The liturgical diversity is becoming divisive


For the record, I do understand that ‘Catholic’ means universal - which in and of itself implies a certain level of diversity. That’s why we have so many religious orders, so many different schools of spirituality (like Carmelite, Dominican, Jesuit, etc, etc).

But unfortunately, it seems like that diversity has made the Mass - the summit of our Christian worship - divisive, which is not a good thing. At least not to me.

I just don’t think that we can continue on the way we are, with the teenagers at LifeTeen Mass on Sunday nights, the charismatics at their own Mass at noon, the traditionalists driving 45 minutes to find an EF Mass and the other folks either loving - or gritting their teeth - through yet another Marty Haugen tune.

I kinda have to agree. We should all be able to pray the way we like outside of Mass - but we should be united within Mass.


:heart: Love is Patient

If you take the same picture and put it in four different style frames, do you still have unity of picture or is it the frame that makes all the difference in the world? It isn’t like they’re celebrating four different Sacraments.

No, but, they are radically different in the way they are handling the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It used to be that we could have the same Mass celebrated in Laredo, Texas, as it was in Laredo, Spain, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Rome, Italy, Cairo, Egypt and Little Rock Arkansas. Unfortunately, creativity seeps in and you get a whole lot of stuff that does not belong in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Council never envisioned that Latin would go the way of the dinosaur. In fact, the vernacular was supposed to be the option, not the rule. Furthermore, “diversity” does not mean that we change things up in the Mass to suit our whims. It does not mean that we let everything come into the barn.

The best example of diversity is the Papal Mass. Look at the Easter Vigil, for instance. While the parts of the Mass are in Latin, the readings are proclaimed in several different languages, as are the General Intercessions. There is beauty in this form of diversity.

However, when you have groups like the Neocatechumenals, who, up until 2007, treated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as their own personal property and celebrated in their own particular manner, that is when diversity turns divisive. LifeTeen also treated the Mass as its own personal property, introducing ilicit practices such as gathering the kids around the altar until Rome told them to stop. It’s when we start to impugn the integrity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that things turn divisive and abusive.

Each movement has their own charism, yes. But, when it comes to celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, they need to conform themselves to the norms and rubrics of the Mass, not the other way around.

We are united in Mass. Catholic celebrate Mass according to the approved liturgical norms provided by the Catholic Church. That’s unity. So what’s the issue?

You mean like how the Traditional Latin Mass was offered in the USA, the Ambrosian Mass in Milan, the Bragan Mass in Portugal, the Mozarabic Mass in Spain, the Holy Qorbono in Lebanon, the various Divine Liturgies of the Middle East… :rolleyes:


We need to stop criticizing our Church. THAT’s what causes lack of unity–everyone ragging against the particular “creative” elements that they don’t like personally. No wonder people “feel” divided–and that’s ALL it is–a feeling. It’s not legitimate lack of unity.

There is a lot of room for cultural creativity in the Mass within the rubrics. We need to allow the priests and bishops to BE the priests and bishops. THAT’S unity–all in submission to our authorities, under our the Headship of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The United States is a unique country with a huge amount of cultural diversity even within the same cities and for that matter, even within the same families. If the rest of the world is allowed, under the authority of the Catholic Church, to celebrate Mass with a particular cultural rite, why shouldn’t there be cultural variations of the Mass in the U.S.? As someone else has stated, the Sacraments are the same, and that’s where our unity is.

I think it’s a matter of degree. There is a fair amount of hand-wringing over things like glass chalices and such, but also concerns over some questionable changes in the words of the liturgy.

There will always be those who toe the hard-line and those who will go whever the flow takes them. Perhaps somewhere in the middle is where we should be. :shrug:

The problem dear progressivists is that all this creativity forms separate liturgies and contributes to the downfall of the Church. To say a mass is a mass is a mass would be like saying you went to a baseball game while visiting another city and they played seven innings, two strikes and you’re out, four outs to a half inning, etc.

Is that what the OP is talking about, separate self-made Liturgies, or just different forms of a legitimate Mass (rites)? I took the question to be about the latter.

Please show us in the authoritative documents of the Church where there is room for this cultural creativity, short of legitimate use of inculturation.

The only form of creativity, legitimate creativity, that we can use is when we select from a plethora of readings in the Lectionary (for weddings, funerals and special occasions) and when the priest selects from a plethora of Votive Masses and the like during weekdays in Ordinary Time.

But, even this creativity must respect the norms and rubrics of the Church. You also seem to forget, Cat, that obedience flows both ways. The priests and bishops need to submit to the authority of the Holy Father. They need to be obedient to the Holy See. It’s not just the faithful, then, who should be obedient, but, priests and bishops as well.

There is no such thing as a Charismatic Mass, a Neocatechumenal Mass, a LifeTeen Mass or a Cursillo Mass. It is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, regardless of which movement or group is present for it. The rubrics and norms should not change for these particular liturgies. The Neocatechumenal Way and LifeTeen found out the hard way that Rome does not take too kindly to tinkering with the Holy Sacrifice. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI withheld final approval of the Neocatechumenal Way’s statutues until after they cleared up the indescrpencies with the way they handled the Holy Sacrifice.

That is not to say that these movements have not borne good fruit. But, as I see it, it is negated if they begin to treat the Mass as their own personal property.

It’s not hand-wringing, especially since Redeptionis Sacramentum has already stated quite clearly that the use of crystal “chalices” is reprobate.

It used to be that we could have the same Mass celebrated in Laredo, Texas, as it was in Laredo, Spain, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Rome, Italy, Cairo, Egypt and Little Rock Arkansas.

This statement is not true for two reasons.

  1. The Mass in Cairo SHOULD be the Coptic liturgy, NOT the Roman liturgy.

  2. There have ALWAYS been differences in how Mass was celebrated in different places, just not as obvious.

Unity does not and never had meant uniformity.

Not necessarily, Cluny. Who is to say that there is not some military outpost in Cairo, Egypt that has a military chaplain who is Latin Rite and whose servicemen are Latin Rite.

I stand by my statements.

Regardless of the rightness or wrongness, it’s still hand-wringing. Hand-wringing isn’t limited to illegitimate concerns. :rolleyes: As has been posted, you do what you feel you can do, then let it go. Hand-wringing is when one unnecessarily worries about what one has no control over.

If you’ll read my post, I did say, “within the rubrics.”

benedictgal, as much as you would like to make me out to be a progressive modernist who advocates hootenanny Masses, that’s not what I’m saying or advocating at all.

When I say that there is room for cultural creativity, I mean that the priests are free to select many different Mass settings, hymns, church art styles, etc.

Of course the priests and bishops must obey the Holy Father. I did not forget that.

But I happen to think that living in an attitude of constant “watching” of the priests and bishops, and constant criticism of their failure to live up to my personal interpretation of the Church documents and my personal interpretation of the Holy Father’s opinions is very dangerous for the Church. It causes others to to extrapolate and to think thusly: “If the priests and bishops are wrong about music, liturgy, etc., then they are probably wrong about many other things (e.g., birth control, abortion, same sex relationships, etc.)”

I do not want to contribute to that kind of splintering away of the priests’ and bishops’ authority. I will allow their superiors and of course, the Holy Spirit, to convict them if they are truly doing wrong.

I happen to think that most priests and bishops are a whole lot smarter than me when it comes to the teachings of the Holy Father.

benedictgal…honestly, I just can’t imagine reading and studying the documents on my own and then pronouncing that I know as much or more than a priest or a bishop!

I’m just floored by this idea. To me, it smacks of looking up medical subjects on Google and then claiming to know more than a doctor!

Call me a naive siilly ninny galoot, but I think that considering how long priests have to be in seminary and how much they have to study and learn, and all the trips back and forth to Rome that most bishops seem to take, and all the practical experience that the clergy have with local parishes–well, the very idea that I might actually know even a hundredth of what they know about liturgy is just ludicrous! I spent most of my life as a Protestant. How would I know ANYTHING?! And as you, benedictgal, have pointed out many many times, everything that I do know is colored by my sojourn in the Reformation churches. I have no right to tell a priest or bishop that he is wrong.

I think that when I have been a Catholic as long as the Pope has been a Catholic, I might have enough knowledge–no, no, even then, I am not called to the same vocation that he and the other clergy are called. I will keep my mouth shut.

I know very little, and I am pleased and trusting enough to allow my priests and my bishop to be my shepherd. I’m just one of the sheep, and one of the stupidest sheep in the flock at that.

Its sad how often that statement is true. Both observance of liturgical law and orthodox theology faltered at the same time, often championed by the same priests.

Having been in (a very good) seminary, I know that the formation is actually mediocre at best, and the seminarians who know the liturgy came with that knowledge (and refined it privately, by reading books that many here have read).

I agree with the sentiment (to a certain degree), but as things stand, more variations would cause more disunity.

Oh, goody, what I hear you saying (even if it’s not what you intend to say) is that we can’t trust any priests. Or seminaries.

That’s just great. Ducky. I feel real good about that. (sarcasm)

And you wonder why Protestants don’t accept the authority of the Catholic Church? Why should they? Catholics don’t.

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