Catholic Bishop Asks Twitter Followers How Best to “Change” the Mass

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Bishop David Zubik took to Twitter today to asks the following question:

If you could change one thing about your #Sunday #Mass to bring back #friends and #relatives, what would it be?

I’ve written about Bishop Zubik and the Diocese of Pittsburgh before (We need sacred liturgy not “better” worship) and the ongoing collapse of the Church there over the last twenty years.

In my previous article I noted:

The solution to declining Mass attendance and “active” Catholics today isn’t the need for “better worship.” Such a vague and subjective term is frankly no real solution at all. What is needed, possibly now more than ever, is for our sacred liturgy to once again be just that, sacred.

While I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Bishop Zubik, I do question the judgement of those who seem at a loss on how best to offer the Mass.

Let me propose a revolutionary idea for what we can “change” about many of today’s Sunday Masses: start being more Catholic and less Protestant in our liturgies.

Some questions that our bishops can ask themselves:

  • Since Latin is the liturgical language of the Roman Rite (and has been for 17 centuries), how many of your parishes are actually offering (some or all) of the Ordinary Form Mass in Latin?
  • If the Church has repeatedly stated that sacred music best suits the Roman Rite (Vatican 2 used the term “pride of place”), then how many parishes are actively incorporating chant & polyphony into the Mass?
  • If the tradition of the Catholic Church is to receive the Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue, how many parishes still have -and actually use- a communion rail and communion patens in their Sunday Masses?
  • Since Catholics adore and reverence Our Eucharistic Lord, have tabernacles in your diocese been returned to the sanctuary, behind the altar, in a place of prominence?

Many will argue that none of the above will “bring back friends and relatives”, but make no mistake: that is simply their bias and not based upon any actual data. Anecdotally, those of us who attend traditional parishes can attest to the power of beauty and truth to attract, both young and old.

Confident Catholicism…triumphant Catholicism…a faith that embraces its tradition and sacred liturgical beauty is appealing. It is attractive. Pandering isn’t.

None of this is to suggest that a restoration of sacred liturgy is the fix all for our self inflicted ecclesial wounds. Of course it isn’t. But how well we worship God is very relevant to any discussion about the faith.

What is most unfortunate, however, is the reluctance -or should we say the resistance- often demonstrated when Catholicism is proposed as the solution to liturgical woes.

How quickly do Catholics today look to a 16th century heresy and the liturgical descendants of Cranmer and Luther for “changing” the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

How quickly do those in authority today look to rebuild parishes in the mold of trendy evangelical churches. How quickly they look to promote intentional discipleship or tell Catholics how they can be better versions of themselves, while refusing to study thriving, traditional, parishes and dioceses that are worshipping in the way Catholics have for centuries.

Just once could we stop trying to change the change that we changed years ago when we changed the (historically) un-changeable?

Just once could we see Twitter hashtags from a bishop like #authenticity, #tradition, #sacredbeauty, or #reverence?

And yet another suggestion worth considering: #RestoreTheSacred.

Posted on February 7, 2017, in liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Latin is not the essential issue, but the EF form and content is – whatever the language.

  2. sixupman makes a good point. I feel that if the Church in the 1960s had translated the Traditional Latin Mass into the vernacular and left everything else the same (church architecture, kneeling for Communion, chanting, traditional teachings, etc.), there would likely have been less chaos and confusion and the loss of so many believing, practicing Catholics.

  3. Answer: Use a missal that’s older than “Leave It To Beaver.”

  4. It’s both the language and the content.
    The NO liturgy is a watered down liturgy from the TLM but one keeps a sense of the sacred when using a Liturgical language. My Eastern rite was Latinized and the Mass of the Blessed Apostles was watered down. Now with de-Latinization, we are going back to our original liturgical prayers but the one thing we never lost was our prayers in Aramaic.

  5. A true and heart-felt understanding of the Once-Forever-Sacrifice of the Lamb of God bringing the risen Son present in the form of bread and wine, His actual Boly, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Mass–the GREATEST MIRICLE melding heaven and earth “outside of time,” is the only thing needed to bring ALL to the (or back to the) CATHOLIC CHURCH!

    BUT, we may PERSONALLY know, offer and worshop God, offering the Son, in the Holy Spirit, but we are unable or unwilling to shout this Gift of Faith from the ROOFTOPS, or sometimes even reluctant to “whisper” it in our homes. This leaves our children, our teens, our spouses, other family members, friends , neighbors and strangers God puts before us during the day, to go through their life WITHOUT EVER HEARING the REAL AND LIVING GOSPEL ofbOur Lord!

    When a teen wants to know why I have the ferver for Our Lord and his Church to the degree I do, I share the “information” above. When they ask me if I “really believe” what I just told them, I tell them “Yes, with my entire heart, mind and soul.” A short delay usually follows and often they say, “OK, I’ll think about it.

    TRUE FAITH, blessed by the Lord, is CONTAGEOUS and SAVING!

  6. Mary Alice Hoffman

    Perfectly answered. Couldn’t add a thing. If only the Bishops would remember that it is God who we worship as God commanded us to worship.

    God bless!

  7. With people like Zubik,Baron,Mcelroy, McGrath, Farrell,Cupich , O’Malley, Dolan and Weurl etc ,I see sad to say a meltdown of epic proportions of the RC faith in USA etc…….. One look at dying RC faith in Malta , Germany etc. To see the catastrophic decline coming here as well……… This why I joined and Eastern rite Catholic Church. No such no sense with liturgy. Communion in your mouth. Eucharist dipped the holy wine and put in your mouth. Deacons and priests alone distribution of communion and homily etc..

    • With people like Zubik,Baron,Mcelroy, McGrath, Farrell,Cupich , O’Malley, Dolan and Weurl etc ,I see sad to say a meltdown of epic proportions of the RC faith in USA etc…….. One look at dying RC faith in Malta , Germany etc. To see the catastrophic decline coming here as well……… This why I joined and Eastern rite Catholic Church. No such nonsense with liturgy. Communion in your mouth. Eucharist dipped the holy wine and put in your mouth. Deacons and priests alone distribution of communion and homily etc..

  8. If you have not gone to his twitter feed you need to. The feedback has overwhelmingly been in favor of more Latin, Gregorian chant, reverence and beauty. Lots of suggestions pointing to 1962 Missal or ad orientem.

    I am guessing that is not the feedback he expected.

  9. If the Mass keeps ‘evolving’ and if the SSPX reaches canonical standing….I will be heading in that direction.

  10. I have an excellent post on my White Lily Blog by Robyn Schamel on the intrinsic versus the extrinsic merit of mass that gives the details on how strength in the various standards (music; quality of vestments and utensils; sanctity of the people present; and so forth) can increase the extrinsic merit one is able to obtain from a particular liturgy. I will put the link below (and the topic must be much in the news, because I noticed copying the site address that it had had several hits today).

    The intrinsic merit of the mass remains the same always, Christ’s immeasurable sacrifice for us.

    A troubling aspect of our present situation is that one of the variables in the extrinsic merit of a mass is the number of people receiving the sacrament unworthily, and that number will surely go up if AL is not fixed.

    Here is the link: https://wordpress.com/stats/day/thewhitelilyblog.wordpress.com

  11. I forgot to mention, you might enjoy the Catholic science fiction novel Run. It was well reviewed by Dr. Brian McCall, whom you may know from Catholic Family News. You will find no other contemporary work of fiction where traditional mass is celebrated in space! As it will be someday, of course. As it must be. Check out the site and the chapters available online. https://malapertpress.wordpress.com

  12. At VAT 2 they invited Protestant representative to advise them on the Mass and look what we have now!

  13. the prayerful pilgrim

    When I returned to my parish of residence after frequenting a more traditional Mass, they were singing “Happy Birthday” with organ accompaniment before the Mass had ended. The lack of any reverence for the Eucharist makes everything a competition for the better “show”.
    Let’s all continue to pray for the priests; that they may wake up to what they are allowing.

  14. Remove the attempt to entertain and let’s get back to the beautiful Catholic Christian music that resounded in Mass and lifted our souls to God in prayer! Adoreamus is a good text as is Gregorian chant.

  15. Totally agree.

    However, the Novus Ordo can be equally as beautiful when the priest faces Ad Orientum, ‘says the black, does the red’ and does not add anything to the liturgy, and returns to sacred music, worshipping God, not us!

  1. Pingback: Canon212 Update: Not Christian, But Good Anyway – Unlike Trump! – The Stumbling Block

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