Liturgy Nope no liturgical abuses here, move right along by Jeffrey Miller August 5, 2005 written by Jeffrey Miller August 5, 2005 As L.A. Catholic says about this photo with Archbishop Levada and Cardinal Mahony. "It’s a good thing that there are no liturgical abuses in L.A." I just want to know where they got that chalice from? Being L.A. perhaps it is a leftover from the set of Barbarella or some SF epic. 68 comments 0 FacebookTwitterGoogle +Pinterest Jeffrey Miller previous post Our watered-down Catholic Faith next post Good luck on the growth within you You may also like Vigil of the Rant April 30, 2008 The Recovery of the Sacred July 1, 2007 And also with you And with your spirit June 15, 2006 Thousands flock to shrine despite storms and mud April 25, 2006 La La Land Liturgies May 3, 2003 The Reason for the Season December 18, 2014 Our Lady of the Victorious Rosary October 7, 2021 I have a suggestion January 10, 2008 Christ the Light Cathedral December 9, 2003 Sacred Silence May 23, 2016 68 comments Colleen August 8, 2005 - 12:52 pm Lack of charity? Merely an observation: the norms of the Church decided long ago (for valid reasons) is that the chalices s/b of precious metals and it makes me sad and I wonder why some princes of the Church ignore the norms. Don’t care which prince of the Church is abusing the norms. Makes me wonder why we have norms, makes me wonder if it’s ok to ignore what we disagree with makes me wonder what’s ok to ignore and what has to be followed. Makes me wonder if what is ok for the princes is ok for the priests and is ok for the laity. Makes me wonder why the Church has norms at all. Makes me wonder if norms are negotiable. Reply Jeff August 8, 2005 - 1:30 pm Todd: Thanks for the good humor of your reply. The reason why I didn’t ask about your view of women’s ordination is that you appeared to say it was a straw man and unrelated to the discussion at hand and therefore you wouldn’t respond. I was saying that I didn’t think ANY question of faith was unrelated. A discussion among Catholics about their liturgy is one thing. A discussion among people who call themselves Catholics is another. I might have a conversation with Hans Kung about how to say Mass and it might have some interesting twists and turns. But it wouldn’t be a discussion among Catholics. However, if I have misundestood your silence on women’s ordination, I apologize. So now I’m formally asking: Do you accept the teaching or not? Yes, even a non-Catholic can raise the question: isn’t all this nitpicking and savaging people over small rules an example of a lack of charity? My answer is, Maybe, but So what? Look, suppose some neighbors were going into an old lady’s garden and taking her plants. Suppose she finally asked them to keep off her property. But they continued to torment her, picking flowers here and there, rooting up dirt, tossing garbage in the beds. Isn’t she entitled to be upset? Don’t we have to give her a pass if she sometimes loses it? How can we be justified in complaining about a lack of charity on her part, even if there is one? It doesn’t behoove us to do so. Let’s suppose the man Joseph Ratzinger is right about faith and liturgy. Catholics then are supposed to find their liturgy respected and treated with care and respect by those who are charged with administering it. Those who administer it ought to be careful to avoid scandal. If they make use of some ambiguity in the rules to achieve some end that they regard as noble, they ought to have a decent regard for the sensibilities of everyone. They ought to recognize the fact that Catholics are frustrated and angry about liturgical abuse in a general way and for a very good reason. It seems to me that the rule of charity here applies first to Cardinal Mahoney. I would suggest that the rules at least SEEM to say that he shouldn’t be using glass and caraffes. He ought to recognize that. Even if there is some way to claim that those rules don’t apply, he ought to shy away from even SEEMING to disregard the rules. If he really thinks its necessary to use these things, he should understand that some will be scandalized and take the time and trouble to respond to letters from the faithful with a careful explanation–maybe even publishing something on his archdiocesan website about it. I think a bishop is owed great deference and respect and I don’t publicly rake him over the coals for any of this. But your idea that bishops have a general right to set the rules for their dioceses and that the faithful don’t have the right to expect them to comply with general liturgical law is wrong. Bishops too are bound by the universal regulations of the Church. They can’t break laws and get a pass because they are bishops. The situation recognized by documents from Rome on the liturgy and by private writings of those now in charge is clear. There has been widespread abuse of the faithful in the way the liturgy has been administered. Bishops have not done enough to ensure regular liturgical practice. Some have even promoted liturgical anarchy. Since Rome has recognized that situation, the faithful need not shy away from recognizing it themselves. And if they occasionally make a mistake, like thinking that a rule saying “Don’t use glass” means “Don’t use glass”, then that perfectly understandable mistake ought to be explained to them respectfully. So: is there a lack of charity and decent respect for those who complain about the Cardinal? Yes, perhaps. But it is insignificant compared with the lack of charity coming from the other side. Catholics have been goaded and treated with derision for years by those in power. Rome allows considerable freedom in the celebration of the Mass, but it draws some lines. Why shouldn’t those concerned with the principles of dignity and reverence in the liturgy be able to demand that those lines be respected? Reply Joe Oliveri August 8, 2005 - 1:36 pm Spot-on, Colleen. Unfortunately, the way things work now in the post-Concilar age, where every liturgical norm may be mitigated (or ignored) by the “competent authority” — read, the local Ordinary — we’re going to have to face the fact that norms mean little if anything because they cannot be enforced. It’s a depressing exercise, but consider how many liturgical abuses would become “exceptions” to be granted only in “limited circumstances,” and then would go on inevitably to become the norm. All-vernacular liturgies? Check. Communion in the hand? Check. Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist? Check. Laypeople giving sermons? We’re not quite there yet, but wait for it. In any event, regarding (what used to be called) liturgical plate, most of the arguments I’ve heard in favor of crystal, stoneware, etc., at some point boil down to “De gustibus non disputandum.” Who am I to determine what’s noble material? And anyway, isn’t that up to the bishop to decide? and so on. How sad that so much of our “noble” eucharistic vessels can be replaced with cheaper knock-offs from Pier 1 Imports. Would anyone even notice at this point? Gold Dot Swirl Decanter: $10 Kava Stemware: $2 And just to show we’re multi-cultural around here, how about a nice corporal? (It’s labelled a “Chindi wine rug”: $6.) I just saved a bunch of money on my liturgical consultation! Joe Reply Br. Clare-Vincent August 8, 2005 - 1:53 pm Joe, Excellent post from St. Francis on his love and respect for the eucharist. I was going to post that next (last night) but had other things to do. So, you beat me to it. Thanks. Dad29, if you read St. Francis as saying that we should respect priests when they are living and doing what is right and not also when they are living and doing what is wrong, then you have misread him. He’s pretty clear about it. Those who have been ordained deserve our respect. In fact, he felt that this was the way to win them to a holy life if they were not living as they should. To me, the saint strikes a pretty healthy balance. On the one hand, we should unconditionally love and respect the clergy. Praying for them is much more effective than criticizing them. It’s not only better for them but also for us. Prayer for others is much better for my own spiritual growth than is criticism, especially when that criticism comes in the form of making fun of them. On the other hand, we should show the utmost respect for the eucharist and for the teachings and directions of the Church. St. Francis taught unconditional obedience to the pope. Thus, I think that all of us who are concerned about liturgical abuses should continue to show respect for the eucharist and the teachings of the Church. But we need to be careful about criticizing the clergy, if only for the reason that it does something within my heart that is counterproductive to my own spiritual growth. That is not to say that pointing out errors is inappropriate. But we need to do it with care. I believe that all of us who have posted here are striving to do what is right so please don’t take anything that I have written as a criticism. I just felt that St. Francis might have an instructive, encouraging word. Blessings. Reply Petra August 8, 2005 - 2:52 pm Br Clare-Vincent, you write: But we need to be careful about criticizing the clergy, if only for the reason that it does something within my heart that is counterproductive to my own spiritual growth. Well, St Catherine of Siena apparently didn’t think so. When princes of the Church were in heresy, she told them quite harshly (in this case, to three Cardinals who didn’t recognize Urban VI as rightful pope): You have divided you from the truth which strengthens us, and drawn close to falsehood, which weakens soul and body, depriving you of temporal and spiritual grace. What made you do this? The poison of self-love, which has infected the world. That is what has made you pillars lighter than straw. Flowers you who shed no perfume, but stench that makes the whole world reek! No lights you placed in a candlestick, that you might spread the faith; but, having hidden your light under the bushel of pride, and become not extenders, but contaminators of the faith, you shed darkness over yourselves and others. You should have been angels on earth, placed to release us from the devils of hell, and performing the office of angels, by bringing back the sheep into the obedience of Holy Church, and you have taken the office of devils. That evil which you have in yourselves you wish to infect us with, withdrawing us from obedience to Christ on earth, and leading us into obedience to antichrist, a member of the devil, as you are too, so long as you shall abide in this heresy. Reply Paul August 8, 2005 - 3:33 pm I honestly don’t know where you guys learn all this stuff. I want a valid liturgy, but the more I learn about what actually comprises that, the more shortcomings I see when I attend mass, and the more distracted and depressed I get at mass. Bad enough that I get distracted when I hear gender-neutral language (“May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of God’s [vis his] name, for our good, and the good of all God’s [vis his] Church.”) and that intimidating battalion of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. But the more hear about these abuses, the more I fear a flawed mass will become an invalid one. Is there nothing to be done? Reply L August 8, 2005 - 4:25 pm What I can’t stand is when people emphasize the word “God [vis his]” just to make a point to all those around them. And it’s always the greying old women too.. Reply Paul August 8, 2005 - 4:28 pm But L, I sometimes catch it coming over the loudspeaker, from the priest’s clip-on microphone. It makes me twitch; I don’t like to twitch at mass. I’m not looking to be offended there, I want to worship. Reply Br. Clare-Vincent August 8, 2005 - 5:13 pm Petra, St. Francis taught absolute and total obedience to the pope so it’s not a question of whether or not we will follow a bishop (or cardinal) who is a heretic. We cannot do this. But the question for me is: can you rebuke others in a way that doesn’t cause you to lose your own soul in the process? A person had better think and pray hard and long before they willy-nilly answer that in the affirmative. I think that the constant criticism of others is one of Satan’s favorite traps. I become blinded to what it does to me, especially when the criticism is well deserved. Perhaps your heart is so pure that, like St. Catherine of Siena, you can criticize others and become a saint in spite of it. I just don’t think that most of us can do that. Blessings. Reply L August 8, 2005 - 5:39 pm I think Scott Hahn wrote something in “The Lamb’s Supper” about being able to love those around you at mass who might not be on the ball, who might be participating in liturgical abuse, etc…we should be able to love them all, but I think it’s still fine to hate the abuse and even to make fun of it. Hate the sin and love the sinner. There it is again. Satan challenges us by putting these distractions in our mass. We are right to point them out. Reply Todd August 8, 2005 - 5:42 pm Hi Jeff. I think this post ends my staying power on this thread. I too appreciate your attempt to engage the discussion. My cautions about your last post include what I believe is a fallacious notion: the strong implication that virtue, the personal adherence to it, that is, defines a Catholic. If we took the logical consequence of your point, a person who persisted in any serious sin, not just an ideological one, would not be a Catholic. That just doesn’t seem logical. Would St Paul fail because of his thorn? Do addicts miss muster if they fall off the wagon on their way to sobriety? The truth of it is, you don’t determine Catholicism. And lacking a heresy trial, neither does anyone else no matter how much it might seem the person isn’t living the Catholic faith. I reject your distinction about discussions with Catholics, non-Catholics, or those who deem not to be Catholics. Ideas are ideas. Catholics serious about engaging the world can’t run to their mother’s skirts every time the discussion gets a little rough and tumble. And a person who takes the shots he does with humor, certainly isn’t in the position to disengage conversations about non-Catholic items he might have started. “So now I’m formally asking: Do you accept the teaching or not?” I accept the teaching, but not for the reasons given in OS and the dubia published since. “Catholics then are supposed to find their liturgy respected and treated with care and respect by those who are charged with administering it.” Agreed. But we don’t always agree on the source of all disrespect. I’ve thought the CDWDS is part of the problem as it has been constituted the past several years. “They ought to recognize the fact that Catholics are frustrated and angry about liturgical abuse in a general way and for a very good reason.” A small minority of Catholics feels this way. More Catholics are concerned about a handful of other issues. That’s not to say that liturgy isn’t deserving of better efforts from everyone, but people in the average parish are not as upset as you seem to think. I believe we’d be better off improving liturgy in most places by giving leaders and people something inspirational for which to strive. Rubricism is too easily taken as the easy way out, and Vatican II sunk the idea that adherence to rubrics was all that was necessary for good liturgy. “But your idea that bishops have a general right to set the rules for their dioceses and that the faithful don’t have the right to expect them to comply with general liturgical law is wrong.” I think you overstate my case. Bishops are responsible for liturgical practice in their diocese. Roman law would recognize their right and role to do what is best for their people, balancing liturgical law and local need. Personally, I don’t have a problem with complying with the last few years of liturgy documents. But in doing so, I confess I think they miss the mark. They give the illusion Rome cares. The real problem is ill-formed clergy, a lack of emphasis on good training for preaching and music, misplaced emphasis on parish schools, and a lack of vision in recruiting for the next generation. It takes me a few meetings, yet another revision in liturgy procedures, a number of Masses to oversee that people are reminded to enact revisions, and some assorted busy work to see that what needs to happen happens. It’s mostly waste of time. It’s not going to improve the liturgy in our parish. People who hate that we were slow about this or that will find something new to complain about. If it sticks in their craw enough, they’ll write the bishop. If they find enough like-thinkers on the net, maybe they’ll put together a petition and GIRM 4 will give me another set of liturgical changes that do nothing. *sigh* The upshoot of it is this: we have better things to do, but the sad truth of it is that Rome can’t legislate inspiration, beauty, or quality. It can only give guidelines to follow. And the people who complain because they like the sound of their voice or they have the illusion of control in their parish just have their appetite whetted by your brand of humor, Jeff. Don’t feel I’m singling you out. I’ve criticized many St Blog’s musicians for whining too much about bad music and not posting about really excellent music. They still complain about the bad. Know why? If they posted more of the good, people would criticize their choices. “There has been widespread abuse of the faithful in the way the liturgy has been administered.” No. There have been some abuses. Liturgy is generally better today than it was ten years ago, twenty, forty, and probably before that. “Bishops have not done enough to ensure regular liturgical practice.” Their priority should be excellence, not regularity. “Some have even promoted liturgical anarchy.” According to some chicken littles. This happens on the parish level. I’ve never known of it from the diocesan level. “Since Rome has recognized that situation, the faithful need not shy away from recognizing it themselves.” Sure. But then do something constructive about it. Join a parish choir and help make the music better. If you’re not patient enough to see the repertoire change in the way you’d like it, start your own choir, do it your way, and learn the patience you need on a fast track. Join a committee and be prepared to invest years to let people trust you when you tell them “You’re doing it all wrong.” ” … then that perfectly understandable mistake ought to be explained to them respectfully.” It will make a difference with the investment (sacrifice!) of time to get to know such people so that you can make a true impact and not come off as a fly-by-night complainer. “So: is there a lack of charity and decent respect for those who complain about the Cardinal?” No question about it. “But it is insignificant compared with the lack of charity coming from the other side.” What other side? Mahony ignores you. He doesn’t even read this site. “Catholics have been goaded and treated with derision for years by those in power.” Talk to any of the saints listed above. The Church burned Jeanne d’Arc. It has suppressed and tormented countless artists, intellectuals, even saints. You’re aggrieved by Sr Mary Rainbow’s liturgical dance? Take a number, pal. “Why shouldn’t those concerned with the principles of dignity and reverence in the liturgy be able to demand that those lines be respected?” You should. But you’re going to have to prove yourself in your parish before anyone will listen and do something. You have no hope of convincing Mahony, so why even bother with the effort? Reply Jeff August 8, 2005 - 6:28 pm Todd: I’m sorry, but I don’t think you even have a leg to stand on with your talk about “heresy trials.” Catholics might sometimes be too quick to decide on this issue or that that someone isn’t Catholic. But it isn’t supposed to be indeterminable or only after twenty years of furrowed brows by “experts.” Patriarchs, Bishops, priest, and laypeople have all felt perfectly free to denounce other “Catholics” as heretics when they were satisfied that they were. Athanasius didn’t wait for the Council of Nicaea, nor Cyril for Ephesus before they condemned Arius and Nestorius. And they were right: Arius and Nestorius were heretics and should have known better even BEFORE the definitions. It wasn’t a lack of charity to tell them they were beyond the pale. With defined truths, they are defined so we will KNOW what we have to believe. I know that if I don’t accept the dogma of the Assumption, I’m a heretic. I can teach my children that they must accept it to be Catholic. It’s not optional. If they don’t, they’ve lost the Unity of the Church. What do I tell my kids about people who don’t accept the definitive teachings? Do I say, Well, I have to accept, you have to accept, but who really knows. Those people may have some different interpretation, etc., etc. No, sorry. I may be charitable, make allowances for confusion, etc., etc. But I don’t need a heresy trial for them any more than I need a trial to figure out what MY responsibilities are as a Catholic. The Church says, Everyone must accept the Assumption or they’re out of the Church. I submit and expect other Catholics to submit, too. If they don’t, they’re not Catholic. This is obvious. No one disputed it before the confusion of modern times. So, sorry, no heresy trials are needed. As far as rules go, guidelines are guidelines, rules are rules. They are not the same thing. Bishops are not free agents where the liturgy is concerned. They have responsiblities. They do not have the right to start their own rites and treat rules as suggestions. They are bound, too. If they ignore rules and create scandal, they have only themselves to blame if the laity start getting nasty. Liturgy begins with things like ritual, care for actions and words, and obedience to universal standards. Sure, you can follow all the rules and have shoddy liturgy. But you can’t break the rules and have good liturgy. Liturgy starts with rules. I have a right to priests who follow the rules. You DON’T have a right to priests who innovate as they please. When I say Catholics have been treated shoddily, I don’t mean that Sally wishes Fr. Dan would loosen up a bit. If Sally wants Fr. Dan to do something he isn’t allowed to do–if 90% of the Catholics in the parish want it–she DOESN’T deserve it and she’s not being treated shabbily, at least in that respect. If nasty old Alphonsus Senior wants Fr. Dan to stop using the wrong liturgical color or quit using his own Eucharistic prayer, all the parishioners can disagree with him, but he’s being denied his rights. He IS being treated shabbily. Catholics deserve the liturgy the Church promises to them. They don’t deserve something else, no matter what it is. I don’t know where you get the idea that bishops are free to do what they like with the liturgy. It’s not found anywhere in any canonical or liturgical document. You’ve just spun it out of your own head, as far as I can see. Bishops have an innate dignity and are not just flunkies for Rome. But they are not individualized authorities, they too are under obedience to the Universal Jurisdiction of the Petrine Ministry. This was not abolished by Vatican Two. Rome can leave them free or bind them on liturgical matters. When they are allowed to do something, even if I don’t like it, I accept it. When they are not allowed to do something which they tolerate or encourage, Catholics have a right to demand that they stop. Liturgy IS better than it was twenty years ago. Not than fifty years ago. People mainly stuck to the rules and liturgical abuse was small scale. That may leave things lacking, but it’s an irreduceable foundation for anything good. Rushing through Latin formulas leaves something to be desired. But breaking liturgical laws, changing formulations at will, leaving out prescribed prayers, using forbidden materials is a SCANDAL. If three Catholics are scandalized and the rest don’t care, the three are being abused, not the rest. I still don’t know what you believe about Women’s Ordination. You “accept” it. Do you say “Credo”? Is that what you mean? Of course, you needn’t accept the reasoning in the document. But if you mean that you needn’t accept that it is binding as a matter of faith because it doesn’t use the same formulation as Munificentissimus Deus in its definition, then I say, with then Cardinal Ratzinger, you are not a Catholic, though you may claim to be. The Pope made his definition in order to put it beyond doubt that this is part of the unchangeable deposit of the faith. He meant to bind me as a matter of faith. Am I unconvinced? Tough. I’m bound. So are you. He meant to remove confusion and confirm the brethren. Demanding heresy trials for dissenters before such a thing can be said is tantamount to saying that the confusion can’t be removed. We never know where we are on these things. But…we do. Reply Colleen August 9, 2005 - 1:26 am Hi Paul: Boy do I relate to your post! The more you study and learn, the more you notice ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and the more distracted you can become. I suggest reading graham greene’s ‘the power and the glory’ — I cannot articulate why that book just set me straight. So much so that when I attend Mass now in my archdiocese of Boston that is so mediocre and so much is sad here, I can look at the priest with love and gratefulness regardless of what goes on at the Mass – bad music, abuses, whatever. I look at that priest (any priest) and know as best I can what he is doing during the Consecration and my eyes fill up. And I am ‘normal’ and would be so embarrassed if anyone saw me like that. Reply Jeff August 9, 2005 - 2:17 am Todd: Of course, our Faith could be in vain. But to say that the Pope can’t say whether or not you are Catholic, just makes the ultimate point for me. To say that the Faith could be wrong is one thing. To say that there is no Faith, or that you can make of it what you will is quite another. But you see, if the Pope says people can exclude themselves from the Church by not believing certain doctrines you deem tangential and Todd says, No, it ain’t so, why should anyone–including Todd–believe Todd? Anyway, I’ll stick with the Pope and the Athanasian Creed: “Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith. For unless a person keeps this faith WHOLE AND ENTIRE, he will undoubtedly be lost forever.” It’s not just a matter of submitting, but of inner assent or belief. I deny that refraining from argument about the Trinity, but lacking belief in it, makes me a Catholic. What an original notion! I don’t know of course whether you believe in your heart that the fact that only men can be ordained priests is part of the deposit of the faith. Nor do I demand that you account for yourself to me. But I must insist that people who dance around what they believe on such points and try to confuse keeping quiet with the public testimony of belief forfeit the right to be considered Catholic by their brothers and sisters. And they deserve to be publicly called on their dissembling. Really, the whole point of the discussion was not to insult you, but just to point out that at root, the disagreement about liturgy springs from something far deeper: irreconcileable conceptions of what Catholicism IS. No discussion of the virtues of glassware or the charity or lack thereof of those who storm at bishops over their observance of rubrics has a chance for any meeting of minds without confronting the ultimate source of the dispute. And those reading the thread should have that ultimate disagreement smoked out so that they can make up their own minds without misconceptions. Sure, anyone can say, “I’m Catholic because I say so.” Anyone can say words, poor fellow. I won’t stop you from saying them! There’s a guy in Kansas who says HE’S the Pope. All the best to him. I think he got his family to elect him. I’m sorry you’re so confused, but you’re hardly alone, I know. I sense a deep patience and charity in you as well as an admirable tenaciousness and a love of the intellect; may they lead you truly and be accounted for you as righteousness. God bless you and all of yours and I’ll leave you the last word. May we meet at last one day in a place where all shadows are illumninated, all confusions are dissipated, and all disagreements swallowed up in Joy. Jeff Reply Wodamark August 9, 2005 - 5:58 am Its a good thing there are no self righteous abusees here. Reply Todd August 9, 2005 - 10:29 am Good morning, Jeff. “But to say that the Pope can’t say whether or not you are Catholic, just makes the ultimate point for me.” I think you misunderstand. The pope has no window into any particular soul, and is not in a position to say to any of us, “You are not Catholic.” What pastors, including the pope, can do is define the limits under which the Church accepts members or keeps them. But in the ordinary conversation between two (supposed) Catholics, neither side should feel under the delusion it can end the argument by pronouncing, “I am Catholic, you aren’t. So there!” “But you see, if the Pope says people can exclude themselves from the Church by not believing certain doctrines you deem tangential …” My sense was you had other motives. My sense was that you (like an occasional other St Blogger) got uncomfortable in the argument and went tangential by dragging in opinions or beliefs not germane to the point I was making, namely to question if repeated criticism without reasonable hope of reform was self-defeating from the viewpoint of personal charity and good humor. It took you several exchanges to reply, and I note none of the other commenters here has done so. “It’s not just a matter of submitting, but of inner assent or belief.” A noble goal, but one in which we all fall short. I submit it’s a matter of grace, not personal effort and choice. “But I must insist that people who dance around what they believe on such points and try to confuse keeping quiet with the public testimony of belief forfeit the right to be considered Catholic by their brothers and sisters.” You can insist, but one of two possibilities exists: One, that I am a pretender and you reject my message because it is intended to confuse and deceive you. Two, I have a valid point about charity and anger, and you reject the message because it’s uncomfortable to you. “And they deserve to be publicly called on their dissembling.” I think I did so. My question remains addressed to you, to myself, and to anyone who finds the experience of blogging not to be spiritually fruitful. “Really, the whole point of the discussion was not to insult you, but just to point out that at root, the disagreement about liturgy springs from something far deeper: irreconcileable conceptions of what Catholicism IS.” First, I don’t think that the composition of chalices and the use of flagons leads to such a conception. Until a few years ago, it was a matter of local practice, and is hardly on the level of “abusive” to the liturgy. Second, I think there is a tug of war over power between local bishops, conferences, and Vatican congregations. To a degree, it is a healthy tension, to the extent the sides can say to each other, “I have a truly better way to pastor the people.” When it gets to be a urination match over territory, then both sides have lost. And the people know it. “No discussion of the virtues of glassware or the charity or lack thereof of those who storm at bishops over their observance of rubrics has a chance for any meeting of minds without confronting the ultimate source of the dispute.” I don’t think so. It is easy to frame this discussion as good versus evil, but rarely are real world tussles so easily pegged. I’ve stated my clear opinion about it. I don’t see the need to use glass or flagons; it’s not worth the bother to confront these things I disagree with. Mahony feels otherwise and does as he pleases. In the view of Roman law, it remains a point of dispute. The CDWDS hasn’t said to him, “No, you can’t grant dispensations like this.” Until they do, he remains a bishop making decisions for his local Church. That’s not the way Americans approach law, but that is my understanding of the Roman way. And Rome isn’t likely to alter its legal approach for LA Catholics who find scandal in this. “I’m sorry you’re so confused, but you’re hardly alone, I know.” I think you implied before it was your readers who were confused. I just followed the scent of an interesting liturgical discussion and suggested that people who get angry over inconsistencies at Mass have themselves been led down the wrong path in their approach to liturgy. I do thank you for your gracious compliment, though. I mostly enjoy your approach of humor. When you’re on, you’re a very enjoyable read. “May we meet at last one day in a place where all shadows are illumninated, all confusions are dissipated, and all disagreements swallowed up in Joy.” More likely, we’ll continue to have stimulating discussions in the blogosphere for many years to come as we strive for the precious gift of Grace. 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