success. Do I want to bury the bishop and prove I'm right and he is wrong or do I want what gives greater glory to God. If you want, give me and example of what you think is an abuse that warrants a course of action and I will tell you to the best of my abilities and with some research, what the case would be and what or if action is to taken. Somethings in this valley of tears require a long, contemplation before action, some a powerful grace that gives a rise of enthusiasm for a immediate action. Some are a combo of both types of graces. God is the first cause of everything

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness
and all these things shall be added unto you

Here is a litany that is very recomendable, as well as the Veni Sancte Spiritus:

Litany of Humility

written by Cardinal Merry del Val

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver, me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver, me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


It makes sense to follow the rules of the GIRM. When it says not to kneel when receiving the Body of Christ it makes all people doing the same thing. The bow of the head shows our respect for our Lord and the line is allowed to keep flowing. At the school I attend the monks have made a huge fuss over kneeling after the Lamb of God. All praise Bishop Finn of Kansas City-Saint Joseph for finally getting them to kneel. To bad once the communion line everyone has to stand up. Doing otherwise could end up getting you in trouble with those in charge.

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