Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Any parish can do what we're doing here"


21 years ago Father Frank Phillips, C.R. took over as pastor of St. John Cantius Parish in urban Chicago. The parish, while debt-free, was down to about 200 parishioners and the 95-year old church building was showing the effects of decades of deferred maintenance. "A pandora's box full of extensive building maintenance issues," according to one observer.


Today, St. John Cantius is a vibrant community of over 3,000 parishioners, some of whom drive as much as two hours each week to attend Sunday Mass. 350 to 400 confessions are heard every Sunday and Mass is offered in both the Novus Ordo and Extraordinary forms. The parish has also been the seedbed for many vocations and has become the home of a new religious community.




What is Father Phillips secret? Quite simply, it lies in restoring the sacred, whether that be the liturgy, the music, the vesture or the art.


A 30 minute video chronicling the restoration of St. John Cantius Parish is embedded below. Also, one may order his own copy of the video in exchange for a $15.00 Paypal donation by going here. (When I made my donation I was actually sent two copies and asked to give the second one away.)


On Assignment Episode 1 - Saint John Cantius: Restoring the Sacred from StoryTel Foundation on Vimeo.

84 comments:

In the choir loft said...

You should raffle off the other video. I'd buy some tickets :)

Mike said...

Choir,

Actually, I've been seriously thinking of sending it to Bishop Clark. I cannot think of anyone in DOR who needs to see it more.

gretchen said...

Mike,

It's such a wonderful video of a fabulous story - you should wrap it in pretty, shiny paper and make a gift of it to Bishop Clark! (Maybe make some vague allusion to CMA in an attached note to completely get his attention...)

Rich Leonardi said...

The place is a treasure; I visit every time I go to Chicago and will most likely have the pleasure again the week after Thanksgiving. Interestingly, the parish is around the corner from Old St. Pat's, a veritable shrine to liturgical abuse.

In the choir loft said...

Mike,
I put my order in last night. I hope, like you, I get two. So I can give one away as a Christmas present. Thanks for posting this Mike.

Ben Anderson said...

very interesting post, Mike.

Nerina said...

Oh, Mike. Now I have "church envy" :).

Beautiful.

Ben Anderson said...

ok - I gave my usual "awesome" response after reading, but not watching. My wife and I just sat together and watched it - wow! Very cool!

In the choir loft said...

taking up on Ben's point above, "Why can we have just one parish in Rochester and try this out". The Catholic Church feeds people physically, but not spiritually. Are we ashamed of what happens at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The diocese is simply stuck in "neutral". When you lose your faith, you lose your way. It sure seems like that is what's happening with our local hierarchy. Look at the procession with the Blessed Sacrament they had in Kansas City, MO. and all with the local youth. Do you think this would happen in the DoR with Bishop Clark. NO WAY!

"If you don't proclaim Me before men, I won't proclaim you before the Father." Take the cotton out of your ears, put it in your mouth, sit down, shut up and listen, Your Excellency. I mean that in all Christian charity. Honestly, I do. This is so maddening.

Let us pray for Bishop Clark and the hierarchy.

In the choir loft said...

above should read "can't" and not "can" in the first sentence..sorry!

Anonymous said...

taking up on Ben's point above, "Why can we have just one parish in Rochester and try this out".

We have one. It's called St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit and its attendance is very low. It's the most conservative parish in the diocese and the vast majority of its 1,100 seats are empty. If there is such a hunger for more a "orthodox" traditional style of worship why is this so? People drive two hours to attend this conservative church you are drooling over. Nothing is stopping conservative Catholics from attending St. Thomas. Why don't they? Everyone here says most DOR parishes are too liberal. Why put up with it? Why keep banging your head against the wall? Why not just hop in your car and drive to St. Thomas? They need you. If that happened over the years and their pews were full they would not be closing. They are closing because there are not enough of you. This is New York, not Nebraska. Most Catholics here and throughout the state are not as conservative as you and probably never will be no matter what bishop we eventually get. If he is as conservative as you hope for it will probably mean less attendance not more. Your "watch the pews fill up" fantasy doesn't hold water. St. Thomas is the proof.

The Well Done Review said...

ANON, that argument doesn't hold water...

OLV is definitely more Trad than STA, and...well, it's bursting at the seams--it HAS FILLED UP!...put Fr. B or Fr. A at St Thomas, and...well, let's just say I wouldn't trust Fr. Tanck to be in charge of tying his own shoes without screwing it up.

And, dear ANON, how I adore your anonymity, but STA did NOT have that issue when it was its own place...since it was clustered and put under blustering, terrible leadership...it's gone on life support. What more can we expect when the pastor of the cluster WANTS IT TO CLOSE?

Orthodoxy and Tradition work, Heterodoxy and Modernism fail. The End.

-Arialdus

Anonymous said...

I'm very familiar with that parish. Its numbers started to tank under Fr. Callan over twenty years ago. He was as conservative as they come and one of the main reasons tons of people left.

ben said...

Anon,

'it has been tried here'..?

you tell me of 1 church in the diocese has both forms of the Mass are offered in latin, facing east, following the rubrics, with gregorian chant and sacred polyphony (and not just snipits full propers and ordinary), every sunday, confessions availiable daily, without foot draging and without shame. IT HAS NOT BEEN TRYED. The only vocations in years to come will be 'conservitive. their is no such thing as a young 'liberal catholic' young liberals do the decent thing and leave the church they dont believe in.

If we keep doing what were doing now we'll worship ourselves int oblivian.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm not an expert, maybe not all of that, but can't you go to the Latin Mass at St. Stan's and aren't they kind of traditional all the time? I love St. Stan's and a lot of the old ways. I remember the Latin Mass and was an altar boy in the public chapel of a cloistered Dominican convent so, yeah, I have a lot of nostalgia for the old days. I couldn't figure out why I liked Holy Cross so much until I realized that they have the same stained glass windows as the church I grew up in. They must have bought them from the same factory. Some of you are converts and some are "fallen away"s who have come back. There's nothing wrong with the old ways as long you don't get so hung up on nostalgia that you think anything else isn't Catholic. If there was a church in Rochester like the one in this post I'd definitely check it out, but I wouldn't go every week. That would be too much for me. It would also be too much for to be immersed in the extreme social and political conservatism you guys seem to love so much. But if you could get something going like that at an old church in Rochester, go for it. As long as it's a valid Mass I'm all for someplace where Catholics who like the old style can be happy. But insulting other Catholics because they prefer a less traditional but still valid Mass will not fill the pews. If your goal is to have a church where only conservative traditionalist Catholics like you are welcome then you will have to fill them yourself. I don't think there are enough of you to do it. Prove me wrong. Show up at St. Thomas this Sunday or the Latin Mass at St. Stan’s. When there are no more seats and people are standing in the back you will have a case.

Mike said...

Anon. 4:59,

I'm curious as to precisely what you mean by "extreme social and political conservatism."

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong, but besides computer technology what parts of the modern world, pop culture, entertainment, social programs since The New Deal etc do you approve of? Listening to "Catholic Radio" I get the impression that a lot of conservative Catholics think most of it is "The Culture of Death". So set me straight, what about the here and now is good? As far as political conservatism, I'm guessing most of you are Republicans. If the Life issues went away tomorrow how many of you would still vote Republican because you are politically conservative in general?

Lee Strong said...

It sounds like a wonderful parish, and it would be great to have more like it.

But I offer a slightly different possible explanation for its growth.

The parish draws people from all over the region - driving two hours - in part because it is the only parish doing this. In other words, it picks up people from various parishes who are in tune with what is happening.

We had something like that here in Rochester - on the opposite end.

Corpus Christi.

It was a dying parish that by going to the left drew people from all over the region - and from other parishes - grew very large. We used to joke (beofre it went too far for my taste and faith) that Bishop Clark allowed Corpus to continue to serve as a magnet for radical Catholics and get them out of other parishes.

I'm not equating the two parishes theologically, but I do wonder if some of this parish's growth is due to its uniqueness.

In the choir loft said...

Anon 5:35 I use to be a rock-ribbed Republican but not for many years. The GOP is way, way to the left now. I'm an Alan Keyes, Pat Buchanan, Tom Tancredo guy.

Irondequoit Catholic said...

I apologize for my anger present in my numerous anonymous posts above. Again, I am truly sorry and now recognize that you all are indeed right. Orthodoxy is the way to go. I'm just an idiot, nut now I have seen the light.

CrankyProfessor said...

This could indeed be done in any parish. There was an article some years ago in Musica Sacra (I think) about revitalizing the canonical structure of Colleges of Canons. That's part of what's going on at St John Cantius.

What THAT allows is taking diocesan clergy and giving them stability - they can stay in a parish until there are enough of them to take over ANOTHER parish!

Surely there are some priests in the diocese who are serious about music? Who are serious about art?

That's a lot of what it takes.

CrankyProfessor said...

Oh - may I volunteer the lovely St Stephen's in Geneva as a model church? Please?

CrankyProfessor said...

Oh - and one of the things I think would go over well and be quite inexpensive in Rochester is vocal music!

Given the Eastman School there is a surplus of good singers willing to work for fame (or peanuts).

Irondequoit Catholic said...

I also apologize for constantly trashing St. Thomas and the good people who attend that parish. I am an insensitive jerk who is on the highway to hell.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing is stopping conservative Catholics from attending St. Thomas. Why don't they?"

Here's the reason: The priest who is now in charge of St. Thomas is Fr. Tanck. Fr. Tanck, as you may or may not know, was previously serving only as pastor of Christ the King. Christ the King is a progressive parish. Fr. Tanck is a progressive priest. This is why St. Thomas is struggling, because a progressive priest has been assigned to run the parish who has a progressive agenda and preaches progressive bland theology. Many people have left, while others remain to take on this priest and his ideology.

Anonymous said...

"Your "watch the pews fill up" fantasy doesn't hold water. St. Thomas is the proof."

Our Lady of Victory is the proof. Attendance there has roughly quadrupled since 2001.

Anonymous said...

"It's the most conservative parish in the diocese and the vast majority of its 1,100 seats are empty."

It actually isn't the "most conservative parish in the diocese." While true that the church is not packed due to its very large size, the attendance is good enough for it to remain open. You have several churches in the city that draw between 50 to a couple hundred people. Once these are closed, then one can begin to discuss closing St. Thomas. But not until then.

Mike said...

Lee Strong said, "The parish draws people from all over the region - driving two hours - in part because it is the only parish doing this. In other words, it picks up people from various parishes who are in tune with what is happening."

Point taken.

However, St. John Cantius has one thing going for it that, to my knowledge, Corpus Christi under Fr. Callan never could claim:

Vocations.

"The community's nineteen members include six priests, one deacon, three seminarians, three professed religious brothers and six members in formation." (2008 data, source here.)

In the past 6 years the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius have ordained 5 men to the priesthood. (Data gleaned from newsletters found here.)

True, some of these men joined the Canons Regular without having first been a SJC member, but many of them did come from the ranks of the parishioners, as is attested to in the video.

Dr. K said...

Callan has produced "vocations" with Ramerman, Donato, and Redonnet. ;-)

Though in all seriousness, I'm not personally aware of any real priestly vocations that came out of Corpus Christi during his tenure.

~Dr. K

Anonymous said...

“The parish draws people from all over the region - driving two hours - in part because it is the only parish doing this. In other words, it picks up people from various parishes who are in tune with what is happening.
We had something like that here in Rochester - on the opposite end.
Corpus Christi.
It was a dying parish that by going to the left drew people from all over the region - and from other parishes - grew very large. We used to joke (beofre it went too far for my taste and faith) that Bishop Clark allowed Corpus to continue to serve as a magnet for radical Catholics and get them out of other parishes.
I'm not equating the two parishes theologically, but I do wonder if some of this parish's growth is due to its uniqueness.”

I agree.

Anonymous said...

“Anon 5:35 I use to be a rock-ribbed Republican but not for many years. The GOP is way, way to the left now. I'm an Alan Keyes, Pat Buchanan, Tom Tancredo guy.”

Thanks, I’m guessing you have company here. That’s what I meant by “politically conservative”.

Anonymous said...

“I apologize for my anger present in my numerous anonymous posts above. Again, I am truly sorry and now recognize that you all are indeed right. Orthodoxy is the way to go. I'm just an idiot, nut now I have seen the light.”

Wow, you’re really funny. My feelings are really, really hurt, but I gotta admit, you’re a really gifted comedian.

Anonymous said...

“Surely there are some priests in the diocese who are serious about music? Who are serious about art?
That's a lot of what it takes.”

I agree.

“Oh - and one of the things I think would go over well and be quite inexpensive in Rochester is vocal music!
Given the Eastman School there is a surplus of good singers willing to work for fame (or peanuts).”

Agree again. They’re doing this at St. Michael’s and it’s great.

Anonymous said...

“I also apologize for constantly trashing St. Thomas and the good people who attend that parish. I am an insensitive jerk who is on the highway to hell.”

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! That’s me man! You got me nailed!

Anonymous said...

“Here's the reason: The priest who is now in charge of St. Thomas is Fr. Tanck. Fr. Tanck, as you may or may not know, was previously serving only as pastor of Christ the King. Christ the King is a progressive parish. Fr. Tanck is a progressive priest. This is why St. Thomas is struggling, because a progressive priest has been assigned to run the parish who has a progressive agenda and preaches progressive bland theology. Many people have left, while others remain to take on this priest and his ideology.”

Fr. Tanck has been there only a few years. St. Thomas has been under-attended for decades going back to Fr. Callan. No doubt the school closing had something to do with that but it’s a fact that many Irondequoit Catholics especially families find St. Thomas too conservative and choose other parishes.

Anonymous said...

“Our Lady of Victory is the proof. Attendance there has roughly quadrupled since 2001.”

Great, good for ya. I’ll have to check it out sometime, incognito of course.

Anonymous said...

“It actually isn't the "most conservative parish in the diocese."

Which is? I’ve always heard STA ranks at the top.

Anonymous said...

“While true that the church is not packed due to its very large size, the attendance is good enough for it to remain open.”

I’ve been to masses at STA for almost thirty years and have never seen it more than a third full.

Anonymous said...

“You have several churches in the city that draw between 50 to a couple hundred people. Once these are closed, then one can begin to discuss closing St. Thomas. But not until then.”

Then close them. 50 to a couple hundred is not enough to be viable. Why wait?

I can’t comment to Mike’s last post because I don’t know enough about it.

Cue: “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.

Anonymous said...

“You have several churches in the city that draw between 50 to a couple hundred people. Once these are closed, then one can begin to discuss closing St. Thomas. But not until then.”

Then close them. 50 to a couple hundred is not enough to be viable. Why wait?

I can’t comment to Mike’s last post because I don’t know enough about it.

Cue: “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.

In the choir loft said...

Mike,
FWIW - Jonathan Ryan, before he entered with the Canons of St. John Cantius, was director of music at St. Anne's on Mt. Hope Avenue.

We also have another native Rochesterian who is with the Institute of Christ the King.

Anonymous said...

"Fr. Tanck has been there only a few years. St. Thomas has been under-attended for decades going back to Fr. Callan. No doubt the school closing had something to do with that but it’s a fact that many Irondequoit Catholics especially families find St. Thomas too conservative and choose other parishes."

That's bull. St. Thomas was drawing 800-1000+ before the clustering put Fr. Tanck in charge. Those numbers were Christ the King good. As soon as the liberal goon took over, the whole thing went to Hell. It's not orthodoxy that drove people away, it's the clustering with the liberal CTK and their liberal pastor.

"I’ve been to masses at STA for almost thirty years and have never seen it more than a third full."

Why don't you just admit you are Persis and stop pretending to be more than one person by using "Anonymous" or "Irondeqoit Catholic" or "John Paul II"? I hardly think it is a coincidence that you two nut jobs appear at the very same time, have the very same history of attending St. Thomas at the same time, both of you mentioning Fr. Callan and demonizing him, and both acting so antagonistic towards the parish and the people who attend there.

As far as I'm concerned Persis and Irondequoit Catholic are the same person. Of course you'll deny it. I wouldn't expect you to do otherwise.

Anonymous said...

”That's bull. St. Thomas was drawing 800-1000+ before the clustering put Fr. Tanck in charge. Those numbers were Christ the King good. As soon as the liberal goon took over, the whole thing went to Hell. It's not orthodoxy that drove people away, it's the clustering with the liberal CTK and their liberal pastor.”

800 -1000 at Mass? I never saw that. I know many Irondequoit Catholics, especially families, who find STA to be too old-fashioned, formal and not very warm and welcoming, and that goes back before the cluster. It’s hard enough to take kids to Mass and get them to behave. It’s harder still at a very traditional church where you can’t understand anything that’s being said (I know they put in new acoustic panels but that’s how it’s been). A little secret is that some local Catholics go there just on Christmas and Easter because they are sure to find a parking space and a seat. To be fair, it’s hard to take kids to the “Family Mass” at Christ The King. It’s very long.

”Why don't you just admit you are Persis and stop pretending to be more than one person by using "Anonymous" or "Irondeqoit Catholic" or "John Paul II"? I hardly think it is a coincidence that you two nut jobs appear at the very same time, have the very same history of attending St. Thomas at the same time, both of you mentioning Fr. Callan and demonizing him, and both acting so antagonistic towards the parish and the people who attend there.”

Who the hell is Persis? Never heard of him/her.

I never said Fr. Callan was a demon. But he was something else.

”As far as I'm concerned Persis and Irondequoit Catholic are the same person. Of course you'll deny it. I wouldn't expect you to do otherwise.”

Believe what you want.

Anonymous said...

"800 -1000 at Mass? I never saw that."

The DoR's official tallies corroborate my statement. Maybe you were too busy not going to Mass to notice?

"I know many Irondequoit Catholics, especially families, who find STA to be too old-fashioned, formal and not very warm and welcoming, and that goes back before the cluster."

I know many Irondequoit families who would disagree with you. I can see that you're defining "welcoming" purely based on the theology of the church. If it's a liberal church, you see that as welcoming. If it's not, you see it as unwelcoming.

"It’s hard enough to take kids to Mass and get them to behave. It’s harder still at a very traditional church where you can’t understand anything that’s being said (I know they put in new acoustic panels but that’s how it’s been)."

It depends on the priest too, whether he is a gifted speaker or not. I understand STA had some acoustic problems in the past, but a good speaker would be able to overcome that issue. They definitely have improved the sound situation in recent years.

"A little secret is that some local Catholics go there just on Christmas and Easter because they are sure to find a parking space and a seat."

Offer proof and I'll believe you.

"I never said Fr. Callan was a demon. But he was something else. "

You slandered him by calling him a pedophile protector; that's bad enough.

"Who the hell is Persis? Never heard of him/her. "

You know of, and can use in your sick jokes every other reader of Cleansing Fire. The fact that you do not know her is quite unbelievable.

ben said...

Choir,

Br. Jonathan, is from Rochester! He sang the Gradual verse and played the organ at the CMAA's chant intensive Mass this June (the canons regular did the Mass). He was very very good.

Anonymous said...

”The DoR's official tallies corroborate my statement.”

OK, I’ll have to look it up.

“Maybe you were too busy not going to Mass to notice?”

Maybe you don’t know what you’re talking about. I go to mass every Sunday, not at STA, but I’ve been there many times over the years. I’ve never seen a crowd. I’ll have to check your stats but that’s been my impression.

”I know many Irondequoit families who would disagree with you. I can see that you're defining "welcoming" purely based on the theology of the church. If it's a liberal church, you see that as welcoming. If it's not, you see it as unwelcoming.”

It’s their words, not mine. I can’t prove it to you. I didn’t record it.

”It depends on the priest too, whether he is a gifted speaker or not. I understand STA had some acoustic problems in the past, but a good speaker would be able to overcome that issue. They definitely have improved the sound situation in recent years.”

Which priest was a gifted speaker at STA? I never understood any of them and I tried.

"A little secret is that some local Catholics go there just on Christmas and Easter because they are sure to find a parking space and a seat."

Offer proof and I'll believe you.

I can’t prove it. Again, I didn’t record the conversation. It happens. Believe it or not.

”You slandered him by calling him a pedophile protector; that's bad enough.”

He employed a paroled one and let him live on parish grounds. It was in the paper a few years ago. I guess it’s possible he didn’t know but doubtful. He probably just decided for himself the guy did his time and was reformed. He didn't do anything while he was there but it was a risk I don't think any of us would want our pastors taking. If one did that today he'd be fired.

But I’m not saying that has anything to do with why some people left under him, it wasn’t known. Really conservative people probably loved him, his bio talks about how “orthodox” he was, but others thought he was a real something or other and took off. I think all sides would agree he was a My-Way-Or-The-Highway kinda guy, just the kind of “kick ass” priest so many of you would like to see succeed Bishop Clark, but you know what? You can’t make people stay in a parish or go to mass if they don’t want to. Like it or not American Catholics need to be convinced to do something, they won’t “pay, pray and obey” anymore just because they’re told to. This site is an example. In the old days if you tried this on a bishop he’d rip you out by the roots. But it’s not the old days and Bishop Clark is a gentleman so you get to go off on him as much as you want. What makes you think it will be any different when “your” bishop gets in? I doubt "liberal" Catholics would care enough to set up a bishop-bashing blog like this, but do you really think if all the Catholics you think aren’t Catholic enough packed up and went there would be enough left to have even one church per town? Church closings today would look like the good old days. It takes all kinds of beans to make a soup and all kinds of Catholics to make a diocese.

”You know of, and can use in your sick jokes every other reader of Cleansing Fire. The fact that you do not know her is quite unbelievable.”

Oh, her. Gee, it’s been so long since I’ve been blocked by CF that I forgot. I remember she said something about not feeling welcomed at STA or something and people accused her of being me and me being her. She posted that she wasn’t me and I posted that I wasn't her and you know what, we weren't. It’s weird and hard to explain but true.

In the choir loft said...

Mike: Where did you originally find this story on SJC?

In the choir loft said...

Ben,
Brother Jonathan Ryan only lived here while studying at Eastman and directing at St. Anne's. He is originally from the South and a convert to the Catholic Church.

Mike said...

Choir,

There is a grass-roots evangelization effort in the process of being launched by some folks in one of the EG/C parishes. (I'll put up a post on this when I get the green light to do so.) I was invited to attend one of their organizational meetings 2 or 3 months ago and the SJC video was among those shown. Google did the rest.

Anonymous said...

"Bishop Clark is a gentleman"

Wow, there is so much wrong with that statement. What kind of gentleman disobeys the Pope? What kind of gentleman looks for loopholes around Church law? What kind of gentleman mistreats his priests and puts lay people in charge of them? What kind of gentleman destroys a beautiful Cathedral against the will of the people so he can create a permanent monument to progressivism? What kind of gentleman closes Catholic schools and dismisses worthwhile plans with money backing them to keep some alive? What kind of gentleman rejects seminarians who do not support the ordination of women? What kind of gentleman doesn't show up at closing Masses? Bishop Clark is anything but a gentleman.

"I doubt "liberal" Catholics would care enough to set up a bishop-bashing blog like this"

I beg to differ. Take a look at Journey to a new Pentecost and Towards a Progressive Catholic Church. Then again, you may be somewhat right. It's more likely these people will schism and excommunicate themselves. But that's so much better? Have we already forgotten how disgruntled liberal Catholics at Corpus Christi took the pulpit to trash the bishop and the new priest assigned after Callan was removed? Did we forget how some people there took the body of Christ and threw it back at the priest? Don't give me any of this garbage that liberal Catholics are somehow more holy or respectful than orthodox Catholics. It's pure lies. There are PLENTY of liberal blogs out there who refer to our Church leadership as the "oppressive male hierarchy." Real kind words. You accuse us of being sanctimonious... you're the most sanctimonious one here.

Mike said...

Anon. 8:23 wrote, "Like it or not American Catholics need to be convinced to do something, they won’t 'pay, pray and obey' anymore just because they’re told to."

That's certainly true of the liberal, pick-and-choose-which-doctrines-apply-to-me, cafeteria style Catholic.

And that leads to a very interesting conclusion:

Given that DOR has lost over 25% of its weekend Mass attendees in just the last 8 years, and given also that we conservative Catholics all know that it's a mortal sin to miss weekend Mass without a good reason and so we don't, then the only logical conclusion is that all those AWOL Catholics must be of the liberal or progressive persuasion.

What a delicious irony: One of the most progressive bishops in the country has, over the last 8 years, seen some 27,000 like-minded Catholics decide that they aren't buying what he's selling.

Anonymous said...

Did people really do that with the host? That's awful.

I've looked at "Journey" and it's pretty squishy stuff. I could be wrong, but I don't think out and out bishop bashing is his style.

I'm not going to refute you on your charges about Bishop Clark. I could say it's a matter of opinion but I respect that yours is set. I do maintain that forums of this type by Catholics against any sitting bishop would simply not be tolerated in the old days and perhaps in these days by the more "kick ass" bishops you guys favor. It is significant I think that Bishop Clark says zilch about this or any other criticism of him. Other bishops would do what they could to squelch it.

And please don't put me in the Corpus Christi camp. They are schismatic and besides, I long ago gave up any ideas of changing the Church. I'm Catholic because I'm Catholic. I know as an individual or even in a group I don't have a vote and can't do anything to influence it one way or another. You guys on the other hand seem convinced that you can turn this ship around and sail it your way. Maybe, but I gave up those thoughts back in the hippie days.

The only reason I'm chiming in here is to speak up for the Catholics you guys seem to think aren't Catholic enough. If Catholics of all stripes keep eating each other alive it will only bring joy to those who hate us and lead to our demise.

As I've said, I have absolutely no problem with you guys facing East, speaking Latin, clinking the incense lanterns, whatever. I like a lot of that too. But I wish you would just think and pray on what your attitude about those who are not as conservative or traditional as you.

I know you disagree, but I think you need the "liberal" "so-so" "touchy feely" or whatever-you-want-to-call-them Catholics as much as they unknowingly need you.

The more I think of it the more I agree with the original premise of this post. I think it would be an excellent idea to have a church like this in the diocese for traditionalists like you to go to on a regular basis and for others to visit to see what the Whole Nine Yards looks like. I would be all for it and would probably be a frequent visitor.

But please think about this Crusade of yours to get everyone and every parish to do the same thing. The Vatican says we don't have to and you don't outrank it.

As far as Bishop Clark disobeying the Pope, B16 is his boss and can fire him at will. So far I've noticed he hasn't.

Anonymous said...

"Given that DOR has lost over 25% of its weekend Mass attendees in just the last 8 years, and given also that we conservative Catholics all know that it's a mortal sin to miss weekend Mass without a good reason and so we don't, then the only logical conclusion is that all those AWOL Catholics must be of the liberal or progressive persuasion."

I'm glad you said that Mike because in the past I've gotten maybe the wrong idea that some conservative Catholics have stopped going to Mass because they're upset with their touchy-feely parishes. Again, maybe I got that wrong but at the time I thought, But Catholics HAVE to go to Mass, right? Even if they don't like the pastor, the music and all the rest, and even if they can't find a parish they like better, they still need to go because they're Catholic.

I'm glad to hear that I was getting it wrong because I thought I heard someone say that once the new super bishop comes just watch all the conservative Catholics flock back to church. That couldn't be right I thought. They wouldn't skip Mass just because of some gripe they had. Wow did I get that wrong.

I know a lot of "liberal" Catholics skip Mass but I know a lot of political conservatives who were born Catholic who do it too. It's pretty epidemic across the board, but I will give you that it's probably less so on your side.

I go. I go every week whether I feel like it or not, whether the kids are being a p.i.a. or not. Sometimes I go alone just so I can hear myself pray but I go.

I don't go around attacking conservative Catholics. The only dog I have in this fight is when you guys call Catholics like me and those even more imperfect somehow less than truly Catholic. That really stokes my Irish.

Because one thing I would never in a million years do is question another Catholic's faith. I'm sure you have plenty and are seeking more.

Mike said...

Anon. 10:18,

What Anon. 9:40 wrote about the bishop is not "a matter of opinion." Rather, it is all verified fact.

As for it being "significant ... that Bishop Clark says zilch about this or any other criticism of him," you are right but for the wrong reason. The real significance lies in the fact that the bishop simply cannot refute these charges because they are true. He therefore keeps his head down and hopes it will all blow over. (It won't.)

Finally, for reasons I don't understand a bishop has to be a major, public screw-up before a pope will replace him. Merely ineffectually presiding over the not-so-slow demise of a diocese doesn't seem to be sufficient cause. That's why Cardinal Law is no longer in Boston while Bishop Clark is still in Rochester.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, for reasons I don't understand a bishop has to be a major, public screw-up before a pope will replace him. Merely ineffectually presiding over the not-so-slow demise of a diocese doesn't seem to be sufficient cause. That's why Cardinal Law is no longer in Boston while Bishop Clark is still in Rochester."

Part of it is that thing that you can't undo being a priest or a bishop, you can't become an un-bishop and you can't be demoted back to just priest. It's a permanent sacramental thing. As I understand it they can prohibit priests from performing priestly duties but they're still priests even if they're in prison for ruining kids' lives. Since a bishop is always a bishop they have to stick him somewhere he can be a bishop of something. I don't buy that Law is is in some kind of nun prison in that Bassicilla or whatever he's in charge of. I thought it was awful that he said part of PJPII's Mass. Talk about bad messages. He should be someplace much, much less comfortable. But as you said a bishop has to really screw up big time to even get a slap on the wrist. That's a big reason they've lost so much credibility with Catholics and non-Catholics alike. None of them have been fired over the abuse cover-ups.

Maybe we can agree that they should change the rules and make it easier to send priests and bishops who hurt kids to places where they will have a long time to repent for what they’ve done. As far as I'm concerned Law and all others who covered up abusers should be in a bishops-only bakery making really good bread.

Getting back to Bishop Clark I think you’re right, the Pope will never fire him. Compared to what Law and others did he's small potatoes.

Anonymous said...

Re: Corpus people mouthing off to the priest and throwing the body of Christ back at him (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/july-dec98/church_11-23.html):

"REV. DAN McMULLIN, Pastor, Corpus Christi Church: The Sunday that I arrived, people were just waiting for me to prove myself. There were others that made comments back as I preached or presided, or who would just call out something that I disagreed with, or would storm out, or others, that as they came up to receive the Eucharist, had little speeches ready for me, or calling me names. A few people even tossed back the Eucharist at me."

Anonymous said...

Here's a liberal blog that's promoting the idea that women religious should oppose the Vatican investigation:

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.com/2009/11/roman-catholic-womenpriest-s-women.html

Interstate Catholic said...

I'm interested in seeing how the Institute of Christ the King makes out with the former St. Gelasius Church in Chicago (now shrine of Christ the King), whose order strictly uses the extraordinary form of the mass. I wonder what their numbers will be when the church remodeling is completed. And do they end up "competing" with this parish?

It might just be me, but I was thinking about St. Michael's on North Clinton Ave. when I was watching this video.

If "liberals" are not going to church and won't be on a regular basis, then I guess the DOR has too many worship sites after all.

The Well Done Review said...

Interstate-I, too wonder if St Michael could be used in a similar manner--they aren't making any money as it is...

and boy, that church is beautiful--organ's pretty great too!

Anonymous said...

I agree in general with the above two posts, but it is not only "liberals" who are not attending Sunday Mass on a regular basis. It is also political conservatives who don't see the need to do it either. My kids always complained that they were the only ones in their Religious Ed class that had to go to Mass AND RE on the same day. I didn't believe them until I heard other parents say that they did see it as an either/or thing. They attended Mass on alternate Sundays when there was no RE. Some of these parents were pretty conservative as things go. I guess the bottom line is if a Catholic, "liberal" or "conservative" is fulfilling their Sunday obligation. From reading this blog it seems one of your main beefs is that too many touchy-feely libs are messing up the majority of parishes in the diocese. To do that they must be attending Mass. It seems you wish they wouldn't, or more precisely, they would come around to your way of thinking or then get out. I guess there's no way to settle this without a formal poll of regular mass attending Catholics and where they fall on the "conservative" - "progressive" scale. My guess is that a greater percentage of conservative-traditional Catholics attend mass every Sunday but a greater number of less conservative Catholics attend overall.

However it breaks down I feel that we should only keep the number of churches open that makes sense for the number of Catholics who are attending them. With a few exceptions I don't think most of them should be exempt if they are not viable.

One exception would be St. Michael's. It is an historic landmark. I love that church. I attend the Spanish Mass a few times a year and I don't speak Spanish. I love the music and the people. I also attend the masses before the concerts when I can. St. Michael's is a gem. I love St. Stan's too though I don't go there as much. We go there on Christmas Eve as many do. It's a beautiful church. I used to love to see the setting sun on it from Silver Stadium. It seemed on fire. I attend other old churches on occasion mostly by myself because I like a particular Mass (Gospel, etc) or I like the architecture. It's also nice to go somewhere where people don't know you now and then. I don't go to mass to be social. Sometimes I don't feel like meeting and greeting people. I can understand why some don't like the handshakes. It doesn't bother me, but I get it.

I really hope a church like the one you are talking about (I apologize for saying "drooling" before) can be established in Rochester. I think there’s room in our diocese for different but valid styles of worship. But I think even you guys could agree that it would be a unique thing. It just wouldn't work to have all parishes like that.

Nerina said...

Mike,

I give you so much credit for putting up with numerous, "Anonymous" posters. Please, anons, if you feel strongly about your views (and clearly some of you do), have the courage of your convictions and get a blogger account and a posting identity, if only to make responding to your comments easier for the rest of us. I get so tired of anonymous posting. Trust me, my name is so unique that if you want to find out who I am, you could do it easily.

Anyway. Responding to the suggestion that "conservative" Catholics have stopped going to Mass. I think many have stopped going to the mainstream churches in our diocese, but many go to Mass in places most of us don't think about. Places like the VA in Canandaigua and The Legacy in Victor and Monroe Community Hospital. Be assured. They STILL go to Mass, but they refuse to put up with the liturgical nonsense that passes for the Mass in some of our churches.

And, anon, I agree with you that the Church has room for everyone. What many of us "conservative" Catholics (as you label us) object to is unrelenting undermining of the Faith by those who are supposed to be safeguarding it. When you hear homilies that say "you can believe only 10% of what the Church teaches and still be Catholic," we have serious catechetical issues to deal with (this is the very point Bishop Tobin has been addressing with Patrick Kennedy).

As Catholics, we profess to believe in the Church and everything she teaches. I agree that there is room for prudential judgment on some matters, but on faith and morals there is none. As for the liturgy, the last 40 years has been a disaster. I believe the NO can be done reverently and with great dignity, but it often is not. This doesn't mean that I opt out of the Mass. But it does mean that I teach my children about the heritage of which they have been deprived. I remind them of our Catholic ancestors who lost their lives to give worship to God. I do try to remember that, even in the midst of some of the goofiest liturgical innovations I've seen (e.g. using a large crystal bowl of water as an instrument on Good Friday - reminiscent of ringing your finger around a wet wineglass - while humming "ohm" during the Veneration of the Cross), people THINK they are offering their best to God. But it is frustrating when any critique of such innovations are dismissed as "divisive" or "overly sensitive" or "more Catholic than the Pope," or "snobby."

Nerina said...

One more word about the attempt to label groups of Catholics (i.e. "progressive" "liberal" "conservative"). I think this attempt is inherently problematic because we are applying political labels to religion.

I would say that 10 years ago, I could best be described as an American Catholic with a strong bent to the right (oh, I could be a jingo with the best of the them). But now, by the grace of God, I'd describe myself as a Catholic American. And there is a difference.

The best way to describe it is to say that I believe in all that the Catechism teaches (that is not to say that I am a perfect practitioner - far from it)with a strong preference for tradition. This means that I am often a "political" orphan feeling lost in all the major political parties. Democrats, well, because of their unrelenting attachment to murdering babies in the womb, Republicans, because they just can't seem to see the atrocity of torture for what it is (among other things) and Libertarians who tend to place the good of the individual above all else neglecting the common and collective good.

If we want to make any ground in trying to understand each other, Anon, we have to get past the labels or at least agree on what they mean.

Dr. K said...

Something I've noticed is that weekday Masses tend to be much more calm and followed according to the rubrics than weekend Masses. This includes some of our heavy liturgical abuse parishes. I'd go to one of these for a Sunday Mass, and there will be a ton of silliness and rubric violations. I then go on a weekday, and it's holy and wonderful.

Why is this? I think it's because the priest feels the need to put on a show on weekends; he sees a big crowd, and then busts out the entertainment. If only more weekend Masses in our area were as peaceful and reverent as the weekday Masses.

~Dr. K

Anonymous said...

All interesting points. That makes sense about where Catholics who don't want to attend DOR masses go. I hadn't thought about that.

I agree with the labels but I didn't make them up. Blogs like these identify themselves as "orthodox", "traditional", "conservative" etc. and describe others as "progressive" "liberal" etc. "Progressives" call themselves that too.

I think you're right about equating the spectrum of Catholics with political identifications. It would be good if we could stop that. But people being people tend to form clans. It's our nature. It's important to remember what the word "Catholic" means.

I have never heard anything like the "10%" quote you cite. I'm not doubting it, but I've never heard anything even close to it. My parish is sort of middle of the road on the traditional-progressive scale but would probably be too touchy-feely for most here. But I've been to even touchy-feely'er parishes and I've never heard anything like that.

I think it's a fact that pastors stay away from hot button topics that are sure to tick off parishioners on the right and left side of the pews. Your descriptions of political parties illustrate this.

I know how you feel about the last 40 years but I personally would not want to go back to pre-VII days. I'm old enough to remember them and carry some nostalgia but not enough to go back. As a Whatever-you-want-to-call-it Catholic my favorite popes were Pope John and Pope John Paul the First. In my perfect world Vatican II would have unfolded under them instead of the more conservative views of PJPII and B16. Pope Paul was in the middle. Except for HV he was probably too "progressive" than most here prefer.

But it's not my perfect world and with all due respect it's not yours either. There's really a very limited amount that we can do to change or influence the Church. I don't think I have any power at all to do that. That used to bother me big time but I realized that if I want to stay Catholic, which is a given, I just have to get used to the idea that being Catholic and being an American are two different things. As a U.S. citizen I have a right and obligation to fight like hell through my vote and legal means to influence my government. As an American Catholic I used to think I had that same right with the Church. It has been very, very difficult to accept that I don't.

Granted, the hierarchy of the Church has been leaning to the right for the past 30 years so you might actually get to see some of the changes you advocate, but I don't think it will be because of this blog or others. The Vatican just had a meeting with the world's major internet providers to finally try to understand that electronic communication isn't a fad. It will be a long time before they catch up to reading this.

Whatever happens will happen because the Vatican wants it to, not because of your valiant efforts. That's my opinion.

As far as user names go, whenever I've used one I've been banned. Mike can id me anyhow and can switch me off anytime he wants. It doesn't bother me to be banned. I've found it easier to remain Anonymous.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Mike said...

Dr. K. asked, "Why is this?"

One possible explanation is that the SBSTM-trained parish liturgy coordinators usually content themselves with abusing the weekend liturgies. Many priests who at some level know better simply go along to avoid conflict. During the week, however, the LCs are sleeping in and the priests are free to more faithfully follow the rubrics.

Which reminds me of that old joke ...

Q: What is the difference between a terrorist and a liturgy coordinator?

A: You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Anonymous said...

How about we just turn off anonymous posting like before?

In the choir loft said...

There is a write up on Brother Jonathan Ryan on the cantius.org website.

Here is the link...scroll down to find it.

http://www.cantius.org/go/news/detail/recital_of_fr_michael_magiera_fssp/

Mike said...

Anon. 3:25,

I've considered that.

However, 66.66.14.13 has shown how easy it is for one to get multiple Google IDs and go on to make an obnoxious pest out of oneself (see the comment stream here).

No, the only real solution would seem to be moderated comments. It would mean more work for me, but I'll do it if I have to.

In the choir loft said...

Hey Mike: My DVD's on SJC came today:) In fact, Don Carney called me to talk about how I heard of it. I told him it was this world-famous blog.

Mike said...

Choir,

Glad to hear your DVD copies arrived. Also, thanks for the plug.

Anonymous said...
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Nerina said...

Holy cow, Anon. You are rude. Imagine walking into Mike's living room and saying such things (because that's kind of what you are doing). You're right. We haven't cornered the market on being Catholic, but neither have you, my friend. The tone of your posts reveals much about you. There is a beam in your eye, Anon (as there are in all of our eyes). You would do well to remember it.

Nerina said...

And who said Mike wants this to remain a "closed club of like-minded people"? All I'm saying is you should have the courage to put a name in front of your posts. Believe me, when you are using your actual name, you think long and hard about what you post.

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Nerina said...

@Anon 7:43AM

Please show me where I have posted anything that would not be suitable to say to Bishop Clark. I agree that there are some completely inappropriate comments in this thread (posted by other "Anons"). I don't believe I have made a single one.

Mike said...

Okay anons, you've left me no choice.

ALL future anonymous comments in this thread, regardless of content or tone, will be deleted as soon as I see them.

Also in the choir loft said...
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Pope John XXIII said...
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B16 said...
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Mike said...

We all can play games, but only I have the delete key.

odi profanum vulgus et arceo said...

in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni