Arkansas Bishop Taylor's comments on the Year of Faith and Vatican II


#1

Ok, to start with, this has me pretty grumpy. I'm normally more of a lurker here than anything else, but my family attends one of the few (actually I think it's one of only 3) Parishes in the Arkansas Diocese that offers the Extraordinary (TLM) Mass.

For the Homily this weekend the Priest played an MP3 of a recorded message from the Bishop that was supposed to be on the Year of the Faith.

I was pretty psyched to hear it at first because he started calling out he importance of reading the Vatican II documents and going to Adoration.

About 30 seconds later however he started into what he called the "ghetto mentality that pervaded the Church 50 years ago" and how Vatican II made is so that we could "fully participate" in the Mass.

I'm not sure if I'm just over-reacting, but honestly I was pretty much floored to hear a modern post Ecclesia Dei Bishop would state this. By the time he got to talking about how Vatican II made the Church much more "inclusive" of other faiths I was honestly ready to walk out and head to a neighboring parish that's part of a different Diocese.

The Homily is still up at the Diocese of Arkansas website dolr.org/bishop/yearoffaithhomily_100612.pdf

Not sure if that link will work, but I've copied parts of it below. If anyone think's I'm cherry picking, I encourage you to read the entire thing:

"I was in 8th Grade when Mass began to be celebrated in English. I had been an altar boy in Latin since 4th Grade, so I remember vividly the before, during and after of Vatican II. It's really hard for young people today to have any concept of the ghetto mentality that pervaded the Church 50 years ago, especially in places like Arkansas where the Catholic Church was a small minority. I remember well what it was like to be discouraged from reading the Bible out of fear of misinterpreting it and to be forbidden to attend practically anything except funerals in a non-Catholic Church out of fear of contagion. This was not exactly official Church teaching, but it was the practical reality in many parts of the United States as well as in many other countries. The Council Fathers realized that this is not what Jesus taught and that it was time for us to lay aside our fear of the outside world. Many of those who today seem so gripped with nostalgia for the time before Vatican II have no actual lived experience of what those days were really like. So as you pray these documents:

1) I invite you to consider what a blessing it is to be able to participate fully in the Mass, which was not the case prior to Vatican II. In the past much of the laity prayed the rosary privately during Mass, especially prior to the introduction of the "dialogue" Latin Mass in the 1950s, and very few people went to Communion on any given Sunday. In those days it was very much the priest's Mass and only the priest and altar boys had liturgical roles--and only they could even hear, in Latin, much of what was going on--because a lot of it was whispered. That was the reason for the bells: to alert people that the priest had reached the Consecration and so they should interrupt their rosaries and other devotions and now direct their attention to the altar. So first, I invite you to consider what a blessing it is to be able to participate fully in the Mass-- thanks to Vatican II!

3) I invite you also to marvel at how the Holy Spirit inspired the Council Fathers to use the inclusive, dynamic image of the People of God to express the common ground we share with other believers. Vatican II enabled us to recognize that as pilgrims on a journey, we should support our fellow non- Catholic believers in our common effort to know and do God's will as best we understand it. This ecumenical approach was the diametrical opposite of what we had been doing up until then--not to mention the positive new approach the Council took regarding our interfaith relationship with Jews, Muslims and other non-Christian religions!

4) And then I invite you to consider the great blessing of the Council's desire to foster a positive relationship between the Church and all of society-- thankful for human progress in many fields, despite all of the attendant problems and challenges, and specifically Vatican II's insights regarding how to draw on our faith to address contemporary issues. Sure, there are funny stories--and even horror stories--about aberrations and missteps in the implementation of the reforms of the Council... people who acted on what they perceived to be the "spirit of the Council" rather than on what the Council documents really said, but these were the exception and serve only to cloud the picture."


#2

Wow… what to say… I don’t go around criticizing bishops, who are our teachers and shepherds, but I cringed when I read the homily you posted, given how much mud is often slinged at the older form of the liturgy so often by non-Catholics. I would think we all would want to avoid even the appearance of reinforcing those views.

One thing I think we should always clearly articulate: the fact that people behaved a certain way in the past is not necessarily a reflection on the Church or its teaching. Praying the rosary during mass was never something the Church promoted, even though people did it. I have read criticisms of this practice that are from “pre-Vatican II.”

By the way, I know old people at my local parish who still pray their rosaries during mass - and that’s with the mass in English, people. So…


#3

I would encourage those who ask why it is necessary to promote the Traditional Latin Mass and those who point out the small number of people who attend the EF to really read this homily and think it over.

With all due respect, If this is what people are being taught, then why would they want to even experience a Latin Mass, even once?

I don’t think this is a rare occurrence.


#4

Well said.


#5

Totally agreed. I had a wise older Knight (KofC) who told me years ago ‘There are no bad Priests, just ones that need more prayers’. I agreed with him then, and I do now. I did not feel that I could let this instance pass without saying something though, even if it was just here. We have six kids and I could not let them think that they do not ‘fully participate in the Mass’ just because we attend a TLM service. We are not second class citizens blindly groping our way through Mass.

Agreed, and the Bishop pointed out that at one point that part of what he experienced was not Church teaching. What disappointed there was that he didn’t recognize that the issue wasn’t the Church – it was the people not living up to what the Church was (and still does) teach.


#6

He is a bishop, he has knows more than I do. I also think that he can be quite right to the pre-VII ghetto mentality when we look at his experience and at what was going on with the religious orders. The ghetto mentality still exists among a few faithfuls that call themselves traditionalist, I have seen that here on CAF. People might not like how the bishop said things but he did not say anything that is untrue.


#7

I would like to point out that it was probably that ghetto mentality that made people keep the faith. The cultural aspect was extremely powerful and undeniable, and I believe it is something that we need to get back quickly. American culture is so vanilla.


#8

Hey! no EF bashing!


#9

What are you talking about?:confused:


#10

It was a defensive orientation, legitimate in and of itself.

The world changed after World War II, however. That's what changed the Church's policies about how she should interact in and with a very changed world, a world that ignoring the Gospel resulted in destruction the likes of which threatened all humanity.

After the war(s), the bubble of the enlightenment burst, but (only) after so many millions were dead. Nations engaged in truly fratricidal warfare with such desperation that had never been seen before: humanity was fractured and alienation had sunk in so deeply that we could scarcely recognize another human being as such, even if we looked liked each other (as in Europe). When we didn't look like each other, it was even more barbaric (as in the Pacific). The consequences of putting Christianity aside were seen on the wasted landscapes and mass graveyards of Europe.

After WWII there was a drive, energy, determination to change the world to ensure such a catastrophe would never happen again: that much, at least, was acknowledged. A new world order was necessary, as everyone knew and agreed. What sort of world order that would be was up for debate.

For a new ordering of things on the international and cultural level to succeed, one that would accomplish the consensus goal of ensuring world peace and stability, the Church had to be involved. She had to engage culture and society; if she didn't, then the world would have relegated the Church and Christianity to a side-chapel and relic, and whatever arrangement that dominated would have been devoid of the spirit and principles of the Gospel. It would have been vain and, possibly, even worse for humanity: peace might have been had but it would have been an empty peace with the seeds of its own eventual destruction sown into it.

We can never be content with our religion or the blessing we ourselves enjoy in having it. We have to take our religion and bring it to bear in the world. The world cannot ignore us and we can't let the world pretend like the Gospel doesn't exist or Christ's sacrifice for humanity on the altar of His Cross never happened.

The intellectual concern leading up to WWII was that the Church might become, as I said, a relic in a side-chapel of a new, post-war world order, which would have been constructed without any reference to the truths of the Gospel. Whether you like Vatican II or not, it succeeded in getting the Church to involve itself in everything it possibly could, and in engaging society, culture and even international politics. Bad as the world might be today, it could have been even worse. Certainly, at least, Catholicism might have become a peculiar religion to a peculiar people that appeared to have no substance or consequences in this world for others. Post-Vatican II, we have the outline (in Vatican II) for bringing our religion to bear in every sphere of life: whether with other Christians (ecumenism that aims at Christian unity), other non-Christian religious (ecumenism that aims at having all religious co-operate to bring religion to bear and not allow the world to roll-over religion completely) or secularists as such (in the broader intellectual area of social justice, world peace, etc.).

[14] You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.


#11

i read the entire homily,and i do not see why anyones panties are in a bunch.:shrug: and the passive-aggressive Bishop bashing is what i expect when i read that america birdcage liner when i’m bored.


#12

Ok so I am a convert of about three years now, but a well informed one. In other words, I spent about two years researching and studying Catholicism beliefs and history before I made the decision to convert, but obviously I don’t have decades of attending Mass as so many of you may have.

So…my question on this is, besides the choice of language (the ghetto reference for sure), what is so wrong about what he is saying? I don’t think that he said that he wanted TLM done away with or anything did he? Maybe I need to read it again, but if someone could kindly and charitably explain so that I may understand what everyone is upset about I would really appreciate it.


#13

"I was in 8th Grade when Mass began to be celebrated in English. I had been an altar boy in Latin since 4th Grade, so I remember vividly the before, during and after of Vatican II. It’s really hard for young people today to have any concept of the ghetto mentality that pervaded the Church 50 years ago, especially in places like Arkansas where the Catholic Church was a small minority. I remember well what it was like to be discouraged from reading the Bible out of fear of misinterpreting it and to be forbidden to attend practically anything except funerals in a non-Catholic Church out of fear of contagion. This was not exactly official Church teaching, but it was the practical reality in many parts of the United States as well as in many other countries. The Council Fathers realized that this is not what Jesus taught and that it was time for us to lay aside our fear of the outside world. Many of those who today seem so gripped with nostalgia for the time before Vatican II have no actual lived experience of what those days were really like. So as you pray these documents:

  1. I invite you to consider what a blessing it is to be able to participate fully in the Mass, which was not the case prior to Vatican II. In the past much of the laity prayed the rosary privately during Mass, especially prior to the introduction of the “dialogue” Latin Mass in the 1950s, and very few people went to Communion on any given Sunday. In those days it was very much the priest’s Mass and only the priest and altar boys had liturgical roles–and only they could even hear, in Latin, much of what was going on–because a lot of it was whispered. That was the reason for the bells: to alert people that the priest had reached the Consecration and so they should interrupt their rosaries and other devotions and now direct their attention to the altar. So first, I invite you to consider what a blessing it is to be able to participate fully in the Mass-- thanks to Vatican II!
  1. I invite you also to marvel at how the Holy Spirit inspired the Council Fathers to use the inclusive, dynamic image of the People of God to express the common ground we share with other believers. Vatican II enabled us to recognize that as pilgrims on a journey, we should support our fellow non- Catholic believers in our common effort to know and do God’s will as best we understand it. This ecumenical approach was the diametrical opposite of what we had been doing up until then–not to mention the positive new approach the Council took regarding our interfaith relationship with Jews, Muslims and other non-Christian religions!
  1. And then I invite you to consider the great blessing of the Council’s desire to foster a positive relationship between the Church and all of society-- thankful for human progress in many fields, despite all of the attendant problems and challenges, and specifically Vatican II’s insights regarding how to draw on our faith to address contemporary issues. Sure, there are funny stories–and even horror stories–about aberrations and missteps in the implementation of the reforms of the Council… people who acted on what they perceived to be the “spirit of the Council” rather than on what the Council documents really said, but these were the exception and serve only to cloud the picture."

If I had one dollar for every time I have heard these lines since the sixties, we would be doing quite well.

I have no more patience for this nonsense, It has gone on too long and long enough.

If he thinks that the “horror stories” are a thing of the past, I invite him to my parish that operates with the full backing of the bishop.

By the way, be grateful the Year of Faith is being mentioned in your parish. Our diocese in general, and my parish in particular, are ignoring it.


#14

Interesting. In my parish it’s in the bulletin every week, plus a new booklet has been produced that talks about the stewardship of time, and how one can build the Church our local church, and community in this year of faith through the New Evangelization. Said booklet highlights every ministry our parish has, contact information on each one, and several homilies have been designed to promote all of this stuff (when not talking about pro-life issues and encouraging pro-life activism and prayers for the vulnerable in our society).

Then again, my parish is run by the Companions of the Cross. All of their parishes are like this. That’d be an interesting spin-off thread, about what parishes and individuals are doing for the Year of Faith.


#15

Melchior, not a peep - it is so distressing.


#16

[quote="coachkfan1, post:12, topic:301163"]

So...my question on this is, besides the choice of language (the ghetto reference for sure), what is so wrong about what he is saying?

[/quote]

I think think the first concern (at least mine) is indeed the language. Put yourself in the shoes of a TLM attendee and read what was written. Would you come away with an idea that your Bishop supported you in your choice to attend the Extraordinary form? Would you think comment regarding nostalgia was quite possibly aimed at TLM Mass goers? Would you think that he feels you understand your faith? How would you anticipate your kids being received when presented for confirmation given all of that? Now compare that to the end of the Homily where it talks about appreciation of other Christian and non-Christian faiths. Consider the difference in wording and tone. That Coach, is the first concern. Keep in mind that no one has said that any of the Bishops have to like the Extraordinary form. They are however called to respect the request for it.

The second and frankly more important concern is the repeated comments that attendees to the TLM mass do not "fully participate" in the Mass. To be concise I do not believe that is accurate. Consider his comments, remember that the TLM is not only valid but encouraged via Ecclesia Dei. Then refer back to the catechism 1348 and 1372. Now re-read the Homily's comments regarding participation. Is he correct that we do not fully participate in the TLM Mass? If we don't then why would we encourage it and why would it even be considered valid?

Finally with regards to participation I would suggest contemplating the words of the Holy Father (13 July, 1988, Chile):

"...we ought to get back to the dimension of the sacred in the liturgy. The liturgy is not a festivity; it is not a meeting for the purpose of having a good time. It is of no importance that the parish priest has cudgeled his brains to come up with suggestive ideas or imaginative novelties. The liturgy is what makes the Thrice-Holy God present amongst us; it is the burning bush; it is the Alliance of God with man in Jesus Christ, Who has died and risen again. The grandeur of the liturgy does not rest upon the fact that it offers an interesting entertainment, but in rendering tangible the Totally Other, Whom we are not capable of summoning. He comes because He wills. In other words, the essential in the liturgy is the mystery, which is realized in the common ritual of the Church; all the rest diminishes it. Men experiment with it in lively fashion, and find themselves deceived, when the mystery is transformed into distraction, when the chief actor in the liturgy is not the Living God but the priest or the liturgical director."

[quote="coachkfan1, post:12, topic:301163"]

Maybe I need to read it again, but if someone could kindly and charitably explain so that I may understand what everyone is upset about I would really appreciate it.

[/quote]

I hope this helps and I encourage corrections.

As a last comment remember that you can use the ignore function (see the forum help section) to ignore those that forget how to be kind and charitable. It does help :p


#17

I started that thread in Liturgy and Sacraments.


#18

VERY interesting analysis. This also ties into things Br JR has said about some of the problems *within *the church between VI and VII.


#19

[quote="Tadghe, post:16, topic:301163"]
I think think the first concern (at least mine) is indeed the language. Put yourself in the shoes of a TLM attendee and read what was written. Would you come away with an idea that your Bishop supported you in your choice to attend the Extraordinary form? Would you think comment regarding nostalgia was quite possibly aimed at TLM Mass goers? Would you think that he feels you understand your faith? How would you anticipate your kids being received when presented for confirmation given all of that? Now compare that to the end of the Homily where it talks about appreciation of other Christian and non-Christian faiths. Consider the difference in wording and tone. That Coach, is the first concern. Keep in mind that no one has said that any of the Bishops have to like the Extraordinary form. They are however called to respect the request for it.

The second and frankly more important concern is the repeated comments that attendees to the TLM mass do not "fully participate" in the Mass. To be concise I do not believe that is accurate. Consider his comments, remember that the TLM is not only valid but encouraged via Ecclesia Dei. Then refer back to the catechism 1348 and 1372. Now re-read the Homily's comments regarding participation. Is he correct that we do not fully participate in the TLM Mass? If we don't then why would we encourage it and why would it even be considered valid?

Finally with regards to participation I would suggest contemplating the words of the Holy Father (13 July, 1988, Chile):

"...we ought to get back to the dimension of the sacred in the liturgy. The liturgy is not a festivity; it is not a meeting for the purpose of having a good time. It is of no importance that the parish priest has cudgeled his brains to come up with suggestive ideas or imaginative novelties. The liturgy is what makes the Thrice-Holy God present amongst us; it is the burning bush; it is the Alliance of God with man in Jesus Christ, Who has died and risen again. The grandeur of the liturgy does not rest upon the fact that it offers an interesting entertainment, but in rendering tangible the Totally Other, Whom we are not capable of summoning. He comes because He wills. In other words, the essential in the liturgy is the mystery, which is realized in the common ritual of the Church; all the rest diminishes it. Men experiment with it in lively fashion, and find themselves deceived, when the mystery is transformed into distraction, when the chief actor in the liturgy is not the Living God but the priest or the liturgical director."

I hope this helps and I encourage corrections.

As a last comment remember that you can use the ignore function (see the forum help section) to ignore those that forget how to be kind and charitable. It does help :p

[/quote]

I can understand putting yourself in the shoes of a TLM attendee and not liking what was said, however, that is not who the Bishop seems to be addressing and I think it is causing a defensive reaction. Much of what the Bishop says is actually true, and the criticism is not of the Mass itself so much as the conditions of the Church in general. We should not romanticize the Pre Vat II Church. We need to take a fair view of it, and if one did not live in that era, or was too young to really remember it, they really cannot comment fairly. There were indeed a great deal of problems, and yes, a ghetto mentality, and reform was sorely needed. But it was certainly not awful. We tend to focus a lot on the liturgical reform, because that is what is closest to home, and something we all relate to, and is at the heart of our faith but in actuality, there were far more things happening in the Church that needed addressed.

I could go on, but I am sure the flames will be thrown and I don't have my fireproof suit on. I think people need to take a step back and be a bit more thoughtful and less reactive about this. It's not a slam at the EF.


#20

An excellent point. I think you have hit the nail on the head. Those who prefer the EF today like to think that the Church before 1960 lived in a constant Golden Age. Pope John XXIII wisely realized that the time had come to consider the place of the Church in the modern age. Others have suggested that had Vatican II and the reform of the liturgy happened in the 1930s or '40s, we would never even be discussing it today. I think there is a lot of truth in that.


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