Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Meanwhile over at Acatholica....**updated

Just to remind us of the shape of the future - a photo from Juventutem vespers last year. Because there are times when we need that reminder....

I've been urging people to pray for our priests, and requesting names and if possible ordination dates - thanks to those who have contributed so far, do keep them coming!

Just why priests - and especially our new priests - need our prayers and support is made evident by a couple of items so nasty they are actually almost funny over at Acatholica (forum of Australian dissenters), attacking the newly ordained priests of the Sydney archdiocese, and traditionalists in general. I won't give the link - it will just expose you large doses of heresy and bile, but I thought I would share some a few of the comments so you know just why we need to pray, pray, pray!

What we are up against

Where most of us see the first mass photos on the Melbourne Latin Mass website as wonderful expressions of the priesthood and sign of the coming renaissance of the Church, Mr Coyne reacts as follows:

"The contempt these people show towards the rest of society is almost as breath-taking as that shown by terrorists who are absolutely and totally certain they are the only ones who have access to the mind of God. They are literally "building a museum" — thanks for these series of photos, guys, they say so much — and the utter contempt for the real spiritual needs of the rest of society is beyond belief."

Surprisingly, an ex-priest (I gather),'Steve' responds by defending the FSSP:

"I've known some of the FSSP priests, who have been in Australia expressly to offer the sacraments according to the 1962 books. In my experience, I've found that they are not narrow, indeed I've had some very good times, talks and laughs with them.

The ones I associated with were under no illusions that they were here to 'turn the church' to use of the 62 books. They provided for a pastoral need, for those who have an attachment to previous liturgical forms.

The FSSP priests I know are mature, well-balanced, intelligent and pastoral. They serve those who desire the ceremonies they offer. They don't claim that it is meant for all, they have plenty of work serving those who do desire such things.

I can't say anything about the current Sydney Archdiocesan seminarians and new clergy... I have had a great attachment to the 'old rite' of Mass. It was a glimpse at something out of the ordinary, and was a great comfort to me over the years. I have offered the 1962 Mass a few times as a priest, and enjoyed the experience.

I don't pretend it should be the norm, I don't think even its zealous promoters think it will become the norm again.

To each, their own."

Mr Coyne, however, remains unconvinced (mind you, he is correct up to a point in thinking that we do wish to restore orthodoxy, not just stay in a TLM ghetto, even if most of us don't expect to see the TLM totally replace a reformed version of the NO anytime soon!).

What's wrong with the TLM?

But the scariest posts are the comments about why it is all so horrible. The crimes?

1. Celebrating ad orientem (Peter R, clearly not a supporter of Pope Benedict XVI's book on the liturgy):

"Fancy a priest turning his back on Christ really present in the community. An absolute disgrace!" [It's not turning his back, its facing the same way as the congregation. Ideally facing towards the tabernacle, where Christ is more fully present...]

2. Celebrating the Latin Mass at all (Gail, passing on an email comment from someone who hasn't heard of Summorum Pontificum):

"I cannot believe it - I cannot believe it!!!!! ...he was born post vatican 11...How could he be allowed to celebrate the exception to liturgical worship as his first experience presiding! [! The priest doesn't 'preside', he celebrates or offers the mass - some recent reflections by Fr Blake of St Mary Magdalen are worth reading.] IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!! AAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH … I am becoming more and more convinced that we should not ordain anyone who has a predisposition to believing that the Second Vat Council's liturgical renewal is so insignificant that it can be dismissed as an aberration!"
Gail goes on:

'This is Cafeteria Catholicism [clearly not someone who knows what the term means!] at its worst - and a conquest by stealth [!]...'

3. It's not all about us (Tony See says):

"The pictures you linked us to reminded me of a similar series of pictures I stumbled on -- presumably from a similar group -- sourced in England. I was reminded because in both cases there were very few pictures of the congregation. I wonder why? Was it because of some sense that the congregation didn't matter?

Visually it seemed to express the view that the mass is about 'us boys' dressing up and putting on a show and the congregation are relegated to distant spectators. Related to that is the almost complete lack of ... what are they called? ... oh yeh ... women [I know it must be a shock for a novus ordo goer to actually see - men - at Mass in any number, especially young men, acting as altar servers rather than extraordinary ministers. But fear not Tony, women are there too - singing in the choir, organising flowers, polishing the brass, making vestments, participating interiorly. Most of us don't want our photos up on a website! But they are there - just look at the photo from the packed Solemn Vespers celebrated by Cardinal Pell at Juventutem/WYD last year.]"

**4. Not many people there?

Another poster takes a shot at the apparent size of the congregation based on a photo at the end - but in fact I'm told the photo is actually from after the Mass, when some people were queuing up for first blessings. In fact over 100 people attended the event.

Yup, sorry Brian and friends, we are growing in numbers, and, as acatholica commentator 'Pewster' recently noted, winning the war....

The museum of liberalism

All the same, it is disappointing to see this kind of stuff around in this day and age. Why is it that so many so-called liberals oppose legitimate diversity within the Church? Why can't they see that the liturgy they favour leads only to cultism of the Fr Kennedy mold and the destruction of faith?

If anything is being consigned to museum status, fortunately it is the trashy 1970s-esq liturgies this group favour. Still, there is a lot of work to do....


Michael Sternbeck. said...

What a saddening post Terra, but what a chilling insight into the mentality of these people. What common ground do we have with such people? Because the God they worship appears to be a fictional creation of their own dissenting agenda.

I am also deeply disgusted - indeed outraged - that they choose to attack Father Benton in this way: a man with whom they are obviously not acquainted.

Such posts reinforce an opinion of mine that the Church ought to start engaging with Catholic Bloggers and point out the evil of exciting public opinion with embittered and distorted opinion (no matter whether it is of "The Left" or "The Right").

Terra said...

Yes it is chilling.

Should we just ignore such attacks though?

Personally, I think we need to be aware of what is being said so we can support those who need our support, and refute error with the facts and sound doctrine.

Ignoring the world around us won't make it go away, it just encourages a form of quietism that traddies are disturbingly prone to.

There is obviously a balance that needs to be maintained though. Still, on this one I don't think my comments or tone are unwarranted given what I'm responding to.

But by all means persuade me otherwise with specifics, I've been known to engage in substantial redrafting or remove posts altogether on further reflection.

Michael Sternbeck. said...

Terra, it's not your post which is saddening, but what you quote from "Catholica" which is saddening.

We should be made aware of such things and thank you for publishing it!

And yet, whilst typing this, I muse if it would not be a better thing if Comment Boxes didn't exist at all. Have they become occasions of sin? Exactly why do we need to "have our say"?

Terra said...

Glad to hear it wasn't me that prompted your comments. Acatholica is actually a forum, not a blog, so encourages 'discussion'.

As for why comment, some of us bloggers love them! There is a danger of course that we just froth at the mouth in an unfruitful way, and urge one another on in sin. Too many blogs and discussion boards are like that.

But speaking personally, I feel frustrated when no one comments. After all, nothing particularly separates the worth my comments from anyone else's other than the fact that I've bothered to put them in writing and make them public.

So I want to know if I'm on track -or way off beam on something. I want to know if I've been uncharitable in my presentation. And most of all, I want to know if I've set off a train of thought which has stimulated others to come up with some good ideas that I might be interested in...

Peter said...

Acatholica is a pathetic site - you have to register to play, it is ugly and the comment threads almost impossible to follow.

There are some really bitter individuals over there. Interstingly the most bitter are the ageing ones.

Stephen said...

I was not surprised at the comments made on ACatholica. They are of a mindset who want to get rid of priesthood. Seeing a priest offer up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is like waving a red fleg at a bull at them. There were similar comments on anther website, at the news that Sydney Archdiocese had its largest number of ordinations in a number of years. There were comments of "how sad".

The term "presider" is an example of how this agenda is poisoning the Church. This term is used to implicitly denigrate the priest to someone just chairs or MC's the "eucharistic celebration" which is carried out by the congregation.

The best thing about the ACatholica minority (and if you look at the comments it is simply a small group of people - less than 10) is that they are all old, and will pass on, but not before they have done lots of damage. Although I know some of their ages (where thay have disclosed them) all of them appear to be over 60 (apart from Ian Elmer and Daniel Culotta) as they talk about the excitement of Vatican II which reading the context suggests that they were about in their late teens/early 20s when it happened.

A couple of other observations:
Although they talk about the discrimmination against women, the catholica crowd are almost all men. From their tone of talk almost all of them appear to be ex-seminarians with a chip on their shoulder about the experience. Of the women there is "Anne free Spirit" who always talks about being abused by nuns, Milly, who I think is Coynes wife, and Englishwoman, someone in England who has got on the bandwagon.

So its know thy enemy. Its not worth the effort to give them any more airtime. Catholica is just a plaything of Brian Coyne to reflect his particular views. In my view they sit in that twilight zone outside the Church like "St Marys in Exile".

Terra said...


While I agree with your analysis on the commenters over at Acath, it is a bit like blogs, those who speak up are the tip of the iceberg. The site seems to get a LOT of hits, and while I'd like to think its mostly people like me going for the occasional reality check that keeps me being a traditionalist, I doubt it!

Because go to any parish of your choice (well, at least in my diocese!), or join virtually any so-called catholic (non traddie) email list, and acatholicas are there...And I suspect the email list for their daily dose of heresy (commentary) is quite large.

gmck9431 said...

One other thing to keep in mind here. This element in the Church only needs a "someone" of the traditional Father Z type (Charismatic ?) to take them into open Schism.
I've held for almost 40 years now that the liberal section of the Church has been in fact in open Schism. No one wants to face up to that and maybe it's better they don't. Time will sort them out; they just don't reproduce (in more ways than one).
Could go on forever on this but despair is a sin. You Traddies are the hope for a future.

Terra said...

I agree with you, gmck on the schismatic nature of liberalism, and I'm sure you are right that we are fortunate they haven't found a charismatic leader to really organise them!

I guess my concern though is that while, as you note, the schism itself looks set to die out, along they way their are infecting a lot of other catholics with thir heretical ideas. And its really their heresies that disturb me and tend to take on a life of their own (not that they are new heresies of course, just the same old ones bubbling up over and over again).

Read acatholica any day and you will find error firmly asserted on half a dozen fronts - I didn't bother reproducing comments on the photos that attacked the doctrine of transubstantiation and more.

What really disturbed me though was a visit froma friend of mine at Easter time. My friend used to be a perfectly orthodox catholic. Being committed to his faith and interested in contemporary life, he reads a lot of contemporary Australian books, including about catholicism. But what he has been reading - because what is being published in the main - is by Paul Collins, Bishop Robinson and so forth - books which continue to go pretty much unchallenged by the Church beyond general condemnations. And when in Sydney, he attends mass at Newtown (nearest church to his house), where I gather lesbian protestant ministers and the like regularly get to give the homily.

As a result, he now has a totally bizarre set of beliefs totally at odds with the faith. My friend isn't strictly speaking a liberal - exposed to what the Church actually teaches, he is prepared to listen to reason. But he just isn't exposed to it that often.

I doubt he is alone. Consider for example the description of the Easter Vigil in one parish in an isolated country town posted on catholic pews forum, where the renewal of baptismal promises included gems like:

'Do you believe in yourselves, as the Church, the People of God?'

And the litany of the 'saints' included Gandhi,Martin Luther King,and assorted others (I'm betting Obama will be on next years list).

That's why we have to fight.

gmck9431 said...

Yes; whatever you do keep fighting! Remember though that you have a head start; you know how to pray! Do they?
I'm reminded of a part of Scripture where Christ referred to a difficult "demon" as only being able to be cast out by Prayer and Fasting.
I'll finish with a quote; I don't remember where it came from now, but it went like this "men go mad in herds, but only come to their senses singly and one at a time". Thats how I look back on the Church over the last few decades. It will take time to correct but you have to make a start.