Sunday, February 26, 2006
In the last two months, my readership has grown from a dozen or so folks daily to something around fifty each day. I can't believe there are fifty people--or even five people--who care at all about what I have to say, but I do hope that most of you come back for a visit when I return.
Ciao, Tchuss, etc.!
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Ain't this cool? Originally, Redemptorist (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) was planned with a 225-foot tower. Redemptorist is pretty nifty as it is, but oh, what might have been!
I guess one could still build it today. After all, the Dallas Cathedral just finally got its tower in the last couple of years. I'll put that on my post-powerball project list.
Still. Disappointing, though unsurprising.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Lefty Catholic blogger Rocco de Palmo, in his Whispers in the Loggia, has suggested that Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz is being considered for a red hat. Laugh-out-loud-funny. Bishop Bruskewitz, like his predecessor, Bishop Flavin, has done yeoman work in Lincoln and given the country some better-than-average bishops from his surplus supply of priests (not to mention, given the FSSP a central place to call its seminary home), and he's wonderful to have out there at the USCCB meetings, speaking plainly and against conventional practice of Bernardin's Boyz (although to little effect so far).
But I can't get past the fact that Bishop Bruskewitz seems to lack charm and political savvy. He's given to distemper, which while perfectly acceptable in a "progressive," is intolerable in someone who isn't. Some of the statements he's made against the SSPX, publicly and in private correspondence (I don't have them at hand), are a case in point. He could have warned his people away from the Society without viciously attacking them (they weren't, after all very active in Lincoln, because he's been rather accommodating of canonically-regular traditionalists). But attack them he did, describing them as, among other things "non-Catholic," and now there's a chance he could have to backtrack if the prayed-for reconciliation happens.
Yes, these days one needs a little charm to be a good Cardinal, in addition to being orthodox and strong-willed. Olmstead? Yes. Chaput? Oh, Yes. Burke? Perhaps. Bruskewitz? Perhaps two generations ago, perhaps two generations from now. To paraphrase one of my fellow Evil Traditionalists, a good Cardinal has all the qualities of Bishop Bruskewitz, but he also has some qualities that Bishop Bruskewitz doesn't. I can't imagine him building and leading a coalition, wielding international influence in the next Conclave. He should keep up the good work in Lincoln, or go take over and clean up what the bishops haven't squandered and the bankruptcy judges haven't expropriated from Spokane or Portland. I just can't see Bruskewitz as a Cardinal.
Did you see the interview transcript for Aussie TV on the lefties' complaint to the Vatican about Pell's tyrannical ways, and Pell's reaction?
For the full story, as reported by the godless secular Australian media CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE.
PAUL COLLINS: Ultimately, freedom of conscience guarantees that a person is the ultimate… that the person's conscience is the ultimate moral norm of their behaviour. Cardinal Pell never stresses that. In fact, at times he has seemingly attacked that and kind of almost wants it abolished from Catholic teaching. And he seems to want to turn Catholic teaching into a kind of a dictatorship whereby we have no moral conscience whatsoever. I mean, that at least is the logical consequence of what he's saying.
JEAN KENNEDY: But the Archbishop of Sydney has dismissed the complaint out of hand, and taken a swipe at his moderate critics.
GEORGE PELL: I think it's a bit of a hoot. I mean, people like Paul Collins, Veronica Brady and Max Charlesworth appealing for protection to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, it's…. the poacher's turned the gamekeeper. I think it's… life is full of surprises, but this is a splendid surprise.
Would that someone wearing a red hat in the United States could demonstrate such clarity, certitude, and good humor towards ridiculous dissidents! We've got men in our hierarchy who might be able to do it--Chaput in Denver has illustrated such abilities--but they're not yet in control.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
The jury's still out as to whether the Holy Father will run the Curia, or, like his predecessor, he'll let the Curia run him. However, his handling of this matter will serve as a verdict, and we'll know what to expect for the rest of his pontificate, not just on issue #1 (the restoration of the old Rite and the weltanschung that goes with it, and the canonical rehabilitiation of those who--whatever their other faults--must be credited for preserving it), but on every other issue of governance as well. Pray, pray for Ratzinger, er, Benedict. Pray for Arinze, too!
The plan met some resistance. Informed sources say that Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, insisted that the SSPX should be required to acknowledge the validity of the documents of Vatican II and the post-conciliar liturgy. The traditionalist group insists on celebrating the old Latin Mass, but the Nigerian cardinal was cited as saying that SSPX priests should be expected to participate in Novus Ordo as well.
Cardinal Arinze, sources reported, suggested that instead of a sweeping papal directive giving all priests the explicit right to use the Tridentine liturgy, the Holy See should issue a new document asking diocesan bishops to accommodate the desires of Catholics who prefer the Latin Mass. If the reports are accurate, it is not clear how the directive proposed by Cardinal Arinze's proposal would differ from the apostolic letter Ecclesia Dei, issued by Pope John Paul II, calling upon diocesan bishops to offer a "wide and generous application" of the papal indult allowing the use of the Tridentine rite.
*Unless you're a subscriber, the link above may not work; the story is subscribers-only. And if you're not a CWNews subscriber, you ought to be. It's about three bucks a month, and although it's a "Neo-Catholic" outlet run by folks that are indifferent-to-hostile to traditionalists, it's a really good one that deserves support. (Gosh, I seem to be doing a lot of commercials lately. If I had more than a few dozen readers, maybe someone would pay me for those plugs!)
Saturday, February 18, 2006
I also noticed that the Oratory changed its bulletin format. The old format was really well-done and must have taken a lot of time to produce. The new format, judging from the online PDF's, is much more practical, and even more suitable for its simplicity, and it obviously has a professional hand in it. It's nicer than just about every other bulletin I've seen around town (although, of course, I don't want to start any bulletin envy here--one can't judge a parish by its bulletin). One problem that hasn't been addressed in the new bulletin is that there still aren't enough typographical errors to give it that homey, cozy, "this is our parish" look. I remember as a kid getting blue-typewritten and mimeographed bulletins, where typographical errors on the stencils, when they were caught at all, were corrected by retyping the correct letter directly over the mistake. That of course, turned the affected word into just a blue blob. Maybe the folks at the Oratory, once they actually get into the Oratory, can do a "nostalgia weekend" once or twice a year where they type and mimeograph the bulletin instead of print it up all pretty.
I haven't talked to anybody who would really know, and it wouldn't be my place to repeat any specifics even if I had, but can't imagine what it will cost them to catch up on 20 or 30 years of neglected maintenance, over and above what it will cost to restore the sanctuary that the previous bishops and cathedral rectors wrecked. If any of my readers has a couple hundred thousand dollars (or even a couple hundred dollars) that he doesn't know what to do with, he ought to send it to those folks at the Oratory.
While we're on the subject, if any of my readers has a couple dollars they don't know what to do with, they ought to send them to me so I can buy a big bag of Guy's Barbeque Potato Chips, a picked hot sausage, and a 16oz can of Coors. For some reason, that combination sounds really appealling right now.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I must issue a warning to anyone who is already disgusted with the modern and post-modern effort to stamp out all beautiful things in the world: the phrase "replaced with a goldish-brown flocked wallpaper" is used (rather blithely) in the official history. If you're not up to reading it, please don't click on the link above.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
But even the books Mrs. Curmudgeon does get let them bring home take a little critical work and a little filtering. For instance, Eldest Curmudgeon, approaching her fourth birthday, somehow (without regular access to television) discovered Thomas the Tank Engine, and she can smell those books a mile away. Mostly harmless of course, but when she and Mrs. Curmudgeon were flipping through one about Thomas being afraid of crossing the "Big Big Bridge," she stopped and asked Eldest, "So should you ever be afraid of anything, Eldest?"
To which Eldest replied, "No Mommy."
"Oh yes you should! Sometimes being afraid keeps us safe. Aren't you afraid of going into the street? Should you be afraid of going in the street?"
So much for teaching toddlers and preschoolers courage, eh?
On a couple of occasions, they've brought home books featuring "Lyle the Crocodile," the poor reptile who is loved dearly by his adoptive human family, but feared by the neighbor, and his cat.
"Eldest, why do you think the neighbor doesn't like Lyle?"
"Do you think it's because the neighbor is just mean?"
"If you saw a crocodile, would you go up and play with him?"
"No, eldest. Crocodiles are large, vicious reptiles with sharp teeth, and they will eat cats, and other animals, and sometimes people, too"
"Oh." And here, a pause by Eldest, "I guess so. But Lyle's a nice crocodile and he wouldn't eat cats or people, would he?"
"Dear, I'd be very upset myself if a crocodile moved in next door and I'd want him out, too, even if everyone said he was a nice crocodile. I'd make them take him to the zoo, too. You never play with crocodiles, or any other strange animals, do you?"
Thank God we don't live on the Australian north coast, or I might have already lost a daughter.
Once again, a perfectly rational fear is being worked down. Teaching children that there is nothing to fear, and that the whole world and all persons in it must be approached as tabula rosa is positively wicked. Every marketing guru, every pervert, every PR hack, every political consultant in the world benefits from the destruction of a child's God-given instinct of self-preservation—a child's fear.
There ARE things to fear, and there IS a place for fear in the world, even a place for unreasoned judgments—for prejudice. Richard M. Weaver (a contemporary of Russell Kirk who I like to think of as a Catholic soul who given time, would have cracked through his own southern protestant shell) had a great essay on this topic many decades ago. Life Without Prejudice was published in the first volume of the conservative journal Modern Age in 1957, and again in a book of the same title shortly after his death, and it has been anthologized a number of times, most recently in Ted Smith's collection of Weaver's shorter essays, In Defense of Tradition: Collected Shorter Writings of Richard M Weaver, 1929-1963. What can be said of prejudice can be said of fear as well, and I quote from the key paragraphs of his essay:
Life without prejudice, were it ever to be tried, would soon reveal itself to be a life without principle. For prejudices, as we have seen earlier, are often built-in principles. They are the extract which the mind has made of experience. . . . There is a kind of willful narrowness which should be called presumption and rebuked. But prejudice in the sense I have tried to outline here is often necessary to our personal rectitude, to our loyalty to our whole vision.…Richard M. Weaver, without using Catholic terminology or appealing to Catholic principles, per se, lays out a Catholic worldview in this and in many other of his essays. In other times and other circumstances, he would have stood beside a man like Michael Davies. He's worth a good read.
But back to my point, as Weaver argued in the essay above with regards to prejudice, and as common sense tells us with regards to fear, these impulses are absolutely necessary. The enemies of the permanent things (to use his friend Russell Kirk's phrase), or the Enemy, is ultimately most effective in breaking the impulses down subtly, in innocuous children's books like Lyle the Crocodile, and slow shifts of everyday patterns, than they are, and he is, with books like Heather Has Two Mommies, coercion by Canadian thought police, and in-your-face protests by pimply, angry Oberlin college girls.
Just as it's been said (by many, including an FSSP chaplain I know) that Frank Sinatra's croon My Way is more satanic, and more dangerous to souls, than any of the crap that gets recorded by Marilyn Manson or other shock-rockers, a steady, uncritical diet of children's books like Lyle can ultimately be more dangerous to a child's soul than blatant modernist propaganda.
...oh, do I sound bitter? Well, perhaps I am, because this year they eliminated the two categories I would have won in, hands down: Best Blog by an Idiot with a Camera and Mosst Typagraphcal Erors . . .
As it is, nominations were held earlier this month, and only five nominees in each of their categories were included in voting. I was among the top five nominees in NONE of the categories. It may be because nobody reads this blog, or because nobody likes it, but until I get affirmative proof to the contrary, I'll hold to the theory that it's unjust bias against me as a reactionary Catholic by a bunch of smell-the-roses neocons.
Anyways, I'm trying not to hold it against the one fellow member of the League of Evil Traditionalists who did get past the screeners, Der Tommisar--actually, he's the ringleader and a cruel tyrant, but that's another post entirely. I would encourage all of the people who read this (yes, both of you) to go vote for his blog at the blog awards in the three categories he's nominated for: Best Political Blog, Best Presentation, and most Bizarre Blog Post. CLICK HERE to go the the voting website. And if you do go to his website, marvel at his shameless self-promotion.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I note the similarities between St. Francis and St. Thomas in Kansas City, Kansas. Both parishes lay in river bottoms (St. Francis, the Missouri North Bottoms, St. Thomas the Kaw Bottoms) whose residential neighborhoods were devastated following the 1951 flood, and whose residents never returned in significant numbers.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Do take a look at it. Holy Name, which I first saw in the distance from the top of a downtown office tower in 2001, is the church which inspired me to this entire project. Its condition, and the condition of the surrounding neighborhood, tell us a lot about the Great Society, the Interstate Highway system, and of course, the Spirit of Vatican II. By their fruits you shall know them.
The new interior, shown here, is hideous, and completely divorced from western Catholic tradition, and for that, of course, Bp. Boland must answer: See more current interior shots by CLICKING HERE and see the bizarre floorplan--in line with the awful stuff done in the Cathedrals of Milwaukee and Rochester, by CLICKING HERE.
However, we can't blame Bp. Boland for wrecking the old interior, and I here make my public apologies to the Bishop Emeritus for insinuating that he had anything to do with ruining Tinsley's plan and throwing away over 100 years of history. Bp. Boland's predecessor, Bp. O'Hara (1939-1956) is the guilty one. He commissioned Charlton Fortune to wreck it in 1950, and by 1955, the damage was done. Miss (or I'd guess she'd be the type to prefer "Ms.") Fortune was a misfortune, indeed. She thought that the original Neoclassical design for the church (which has a cornerstone date of 1882) by Tinsley and the stenciling and gold trim by Dante Cosentino (circa 1935) were "gin crackery." She replaced stone and plaster columns with steel, filled the nave and sanctuary with black and gray tile, and she designed a black (???) high altar.
Ms. Fortune's changes were ahead of their time, and a second, 1972 renovation in the Spirit of Vatican II involved mostly rearranging the furnishings, staining them black, and building a new black altar to face the nave. Here's what they ended up with:
It is reported that the 1950-55 Cathedral wrecknovation was Mrs. Fortune's last major undertaking as an church designer ....one wonders why that might have been....
By the end of her little project, in the five years ending in 1956, capital expenditures on the Cathedral were about $980,000 (yes, that much in 1956). I have no idea what it cost to redo the Cathedral--and to undo her damage--a few years ago, but it was at least $7 million, and it was paid from all over the diocese (when, in justice, it should have come out of Bp. O'Hara's and MissFortune's pockets).
There's no question that the Bishop was right to do undo the disaster visited upon it by MissFortune, but it's a shame to waste such huge sums of money making it less like a Catholic cathedral than it already was. That kind of money could have been used to put up a couple of barn-like church auditoria for new parishes in suburbia, and it's far more than enough to have done a restoration job modestly, but in a genuine Catholic spirit.
By the way, I note in reviewing the Cathedral website that the "program" was funded by the Calvin Institute. What "program"? The program of renovation? Or just the website? In either case, that sponsorship lets us infer quite a bit. As you might guess by the foundation's name, and as you can clearly see by the Calvin Institute website, they aren't Catholic at all--they're a bunch of . . . well, exceptionally liberal members of the Calvinist sect. Clearly, we can see their "reformed perspective, ecumenical what-ya-ma-call-it" reflected in the current Cathedral, can't you? Even more than Calvinist, I'd say it's Huxleyian.
Sources: Marra & Doering, This Far by Faith, vol. 1, beginning at about the sixth color plate; Coleman, ed., This Far by Faith, vol. 2, pp. 121-136; and www.kcgolddome.org
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Instead of doing new entries on these churches I've already posted, I'll add my updates to the original entry for each church, and I'll also try to consolidate the entries I did in two or three parts into one post. As I do so, I'll make a current post pointing new and returning readers to the updated original entry.
We will resume and finish our tour of KCKS, with the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. John the Baptist, at a later juncture.
The full information for my source is as follows:
Dorothy Brandt Marra, This Far by Faith: a Popular History of the Catholic People of West and Northwest Missouri, vol. 1. (Kansas City: Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, 1992) (art addendum by Collette Marie Doering CSJ, clergy addendum by Bill R. Beemont, 1000 copies printed, printing by Walsworth Publishing, Marceline, Missouri)
Charles M. Coleman, ed. This Far by Faith: a Popular History of the Catholic People of West and Northwest Missouri, vol. 2 (Kansas City: Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, 1992).
Ughh! Why on earth does Bp. Finn keep his editor around? It's not just that the guy is some crank progressive who can't tell Catholic from Communist--the guy can't write, either!
The front page featured a color photo of the new high altar at St. Anthony's, a church I featured some months ago, which was brought in (I'm told) to restore some sense of history and tradition to the church, which had been vandalized by a previous pastor in the Spirit of Vatican II . Instead of having one article on the restoration of the sanctuary, and another article on the Bishop's message to the newly recognized Fatima group at St. Anthony, the writer (the editor) mashes both topics into one article? Why?
Because he both has a goofball dissident agenda and he can't write, I can't really tell why. Perhaps it's just incompetence. Perhaps it's because by somehow dealing with both issues in an incoherent way (a paragraph on one, a paragraph on the other) he can avoid dealing with either in any detail. The editor doesn't have to confront the obvious and correct subtext of the Bishop's desire to see the parish to make the sanctuary unmistakeably Catholic again--i.e., the Spirit of Vatican II was a destructive, evil spirit of division and novation that harmed the church spiritually, and in this case, materially. Neither does the editor have to get into any of the hard message of Fatima that flies against the Spirit of Vatican II.
At some point when it's convenient to him, I'll have a guest contributor who has a stronger stomach than I do join me in the cave, primarily and initially, at least, to underscore just what a corrupt influence the Key is in this diocese.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
As Kansas Citians who read this blog know, it's nearly impossible to get into downtown KCMO from the south these days, what with streets closed for the development--Bartle Hall, the Hotel President, H&R Block, the Power & Light District, and the Sprint Center--going up along the south loop. Central? closed. Baltimore? closed. Main? closed. Walnut? closed. Grand? closed. McGee? closed. Oak and Broadway? not closed yet, but I fear they're next.
Those of us who work downtown and live south have had not only our usual route to work blocked, but also our primary alternate route, our secondary one, and some days, even our tertiary one. At this point I'm approaching my office from the 12th Street exit from the west loop--Quality Hill--and I go home via the east loop and Des Moines, Iowa, or so it seems.
At a stoplight this week, I looked up from my car as I was fumbling with my Rosary on the drive in, and a friendly face looked down. There, on the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that Bp. Boland had wrecked before he retired (another post), or more precisely, up about 30' on the south wall of the daily Mass chapel appended to the Cathedral, stood Pope St. Pius X, life size, in stone, looking down at me. Those of you who know a little about the recent history of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and the Cathedral in particular, are probably as surprised as I was to know that he, of all saints, is perched on the Cathedral overlooking 12th Street. It's a shock that the iconoclasts didn't get him down when they gutted the interior.
To have the greatest of the great antimodern popes still standing outside a church that has been victimized by architectural barbarians, and has been served by clergy who flaunt so many liturgical abuses that I wondered, the one time I went there for daily Mass a few years ago, whether the Mass was invalid for defect of intention, and has been the home of questionable (to be as charitable and generous as possible) homosexual ministry programs has to mean that the gates of hell have not yet prevailed in Kansas City.
Papa Sancte Pio X, Giuseppe Melchior Sarto, ora pro nobis.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Use of Altars by Non-Catholics and More on Albs
ROME, FEB. 7, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university. Q: Is it ever permissible for non-Catholic ecclesial communities to celebrate their "liturgy" on a dedicated (fixed) altar? An Episcopalian (Anglican) group which uses our community's guest facilities has been celebrating both their Office and "eucharist" in our basilica. -- F.J., Nodaway, Missouri
Fr. McNamara, in answer, quotes extensively from the Ecumenical Directory. Like all things of this sort in this day and age, after a general statement against such things (thanks to Mortalem Animos, otherwise there wouldn't even be that), but of course, there's a pastoral exception for to allow the heretics to bless their bread on the same altar that Christ is daily incarnated on.
Hmm. Thoughts coming. What can I say? What about the Hindus? I know it isn't Fatima, but... And do they also perform rap music there?
Monday, February 06, 2006
I've been inside St. Anthony's before, but it's been a long time, and I just walked through it quickly. I had hoped to get in again and discretely take some interior shots when I went by on Saturday afternoon, but Mass was going on. Happily, though, a friend came through for me. He had some photos he took with his 35 mm camera while he was on a tour of the city's churches several years back. I had never used my scanner before, but fortunately, it was almost idiot proof, and so I was able to scan his prints, and I have a couple of interior shots of this church as well. You can see the High Altar, with a crucifixion scene, above, and below, we have three of the stations.
A terribly uninformative post, know. Especially following the detail from Blessed Sacrament. St. Anthony's deserves better, and someday, when I get ahold of a history, I'll do it one better. For now, though, you must be satisfied with the entry from the 1911 history, (and the accompanying picture of the church before the towers were built out) and wait patiently for someone to fill in the 95 year gap between then and now.
Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.]
ST. ANTHONY'S CHURCH.
Among the most beautiful and imposing church edifices in Kansas City. Kansas, is St. Anthony's, at the corner of Seventh street and Barnett avenue. This church is under charge of Father Leo Molengraft, of the order of Franciscans. It is devoted to the use of the German Catholic residents of the city. In addition to the church the parish has a fine residence and a large school. St. Anthony's parish was organized on All Saints' day, in 1886. Father Guido was its first pastor
I've been inside for Maundy Thursday liturgy (the Latin Massers yield that evening every year to their landlord, Blessed Sacrament). St. Rose is a mess. Although there is a modest high altar intact in the sanctuary, they've reordered the pews in a rather odd way, and it appears that the newfangled altar is now in the middle of the nave (it's rolled over into a transcept on Holy Thursday, so I'm not sure where it usually goes). There's a fair bit of water damage evident inside, and the grounds aren't kept up very well.
A pity there isn't more money to maintain the building, but I suppose it's better to keep it open than to close it, as it's already been consolidated once, and there are probably some folks who can't drive to the next nearest church, Blessed Sacrament. I understand that the pastor for Blessed Sacrament is also pastor for Our Lady & St. Rose--they share a bulletin as well.
Except for the history pasted in below, I don't know much else, but I really would like to know the name and location of the church title to the Blessed Mother that was consolidated into this church. Chime in if you can.
Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.]
ST. ROSE OF LIMA CHURCH.
The parish of the St. Rose of Lima was organized October 6, 1907, by the Rev. William Michel. This new congregation is in the northeast part of the city. On account of the large population of substantial men and women a great future is prophesied for this new parish. Services were held at Flannigan's hall, Fifth street and Virginia avenue, until the new building at Eighth street and Quindaro street boulevard was erected. A new school was opened in 1907.
The Rev. William Michel has been a priest of the diocese for the pasteighteen years, for ten years having been located at Frankfort, Kansas and Irish Creek. In both these places he built new churches. Father Michel also erected one of the finest parochial residences of the diocese, which he occupied about two years. He came to Kansas City, Kansas, with the record of a hard worker and a priest devoted to his people.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Perhaps that's true. When someone talks about professional football, I always work in a comment about performing with my band at a Houston Oilers game, and I ask how the Oilers are faring this season. The other day, I derived great pleasure from my genuine ignorance of a Country & Western singer named Toby Keith. Although I've seen him on a billboard, I really don't know him or any of the half-dozen hit songs that the staff member at my office rattled off. I told the staffer my knowledge of country music ended at the point Jerry Jeff Walker sobered up, and the staffer (who was at least a decade older than me) had never heard of Jerry Jeff Walker. Pride went up another notch. A few weeks ago, a telephone survey lady from Gallup called and we went through a lengthy interview on my favorite TV shows, TV commercials I'd seen, my preferred local news channel, and my favorite radio stations. I had a delightful 15 minutes of genuine "Never seen it!" and "Never heard of it!" I couldn't name any TV reporter, much less my favorite local anchor.
Hmm. Perhaps it is Pride. What's the cure? Another afternoon of daytime television?
Also remind me to do a post sometime on the paper I love to hate, the Kansas City Star. Don't take it anymore, but I do look at the "Faith" page and Bill Tammaeus dreadful blog every other weekend or so, because it's like a car wreck--you just can't help but look.
PS, yes, the last line was gratuitously stolen from the Cavemen.
The parish was founded in 1899, and the first church was built in 1900. Plans for the present church commenced in 1920, and the basement was completed (and used for Mass) beginnin in 1921. The cornersone was laid in 1924, and the church was completed in time for midnight Mass at Christmas 1926.
Although 1000 people were reportedly at the opening mass, it appears that the church can comfortably seat only about 400 or 500. The east spire, the tallest, is about 140 tall. Because Blessed Sacrament sits near the top of the hill, the spire is visible for quite some distance.
The windows at Blessed Sacrament weren't installed until 1949 or so (I don't know if they had stained glass from 1924 to 1949), and they are not typical. Numerous churches on both sides of the state line have stained glass that obviously all came from the same shop and same craftsman. However, Blessed Sacrament's are one of a kind. They have sacred scenes in which many of the people are dressed in modern workmen's clothes, and they're all very contemporary, or they were fifty years ago. The style (in contrast to the gothic feel in the rest of the church) is certainly one that is influenced by the post-New-Deal Era--a rather industrial feel that gives a little foreshadowing of what will happen to ecclesiastical art in the decades that will come.
When I went by the church to take pictures, it was open, but Saturday evening Mass was going on. Therefore, I didn't get interior shots. However, you can go to this out-of-date website for the Latin Mass community and see what it's like inside (CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE). The chaplain shown in the pictures and named in the website, Fr. DeMentque, has moved on to another apostolate (France, I think) and his last assistant is now the chaplain. I'd download the pictures and repost them (and a couple of additional exterior shots as well) if I weren't having trouble with Blogger's photo tool right now. (UPDATE FEBRUARY 6: I got one posted).
The altar rail was ripped out in the 1970s, sadly (especially since the Latin Massers would really use it now; instead, they balance themselves on a cushioned step, and those who need support have recourse to a prie dieux). The high altar is intact, although it has been slightly modified in one respect. The central statue in the reredos is one of our Lord facing the congregation and offering Holy Communion, but originally, He stood there in profile, giving communion to a kneeling communicant (we can't have that, can we? I wonder where the statue of the kneeling man is now?). To Christ's right is St. Ann instructing the Blessed Mother as a child, and to His left is St. Joseph.
The side altars are intact as well, with our Lady being flanked at her altar by St. Rita and St. Therese of Liseaux. The Sacred Heart altar features (besides an statute of the Sacred Heart, of course) St. Patrick and St. Anthony of Padua. Below the Sacred Heart altar is a seculphre image that is opened on Holy Week. There's also a statue of St. Martin de Pores somewhere. Of course, in addition to ripping out the altar rail, the parish found it necessary to install a newfangled altar and plain lectern in place of the more imposing traditional ambo. The FSSP chaplain works around this well enough, I suppose, but it's not ideal.
The basement, where there are usually coffee and doughnuts, is in rather poor shape, and the pipe organ in the choir loft needs work (apparently only used by the Latin Massers, as the novus ordo musicians have an electronic organ and folding chairs in the south (actually, east) transcept). The blower makes the whole back of the church vibrate. Probably the single biggest complaint anyone ever has about Blessed Sacrament is the sound system--someone got the idea to install a series of car stereo speakers (or so they appear to be) on the pew backs themselves, instead of mounting professional-quality PA speakers on the walls. The sound is terrible, and anyone who is hard of hearing is likely to miss large portions of the chaplain's fantastic sermons. That's something that needs to be fixed, but it's unlikely that the parish has the money to do it, and it's probable that the Latin Mass Community, which is only a temporary tenant, is won't do it either.
All and all, though, it's a fitting place to celebrate the old Mass, and while we're all prone to imagine a better situation--one in which the church is used exclusively for the old Mass, and one doesn't have to work around the modern furnishings, and one doesn't have to strain to hear, and one with a clean and orderly hall--the folks who attend the old Mass there are happy to have to be there.
PS., Now, this turned out to be a rather detailed post with a lot of information. Before readers leave comments criticizing me for not having this level of detail on the other churches, and not having interior shots of the other churches, I want to remind them that this is a unique case--I actually attend Mass here and I was able to pick up a brochure on the Church with some detail in it. If you want to see your Kansas City, Kansas church featured so thoroughly, by all means I will--just send me a printed history and take some interior photographs next time you're there.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
The littlest Curmudgeon and I set out Saturday afternoon to take a few more pictures of Kansas City, Kansas churches, and (it being, we believed, prime confession time) try to find some unlocked doors for interior shots of the churches we've already visited.
We tried St. Joseph/St. Benedict before 4pm, but Mass had already started. No interior picture.
We tried Ss. Cyril & Methodius. We got close ups of the patrons, but the church was locked (Mass didn't start until much later, and no confession time was listed). No interior picture.
We tried Holy Family. Confessions weren't due to start for another half-hour. Door was locked. No interior picture.
We tried St. Anthony, the exterior of which I'll feature soon. Mass was at 4pm, and had already started. No interior picture.
We tried St. John the Baptist, the exterior of which I'll feature soon, along with some interior pictures a friend took with his 35 mm long ago (if I figure out my scanner), but Mass had already started. No interior picture.
We tried St. Peter, the exterior of which I'll also feature soon (along with more pictures taken by a friend). Mass started already. No interior picture.
We tried St. Rose of Lima. Locked. No interior picture.
We tried Blessed Sacrament. Mass was nearing an end, but so was the littlest Curmudgeon's patience, so we didn't wait. No interior picture.
I need to check Mass schedules and plan better next time, eh?
Friday, February 03, 2006
It's all rather fascinating, not just from an ecclesiastical point of view, but also in terms of my own little psychological self-analysis. Here I am, a fellow whose first instinct is (and whose chosen profession involves) finding reasons why things shouldn't or can't be done, expecting and planning for the worst, and just being generally negative, and I've spent the last two days getting bugged because other people are doing that very thing in terms of the potential reconciliation. I need to be careful or I'll turn into an optimist and I'll have to change my moniker to Pollyanna, if the Situation is soon resolved.
These curmudgeonly people, mostly what Chris Ferrara and Tom Woods (and many others) label "neo-catholics" (see explanations here and here), are fretting as if the Church will come to greater harm with the SSPX and its adherents holding up its right flank instead of standing across the field in one of the opposing lines. I just don't get the neo's. Lots of these folks go jump through great intellectual hoops to justify certain abuses (and certain normative practices which were once abuses), so why can't they jumpt through a few lower hoops to help get the Situation resolved, at least in their own hearts, if not in Rome and Econe?
I did a Google blogsearch and looked at the SSPX posts by other folks in the last 24-48 hours this evening. In addition to Bettinelli's post, which I commented on Wednesday, and articles in the secular press and Catholic World News largely repeating reports in Il Giornale, we've got a Jimmy Akin post in which he erects a rhetorical roadblock: we have to keep calling it a schism (neverminding that the Holy Father can, unless one of his Curial officials left only a black crayon and a white crayon, and no other colors in his box, distinguish between breaking communion and somewhat lesser disobediences), and we can't let bygones be bygones or minimize past actions, because the principal actors in the Situation haven't yet gone to their eternal reward (or, they might presume, eternal punishment).
We've also got a post from a guy named Whiskey (bourbon, scotch, or rye?) who at one point in a long post that I won't try to answer in full, narrowly defines the notion of faith and accuses the Society and its adherents of being faithless:
But the point is that by insisting on the Tridentine formulations, of doctrine and of worship, SSPX has lost the spirit that lives within them. They have become a society of works without faith. This is of course in a literal sense true: for they lack faith in the Holy Spirit to guide the church when it meets in an Ecumenical council. But it is also psychologically true: for they lack the ability to think radically (again, in the etymological sense) about their faith.
To which I simply would suggest that they study the faith one an "average" SSPX priest, or one of their "average" adherents, and compare it to the "average" suburban priest or soccer-mom parishioner. One could argue, I suppose, that the average SSPX priest, and his congregants, are seriously lacking in one or two or three other virtues (humility, obedience, charity, perhaps?), but I have to believe that they have plenty of faith, especially in comparison to their foils. Insofar as literal faith in the Holy Ghost's guidance of an Ecumenical Council goes, I'm sure they have that, but they know that His Graces don't go so far as to guaranty that prudential, disciplinary, liturgical, and pastoral declarations are infallible, as are Magisterial statements on faith and morals. And if by "thinking radically" (in the etymological sense, meaning "to the roots") about their faith, they mean keeping within arms' reach of its two roots--Revelation and Tradition--then, again, I don't see that they lack faith.
And then a couple of blogs, including Bettnet, link to a post on the blog of Ed Peters, a canonist on the faculty of Sacred Heart seminary in Detroit. Prof. Peters tries to erect a canonical roadblock to reconciliation, but he doesn't try hard enough, because I'm an amateur, and I think I can knock it down.
His analysis is as follows:
In 1988, Abp. Lefebvre and four bishops he ordained were excommunicated by Pope JohnPaul II for violating 1983 CIC 1382. The resulting SSPX has never acknowledged the efficacy of this papal act and has called for the Holy See to repudiate the excommunication as a prerequisite for reconciliation talks. According to canon law, however, excommunication cannot be remitted unless the offender has "withdrawn from contumacy" (1983 CIC 1358 § 1). It is difficult to see how one can be considered to have "withdrawn from contumacy" (see 1983 CIC 1347 § 2) when one denies there is any contumacy to withdraw from in the first place. So, what to do?
Then Prof. Peters uses the red herring tactic: he gives the reader three options, the best of which he dismisses out of hand as having a "proverbial snowballs' chance," and he then spends time on an analysis that we need never reach:
As I see it, there are only three options here: either the Holy See decides that John Paul II's decree of excommunication was insufficiently grounded in law and/or fact, and on that basis it lifts the penalty without addressing the merits of the situation today; or, the SSPX leadership somehow acknowledges its wrong-doing and repents sufficiently to allow lifting of the penalty under 1983 CIC 1358; or the SSPX remains fixed in its position and the excommunication remains in place while talks continue—or not, as the case may be.
Now, let's go back to the first option. I'm not warranting that this will work, and (as usual) I don't have all the facts, but if we're playing the armchair-Pontiff, this is the single best play in our book. Here's the gist of my response to Prof. Peters, (his blog doesn't have a comment option--he must not use the Socratic method--but I'll find his email address and send it to him directly):
Prof. Peters, I'm neither a canon lawyer nor an adherent to the SSPX, but I think you missed something, and as a result didn't give Option 1 due consideration. The excommunications, if any, occurred latae sententiae, by their own acts (much as we do if we fall into mortal sin), not ferendae sententiae, by a juridic act of the Church. John Paul II did not excommunicate anyone in the aftermath of the "Situation"; he declared that the five bishops (actually six--don't forget co-consecrator Castro de Mayer) had excommunicated themselves.
Now, thanks to the infinite maleability of the 1983 code, we can make a case where both Rome and Econe can "save face" without too many canonical acrobatics (I can't take full credit for this analysis; I saw it, in part, made elsewhere long ago).
Rome can maintain that the consecrations were objectively illicit and objectively violated Can. 1382, but with respect to the penalty for that action, it can look at Can. 1324 ss. 1.5, 1.8, and 3. This Canon provides that if a punishable action (other than one that is inherently evil or tends to the harm of souls) is taken out of necessity, or even by one who, in culpable error, thought that there was a necessity, the penalty must be tempered, or in the case of a matter providing for a latae sententiae penalty, the accused is not bound by the penalty at all.
Lefebvre and the ordinands went through with the consecrations because they subjectively and honestly believed there was a necessity for it. Consecration of a bishop is not inherently evil, and it did not tend to the harm souls (or at least, the bishops, through culpable error, thought it did not). Rome could have taken juridical action (i.e., tribunals in accordance with Cann. 1400 et seq.) against the bishops that may have resulted in a ferendae sententiae penalty, of course, but it did not; the Holy Father's predecessor simply declared that they had incurred the latae sententiae penalty. From there, it should be easy for Benedict to revisit his predecessor's declaration and find that upon further factual investigation, it is clear that via the mediation of Can 1324, the bishops, because they subjectively believed that the consecreations were necessary, were never excommunicated.
Which of course, leaves the SSPX with four suspended, non-execommunicated auxiliary bishops, 500 or so suspended priests, hundreds of associated irregular priests and religious, and hundreds of thousands of confessions and marriages performed without ordinary jurisdiction and therefore potentially invalid (which is precisely where the SSPX was before 1988). This is where the real heavy lifting begins, and the amateurs like me should step aside to let real canon lawyers handle the erection of administrative structures, granting of regular faculties, and the issuance of mass sanations in order to recognize the irregular sacramental matters of the last twenty or thirty years.
So much for my analysis of the SSPX buzz for today. I'll try to do something more interesting (and unrelated to the potential reconciliation) for tomorrow's post.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I've been found these rumors interesting (some heartening, some absurd), but I haven't been inclined to post on them up until now. However, the volume of the buzz is increasing. Either the rumors are being "triangulated" from various independent sources, or the same rumor is getting repeated a LOT. It's exciting stuff. Here are some links from official news agencies, a "progressive" catholic blogger, a "neo-Catholic" or conservative Catholic blogger, an article (in French) about one traditional priest's proposal, and from the sedevacantist nut-jobs:
I forgot I wasn't registered with Bettnet when I started my comment to Domenico Bettinelli's post on this topic, which he ends with "I don’t know yet what the basis is for Williamson’s objection, but a quick guess would be that he wants a complete repudiation of Vatican II first. It isn’t going to happen. But issues of practicality mean little to those of the more radical bent. " So I'm posting it here: Dom can come get it if he wants it:
rankly, the folks in the "conservative" camp should leave the bombthrowing to the sedevacantists to the right of the SSPX, and let Rome and Econe work it out.
Quoth Jason: The Holy See isn't going to change
It isn't? We all, from far-out progressives to the dourest of traditionalists, and everyone in between, can agree the Holy See has changed rather substantially and rather quickly (by ecclesiastical standards) over the last thirty years. It's likely to keep a'changing at least through
And, to Dom, I'd say Tom "gets it"; perhaps you didn't. The point of his post is that something less than 100% of the culpability for the "Situation" lies with the SSPX.
There are lots of "conservative" Catholics (for want of a better but nondisparaging term) who should be praying for this reconciliation to happen, but who are so moved (nay, even blinded) by personal loyalty to Benedict's predecesor that they can't see the nuances of the Situation--the pastoral and administrative mistakes the bishops, the curia, and ultimately the Popes themselves with respect to the Situation. Rather than listen to the Society and draw them home, these folks make accusations and demands, and they attribute bad motives to men who may (or, history may prove, may not) have taken the wrong course of action, but did so in good faith and out of love for the Church.
The snide comment in your original post about Williamson requiring Rome to repudiate Vatican II before participating in the regularization is an illustration of that approach.
Maybe there are simply unanswered questions on the schema for the Society's continued criticism and debate about pastoral exhortations in certain Vatican II documents that are not easily reconciled with solemnly-defined doctrine? Maybe the whole "hesitation" report is just
rumor-mongering by true enemies of the Church among the sedevacantists? F