It is good news when columnist Nick
Coleman of the Star Tribune is
unhappy with changes at a Minneapolis parish.
Coleman wrote quite a negative column on his Excellency Most Reverend
John Nienstedt, Coadjutor Archbp. of St. Paul and Minneapolis for
actually accepting the truth of the Church’s view on homosexual acts.
Nick Coleman displays his same accuracy in his political
columns as he does on the few columns he writes concerning the Church.
His political columns have long been fisked in the
conservative blogosphere and he is working for the same reputation in
This time he upset about changes at St
Stephens in Minneapolis which seems to be the same type of
parish as St. Joans and St. Frances Cabrini also in Minneapolis.
Where the word inclusive means accepting homosexual acts, but
not being inclusive towards orthodoxy. Inclusive communities
are usually much more dogmatic on the issues they want to be dogmatic
on. Try going to one of these parishes and dissent on their
teaching on homosexual acts or some of the other typical issues and you
will find out just how “inclusive” they are.
It looks like change are being made there
with the appointment of Fr. Joseph William effective Easter Friday,
March 28, 2008. A 9. a.m. Mass (Coleman calls it a prayer
service) has now been canceled. We will let Coleman describe
this Mass for us:
all have to play with the same playbook,” says Dennis McGrath,
spokesman for the archdiocese. “They’ve had plenty of warnings to get
their act together.”
The “playbook” is the GIRM —
“General Instructions of the Roman Missal” — which spells out the
rubrics for worship services. After the Second Ecumenical Vatican
Council in the early 1960s, the orthodoxies loosened and churches,
especially ones in needy neighborhoods like St. Stephen’s, put more
emphasis on carrying out the message of the Gospels than following the
The 9 a.m. service in the school gym
(there’s also a 9 a.m. Spanish-language mass in the church sanctuary)
became a place where all were welcomed, the wording of prayers was
changed to make them inclusive (“Our Father and Mother, Who Art in
Heaven,” for example), women had leadership roles in services, and
simple ceramics were used instead of chalices of precious metal, as
called for in the rubrics.
Coleman writing just cracks me up. Phrases
like “the orthodoxies loosened” show exactly his mindset. The
idea that Orthodoxy or “right thinking” should be loosened and I guess
substituted for wrong thinking is always unintentionally funny.
I saw let the orthodoxies be loosed not loosened.
There is also other typical liberal thought shown here with
the incredibly false idea that before Vatican II that the Gospel was
not carried out and somehow it was prevented from being preached
because of those nasty binding rubrics. As if great Saints
like Saint Vincent de Paul and countless others could not preach the
Gospel and help the poor because of the rubrics of the Mass.
Coleman has a Protestant mindset and seems to have no
understanding of the Catholic “Et … et” – the both/and approach that
we take more often. Helping the poor in needy neighborhoods
is not the reciprocal of following the rubrics and following the
rubrics does not prevent you from living and preaching the Gospel.
Though as with most inclusive parishes they have their own
rubrics that must be followed. For example using ceramics and
so-called inclusive language.
Coleman also complains about the
parishioners who will be leaving the parish to go somewhere else five
blocks away with the
same “spirituality” that they were use to at St Stephen’s.
You know the kind of service: with
guitars, lay people giving homilies, dancing in the aisles with people
who have mental and physical disabilities, gay couples openly
participating in worship, along with ex-priests, ex-nuns and sundry
other spiritual wanderers.
This 9 AM Mass has been going on for forty
years (about time they got out of the wilderness of progressive
liturgy) and so it is understandable that some of the parishioners
would be upset at the change. It is only too bad that such
nonsense was not stopped much earlier to prevent these types of
defections where it looks like some of them will now being going to a
non-Catholic service. They should never have been able to get
use to such open dissent and liturgical abuse in the first place.
“It’s incredibly sad,” says Mary Condon
Peters of Golden Valley, who has belonged to St. Stephen’s for 16 years
and served on its parish council. “All these years, there was room in
the big old Catholic tent for all of us. And now there isn’t. And they
gave us three weeks’ notice.”
It was on Feb. 5 that Flynn met with parish representatives and
instructed them that the 9 a.m. prayer service must end. McGrath says
that “nothing of substance” will change, and that the parish outreach
to the poor, the homeless and the Hispanic community will go on.
What you mean that unloosening “the
orthodoxies” does not halt outreach to the poor and others?
Who would have thunk it?
Clayton who gave me the heads up for this
story will be commenting on it later today.
I find the argument that this “Mass” should be allowed to continue b/c it has been going on for 40yrs quite entertaining. Isn’t this exactly the sort of argument that those horrible conservatives use all the time to Keep Things the Way They Have Always Been. I wonder if sixteenth century slave traders would get a fair hearing our Our Lady of the Butterflies and Balloons Catholic Ashram. Let’s see: “We should be allowed to continue trading in slaves b/c it has been considered not only right to do so but actually beneficial to the slaves!” Yea. I don’t think that would fly. Besides, it’s more than past time for faithful Catholics to revolt against their Protestantesque Overlords in the parish and overthrow the religious oppression of the ad lib liturgy, the innovative theologies of Frs. Hollywood and Oprah, the tacky sentimental singing, and the just plain stupid.
Fr. Philip, OP
Yeah…I’m entertained by the public temper tantrum.
“We’re doing this in a CATHOLIC parish and they’re telling us we have to be CATHOLIC! What fascists! We’ll show THEM! We’ll have a PARADE and go into a storefront ‘church’ and have our OWN prayer service! God is with us!” They forget to mention that they believe THEY are God.
All I can say is this: Don’t let the door hitcha where the Good Lord splitcha. You haven’t been Catholic in years and you’ve been squatting quite profoundly on holy ground. Lord have mercy on you and open your eyes to your blindness.
Jesus let the dissenters walk away, too. Let them go. If they want to seek God, they are free to come back.
My friend, the Recovering Dissident Catholic, is working to get people to attend Mass there on Divine Mercy Sunday, when the new pastor begins. I can’t go as I’ll be in class, but what a great idea! I know firsthand what it’s like to speak the truth in the nicest terms possible…and be villified for it. This poor priest is in trouble if people aren’t there to truly support him. Please pray for him.
Oh, the fun! A couple of parts made me laugh aloud.
“…(N)eedy neighborhoods like St. Stephen’s put more emphasis on carrying out the message of the Gospels than following the rubrics.”
As my favourite 10-year-old says, “Why can’t we do BOTH?” If you have clownpriests at Mass, does that mean your parish totally rocks at sharing the Good News?
“You know the kind of service: with guitars, lay people giving homilies, dancing in the aisles with people who have mental and physical disabilities, gay couples openly participating in worship, along with ex-priests, ex-nuns and sundry other spiritual wanderers.”
All I can picture is Hari Krishnas, skinheads, and the cast of “Blazing Saddles” conducting wheelchair races around the aisles while the elderly occupants scream for help and the guitarrists turn up the amps to drown the noise. 😉
Yes, I too, would like to encourage everyone to go and support Father Williams. Let’s sit in the front and actually kneel and remain silent during the priest’s portion of the Mass!
I feel sorry for the incoming priest. We have a parish in my country which ‘did its own thing’ for many years. When the parish priest retired because of ill health the incoming priest tried to rein in the abuses to no avail; some of the parishioners and others made the priest’s life a hell on earth. I think that the parish is up to its third priest.
There is no need to feel sorry for Fr. Joseph Williams. He is a very gifted young priest, well-formed and strong in character.
Like any priest, he could use our prayers, but he does not need our pity.
You know, when I used to live in the Twin Cities (8 yrs ago), I knew people at St Stephen’s. My strong impression is that things have gotten much worse liturgically since then (I trusted them, and their characterization then was “strong on social justice ministries but not way out there like St Joan of Arc”). Archbishop Flynn needed to do this, certainly, but it is good for the wider public to know that St Stephen’s has been an absolute model of ministry to the homeless in a very impoverished neighborhood.
What bugs me is the idea that you can’t be strong on social justice and worship in a regular Mass.
Adoro and folks, obviously do what you want, I wouldn’t show up at their Divine Mercy Mass. Let the new priest have his first day with the actual parishioners who are remaining and beginning healing wounds without “outsiders” from other parishes. I think outside presence will backfire their conversion in a big way.
A 9. a.m. Mass (Coleman calls it a prayer service) has now been canceled.
Everything I know about St. Stephen’s comes from this article, so forgive the question, but: was the 9 am thing actually a Mass? I mean, was it even considered a Mass? Coleman calls it a “service” a few times, and also notes that there was a spanish-language “mass” in the church sanctuary. The 9am thing, by the way, was in the school gym, not the church.
Not an important point; the Archbishop had to put a stop to it no matter what they called it, and I’m glad he is I’m just curious if it was an actual Mass. Leaving aside questions of validity, was it even intended as a Mass?
The dispute at St. Stephens is about more than opposing varieties of taste. Its war against the teaching authority of the Church, with a view of reform that sees change/progress only happening through a revolution that tears down what has come before its pure Hegelian dialectic, of which Marx would be proud: progress/reform comes only by opposition from without, never by conversion from within.
This is especially evident in a letter to the editor of the Star Tribune today, written by the vice chair of St. Stephen’s Pastoral Council.