Matt C. Abbott
February 26, 2014
Pope Francis and the post-Vatican II liturgical 'nakedness'; Michigan abortionist facing charges
By Matt C. Abbott

From Catholic World News:
    Pope Francis has issued a message on the occasion of a symposium devoted to the 50th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy....

    Pope Francis said that the constitution and the post-conciliar Magisterium 'have made us better understand the liturgy in light of divine revelation' and said that Christ is the protagonist of every liturgical celebration...
As many Catholics are probably aware (to varying degrees), views differ sharply on the efficacy of the council's liturgical reforms and what Pope Francis has said about those reforms.

Father Bernard Danber, O.S.A., wrote in an email:
    It is hard for me to be enthusiastic about the pope's comments. The renewal of liturgical life he talks about definitely changed things from before Vatican II. However, Sunday Mass attendance has gone from about 75 percent of Catholics to about 25 percent on a weekly basis. I wonder if anybody would claim that as a success?

    After learning how to celebrate the Byzantine Divine Liturgy and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, I have found that both of these ways of celebrating the Eucharist are better for me.

    The rich expectations and promises for the changes in the Mass in the 1970s have not been fulfilled. It would be good for the pope, bishops, and liturgists to remember the story of the Emperor's New Clothes. For many of us, the nakedness of the Ordinary Form in many churches is obscene.
Dr. Jeffrey Mirus of CatholicCulture.org has a different take. He wrote (excerpted; click here to read his full commentary):
    I was very happy to see Pope Francis insist on a renewed commitment to the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium). The history of the late 20th century liturgical renewal involved several steps backward in practice, and it has taken some time for the genius of what the council prescribed to become evident, and for it to triumph over both personal agendas and the pervasive secularism of our culture. In the meantime, we have all experienced, at one time or another, a measure of alienation and disunity....

    In any case, older readers will recall that by the 20th century, Latin was little used outside the Church, a good deal of repetition and somewhat extraneous addition had over the centuries crept into the Tridentine Mass (now the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite), only a relatively small part of Scripture was represented in the lectionary, and the feasts celebrated in the liturgical calendar were significantly out of date (including some saints about whom we really do not know anything, and emphasizing older and less culturally relevant saints over newer ones who had lived under circumstances more similar to our own).

    But perhaps the biggest need for renewal in the liturgy was that the older rite tended to foster a 'professional' attitude toward the Mass, symptomatic of the highly stratified culture in which it was developed, as if it were a rather solitary priestly work instead of the action of the whole community joined together in Christ to offer anew the sacred mysteries through the agency of the priest. The Second Vatican Council did a superb job of placing the action of the liturgy at the heart of the whole Church, as both the source and summit of the Christian life....
Both Father Danber and Dr. Mirus are within the realm of orthodoxy on matters Catholic, but I think it's safe to say that they don't agree on the efficacy of the New Mass.

Interestingly (well, slightly so, at least), even actor and comedian Jimmy Fallon, a fallen-away Catholic, has expressed, in his own comedic way, a great affection for the Mass celebrated in a solemn manner:
    I'm doing too much. I don't want – there's Frisbees being thrown, there's beach balls going around, people waving lighters, and I go, 'This is too much for me.' I want the old way. I want to hang out with the, you know, with the nuns, you know, that was my favorite type of Mass, and the grotto, and just like straight up, just Mass Mass. (Source)
I know where he's coming from. I attend both the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form (I can almost hear the grumblings of my traditionalist readers who think I should be attending only the Traditional Mass). Still, I can't stand how the Ordinary Form is "celebrated" in so many parishes – which, by the way, look more like modern office buildings than churches.



From Monica Migliorino Miller's Citizens for a Pro-Life Society:
    Michigan abortionist Robert Alexander's troubled past appears to have finally caught up with him. The Michigan attorney general has filed charges against him for incompetency and negligence in his 'house of horrors' Muskegon abortion mill.

    However, it is tragic and a miscarriage of justice that back in 2006 – eight years ago – CPLS collected evidence that demonstrated Alexander was a dangerous and unethical medical practitioner. We filed allegations with the Michigan Bureau of Health Professions, backed up by 18 affidavits, photos and video.

    What happened? Dr. George Shade was then the sole reviewer of allegations for the department and had a history of protecting Alexander. He completely blew us off, accusing CPLS of a campaign to smear a good doctor who was performing abortions according to his own conscience and within the law.

    If our allegations had been taken seriously eight years ago, his Muskegon 'house of horrors' would have been shut down a lot sooner, and the botched abortions performed by Alexander avoided altogether.

    Thank God that through the Michigan attorney general's office something may finally be done to get Alexander out of the medical profession once and for all. But an investigation of this total bottom-of-the-barrel 'doctor' could have and should have been conducted, and his license pulled, years ago.
© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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