Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Love of Christ

In a recent conversation with one of the best friends who is an atheist, he described his aversion to the Church. Of course, his criticisms were mostly about threatening people if they sinned or rewarding them if they behaved, and other (what I would call) unfounded statements, but some were not. Nevertheless, did he know Christ's love, though? I would contend, no.

One can have a fundamental knowledge of every Church dogma and doctrine, expounding on the historical development and how the Church arrived at that particular teaching. This is a most honorable kind of knowledge, but, as Pope Benedict says, this knowledge is never a substitute for a personal encounter with the Lord.

In one's personal encounter with the Lord, formed in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and other prayers and devotions, the individual meets the Lord in ways that man is able to comprehend. Since man cannot comprehend the reality of the Lord in the earthly realm, God chose to reveal Himself through visible signs and symbols man could understand. Bread and wine, which take on the reality of the Body and Blood of Christ while retaining the appearance of bread and wine, is a common food and drink to most cultures throughout the world. The Lord allows Himself to be revealed in ways man is capable of understanding here on earth.

To develop a friendship, one needs to talk and have a great relationship with a friend. This is certainly true of friendship with the Lord. One cannot simply leave Mass and leave Jesus in the tabernacle. One must take that relationship with the Lord into the world and have a constant source of communication with Him. This is certainly true when Christians are the waters flowing from the Temple onto the world, inundating it with love and making those they come in contact with fertile. The Christians are the waters flowing from the Temple, flooding the world with Christ's love.

The world can only be transformed in, through, and with Christ if His followers know Him and have a personal relationship with Him.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is Transubstantiation Defendable?

            Transubstantiation is defendable because it appeals to human reason while still keeping the double miracle of the Eucharist in tact. Thomas Aquinas, though he did not invent the term transubstantiation, is the one who greatly expounded on the virtues of this term and used Aristotelian philosophy to explain the changes that happen to the bread and wine and the changes that do not happen. This is further defendable because of the Incarnation. For centuries leading up to Aquinas, the Church used Platonism as its primary mode of explaining Church teachings philosophically. While Platonism does not reject the Incarnation, it is a philosophy that is more akin to explaining the visible world as an illusion. Aristotelian philosophy is different in this respect because it says the visible world is real. In this case, transubstantiation is seen as a fulfillment of the Incarnation on an even more tangible level.
            In the late eleventh century, there were several eucharistic controversies in the Western Church. Among the most famous, though, was Berengar of Tours’ formulation that the bread and wine at Mass did not become the Body and Blood of Christ, but was merely a “symbolic” change. After being reprimanded in 1159 and 1179, he finally capitulated and said he believed what the Church taught on this teaching. Though he was never excommunicated, only taking two oaths of fidelity, his writings on the Eucharist caused the Church to question its teachings and approach them in a more logical manner. This was indicative of the shift from a more symbolic (in the truest sense of the word) philosophy of religious teachings to the need for a more academic and logical explanation. In the mid-thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican friar and professor of theology at the University of Paris, began to speak of the Eucharist using, not Platonic philosophy, as was the norm, but Aristotelian philosophy.
            Aquinas used Aristotle’s ideas of accidents and substances. Accidents were the physical appearances of bread and wine, and substances, the invisible essence of the bread and wine. Aquinas claimed that through the words of Consecration pronounced by a priest with his proper intention, and bread and wine, the bread and wine were truly transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The accidents, the appearance of bread and wine remained, while the substance of the bread and wine were changed into the Body and Blood. Until this time, there had not been any systematic or academic approach to the Eucharist that was satisfactory to all sides. Even though the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 used language similar to transubstantiation, it was Aquinas who opened up a new way of looking at the Eucharist that was never done before in the history of the Eucharist.
            This metaphysical explanation of the Sacrament appeals to the Church in the West most especially because of the importance placed on the Incarnation of Christ. While the Churches in the East do hold that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, they never felt the need to explain it in depth because of the mysterious nature of their religious ethos. This is partly due to their emphasis on the place of Easter in their liturgical rites. The West also believes in the Resurrection, obviously, but its liturgical life is centered on Christmas. This complementary dichotomy is an example of two worldviews: Platonism in the East and Aristotelian philosophy in the West. The East views the earth as a reflection of the real world of God, heaven. The liturgy in the East is more of a tearing apart of the veil between heaven and earth so that the priest can mediate the reality of heaven from God to the people, taking the people’s prayers to God. In the West, though this is not an alien concept, sees the liturgy more of a participation in Divine realities manifested through visible signs and symbols. Each liturgical ethos is non-contradictory and represents the two different strands of philosophy in the Church.
            Because of this, though, Aristotelian philosophy places more emphasis on the visible and real manifestation of Divine realities in our reality. Aristotle was a student of Plato for over twenty years, but rejected his teacher’s concepts of our visible reality participating, but not equaling, the eternal, divine realities of heaven. Plato’s use of the forms stipulates that man is a part of the earth, but merely participates in a diluted and therefore imperfect manifestation of the really real. For Aristotle, however, he believed that the earth in all its manifestations was the real world and therefore all creation was good because it was a direct participation in the divine. This reflects the Incarnation quite well because Christ became man and saved all creation, especially man, through His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven. Therefore all material of the earth can be seen as a full participation in the divine reality of the Holy Trinity, living in the love of the Trinity as it is manifested in nature.
            Transubstantiation is a defendable argument because of Aquinas’ use of Aristotelian philosophy to explain the double miracle of the Eucharist, the changing of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. The bread and wine, which man has received from the goodness of God, is offered back to God as a spotless victim. This spotless victim is Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Logos of the Father. The bread and wine are thus changed into Christ’s Body and Blood as a gift from God to man and man reciprocates by offering things of this earth where God can manifest Himself through the goodness of His creation. Transubstantiation makes sense because it explains how God is able to use any means to make Himself known to man. Even though the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Christ substantially, accidently the bread and wine remain to speak to the anthropological need to communicating with the Creator through means man is able to comprehend. It is then that transubstantiation is defendable because it elevates visible creation to the heights of God.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

50th Anniversary of the Opening of Vatican II

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the opening of the Year of Faith. This is a most beautiful time for all Catholics throughout the world to join in a celebration of their faith, culture, and traditions, whatever they may be.

Here are some practical suggestions I offer to you for how to celebrate the Year of Faith:

1) Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church - The Catechism is rich with scripture and beauty, extolling the virtues of our faith which we received from Christ Himself through the hands of the Apostles. I would recommend especially reading the sections on the Liturgy and the Sacraments, so as to become familiar again with how the Church pray and from Whom this prayer comes from.

2) Read the 16 documents that came out of Vatican II - This can be a great way to see where the council fathers were coming from when they composed these documents. Two suggestions: Firstly, read Sacrosanctum Concilium first, the document on the Sacred Liturgy, and the first document to be written. Secondly, for supplemental reading, I would suggest Fr. John O'Malley's What Happened at Vatican II.

3) Partake of the Sacraments! - If there's one thing Vatican II did, it was lay the groundwork for liturgical renewal. Go experience the fruits of these labors... and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the High Priest who acts through all the Sacraments and the Liturgical Life of the Church.

With these suggestions, I hope you come to know Christ more in your daily lives in this Year of Faith. Praised be Jesus Christ, both now and forever!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Spirit as a Witness of God's Love

220px-H_Agia_Triada_Moni_Vatopediou_Agion_Oros.JPG.jpgAs some of you may know, I recently reentered the seminary. Before classes began, my brother seminarians and I had the chance to take part in a silent retreat. This was my first silent retreat, and there were a lot of good meditations I had. Among them, though, was one on the role of the Holy Spirit in our participation in the Divine Life of the Holy Trinity. I would like to share a short reflection I wrote during retreat.


I thought of something after I prayed my Rosary this evening. I was reading Father Stinissen's book Into Your Hands, Father. On page 46, he says:

This is no shadow of conflict in the Holy Trinity. Each one consents to the will of the other. The Father is the source of life. He wants to give of himself and beget a Son who is like him. The Son is willing to reflect the Father's being. He wants to be the Word of the Father and nothing else. "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:9). The Spirit is witness to this mutual love and desires to be nothing else.

This intrigues me because it is the Spirit who descended on Mary, and by His power Jesus was born of Mary into the flesh. John 3:16 says: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that those who believe in him might not perish, but may have eternal life." Though Christ is the Sacrament of God the Father, it is the Spirit who is the witness of the love the Father has for the Son and all of creation. When we surrender our wills to the Father, we become Christ, and the Spirit acts through us to give witness this love.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself... and God

          Loving your neighbor as Christ and not His Church is a fallacy. I am in the process of starting seminary in late August and, as such, I wanted to read my rector's book, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith. Father Barron has a tremendous way of explaining things so that even a "doubting Thomas" will believe what the Church believes. But as we all know, not many people, even Catholics, believe in what the Church believes. To me, as a young Catholic and a seminarian who has many friends who are "recovering Catholics," I find this painful. God gives Himself to us through Christ and the Sacraments so we do not need to stray too far from from Him. The Sacraments are like a tether that allow us to go into the world and bring the love of God to it. The thing is, though, many people just care about loving their neighbor and claim to love Christ, but do not love the Church. This cannot be done, as I will show you. Many of my recovering Catholic friends, though, do not understand this. My goal in this post is to show people how loving your neighbor as yourself and not loving Christ and His Church is a logical fallacy. 

          It is a corporal work of mercy to bring the love of Christ to a world that is in desperate need of His love. Groups associated with social action, such as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (hereafter referred to as "LCWR) is a good example. Some of the work these religious women do is admirable, like feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. This is a beautiful thing they are doing in the world and I commend them for it. But to love the poor and serve the hungry is simply not enough. Gerard Moore, a professor in Australia who has written widely on ecclesiology, says:

. . . . the church does not have a hierarchy, rather the church is a hierarchy. All members belong equally, no level can be understood apart from the other levels, all members have rights and duties one to the other within any levels and across any levels, and there can be no greater dignity or gift than Baptism [Gerard Moore, "Are We There Yet? Vatican II and the Renewal of the Liturgy: Reflections on the Fortieth Anniversary of the COnstitution of the Sacred Liturgy," Australian Catholic Record 81 (July 2004) 268.] 

The LCWR claims that the Church's hierarchy is attacking them because of their faithful call to reform. Whether or not their reform was faithful or fruitful is not the issue here. The issue is the LCWR is acting against the Church on many issues, namely: abortion, artificial birth control, women's ordination, and same-sex marriage. The members of the LCWR are placing the work with the hungry and poor ahead of their love for Christ, giving themselves totally to do His will. 

          How is this, though? How are the members of the LCWR placing the poor and hungry ahead of their love for Christ if they are serving the poor and hungry as if all of them are Christ? Simple: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart," and "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me," finally, "If anyone says, 'I love God', hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." Father Barron reminds us:

. . . . suffice it to say that the absolute love for God is not in competition with a radical commitment to love our fellow human beings, precisely because God is not one being among many, but the very ground of the existence of the finite world. Thomas Aquinas would state it this way: to love God is to love, necessarily, whatever participates in God, and this is to say the entire world (Robert Barron, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith, New York: Image Books, 2011, 55). 

So it is impossible to hate one person and love God at the same time, because God is love and is personified in His creation. My issue with Catholics who claim that living a "moral" life and loving Christ and not loving His Mystical Body, the Church, is a logical fallacy. As Moore reminds us, the Church does not have a hierarchy, it is a hierarchy. If you are a Catholic that says, "I don't need the male-dominated hierarchy to tell me what to do," you are essentially saying, "Even though I'm a part of this hierarchy by virtue of my Baptism, I'll willingly reject it if it does not conform to my feelings." 

          But being a Christian is not about what you feel. I many respects, it is not about how you feel at all. What matters about being a Christian is surrendering yourself, your whole being to Christ. You cannot say, "I surrender myself to Christ... but not the Church." The Church is Christ! Christ is the Church! The Church is Christ's Mystical Body on earth, His Bride. Just as a man and woman cannot break the bonds of marriage because they become one flesh, so is the man and woman's marriage bond a reflection of Christ with His Church. Christ reminds us of this when he told His Apostles that He would never leave them. Christ is always with His Church because He is the Church.

          To love God and not to love the Bride of His Son is a logical fallacy. How can one love someone but hate them at the same time? Hate is not in the Christian's lexicon of acceptable words. To be a Catholic Christian means that you accept the teachings of the Church as she believes them because it is Christ who is teaching these beliefs to us through His Spouse, the Church.

          This may seem like theo-babel, but this is only because the west has lost that sense of ourselves. Nothing to can understood in our culture anymore unless it is in black and white, written in big letters, and tossed in our faces. God does not work in this way; indeed, God has never worked in this way. God always reveals Himself through ordinary means so that we can grasp His presence. This is most clear in 1 Samuel 3:1-18. Samuel hears a whisper, calling him to get up from his sleep. God does this three times and, with the help of Eli, Samuel finally realizes it is God Who is speaking to him. The same is true of Jesus with His parables. Jesus never directly says, "I am the messiah! Come, and if you follow me, I'll lead you to my Father." Sorry, folks, that is not how God works. With the help of men and women, God speaks through them is silent ways to lead us to do His will. This is testified to in the lives of the martyr's, who gave of their whole selves to do the will of God on earth and lead others to profess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

          To love Christ and not to love His Church is a logical fallacy. Then again, you cannot just love your neighbor as yourself. You must love your neighbor as yourself as God loves you. To put it another way, because you are God's child, you must love your neighbor as yourself because he, like you, is also God's child. And to love God, Christ, is to love His Church. The Church is Christ and when we clothe or feed a homeless person, we are feeding Christ... and His Church. One cannot love Christ and not love the one who carries His message of love and repentance to the world.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Our Transformation into the Suffering Christ

In the Letter to the Hebrews, Saint Paul says,

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest that is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to grace for timely help (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Christ experienced pain and suffering on the Cross, our pain and suffering. When we are at Mass, we proclaim the Lord's death and resurrection until He comes again, and in this act of re-presenting the Sacrifice of Christ, we become Christ. We can understand the pain and sin that is in the world and bring this love to the world for which Christ died. In being transformed into Christ through our actual participation in the liturgical life of the Church, we can be Christ to the world and sympathize with people's suffering.

The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, or YOUCAT, says, “God gives himself to each one of us individually, and he wants to transform us through communion with him. Once we are transformed, we are supposed to transform the world” (YOUCAT, 217). There are times when some of us may think that God cannot save us because of our sins. Besides the fact that this is presuming God's mercy, it can also be incorrect. God wants us, He desires us. Just like the lost sheep that the Good Shepherd goes after, so does God go after us to lead us back to the assembly. God desires you so much that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be an expiation of all of our sins. Not only that, but every day throughout the world, Christ gives Himself freely to the Church through the Eucharist, His Body and Blood. Our participation in the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Mass, transforms us into Christ to be sent out into the world to proclaim His Good News. As the dismissal as Mass says, "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life." 

When we go out into the world as Christuli (little Christs), we not only bring the love of Christ to those who are downtrodden, but we also bring God's desire to redeem all of creation. This love for man that God has is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ, who is 100% God and 100% man. Some may say they cannot be saved because they do not anyone can save them, but God can save them. The only thing the Lord asks, in the words of Saint Paul, "Make room for us" (2 Corinthians 7:2). When we accept the ones who were sent by God, we accept God as well. We accept God because He became flesh, Jesus Christ. We accept Christ because He knows the pain and the anguish we suffer on earth. He wants us to be united with Him, He desires for us to be one with Him. We can because the Father sent Him to save us. 

God desires us so much that He made Christ share in our trials as humans. Though Christ did not sin and did not know sin, He became sin so all of us, man, woman, child, old, young, etc. could be reconciled to the Father. For when we accept Christ, we accept the one who sent Him: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him" (Matthew 11:27).

God understands our suffering because Christ endured this on the Cross. We become Christ and can share in His Sacrifice for sin when we actually participate in the liturgical life of the Church. Once transformed through the Church's sacred liturgy, we have the confidence to go out into the world and bring Christ and His love to a world that is in desperate need of it. God desires you, He wants you; that is why He sent His only Son to share in our afflictions. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Ecclesiola

All quotes are taken from, unless otherwise indicated.

Many Catholics today question why Church unity matters in light of recent cultural and political developments. Many people also say that the Church is against freedom of thought and and is inherently anti-intellectual. This post answers the question of why Church unity is important with respect to holding fast to timeless teachings as present to the local church community.

Modern historiography dictates that enforcement of Church beliefs began quite recently, around the 15th century. If the historians and historical theologians looked to the earliest writings of the Church, namely, the Church Fathers, they would see that Church unity was of grave concern even in the second century after Christ. Saint Cyprian of Carthage says in his Treatise on the Unity of the Church:

If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, I say unto you, that you are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. And again to the same He says, after His resurrectionFeed my sheep. And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, As the Father has sent me, even so send I you: Receive the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins you remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins you retain, they shall be retained; John 20:21 yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity. Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her. Song of Songs 6:9 Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, onebaptism, one God?  Ephesians 4:4 

Saint Cyprian clearly indicates that there is but one Lord and one Faith. This one Lord is Jesus Christ, sacramentally present to man as the Church... the Catholic Church. Just as Christ had no body, and every body has functions that work together in unison, so the Church is one body that works together. The inner-workings of the Church are compromised when one member holds ideas or teachings that are contrary to the proper functioning of the body. If someone had cancer, that cancer must be eradicated from the body for the body to work properly. Therefore, heretical ideas that compromise the health of the Church must be eradicated in order for the Church to function properly. 

Even Saint Paul, though not a Church Father, extrapolates on this point when he says: "For in one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free" (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Church is made up of individual members who work toward the same goal, union with God by following Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Many Christians today believe that the Church Fathers (and Saint Paul) spoke of a very loose unity, one in core dogmas and doctrines: Belief in one God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, one "Church," more as a collection of individuals not bound to anything except the aforementioned. 

Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who wrote several letters to local churches while he was being lead to his martyrdom. He says:

Wherefore, as children of light and truth, flee from division and wicked doctrines; but where the shepherd is, there follow as sheep. For there are many wolves that appear worthy of credit, who, by means of a pernicious pleasure, carry captive2 Timothy 3:6 those that are running towards God; but in your unity they shall have no place. 

The Church is made up of several individual members, but these members are of one mind, heart, and, most of all, baptism. This unity is personified in the person of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. The Church expresses this unity par excellence in her supreme act of public worship: The Celebration of the Eucharist. 

The celebration of the Eucharist, or as it is commonly known as, the Mass, is re-presentation of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross. The Mass does not crucify Christ over and over again; rather, the Mass makes present again Christ's love for man as He hung upon the Cross. This is testified to by the Greek word anamesis, a making present again. When the local church assembles and becomes and unites itself to the larger Church, the local church is an ecclesiola, a little Church. The local Body of Christ resembles the whole Body of Christ. This is made present in Ignatius' words when he says:

Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth] the unity of His blood; one altar; as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants: that so, whatsoever you do, you may do it according to [the will of] God.

Just as there is one body of Christ, so there is one Church with one set of teachings. Deviation from this one set of teachings mean the individual is separating himself from the larger Church, not just the ecclesiola

Not only is this teaching sacramentally present in the Church, but also in the Church's public worship. In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, also known as the "Tridentine Rite," this was symbolized when the subdeacon took the paten, the vessel holding the Sacred Host, and kept it wrapped in his humeral veil during the Eucharistic Prayer, or Canon. The meaning behind this ritual was that the subdeacon carried the "fermentum," or particles of the Body of Christ, to the local churches in Rome. This carrying of the fermentum to the local churches showed forth in a concrete way the unity of the local churches with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. 

In our modern times, Pope Pius XII wrote in Mystici Corporis that:

That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. "Christ," says the Apostle, "is the Head of the Body of the Church."If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: "Though many we are one body in Christ." But it is not enough that the Body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: "the Church is visible because she is a body. Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely "pneumatological" as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are untied by an invisible bond.

The Church makes unity present by her very being. If the Church was a collection of loose-fitting members who did not share in the beliefs of the her Savior, then there would be no Church. Just as a body cannot function properly without a limb, so the Body of Christ, if fractured, cannot function properly.

The local church community, the parish, is a reflection of the diocesan church, united with her bishop. The diocesan church is a reflection of the whole Church. Therefore, the parish makes present the entire Church in her belief system, and most of all, in her Eucharistic celebration. Fracturing this unity means compromising, not only the unity of the local church, but also the unity of the entire Church. Fracturing the entire Church means breaking up the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, His Bride. Church unity means adhering to teachings that have been handed-down from the Apostles, to the Church Fathers, to the bishops of the modern day. Christ gave authority to Peter and the other Apostles and therefore gave them the power to safeguard Church teaching. As Catholic Christians, we believe that the Body of Christ cannot be fractured. Let us go back to the teachings of the early Church, as they are the teachings of the Church in modern times. Maybe then we can all be one in Christ Jesus. 


Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Hermeneutic of Continuity and Mutual Enrichment

"Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way. The Council also desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances and needs of modern times."
             Sacrosanctum Concilium, 4

"For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal.  The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage.  The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal."
              Summorum Pontificum

The Second Vatican Council sought to make the sacred liturgy, namely the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, more perceptible to the members of Christ's Mystical Body, the Church. The norms laid down by the fathers of Vatican II succeeded in this respect, but subsequent instructions on the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium, hereafter referred to as SC) did not come to fruition. This is mainly due to many bishops, priests, and lay people who did not have a fundamental understanding of Vatican II implementing the principles of the documents of Vatican II, mainly SC, and interpreting them incorrectly, thus destroying and maiming the original meaning (and intention) of the council fathers and the documents. Because of this, many Catholics who felt disenchanted, or betrayed, by the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council either asked to keep the old liturgical rites (now known as the Extraordinary Form) or left the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church for schismatic societies like the Society of St. Pius X. These schismatic groups, though, often splinter amongst themselves and find no cohesion among their members except for their hatred of the Church's renewed liturgical rites.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote the papal document Summorum Pontificum, given motu proprio (of his own accord) stating that the members of the faithful who feel more attracted to, what he calls the Extraordinary Form, may do so without receiving any special dispensation. Pope Benedict liberalized the permissions necessary for Latin-rite priests to celebrate the "old liturgy" thus enabling them to minister to their flocks in a more pastorally-sensitive manner. Pope Benedict, though, makes it abundantly clear that the renewed liturgy from the Second Vatican Council, the Ordinary Form, is still the norm when celebrating the sacred mysteries of the Latin-rite. He says:

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal.  In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.  What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.  It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.  Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books.  The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness. (Summorum Pontificum)

The rites of the Extraordinary Form cannot replace the rites of the Ordinary Form and vice versa without doing harm to each. Pope Benedict reiterates the liturgy that was renewed after the Second Vatican Council is normative, saying:

In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities.  This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often.  Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful (Ibid.).

It would be extremely unpractical to return to an era of the Church where almost all of the liturgy was celebrated in Latin and the liturgy, in many ways, was cut off from the people.

This is not to say that the Extraordinary Form cannot be an avenue for liturgical renewal for the Ordinary Form. Pope Benedict speaks of mutual enrichment between both forms of the Roman Rite. Nowhere in Summorum Pontificum, though, does it speak of "mixing" the rites, i.e.: taking rubrical elements of one form and placing them in another. Pope Paul VI, who oversaw the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, says, "Consequently, absolutely no one else, not even a priest, can on his own initiative add or subtract or change anything in liturgical matters" (Sacram Liturgiam, XI). Pope Benedict never wished to undo his predecessor's work, or for that matter, an issue of Church and liturgical praxis. Some people after Vatican II including bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people, assumed Vatican II did away with liturgical rubrics. They often point to SC itself when trying to justify changing the liturgy to suit their personal desires.

Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.  

It must be mentioned, though, that this quote is slightly ambiguous, when citing who different groups of people are. This paragraph really means those in mission lands, i.e.: Asia, Africa, etc. This was not meant for a group of people in a parish who do not like patriarchal and hierarchical language in the liturgy.

But what does this have to do with our argument? Clearly, the liturgy is still being manipulated by a small group of liturgical "experts" who claim to have their finger on the pulse of the needs of the modern Church. Dare I say, this is hogwash. Many people have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Second Vatican Council because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what liturgy is. The liturgy is the sacred action of God, embodied in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, and carried out by the entire Church (priests and laity) for the glorification of God and the sanctification of the God's people. This is not to say that the laity do not need a priest to celebrate Mass, of course they do! But to deny the laity do not have a part in the liturgy when they offer themselves back to God in heaven would be offensive to man and Jesus Christ's Incarnation and Paschal Mystery. Even before the Second Vatican Council convened, Pope Pius XII wrote:

Moreover, the rites and prayers of the eucharistic sacrifice signify and show no less clearly that the oblation of the Victim is made by the priests in company with the people. For not only does the sacred minister, after the oblation of the bread and wine when he turns to the people, say the significant prayer: "Pray brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father Almighty;"[86] but also the prayers by which the divine Victim is offered to God are generally expressed in the plural number: and in these it is indicated more than once that the people also participate in this august sacrifice inasmuch as they offer the same. The following words, for example, are used: "For whom we offer, or who offer up to Thee . . . We therefore beseech thee, O Lord, to be appeased and to receive this offering of our bounded duty, as also of thy whole household. . . We thy servants, as also thy whole people . . . do offer unto thy most excellent majesty, of thine own gifts bestowed upon us, a pure victim, a holy victim, a spotless victim" (Mediator Dei, 87).

The liturgical theology that was prevalent before Vatican II is the same that came after Vatican II and is in force to this day; it is not different, though our explanation of the aforementioned may have matured.

How does all of this relate to the Hermeneutic of Continuity and Mutual Enrichment? The liturgy is something which was given by Christ to His Apostles and thus handed to down to the Church throughout the ages. The liturgy is not the prerogative of the Church, it is the prerogative of Christ that the Church safeguards and, if necessary, reforms and renews for the people to better give glory back to the Father. When the Church prays, it is Christ who is praying through the members of His Mystical Body, thus propitiating the Sacrifice of Christ as an everlasting re-presentation of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross. The liturgy cannot be tampered with by just anyone because tampering with the liturgy is tampering with the will of Christ. That is why the bishops meet together as descendants of the Apostles to makes changes in liturgical matters. 

Therefore, mixing the two forms of the Roman Rite cannot be done because each has its own set of rubrics which would conflict with the other. For example, in the Extraordinary Form, the priest holds his thumb and index finger together after he consecrates the Sacred Host, not separating them until the ablutions after communion. This rubric is nowhere to be found in the revised liturgical rites of Vatican II because it betrays Vatican II's call for "noble simplicity" (Cf. SC, 34). This accretion, which can only be traced back to the Carolingian liturgical reforms of the tenth century, encumber the noble beauty and simplicity of the Vatican II liturgical reforms. The same is true when after the Fraction Rite the priest does not make a sign of the Cross with the Particle over the chalice before the places said Particle in said chalice. Again, before the priest communicates himself, he does not make the sign of the Cross with the Host or Chalice before he receives the Body and Blood of Christ. This does not belong in the Ordinary Form and must stay in the Extraordinary Form to ensure that mixing of forms does not occur.

One of my professors in graduate school once said something to the effect of, "The shirt and tie priest is just as bad as the biretta and maniple priest." What he meant was, changing the liturgy to fit your needs and not submitting to the request of the Church to be humble in liturgical matters, is not just found among priests who wish to celebrate Mass on a coffee table with white bread and Arbor Mist; it is also found among priests who think they know better than the Church and add elements of the Extraordinary Form to the Ordinary Form for the sake of a false "liturgical piety."

The Church asks her members, both clerical and lay, to follow the norms laid down by the Church in her liturgical life. These norms, which now have two expressions in the Roman Rite, the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms, are meant to mutually enrich each other, thus enriching the members of the Church who follow one or both. This mutual enrichment, though, does not mean mixing elements of one form into another; this is clearly stated by past popes and Canon Law itself. In order for the members of the Church to be sanctified through the liturgical life of the Church, they first need to be formed properly in either one form or both. This will lead to the glorification of God and the sanctification of the individual. Only then can there be a better appreciation of a Hermeneutic of Continuity in the Church, whereby both rites are seen as two expressions of one timeless liturgy. 

N.B.: I recently graduated with my M.A. in Liturgical Studies. Thank you for all of the support, well-wishes, and prayers. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Church and the LCWR

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
         Romans 12:4-5

"For we, being many, are one bread, on body: all that partake of one bread."        1 Corinthians 10:7

With the recent decision of the Holy See to evaluate the differing positions of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), there has been much uproar about how the male-dominated Church hierarchy is oppressing the women religious in the United States. This is not what the Church (or, if you prefer, the hierarchy) is doing, though. 

First off, let us examine the word "Hierarchy." Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a 6th century theologian, wrote in his Ecclesiastical Hierarchy that a "hierarchy" is a revelation of something holy. In English, hierarchy is typically translated as something that is overbearing and limiting free thought. This is not what a hierarchy is.

In the Bible, Saint Paul appoints elders, or overseers (bishops), in each town he visited (Titus 1:5). When Christ gave authority to His Apostles (Matthew 16:18-19, Matthew 28:18, John 20:21), He gave them authority in His name to spread the gospel. One way the Apostles chose to do this was to established a "hierarchy" in places where the Apostles could not stay, appointing men to lead the Church in local communities. 

There is some controversy as to whether Christ picked women or not to be His immediate Apostles. There is no biblical evidence to suggest that He ever did pick women to be His Apostles. Therefore, Christ gave His power to twelve men who in turn gave that power to other men, who gave it other men, these men being the bishops of the early Church. The bishops of today are the descendants of those bishops who were ordained by the original Twelve Apostles. 

Part of this apostolic succession is safeguarding the beliefs of the Church, no matter what age the Church is in. Now, the LCWR, for all of the good that they do, hold beliefs contrary to Catholic teaching, for example: Supporting the ordination of women, giving money to pro-choice endeavors, and promoting social justice concerns at the expense of core Catholic beliefs. 

This may not be a fair assessment of the LCWR as I am a man, but this is what most people see when looking at the LCWR. If the original Twelve Apostles gave Christ's power to a certain group of men to protect the faith handed down from Christ, shouldn't the bishops of the Church today safeguard the beliefs of the Church? Especially protecting the members of the Church from heretical teachings held by canonically-sanctioned organizations?

With the average age of the members of the LCWR being 60, newer congregations of women religious who abide by the teachings of the Church, their numbers are growing. One order, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, their average age is 26. The youth of the Church today want to return to a Church where the timeless teachings of Christ are upheld and promoted. There is even a rise in the number of priests in the United States precisely because of this recatholization of our Catholic culture.

The hierarchy of the Church "going after" the LCWR is not a movement motivated by a personal vendetta or an excuse to exterminate liberals, it is the Church coming to the aid of a dying organization, trying to address problems that are plaguing the Church in the U.S. Let us pray for Archbishop Sartain, Bishop Paprocki and Blair, and the members of the LCWR to accept the will of Christ in their lives. For the will of Christ is the will of His Church, His Mystical Body. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ

Every Christian is called to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, even Catholics. Though the phrase "personal relationship" may seem like a Protestant term, it is perfectly apt for Catholics as well. Dietrich Von Hildebrand, a twentieth century Catholic theologian (who was a Protestant), describes a personal relationship with Christ as an emptying of oneself to Christ, allowing Christ to impart grace to the person so the person may be transformed in Christ. One way for a person to encounter Christ and develop a personal relationship with Christ is through that person's active participation in the liturgy.

Father Jean Corbon, a French Dominican friar, says that Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross was a kenosis, or an emptying of Himself. Christ emptied Himself to His Father, thus enabling Him to maintain a relationship with His Father. All Christians are called to this kenosis. Submitting yourself to God is an act which is not full of pride; rather, it is a very humbling experience. Just as Christ went to the Cross in obedience to His Father's will, so too must the Christian empty himself to the Father and humbly accept God's will in his life. Man comes to know this kenosis through his active participation in the liturgical life of the Church.

The liturgy is not the work of the people. The liturgy is God's work and man responds to this by carrying out the actions of the liturgy, both the priest and laity. The liturgical life of the Church teaches man to submit his whole self to Christ. In baptism, the person being baptized dies to himself and puts on Christ. Saint Basil the Great, the third century bishop from the East, says that man dies to himself and this is symbolized in the immersion in the Holy Water fount. Man is buried with Christ so man can rise with Christ to new life. But this death is not a physical death, it is death of a former way of life to begin a new life, a new life in Christ.

The liturgy, even at baptism, teach man that his first obedience is to God. Obedience to God, though, is an act of the free will; God does not demand obedience from His creation, rather, He gives man the option of emptying himself. The liturgy allows man to learn from his Savior's example to render his whole self to God. In the Sacrifice of the Mass, man joins his sacrifice to Christ's through the sacramentization of the priest's sacrifice. For the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrifice of the Cross are one sacrifice; it is only logical then that man unites the sacrifice of himself to Christ's Sacrifice carried out through his active participation in the liturgy.

Man is called to cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Just as Christ surrendered Himself to His Father, so too does man surrender himself freely to the Father. By imitating Christ, man strengthens his relationship to Christ and becomes Christ through being Christ. Active participation in the liturgical life of the Church shows man how man can surrender himself to the Father. Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross is re-presented in Mass and man unites his sacrifice with Christ's once and for all Sacrifice. Man becomes Christ when he learns how to imitate Christ in the liturgy.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review: "Keep the Fire Burning" by Ken Canedo

Ken Canedo, Keep the Fire Burning: The Folk Mass Revolution
(Portland, OR: Pastoral Press, 2009).

            In his book Keep the First Burning: The Folk Mass Revolution author and musician Ken Canedo sets out to explain the development and eventual explosion of folk music in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church shortly after the end of the Second Vatican Council. His book is well-written for a non-historian and presents a view of the folk Mass “revolution” that is conscious of various social and political developments happening in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. Though this book is historically well-written, it lacks the fundamental theological understanding of Catholic liturgy and the musical treasure house of the Catholic Church. For a relatively short book, Canedo succeeds in communicating the social atmosphere of the United States and how these influences affected the Catholic Church in the 1960s and 1970s.
            The book is divided into thirteen chapters, ranging from the origins of folk music in Catholic liturgy, to the encouragement of popular figures of the Liturgical Movement who supported this enterprise, and personal reflections of those who were and are still involved in promoting this style of music in the Mass. One of Canedo’s strong points in his book is his meticulous study of primary sources, like the liturgical studies journal Orate Fratres, letters from United States President John F. Kennedy to Pope John XXIII, the pope who summoned the Second Vatican Council, and a plethora of newspaper articles from the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to printed resources, Canedo went the extra step and conducted interviews with those involved in the folk Mass movement, like Ray Repp, Dennis Fitzpatrick, and Father Clarence Rivers. Though these names may seem foreign to most readers, these people were some of the most influential in bringing the folk Mass into the mainstream of Catholic worship.
            Canedo begins his study by tracing the roots of the folk Mass movement in the liturgical awareness of Dennis Fitzpatrick, a liturgical musician. Fitzpatrick, a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, was working at the time for Monsignor Reynold Hillenbrand at Sacred Heart Church in modern-day Waukegan, Illinois. Hillenbrand is best known for his work in the Liturgical Movement, not only as a liturgical pioneer, but also as one who promoted social justice. Hillenbrand allowed Fitzpatrick and Fitzpatrick’s business partner Roger Nachtwey to translate Latin Mass propers and hymns into English for the children in the parish. This venture eventually turned into Fitzpatrick and Nachtwey recording the Demonstration English Mass that would be influential in bringing the vernacular to the Mass (15-16).
            Canedo then focuses on Ray Repp, who was a seminarian at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri in the 1960s. Repp was a volunteer for the Catholic Extension Society when he asked a priest in Chicago if he could play guitar and use music that he wrote for a Mass. This Mass, which was part of the training program for the volunteers of the Extension Society, was filled with young people singing “at the top of their lungs” (42). At the end of the training program for the volunteers in Chicago, many of the young people asked Repp for a compilation of his songs so they could remember their time in training in Chicago. Because of this compilation of songs, they spread throughout the country and eventually caught the attention of Fitzpatrick and Nachtwey who wanted Repp to do a record for them (47).
            After Fitzpatrick and Nachtwey recorded Repp and his folk music, Fitzpatrick and Nachtwey put together a hymnal of English Mass propers, though Repp’s music did not make an appearance in the hymnal. Fitzpatrick and Nachtwey’s hymnal, English Liturgy Hymnal, was selling poorly against the World Library of Sacred Music’s People’s Mass Book because of its preference for hymn substitution (49). Once Fitzpatrick and Nachtwey heard Repp’s music, they decided to publish it. Though Fitzpatrick admitted that he really did not have a particular interest in folk music in the Mass, he felt it was the right move seeing how that tide in music in Catholic worship was moving (51). Though this decision was born of an act of rebellion.
            Canedo sets this personal story of triumph in the broader context of what was happening in the Catholic Church in the 1960s and 1970s. Many Catholic dioceses throughout the United States banned the use of folk music in the liturgy, though not all of them did. One diocese that flatly banned the use of folk Music was the Archdiocese of San Francisco, where some dioceses like the Archdiocese of Detroit allowed folk music, though in a limited capacity so long as the music was biblical and not based on secular music, as was the custom with folk music. Fitzpatrick reflects on this time in the Church. “And then I heard that young people who wanted to worship with that kind of material were being forbidden to do it. When I heard that I really got annoyed. . . . But what really did it for me was when I heard these kids had their music taken away and told that they couldn’t worship this way. That, on top of the Church trying to control me, and my ongoing irritation with the hierarchy for five years by that time – that was enough. To hell with the imprimatur” (51). This is what Canedo calls a revolutionary act.
            Revolutionary denotes a sudden turning away from an established norm. In this case, the folk Mass “revolution” was not so much about the Church not allowing the use of this genre of music in the liturgy, but the “grassroots” movement that brought this type of music into the mainstream. It was essentially born of an act of rebellion on the part of younger people and those who supported them. Canedo, in many respects, rewards this type of behavior as a small segment of the Church who overcame a powerful foe, the Church hierarchy. This is the fundamental problem with Canedo’s book; it is a story of defiance in the face of the Church. This book is a story of the men and women who, influenced by their cultural surroundings, would not take “no” for an answer. Though the book is relatively excellent in the areas of history and sociology, Canedo lacks the understanding of what the Church is and what the liturgy is. This is seen clearly when he says “Meanwhile, half a world away, a dedicated group of lay people was conspiring to influence the direction of the Council’s discussion on the liturgy” (27, emphasis added).
            Canedo says that the purpose of the Church’s liturgy in the glorification of God and the sanctification of man. This is certainly true, however, Canedo fails to realize that the Church and her liturgy are handed down from Jesus Christ to the Apostles and then given to the Church. Liturgy is given to the Church to be safeguarded, not manipulated on a whim. This is certainly true of what Vatican II wished to do. The fathers of the Second Vatican Council wished to renew the liturgical life of the Church in the modern day by looking through the Church’s tradition to see what was essential and what were needless accretions throughout her history. Canedo fails to understand this point and assumes that Vatican II wanted to revolutionize the liturgy and make it more people-centric, more in line with Protestant theology. Canedo assumes that the Church wanted to make herself more perceptible to people in the modern age. While this is true in a sense, he underestimates the laity and their capacity to learn the Church’s will after Vatican II.
            This is seen in some of Canedo’s writing. For example, he says that “The legacy of Vatican II is found in the Council’s documents, remarkable gems unfortunately written in a technical jargon understood only by professional ecclesiastics” (24). Yes, some of the council’s documents do make use of “technical jargon,” but the Church felt that by bringing herself into the modern world the laity would be better able to understand certain teachings, like the liturgy as a foretaste of the heavenly Jerusalem. Though this would have taken some work on the part of pastors and catechists, the whole message of Vatican II was misinterpreted by those who claimed they were working for the advancement of the principles of the Second Vatican Council.
            Another example of Canedo not giving the laity their due is when he says “In preparing for the documents on the liturgy, the theologians drew on the efforts of liturgical reform and experimentation that, although unknown to most Catholics, had begun decades before the Council’s opening session” (25, emphasis added). While the Liturgical Movement was not a world-wide movement that was popular everywhere, the Movement was widespread enough through the efforts of people like Virgil Michel and Reynold Hillenbrand that the laity knew the changes that had happened. Another misinterpretation made by Canedo is a minor thing, but one that has detrimental implications. He regularly uses the term “American Catholic Church” or “American Catholics.” On the surface, this may not seen like a major problem, but the term implicitly cuts the Catholic Church in America off from the rest of the Church, assuming that Catholicism in America is its own entity. This he repeats when he says, “That faraway Council in Rome was now coming home to the people in the pews” (35).
            The biggest problem with Canedo’s book, though, is his lack of understanding of what sacred music is. This is a direct correlation with his misunderstanding of what liturgy is, as has already been mentioned. Something sacred is something that is placed aside for a special use. Sacred music, in this case, is something that is placed aside for a very special purpose; this purpose is the worship of almighty God. Canedo has a problem setting aside certain types of music that are in essence different from what one might hear on the radio on the way to Mass on Sunday. Although he himself admits that he was greatly influenced to become a pastoral musician because of the folk Mass “revolution,” he presents a biased study on the nature of music in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church.
            Canedo, as do many of the people he chronicles, do not look to the Church’s treasure-trove of sacred music to reinvigorate the Church in the modern age. He makes use of the word made popular by Pope John XXIII, aggiornamento, Italian for “bringing up to date” (23). Although some would consider Vatican II bringing the liturgy and music “up to date” with the times, this was not the intention of the Council Fathers. This aggiornamento was supposed to be a renewal within tradition. This is certainly the case with the Church’s musical traditions. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) and the Instruction on Music in the Liturgy (Musicam Sacram) make it clear that Gregorian chant holds pride of place in the Church’s musical heritage, all other forms of music being equal (SC 114, 116; MS 50). Though Sacrosanctum Concilium and Musicam Sacram do not forbid the use of modern forms of music in the renewed liturgy, these modern forms of music must be influenced by the Church’s musical heritage.
            Canedo does not take this point into consideration when he extols the virtues of the folk music in the Mass. He regularly speaks of the music of the Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger, and Elvis Presley influencing the musical climate of the United States in the 1960s and 1970s and how their influence came into the Catholic Church. This folk music, though, had a political agenda behind it. Canedo says that folk music had a way to influence people and unite themselves in the causes which they worked tirelessly for, and that it is a great way for people to participate and entertain themselves (17). While more people were coming to Mass in this decade, claims Canedo, because of the folk Mass, the underlying reason was the sense of rebellion. As Canedo says, “In the 1960s, did anybody really care about disobedience?” (66).
            This disobedience, though, goes against the Church because Canedo, who fully advocates folk music in the Mass, disregards the essential elements of the quality of music in Catholic worship. Some of these qualities are being able to manifest the hierarchical and communal nature of the Church (Musicam Sacram, 5, 13, 14), using any kind of music so long as the spirit of the liturgy is kept intact (Ibid., 9), and some sense of “professional” singers. Folk music is an art that requires little to no training on the part of the choir, musically or theologically. The folk Mass does not fulfill these qualities in the fullest sense because folk music is the music of community, not hierarchy, and it is used for political motivations, and betrays the essential headship of Christ that the priest symbolizes in the Mass. Canedo makes it quite clear as well that everyone could sing folk music. Even though it is a beautiful idea for the whole congregation to sing together, even the least-trained of musicians can just pick up a guitar and start playing. In paragraph 21 of Musicam Sacram, the Church indicates that when possible, professional singers are preferred when a choir cannot be set up. These folk choirs also tend not to be trained sufficiently in the theology of the liturgy because folk music in essence betrays the hierarchical nature of the liturgy by being an instrument for political motivations. The liturgy is not the forum for political advancement.
            Overall, Canedo does a fine job of explaining the folk Mass “revolution” from historical, sociological, and cultural perspectives. I recommend this book with two cautions, though. First, Canedo, as he himself admits, grew up with folk music in the Mass and that inspired him to become a pastoral musician. It is good on his part that he admits this bias, but he seems to have written a hagiography of people like Roger Nachtwey, Dennis Fitzpatrick, and Ray Repp, not an objective, scholarly book. This “hagiographizing” of the movers and shakers in the folk Mass “revolution” canonizes descent in the Church among the people, as Fitzpatrick admitted, “To hell with the imprimatur!” Second, Canedo does not fully understand the essential qualities of music and the nature of the liturgy. For him, liturgy is something done by the people for the people, not something done by the people, with God acting through them, for the glory of almighty God. It is true that the liturgy is for the glorification of God and the sanctification of man, but Canedo admits that folk music in the Mass had an entertainment quality for the people (17). With these two cautions in mind, this book should be on the shelf of any musician, liturgist, or cultural historian.