Unusual Canon Law Situations #2

by Jimmy Akin

in Canon Law

A bunch of folks have e-mailed me about a situation occurring in the Diocese of Orange (California) in which a number of parishioners have been "invited" to "leave" their parish and the diocese.

According to some, the reason for this is that they insist on kneeling after the Agnus Dei when the local bishop has determined otherwise.

Now, for those who may not be aware, the determination that there will not be kneeling after the Agnus Dei is a determination that liturgical law empowers a bishop to make in this country. He’s within his rights to do that. Section 43 of the U.S. version of the GIRM provides:

In the dioceses of the United States of America, they [the faithful] should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

Now: I don’t know whether this is the real issue in the parish in question or not. I’ve had people e-mail me links to a bunch of stories that give the parishioners’ side of what is going on, but that’s the problem: It’s the parishioners’ side of things. I don’t have a full account of what the other side of the story is.

I’ve seen the text of the letter in which the priest invites them to leave, but this document only makes summary allegations (e.g., that the parishioners have distributed literature that made false allegations against the diocese and the priest). It doesn’t get into the specifics underlying these charges (e.g., what was it specifically that the parishioners said that was false?).

In the absence of further information, I can’t make any judgment one way or the other about this situation.

But I would comment on one thing: What the priest said in his letter is . . . odd, canonically speaking.

Here’s the relevant passage:

With full responsibility, authority and faculties of an Administrator of St. Mary’s by the Sea, appointed by Bishop Brown, for the sake of the common good of the Church, the parish and the diocese, with the approval of the Bishop, I (very sadly) officially invite you To leave the parish St. Mary’s by the Sea and the diocese of Orange.

You will be welcomed back only with your sincere heart-felt repentance/conversion on these issues mentioned above.

What is one to make of this?

It is certainly not a decree of excommunication. That’s obvious on its face. So the parishioners aren’t excommunicated.

What is meant by inviting them "to leave"? This obviously isn’t an old fashioned "Get out of Dodge" request. The priest isn’t expecting them to physically move out of the Diocese of Orange (or I assume he’s not).

Is he suggesting that they formally defect from the Church? If so, then Rome is going to take a very dim view of that. Formal defection from the Church is an intrinsically evil act, and priests should not be in the business of recommending that people commit intrinsically evil acts.

Is he just inviting them to not attend church in the diocese until they shape up? Maybe. That’s something that could arguably be within the authority of a bishop.

I mean, there may be individuals in a diocese who are so disruptive–even though they haven’t committed the canonical crimes that would ordinarily result in excommunication–that it is reasonable to request their non-attendance until they shape up.

I suspect that there would be a way for the bishop to handle this via the Code’s "just penalty" provisions, without going all the way up to an excommunication. But we don’t have a decree imposing a penalty here.

We may, in fact, have a translation problem. The priest’s last name is "Tran," which I assume means that he is of Vietnamese extraction, so English may not be his first language. That could play a role either in the way he articulates himself in the letter or in what he understood the bishop to be authorizing him to do.

I suspect we’ll be hearing more about this in the future.

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JoAnna March 8, 2006 at 12:37 pm

I’m a Catholic convert (was raised ELCA Lutheran and converted in 2003), and frankly this seems like making a mountain out of a molehill. Who cares if the parishoners are bowing, sitting, or standing after the Agnus Dei as long as they’re doing so respectfully (i.e., showing the proper respect to the Eucharist)? If they’re not, I see the problem, of course, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

eweu March 8, 2006 at 1:37 pm

Dom has a PDF of the offending literature mentioned in the bishop’s letter.
In my opinion, it’s unfortunate that these parishioners took a somewhat militant tone, but in any sort of extreme reaction, there’s a grain of truth. This parish seems to have been completely turned on its head with the retirement of the former pastor, and that’s just not pastoral. Isn’t the bishop supposed to be the shepherd of his flock?

Nick March 8, 2006 at 1:37 pm

Califonia has a law which allows clergy (of whatever the church’s equivalent is) to revoke an invitation to a public place. That is, kick out trouble makers. Since church’s are, usually, public the invitation has to be revoked. This could be the bishop/priest making use of this provision in Californian law to restrict access in the future.

bill912 March 8, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Thanks, eweu. I’m with them on a lot of their complaints. But when I got to the part where they recommended that people kneel to receive Holy Communion(when the norm in this country is standing), refuse to engage in the Sign of Peace, and kneel after the Agnus Dei(when the local Ordinary has lawfully directed them to sit), they lost me. Then, right after that part, they complained about the disobedience of others. It sounded distinctly like the pot accusing the kettle.

Steve March 8, 2006 at 3:17 pm

I think some of the animosity we are now seeing was generated when the bishop revoked permission for the traditional latin rite mass at St. Mary’s with the retirement of their former priest.

Old Zhou March 8, 2006 at 3:44 pm

Hey, Jimmy,
Why don’ you just take a drive up I-5 and check it out. HB is a nice place to visit, and this little “mission church” is real close to the pier. You can fish if you don’t like to surf.
Fr. Tran is a member of the Catholic Biblical Association of America. His membership directory includes:
TRAN, Rev. Martin D., S.T.L., S.T.D. (2002)
321 10th Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
b. Aug. 24, 1956.
Ord. April 28, 1990.
Studied semitics at Cath. Univ. Amer., 1993-94; bibl. theol. at Gregorian Univ., 1994-98 (S.T.L., 1996; S.T.D., 1998).
Taught Script. at St. Patrick’s Sem. (asst. prof.), Menlo Park, 1998-2003.
Assoc. Pastor, St. Joseph Ch., Santa Ana., 2003-.
I really doubt that he would have any trouble with English.
Regarding the previous pastor (May 2004):

Father Johnson began his tenure as pastor of Saint Mary’s by the Sea Church, which had been a mission church of Sts. Simon and Jude Church in Huntington Beach, in 1979, three years after the Diocese of Orange had been created by Pope Paul VI in 1976. He was sent to St. Mary’s by the Sea, which was considered at the time to be a remote outpost of the diocese, more or less as a punishment for his refusal to distribute Holy Communion in the hand when the American bishops, after countenancing this sacrilege in a de facto manner for several years, received “permission” from Pope Paul VI to present this as an “option” for the faithful. Father Johnson was assigned to Saint Joseph Church in Placentia, California, at the time. Also in residence at Saint Joseph Church was Father Frederick Schell, S.J., who was conducting catechetical classes with Father Johnson. Father Schell decided that he could not distribute Holy Communion in the hand, preaching against it in November of 1977 before he began to exercise his rights under Quo Primum to offer the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in several places in southern California from that time until shortly before his death on September 28, 2002. Father Johnson took a different tack, refusing to distribute Holy Communion in the hand but choosing to remain in the diocesan structure. It was his abject refusal to go along with the revolutionary program of the American bishops that caused him to be “banished” to St. Mary’s by the Sea in 1979.

The future of Saint Mary’s by the Sea is uncertain at present. Stories abound that Father Johnson’s successors will remove the altar rail, end kneeling for the reception of Holy Communion and distribute Holy Communion in the hand. These stories are not outlandish. As my article in the April 30 issue of The Remnant notes, the Diocese of Orange is seeking to end the indult Mass that Father Johnson has offered since 1992, replacing it with the Novus Ordo offered in Latin, as though knowledgeable traditional Catholics will be satisfied with a Mass that even in its Latin editio typica is a less full expression of the Faith and is replete with problems that have been well documented in many books, especially those written by Michael Davies. The structure of the Novus Ordo is so unstable and the prisoner of subjective circumstances that the work of a great pastor of souls such as Father Daniel Johnson can be undone in its external trappings within a short period of time. As my wife Sharon has noted, “The wreckovators will be in one door as Father Johnson is going out the other.”

Just FYI, there is still a (modern) Latin Mass at the parish every Sunday noon.
See this unofficial site:

Kathleen March 8, 2006 at 3:45 pm

The Trid Mass being revoked has been part of the problem. St. Mary’s has also been undergoing a crash course in “updating” the past couple of years. This has been rather difficult for our little parish.
I really don’t know what’s going on with the “invitation to leave”. I never heard it announced at Mass, though it may have been on a Sunday that I was out of town. I know that for the last couple months there have been announcements at *every* Mass regarding standing after Consecration. I don’t like it, but I do as I’m told (that whole pesky obedience thing).
We are still allowed to kneel at the altar rail to receive, for which I am most grateful. I do so hope that this isn’t taken away.

John March 8, 2006 at 3:56 pm

If you are traditional and hold fast to the teachings, mass and show reverence-LOOK OUT
Come to church in flip flops, receive our Lord in your dirty hands from another, talk, cellphones, stand in the back, never genuflect, and doubt the real presence and you are WELCOME!
Is something amiss here? Are these men really Bishops and Shepherds of the sheep? Would they lay down their lives for their sheep as our Lord asked them to do? Forget about it, find you nearest Indult or Traditional Mass where respect is granted to Our Lord and the sacrifice he made for mankind

Jonathan Prejean March 8, 2006 at 4:13 pm

Just FYI, the “invitation” never arrived. The bulletins were dumped due to “printer error” before they got distributed:
FWIW, as a parishoner in the Diocese, I think this has a lot more to do with Bishop Brown putting a tremendous focus in projecting the right image after the sexual abuse scandal. I think the idea is that they have to look accessible (viz., non-intimidating) for anyone who might want to file a complaint, and an insular-looking ritual like the Latin Mass just doesn’t fit that picture. I take a pretty dim view of the effectiveness of “creating an atmosphere” as a defensive tactic (actual working mechanisms for punishing people quickly and severely for violations does a whole lot more for one’s credibility, IMHO), but I suspect that’s what’s going on.

mt March 8, 2006 at 4:13 pm

Wow…I don’t often get to a really good, beautiful Mass, but even the half dozen or so moderately boring, middle-of-the-road suburban parishes I have been to in recent years in the Northeast –churches prone to singing “Table of Plenty” etc — STILL do the normal thing and kneel after the Agnus Dei, and stay that way until the end of communion when the priest sits down.
A few people sit (maybe they have bad backs, who knows) and no one says a word.
To repeat what Jimmy quoted above (Sec. 43):
The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise. And why would he do that? It’s clearly NOT the norm.

Old Zhou March 8, 2006 at 4:18 pm

Late last year, the secretary of Una Voce Orange County gave this summary of the current situation for “Traditional Latin Mass” folks:
In the Diocese of Orange, California, Una Voce of Orange County represents over 400 families.
In May, 2004, the Indult Mass location in Huntington Beach was suppressed when the pastor retired.
Despite hundreds of letters and thousands of signatures on petitions, it remains forbidden there.
We have one remaining Indult Mass location, serving a diocese of over 1,044,191 Catholics in the county of 2,760,948 people.
The Tridentine Mass at that location, offered only on Sundays at 8 a.m. and non-transferred Holy Days, is attended by 300+ persons every Sunday, and 450+ on the first Sunday of every month.
It is held at Serra Chapel, Mission San Juan Capistrano, which is designed to hold approximately 170 persons.
In addition, we have one “independent” chapel in Garden Grove, which offers daily Mass as well as 3 Masses on Sundays, which are attended by 700+ persons total.
The independent chapel added the third Mass within the last two years due to the increase in attendance, largely from the growing numbers of “refugee” faithful from the suppressed Indult Mass in Huntington Beach.

The “independent chapel” in Garden Grove is not affiliated with the Diocese of Orange or the Bishop of Orange (or the Bishop of Rome, I guess).

Old Zhou March 8, 2006 at 4:33 pm

Here is an OC Register article from September 2004 about the Traditional mass as the Mission, in the diocese, with the Bishop’s approval.

Old Zhou March 8, 2006 at 4:50 pm

I would like to mention that there are four places in the Diocese of Orange (as opposed to only 1 place in my larger Diocese) where Latin Mass is available:
St. Pius V, Buena Park (NO), Sunday at 7:15am
St. Michael’s Abbey, Silverado (NO), Sunday at 11am (sung!); Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 6:45am
St. Mary’s by the Sea, Huntington Beach (NO), Sunday at noon (sung!)
Mission San Juan Capistrano, Serra Chapel, San Juan Capistrano, (NO) Sunday at 7am and 10:15am, Holydays-time varies; (Tridentine)
Sunday at 8am
I don’t know what this OC traditionalists are so upset about. Mission San Juan Capistrano is, IMHO, a lot nicer than downtown HB.
And I find it hard to imagine that they cannot even force themselves to participate in a sung Latin Mass of the newer missal.
The bishop does provide for them a lot of Latin, and even the Traditional Mass at a beautiful Mission.
And the “Traditional” community is only about 450 people, or 0.04% of the Catholic population of the diocese.

Kathleen March 8, 2006 at 4:54 pm

Ohhhhh. *That’s* what the printer error announcement was about. I thought it sounded weird.
I really don’t understand why Bishop Brown made the changes he did in Orange County. I don’t deny that he has the authority to do so, nor do I deny that the Faithful must obey, but what good will they possibly bring about? Does anyone have any insight into his reasons?

Jonathan Prejean March 8, 2006 at 6:22 pm

“The bishop does provide for them a lot of Latin, and even the Traditional Mass at a beautiful Mission.”
I’ve heard that the SJC Tridentine Mass, which is in the much smaller Serra Chapel, which only holds a few hundred, is simply overwhelmed with people, and that’s the only Tridentine Mass. If it were simply a question of Latin novus ordo, I understand that there is still a Latin NO at the parish (I’m not sure if St. Michael’s is still open to the public). But I agree that there do appear to be options. If I were in their shoes, I’d probably drive to one of the Eastern rite churches in Anaheim; no worries about liturgical abuse there!
“I don’t deny that he has the authority to do so, nor do I deny that the Faithful must obey, but what good will they possibly bring about? Does anyone have any insight into his reasons?”
I assume that he refuses to explain. Hence, the speculation.

M.Z. Forrest March 8, 2006 at 7:22 pm

There are so many issues with this. I’m not a canon lawyer, and I don’t play one on the Internet, but:
1) If a member is under formal discipline from diocese, my understanding is that they could not licitly receive communion in another diocese.
2) A member cannot be, in my understanding, under discipline in one rite and become a member of another rite. In other words, if one were excommunicated from the Latin rite, they are also excommunicated under the Ukranian rite.
The other issue is the bishop’s obligation to be lenient. Our Lord said a bishop should not Lord his power over people.

M.Z. Forrest March 8, 2006 at 7:25 pm

Also, my understanding is that part of allowing an Eastern rite Church in one’s diocese also obligates that Church to respect the decisions of the bishop of the diocese the mission church is a part.

Quo Vadis March 8, 2006 at 7:34 pm

The Bishop is supposed to explain why the norm is the norm and yet no Bishop has ever explained why for all my life we knelt until just a few years ago when the new GIRM was written in such a way that the Laureates of the Loophole (our “anything but follow Rome’s intent” faction that controls the USCCB) could interpret it to mean one could stand. It was a case of not treating the USCCB like the bunch of loophole hunting Bishops they are. Any document or directive from Rome must now be “shyster proofed” if you want the majority of American Bishops to actually do as Rome intends.
There is nothing “normal” about the norm of standing. And it did not exist until the publishing of the new GIRM a few years back.

Anonymous March 8, 2006 at 7:57 pm

“Also, my understanding is that part of allowing an Eastern rite Church in one’s diocese also obligates that Church to respect the decisions of the bishop of the diocese the mission church is a part.”
Sure, but the bishop wouldn’t be making elections about the rites and whatnot. I believe those decisions are made by the sui iuris church, not by the local ordinary. At any rate, these folks aren’t excommunicated, so there’s no reason for them not to find another parish elsewhere.

BillyHW March 8, 2006 at 8:01 pm

How many abortions are we up to now? 50,000,000?

M.Z. Forrest March 8, 2006 at 8:04 pm

They are not formally excommunicated, that is true. Functionally they may be. Regardless, one can’t escape a dicipline by going down the road. For example, if part of my penance were to be denied communion for a month, I couldn’t just go across diocean lines and receive or goto an Eastern Rite Church. Whether anyone would know is immaterial.

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B. March 8, 2006 at 8:22 pm

Aside from St. Mary, other places in the Diocese of Orange that offer Mass in Latin are the following.
St. Pius V, Buena Park
St. Michael Abbey, Silverado
Mission San Juan Capistrano, Serra Chapel, San Juan Capistrano

BillyHW March 8, 2006 at 9:51 pm

THE CLOSE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY WEEK, Thursday, January 25, saw a gathering of leaders from three Christian denominations with Bishop Tod Brown of the diocese of Orange at Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano for an ecumenical prayer service, according to the Los Angeles Times. Episcopal bishop J. Jon Bruno, Lutheran bishop Murray Finck, Presbyterian elder Jane Odel, and Bishop Brown each led a part of the service in which a crowd of 500, including 40 clergymen and clergywomen, participated. The service included a choir composed of the members of five churches and liturgical dancers moving interpretively in the aisles.

BillyHW March 8, 2006 at 10:00 pm

OUR LADY QUEEN OF ANGELS church in Newport Beach offered an Adult Faith Formation day on March 3 called “In Christ There is No East or West.” One might suppose that this was an introduction, perhaps, to Orthodox spiritual practices and theology; it was not; rather, it was really an introduction to Zen Buddhism. Along with Father Rafael Luevano, ecumenical and interrreligious affairs officer for the diocese of Orange, special guests included Zen master Robert Moore and Zen abbot Paul Lynch (who, notes the flyer for the event, has “co-authored a book entitled A Path to Christ Consciousness).
Monsignor William McLaughlin, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angels, told the Mission that the Lenten formation day was part of a regular meditation group that meets every week “for centering prayer and other types of Catholic traditional prayer. This was to see if any of their [Buddhist] methodology would help and, apparently, some people said it did.” He could not say for sure; he wasn’t present.

BillyHW March 8, 2006 at 10:32 pm

Undaunted by inclement weather, a record 38,577 people — reflecting awareness and desire for growing in and sharing the faith — gathered during Presidents Day weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center for the 37th annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

At the Feb. 18 opening rite and welcome, Sister Prendergast and Cardinal Roger Mahony along with more than 50 liturgical ministers, musicians, dancers and artists officially began the convention

The liturgy was the school of prayer, the Catholic school, the religious education program, the impetus to social action and works of charity,” he said.

At the Sunday morning liturgy, Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod Brown, spoke…

BillyHW March 8, 2006 at 10:38 pm

Bishop Tod Brown at mass with liturgical dancers:

BillyHW March 8, 2006 at 10:48 pm

I recall the photograph I was sent by one local Catholic of Bishop Tod Brown yanking (he says gently pulling) a middle-aged woman up by her arm, as the woman tried to receive communion from him while she was kneeling.
Last summer, the bishop insisted that two priests credibly accused of downloading child pornography on their computer were not in violation of the diocese’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse. That’s why the person who sent me the photograph penciled in a caption: “Bishop Brown: light-handed on child porn – but heavy-handed on kneeling for communion!!”

BillyHW March 8, 2006 at 11:06 pm

DURING THE CAMPAIGN over Proposition 22, which defined marriage in California, Bishop Tod Brown sent a memo on February 15, 2000 to the priests of the diocese of Orange: “Attached are two articles, ‘Moral Theology’ and ‘Is Proposition 22 Discriminatory?’, by Father Gerald D. Coleman, SS, regarding the marriage initiative, you will find them helpful to you.”
Coleman had written…
“I see no reason why civil law could not in some fashion recognize these faithful and loving unions with clear and specified benefits. These unions would then be recognized by society as sustaining an important status deserving our respect and protection.
On May 31, 2000 Dr. Robert Lynch of Concerned Roman Catholics of America sent Bishop Brown a letter quoting Coleman’s paragraphs advocating legal recognition of homosexual union. Lynch then commented, “These assertions are grotesque and completely contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The long-term, committed and loving homosexual relationships that Coleman sees no moral reason for not recognizing in civil law with certain rights and obligations are in fact unions based upon intrinsically disordered acts condemned by the Church. I am troubled that you as the ordinary of the Diocese of Orange not only sent, but also recommended to all priests in your jurisdiction, an article that clearly contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church and promotes false moral teachings in a substantial matter; that you told them this article containing the heretical assertions noted above and another article ‘expresses [sic] very well my own thoughts on this subject,’ and that you hoped they ‘will find them helpful.’
“I am also troubled by the fact…you intended to keep your approval of his article and assertions hidden from your lay followers.”
Bishop Brown repied to Lynch on June 26: “I am sorry that you are disturbed and perplexed in regards to the subject of your letter. You should know that Father Gerald Coleman’s articles appeared in the archdiocesan Catholic San Francisco. Father Coleman is a highly regarded and respected theologian in the United States.
“While the church is very clear regarding the immorality of an active homosexual life, the civic and civil issues are very complex and require nuance. You can be assured that I have not nor will approve of active homosexual life styles. I am quite confident that our clergy here in the Diocese of Orange is of the same [sic].”

BillyHW March 8, 2006 at 11:09 pm

And that, my friends, is why God created Google.

Patrick March 9, 2006 at 6:11 am

And like all of God’s creations, Google can be used for good or evil, including showing disrespect to a bishop and spreading disobedience to a bishop.

ken March 9, 2006 at 6:53 am

I think any time changes happen on the parish level many individuals end up feeling hurt, especially in cases like this. However, I imagine there would be greater public outcry against the bishop if he refused to allow a NO Mass in the vernacular of the majority of parishioners, say Spanish or Vietnamese. While many Trid worshippers have at times written and spoken unwisely, it does seem that many bishops are seeking to stamp out any form of traditional piety. I believe the new GIRM instructs communicants to bow their heads before receiving, yet in my experience the majority of parishioners at the majority of parishes ignore this directive. Is Bishop Brown doing anything to address this?

eweu March 9, 2006 at 6:53 am

Patrick, you are right. Bishop Brown is indeed disrespecting the Bishop of Rome by disobeying the laws of Christ’s Church.

Patrick March 9, 2006 at 7:37 am

And the bishop of Rome is the proper authority to handle such disrespect, not the laypeople of the Diocese of Orange. Unless the procedures of the Church changed in the last month.

tim robles March 9, 2006 at 8:25 am

…where to start.
Let’s see. I not as educated as many on this post. Therefore I won’t be quoting any cannon law or BOLD texting any church theology.
When I go to Mass I try (that could be difficult sometimes…) to focus my attention on why I’m really there for.
To praise and worship Our Lord.
I dress, not always in my best attire, though I never come to Mass like I’m attending a beach party (shorts and fip-flops). I’m not there to attract attention to myself or my piety or my lack of. I’m there to praise and worship. To be in awe of the presents of Jesus on the altar.
We seem to be loosing that focus and being distracted by other small things.
Our UNITY lies not in if we bow our heads during the Creed or if we stand after the ‘Lamb of God’ or if we stand, kneel, or sit after communion. All those things are helpful to place our minds in the right place….focused on Paschel Sacrifice of the Mass.
Our unity is in the fact that we receive the “Body and Blood of Our Lord” That’s really him present before us!
Every catholic parish should be a welcome site for every catholic. One shouldn’t have to wonder, “Is this a parish that kneels or stands? Is someone going to give me a dirty look if I don’t hold their hand? Is the kneeling, standing bowing police going to ask me to leave?”
“Maybe I should go to this parish instead of that parish”. Sounds a bit like our protestant brothers and sister doesn’t it?
How about,”God is present here at this parish. In the Tabernacle as well as in the parish community.
We need to re-think this whole thing. Do we serve the Lord by taking our Focus off of Him?
tim +<><

bill912 March 9, 2006 at 9:31 am

One of the signs of unity is obedience to lawful authority. People can be completely right in their criticisms and still engage in disobedience. As Karl Keating reminds us in his latest newsletter (www.catholic.com): Look at the saints; their lives show us that it is more important to be obedient than it is to be right.

B Knotts March 9, 2006 at 10:44 am

Canonically speaking, doesn’t any discipline or punishment of a Catholic require the availability of a juridicial process?

Miguel Agustin March 9, 2006 at 1:56 pm


Miguel Agustin March 9, 2006 at 2:02 pm


Anthony March 9, 2006 at 2:12 pm
JJ March 9, 2006 at 8:04 pm

Redemptionis Sacramentum plainly states that parishioners can make their opinions about such things known to the competent authorities, including bishops, Cardinals, and Popes. So yes, Church teaching does allow that.
The things you cite happened in India. Not in America. Cardinal Arinze has been crystal clear in defining the difference between such things when it is part of one’s culture and when it is not, and he has stated that in the West, it is not permitted.

Patrick March 10, 2006 at 6:46 am

“Redemptionis Sacramentum plainly states that parishioners can make their opinions about such things known to the competent authorities, including bishops, Cardinals, and Popes. So yes, Church teaching does allow that.”
Which bishops, Cardinals, and Popes read the comments here? Isn’t it causing scandal by turning this into a public foodfight (with the food only being thrown one direction) instead of simply working through proper channels? It seems to me that if the parishioners are right, the remedy has to come from within the church anyway, so getting a bunch of people fired up on the Internet only makes the church’s local representatives naturally defensive.

Anthony March 10, 2006 at 2:41 pm

JJ, if your premise is that American culture is or should be an unmalleable thing or that America should be a primarily Western culture, then I heartily deny it.
I tend to find liturgical dancing to be silly, but I am open to the idea that American culture can shift toward one where some liturgical dancing makes sense in some contexts without it being a bad thing.

Tim J. March 10, 2006 at 4:45 pm

“…if your premise is that American culture is or should be an unmalleable thing or that America should be a primarily Western culture, then I heartily deny it.”
American culture IS primarily Western at its very roots. This is true of our political system and our legal system, as well as our popular culture.
While it has been a part of religious worship in many cultures, dancing has just not ever been a part of Christian worship in the west, and this is okay!
If we feel some obligation to preserve other cultures, should we not feel some obligation to preserve our own?

johnchrysostom March 11, 2006 at 5:32 am

The members of Restore The Sacred have never been guilty of slander or detraction. They have not repeated anything untrue or unknown. Moreover, they aren’t causing scandal; they are being scandalized.
Their suffering comes on every side, as Church authorities spurn them and progressive and orthodox Catholics tell them to obey. It is interesting that the same progressives who cite Church teaching that one must follow the directives of their conscience as an excuse to accept heterodoxy and even sinful behavior such as homosexual acts, contraception, and abortion are not rushing to the defense of Restore The Sacred…
The thing is, the members of Restore The Sacred have obeyed, and obeyed, and obeyed, and they see that all things inconsistent with progressive Catholicism are just being stripped away, bit by bit, while real liturgical abuse and heterodoxy within the diocese continues without comment.
Most of the Tridentine Mass attendees at St. Mary’s have gone over to a local chapel not affiliated with the diocese. Many of them have never looked back. These people are the folks who remained. Please, cut us some slack! (Yes, I’m one a member of Restore The Sacred.)
We feel that Bishop Brown is straining the gnat (liturgically) and swallowing the camel (liturgically [in other parishes in the diocese] and even morally in his support for homosexuality and silence on pro-choice Catholic politicians in our diocese).
Members of Restore The Sacred have been falsely accused of wrongdoing; here in this blog, as well as by their parish administrator. They have been accused of pride when all they are doing is worshipping as they always have and trying to help people to see that there is an agenda behind the bishop’s actions that doesn’t smack of orthodoxy.
As a consequence for their stand, people have accused them of being “more Roman than Rome” or questioned their motives for continuing to worship as they always have. Suddenly what they have always considered reverence is being called an act of pride, or defiance, or an act of protest. It’s really quite sad, as their motives have actually never changed.

johnchrysostom March 11, 2006 at 5:35 am

Contrary to what has been posted here by some, it is absolutely scriptural and in keeping with Church law to do the things Restore The Sacred has done. In the Church, the voice of one is the voice of none. Only the voice of many is taken seriously by Church authority and capable of receiving a response from the Holy See. This is in keeping with the following scripture:
“If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
St. Paul publicly rebuked St. Peter.
St. Catherine of Siena was publicly critical of cardinals and told Pope Gregory XI to go back to Rome.
Moreover, According to St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, (ST II-II.33.4 ad 2) we have the duty to rebuke our prelate if he commits a fault.
Catholics at St. Mary’s by the Sea are within their canonical rights to question the actions of Bishop Brown and Fr. Tran in accordance with Canon 212 of the Code of Canon Law.
Canon 212 – §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.
§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.
§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

johnchrysostom March 11, 2006 at 5:45 am

In order to avoid charges of detraction, documentation to back up my claims can be seen in my posts (using the name johnchrysostom) here:
and here:

bill912 March 11, 2006 at 6:38 am

“The thing is, the members of Restore The Sacred have obeyed and obeyed and obeyed.”
From their own website(eweu, above, links to it):
“During the distribution of Holy communion, kneel so you can receive Our Lord in the truest from of reverence.” Since the norm for receiving Holy Communion in this country is standing, Restore The Sacred is encouraging disobedience to lawful Church authority, which is never an act of reverence.
“Do not share the sign of peace.” Since the rubrics of the Mass direct us to exchange the sign of peace if the priest directs us to do so, Restore The Sacred is encouraging disobedience here, too. (The sign of peace is an optional part of the mass, but it is the priest’s option, not the congregation’s).
“Kneel after the Lamb of God.” Since the local Ordinary has lawfully directed that the congregation are to stand after the Lamb of God, Restore The Sacred is encouraging disobedience here, too.
Now, I am in favor of kneeling to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, of eliminating the sign of peace(or moving it to an earlier part of the mass), and of kneeling after the Lamb of God, but I will not disobey Holy Mother Church to do.

bill912 March 11, 2006 at 6:39 am

There should be a “so” as the last word of the above comment. “So” sorry.

johnchrysostom March 11, 2006 at 7:18 am

The Holy See has guaranteed the right of Catholics everywhere to kneel for Holy Communion, so that isn’t properly termed disobedience, as can be seen here: http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/kneeling_for_communion.htm
It is not disobedient to kneel after the Lamb of God either. Cardinal Arinze expressed that here: http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/kneeling.htm
The sign of peace is liturgically optional. It was not done at all at St. Mary’s for over 20 years. Now that it has started, people are pew hopping and waving just like at any other parish. The group is sad to see this and is encouraging people not to join in.
Calling that disobedience seems a bit harsh.
Meanwhile, the parish administrator demanding obedience told 14 parishioners in a meeting that he supports the ordination of women and the bishop demanding obedience sent a memo to all of his priests supporting homosexual domestic partnerships.
Talk about straining the gnat and swallowing the camel!

bill912 March 11, 2006 at 7:33 am

My apologies for my “harshness” in pointing out facts which are inconvenient to what you wish to be true.

johnchrysostom March 11, 2006 at 8:06 am

I’m sorry if my wording occasioned your sarcasm, although I can’t understand why it would have, and I honestly meant no disrespect in what I wrote.
As for what I “wish to be true”, I backed up my position with Church documents. It would seem that the fact that Church documents do, in fact, support what I have said indicates that my position is more than a “wish”.
I don’t dispute that there is truth to what you have said about the norms, but the Church has guaranteed rights to the faithful which supersede the norms you have mentioned in the documents I have cited and therefore negate any accusations of disobedience.
I’m only trying to help out in explaining things here. I’m not insulting anyone, and I’m not trying to dress anyone down for their point of view. I promise to be respectful, and I ask the same of others, even if they disagree with me.
I would also welcome a respectful explanation as to where my understanding of the documents I cited to support my position is wrong.

bill912 March 11, 2006 at 9:31 am

ewtn.com/expert/answers/kneeling.htm links to:
GIRM 43: “The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.”
Canon 838: “It pertains to the diocesan bishop in the church entrusted to him, within the limits of his competence, to issue liturgical norms by which all are bound.”

johnchrysostom March 11, 2006 at 10:56 am

Which links to the site you cite (from my citation) says:
“Thus, the norm for the United States continues the practice of kneeling down after the Agnus Dei, unless a bishop establishes, for his entire diocese, the practice of remaining standing. There is no faculty for individual parishes to do this, establishing a patchwork of practices within a single diocese.
For those who wish to kneel, where the norm is standing, the right to do so has been secured by the Holy See. Please see Kneeling in the Mass.”
I don’t dispute GIRM 43. However, you seem to have overlooked Cardinal Arinze’s clarification of GIRM 43.
I don’t dispute Canon 838 either.
Howver, it does not supersede the fact that, as Cardinal Arinze stated, “the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.”
A bishop may only act within the limits of his competence. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments determines the boundaries of a bishop’s competence in issuing liturgical norms. The prefect of that Congregation has said that it is not the mind of the Church to “regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.”
Rome has spoken. The matter is settled.

johnchrysostom March 11, 2006 at 11:31 am

With respect to the Sign of Peace:
For more than 26 years at our parish, parishioners did not conduct the sign of peace at any of the Masses. Father Daniel Johnson always understood that the sign of peace was optional in accord with GIRM #82:
“as for the sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by Conferences of Bishops in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples. It is, however, appropriate that each person offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner.”
Again, the “custom of the people” at Saint Mary’s by the Sea, for more than 26 years, had been not to conduct the “sign of peace”.
Moreover, while Father Johnson was the pastor, none of the Bishops (the late Bishop Johnson, Bishop McFarland nor Bishop Brown) ever reprimanded him for this custom during their respective tenures, and all were aware of it.
Only since Fr. Johnson’s retirement has Bishop Brown begun his liturgical micromanagement at St. Mary’s by the Sea.
While it is true that such things are a bishop’s duty, it is troubling that Bishop Brown is cracking down on the kneeling “conservatives” (while ignoring the four progressive parishes without kneelers who stand during the consecration, as well as countless other liturgical abuses (in the area of sacred vessels, ignoring the rubrics of the Mass, non-ordained giving homilies, arbitrary changes in the readings and the prayers of the Church at Mass, etc., and ignoring numerous examples of heterodoxy throughout the diocese).
It’s even more troubling that he supports domestic partnerships for homosexual couples and sent a memo to all his priests indicating his support.

totustuus March 11, 2006 at 11:37 am

Your last comment summed things up “Roma Locuta, Est, Causa Finita Est.” How many times in the history of the Church have we been in this position before? How many times have there been disagreements among the members of the Church? There have been disagreements since the first Council of Jerusalem. But how did they get resolved? By way of this phrase, “Roma Locuta, Est, Causa Finita Est.” I went to the website for the Diocese of Orange and at the top of the first page it says, “The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.” This is not the Bishop Brown Diocese of Orange, it is still a Roman Catholic diocese. Yes, the bishop has authority and yes this matter of kneeling after the “Agnus Dei” has created dispute, but if “Roma Locuta, Est, Causa Finita Est,” then why are we arguing?

BillyHW March 11, 2006 at 12:54 pm

While it is true that such things are a bishop’s duty, it is troubling that Bishop Brown is cracking down on the kneeling “conservatives” (while ignoring the four progressive parishes without kneelers who stand during the consecration, as well as countless other liturgical abuses (in the area of sacred vessels, ignoring the rubrics of the Mass, non-ordained giving homilies, arbitrary changes in the readings and the prayers of the Church at Mass, etc., and ignoring numerous examples of heterodoxy throughout the diocese).
Don’t forget the dancing girls.

johnchrysostom March 12, 2006 at 12:06 am

I thank you for your intelligent assessment of these matters, and I applaud your desire to remain faithful to the Holy See. We too wish to remain faithful. We did not follow a large number of St. Mary’s parishioners who left the parish for an independent chapel in order to go to a Tridentine Mass.
I think our dispute is based on your insistence on accusing me, my family, my friends, and fellow parishioners of disobedience (and encouraging disobedience).
I have ably demonstrated that Bishop Brown is acting outside his competency in trying to strictly legislate posture during the Mass. Cardinal Arinze has said that it is not the intention of GIRM 43 and it is GIRM 43 that gives a bishop any discretion on the matter at all, as the Mass belongs to the Church, not a local bishop.
Bishop Brown’s insistence on prodding the parish administrator of accusing Catholics of serious mortal sin for kneeling is an abuse of is authority. It is also slander, as I have shown that the Church doesn’t want the posture of the faithful dictated in such a way that they are not free. Bishop Brown is wrong. We are not required to obey him when what he commands is not in line with the Church.
I have also shown that all the actions of Restore The Sacred are in keeping with Church teaching, Church law, and even Sacred Scripture.
We are not guilty if slander, as we have said nothing false. We are not guilty of libel, as we have written nothing false. We are not guilty of detraction for two reasons:
1) Nothing we have exposed was not publicly available knowledge.
2) There is a sufficiently weighty reason for revealing the actions of Bishop Brown and his some of his chancery officials; namely the good of the faithful.
I am going to speak in plain English: I know some of these men personally, and they are not in union with Rome. That is as mildly as I will put things.
It is painful to hear good Catholics demanding that we obey disobedient priests and bishops. It comes across as condescending. It implies that our actions are not prayerful, and haven’t involved careful reflection and sound spiritual direction.

johnchrysostom March 12, 2006 at 12:10 am

I know that people think we should try to work with Bishop Brown, and we have tried. We have realized that doing so is like having a dialogue with the fox about guarding the hen house.
Moreover, Rome has been negligent in disciplining bad priests and bishops. If you don’t believe me, believe Pope John Paul II, who admitted as much when he said, “I think that in this aspect, maybe I have done too little. There is always this problem of how to balance authority and service. Perhaps I need to criticize myself for not having tried hard enough to lead,” in his book, titled “Get Up! Let Us Go!”
Cardinal Arinze has indicated that the Holy See is going to be equally gentle under Pope Benedict XVI:
“I do not expect an aggressive correction of abuses. I don’t think the pope is going to use the ecclesiastical hammer,” Cardinal Arinze said.
“Pope Benedict has very clear doctrine and convictions. What many people may not know is that he is not rough. He is gentlemanly, in the sense of what the prophet Isaiah said: ‘A bruised reed he will not break,'” the cardinal said.
Many liturgical abuses, Cardinal Arinze said, are “based on weakness of faith or ignorance” or on a wrong idea of creativity. Where improper practices occur, it is important to begin identifying them and talking about them, but without harming the people involved, the cardinal said.
Here, I disagree with the cardinal and fear that the Holy See does not see, or is unwilling to admit, that much liturgical abuse (not all) is rooted in more than ignorance. It is rooted in dissent and false notions of the autonomy of conscience. It is also rooted in lifestyles that are diametrically opposed to Christian doctrine that, while embraced by dissenting priests and bishops, darkens their intellects, weakens their wills, and strangles the life of their faith.
I will close by suggesting that you join us in our efforts. As least consider the following:
A Few Blunt Words To Catholics:
We need warriors; not battlefield clutter!
I mean nothing personal by that.

johnchrysostom March 12, 2006 at 12:13 am

Sorry for my typos! Spell check is not enough… :(

Albergo atlantic, bologna. December 12, 2006 at 2:34 am

Albergo atlantic, bologna.

Albergo atlantic, bologna.

Decorazione natale. December 12, 2006 at 10:14 am

Decorazione natale.

Decorazione natale.

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