"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A comment on Devin Rose's Frightening Article

Frightening to me anyway. It is titled "Time for Catholic Praise and Worship?" Thank God for the question mark Devin. As one commentor put it:
"The Ring’s whisper is drawing you near… Do you need an intervention before you put it back on and turn invisible?"

Here is one of my comments in response to this comment:

Restless Pilgrim said:

"What has to be done to get Catholics to sing?! Traditional music or contemporary music, I don’t care which!"

That not caring is part of the problem. It cannot be both. It is not a choice between equals. It is not a matter of taste. If Catholics were actually given their traditional music, they eventually would begin to sing again. But they rarely are given the opportunity, and so they feel lost when the chance to sing chant comes.

Have you ever been to a modern art museum? Stinks right? Well that is not merely your opinion. It actually is objectively bad art. That is why it stinks. Compare the modern art to real art, and imagine nearly every parish in the nation having almost nothing but the modern stuff, and wondering why the people don’t seem to like their art. That is the current music situation. Most of our liturgies are absolutely dominated by 1970's show tunes style music. It is objectively bad music, and ironically it is often hard to sing in a group anyway.

Give them their Catholic music and they will sing! Just like Protestants have their Protestant music, and they sing. Btw, the reason you can go into a huge megachurch and hear everyone singing loudly/getting into it, is because they choose to be there and not the other 40 local Protestant liturgical options from Anglican to Pentecostal. Catholics do not have this option. We have ONE liturgy from which very specific music has grown, and unlike Protestants, who choose an ecclesial community whose liturgy produces the type of music they prefer, Catholics can either stick with what the Church has given them, or force the Protestant music onto the mass. The square Protestant peg will get shredded as it goes into the round Catholic hole, and then we wonder why Catholics don’t want to sing. It is not that they don’t want to sing, it is that they are Catholics at a mass and not Protestants at a Sunday service. Each style is suited to each liturgy, and has grown organically out of each liturgy. When I was a Presbyterian, we sang Wesley hymns in 4 part harmony on Sunday morning. It was beautiful. That is their heritage, rising naturally from their liturgy. The Church has given permission to use their songs, if we want, but it must be in THIRD PLACE behind chant and polyphony. (this is from Church documents, not my opinion)

Currently, even the nicer Protestant hymns are in third place behind 1.) Marty Haugan show tunes,
and 2.) "contemporary" folk or happy-clappy!

I assume we can all agree that the chant and polyphony that has grown out of the mass over thousands of years (and even traditional Protestant hymnody) is objectively better than “praise and worship music”? But perhaps someone will argue that some people like the P and W music, so let’s use that music to draw them/make them comfortable, etc. Now to Devin’s main thrust in the article, I know he must be thinking “Hey dude, I was not talking about music in the mass though.” Ok, fair enough. But why use a foreign tradition to introduce someone to your tradition?

Put another way, why use an inferior foreign tradition to draw someone to your tradition? Watch the above video of “Gather us in” by Haugan. That song has a place. It’s place is in a Protestant liturgy, or around a campfire! The words of the song, the music itself, and the instruments likely to be used (guitar) are totally inappropriate for mass according to the clear teaching of the Magisterium. So why have a service outside of mass that tells the participant “we are Catholics who really like this Protestant liturgical music, and we like to sing it outside of mass as opposed to our own liturgical music which is much richer and deeper and in the long run more emotional, but for some reason we would rather skip all that and sing this disposable stuff.” The clear implication is “this is the music we really like, and we want it at mass”. Otherwise why not sing from the vast storehouse of Catholic music that we have, that is specifically Catholic, ancient, and objectively beautiful? Shouldn’t we put our BEST foot forward when we are showcasing the Catholic faith to people? Why in the world would we use the scraps from the Protestant table to showcase Catholicism? Protestants have seen the scraps, they want the Church.

It is as if a great king wanted to show his wealth to a visitor, and instead of bringing him into the vault and blinding him with the huge mounds of bright gold and jewels as far as the eye can see, he meets him at the city gates and shows him a fancy carriage and some Russel Stover chocolates- gifts which a neighboring king gave him. “Really, believe me, I’m super rich, really I am, trust me!” The visitor can’t help but think “If he is so rich, why not just show me?” Catholicism is the rich king, and Protestant hymns are the gilded carriage. The sickly sweet chocolates are praise and worship songs. Why would we have a meeting at the city gate (in the basement of the Church) to hand out these chocolates when we can invite everyone to the storeroom (mass) to see the treasure?
One last point. Even if this idea of a service outside of mass was great, lets first get the music inside mass fixed before we start focusing on the outside.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Complaining about Bad "Music"

This is a comment I left on Devin Rose's blog on a great article called the Parish is what you make of it:

I got schooled recently. Here is what happened.

I went to a local parish for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and was red faced at the awful music. It was the “Creation Mass” by Haugan, and I truly felt violated at the awfulness of the irreverent hippie music (this is why I drive 45 minutes to go to a reverent liturgy on Sundays).

Whoa man, this mass has really choice vibrations flowing dude...

I read online an article “how to start a garage schola”


by Jefrey Tucker, and I felt a bit humbled. His #1 point was to stop complaining and start DOING something. He said to NEVER complain to the pastor until you have started your own schola that is willing to sing every Sunday. (!!!)

Point being, it is A LOT of work to change the bad situations at our parishes. Just the issue of music alone requires a lot of work. Not to mention catechesis and such.

Here is the problem though Devin, I will not go to my local parishes because they are bad enough it will take years to change them. I cant wait 5 years or more because I have lots of young children. I don't want them to be guinea pigs for years… being subjected to the “music” at these parishes during their formative years. Do you see my predicament? How will these impoverished parishes change if the people who care drive an hour to more faithful parishes in the city? I don’t see an answer.

One thing is for sure though, we need to not complain to our Priests PERIOD. We need to either shut up, or present fully formed solutions (like you did with your apologetics class, good for you bro).

Another point I want to make is where I think some complaining is perhaps in order. The bishops. Why cant they put a 6 month or even a year limit on the horrid music? That would be plenty of time for the current musicians and laypeople to learn the music that the Magisterium has said over and over is proper for mass: Chant.

I think this issue needs top down leadership to a degree. Laymen can only do so much, and small churches with limited musical resources cant be expected to do separate masses with chant at 9 and Haugan show tunes at 11, it is just to much. We need a hero to tell us how it is going to be! Benedict rescue us!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catholic schools are not workable...

...In their current form. Imo.

From Jimmy Akin:
But the cause [for Catholic schools needing to be closed] that Archbishop Chaput names in the interview is certainly a plausible one: the retreat of women and men religious from the Catholic education scene and the consequent effect on the faculty. Women and men religious, living communally and being under vows of poverty and being able to solicit donations for their order and even subsidizing Catholic schools directly, were able to operate for substantially less money than a faculty composed of lay people supporting families and trying to maintain a place in the middle class (i.e., avoid poverty). The exodus of religious from faculty and the consequent influx of ordinary lay people is certainly going to affect how much it costs to educate a student, and as tuition rises it can lead to a decrease in the number of students: a vicious cycle.
I don’t know how the finances of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are structured or how specifically the schools might be affected by legal settlements, but Archbishop Chaput is certainly right that the change in the composition of the school workforce is going to impact the economics of the situation in a significant way.
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/archbishop-chaput-answers-questions-about-his-stunning-letter/#ixzz1gQ1kOM4H
Archbishop Chaput is spot on. This is so sad, because educating our children is the most important thing in the world. And by "educating" I don't just mean preparing them to be good American consumers. I mean preparing  them to serve God- no small task. And by "most important thing in the world", I mean exactly that.

The Catholic grade school near my town just recently was disbanded as well. By chance I met a young lady at my Church that had taught there. I felt bad for her. Her heart was in the right place, but with people like her as teachers, the situation will never be resolved. It's not her fault that she will probably get married and have a family and require a bigger paycheck, that's great. But that means higher tuition, and that is not just "not great", it is not do-able. Let's do the math together.

Lets take what is probably a typical Catholic family of 8 people with a single income of $45,000. Things are tight but possible on that income. Lets say they desire to send their 6 kids to the local Catholic school. Forget for a moment what the school wants to charge those parents and lets think of the actual cost of educating their kids. I checked out 2 different schools earlier this year and pricing differed, but lets give a low number of *$4000 per kid. Honestly, that seems really low, right? For a 20 kid classroom that would add up to $80,000 to spread out to the teacher, admin, supplies, and facilities. Tight budget.
So like I said, ignore what they charge the parent. Perhaps the parent gets grants and ends up only paying $2000 out of pocket for the whole crew, whatever. The point is, someone is paying. Whether in that parish or in the whole diocese. And for 6 kids at $4,000 a piece, that $24,000 is no small amount. One thing is for certain though, most parents simply can't pay that, and should not be expected to. Paying 24 grand out of a 45 grand a year salary?! Yeah right! That is not to mention if more kids come along. It is not at all impossible for a healthy family to have 8 or 9 kids in grades 2 through 12 at the same time. At that point, are only wealthy people allowed to have their kids in school? (keep in mind that I am not even considering public school an option, as that would be hatred of you children to send them there. A good Catholic would not do it unless forced to)
If a family with 8 in school cant come up with the $32,000 for their kids school that year does the parish pay it? The Archdiocese? Is it reasonable to expect them to? I don't think so.

I find it ironic that of the two schools I looked into sending my oldest daughter to, the close, rural one had to close it's doors by order of the archdiocese, and the really good, wealthy city one (many wealthy parents) was full! Either way I would have been out of luck this year. What sort of impression does this leave on the converts who has been homeshooling for 3 years? The Catholic school system is utterly broken. Thankfully we are very comfortable home schooling. But what about single parents? Are they just out of luck? And for me, what about when high school rolls around and I want my kids to be taking some advanced classes?

The problem here is evident. It is not possible to have a school charge $4000 or more per year. Governments get away with it because they collect their $10,000 per kid, per year at gunpoint (they dont pass a plate for property taxes).

The answer is one or a combination of two things: Get religious communities back in the schools, and  homeschooling. The former is not currently possible, as there are simply not enough of them. The latter is possible for most families.

What I think would be a good preparation for the future is  this:
Put funding currently going to Catholic schools into forming religious orders for teaching. Current teachers could either take vows or leave. The current schools could be turned into half living quarters for the religious/half schools. Restrict admittance for the time being to those who legitimately cannot homeshool (single parents, etc.) and make it free. Make the priority of the school the religious instruction and spiritual formation of the children. This way their instructors vows will have some payoff. After all, no one wants to sacrifice their life so a kid can be a better consumer of western culture and a better capitalist. But they will sacrifice their life for a child to grow up to be a saint.
If this were implemented nationwide, in a generation we could have thriving Catholic schools bursting at the seams with children who know and love their faith, and who are ready to take on the world for Christ.

Or we could just keep following the secular cultures example of treating schools like factories with expensive foremen. Unfortunately this is what will almost certainly happen in my children's lifetime, so homeschool will continue to be the best option for them.

After writing I learned the real costs. Elementary was less than my estimate, secondary was way more. I think my points are still valid though.

"The average cost of tuition per pupil in a catholic elementary school is $3,383 while secondary education costs $8,182. Parents who choose to send their children to Catholic school still pay for a public school education with their state and local taxes. In 2010, the public education system spent approximately $10,614 per pupil."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/08/educating-children-catholic-schools-doing/#ixzz1gQQHgQI3

Friday, December 9, 2011

St. Thomas on No-fault Divorce

The evil of divorce cannot be underestimated. The evil of a culture embracing no-fault divorce is exponentially worse.

St. Thomas Aquinas:
It seems obviously inappropriate for a woman to be able to put away her husband, because a wife is naturally subject to her husband as governor, and it is not within the power of a person subject to another to depart from his rule. So, it would be against the natural order if a wife were able to abandon her husband.
Therefore, if a husband were permitted to abandon his wife, the society of husband and wife would not be an association of equals but, instead, a sort of slavery on the part of the wife.
(Summa contra Gentiles III:124:[4]).

Our "advanced" culture:
No-fault divorce is a divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage requires neither a showing of wrong-doing of either party nor any evidentiary proceedings at all. Laws providing for no-fault divorce allow a family court to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either party to the marriage, without requiring the petitioner to provide evidence that the respondent has committed a breach of the marital contract. (From Wikepedia)
No fault divorce began in the US in the land of fruits and nuts (California) on January 1st 1970. In 1977, while living in San Fran-freako, my father left my mother destitute with their four children. You have to understand the situation though, he just didn't feel like having a family anymore. Needed to stretch his wings and not feel so cooped up. Yeah maaaan.

If divorce can be obtained by either party in a marriage without any regard to the marriage contract, then is does it even qualify as a contract? Which of the following are more important to a society than marriage:

  1. Obeying speed limits
  2. Using designated crosswalks
  3. refraining from urinating in an alley
  4. Refraining from drunk driving
  5. Paying your taxes
  6. Not smoking pot
Obviously none of them even come close to the foundational importance of marriage. Yet you will get in WAY MORE TROUBLE for violating any of these than for violating your marriage contract, which is hands down the most important contract anyone can enter into. Did men step up to the plate and defend marriage, womankind and children everywhere from the evil? Nope. Was there an outcry from feminists and women's and children's advocates about no-fault divorce? Quite the opposite actually.
Here is my point:
Compared to the lionesses of centuries past, the typical women from the modern, industrialized west is a subservient whore who has been dominated by the most grotesque mysogeny ever. And by the weakest generation of men ever as well! It is the worst ever because it is the women who willingly degrade themselves! They have silently given everything away for a greasy bowl of lentils. At least many a whore despises her own profession and her pimp*, but modern woman is eager to be pimped out for nothing more than money! (St. Augustine calls a wife a whore for using contraception, so take it up with him not me ;-) They have given up their God given, supremely fulfilling role of being help-meet to husband, mother, teacher, homemaker, for the bowl of foul lentils that is no-fault divorce and the broken homes that it leads to, abortion, contraception, childlessness, and taking a masculine posture by working outside of their calling: the home.

Remember the old saying "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world"?

It happens to be quite true. Modern industrialized women has stopped rocking the cradle (and even looks down her nose at those who do) in favor of blandly pointing at a flow chart in a conference room somewhere in a shoulder padded pant-suit. Congratulations ladies, you are the stupidest generation of women in the history of mankind!

*"You [Manicheans] make your auditors adulterers of their wives when they take care lest the women with whom they copulate conceive. They take wives according to the laws of matrimony by tablets announcing that the marriage is contracted to procreate children; and then, fearing because of your law [against childbearing]…they copulate in a shameful union only to satisfy lust for their wives. They are unwilling to have children, on whose account alone marriages are made. How is it, then, that you are not those prohibiting marriage, as the apostle predicted of you so long ago [1 Tim. 4:1–4], when you try to take from marriage what marriage is? When this is taken away, husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots, bridal chambers are brothels, fathers-in-law are pimps.” Augustine, Against Faustus 15:7 (A.D. 400).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Colbert clip

Stephen Colbert after a "Catholic Bender". Coffee came out my nose when he pulls the relic out. This man is hilarious.

Hat tip to Bad Catholic. More clips on his most worthy blog.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cool Hymnal

As follow-up to my recent post about Tridentine vs. Vatican II masses, check out this new hymnal. I LOL'ed when she says it is the FIRST hymnal since Vatican II to contain the propers of the mass. 50 years?!

Please Lord, let beautiful music glorify you in  your Churches once again.

By the way, the Corpus Christi Watershed website is incredible. There was a section on there where you can listen to different parts of chant. I'm not very musical, but I know what is reverent and what aint. And I like what I see from folks like this.

Special Announcement: VATICAN II HYMNAL from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

I will throw in a video that I saw last year that I just love also. Imagine if every liturgist in the Catholic Church would implement a more reverent liturgy. You may saaaay that i'm a dreamer, but i'm not the only one...

Can you tell the difference?? from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.