When Will We Stop Profaning the Holy Mass?

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In my most recent blog post I discussed the ongoing irreverence shown by some priests who treat the Mass as entertainment, and the sanctuary as their stage. From ukulele playing bishops to hoverboard riding priests, we continue to see irreverent behavior exhibited by those who offer the Holy Sacrifice in persona Christi. 

Many defend such antics as simply being another way to “reach the youth” or to “meet people where they are.” It seems at times that we have grown indifferent to these profane actions, incapable of outrage anymore because we long ago lost the sense of the sacred, the transcendent.

The most recent example of this liturgical nonsense unfortunately comes out of my own diocese, courtesy of Monsignor Anthony Marcaccio and St. Pius X Catholic Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

I have been told that lately Monsignor Marcaccio has increased the use of props during his homilies, often for comedic effect. For a Confirmation Mass on Pentecost Sunday monsignor took this to a whole new level when he incorporated the use of a  “Windy Man” (sometimes called an inflatable sky tube) for his homily to the teens.

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Sadly, I know that there will be many who will excuse this.  The line between the sacred and the profane was smashed long ago in many parishes.  The idea of a “Windy Man” being brought into the sanctuary, the very place where heaven touches earth upon the altar, will seem perfectly acceptable to many Catholics.  To be fair, I have been told that not everyone at St. Pius was pleased with monsignor’s stunt.

Hopefully, many others will recognize this for what it is:  scandalous. 

Let us sincerely hope that Monsignor Marcaccio, upon reflection, sees this for what it was.  Let us sincerely hope that Bishop Peter J. Jugis sees this for what it was as well. His Excellency is deeply committed to reverent liturgies and orthodox preaching, so this cannot sit well with him.

It’s not unreasonable for Catholics, both clergy and laity alike, to look to our bishops and ask yet again, “When will we stop profaning the Holy Mass?”

Posted on May 23, 2016, in liturgy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. “Weird liturgies” are just another way that Catholic priests break down the normal boundaries of behavior so they can have sex with teenage boys. According to the monsignor, there are no rules, or more specifically there are no rules for him as he inflicts himself on you. If you have rules, you are “up tight” and need to be put in a mental hospital. Then “Father” has his hands in your pants.

    Bishops won’t “do” anything because they are part of the priestly sex abuse club and are compromised and subject to blackmail by any priest that they want to discipline.

    Decadent liturgies are are just an obvious and unavoidable symptom of a debauched priesthood.

    • This is a bit farfetched!!

      • No, “debauched liturgies” are simply a symptom of the “debauched morality” and “debauched theology” of the clergy, i.e. lex orandi, lex credendi.

        To borrow from Cardinal Bernardin’s “Seamless garment of life” theology (see wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bernardin#Seamless_garment_of_Life), there is a “Seamless Garment of Decadence and Debauchery” within the Church such that the:

        1. Lack of faith (i.e. adhesion to the Magisterium) and discipline by the clergy, leads to:
        2. Decadent and debauched morality and sexual abuse by the clergy, which leads to:
        3. Decadent and debauched liturgies by the clergy.

        In other words, all of the problems in the Church are tied together and do not exist in independent vacuums.

      • More than far fetched, it’s calumny. It’s a sin to automatically ascribe evil intentions to anyone without evidence.

      • The “Seamless Garment of Debauchery” teaches that violation of liturgical and other priestly norms are connected to a lack of faith and failure in other areas of priestly ministry, the point being that publicly violating liturgical norms indicates other failures which the faithful can not see.

        Card. Bernardin was noted as blocking the appointment of any conservative priest to be a bishop to block the resurgence of rationale liturgical practice and to further the destruction of the Catholic Church. The American bishops have been a disaster since the 1960s because the de facto Cardinal Primate of the USA blocks the appointment of faithful priests to be bishops. Only uber liberal priests are made bishops.

        To be appointed a bishop in the USA, you have to be very luke-warm in your faith and extremely pro-femi-Nazi. Also, you have to believe in endless taxation to pay for a limitless welfare state.

      • John, there is plenty wrong in the post-conciliar Church and with many clergy (past and present), but please don’t paint with such a broad brush. If you can’t be more precise, and less uncharitable, in your comments I will need to delete them going forward.

      • This is why the Church is a mess because the faithful keep their heads in the sand and continue to support decadent priests and bishops. Those who support sin are accomplices to sin.

      • Don’t troll my blog John. My request was reasonable. If the Church is a mess in many quarters, it might be in part because so many are un-Christ like in how they address others. Can you give civility a try and speak to folks and not at them?

      • So how do you figure Bishops Bruskewitz, Vasa, Olmsted, Conley, and Archbishop Cordileone slipped in under that orthodox-detecting radar? I’m sure there are others. These are just the ones that I’m familiar with.

  2. Treasa van Ommen Kloeke

    This leads to the dumbing down of youth…who normally have enquiring minds and like to be lifted up to a higher plain of knowledge. Such antics by the bishop are thoroughly insulting to Catholic youth. Leave such crass entertainment to the car sales lots.

    • I believe that the reference to the bishop was a hope that he might help the Monsignor realize that this thing in the sanctuary was actually a profanation of the holy. I’m actually losing hope myself when reading Our Lady’s various prophecies and seeing how far we have fallen. How do we put the genie back in the bottle without divine intervention?

  3. I know Monsingor well, he married our son. Though he is not a proponent of the TLM, I am very much surprised by this. In this case, I’d says prayers are far more appropriate than scandalous speculation.

  4. How about some context about what the Monsignor said in His homily to balance the story. I am sure it upset some people who get upset easily wth anything they don’t like or think is out of the ordinary, but was anyone actually there to hear what he preached about? Did he perhaps attempt to use an analogy of the windy man as being filled with the Holy Spirit? The post indicates this was a Confirmation Mass on Pentecost Sunday. I seem to also recall that Confirmation is a sacrament usually administered by the Bishop. Was he not here at the Mass as well? Things always aren’t always as they appear at first reading. Those of us who have studied history know full well that the Church in its missionary endeavors in bygone days often incorporated local customs into the services to better express and spread the gospel. Might this not be the same idea adapted to the youth of today? Remember w have Christmas trees inside the sanctuaries and have had for as long as I have been attending Mass, which has been a very long time. Where did that idea and practice come from? Is it not analogous here? But not having been in attendance, as our beloved Pope Francis so aptly phrases it, “Who am I to judge?”

    • “I am sure it upset some people who get upset easily with anything they don’t like or think is out of the ordinary.”

      With all respect, a Windy Man inside a church sanctuary *should* upset any Catholic who takes their faith seriously. Regardless of what the homily said or did not say. There is *no* possible context which could justify it.

      A Windy Man is not a “local custom.” It’s a banal advertising gimmick, most often used by used car retailers. And the sad reality, borne out by ample data, is that the youth who attend Masses like this will be far more likely to buy used cars than they will to continue darkening church doors for Mass once they cease being youths. Teens know when they’re being condescended to.

  5. This is the danger of the Novus Ordo in that any kind of novelty can happen and they are all different such as a beach mass, dancing at mass, etc. The Latin Tridentine Mass is still the Roman Rite as there were not two forms of mass before the VII modernism and apostasy.

  6. This is stupid and irreverent, certainly. But, as bad as it is, it is at least plain to see and judge based on obvious-ness.

    Worse than this, IMHO, are priests who appear pious and overly “reverent”: a minute-long genuflection, for example, at the Consecration), then proceed to covertly lie, manipulate, and abuse others in private. Sickening… A worse profaning of the Body of Christ because of the blatant deception of character.

  7. If this happened at a Confirmation Mass the bishop or one of the vicars would have been present, right?

  8. Pray for strength to withstand these new “waves” that accose our sacred celebration of the Holy Mass. You are not alone!

  9. Belloc's Second Cousin

    Nothing “silly” should ever, ever, ever be associated with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass or with any of the other Holy Sacraments. Only the Devil would introduce silliness into a sacred rite.

  10. Personally, I am not edified by accounts of the several desecrations of the Mass which modern iconoclastic priests and bishops have occasioned in the RC Church. In consequence, I have long ago turned my back on all that has been wrought in the name of Vatican II, but which in fact has been a repudiation of that Council’s wholesome teachings. I have long ago also left RC churches to instead worship with and in the Eastern Catholic churches, which still know what true worship is. I would recommend that my fellow readers here do likewise, if they can.

  11. Stephen Kenny

    The divine liturgy is not to be disrespected. On that I must agree. On the other hand, what is profane and disrespectful is a matter for debate. Jesus, Himself, scandalized a lot of pious pharisees, scribes, and rabbis. He ate with prostitutes and barkeepers, associated with tax collectors whose coins had pagan images (forbidden by the First Commandment), threw moneychangers and sellers of sacrificial animals out of the temple, touched lepers, and even had the nerve to forgive sins. I did not attend the liturgy in question, so I will not comment on that.

    What I find most scandalous is a priest who publicly holds up to scorn a fellow priest of his own diocese. I think that is shameful, unkind, and unprofessional, a scandal to the faithful

    • Stephen, couple important points to make:

      I’m not a priest, I’m a lay person.

      Also, what’s scandalous is the scandalous act of profaning the sanctuary, not the discussion of the scandal after the fact. I would hope that you would be more troubled by the message and not the messenger.

      There is nothing to debate regarding this profane stunt. If you can’t unequivocally agree that “Windy Man” in the sanctuary is profane, then you probably need to bow out of any serious discussions about the sacred liturgy.

      Your examples of Our Lord do not apply to this scenario. Maybe you can point me to where in sacred scripture we read of Christ profaning the Holy of Holies or cracking jokes and breaking out a first century Windy Man for the Passover observance in the Upper Room; I don’t recall any.

      As I said in this article and the prior, there are far too many Catholics today who can excuse away just about any irreverence within the liturgy.

      • Yes, I agree, this is a discussion commons. If the moderator of this list does not want a “discussion” then shut the website down. Opening the website for discussion and then objecting to different points of view does not make sense.

        My thesis that liturgical abuse is a symptom of other forms of abuse (i.e. sexual, theological, financial) was not well received and I was told to tone it down.

      • We have been having a discussion. I’m the moderator John. What’s your issue? I haven’t deleted a single comment. I’ve only asked you not to paint with such a broad brush as to impugn every bishop of Holy Mother Church. Please don’t misrepresent what I have said.

      • It sounded to me as though you were accusing all Novus Ordo priests and bishops of sexual deviancy. Were you?

      • Yes, it has been estimated by none other than the late Fr. Andrew Greeley that 50% to 80% of all young Catholic Clergy are homosexual and as they have no legitimate way to express their sexuality, they turn to young males.

        Liturgical abuse is a symptom of a priest who lacks the ability to follow rules and encourages young people that rules don’t matter when ever “father” says so. Another rule which all Western Rite Catholic priests take is the rule of celibacy (to remain unmarried and sexually abstinent).

        If you get on the SNAP website, you will find that thousands of USA priests have been accused of sexual abuse of some type. It is not a rare event and it is completely tolerated and hidden by bishops who are themselves offenders as well as other priests who share a rectory with an offender priest and never report the crime to the police.

        As a practicing Catholic for the last 56 years, I can say that it is always the “weirdo” (e.g., liturgical weirdo) priests who turn out to have been living a double life when they are eventually accused of sexual abuse years later or die under mysterious circumstances (die relatively young under age 65 of AIDS).

  12. blueskirtwaltz

    John Horton, I agree completely with your statements. Been there, seen it. After a recent Novus Ordo First Communion Liturgy I attended, albeit reluctantly, my decision to never attend another stands. I believe that conservative Catholics have gotten so used to excusing sacrileges and other profanations in our sanctuaries that they do not even recognize them anymore. St. Thomas Aquinas said that Charity is Truth!

  13. Anyone actually bother to look closely at the photographs? It appears to be, upon close examination rather than a precursorsory glance, rising from the floor outside of the altar and not inside the sanctuary. Anyone else happen to catch that, if indeed the outrage is based on it being inside the sanctuary, rather than at the fact that it is a new innovation designed to draw a lesson for the confirmation class? If one were to take the time to visit the St. Pius X parish website, it becomes rather obvious. And while there, you will also find that the parish is one of only three in the diocese that has a Holy Door for a Year of Jubilee pilgrimage. Maybe it would be a good idea to visit and look for yourself, and availe oneself of the blessing springing forth in this Year of Mercy, should you happen to be passing through or visiting the Diocese area.
    AMDG

    • Amen! Ask yourself, are your words, actions , thoughts brining people to Christ?? Examine yourself. The message has NOT changed but the way we reach the culture must… People respond to authentic evangelization. It’s the prophetic writing of John Paul II that is finally beginning to be played out in the Catholic Church. We will all stand alone at the end of the age to account for our actions and thoughts…God knows our hearts! Making disciples of Christ can ONLY be a GREAT thing! It is what we are called to do as Christians…I am thankful for Saint Pius and Monsignor Marcaccio’s relational faith that is obviously winning people to the way of Christ!

    • John D. Horton

      According to the liturgical rules of Vatican II there is no more distinction between sactuary and nave to advance the Protestant notion of the priesthood and equality of all believers. Altar / communion rails were jackhammered out of the Catholic sanctuary in the 1960s and 70s because most Protestant churches don’t have them and don’t believe in the Real Presence. Vatican II simply adopted Protestant theology and liturgical architecture in this regard.

      The Protestant ideas of the “stripped-bare” meeting place were popularised by apparently Lutheran author E.A. Sovik in his book “Architecture for Worship” (Augsburg Pub. 1973 ISBN 0806613203) which were fully embraced by the Vatican II Catholic bishops in the name of ecumenism.

      The Protestant ideas of “performance” and the “stage” area (formerly the sanctuary) have also been adopted wholesale by the Vatican II Catholic bishops.

      “Windy Man” is about three times bigger than the main crucifix in this non-cropped photo available on “google images” (google: “windy man” and Marcaccio) just so we all know who is bigger and more important to the celebrant.

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