Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bishop Coyne Blogs His Experience in the Pew


..and describes how the chaos in the Liturgy led to scandal and ultimately a change of plans to find another priest for the Sacrament of Confession.

He goes through all the motions. The oh-oh at "hello" that replaces the Sign of the Cross. The whoah, what was that, did that count questions after innovations. The cavern we've learned to retreat to instead of getting on an emotional rollercoaster of anger and sin.

As "Mass" progressed I was both disappointed and annoyed. I wasn't angry. I learned the trick long ago of moving into emotional "cruise control" when this stuff starts to happen. I also began to wonder if I should say something to the priest afterwards. I mean, I was just there as a visitor not as his bishop or vicar general. I was also on vacation so ... Nevertheless, I didn't let it go. What I did or did not do, I will leave between me and the priest. I hope it was helpful.


Always say something. For the hundreds/thousands who don't or can't that are scandalized.

I used to get up and leave. Sometimes, if I had experienced scandal in two or three different parishes back-to-back, I would check out for weeks or months. I've explained to solid priests that it was like being holed up in China where they have erected a counterfeit church. It looks Catholic, it says Catholic - but it isn't Catholic. I would no more sit in these places and take the chance of receiving an invalid Sacrament or give it legitimacy to my uncatechized brothers and sisters than I would sit through a Joan Chittister lecture at a National Catholic Reporter seminar.

Thankfully, laity drove this nonsense out of Dodge. Things are not quite as bad as they were five years ago. Our shine a light on it in blogosphere project put a lot of it out of its misery. The last thing a priest wants is to find his ditz being highlighted on the internet by Liturgy and Catechesis police. I'd say 70% of it has gone away. We are still not getting catechesis across most parishes but the daffy stuff is down to a tricke and in that vaccuum, parishes are popping up here and there with some good catechesis.

Anyway - Fr. Coyne's last paragraph hightlights something I've always liked about the guy - he's got heart. Compassion for the slobs in the pews.


Every time people ask my why some in the Church have a desire for the "extraordinary rite," the traditional Latin Mass, I guess I can give them at least one good reason. Masses like this. When one attends the Mass according to the Tridentine Rite, you know what you are going to get. There is no one being 'creative,' no one making up their own prayers or rite, and no question of validity. I am a chid of Vatican II. From the time I was old enough to understand what was happening at Mass, it has been the Mass of Pope Paul VI. I have been formed in it. I have studied it. I love it. Out of it, I have been ordained a deacon, a priest, and a bishop to celebrate it for the people of God. I have no desire to celebrate the Tridentine Rite but any time I hear people criticize those who want the "traditional" Mass, I am more inclined to understand why they want this form of the Mass. Perhaps if each priest were committed to the correct celebration of the present Mass of Paul VI - the Church's rites and not the rite of Fr. X - then maybe there would be less clamor for the "traditional" rite. Just a thought.


He's got that right.

I love the Novus Ordo too. I enter Christ's Passion and Sacrifice. Deep in prayer with the priest with the words I know by heart. When a priest innovates, I am taken out of that mystical place with Christ.

We don't want the stinking innovations that steal us from Christ and put the focus on some kind of performance. Just say the Mass dude. That's all we want when we show up in the pews. Be a witness to your obedience and faithfulness. Then we have the confidence that the Mass is valid. The Sacrament of Confession will be valid.

Many years have passed since (now) Bishop Coyne had the misfortune of receiving my communications. I didn't see eye-to-eye with him always. But never, not once, did I ever come across the kind of sniper clericalism that defends errors and shoots the messenger permeating the current occupants of the Chancery. There was no slinging of BS. It was open, honest communication. I loved his love for Christ's Church. His compass was always on doing right by Christ. He is a corker. But, I hope and I pray he has come through the gauntlet with this precious gift intact.

PS - he's added an addendum HERE. Good reading. Pray that he serves the multitude in Catholic blogosphere deprived of their religion and Sacraments with his honesty, humility and compassion. Priests need to read it and we could use a good dose of it ourselves.


22 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is to love about the novus ordo? The novus ordo is responsible for Bishop Coyne's "experience in the pew".

The novus ordo is good for only one thing - the garbage dump.

Veronica

Carol said...

Veronica, the Novus Ordo has been hijacked. If the same people could get away with it, they would hijack the Latin Rite. The reason why they don't is because the people would run them out on a rail.

It isn't the NO, its the weakness and craven nature of the people in the pews, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I felt a little out of sorts with Bishop Coyne's post. He was not happy with the Mass but he didn't do anything about it. He went the grin and bear it route. And if that's the best a bishop can do then what hope do I have?

Carol said...

I am on the road but it is my recollection that he went through a discernment process and in the end, he did not let the matter rest. Read again?

Anonymous said...

The bishop was on vacation - thus the diocese was not one where he had any authority (subsidiarity and all of that, yes?).

He is a new bishop after all. Once he gets into a position to do something about these things (i.e. he is the ordinary of his own diocese) - then we can have the hope that he will do so.

Catechist Kevin

Carol said...

He says, nevertheless I did not let it go. He did not let it go. He goes on to say that he hoped what he did helped.

Anonymous said...

Hijacked or not, Carol, it is still the novus ordo. Put side by side with the old Mass, it can't hold a candle to it.

The weakness and craven nature of the people in the pews is the result of almost fifty years of the novus ordo and the Vatican II theology.

Veronica

Carol said...

Veronica,

Something went down, that is for sure but I do love having the Mass said in my own language. I can pray the Mass in deep, deep prayer in the Presence of Christ on His journey. I never knew what was happening at the Latin Mass. I felt more like an observer. In fairness, I only went a few times in the past ten years but I just did not feel at home.

Anonymous said...

Carol, that is where we are vastly different.

For years I sat in the first pew and observed closely the old Mass. I know it inside and out. When I first returned to it in 1988, my initial reaction was "I've come back home!"

Since returning to the novus ordo, I am an alien in my own church.

Veronica

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add too, lest anyone get the wrong idea ... I didn't return with an "attitude". Our Lord knows well how very hard I have tried to fit in and how very, very hard (to the point of exhaustion each and every Sunday) I have tried to like the novus ordo. It's nothing but a constant source of aggravation.

It just doesn't cut it for me.

Veronica

Carol said...

Veronica,

I have been there. I understand totally. I don't know how I turned the corner. Knowing how disgusted I was, it might even be a miracle!

Maria said...

Veronica: You are not alone. One of my favorite writers, Evelyn Waugh,has these things to say about the Latin Mass. Quotes are excerpted from an article by James Schall SJ

"The Mass is no longer the Holy Sacrifice but the Meal at which the priest is the waiter. The bishop, I suppose, is the head waiter." (This is my favorite!)

Every attendance at Mass leaves me without comfort or edification. I shall never, pray God, apostatize but Church going is now a bitter trial." Again he writes, "I find the new liturgy a temptation against Faith, Hope, and Charity but I shall never, pray God, apostatize."

"More than the aesthetic changes which rob the Church of poetry, mystery and dignity, there are suggested changes in Faith and morals which alarm me. A kind of anti-clericalism is abroad which seeks to reduce the priest's unique sacramental position. The Mass is written off as a 'social meal' in which the 'people of God' perform the consecration."

This is what Waugh thought of the idea of "participating" at Mass: "'Participation' in the Mass does not mean hearing our own voices. It means God hearing our voices. Only He knows who is 'participating' at Mass." With all his efforts to influence or warn Cardinal Heenan, Waugh judged that he had failed. He wrote in his diary: "Cardinal Heenan has been double-faced in the matter. I had dinner with him à deux in which he expressed complete sympathy with the conservatives and, as I understood him, promised resistance to the innovations which he is now pressing forward. How does he suppose the cause of participating is furthered by the prohibition of kneeling at the incarnation in the creed?" But in his address to the Synod, after Waugh's death, Heenan seemed to have gotten his point: "Our people love the Mass but it is the Low-Mass without psalm-singing and other musical embellishments to which they are chiefly attracted." Heenan noted the fear that "the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament would be taken away." Who has Benediction any more? In his essay in the Spectator, Waugh put his finger on a problem that I am sure is that of many a layman in today's Church: "If the Mass is changed in form so as to emphasize its social character, many souls will find themselves put a further distance from their true aim." Perhaps my favorite passage in Waugh is this: "The word 'vernacular' is almost meaningless. If they intend to have versions of the liturgy in everyday speech of everyone, they will have to have some hundreds of thousands of versions. In civilized countries, Norway has two languages, Spain three, Milanese cannot understand Sicilian, etc. When you get to Asia and Africa, it is Babel. . . . They say that we must have the same version as the Americans, heaven help us." Alas, heaven didn't help. The morning he died, Waugh attended a Latin Mass celebrated by Father Philip Caraman, S.J. His daughter wrote, "I am sure he prayed for death at Mass. I am very happy for him."

Louise said...

Perhaps if the Bishop had been wearing clericals, his experience might have been more theologically satisfying. Priests who abandon the outward signs of their vocations, in their own small way, diminish their witness to the Faith as much as that priest making it up as he went along.

If he had knocked on my front door, introduced himself as a Bishop and asked to come in, I'd have refused and probably called the police. Is he as indifferent to his Orders as the celebrant was to the Mass? He has no grounds for complaint, it seems to me, or at least not as much as the people in the pews who have to sit through these innovations and novelties day after day.

Anonymous said...

I attend a very reverent, conservative, and beautiful norus ordo Mass. They can be found, but are sometimes difficult to find. We drive out of our way to attend this parish.

Fwiw, this parish is in the Indy (Bishop Coyne's) Archdiocese.

~K

Anonymous said...

K

Some of can't afford to being shopping around for a reverent Mass. The very idea that a Catholic has to do such a thing should tell us there is something fundamentally wrong. Aside from the fact that I have been there and done that. I spent ten years in search of a Mass that I wouldn't get angry during, and finally settled for a Mass said in Polish so I didn't have to hear the words in English.

Veronica

Anonymous said...

Maria,

Thank you for what you wrote. I agree whole-heartedly with Evelyn Waugh.

These are very hard times to be faithful to Holy Mother Church. But where else is there to go? In order to be saved, we must be subject to the Roman Pontiff. It is just that I am afraid that I will lose my faith as I see most of the older people (in their late sixties, seventies and eighties) seem to have forgotten anything they once knew. Talking to them has confirmed my fears.

Veronica

Maria said...

Veronica: There is only this one Church--"Lord, to whom shall we go? " Ir is very hard, Veronica, but we keep our hearts set upon Him. He is w/ us until the end of time. He will not fail you. I ask Him to protect my faith, every day...

"My God, I do not know what must come to me today. But I am certain that nothing can happen to me which You have not forseen, decreed, and ordained for all eternity. That is sufficient for me. I adore your impenatrable and eternal designs, to which I submit with all my heart. I desire, I accept them all, and I unite my sacrifice to that of Jesus Christ, my divine Savior. I ask in His name and through His infinite merits, patinece in my trials, and perfect and entire submission to all that to me by Your good pleasure".
St. Jospeh Pignatelli

:) Some days are better than others, right? Be well...

Maria said...

Whoops. Sorry..
"to all that comes to me by Your good pleasure".

Anonymous said...

Maria, I am laughing to myself.

If I say a prayer like that, I'll cower in the corner with my hands over my head waiting for a ton of bricks to fall on me!!

God bless you, dear Maria!

Veronica

Maria said...

Veronica-- Well, I just returned from Mass. A bitter trial. Maybe we are saving souls, Veronica, lol.

Anonymous said...

Maria, if I don't laugh at what you wrote, I will cry for sure. When I was in high school and if someone had told me this is what the Church would be like in fifty years, I'd thought them mentally deranged for certain.

God have mercy on us all!

Veronica

Carol said...

Louise, We disagree here. I think blaming the shenanigans of the priest in the Liturgy on a Bishop on vacation who was in civilian clothes, and who reported the scandal in an attempt to console those of us suffering with the foolishness is unfair.

We've talked about the novus ordo community. To be honest, there is much tweaking that needs to be done in the Latin rite community to attract and maintain a thriving community.


There seems to be little room for prudently choosing a battle to encourage a soul well on its journey to full surrender.


Full blown contempt spreads like a wildfire if the mother's hat is crooked on her head.

Too much drama over minutia.

Forty years of salvation, encouraged by good priests giving good Catechesis and Liturgies are anathema.

The baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.

Listen, I do not get involved in the community at all. I come and go for and with the Sacraments. That is all that is needed for adults. But families with children need the community for support. They are not going to bring their children to a place where their family will be nitpicked to death.

Both communities need to stop the drama about minutia, IMHO.