Totally Absolutely 100% Crazy

by Jimmy Akin

in Liturgy

A reader writes:

Would you please comment on the following article in yesterday’s LA Times?


The story in question is about a parish in the Diocese of Orange where the new priest has–among other things–forbidden people to kneel following the Agnus Dei, and a huge controversy has errupted.


But I’ve only commented on certain aspects of it, and the L.A. Times piece gives me the confirmation I need to go further into the issue.

First, though, I’d mention that there are notable flaws in the L.A. Times piece. They don’t get their history of recent liturgical law right, there is a bizarro attempt to link the kneeling issue to The Da Vinci Code (I’m not making that up), and they notably fail to document other aspects of the story that are important, such as the fact that the parishioners weren’t just disinvited from attending Mass because they insisted on kneeling after the Agnus Dei. They are also accused of handing out literature making false allegations against the diocese and the priest, which is a much more serious and canonically actionable offense than refusing to stand at the Agnus Dei. See my prior commentary for more info on this.

They also talk to an expert at the Georgetown liturgy center who is off in liturgical la-la land, but I can’t hold the stupid things he says against the Times. (At least not in a direct way.)

What I find particularly interesting here is a particular assertion that was made by the priest of the parish (he apparently hasn’t been appointed its pastor, just its administrator) in a bulletin. I had seen this statement reported before in material from the distressed parishioners, but I didn’t have confirmation of it. Now the L.A. Times confirms it:

Kneeling "is clearly rebellion, grave disobedience and mortal sin," Father Martin Tran, pastor at St. Mary’s by the Sea, told his flock in a recent church bulletin. The Diocese of Orange backs Tran’s anti-kneeling edict.

Actually, the L.A. Times again has it slightly wrong. You’ll notice that the word "kneeling" isn’t included in the quotation. Here’s what Fr. Tran actually said in context:

As I said before, Liturgy is the "public worship" of the Church whose authority belongs only to Rome, the National Conference of the Catholic Bishops and the local Bishop, and not a private worship or business which belongs to any person(s) or group that can take it into their own hands by intentionally setting their own norms, disregarding the permission from the local Bishop or despising the authority of the local Bishop, the National Conference of one’s country. That is clearly rebellion, grave disobedience and mortal sin, separating oneself from the Church.

The highlighted part is the apparent antecedent for "that," which is what Fr. Tran says is mortally sinful.

And there’s an element of truth in what he says. There are things that one can do in violation of the Church’s norms that would be mortally sinful–for example, if one decided that something other than wheat bread is to be used for confecting the host. That kind of violation of the Church’s norms would be mortally sinful if done with adequate knowledge and intent.

But not all violations of the Church’s norms are created equal. This is a fact that is expressly recognized in the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, which recognizes at least three different levels of gravity in liturgical offenses, one of which is clearly non-grave matter.

This means that it is pastorally irresponsible in the extreme to wave the threat of mortal sin in parishioners’ faces unless an actually grave offense is in question, and that does not appear to be the case here. Fr. Tran goes on–immediately after the paragraph quoted above–to state:

The reason for this is that all the current liturgical norms of the Diocese and of the U.S. are officially recognized and allowed by Rome. Furthermore, Fr. Johnson was allowed only to have the Tridentine Mass here at St. Mary’s with its own norms: communion by tongue, with one species, no sign of peace, kneeling after "Agnus Det’l Lamb of God… that some parishioners here name that "traditions" of St. Mary’s. Besides, Fr. Johnson allowed other liturgical practice/norms belonging to the Tridentine Mass to be applied to other Masses of Vatican II, including the Novus Ordo Mass: that is not correct. For it was out of line with the current liturgical norms of the Diocese. These have to be changed. Fr. Sy and I were appointed by the Bishop, working together with the Bishop to re-establish the liturgical norms at St. Mary’s to be in line with the current liturgical norms of the Church in America and of the Diocese (allowed by Rome). And this binds all with total obedience.

As one family, all of us have the responsibility to correct our disobedient brothers and sisters. If they do not listen, that is their serious problem!

Now, it is apparent that Fr. Tran is not the clearest writer in the world. It is also clear that he is not the most pastoral priest in the world. In fact, he comes across as a Grade-A Jerk in this text (particularly toward the end), although allowance must be made for the previous history of the situation, which may have caused tempers to flare on both sides.

Still, it seems that the nut of the issue is that Fr. Tran is trying to bring the parish into line with the Diocese of Orange’s liturgical norms for the current rite of Mass after his predecessor allowed practices from the Tridentine Mass to be applied to the current rite of Mass. What these are, Fr. Tran isn’t clear on, but the most likely friction points are the ones he names as aspects of the Tridentine rite of Mass: Communion on the tongue, Communion under one species, not having an individual exchange of peace, and kneeling after the Agnus Dei.

Communion on the tongue is a protected right of the faithful, so he can’t (validly) accuse parishioners of being disobedient to liturgical law if they want to receive on the tongue. Neither is there any requirement for people to receive under both species if both are being offered to the faithful, so there’s no grounds for valid charges of disobedience there, either. If he’s calling for an individual exchange of the sign of peace and parishioners are utterly refusing to do it (e.g., not even nodding and smiling at those around them) then he’d have some grounds for criticism, but that doesn’t seem to be the big issue here. The L.A. Times–and those on the other side of the issue–seem to understand kneeling after the Agnus Dei to be what’s causing all the ruckus.

So (in the absence of further evidence) let’s go with that: Fr. Tran seems to be threatening people who are kneeling after the Lamb of God with mortal sin. That’s certainly what they’re understanding him to be doing, and–despite the lack of precision with which he writes–he’s definitely waving charges of mortal sin in their faces over lack of compliance with the norms of the diocese, and kneeling seems to be what is at issue.

If that is what he’s doing then he is totally, absolutely, 100% crazy . . . speaking from the point of view of liturgical law.

The Church simply has not invested the question of the posture of the laity with the gravity needed to result in mortal sin. Indeed, Rome has shown significant sympathy and indulgence toward those who wish to kneel at traditional moments.

Here’s a nice test case: Kneeling for Communion. The current norms for the United States establish a posture of standing to receive Communion and–because of the gravity of the moment itself (you’re receiving God Incarnate in Holy Communion) and because of the public nature of the moment (you’re up in front of everybody where you can be easily seen)–kneeling at this moment would be more disruptive by way of example to others than at any other moment in the Mass. So if any moment of kneeling praeter legem would be a grave offense, this one would.

So what does liturgical law say regarding people who insist on kneeling for Communion?

Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm [GIRM (2002, U.S. ed.) 160].

Now, canon law requires ministers of the Eucharist to deny Communion to anyone who is "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin" (can. 915), so if a person insisted on kneeling in spite of admonitions then you’d have to deny him Holy Communion if this were a grave sin (since it’s obviously manifest). Since the text says that Communicants are not to be denied Holy Communion, the only conclusion is that kneeling for Communion is not a grave sin and thus not capable of being a mortal sin.

And if kneeling for Communion is not a mortal sin then–a fortiori–kneeling after the Agnus Dei is not a mortal sin.

The claim that it would be is just crazy and shows a profound lack of awareness of the mechanics of liturgical law and the way Rome handles these things.

Indeed, the actions of Posture Nazis (of liberal or conservative bent–and there are conservative Posture Nazis) are simply not consonant with the attitude Rome takes toward the regulation of posture at Mass. That attitude is expressed in a recent Responsum issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments regarding kneeling after Communion:

Dubium: In many places, the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after having individually received Holy Communion during Mass. Is it the intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to forbid this practice?

Responsum: Negative, et ad mensum [and for this reason]. The mens [reasoning] is that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43 [i.e., the main section dealing with posture], is intended, on the one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of 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 [June 5, 2003 (Prot. N. 855/03/L); printed in BCL Newsletter, July 2003].

So whether one would insist that it is mortally sinful to kneel or not to kneel at particular points in Mass, one would be misreading liturgical law. The Church simply has not invested the regulation of posture with grave matter and it intends only to establish "a certain uniformity" that has "broad limits" and it does not intend to "regulate posture rigidly."

This makes troubling a reported comment by a diocesan spokesman. According to the L.A. Times:

Father Joe Fenton, spokesman for the Diocese of Orange, said the diocese supports Tran’s view that disobeying the anti-kneeling edict is a mortal sin. "That’s Father Tran’s interpretation, and he’s the pastor," he said. "We stand behind Father Tran."

You’ll note that once again the L.A. Times has not gotten the word "kneeling" into the quote, so we’re not entirely sure what Fr. Fenton said (assuming he was even quoted accurately). Given the number of other sloppy, problematic points in the article, I can’t be sure if he was quoted accurately or if the question he was responding to involved the issue the Times represents or, if he was and if it did, whether he was speaking after mature deliberation or just reflexively trying to support a diocesan priest in the face of criticism.

But I can tell you this: If this matter goes up to Rome the mortal sin interpretation of the parishioners’ actions will not be sustained.

Instead, we’re likely to get back something that sounds very much like the Responsum on the question of whether you can kneel after Communion.

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Jared Weber May 30, 2006 at 12:33 am

My wife and I once had a similar issue with a priest in the Los Angeles area, however, this one was resolved quite reasonably.
The priest had made it a point at several Masses to say that all must conform to the “norm” of standing before AND after Communion until all had received and returned to their places.
Finally, I politely emailed him a few of the relevant statements, stating that my wife and I felt compelled by our consciences to kneel after the Agnus Dei and upon returning to our pews and that, while it was the bishop’s right to establish a norm, it was our right to kneel if so compelled. He actually listened and emailed back to the effect that our actions did not amount to disobedience. Thereafter, he stopped telling people that they must stand.
This priest was reasonable. Fr. Tran is clearly not.

Fr. Philip, OP May 30, 2006 at 4:29 am

Thanks for this clear-headed summary of the issues. I’ve been scandalized at how fast this single issue has devolved into a nasty fight with no clear goal in mind. I think there is a huge problem here with folks confusing Brown’s legit authority to make liturgical decisions for his diocese and his otherwise less than prudent pastoral goverance. They don’t seem to be able to distinguish btw “He supports gay marriage!” and “He allows standing at Mass!”
Fr. Philip

momof6 May 30, 2006 at 5:25 am

Just a cultural comment.
Where did all of this “I stand behind so-and-so” language come from? Either Fr. Tran is correct in interpretin his bishop’s liturgical norms or he isn’t. Why must someone “stand behind” him? Why are the administrators adopting so much “corporate-ese”?

momof6 May 30, 2006 at 5:27 am

Ahem. “interpretin-g”. Fat, pregnant fingers.

Steve May 30, 2006 at 5:59 am

As a side question, the church does mandate kneeling during the eucharistic prayer, does it not?

Alyssa May 30, 2006 at 6:19 am

Thanks for commenting on this. I came across this– –which is more a critique of the journalism than of the issue itself (the actual point of Terry’s blog is to consider religous reporting).

BillyHW May 30, 2006 at 6:29 am

Those wacky priests ordained by those wacky bishops appointed by Pope John Paul II.

Rosemarie May 30, 2006 at 6:45 am

Though we don’t believe in Sola Scriptura, it’s interesting to look at kneeling as a prayer posture in the Bible:
When Solomon finished offering this entire prayer of petition to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands outstretched toward heaven. – 1 Kings 8:54
He had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, which he had placed in the middle of the courtyard. Having ascended it, Solomon knelt in the presence of the whole of Israel and stretched forth his hands toward heaven. – 2 Chronicles 6:13
Then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, I rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God. – Ezra 9:5
Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. – Psalm 95:6
Even after Daniel heard that this law had been signed, he continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem. – Daniel 6:11
After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, (Jesus) prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” – Luke 22:41-42
When (St. Paul) had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all. – Acts 20:36
At the end of our stay we left and resumed our journey. All of them, women and children included, escorted us out of the city, and after kneeling on the beach to pray, we bade farewell to one another. – Acts 21:5-6
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named – Ephesians 3:14-15
This is evidently a practice that goes right back to the ancient Jewish roots of our faith. Kings David and Solomon, the high priest Ezra, the Prophet Daniel, St. Paul and Our Lord Himself all knelt in prayer!
The verse from Psalm 95 is very interesting, since priests are required to pray that psalm every morning in the Liturgy of the Hours. Fr. Tran probably prays every day the words:
“Come then, let us bow down and worship,
bending the knee before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God and we are his people,
the flock he shepherds.”
Yet he is militantly opposed to his own flock doing what that passage commands, at least just before they receive Our Eucharistic Lord. Odd.
In Jesu et Maria,

Tim J. May 30, 2006 at 7:14 am

So what do you do with all the faithful, orthodox priests and bishops appointed by JPII?
Or don’t they count?

Anonymous May 30, 2006 at 7:37 am

Tim J.
BillyHW is just being his wacky self.
Take care and God bless,

Inocencio May 30, 2006 at 7:59 am

“As a side question, the church does mandate kneeling during the eucharistic prayer, does it not?”
From the G.I.R.M. 43 paragraph 3:
In the dioceses of the United States of America, they 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.53
And if there are no kneelers?
21. QUERY 3: In some places kneelers have been taken out of the churches. Thus, the people can only stand or sit and this detracts from the reverence and adoration due to the Eucharist.
REPLY: The appointments of a place of worship have some relationship to the customs of the particular locale. For example, in the East there are carpets; in the Roman basilicas, only since modern times, there are usually chairs without kneelers, so as to accommodate large crowds. There is nothing to prevent the faithful from kneeling on the floor to show their adoration, no matter how uncomfortable this may be. In cases where kneeling is not possible (see GIRM no. 21), a deep bow and a respectful bearing are signs of the reverence and adoration to be shown at the time of the consecration and communion: Not 14 (1978) 302-303, no. 4.

Take care and God bless,

Angry May 30, 2006 at 8:39 am

Fr. Philip wrote, “They don’t seem to be able to distinguish btw “He supports gay marriage!” and “He allows standing at Mass!'”
But Fr. Philip, the bishop isn’t “allowing” standing at Mass. He is mandating it. People are being asked to leave this parish and the diocese for not complying, according to the news reports.
And yes, parishoners do appear to be making the connection between the bishop’s heterodox views and his focused determintation to eradicate all reverence and piety from the liturgical norms of his diocese. But hey, he’s the bishop! So his people should pay, pray, and obey, right?

InPhoenix May 30, 2006 at 8:53 am

For a good reflection on kneeling from a faithful bishop and pastor, check out Bishop Thomas Olmsted’s Knees to Love Christ at

Kirk (father of 5) May 30, 2006 at 9:18 am

God bless your pregnant fingers!

Jared Weber May 30, 2006 at 9:33 am

Fr. Philip:
If some seem unable to make the separation, it is because there seems to be a connection between heterodox views on issues of faith and morals on one hand, and liturgical abuses and/or legitimate variances from the national norms on the other.
In other words, it seems to me that those same bishops who order their flocks to, for example, stand at the points in question or any number of other things are the same bishops who, for example, defy the latest Church statements about denying ordination to those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.
I haven’t seen a study done on this but I think it’d be interesting, since the two things seem to go hand-in-hand.

Hicardo May 30, 2006 at 10:00 am

So, here we have a diocesan (“diocese” may sometimes be used as a euphamism for “bishop”) spokesman backing a priest who threatens the faithful not to stand after the Agnus Dei under pain of mortal sin. What I’m wondering is when bishops will start getting on priests who change the words of the canon and presidential prayers (or allow presidential prayers to be said by the laity) – basically making up their own version of the Mass – who don’t genuflact after the consecration, and don’t elevate the host or the chalice, [here I invite you to add your own example of clerical disobedience with the liturgy!]
Fr. Tran gets on the faithful wanting to impose their private worship into the Mass, when this is done by priests all the time. What’s ironic, too, is that when priests do this, they may do so with the intention of spicing up the Mass and/or facilitating more active participation among the faithful – but what really happens for those faithful who truly intend to unite their hearts to the prayers of the Mass, they CAN’T because, if the priest isn’t even using the prayers of the Mass, the faithful cannot follow along because they don’t really know what to expect, but rather have to basically sit back as the priest does his own thing.
By the way, Fr. Phillip, rather than the faithful confusing the issue of gay marriage with an unauthentic liturgy, what may be happening here is a pointing out of a pattern of heterodoxy and -praxy from their bishop. I am able to think of a clear goal for all of this – a new bishop. Not that that’s up to the faithful to decide, but I am sure Rome wouldn’t have to look too long and hard for its own reasons for this.

J.R. Stoodley May 30, 2006 at 10:06 am

I don’t see what the big stink is all about. It is important to follow the liturgical norms of your specific diocese. If this bishop has, as is his right, decided to proscribe standing after the Agnus Dei, then why are the people disobaying? Claiming it is a mortal sin when it is not is clearly wrong (or probably an honest mistake) but the people should still be following the diocesan rules. Who made these parishioners the final authority on liturgical norms?
I understand they want to show more reverence to Christ, but this act of rebellion against one’s bishop at Mass is nothing but disrespect for Christ.
It makes me sad to see well meaning people falling into this trap. Probably it is the fault of the bishop and the paster that the situation arose in the first place and has not been calmed down, but the belligerent disobedience of the parishioners can not be excused.

Breier May 30, 2006 at 10:23 am

Mr. Stoodley,
I think it’s pretty easy to see why people are “disobeying.” Because it’s seen as an attempt to eradicate traditional worship, and the faith that undergirds it.
Take another possibility. What if communion on the tongue were forbidden, and communion on the hand were mandated?
Legalistically, it’s within one’s authority. Realistically, it would be seen as an attempt to stamp out reverence for, and faith in, the Blessed Sacrament.
Or take the example of the faithful fighting to preserve historic old churches against being destroyed or radically renovated. Technically such things are within diocesan authority, but if authority is being abused, to destroy the supports of the Catholic faith, can you be surprised people are resisting that?
People disobey because they see obedience as acquisecing with the hermeneutics of discontinuity which has been ravaging the Church for the last thirty years. There are grave scandals going on, and kneeling is the issue of controversy? What a sad statement on our times.

John May 30, 2006 at 10:37 am

“Now, it is apparent that Fr. Tran is not the clearest writer in the world. It is also clear that he is not the most pastoral priest in the world. In fact, he comes across as a Grade-A Jerk in this text (particularly toward the end) …” [J. Akin]
No Catholic (not even a genius convert like Mr. Akin) has the right to refer publicly to a priest as a “Grade-A Jerk.”
Fr. Tran’s English is sometimes so poor that it causes me to believe that he is an immigrant from Vietnam (as are many people with that surname). Yes, he is definitely wrong to refer to this kneeling as a mortal sin — and ought to have known better — but we have to cut him a bit of slack on his inability to communicate well.
I have found that many priests (and laity, for that matter) from Asia — other than the Philippines — are extremely authoritative and gruff in demeanor. I believe that this is customary, handed down from generation to generation, in their cultures.
I feel sure that it is related to the tremendous respect that small Asian children are taught to pay to their ancestors, elders, and superiors (e.g., teachers, clergy). This is also related to the great “work ethic” that helps Asian immigrants succeed all over the world in schools and in businesses.

Jared Weber May 30, 2006 at 10:59 am

John: Read Mr. Akin’s post again. He didn’t call Fr. Tran a jerk. He said he comes across as one. In other words, the words that Fr. Tran uses make him appear to be a jerk. There is a difference.
JRStoodley: I don’t attend the Church in question but speaking for myself and my wife, when we did stand before and after Communion, as the norm in our new diocese said we should, neither of us felt properly prepared to receive Christ’s Body. We did not feel as though we had been given a chance to discern the Body. This is a very serious matter, and I should think that if something as simple as posture can aid that discernment (and, I assure you, it does), why call those who do it disobedient? Especially in light of the fact that it’s clearly NOT disobedience when one has taken into account the proper authorities.
The Church has granted us the right to kneel if our consciences compell us to do so and so we do. It’s not at all about beligerence or thinking that we are the final authority. It’s a matter of conscience wherein the proper authorities have given us the right to do something differently if we choose (as opposed to those areas where the Church does NOT do that).

J.R. Stoodley May 30, 2006 at 11:31 am

I did not interpret the documents quoted above as ultimately saying you could disregard diocesan regulations on kneeling after the Agnus Dei if your conscience told you to. If I have misinterpreted the documants or if there is something else you know about not stated here then I stand corrected.
As things stand no bishop other than the Pope could forbid receiving on the tongue. If this were changed or beautiful old churches were being destroyed I’m sure the laity would be within their rights to protest, but unless the Church has clearly made the instructions optional (as Jared suggests rules about kneeling are, and as Jimmy has demonstrated rules about not kneeling specifically after recieving Communion is) then we would have the reponsibility to comply with the instructions. This is the meaning of obedience, that we obay legitimate authority and not simply follow our own wills.

Hicardo May 30, 2006 at 11:35 am

Despite Fr. Tran’s potential limitations in language, what he’s attempting to convey to the faithful is clear.
And, no, we shouldn’t have to cut him some slack for any limitations in language. With so grave a matter, it’s his responsibility to make sure what he is writing carries with it proper syntax and grammar. Mortal sin separates us from God and makes our souls incapable of receiving the graces of heaven. This isn’t a matter we could just cut him some slack about not being clear with.

Dr. Eric May 30, 2006 at 11:38 am

What are we to make of Canon XX of the 1 Ecumenical Council of Nicaea:
FORASMUCH as there are certain persons who kneel on the Lord’s
Day and in the days of Pentecost, therefore, to the intent that all things
may be uniformly observed everywhere(in every parish), it seems good
to the holy Synod that prayer be made to God standing.

Tony May 30, 2006 at 11:44 am

So if the bishop mandates that we hop up and down on one foot while flapping our arms to simulate our prayers rising to heaven we should do it?
Are we worshipping God, or playing Simon Says?

Old Zhou May 30, 2006 at 11:49 am

Dr. Eric,
That is so…..4th century.
Don’t you know that the True Church and Faith is practiced by this little group in OC with their ideas about Tradition and criticism of their Bishop and Priest?
Here is a bit more about Canon XX of the Council for Nicea (A.D. 325).

Although kneeling was the common posture for prayer in the primitive Church, yet the custom had prevailed, even from the earliest times, of standing at prayer on the Lord’s day, and during the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost.
Tertullian, in a passage in his treatise De Corona Militis, which is often quoted, mentions it amongst other ohservances which, though not expressly commanded in Scripture, yet were universally practised upon the authority of tradition. “We consider it unlawful,” he says, “to fast, or to pray kneeling, upon the Lord’s day; we enjoy the same liberty from Easter-day to that of Pentecost.” De Cor. Mil. s. 3, 4. Many other of the Fathers notice the same practice, the reason of which, as given by Augustine; and others, was to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord, and to signify the rest and joy of our own resurrection, which that of our Lord assured.
This canon, as Beveridge observes, is a proof of the importance formerly attached to an uniformity of sacred rites throughout the Church, which made the Nicene Fathers thus sanction and enforce by their authority a practice which in itself is indifferent, and not commanded directly or indirectly in Scripture, and assign this as their reason for doing so: “In order that all things may be observed in like manner in every parish” or diocese.


Inocencio May 30, 2006 at 11:53 am

We stand for prayer and kneel for adoration.

Old Zhou May 30, 2006 at 11:55 am

Here is the Latin text of Tertullian referenced in the commentary on Canon XX of Nicea:
Die dominico ieiunium nefas ducimus,
uel de geniculis adorare.
Eadem immunitate a die Paschae in Pentecosten
usque gaudemus.
Another English translation:
We count fasting
or kneeling in worship
on the Lord’s day
to be unlawful.
We rejoice in the same privilege
also from Easter to Whitsunday.

To me, silly person that I am, this seems perfectly reasonable. Sunday, the Lord’s Day (Dominca for Latin Lovers) is the day of Resurrection (as well as the whole Easter Season).
Why can’t they come to a compromise where they can kneel all they want on Monday to Saturday, outside of Easter Season?

Jared Weber May 30, 2006 at 12:04 pm
Richie May 30, 2006 at 12:11 pm

J.R. Stoodley… I am sure the parishoners themselves are not claiming to be the “final authority” with liturgical norms. Who, after all, is claiming kneeling after the Agnus Dei to be a mortal sin? It doesn’t seem to be the parishoners who are asserting themselves as the “final authority” here.
I would not necessarily label the parishoners’ resistance to obeying such norms put forth by such priests and bishops as “belligerent disobedience”. If you had a priest telling you taht these things were a mortal sin when it doesn’t take much research to see he’s wrong, wouldn’t you be weary of following such direction?

Jared Weber May 30, 2006 at 12:11 pm
Jay E. Adrian May 30, 2006 at 12:13 pm

Read the relevant passages of canon and liturgical law. The bishop has legitimate rights to select an option on this matter which does not include what you described.
As the quote by Eric, ?D. helps to illustrate, the postures used at liturgy have been changed over time by those with the authority to regulate liturgical worship.
The sin of rebellion against God through liturgical archaicism or rigidity in the face of those intrusted with the authority to regulate worship is very old and appears over and over again in Scripture. From the rebellion of Korah through the ages of prophetic critique to the conflicts of Jesus with the Pharisees, we can see this dynamic at work. Now the bishop in question is not God incarnate, but he does have the authority on this issue nonetheless. There are very likely faulty understandings of the theological, canonical, and liturgical principles on the many sides of this issue amd gross misinterpretations of the words of others in this case, but we must all work to correct that.
We must be very careful that our approach to this issue is not fueled by pride and concupiscence, whether “progressive” or “traditional.”

Jared Weber May 30, 2006 at 12:29 pm

Jay: The bishop is allowed certain options, but the faithful are allowed options as well. Read these:

Breier May 30, 2006 at 12:32 pm

It’s clear that kneeling or standing have different meanings depending on cultural context, one’s liturgical rite, and varied other circumstances. But all that is beside the point. That Catholics stand for prayer in 4th century Nicea, or stand for the consecration in the Byzantine Rite, says nothing about what’s appropriate for the Latin Rite of Catholicism.
Context here is everything. And the context of our “liturgical renewal” is a modernist attack on traditional Catholic belief and worship.
Why are people dodging this question? All I hear here is legalism. What about the traditional faith?
Does the suppression of every sign of traditional express or sign of devotion for the Real Presence not trouble you? Why are people blind to the big picture here?
Forbidding kneeling, exiling the tabernacle, churches in the round, lay ministers of communion, communion in the hand; this is all of a piece. And where, pray tell, is it taking us?
We have a new pastor trying to dismantle a traditional parish, and stamp out all it’s old reverence. I suppose you’d also defend tearing up the communion rails as well; after all it’s a diocesan prerogative!
JR, I can understand the point. Yes bishops have authority to determine details. The problem is that people perceive the details today to be part of a war against the traditional belief of the Church. Particularly when “kneeling” is suddenly a real important issue that has to be squashed.
I’ve been at a parish where the first thing the new pastor did was rip out the kneelers. Within his rights? But is it right? Is it right?!

Breier May 30, 2006 at 12:40 pm

It is clear that bishops and pastors have authority in certain liturgical matters. The question here is not about that. It’s about whether lay people can resist that authority when it is being abused to the detriment of the Catholic faith. Do lay people have to be forced to acquisence in the suppression of traditional worship and piety?
A new pastor comes in to a beautiful old immigrant parish, and his first decision is to order the sacristan to rip out the communion rail, remove all the kneelers, and remove the tabernacle to a hidden room.
Is the sacristan bound, by obedience, to follow out these destructive orders?
They may be legally made, but my friends, we all recognize the legalistic side of things. Everyone knows people have authority. The question is, if that authority is being misused, manifestly, can not the laity resist?
The sacristant refuses to acquiesce, the parish council snubs the priest’s command. Mortal sin all around?

Tim Johnson May 30, 2006 at 12:46 pm

Cardinal George’s question asked specifically about kneeling AFTER Communion, not after the Agnus Dei. The response of negative would seem to guarantee the right to kneel after reception, no question there at all.
However, the response said after that it was for certain reasons and that the rules were to be broad guidlines for various parts of the Mass and not to be so rigid as to prevent kneeling.
It seems that the initial response of Negative directly addresses kneeling after Communion. The reasoning given then could be interpreted to allow kneeling pretty much anywhere in the Mass if one chooses. That seems too broad an interpretation to be allowed. Surely it was not meant as carte blanche to kneel during the Gospel or the Our Father for instance.
If that is true then perhaps the proper interpretation of the response of Cardinal Arinze should be limited to the question submitted by Cardinal George.
That would leave us here… If the Bishop says to stand, we do so, presuming it is a proper thing per the GIRM. IOW he can’t tell us to stand for the consecration but can for the sign of peace forward. That doesn’t mean that we cannot kneel after reception when we return to our pew. It may have adverse effects on reverence, etc. or it may not, BUT the Vatican has said our Bishop can make this determination.
If we kneel where we haven’t been given permission to, aren’t we being disobedient presuming we know we shouldn’t? Isn’t that sinful in some way? We are flouting rightful authority it seems to do so.
Jimmy, am I wrong here? Or did Cdl. Arinze’s response guarantee the right to kneel at the Agnus Dei? And why would the response be limited to just the Agnus Dei since it wasn’t specifically mentioned?

Jared Weber May 30, 2006 at 12:51 pm

On November 7, 2000, Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, sent a response to the questions of an American bishop about the new regulations for the celebration of Mass [Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani]. The questions [dubia] concerned the posture and gestures of the people at Mass, and placement of the tabernacle. A facsimile of the response, written in English, appears below.
Prot. n. 2372/00/L
Responses to Dubia
1. Is it the case that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by No. 43 of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, intends to prohibit the faithful from kneeling during any part of the Mass except during the Consecration, that is, to prohibit the faithful from kneeling after the Agnus Dei and following the reception of Holy Communion?
Response: Negative.
Emphasis added.

Breier May 30, 2006 at 12:59 pm

I have a more basic question. Does anyone know orthodox pastors who get angry when people kneel down? Or more basically, does anyone here get angry if they see people kneeling at the consecration, when everyone else is standing up?
Why this huge emphasis on physicial liturgical uniformity, when spiritual uniformity is so lacking! I don’t see people getting angry about old people sitting down, but pious people kneeling, what a damnable offense!
It seems clear from Rome that rubrics about posture are general guidelines, but not such that they bind any individual lay person under pain of sin. Motivation and intent seems to me very relevant here. The church law seems indulgent.
It seems to me that to get really angry by people kneeling is worrisome sign. Even if it is liturgically discontinuous, it’s such a venial thing! Kneeling is a sign of reverence, and in today’s world where there is so little reverence, to thunder about that issue is very, very telling.
Particuarly in this case where the pastor is trying to destroy a custom which ALREADY EXISTED.

Jeff May 30, 2006 at 1:43 pm

Does the Pope have a juridical right to abolish the Eastern rites?
So it might seem. It might seem that he has the right to abolish the Roman Rite, too, if he liked. But let’s remember that the present Pope–no slouch when it comes to ecclesiology and liturgiology–wrote an utterly uncritical preface to Msgr. Gamber’s book which proposes that the Pope DOES NOT have any such right and even that he would have no right to abolish the Traditional form of the Roman rite, and therefore the Traditional Roman rite remains in force.
Cardinal Ratzinger proposes that the changes after Vatican Two created the FALSE impression that the Pope and the Bishops could simply do anything that they wanted with the liturgy. And it also created the impression that custom and tradition (small ‘t’) are of little worth and that people have no right to them.
If I were a parishioner of Fr. Tran’s, I would stand. But I would HOTLY defend the rights of those who refuse.
We have a right under custom to kneel at these times. We have the right to kneel when we receive communion. We have a right to pray the Rosary. Eastern Catholics have a right to their own liturgical traditions.
Suppose a Pope were to abolish the Eastern Rites and demand that all Eastern Catholics were to become Latin Rite for the sake of “unity”. Even if he had the right to do that, he would not be obeyed. He would start a revolt and a massive schism in which most Eastern Catholics would live in refusal to acknowledge him or would even revert to other Churches. The sin of disobedience on the part of the recalcitrant Easterners would be venial compared with the overwhelming vastness of sin on the part of the Pope.
Bishops who act in the manner of Bishop Todd are creating a terrible dissension in the heart of the Church. They are forcing the faithful to choose between the manner of worship that has been handed down to them from their fathers and obedience to a successor of the Apostles who has authority over them. This petty, tyrannical behavior–at the service of what, precisely?–will inevitably and understandably be resisted.
To quote Cardinal Ratzinger again, “The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself.” The Spirit of the Liturgy, p.194.
Work out the implications of that passage as it applies to people trying by FORCE to send us in the OTHER direction. “There are groups, of no small influence, who are trying to talk us out of kneeling,” the Cardinal tells us (P. 184). We must not allow them to succeed; they want to take us away from “union with Jesus Christ Himself.”

Balinda May 30, 2006 at 2:13 pm

I find all this talk about kneeling and not kneeling really interesting. This would seem like nonsense at my parish. My priest lets us dance in the aisles during and music, and when sometimes some of the people are kneeling, most of us just sit and talk. I was once talking on my cell phone and some lady told me to be quiet. Then a lot of other people gave her dirty looks my friend told her who was she to judge me? I don’t know whether all this is really all right at church according to the vatican, but it makes me feel good to know I’m at a church where people get all mad about this kind of stuff.

Tim Johnson May 30, 2006 at 2:15 pm

The dubium from Cdl. Estevez posted by Jared is interesting. It’s the first time I have seen it anywhere and so far is the only reference I have seen to having the right to kneel for the Agnus Dei.
The only question I have is about the date… It’s from 2000 and I thought the current GIRM is from 2002. Are we talking about the same thing for both? If so, then the CA case would definitely seem to be one of the Bishop trying to prevent lawful kneeling.
The next question would seem to be whether the response of those who were asked to leave went too far or whether this is a case of heterodox persecution of the orthodox. Sounds like plenty of blame to go around it seems. This kind of stuff is what drives me crazy. It distracts from the teaching and evangelization duties of the Church.
Personally, I would prefer to kneel as often as possible when Jesus Christ is on the altar or not behind the closed doors of the tabernacle.

Marion (Mael Muire) May 30, 2006 at 2:29 pm

Dear Balinda,
If the President of the United States (say it was one you voted for) invited you as his personal guest to be present at the White House for a State Banquet, with the best food and wine, and flowers and sparkling crystal, silver, and china, would you get up out of your seat during dinner and dancing around just because you felt like it? No, of course, not. If, while the president was speaking, your cell phone rang, and a Secret Service guy leaned over and whispered, “Miss, would you mind turning off your cell?” would you have a problem with that?
Traditional Catholic teaching is that we have Jesus Christ with us in a special way on the altar during Mass, and that we are His guests at His table. Many Catholics care deeply that at this special time, and this special place, there is a proper respect shown towards Jesus present with us . . . our God, our brother, who has done so much for us. We want to show much the same kind of respect you would want shown to the President of the United States if he were in the room and you were his guest.
If not, it makes you look kind of bad, doesn’t it? Kind of disrespectful. That’s why people care so much.

Tim J. May 30, 2006 at 2:33 pm

This touches on a question I had earlier regarding the use of the current English translation of the Mass.
What should a good Catholic do if the USCCB decides to ignore Rome and continues to use the current translation?
Would we not be participating in disobedience if we go along?
But then, we are disobedient if we refuse to obey our bishop. Right between a rock and a hard place.

Anonymous May 30, 2006 at 2:40 pm

Here is my concern with this whole issue, and I am one who prefers kneeling by the way. In what situations does a bishop have the right to set liturgical norms and if he has that right, should his decisions be respected?
I think part of the problem is that the Bishop has not done a good job of making his case. On the other hand, why is this dissent better than other forms of dissent that people complain about?

Jake May 30, 2006 at 2:54 pm

“Suppose a Pope were to abolish the Eastern Rites and demand that all Eastern Catholics were to become Latin Rite for the sake of “unity”. Even if he had the right to do that, he would not be obeyed. He would start a revolt and a massive schism in which most Eastern Catholics would live in refusal to acknowledge him or would even revert to other Churches. The sin of disobedience on the part of the recalcitrant Easterners would be venial compared with the overwhelming vastness of sin on the part of the Pope.
Bishops who act in the manner of Bishop Todd are creating a terrible dissension in the heart of the Church. They are forcing the faithful to choose between the manner of worship that has been handed down to them from their fathers and obedience to a successor of the Apostles who has authority over them. This petty, tyrannical behavior–at the service of what, precisely?–will inevitably and understandably be resisted.”
This, I think, is the most insightful comment I’ve seen on this whole affair. The Bishop is well within his rights as bishop to mandate standing, but to do so over the customs of the people and force a decision between obedience to authority and obedience to traditional practice at this particular parish without (from what I’ve seen) a good reason does not seem to be prudent in the least. And the actions of both sides are less than charitable.

Marion (Mael Muire) May 30, 2006 at 3:06 pm

why is this dissent better than other forms of dissent that people complain about?
Well, if a bishop directed that everyone who comes to Mass on Sunday must sit in a certain spot in the pew so that they’re perfectly lined up with the person sitting in the pew in front of him, so that the congregation is arranged in perfect neat rows at all times, and some parishoners said, “heck with that; I’m not doing that”, would that be dissent?
Of course not. The bishop would have reached way . . . way beyond his authority.
Does the bishop get to walk into your house, and tell you what the amount of your life insurance policy needs to be?
Of course not.
There are areas in which bishops have authority, and areas in which they don’t.
The question of kneeling or not kneeling during Holy Mass is not a matter of dissent. Dissent is the public and specific rejection of one or more of the points of faith and morals that the Catholic Church has basically always believed and taught.
Here’s dissent: In 1968, when the bishop asked the pastors to read a letter to the faithful backing up the Pope’s Humanae Vitae (basically saying artificial birth control is a no-go) – and this was during Mass, a number of my friends’ moms and dads got up out of their pews, put their chins in the air, and walked out of Mass.
I was a kid, and I was stunned speechless. I found out what “I will not serve!” looked like, even back then.
What people are trying to do here today, is to figure out exactly to what degree does the bishop have the authority to tell faithful Catholics that their long-time, respectful, and reverent custom of kneeling before Jesus present in the Eucharist will no longer be tolerated.
Yeah, people are a little stunned. And they want to know what their options are.
Nothing wrong with that.

Balinda May 30, 2006 at 4:00 pm

Dear Marion,
Thank you. No one has ever explained it to me that way. I wish people would talk more about God being with us at church. I think that’s the problem. People get all edgy when you start talking about God, even at church.

Gerald Augustinus May 30, 2006 at 4:55 pm

If you haven’t seen the video of Bishop Brom pulling a woman kneeling for Communion, go here:

Marion (Mael Muire) May 30, 2006 at 5:11 pm

Dear Balinda,
Thank you! I appreciate your kindness in letting me know that something I wrote to you has made a difference.
It’s all about Jesus. Jesus with us. Jesus loving us.
How may we best show Him how much we love Him and long for Him and want to be with Him?
Thanks again, Balinda, for giving me the opportunity to speak about Him.

john chrysostom May 30, 2006 at 5:14 pm

“For every knee shall be bowed to Me” (Isaiah 45:24)
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11).
The Acts of the Apostles tells us how Saint Peter (9:40), Saint Paul (20:36), and the whole Christian community (21:5) pray on their knees.
“If anyone says that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the only-begotten Son of God is not to be adored even outwardly with the worship of latria (the act of adoration), …and that the adorers of it are idolaters; let him be anathema.” (Enchiridion Symbolorum, Denzinger, 30th edition, Number 888, p. 271).
”From the perspective of the Catholic doctrine involved, discouraging Catholics from kneeling at the Consecration at Mass is extremely evil. It was mentioned earlier that St. Augustine said: ‘It was in the flesh that Christ walked among us and it is His flesh that He has given us to eat for our salvation. But,’ he added: ‘no one eats of this flesh without having first adored it . . . and not only do we not sin in thus adoring it, but we would be sinning if we did not do so!’” (St. Augustine, On the Psalms, 98:9, in Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei , No. 55, p. 323)

john chrysostom May 30, 2006 at 5:17 pm

Pope Pius XII’s encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy, Mediator Dei, tells us that:

“Outward acts of religion… serve to foster piety, to kindle the flame of charity, to increase our faith and deepen our devotion.” “They make it possible to tell genuine Christians from their false or heretical counterparts.” Furthermore, the holy Pope Pius XII states, “It is therefore the keen desire of the Church that all of the faithful kneel at the feet of the Redeemer to tell Him how much they venerate and love Him.”

Pope Benedict XVI on kneeling:

“Here the bodily gesture attains the status of a confession of faith in Christ: words could not replace such a confession.” (Pope Benedict XVI, The Feast of Faith, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986, pp. 74-75).

“There are groups, of no small influence, who are trying to talk us out of kneeling” (Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 184).

In the same book, Pope Benedict XVI demonstrates thoroughly from Scripture and the example of Christ himself in the Garden of Gethsemane, that the absence of kneeling in worship is utterly alien to the Christian mind. The argument that this posture of humility is contrary to modern culture has no bearing.

“Kneeling does not come from any culture – it comes from the Bible and its knowledge of God” (p. 185).

More from the same work on kneeling:

There is much more that we might add. For example, there is the touching story told by Eusebius in his history of the Church as a tradition going back to Hegesippus in the second century. Apparently, Saint James, the “brother of the Lord”, the first bishop of Jerusalem and “head” of the Jewish Christian Church, had a kind of callous on his knees, because he was always on his knees worshipping God and begging forgiveness for his people (2, 23, 6). Again, there is a story that comes from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, according to which the devil was compelled by God to show himself to a certain Abba Apollo. He looked black and ugly, with frighteningly thin limbs, but most strikingly, he had no knees. The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical.

john chrysostom May 30, 2006 at 5:30 pm

Bishop Tod Brown does have the right to ask people not to kneel after the Lamb of God, but he does not have the right to demand strict uniformity about posture in the ways he has (through his parish administrator).
The faithful do have a right to kneel. Cardinal Arinze has acknowledged that fact repeatedly. Although some have tried to say he is only speaking about kneeling for communion, rereading the dubium Mr. Akin has quoted will demonstrate that he explicitly says “for for the various parts of the celebration of Holy Mass”.
Catholics are to be free (within reason). Quietly kneeling after the Agnus Dei is not unreasonable. Audible disruptive protests would be, bu this group has never done that.
Moreover, although the wording allowed for Bishops to make individual norms regarding posture after the Agnus Dei (which is the time of the Mass in question here), it also says that where the tradition has been kneeling at that time, the practice is to be laudably retained.
As for Bishop Brown, I would invite people to click on the links below and thoroughly examine the things he has tolerated and encouraged since coming to Orange County before passing further judgment on the good people at St. Mary’s by the Sea.
This is eye opening, and it has lots of ancillary articles and pictures to document its claims: Open Letter to Tod Brown, Bishop of Orange
This article is also evidence that Catholics in Orange County are right to be concerned: Vocations director under fire in California
These are some of the statements made by the group about the leadership of the Diocese of Orange which got under Fr. Tran’s skin. However, the claim that these statements are false is patently untrue.

john chrysostom May 30, 2006 at 5:41 pm

This blog post gives some more background on the position of the parishioners accused of disobedience: Do Catholics Have A Right To Kneel?
It links some other articles, but more importantly, it links to a pdf file of a letter handwritten by Cardinal Arinze in response to a question about kneeling, and it specifically mentions a right to kneel.
I have tried to link that letter here, as well. I hope the link works.

john chrysostom May 30, 2006 at 6:13 pm

This is the flier that got parishioners invited to leave.
The main article is a reprint of this article, Lex orandi, lex credendi, by Rev. Anthony J. Manuppella. The article originally appeared in The Homiletic & Pastoral Review in March of 2002.
It was the wording of this article that caused Fr. Tran to accuse the group of making false allegations against the USCCB/NCCB.
As many of you may know, The Homiletic & Pastoral Review is published by Ignatius Press. Ignatius Press is also the primary publisher of the English language editions of the works of Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI.
The Homiletic & Pastoral Review is a reputable magazine, known for its orthodoxy, and it is certainly not known for falsely attacking bishops.

john chrysostom May 30, 2006 at 6:30 pm

This blog post, entitled, Mean Tod Brown, has video of Bishop Brown publicly castigating a communicant for kneeling and trying to pull her up.
The incident is detailed in the Open Letter to Bishop Brown.
First Things blog has also weighed in on the St. Mary’s by the Sea controversy: First Things: On Kneeling At St. Mary’s by the Sea
As has Diogenes over at Catholic World News.

John Lilburne May 30, 2006 at 6:49 pm

The kneeling is clear disobedience of the liturgical book approved for the United States of America. From the 2002 General Instuction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) n. 43:
“In the dioceses of the United States of America … The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.”
This has been voted on by the USCCB and approved by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. A Diocesan Bishop has made a decision which has been clearly communicated.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church includes about those baptised, in 1269: “From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to “obey and submit” to the Church’s leaders, [footnote 77: Heb 13:17] holding them in respect and affection. [footnote 78: Cf. Eph 5:21, 1 Cor 16:15-16; 1 Thess 5:12-13; Jn 13:12-15]”
My view is the Fr Tran should be praised and encouraged for attempting to follow the 2004 Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum:
“[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.”
Describing people who try to follow this as “Posture Nazis” or “totally, absolutely, 100% crazy” is not helpful.

Tim J. May 30, 2006 at 7:29 pm

“…let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected.”
Since when is kneeling at the consecration considered irreverence, distortion or abuse?
Come on… That passage does not apply.

Rich May 30, 2006 at 7:31 pm

Let’s see…
If Jesus entered a room and I recognized Him as Lord of Heaven and Earth, I would:
a.) remain seated
b.) stand
c.) kneel at the feet of my Creator, the Creator of all “that is seen and unseen.”
Well, which shall it be?

Anonymous May 30, 2006 at 7:56 pm

John Lilburne wrote, “The kneeling is clear disobedience of the liturgical book approved for the United States of America.
Thanks, John, for giving us your opinion. Just the same, if it’s all the same to you, a couple of us have decided to set a spell and and toss this around for a bit.
You’re welcome to join us, if you’d care to. Glad to have you.
To John Chrysostom:
I checked out the flier you linked to, the one that begins “Restore the Sacred” and “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”.
Many who read the whole document for the first time, as I did, will probably get the distinct impression I got: The flier is an open declaration of war.
Against at least one priest and one bishop.
Was an open declaration of war against members of the hierarchy the way these folks wanted to go just now?
I ask, because . .. the whole thing seems to be blowing back on them.
Not working out the way they had hoped.
Anyone here a West Side Story fan?
Boy, boy, crazy boy,
Get cool, boy!
Got a rocket in your pocket,
Keep coolly cool, boy!
Don’t get hot,
‘Cause man, you got
Some high times ahead.
Take it slow and Daddy-O,
You can live it up and die in bed!
Boy, boy, crazy boy!
Stay loose, boy!
Breeze it, buzz it, easy does it.
Turn off the juice, boy!
Go man, go,
But not like a yo-yo schoolboy.
Just play it cool, boy,
Real cool!

Marion (Mael Muire) May 30, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Whoops. That last was me, and I forgot to sign it.

marie May 30, 2006 at 8:35 pm

You use the word “disobedience”. Canon law protects kneeling after the Agnus Dei as an Immemorial Custom.
Please read canon laws 23-28.
It appears that EVEN IF there WAS a LAW (not an Instruction(GIRM), or a NORM, but a LAW) which abrogated kneeling after the Agnus Dei, it could not overrule an immemorial (200 yrs or more) custom. (standing after the Agnus Dei just showed up in the Mass 2 years ago! We’ve ALL been kneeling prior to that for hundreds of years)
Therefore it is Fr. Fenton, Bishop Brown and Fr. Tran who are DISOBEYING CANON LAW HERE!
If it WERE truly mortal sin, Fr. Tran would be committing a GRAVE (mortal) sin by continuing to distribute communion to those who kneel.
So, which is it? They can’t have it both ways.

Jay E. Adrian May 30, 2006 at 9:26 pm

A great deal of perspective and some clarity regarding what option is being made in this case is needed here. The issue at hand involves kneeling at a specific time during the liturgy, not whether kneeling should be part of worship in the Latin Rite or not.
I think that all would agree that there is a difference between kneeling in the presence of the Eucharist, the presence of the Eucharist exposed, the absence of the Eucharist, kneeling during the Eucharistic liturgy, kneeling during private devotion, kneeling during the Canon, kneeling during the Epiclesis and Institution Narrative, kneeling after the Transubstantiation has taken place, kneeling after having received the Eucharist before the mass has ended, and kneeling after having left mass after having received the Eucharist. Those are a lot of different factors, both theological, liturgical, and anthropological.
Let’s just be very careful in assuming taking on a posture or not taking on a posture at a certain time or location (whether liturgically or not) is an objective necessity. In churches outside of the Northern Hemisphere, it is common to kneel only between the Epiclesis and Great Amen, while standing for the rest of the liturgy (or at least the Canon). We don’t even have to bring up the practice of the Eastern Rites, for whom kneeling is not a practice of devotion, liturgical or otherwise. The historical fact is that in the Latin Rite, kneeling has been narrowed and expanded in liturgical usage for centuries. At times it has been deemed appropriate only during penitential seasons and at time it has been deemed normative during certain parts of the liturgy at all times.
One may believe that kneeling should be retained in the Latin Rite and, have specific preferences as to where it should be practiced during the mass. I happen to agree that kneeling is a very important gesture and the most appropriate one that we can do to manifest our devotion to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I also agree that kneeling is an important catechetical tool to convey our belief in the Real Presence, something which is disturbingly lacking amongst Catholics in our society. This doesn’t mean, however, that a person who is sitting after having received the Eucharist into their very body and meditating on that awesome reality is somehow impious.
Where and how do you draw the lines as to where and how kneeling should be practiced? Is more always better? How much is too much? Would you oppose legislation that called for kneeling during the entire mass? What about legislation that required us to enter the church and process to receive on our knees? Is that too much? How much is too little? If standing or sitting after receiving is too little, what about kneeling only during the Canon? What about only during the period between the Epiclesis and Great Amen, like most churches around the world? Is that too little? Are they impious? What about only during the Institution narrative? What about only during the words of consecration? How will you decide? It seems to me that the deciding factor is merely what we have become accustomed to during our own lifetime or what our “ideal” mass would be.
Let’s just take in a little more historical perspective, global awareness, and theological understanding.

J.R. Stoodley May 30, 2006 at 9:34 pm

There is clearly much confusion on what the actual liturgical norms are. Marie would have it that it is absolutely required that the faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei, while John Lilburne suggests the rules in some dioceses about standing for the Agnus Dei are iron-clad. Still others, and I am now leaning in this direction myself after reading all this, think that the norms specifically about not kneeling during parts of the mass where kneeling has been traditional are optional. Who is right on this matter obviously dictates whether the parishioners in question are doing the right thing or not. So you Cannon Law experts out there, which is it?
In any case there are a few things to keep in mind,
1) This is a question of kneeling specifically during the Agnus Dei, not during consecration or kneeling in general, as some commentors have suggested.
2) Venial sins are never ok. To say that people are fine in rebelling against a liturgical norm if they are trying to be reverent and it is only a venial sin, as some here seem to have, is nonsense.
3) The whole point of liturgical norms, or the liturgy itself, or religion in general for that matter, is to draw the person closer to God. In particular during the Mass it is to aid you in adding the sacrifice of your life to Christ’s sacrifice of his life, and to dispose you toward receiving him bodily and spiritualy in Holy Communion. Whatever position we take on this issue and however deeply we get into what Church documents say and mean, let us not forget that.

Bender May 30, 2006 at 9:37 pm

Obedience is not a virtue if the only time you comply is when you agree.
To be a Catholic is to profess, at least every week, that you believe not only in One, Holy, and Catholic Church, but an Apostolic one as well. The bishops, as Successors of the Apostles, are the Apostolic part of that profession of faith. To reject the bishop, and/or the authority of the bishop, is to reject the Catholic faith. We Catholics are not like the Protestants, that is, priests or bishops unto ourselves. We are not judges in our own cause. In disputes of liturgy, theology, or faith, we are not the judges, the bishops are, and it is our Christian and Catholic duty to obey the bishops when they exercise their lawful authority, regardless of who that bishop is. If you cannot respect the person, you are at least obligated to respect the office. The bishop is entitled to a presumption of correctness, and it is the duty of the laity to obey unless and until a higher authority, i.e. the Holy See, not us, says otherwise.
To be sure, to reject the bishop in the exercise of his lawful authority is not only to reject the Church, it is to reject Christ Himself. (“bishops by divine institution have succeeded to the place of the apostles, (15*) as shepherds of the Church, and he who hears them, hears Christ, and he who rejects them, rejects Christ and Him who sent Christ.” Lumen Gentium 20)
“It pertains to the diocesan Bishop, then, ‘within the limits of his competence, to set forth liturgical norms in his Diocese, by which all are bound.'[45] . . . The Bishop governs the particular Church entrusted to him,[47] and it is his task to regulate, to direct, to encourage, and sometimes also to reprove;[48] this is a sacred task that he has received through episcopal Ordination,[49] which he fulfills in order to build up his flock in truth and holiness.[50] . . . The faithful ‘should cling to the Bishop as the Church does to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ does to the Father, so that all may be in harmonious unity, and that they may abound to the glory of God.‘[54]”
Redemptionis Sacramentum, presented by Francis Card. Arinze, quoting Lumen Gentium, Christus Dominus, and other authority.

J.R. Stoodley May 30, 2006 at 9:52 pm

True, but if a bishop disobays a higher level of Church authority the faithful have no responsibility to obey his orders of disobedience. It is like if you are in the military and your commanding officer tells you to disobey the President of the United States. If the Vatican really does allow parishioners kneel during the traditional times of the mass even if local norms say otherwise then it would seem the local bishop can’t stop them. I honestly hope this is the case. It would be consistent with the fact that liturgical norms are meant to aid people at mass, not hinder them by forcing irreverence.

Bender May 30, 2006 at 9:56 pm

As for the repeated and unending flyers, picketings, blog appeals, and now, stories in the anti-Catholic L.A. Times, Cardinal Arinze’s words are quite appropriate here —
“A good family member does not go to outsiders to discuss the problems of his family. A good family member does not go to outsiders and tell people, ‘You know my mother is not very kind and fights with my father sometimes; my father is very harsh to my mother.’ A good son or daughter does not say that outside the family. But within the family, that child has a nice way to bring up a point to be discussed. . . . He discusses it within the family, so also in the Church. . . . But if a person thinks something is not going well in the Church, and the first thing he does is to call the TV or the newspaper or the radio and tell the whole world, then I begin to ask myself, ‘Does this child love his mother?’ If so, why go to the marketplace to discuss the defects of your mother? Or what you hold to be the defects of your mother, because they may not even by defects, but you think they are defects. Even so, why don’t you do it lovingly in the family?”
God’s Invisible Hand, p. 163.
If these folks from Orange have a problem, then bring it up respectfully with the bishop. If you do not like his answer, then appeal to Rome — quitely. And unless and until Rome speaks, do not go out trying to undermine the bishop, mocking and disrespecting him. Do not go mouthing off to reporters or publicly complaining, causing scandal, by flyers, pickets, petitions, or blog campaigns. In short, stop this petty temper tantrum and grow up.

marie May 30, 2006 at 9:58 pm

jay –
If you’ve not been around for a while – this pot has been simmering for YEARS!
Major misinfo – it’s NOT about “what we want” or “what’s too much” or “what’s not enough”. It’s not “what WE decide”, it’s what the Church has already decided and held for HUNDREDS of years. Kneeling after the Agnus Dei. (to be laudably retained” I believe the document states.)
It’s about custom. 500 year old customs. It’s in our beings. Customs which the CHURCH says we have a RIGHT to, per canon law. vs. these loose cannons who want to CHANGE EVERYTHING! (Bishop Brown, Fr. Tran, etc) It’s really about what THEY want! (not what they have a right to (because canon law says they don’t) but just simply, what they want)(When Bishop Tod Brown celebrates the mass, he regularly changes the words of the mass after the consecration. He DOES NOT say the mass as it is written. It’s about CHANGE.)
Historically: It is an immemorial custom.
Globally?, are you kidding? we’ve got the biggest problem with scandal, sexual abuse,molestations, payouts (payoffs); misuse of funds (see this article ; then there’s the greatest “priest shortage” (ratio of priests to Catholics)created by our illustrious Cdl Mahony and Brown (which does NOT EVEN EXIST IN AUTHENTICALLY CATHOLIC DIOCESES!@!! See Bishops Bruskewitz, Burke, Finn, etc) and then there’s the complete lack of knowledge (teaching) of the Catholic faith in the entire WORLD (or close to it!) right here in Diocese of Orange (I’ve taught CCD here- believe me – I know. Children preparing for confirmation who ask “what’s in the big gold box?” ALL 13 in the class – all been thru the CCD system, all already received first communion NONE OF THEM HAD EVER HEARD “Body, blood, soul and divinity”). How’s THAT for global!!
Theologically – canon law says it all.
(See my post time 8:35.)

Bender May 30, 2006 at 10:02 pm

If the Vatican really does allow parishioners kneel during the traditional times of the mass even if local norms say otherwise then it would seem the local bishop can’t stop them.
For a specific issue, they need a specific response from Rome. Anyone can go out and quote all sorts of authority supporting their own particular position. But we have a hierarchy for a reason. We are not judges in our own cause!! It is not for us to say that we have considered the matter and we believe the bishop to be wrong — if the bishop is wrong — IF — then that is for Rome to say, and to say so specifically.
These folks from Orange have shown they know how to write. Accordingly, the next and only thing they should write from now on is a letter to the Holy See, and until it is answered, they need to follow their bishop. They need to show a little humility, a little charity, a little respect, a little love.

SusanTeissere May 30, 2006 at 11:52 pm

Dearest Bender, My husband and I met with Bishop Tod Brown two times at the Marywood Center The Orange Diocese Chancery offices, regarding a serious situation, about my husbands cousin a priest in the diocese of Orange who was living with his male “partner”. My cousin in law the priest was not some ordinary priest in the Diocese of Orange in fact he was in charge of Liturgy for The Diocese of Orange. He also has a liturgical design buisness( he “redos” wreckovates Catholic Churchs) Anyways read Los Angeles Catholic Mission newspapers article on this July2004 issue called “All that Perception Stuff” by Robert Krumpel. The article is also qouted and linked to the Open letter to Bishop Brown in previous post. So back to your comment about chastizing the people at St. Marys for the Front Page article in The LA Times, Lets see My husband and I went public too, but we only went public because Bishop Brown forced us to sign a Secret Oath to keep quite evil acts “lifestyle” of my cousin in law the priest. Read about it in the above article in the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission. See Bender almost every priest in the Orange Diocese( The priest in charge of media relations for the diocese of Orange at the time admitted he knew to me and my husbad at a meeting with him at his rectory, knew of my cousin in laws lifestyle.) Even Bishop Brown admitted to me and my husband during our meetings with him, that he knew they ( my cousin in law the priest and his male”partner”) had a homosexual relationship. It was a well kept secrete in as sense! Bender , I am frankly sick and tired of comments like yours either you are so ignorant of the serious situation in the Church or you work in some capicty with The Orange Diocese. See Bender My husband and I been inside the lions den so to speak with our meetings with Bishop Brown and clearly see the reality of the serious situation in the Church. To go “public” hurts, but if the sex abuse scandals weren’t made “public” nothing would be done about ridding the “filth” in the priesthood. Here we have spiritual abuse scandals that need to be rid of and if it takes going”public” to make that happen well let it be! The people who caused the sex abuse scandals are for the majority are causing the spiritual abuse sscandals. Wake up! lay faithful Catholics, Pray and Fast and and go in public show with your bodies in public prayer vigils we have had enough of this abuse! Do it for the young men and children who were sexually abused, do it for the young men in seminaries who were kicked for following the teachings of the Church, do it for those good priests who have their hands tied and mouths taped shut in dioceses with bishops who clearly , openly, and perhaps slowly, want to change the Churchs teachings, do it for fallen away family and friends from the Church, and do it for your children, grandchildren and future generations to come. The Vatican needs to hear and see it from us layfaithful that we are not going to take it( abuse) from many US bishops and priests,nuns and lay people working in chanceries and Catholic schools anymore! A good start of this would be the up comming US Bishops meeting in Los Angeles at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel in LA June 15-17,2006 the Bishops will be voting on Liturgical directives. Show your displeasure for the abuses in your local diocese. If you are physically able ,come out and pray with us. Check out One LA Catholic blog for futher details. Yes, Bender we sent a letter to The Vatican, to the Congregation for the Clergy, and we recieved letter back from the secretary for that Congregation , saying Bishop Brown seems to be handling the situation. Oh yeah! Bishop Brown is handling it alright, in the meantime people are being persecuted with this false sense of obedience to not kneel to Our Lord Jesus Christ when He is raised up by the priest at Mass. Yes we will choose defending the teachings of The Church even if it costs us our relationships with family, friends, fellow parishioners, etc.. Sorry for this long post , I just got very “touched” by some comments that were made in here and feel I need to respond, especially after reading the article on the Front Page! of The Los Angeles Times Sunday edition. I do find it to be a “miracle” that they even reported on reverence and adoration to God, on the FrontPage ! God can use the strangest means to communicate to us.

Susan Teissere May 31, 2006 at 12:03 am

OH so i won t be accused of not Loving, Charity… Everthing my husband and I did was because of Love, First For God then for my husbands cousin the priest, for his”partner”, For Bishop Tod Brown , family members, and for The Church! Our

Jared Weber May 31, 2006 at 1:05 am

Susan, I wonder if those far removed from our dioceses (you in OC, my wife and I in LA) would be so quick to judge us as disobedient and uncharitable if they saw the chaos in which much of the west-coast Church finds itself.
It breaks my heart every day to see the damage that is being done by some in places of authority. Pray for the Church to be restored.

Marion (Mael Muire) May 31, 2006 at 2:13 am

Dear Susan,
I will pray for you. It sounds awful out there. During the times I visited Orange Co. I was disturbed by what I heard and saw at Mass, such as a nun preaching the homily. This practice is forbidden by “Redemptionis Sacramentum”, and the pastor was diobeying the Vatican by permitting it. (Susan, I’ve noticed the notion of “obedience” seems to operate in the most extraordinary fashion in the California dioceses: it seems that many feel free to disobey Rome, and would never dream of admitting that by doing so they themselves are disobedient or sinners; instead, they would argue that they are “up-to-date”, “inclusive”, and “progressive”. However, these same folks then turn around and require and demand an unheard-of level of rigid and unquestioning obedience from others to their own innovations, and are quick to label them as “mortal sinners” when they don’t snap to like a United States Marine. (“Sir, yes, sir!”)
Right? Am I right?
Listen, there’s a good Yiddish word for what they’ve got – “chutzpah”!
Eh, I wouldn’t take much note when people with such chutzpah throw the words “obedience” or “sin” at you; I would worry about remaining a faithful Roman Catholic.)
Susan, do you receive broadcasts from EWTN in your area? They have some wonderful programs! And they have a wonderful website.
Do you have Opus Dei in your area? (The Modernists seem to fear Opus Dei above all else, even more than they fear holy water, crucifixes, and kneeling at Holy Mass.) Try to catch up with some Opus Dei families in your area. They are wonderful.
In the meantime, can you arrive to the church a few minutes before Mass and remain behind a few minutes after Mass to kneel in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament? Put all these concerns into His hands every day. He knows how to handle this situation.
Susan, I will pray for you daily and for all faithful, persecuted Catholics throughout the world.

chester May 31, 2006 at 4:41 am

I read the article and granted the word defiantly was from the journalist not the people doing it. If it can apply to an action at the mass it’s probably the wrong action.
They passed out a flyer after mass and organized a petition presumably on the church grounds. This is clearly a case of willful disobedience to the norms of the mass and to to bishop.
as for the come back later when your head is on right, it may very well be that the priest and bishop are of the opinion: if you’re not going to listen, they said they’re not, then I can do nothing with/for you either find somewhere else where what you’re doing is not disobdient or please come back and be obedient.

Zeke May 31, 2006 at 9:05 am

From one battle-worn catholic to another, I think getting Bill Donahue of the Catholic League
on this bishop might help to change his mind.
God bless you!

Susan Peterson May 31, 2006 at 9:58 am

Sort of tangentially, re the comment from Cardinal Arinze about keeping things within the family: this is not always a good idea. This describes a “closed family system” and can create a situation in which abuse flourishes. Ok, you might not go to someone outside the family and say, “My father talks to my mother in not very nice ways,” ……..unless that person is your therapist or counselor…or maybe your priest. But if someone in your family is hurting or abusing you, you should go outside the family.
I realize that when someone does this, other forms of injustice can be the result, but the alternative is that the weak have no recourse from abuse by the strong.
Is this relevant to this situation? Well, trying to keep the abuse accusations out of the press and completely secret sure made a mess of things.
There is no keeping this kind of dispute-the one over kneeling-secret. I think people outside of the church have a very limited degree of interest in such things anyway.
As for the basic subject at hand-I now attend a Byzantine Rite church, where the kneeling practices basically are in accord with the Nicene Canon cited above. I have to admit, though, that as a person formed (since my Anglican baptism at age 20, 35+ years ago) by western Christianity, there are times when it “feels” wrong to me to stand, when I “feel” I should be kneeling. I think this feeling much be ingrained even more strongly in those who were Catholics since childhood. I think it is wrong to force them to stand. Furthermore, in the context, it seems clear that the agenda of the bishop and pastor in question, the issue is not conformity with Nicea, but a different view of the church and sacraments, a “desacralized” one, one is which the holiness of the People of God is stressed to the point that the holiness of the source of all holiness has to be de-emphasized.
Susan Peterson

marie May 31, 2006 at 10:38 am

Chester –
Don’t “presume” – they were NOT/are not- on church grounds. They have met (Sept or Oct 2005)and were to meet again with the administrator (Fr. Martin Tran) and then were sent a letter from Fr. Tran that he would not meet with them and WOULD NOT meet or speak to them about any of the topics discussed at the first meeting. That he would speak to them ONLY about spiritual direction.
At that first meeting, Fr. Tran suggested that they meet with -the Diocesan Liturgical people – and the people of St. Mary’s agreed to send 2 representatives- 2 weeks later Fr. Tran sent this letter to all those at the first meeting and said – There will be no meeting with the diocese. Just do what you’re told.
(Maybe someone who actually received a copy of that letter from Fr. Tran can quote it here)
It’s “them” that will not discuss. Because they have no grounds for what they are doing.

Marion (Mael Muire) May 31, 2006 at 10:50 am

Susan Peterson wrote, ” . . . it seems clear that the agenda of the bishop and pastor in question, the issue is not conformity with Nicea, but a different view of the church and sacraments, a ‘desacralized’ one, one is which the holiness of the People of God is stressed to the point that the holiness of the source of all holiness has to be de-emphasized.
A terrible suggestion, Susan, and one that may also have some truth to it.
It is enough for me to note that here we have a bishop and a pastor using every means at their disposal to eradicate kneeling during Mass – an authentically Catholic custom showing reverence to the Lord – by ordinary faithful Catholic laypersons. The bishop’s and pastor’s evident determination to eradicate the practice in itself, whatever its underlying theology, strikes me as indicative of an intolerance and a hatred toward authentic Catholic practice.
It is also clear that the bishop and the pastor must have anticipated that such a move would deeply grieve many good and faithful Catholics within the diocese, and it is not far-fetched to conclude that the fact this consideration did not deter them at all bespeaks a callous disregard on their part for the spiritual and moral good of these faithful Catholics.
Leaving underlying theology and agenda aside, I wouldn’t blame those faithful traditional Catholics unfortunate enough to live within the diocese of Orange for making whatever arrangements they need to seek out an authentic Roman Catholic Mass elsewhere – at a church or oratory that welcomes faithful Catholics with a traditional understanding of what the Eucharist is, and, more importantly, that they may be reasonably sure is celebrated by priests whose intent and understanding is authentically Roman Catholic in character.

Susan Teissere May 31, 2006 at 11:43 am

Dear Marion, Thankyou for your prayers. Yes I watch EWTN almost everyday. I enjoy Fr. Corapi’s programs and the Rosary. the World Over is great with Raymond Arroyo. I have been watching EWTN for 12 years. Yes there are Opus Dei recolections in the area where I live the nights they have them on, my husband works a second job at night so we can make ends meat, so I could be a stay at home mom with our four children and homeschool them. Speaking about that issue of Homeschooling , it is harder than most think or even admit. But that is what my husband and I are forced to do. We love our children and can’t bear to send them to public school and the catholic schools around here are in a sense worse because they teach heresy. We have a good parish we go to , but it is not our home parish. I try the best I can to go to the weekly Mass there. My husband goes almost daily during his lunch break. Yes , Sundays we are working very hard to get our family to Mass early and we do after Mass pray a thanksgiving and the Prayer to St. Michael The Archangel. We have wonderful Catholic friends some we have had since our young adult group days. We have met several catholic families at the parish , who are also trying to live out the Catholic Faith! I have a great support group of older women that I get together with on occasion when can, to pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet. These women are such a great comfort and support to me and my husband because they know what we are going through, because in reality it is all of us Catholics who are going through this serious situation in the Church. I don’t know who you are Marion, but you seem to be a sweet person, My husband and I usually don’t go around telling people about our lives, but since the situation with Bishop Tod Brown and the secret oath we prayed and sought spiritual direction from a priest so we went”public”. My husband and I never imagined our lives would be like this. There is no going back only foward to the Cross. Thankyou for all of your prayers and we will keep all of you in our prayers.

Steve McC May 31, 2006 at 1:48 pm

Jimmy, you wrote “posture Nazis”.
isn’t this against the blog law? (I forgot the name)
Someone last week used the example of Kristalnacht and he was called on the carpet for it on this blog?
is this consistent?
just curious

Marion May 31, 2006 at 2:33 pm

Steve is right, you know, Jimmy.
“Posture Nazi” is way over the top.
It would have been far more appropriate – and closer to the truth – to have written “Posture S.S.” or “Posture Gestapo”.
(I happen to favor “Posture K.G.B.” myself.)
Just joking, Steven. Hey, you don’t know about the “Soup Nazi”? You step out of line, and it’s “No soup for you! Get out of my restaurant. Get out! NOW! Come back – ONE YEAR!”
Well, hey? “We catch you kneeling in our church, you get out!”
If the jackboot fits . . .

Marion (Mael Muire) May 31, 2006 at 2:57 pm

Dig this: I got the feeling that if a group of “Rainbow Sash” dudes came to Mass at your church, and sat right up in the front row, wearing their bright, colorful sashes across their shoulders, and they all decided to kneel down and pray during Mass?. . . that no one, NO ONE – not the priest, not the ushers . . . no one would say “boo” to them!
I say, let’s set it up and try it. Anyone willing to don the sash to test out my theory?
And who wants in on the action? I know Bender and John will back the church . . . what kind of odds are we talking here?

Anonymous May 31, 2006 at 3:03 pm

I am serious. The THREAD POLICE intervened.
Why does Godwin’s Law not apply here using the term “posture Nazi” when “Kristalnacht” did?

Steve McC May 31, 2006 at 3:03 pm

sorry that was mine

Steve McC May 31, 2006 at 3:05 pm

sorry that was mine

stillprotesting May 31, 2006 at 3:38 pm

After reading these, I know why I will never become Catholic and many other Protestants that I know won’t also.
We never could understand the “when do you stand and when do you kneel” thing and now all of this?
from what I read of these, including all of the scripture texts cited, the issue is not kneeling (with all of the support for it in the Bible) but obedience.
“To obey is better than sacrifice” – 1 Samuel 15:22. THIS incident cost Saul the throne.
Rather than obey God he did what he thought would please God and what he thought was the right thing to do.
Also, in the posts above, the argument is mentioned that if the bishop is not doing what he should do, the people are not obligated to follow his prescriptions. Isn’t this what Augustine had to deal with… the question then was “‘Was ordination and the sacraments still valid?’ if the bishop was lapsed and then came back to God.”
IMHO, I think that the bishop is responsible to God and so are each one of us. If I was a Catholic in the Orange diocese, God would hold me accountable on my obedience, not my originality of thought and conviction.
If you disagree with me, then aren’t you then taking Martin Luther’s position? I have found the truth and “here I stand, and I can not do otherwise?”

john chrysostom May 31, 2006 at 3:38 pm

Dude, get over it. Seriously.
Sorry your feelings were hurt in another thread.
Time to move on.
Please stay on topic.

john chrysostom May 31, 2006 at 3:40 pm

Sorry you don’t understand.

Jared Weber May 31, 2006 at 3:51 pm

Firstly, obediance to whom? To God? To the rightful authority as ordained by God? To the next step down in the hierarchy? I’m confused as to your point.
On the other hand, there is no confusion on this issue if one reads the relevant statements.
A: the bishop has the right to denote the posture
B: the laity has the right to kneel if called by their consciences to do so.
It really is clear cut, despite the other complications.
Secondly, why allow a question like this to determine that you will “never” turn Catholic? You mean that if God Himself came down to Earth and told you to convert, you wouldn’t? Never is a long time, my friend. I hope you’ll reconsider.

Maureen May 31, 2006 at 3:56 pm

As we learned last week, Godwin’s Law just means that every thread has an increasingly good chance of including Nazi references as it grows longer.

Dr. Eric May 31, 2006 at 4:02 pm

“Let’s see…
If Jesus entered a room and I recognized Him as Lord of Heaven and Earth, I would:
a.) remain seated
b.) stand
c.) kneel at the feet of my Creator, the Creator of all “that is seen and unseen.”
Well, which shall it be?”
I would actually fall flat on my face and beg mercy for the uncountable sins I’ve committed.

MaryC May 31, 2006 at 4:09 pm

Check out “A Very Naughty Historian”, 137 posts long (and counting) and not a Nazi in sight.

MaryC May 31, 2006 at 4:12 pm


Joseph D'Hippolito May 31, 2006 at 4:29 pm

I’m sorry but this is nothing but the Catholic Establishment, represented by Brown, Fenton and Tran, straining at gnats. Any bishops or his clerical subordinates who demands such a legalistic, insensitive enforcement of such “regulations” puts himself about Christ and deserves no respect!
Then again, this is the same Catholic Establishment that has swallowed such camels as clerical sex abuse, superficial ecumenism, liturgical variety for its own sake and moral revisionism based on an intellectual fashion that rejects Scripture and Tradition (i.e., capital punishment and I’m NOT going over that discussion again).
Brown, Tran and those who think like them are not interested in faith, devotion, the Gospel or God. They’re interested in maintaining their power. They’re interested in remaining isolated from the faithful they claim to serve. They wish to continue to protect themselves from any sense of accountability or transparency. They’re interested in “lording it over others,” which rejects the call that Christ made to His disciples in John 14.
There’s only one response. Every Catholic at St. Mary’s By The Sea — indeed, every Catholic in the Diocese of Orange — should kneel when receiving the Eucharist, particularly from Tran. This can be as powerful a statement against episcopal corruption and malfeasance as eating at segregated lunch counters and riding segregated buses was during the Civil Right Movement.
Such an action is the perfect way for Catholics to act against the corrupt episcopocracy.

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 4:43 pm

The Catechism of Trent

“The Apostle also teaches that they are entitled to obedience: Obey your prelates, and be subject to them; for they watch as being to render an account of your souls. Nay, more. Christ the Lord commands obedience even to wicked pastors: Upon the chair of Moses have sitten the scribes and Pharisees: all things, therefore, whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works do ye not, for they say and do not.”
Take care and God bless,

Balinda May 31, 2006 at 4:43 pm

In regards to what you wrote in your last repsonse: The issue here isn’t so much whether or not the laity should be obedient to a bishop. Here we have a priest, a bishop, and a diocesan spokesman targeting an issue which quite a bit of laity feel strongly about, kneeling when the faithful traditionally knelt (mind you, this all taking place when Christ is sacramentally present on the altar; one may even argue that the break in standing occurs from the time of the consecration until Communion only because the traditional posture for praying the Our Father – which takes place in between these two events – is standing), and going so far as to publicly call it a mortal sin to disobey the bishop in this matter. Now that this stage has been set, this is what is making some people upset.
1) It’s not a mortal sin to disobey the bishop in this matter.
2) There seem to be a few other issues which are obviously much greater problems in the Church which these same clergy would be very unlikely to publicly address or even as openly (and, this time, correctly) identify as mortal sins (i.e., homosexual behavior, cohabitation, contraception, and receiving Communion before not going to confession in regards to all of the above).
3) Considering the above two points, it’s quite apparent that these same people are targeting a specific group of Catholics who tend to be a bit more traditional in their beliefs with the trump card of calling what their doing a mortal sin.
When you consider the above points in light of the fact that any bishop who in light of the Church’s TRUE teaching speaks out against any of the other subjects I mentioned, they’re maligned by the media, etc. to no end, and, in this case, we merely have a piece from the LA Times trying to stir up a bit of controversy, I hope it’s a little more apparent that the issue here has a little more to do with whether some narrow-minded traditionalists are going to put their money where their mouths are and obey their bishop.

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 4:59 pm

Chrysostom, Hom. lxxii: But that none should say, For this cause am I slack to practise, because my
instructor is evil, He removes every such plea, saying, “All therefore whatsoever they say unto
you, that observe and do,” for they speak not their own, but God’s, which things He taught
through Moses in the Law. And look with how great honour He speaks of Moses, shewing again
what harmony there is with the Old Testament.

Take care and God bless,

Joseph D'Hippolito May 31, 2006 at 5:09 pm

Well put, Balinda.
Why do “traditionalists” who insist upon kneeling while receiving the Eucharist (a behavior that, in and of itself, isn’t “traditionalist” as Catholics understand that term) draw more ire than some of the other people to whom Balinda refers?
It’s simple. The Browns, Trans and Fentons of the world view such “traditionalists” as a threat not only to their own power but to their vision of “church” which they seek to impose by episcopal fiat upon the faithful, whether the latter want it or not.
As I’ve said, this is about episcopal power and the lack of accountability, not faith or practice.
Now you know why so many Catholics are ignorant about their faith. The Catholic Establishment wants them ignorant (i.e., discouraging Bible study) so they can be more maleable to a revisionist mindset.
Inocencio, since when is demonstrating reference for the Savior considered disobeying a bishop — unless that bishop (and his clerical subordinates) are not really that reverent in the first place?

john chrysostom May 31, 2006 at 5:45 pm

Read the Open Letter To Bishop Brown in its entirety, including all the links. Be sure to scroll down to the part that has pictures of Bishop Brown disobeying His legitimate superiors. Make sure you note each rule he breaks, each liturgical law he breaks, and each act of support for the homosexual lifestyle he has evidenced.
Then I want you to start sending him the little quotation snippets you keep posting here. Send them to him over and over and keep posting new ones. Never offer an original thought or an explanation as to why your snippets apply to him. Just keep sending snippets in a way that comes off as intellectually and morally superior. After all, if we deserve to hear that stuff, so does he.

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 6:35 pm

john chrysostom,
If my quotations don’t apply ignore them.
I have been down this road many times with Catholics acting as if obedience to bishops and priest ends when we decide we are “intellectually and morally superior”.
Our Blessed Lord obeyed the religious authorities of His time unto death.
Take care and God bless,

Joseph D'Hippolito May 31, 2006 at 6:46 pm

Our Blessed Lord obeyed the religious authorities of His time unto death.
Inocencio, where do you get such poppycock considering that 1)Christ prevented those authorities from conducting a kangaroo court with an adultress in John 8 2)Christ never told those authorities *directly* who He was when they insisted 3)Christ violently and physically threw the moneychangers out of the Temple, moneychangers whose presense was encouraged by the religious authorities (who likely got a cut of their operation) 4)Christ called those authorities “hypocrites,” “whited sepulchres” and a “brood of vipers”?

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 7:02 pm

Christ never told those authorities *directly* who He was when they insisted
When the High Priest said “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Matt 26:63 our Blessed Lord breaks His silence and answers under oath.
Mark 14:60: And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”
61: But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
62: And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Take care and God bless,

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 7:05 pm

In John 8:2 did our Blessed Lord, in your opinion *directly* prevent them from conducting a kangaroo court?

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 7:09 pm

As for the moneychangers did he in your opinion *directly* confront the religious authorities or just the moneychangers?
Christ called those authorities “hypocrites,”
“whited sepulchres” and a “brood of vipers”?

As He will to all, (bishops, priest, laity, etc.) who have not been faithful to Him and His Church.
Take care and God bless,

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 7:12 pm

john chrysostom,
Was the Catechism of Trent in error in your opinion?
Take care and God bless,

Leo Wong May 31, 2006 at 7:28 pm

The Trent Catechism also said:
In the first three Commandments, which have been explained, God, the supreme good, is, as it were, the subject matter; in the others, it is the good of our neighbour. The former require the highest love, the latter the love next to the highest. The former have to do with our last end, the latter with those things that lead us to our end.
Again, the love of God terminates in God Himself, for God is to be loved above all things for His own sake; but the love of our neighbour originates in, and is to be regulated by, the love of God. If we love our parents, obey our masters, respect our superiors, our ruling principle in doing so should be that God is their Creator, and wishes to give pre-eminence to those by whose cooperation He governs and protects other men; and as He requires that we yield a dutiful respect to such persons, we should do so, because He deems them worthy of this honour. If, then, we honour our parents, the tribute is paid to God rather than to man. Accordingly we read in St. Matthew concerning duty to superiors: He that receiveth you, receiveth me; and the Apostle in his Epistle to the Ephesians, giving instruction to servants, says: Servants, be obedient to them that are your lords according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the simplicity of your heart, as to Christ: not serving to the eye, as it were pleasing men, but as the servants of Christ.
Moreover, no honour, no piety, no devotion can be rendered to God sufficiently worthy of Him, since love of Him admits of infinite increase. Hence our charity should become every day more fervent towards Him, who commands us to love Him with our whole heart, our whole soul, and with all our strength. The love of our neighbour, on the contrary, has its limits, for the Lord commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves.
To outstep these limits by loving our neighbour as we love God would be an enormous crime. If any man come to me, says the Lord and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also; he cannot be my disciple. In the same way, to one who would first attend the burial of his father, and then follow Christ, it was said: Let the dead bury their dead; and the same lesson is more clearly conveyed in St. Matthew: He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me.
Parents, no doubt, are to be highly loved and respected; but religion requires that supreme honour and homage be given to Him alone, who is the Creator and Father of all, and that all our love for our earthly parents be referred to our eternal Father who is in heaven. Should, however, the injunctions of parents be at any time opposed to the Commandments of God, children are, of course, to prefer the will of God to the desires of their parents, always keeping in view the divine maxim: We ought to obey God rather than men.

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 8:51 pm

Leo Wong,
We ought to obey God rather than men
“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Luke 10:16
When we are obedient to the authority God established we are obedient to Him.
Take care and God bless,

J.R. Stoodley May 31, 2006 at 9:24 pm

Can we all agree that if the people of the Diocese of Orange County do have the right under current liturgical norms to kneel at the Agnus Dei then the bishop should get off their back, and if they do not then they should stand?
If there is ambiguity they should write to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrements and get it sorted out.
Meanwhile it only seems reasonable that we should err on the side of personal divotion, since this is what the liturgy is for not teeth-grinding obedience.
I agree with Old Zhou though that both sides need to take a time out and get some perspective.

Old Zhou May 31, 2006 at 9:32 pm

What I really don’t understand is that all this is taking place just a few blocks from some of the most beautiful beaches and good surfing in Southern California.
This whole thing is so whacked out, on both sides, that I would just go to mass at the larger Ss. Simon & Jude (from which this little community was originally a mission to the surfers, drunks and druggies, before it went totally rad-trad under the former pastor, who never gave more than grudging obedience to his bishops regarding Vatican II changes), and then forget who did what how at liturgy, and go to the beach.
Kneel on your board.
Stand on your board.
Enjoy God’s creation and forget this out-of-touch with reality in-fighting in the parish.
You guys are in Huntington Beach, for God’s sake!
(I’m Edison High class of 1975, so there.)

Jared Weber May 31, 2006 at 9:51 pm

Inocencio: Why did Paul “withstand Peter to his face?”
Please read the statements I and others posted earlier. The Magisterium has given the laity the right to kneel if they choose. That authority is above Bishop Brown. How is it disobedient to do something that the Magisterium has placed its stamp of approval on?
This is seriously getting old.

Jared Weber May 31, 2006 at 9:55 pm

Old Zhou: Don’t you think it’s uncharitable to trivialize the concerns of these people in the way that you’ve just done?

Dr. Eric May 31, 2006 at 10:02 pm
For the History of genuflection and kneeling from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Kneeling during the Mass was introduced during the Middle Ages as was the Elevation of the Host. Standing throughout the Liturgy was still the norm. Don’t believe me, check out the 4 Patriarchal Basilicas… no pews and no kneelers!
Only when private devotions were introduced during the Mass, since the people couldn’t understand what was going on, did kneeling become more prolonged as the devotions were to be done kneeling.
Am I sticking up for Bishop Brown or Cardinal Mahoney. No way. But kneeling is a latter invention to the Liturgy, by almost 1000 years.

Old Zhou May 31, 2006 at 10:03 pm

No, I don’t think it is uncharitable.
This is, and has been since the 1970’s under the former almost-but-not-quite rebelling against the bishops of Orange pastor, a pain in the butt of the Diocese.
And now that they are going nuclear, I just wish them all a happy obliteration.
How much, over the last 30 years, have they worked WITH the Diocese in doing anything? How much do they work WITH the bishop?
This is the bitter fruit of their bitter former pastor.
Time to throw it out.
Go outside.
Enjoy the beach.
Start over.
I think the best thing would be for the bishop to just obliterate the parish and re-join it with Ss. Simon and Jude from which it came as a mission.
The mission has gone off the rails.

J.R. Stoodley May 31, 2006 at 10:05 pm

Jared, this is getting old.
I will suggest that the multiple lines of thought on this thread may be leading to confusion. Some comments here have basically been a declaraton of war on anything that restricts their private liturgical preferences, and suggestions that a bishop’s personal sins and heterodoxy somehow nullify his authority to regulate the liturgy in ways approved by Rome.
Then you get people protesting to that disobedience. But there is also the idea we keep getting back to that the Vatican may specifically allow kneeling at the traditional timesto kneel in the mass no matter what the general regulation (or perhaps we should say guidlines) are in the area. Whether this is the case determines whether the kneeling is a true act of disobedience or not, and thus whether these parishioners are within their rights or not.

Inocencio May 31, 2006 at 10:12 pm

Jared Weber,
Why did Paul “withstand Peter to his face?”
Do you think Paul had authority over Peter?
Of course we can and should make our concern known to our pastors but their authority comes from God not us.
How is it disobedient to do something that the Magisterium has placed its stamp of approval on?
I never said it was. I kneel also at the Agnus Dei. My comments were meant for those who think the authority of the bishops and priest comes from us and we can ignore it when we thnk we know better.
I want more reverence and silence also but we must still accept the authority placed over us.
I agree this is getting old.
Take care and God bless,

Old Zhou May 31, 2006 at 10:28 pm

For those who don’t know the earlier background of this little mission parish, Fr. Johnson was “exiled” there.

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.

In his bitter exile, he prepared his revenge on the Diocese by forming a group of deformed Catholic who think they are right, they know the Truth and Tradition, and they can rebel agains their Bishop and his delegates.
Chickens have come home to roost.
Apparently the parishioners, who are largely in conflict with the rest of the Diocse, decided now is the time for the slaughter, and they have started a public campaign against everything they feel is wrong with the Diocse, the Bishop, the Diocesan leadership, and all the other Catholic in the Diocese of Orange (and Archdiocese of Los Angeles).
If they want to cut themselves off from the Body, claiming they alone know what is Tradition and Truth, well, you know how well that goes.
But they have been prepared for this great struggle for 25 years by their former Pastor.

J.R. Stoodley May 31, 2006 at 10:30 pm

Can we all agree that if the people of the Diocese of Orange County do have a right under Church law as a whole to kneel that the bishop needs to get off their backs, and if they don’t then they need to back down themselves and submit to authority?
If there is considerable ambiguity then the situation needs to be brought to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrements.
While there remains ambiguity we should err on the side of what will be most spiritually helpful for the individuals, since this is the purpose of the liturgy in the first place.
I agree both sides need to take a time out and get some perspective.

Jared Weber May 31, 2006 at 11:23 pm

Inocencio: Re: Peter and Paul. Nope. Just being vague about a very public Magisterial disagreement. See how it looked like I was saying one thing without actually saying anything? That’s the way your most recent comments appear.
Unfortunately, your comments regarding disobedience lacked specificity. Simply talking about disobedience in light of the topic (kneeling) leads one to believe that you believe that kneeling is disobedient. If they are being disobedient in other ways, it would clarify things if you specified what ways those are within the context of your post. Otherwise, it comes off like you’re saying that people need to obey no matter what.
Innocencio, I hope you don’t think I was being a smart-aleck. I just wanted to point out what your comments looked like to me.
JRS: You write, “Can we all agree that if the people of the Diocese of Orange County do have a right under Church law as a whole to kneel that the bishop needs to get off their backs, and if they don’t then they need to back down themselves and submit to authority?”
Yep, I’d agree to that. BUT the thing is that it has already been proved that OC Bishop does not have the right to stop them.

marie June 1, 2006 at 12:13 am

Old Zhou
Where have you been for the past 6 years? You DID mention that you were from HB. St. Simon and Jude? No kneelers,no kneeling, no genuflecting, ad lib the mass, liturgical dance, “holy water” from the hose? Christmas Sweatshirts worn by employees with manger scenes that say “It’s a girl”. PALEESE-
Have you read ANYTHING about what the “leadership” has been doing for the past 6 years? (EX: Recognizing, (during the mass celebrated by Bishop Brown and attended by all boys in the school)and applauding pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage Loretta Sanchez at Servite High School)
Here’s a good place to start if you are unaware.
Do you think they made this stuff up? Do you think this is a conspiracy of lies against the Bishop and his chancery office? Or, is it just unimportant?
It’s a disgrace – plain and simple.
Yours is the typical “liberal” argument. No facts, no names, no dates, no documents. (The article you posted seems to be honoring him – but your comments sound hateful) There is NO documentation about the “deformed Catholics”; just name calling and bad-mouthing and bullying. Sorry, it doesn’t work with intelligent, educated, informed Catholics.
Bishop Brown and Fr. Tran have been trying it for the past 12 months. We are NOT trying to change the church, or the ‘truth’ or ‘tradition’. BISHOP BROWN IS!
We are not cutting ourselves off from “the body” – Bishop Brown is (55 parishioners “invited to leave the parish and the diocese” – signed by Fr. Martin Tran, parish administrator – with the permission of Bishop Brown, the letter states.)
NOW is not the time for the slaughter; this battle has been on since long before he showed his cards 4 years ago when he issued a memo to all priests in the diocese supporting domestic partnership. (check the link above to see a copy)
What does this man have to do to be seen for what he is by those blinded by the current homosexual, ‘let’s just be nice’ culture? Where are those Catholics who are willing to die in defense of the true teachings of the church?
You asked why they don’t “work WITH the Bishop”:
A homosexual marriage bill passed the state assembly last October- it was there for 9 months!
Re-writing ALL text books (gotta get rid of the terms “Mom and Dad” It’s discriminating against – you guessed it – HOMOSEXUALS)- it’s passed the state senate – NOT ONE WORD FROM THE Diocese of Orange BISHOPS!
Primary election coming up next week
Pro-life voter guides NOT ALLOWED TO BE DISTRIBUTED!
Sorry, it appears they’re working for the wrong side!
These men are supposed to be our LEADERS in the faith!
What a sad, sick joke.
By the way, that “bitter pastor” brought more people into the Catholic Church than ANY OTHER PASTOR IN THE HISTORY OF THE DIOCESE!
He walked his entire parish – knocked on EVERY door =- and he completed the entire parish 3 times during his tenure. Now THAT’S a pastor – a true shepherd looking for those lost sheep and bringing them home(not kicking them out the door!)
He is now suffering. Please, those who were touched by him, and faithful Catholics who love the true Church, pray for him.

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 12:21 am

The Diocese of Orange, in an effort at damage control, is attempting to claim that Fr. Tran never said that it is a mortal sin to kneel, and that the Diocese is not claiming that it is a mortal sin, either.
Gerald Augustinus at The Cafeteria Is Closed Blog has an excellent article on the subject: Feeling the heat ?
He includes letters from Fr. Tran that appear to contradict the current diocesan spin.
What do you think caused the diocese to backpeddle?

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 12:37 am

I support the Council of Trent.
I support all Church councils, including Vatican II.
I don’t advocate disobedience to the bishop. Can you show me where I have?
By the way, is my first obedience to Rome and the Pope, or Bishop Brown?
If Rome says I have a right to kneel (and they have said so many times, and likely will again when they get wind of this) then how is it disobedient for me to kneel?
What, exactly, has been your point? That these people should simply stand because the bishop says so?
Are you aware that in Tod Brown’s diocese, there are a handful of parishes where they stand through the consecration, and that Bishop Brown has not issued them any ultimatums about obedience?
Why do you think that is?
Do you even care?
All you seem to care about is that people should obey Tod Brown without any question, even though he disobeys Rome, and even though Rome has repeatedly asserted that people have the right to kneel and adore God (which means not standing is then: not disobedience).
Is Tod Brown your bishop?
WIll you support the legal recognition of special rights for homosexual domestic partnerships?
Bishop Brown has encouraged his priests to do so. Should they obey him?

Mike June 1, 2006 at 12:59 am

Dear Old Zhou, sounds you have a bit of jealousy toward a holy priest Fr. Johnson. I bet you work for the diocese or attend ST. Simon and Jude( the parish where they stand for the Concecration.) You can say all the mean things you want, but know this , the people who you think are rad trads well all ran away to Mary Help of Christians. The ones left are the true defenders, they are willing to sacrifice their reputations for The Truth! They sacrifice their time in putting info fliers together. They sacrifice their reputations by standing out in front of the Chruch building handing out the fliers waiting for people to sign the flier or spit in their face. They have been doing this for at least half a year now. Bishop Brown has not seen such a stand against his deceptive destruction of the Catholic faith before! Yeah! it is war. Our Late Holy Father Pope John Paul II mentioned we are in the time of the Church against the anti- church, Christ against the anti-christ. The Los Angeles Times article was amazing in this sense, that a secular newspaper would consider putting a story on reverence to God on its front page of their Sunday edition. They did , I saw it with my own two eyes, Go figure! All can I say it must be a sign from God that he wants our Love ,revernce and adoration. Every knee shall bend… The Holy Father Pope BenedictXVI I believe said in his book The Spirit of The Liturgy ,there is a group of people who don’t want us to kneel. It is clear that Bishop Brown, Cardinal Mahony, other bishops who say don’t kneel, are this group the Holy Father mentions. And he mentions this group is no good. The destruction of the faith by these prelates is done slowly and with such deception that even faithful catholics will be decevied. It dosen’t take a theologian to see what is happening ,look at all the scandals from the young boy and child sex abuse coverups to the homosexual coverups ,to liturgical abuse to the heretical teachings and pornographic plays in the Catholic universities and schools, the Catholic Reporter and America Magazine(Jesuit run) promoting false teachings, even to catholics that left the Church for the SSPX most likely and mainly for the above abuses I mentioned. Read the blogs , reporting on the women thinking they are priests , new age and pagan teachers preaching in catholic parishes with bishops approvals. Recently reported of catholic priests involved in satanism!!! Read Michael Roses book ‘Good bye Goodmen’ it makes me sick! Georgeous catholic churches being demolished and turned into newage meeting halls. Cardinals and bishops giving Holy Communion Jesus Body, Blood , Soul and Divinity too openly public pro-abortion, pro -homosexual marriage politicians. No wonder catholics are artifically contracepting, having abortions, divorcing and dress immodestly to Mass. No wonder people go along with the don’t kneel trick ,they don’t know what the Holy Mass is, Calvary. But the battle rages on, there is hope don’t fear we layfaithful Catholics , pull yourselves up out of sand, Pray, and fast and publically!! defend the Churchs teachings!! The US Bishops are meeting this June 15-17,2006 in Los Angeles,Calif at the BiltmoreMillenium hotel they are voting on liturgical directives etc..) Holy Mother The Church needs you, Do it now for tommorrow is too late! Onward Christian soliders to Calvary we must go!

Jared Weber June 1, 2006 at 1:35 am

john chrysostom: Can’t help but smirk at this statement in the OC diocese statement: “The bulliten article … was about respect for the liturgical practices of the Church as approved by the Pope.”
So ironic given the liturgical practice of kneeling as approved by the Pope.

Marion (Mael Muire) June 1, 2006 at 3:11 am

The disgusting liturgical innovations introduced over the last 40 years have been successfully incorporated by people who know how to “work the system”. Gotta hand it to them – the “wreckovators” have known how to get things done. They’ve stayed cool. They’ve stayed on top of things. They’ve stayed on message. Slick. Smooth. Cunning. Stealthy. They understand how to read which way the wind is blowing, and react accordingly. They know when to come out with guns blazing (rarely) and when to just skim the surface, staying just a little under the radar (usually), careful to provoke just the right people, who can be counted on to react by blowing up and sounding like ninnies, instead of like people with legitimate complaints.
Good people of Orange. Obey your bishop in all lawful things. And also, consider working your agenda the way the liturgical wreckovators have worked theirs. Smooth. Stealthy. Never hand your opponents victory on a platter by overreacting, and making yourselves sound disobedient, or superior, or over-emotional.
To get what you want and what you deserve in this environment, you guys need to be PR savvy as the slickest investment firm in midtown Manhattan.
You can do this. I know you can.
I’ll be praying for you.

Marion June 1, 2006 at 3:35 am

P.S. Good people who want to kneel:
No more dredging up the past, past grievances, etc. Instead:
“Bishop X. is a wonderful man. Father Y is a wonderful man. They have our total support. We appreciate them working with us, as well.”
Pick one thing you want – and be specific and stick to it. Stay on message. Find 12 ways to say the exact same thing, and say that and only that. “We want to kneel during the Consecration and after Communion” Don’t talk about anything else – not the Pope, not the priest, not your own personal issues, not what else the bishop has or hasn’t done.
Stay on message, and don’t let anything get you off that. “We want x”. And smile when you say it.
Sound happy, sound positive, and sound upbeat. Never accuse or say anything negative about anyone. Never. It’s all sunshine and we’re so looking forward to moving ahead in a positive direction.
That’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

Inocencio June 1, 2006 at 7:07 am

I don’t advocate disobedience to the bishop. Can you show me where I have?
If my quotations don’t apply to you ignore them.
By the way, is my first obedience to Rome and the Pope, or Bishop Brown?
Both and living that out is what being Catholic means. We must be obedient to legitimate authority.
If Rome says I have a right to kneel (and they have said so many times, and likely will again when they get wind of this) then how is it disobedient for me to kneel?
Again, I never said it was.
What, exactly, has been your point? That these people should simply stand because the bishop says so?
The bishop has the authority to ask his diocese to stand at the Agnus Dei. My point has been that the authority of the bishops and priest does not come from us and we cannot take it away. Suffering under the authority of a fallen and sinful person is a cross we all bear in being Catholic.
Are you aware that in Tod Brown’s diocese, there are a handful of parishes where they stand through the consecration, and that Bishop Brown has not issued them any ultimatums about obedience? I am now and unfortunately there are some parishes like that in my diocese.
Why do you think that is? Only the bishop could answer that question.
Do you even care? Yes.
All you seem to care about is that people should obey Tod Brown without any question
What I care about is recgonizing the authority of the bishop. Question all you want in a way that is proper and respectful. Again, we can and should make our concern known to our pastors but their authority comes from God not us.
Is Tod Brown your bishop? No.
WIll you support the legal recognition of special rights for homosexual domestic partnerships?
No, not even if I am encourged by the bishop.


3. Also because of the format restrictions, everyone must be concise. Don’t go on at length about things. Pasting large amounts of text into the combox also counts as going on at length. Going on at length constitutes rudeness.
I apologize to all who have read this post that if in trying to be concise I have offended you. My comments or quotes probably did not apply to you. Please feel free to ask for clarification but 11 questions is a bit much.
Take care and God bless,

Inocencio June 1, 2006 at 7:11 am

oops that should be “recognizing the authority of the bishop”
Sorry need to finish my first cup of coffee then post comments.
Take care and God bless,

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 9:07 am

If Bishop Brown contradicts Rome, who do I obey?

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 9:17 am

Jared Weber wrote:
Can’t help but smirk at this statement in the OC diocese statement: “The bulliten article … was about respect for the liturgical practices of the Church as approved by the Pope.”
So ironic given the liturgical practice of kneeling as approved by the Pope.

I reply:
I know what you mean.
It’s also ironic for Bishop Brown (through Fr. Tran) to demand obedience as a legitimate superior when he, himself, is not always obedient to the Holy See, especially on liturgical matters, but also through his (Bishop Brown’s) support for legal protections for homosexual domestic partnerships.
Based on all I know about the Diocese of Orange and its inner workings, I can honestly say that the diocesan mantra is completely ironic. They say: “Obey, obey, obey!”
I wish they would.

Tim J. June 1, 2006 at 9:23 am

The thing is, Rome says to obey your Bishop.
I entered this being very open (that is, confused) on the question, but the more I turn it over, the more I conclude that IF WE ARE DETERMINED TO ATTEND AT A PARTICULAR PARISH we are to obey the authority of that parish.
Certainly in liturgical matters, as long as we are not made to participate in actual sacriledge (invalid hosts, etc…) then we should obey our priest first, then our bishop, then Rome.
Standing can’t be said to be sacriledge.
However, I do not accept that the priest or bishop can run people out of the parish based on their posture during the consecration.
Shamefully, the situation seems to have been handled in a ham-fisted manner on both sides, and projects an unloving image to the world. With all the stink, I hope that a higher authority will step in soon to arbitrate.
Were I a parishoner, right now I would either find a different parish, or obey the priest. Surely a massive exodus by hurt parishoners would send a clear message.
In general, though, when you come under a priest’s roof, you play by his rules. I attend my current parish because I got tired of the highjinks at our former parish.
Vote with your feet.

Inocencio June 1, 2006 at 9:29 am

If Bishop Brown contradicts Rome, who do I obey?
Not me. Have you asked Bishop Brown that question or directly voiced your concerns to him?
Our Blessed Lord said do as they say not as they do. If you have a specific example and want my opinion I will give it.
Take care and God bless,

Jared Weber June 1, 2006 at 9:41 am

Tim J.: The problem that we had in Los Angeles is that ALL of the churches in our area remain standing after the Agnus Dei. Having lived in OC, I know that they have similar problems there. You can’t escape it.

Old Zhou June 1, 2006 at 9:50 am

Many folks read through the Rule of St. Benedict following a daily reading schedule that takes them through the Rule three times a year.
It just happens that today’s portion, RB 7,34 is brief, but very relevant:

Tertius humilitatis gradus est
ut quis pro Dei amore
omni oboedientia se subdat maiori,
imitans Dominum, de quo dicit apostolus:
Factus oboediens usque ad mortem.
The third degree of humility is
that a person for love of God
submit himself to his Superior in all obedience,
imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says,
“He became obedient even unto death.” (Phil 2:8)

Here is a reflection on this by a living master of such matters:

It is so simple, so simplistic,
to argue that we live for the God we do not see
when we reject the obligations we do see.
Benedictine spirituality does not allow
for the fantasy.
Benedict argues that the third rung
on the ladder of humility
is the ability to submit ourselves
to the wisdom of another.
We are not the last word,
the final answer,
the clearest insight into anything.
We have one word among many
to contribute to the mosaic of life,
one answer of many answers,
one insight out of multiple perspectives.
Humility lies in learning to listen
to the words, directions and insights
of the one who is a voice of Christ for me now.
To stubbornly resist the challenges of people
who have a right to lay claim to us
and an obligation to do good by us–
parents, spouses, teachers, supervisors–
is a dangerous excursion into arrogance
and a denial of the very relationships
that are the stuff of which our sanctity is made.
Rungs one and two
call for contemplative consciousness.
Rung three brings us face to face
with our struggle for power.
It makes us face an authority outside of ourselves.
But once I am able to do that,
then there is no end to how high I might rise,
how deep I might grow.

For a Catholic parishioner,
the “voice of Christ for me now,”
the one who has “a right to lay claim to us
and an obligation to do good by us”
is their Pastor.
In the case of the people of St. Mary’s by the Sea,
that is Fr. Tran.
If they have a problem with Fr. Tran,
then they should discuss it, privately, with him.
Then perhaps discretely appeal to, and obey, their Ordinary and chief liturgist, Bishop Brown.
Nobody from the Vatican, whether the Pope or Cardinal Arinze, is going to overstep these legitimate authorities over this parish in such matters.
Sure, they might issue general statements about what is or is not permitted, what should or should not be. But they are never going to come into a fight between a bunch of disobedient parishioners and their legitimate Pastor and Bishop on these questions.
No way.

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 9:58 am

Tim J,
I agree with you to a point. A couple things, though:
If you read the Open Letter to Tod Brown, Bishop of Orange, you will see that we have already lost hundreds of parishioners over all the changes Bishop Brown has made and he has been happy to see them go. To be honest, St. Mary’s by the Sea was the last traditional little parish within at least 100 mile radius. Its reputation for tradition was actually known throughout the state. Bishop Brown couldn’t do much until Fr. Johnson retired because he had canonical rights as a pastor. Now that he ha retired, Bishop Brown has tried to educate the parish and force them to be the other progressive parishes around them.
Although the people remaining aren’t radical traditionalists, so they won’t be leaving for independent chapels or an overcrowded indult Mass (again, I refer you to the Open Letter to Tod Brown, Bishop of Orange) these good people have next to no place to go.
Moreover, Bishop Brown knows it. That’s why he encouraged Fr. Tran to invite them to leave and find someplace where they could go and get what they want. It was, essentially, a veiled invitation to leave the Church (and it implied that they have already left in their hearts, anyway).
I know Fr. Tran has been the one doing all of the talking, but he meets with Bishop brown weekly and has been giving him regular updates on the situation. He, by his own admission, invited these people to leave with the bishop’s approval. He is not the pastor of St. Mary’s. He is a parish administrator, and he was sent to St. Mary’s to eradicate the vestiges of tradition that are so offensive to the spirit of Vatican II crowd. First, we were ghettoized at St. Mary’s and it became a haven. Now, since Fr. Johnson retired and because a progressive like Bishop Brown has been our bishop, they weren’t content to live and let live. They feel compelled to squash us.
So your suggestion that we vote with our feet is a suggestion that we abandon our last refuge and go to other parishes, some of which stand through the consecration. That’s exactly what Bishop Brown would like to see. Then he can make St. Mary’s more like the liberal parishes with even greater ease and without any further opposition.
Bishop Brown has been very cautious not to be on record as having an opinion in this matter spoken from his own mouth. He has relied on others to speak for him, throughout. Why do you think that is?
Finally, these people aren’t shouting or disrupting Mass. They are quietly, reverently kneeling. They are doing so, as they have always done, some of them, for 80 some odd years. Why is that wrong?

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 10:03 am

You are dodging the question.
Here is the right answer, and I think you would have to agree: If Bishop Brown contradicts Rome, my obedience (on that matter) must be to Rome.
Bishop Brown is demanding obedience, under pain of mortal sin, over kneeling. That contradicts Rome.
He does have the right to set kneeling as the norm. That is not in dispute, and people who obey him are not doing anything wrong.
However, the people who choose to kneel have a right to do so that is guaranteed by Rome. If Rome guarantees kneeling as a right, then the kneelers can’t be called disobedient.

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 10:06 am

Old Zhou,
Which priest from Sts. Simon & Jude parish are you?
Just to be clear:
We have gone to Fr. Tran privately, many times. He cut off discussion long ago (before any fliers were ever handed out). The bishop and diocesan officials also refused to meet with us (by message through Fr. Tran) long before any fliers were handed out.

Tim J. June 1, 2006 at 10:23 am

Personally, If going elsewhere is truly impossible, I would attend Mass, I would stand, and I would mourn inwardly. I would go home and pray, fast and do penance for that priest and that bishop, and I would petition God to change their minds and convert their hearts.
It does seem that some of the parishoners don’t want to go elsewhere, not because there is NO place to go it may be that there is no IDEAL place to go), but because they hate to see this priest “get away with it”. They don’t want him to change what they see as “their” parish.
I am in prayer for all of you.

Old Zhou June 1, 2006 at 10:34 am

I would suggest that
instead of kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament,
you try prostrating yourself before Fr. Tran,
and ask for his forgiveness (especially for the fliers and public hysterics).
And stay there with your face on the ground at his feet
until he feels you have made an adequate gesture of penance.
Then ask for his blessing,
promise obedience to and cooperation with your pastor,
and move forward together,
in a spirit of love and mutual respect.
The current approach is not going to accomplish your goals in regard to a more “holy” liturgy.

Joseph D'Hippolito June 1, 2006 at 10:46 am

Old Zhou, no Catholic should ever prostrate himself before a priest whose moral compass is so broken — or who is such a toady for an episcopal tyrant — that he would equate the desire to kneel before the Eucharist — a legitimate right under canon law — with “mortal sin” solely for the sake of enforcing a legalistic, narrow interpretation of regulations.
The issue isn’t standing or kneeling as such. The issue is whether the faithful will continue to allow themselves to be manipulated by petty tyrants hiding under episcopal authority.
Nowhere on this thread has anybody even brought up the point that Brown’s and Tran’s actions contradict the spirit (if not the letter) of Christ’s command to His disciples in John 14, where He tells them that those who hold authority in His name must focus on service and not “lord it over” others as secular authorities do.
That last fact causes me to wonder whether Catholics really know about their faith….

Marion (Mael Muire) June 1, 2006 at 10:55 am

Dear John,
I totally embrace and applaud and share your goals of a more reverent and authentic liturgy.
I have been to Orange and I didn’t care for the cantor up on the altar wearing a headset as if she was trying to like Britney Spears or J Lo. There was a lot to object to.
(By the way, liturgical revisionists will argue that female cantors with pop-star headsets were present from the days of the early Church, and were only supressed by the evil male hierarchy in the post-Constantine era.)
You are totally right to object to the things you object to. I am with you, and don’t blame you one bit.
I don’t want to tell you what to do, because I don’t pretend to have the answers. But one thing that has been a huge mistake has been going to war over this.
The Church is a family. You cannot have wars in families. Everybody loses. You can’t do it.
This has become like a huge messy ugly custody battle in a divorce. That’s what it looks like from the outside. Even though I agree with your points, and you’re right. But you’re not right to go to war. Sometimes you have to suck things up for the sake of the family.
You don’t give up on getting what you want. It may look like giving up, but it’s really just being patient and doing things in a smart way.

Inocencio June 1, 2006 at 11:24 am

Bishop Brown is demanding obedience, under pain of mortal sin, over kneeling. That contradicts Rome
Have you read Jimmy’s latest
I am not dodging the question I gave you my answer even if you don’t like it.
Take care and God bless,

Inocencio June 1, 2006 at 11:27 am

no Catholic should ever prostrate himself before a priest whose moral compass is so broken — or who is such a toady for an episcopal tyrant
In case anyone was wondering. this thinking is why I posted my comments and quotes. I knew this protestant mindset was coming down the pike.
Take care and God bless,

Michelle June 1, 2006 at 12:36 pm

Dear marionMael , Suck it up you say! Well many Catholics have been sucking it up for years now! They have suck it up so much ,their brains have fallen out! When are the “good” layfaithful who say be “obedient” to the bishops who force people not to kneel going to put their brains back and get in the battle for The Church in the United States. What a bunch of whimps we have become. The Truth of the matter is we are afraid we might lose friendships with fellow parishoners, we might lose relationships with family members, we might be kicked off parish council or not allowed to be an usher, my child may be ostrasized or kicked out of ccd or catholic school oh yeah!, this one I won’t be able to help out at Bingo on friday nights! Yes all these things mentioned above could and do happen to people who take a stand against the destruction of the Catholic Faith in the Church. We must be willing to choose Jesus Christ over all people and things. Oh yes , and some well intentioned priests who are afraid to speak up because the Bishop where he is in residence will send him to some pshco center. Yes I don’t blame the priests in this case. But the longer they keep sucking it up! their salt will disappear. It is us layfaithful Catholics who need to rise up and say we have had enough. We need to demand for sound teachings and proper liturgical practices. That is our God given right!
If we don’ do it it is our fault for the mess, for the lost of faith. People are very concerned of what non catholics are saying about The Catholic Church,and we should be, to some extent. We first need to take care of buisness the serious problems in the Church and the “kneeling situation” a serious one, symptom of the problem. I am not going to suck it up anymore! All done and said in Love and Truth!

Jared Weber June 1, 2006 at 12:40 pm

Old Zhou: I wonder if you would prostrate yourself before the priest and laity that you libeled when you wrote: “In his bitter exile, he prepared his revenge on the Diocese by forming a group of deformed Catholic who think they are right, they know the Truth and Tradition, and they can rebel agains (sic) their Bishop and his delegates.”
If I recall correctly, English is your second language so maybe you don’t realise what a huge insult it is to call someone “deformed.” It’s akin to saying, “These guys are a bunch of retards!”
As I said earlier, I’m not an OC resident. And I’d never ask that you prostrate yourself but I do think you owe them an apology for this offensive, uncharitable statement.

Jared Weber June 1, 2006 at 12:43 pm

Michelle: I’m with you in spirit but I think what Marion is saying is that, if you want to be effective, you need to play it cool. If you want to win this, you need to be calm.

J.R. Stoodley June 1, 2006 at 12:55 pm

I think this discussion is finaly headed in the right direction: obedience.
The relecton on obedience Old Zhou provided is extremely beautiful, while the rebellious attitude expressed by many here is extremely ugly.
We all need to grow in smallness. I recently heard this story from a holy (he would laugh at that) Franciscan about St. Therese of Lisieux.
St. Therese knew that a certain loved to answer the door of the convent on the rair occasion that someone was came to it. Once, when St. Therese was washing the floor with this sister near the door the bell rang. St. Therese was nearer the door I think and in any case got up very slowly so that the other nun could have the chance of getting to the door first.
The superior (or abbess or whatever) observed the incident and later rebuked St. Therese for being so lazy when she should have rushed to open the door.
Therese just answered, “I’m sorry.”
That is not a direct parallel to this situation, but it is a lesson in humility and holyness.
This bishop and this priest may be the greatest sinners in the world. Their instructions may be misguided and unwise. Yet they are the legitimate superiors of these parishioners.
If they ordered the parishioners to do something outrightly rebellious against the Pope, they have a responsibility not to follow those instrucions. Just like if a Novice Master told his novices to disobey their abbot.
If they, or if some wicked Pope, ordered them to sin mortally, they would have a responsibility to not follow those instrucions. Just like if the abbot told his monks to kill innocent people or something.
We do not have either case here. We have a bishop and a priest telling people to stand when they would rather kneel. They are entirely within their rights to do so. They have made the mistake of calling disobedience to that a mortal sin, but they have now taken that back. It was not terribly relevent in any case though. The Vatican, though not the Pope specifically, has suggested that kneeling excessively is ok in some cases, but it is far from a clear and definitive instruction from a higher authority to kneel.
Over all, I think the best thing for these parisioners to do is to stand, and pray all the for fervently for their standing. As someone has suggested, prostrate yourself in front of the priest, and if the occasion arises the bishop, and beg for forgiveness and a priestly blessing. Kiss his hands that bring you Christ. Then go home and pray for his conversion.

Old Zhou June 1, 2006 at 12:59 pm

Do you know the Catholic term, “formation”, such as in “Adult Faith Formation” ?
Formation done badly results in deformation.
This is a standard jargon in the world of catechetics and religious education (or “faith formation”).
For example:

There can be no doubt that the formulators of the program were well-intentioned and highly-motivated by love of children, and impelled by a desire to make religion accessible to them. However, it is a simple, tragic fact that a generation of young Catholics has been deformed by this pleasant, humanistic catechesis.


Students were told to see Christ in each other, rather than “in that bread box on the altar.” No more would their consciences be “deformed into scrupulosity” by a “rigid personal morality focused on sin.”


Consequently, the Catholic students were often the most difficult to educate. They’ve been misled and misinformed by poor Catholic catechetical programs in their parishes and schools. They’ve received little substantive instruction from the pulpit or in their religion classes. The situation would not be quite so tragic, he says, “if it were not for the fact that often those who have been deformed come prepared to insist on their own vision of Christianity rather than to learn and adhere to the teachings of Christ and His Church.”

You might want to learn the language.

Jared Weber June 1, 2006 at 1:02 pm

Zhou: You didn’t answer the question. Would you apologize to Fr. Johnson?

Joseph D'HIppolito June 1, 2006 at 1:13 pm

I knew this protestant mindset was coming down the pike.
Inocencio, I would rather be a “protestant” (whatever that means) than a slave to corrupt authority. God didn’t create us to be slaves; He created us in His free image to love and worship Him, not corrupt, tyrannical bastards who misuse their authority to refashion the faith as they see fit and place guilt trips on anybody who has the courage to challenge them!.

Inocencio June 1, 2006 at 1:26 pm

I would rather be a “protestant” (whatever that means) than a slave to corrupt authority.
Finally you admit what has been obvious.
“and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matt. 18:17
Take care and God bless,

Old Zhou June 1, 2006 at 1:38 pm

Dear Jared,
The last priest I apologized to was the one who presided at Mass last Sunday, because I was confused by his very slow reading of the Preface of the Ascension, and started to intone the Sanctus too early. That apology, for a liturgical error, took place Sunday afteroon.
He is in my actual community. I made an actual mistake. I apologized.
I have no contact with Fr. Johnson but to read the words of those he (de-)formed, and those who both praise and criticize him. Ample words from his “fruit” right here in these comments.
Based on these words, and those written about his priestly work since 1975, I consider him to be a bitter man who is a danger to those he influences. A danger because he has, in his tiny little parish (it really is geographically tiny, and a little downtown “mission” from Ss. Simon & Jude), populated with people from all over Los Angeles and Orange Counties, he has created what is almost a “schism in place,” a little, angry community which is largely isolated and hostile to the neighboring parishes, diocese, their pastor (or administrator) and their bishop.
I can see that this is a bad thing that this man has done with his priestly ministry. It is going to make a mess of a lot of people’s lives because they only have two ways forward:
(1) forget about a lot of what they learned was “the Faith” from Fr. Johnson (their deformation), and join the rest of the Church in their Diocese as we all move forward together, or
(2) go elsewhere, either into some traditionalist schism organization, or drop out of faith life altogether.
Fr. Johnson got them all running right into a brick wall.
What do you want me to apologize to him about?

Jared Weber June 1, 2006 at 1:56 pm

Zhou: The following is not meant to sound like a “So’s yer old man!” comeback but it may end up seeming that way.
I was just thinking about how angry (“bitter” might be the word) you have sounded with your references to obliteration and your dismissing of the concerns of these people. True, some of them come off sounding disobedient, but the root of their concerns (and the root of Mr. Akin’s initial post) are all valid concerns.
Secondly, from an outsider’s perspective, if anything, it seems as though the OC diocese is in de facto schism from Rome. NOT because of the kneeling issue (as I’ve said, the bishop has a right to make standing the norm and the people have a right to kneel if conscience compels) but with regard to its teachings on faith and morals.
Joseph D: Ya ain’t helpin’ matters here.

Tim J. June 1, 2006 at 2:03 pm

“Joseph D: Ya ain’t helpin’ matters here.”
Reminds me of what Jed Clampett once said to Jethro;
“Stop helpin’ me, boy…”

Old Zhou June 1, 2006 at 2:08 pm

Dear Jared,
I guess you didn’t get the Open Letter from these folks to their bishop.
When any semi-isolated parish community goes absolutely berzerk and makes this kind of lengthy, ranting public display about how they are so unhappy about so many things in the diocese, well, I’d say they are asking for their own obliteration.
I’m not dismissing their concerns.
But their concerns are not the problem.
Their deformation in the faith is the problem, and their long list of concerns are just symptoms.
You just don’t do this sort of public ranting about everything you, as a parish community, don’t like about your bishop for the last eight years, since his arrival.
I’m not at all bitter.
I’m more sad for these people who are painted into a very small corner of overzealous religiousity.
I don’t blame them, but Fr. Johnson, for this entire mess. They are his fruit.

Jared Weber June 1, 2006 at 2:24 pm

Zhou: Ah, but according to your theory of silent obedience (or, admittedly, quite possibly my interpretation thereof), you shouldn’t speak out against Fr. Johnson. According to said theory, you should (if it were possible) fall down on your face before *him* and beg *his* forgiveness for undermining his authority as a priest.

Anonymous June 1, 2006 at 2:31 pm

Dear Michelle, you wrote “We need to demand for sound teachings and proper liturgical practices. That is our God given right!
Yes! You do need to demand these things! I am counting on you to do that, Michelle.
I totally understand your frustration.
My point is that you don’t accomplish what you’re trying to accomplish by verbally lashing out at the hierarchy and the clergy and ranting at them.
You don’t do that.
Look, suppose, in your town some school children are being held hostage by some terrorists with guns. And one, no, two of the children were your own children. And that the terrorists and the children were holed up in a bank downtown. And SWAT teams and FBI negotiaters had been talking for hours during the stand-off.
And finally, out on the street, one of the children’s father arrives in his SUV. He is distraught after so many hours and yells, “I can’t take this anymore. I’m going to go in and DEMAND THAT THEY RELEASE MY CHILD.”
Hey! No one would blame that father for wanting to lose it. But for him to actually grab a shotgun and go storming in there . . .?
. . . Huh-uh. Nope. No way.
He’s going to get himself, and some of those children killed, and just make the situation a hundred times worse.
The police on the scene try to get him to calm down, but he keeps totally going off, yelling and carrying on. . .
You feel for the guy, but no one is going to stand by and allow this man to jeopardize innocent kids. The police handcuff this poor father and haul him off in a squad car.
The FBI continues to negotiate . . .
Are those police mean sons-of-guns, or what?
I’m interested in your answer, Michelle.

Marion June 1, 2006 at 2:33 pm

That last was me, Marion (Mael Muire)

Jared Weber June 1, 2006 at 2:33 pm

By the way, Zhou. Which of their concerns are illegitimate i.e. indicative of their mal-formed beliefs? Seems to me all of their concerns are backed by official Magisterial teaching.

Old Zhou June 1, 2006 at 2:35 pm

Dear Jared,
I really have no idea what you are talking about.
What is my “theory of silent obedience”?
How do I undermine Fr. Johnson’s “authority as a priest” (and maybe you could explain what you mean by “authority as a preist”?)

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 2:50 pm

Here’s an interesting take on the situation in Orange County: Straight up, no chaser… and no bull!

Susan Teissere June 1, 2006 at 3:51 pm

I agree with Michelle! I will answer that question this way. Your house is burning down, your children are inside . What should you do? hmmmm… Should wait for the fire Department to arrive who are an hour away from your home or should you get the heck in there and Save! your children! My husband and I met with Bishop Tod in person twice and and the third time with his priest cannon lawyer resulting in forceing us to sign a secret oath.( For more info on what we went through -READ LOS ANGELES LAY CCATHOLIC MISSION article 2002 July issue “All that Perception Stuff” by Robert Krumpel”) Both my husband and I know exactly what Bishop Browns agenda is , regarding the Mass because my husbands cousin a priest who was head of liturgy for the Orange diocese under Bishop Brown is “liberal as you get”. We aren’t fooled by Bishop Browns statements regarding kneeling. The root of the problem layfaithful Catholics, IS ACTIVE HOMOSEXUAL PRIESTS IN THE DIOCESE OF ORANGE!!!

Marion June 1, 2006 at 4:21 pm

Dear Susan,
You say were “forced” to “sign a secret oath”. And you say “read the article.”
I would be very interested in reading the article if I could find it on the web. Do you have a URL?
I don’t understand the part about you and your husband being forced to sign an oath. How were you forced? Did someone threaten you?
Please be more specific.
And, also, what does all this have to do with kneeling in church?
Please help us to understand. Thank you.

john chrysostom June 1, 2006 at 4:28 pm

here’s the link: All That Perceptions Stuff — Ex-priest Rod Stephens Still Works in Orange Diocese, Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission, July/August 2004

Maria June 2, 2006 at 5:39 pm

Father Tran needs to apologize to the elderly couple who knocked on the Sacristy door after reading the bulletin about mortal sin. They point blank asked Father Tran, “Are we in mortal sin if we kneel down?” Father Tran said if you kneel down accidently you are not in mortal sin, but if you kneel down on purpose, it is a mortal sin.” The elderly couple said, “Of course were kneeling down on purpose, we’ve done this our entire lives, we are Adoring God!” Father Tran said “Then yes you are in mortal sin!” I wonder if all of the liberal priests with their poor formation above would want that cruelty for their elderly parents! Be careful cruel priests!
If you answer yes, you just might get your wish!
Go ahead and criticize Father Johnson, Father. I never heard Father Johnson say one unkind word about any person. I never once with all of the disageement that Father Johnson must have felt with the dumbing down of Catholicism, heard him speak ill of another priest. If anyone did in his presence, he gently and firmly let them know it wasn’t allowed. He understood the dignity of the Priesthood. He acted like a real priest. He would have never wasted time blogging about another priest. Today you hear so many horror stories of people who are dying and the family cannot find a priest Their not available. Father Johnson was available, I know that for sure. Father Zhou your wisdom is not old. It is still young and immature for a priest. I witnessed Father Daniel Johnson’s compassion for fallen away Catholics, people suffering horribly from Aids, people who felt abandoned, as well as his generosity towards the poor. No, young Zhou it is your spirituality that is suffering from deformation. Go make a good confession for your lack of charity and tremble with fear, because charity covers a multitude of sins, and in that virtue, your own words diagnose you as lacking!

Old Zhou June 2, 2006 at 6:38 pm

Dear Maria, or John Chrysostom,
Why do you assume I am a priest? I have never said I was a priest. And I am not.
Fr. Tran is your local pastoral authority, placed over you by your Bishop, Tod Brown.
Submit to Fr. Tran and Bishop Brown in matters of the liturgy. That will demonstrate your love and charity and spirituality.
Without your bishop (your actual bishop Tod Brown, appointed by the Pope), and your local pastoral authority (Fr. Tran, appointed by your Bishop), you would have no Mass, no sacraments, no Church.
I never made any comments about what Fr. John did or did not say about other people or priests.
But his actions, the results of his work, speak very loudly.
You only have two choices: submit to the legitimate authority placed over you, or find another place.

J.R. Stoodley June 2, 2006 at 9:00 pm

I find it very strange that all or almost all of us who recommended kneeling have been accused of being priests. Very strange indeed. Tells you something about the state of the Church, I guess, though I’m not sure what.

John June 3, 2006 at 10:59 am

I live in Orange County ,California a convert to Catholicism of the Latin? rite and have not been to the messes referred to as mass, (correction I went to a mass in Brea, Calif and after a watching the presbyter (priest) sitting on his ass while “eucharistic ministers” dressed for a picnic were running around flip floppin the chalice with the previously consecrated wine, I got the hell outta there)so i have not attended mass in either Orange or L.A. counties in years. If I’m going to hell I have a feeling I’ll have a lot of company with the Ayatollah Mahoney & his boot-lickin buddy the Mullah of orange county Tod Brown and more than a few Novus ordo clerics. Guess it’s a matter of time before these old Vatican 2 prelates (liturgical-leftists) with a stick up their ass) die off and the Mass of all Ages returnes to the Universal church. Betcha Paul 6 & Bugnini the freemason are laughin in their graves. As for me the so-called novus ordo missae is very close to the heretical liturgy of the anglican church that I left. One is almost tempted to the theology of the mainstream Sedevacantists, (but alas I do not believe the last 5 popes are illegit,) even if someone would explain to me WHY JP2 kissed the blasphamous Koran, instigated the mess at Assisi allowed the mark of the infidel hindu diety shiva on his forehead etc. etc. & yet the only persecuted people in his reign as pontiff were Orthodox Roman (Latin Catholic).Need these anomaly’s answered. Oh ya whwas is Quo Primum and the sylibus of errors the Cathechismof the Council of Trent conveniently Never mentioned by anyone in the novus ordo, neither the Pope or propaganda outlets like EWTN????????????

Joseph D'Hippolito June 3, 2006 at 11:28 am

John, who is “Bugnini the Freemason”?

John June 3, 2006 at 11:34 am

God knows, although they are new order prelates, we really need prelates like Cardinal George of Chicago, Archbishop Burke of St. Louis, Bishop Finn of Kansas City Mo, and the Bishop of Wyoming here on the west coast of the United States to clean up the generations of the cleric cult of homosexual priests,liturgical experimentation, the support of prelate like mahoney of rainbow sash groups,vestal virgin dance masses dummy-down childrens masses, dorito massses etc etc etc etc etc. It is my sincere wish that the Vatican send Mahoney, Brown, Lavada, Lustiger, Kasper and other neo-apostate experimenter-prelates to a SSPX seminary for retraining and re-ordination

Markg July 15, 2006 at 8:44 am

Hi. This is an excerpt from the interview of Maria Simma by Nicky Eltz. Maria Simma was a Catholic german visionary of the poor souls in purgatory. Please pay very close attention:

bill912 July 15, 2006 at 12:02 pm

Did the visionary say you should violate Rule 3?

John December 3, 2006 at 2:37 pm

Msgr/Archbishop Annadale Bugnini was one of the premier Vatican 2 periti on revising the liturgy. Bugnini was instrumental and also the inventor of the non-organically produced Novus Ordo Missae of Paul 6. Bugnini was assisted by amoung others, a coterie of 6 heretical protestant clerics to “reform” the Catholic Mass with an eye to making it more pleasing to the protestant heresy and schism rooted in the 16th century C.E. Bugnini had horrendous influence and authority in the reigh of Paul 6 and his demise as a suspected freemason was sudden. It was as sudden as his replacement in his exaulted vatican position to his reasignment to an obscure posting in the land of infidels, Iran. That is Annabale bugnini the Freemason. As for the diocese of Orange, California and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with the clerics Tod Brown & Roger Mahoney, we can only hope the Holy Father sends them to an SSPX seminary for priestly formation. The return of the Classic Liturgy can’t come soon enough—Movel Tov—John

John December 3, 2006 at 2:42 pm

Sorry- Mozel Tov not Movel Tov–Good Luck/Shalom

Johannim March 20, 2007 at 10:40 am

chester or anyone else presuming to defend the actions of presbyter Tran and other stooges of Tod Brown & Conrad mahoney have their heads up their preverbial “mount of sand”. Tod Brown, roger mahoney and a host of other clerics ARE in direct defiance of the mandates coming from the Vatican in reference to the respect and awe that needs to be reinstilled in Catholic Sacred Mass. The damage done by Vatican 2 JP2 and especially Paul 6 in the protestantized mass foisted on the Catholic world are coming to a screeching ass halt. The leftovers from the 60’s do ur own thing like mahoney brown, lustiger, daneel, O’Brien, weakland and that gang referred to as the US Catholic conference of bishops is begging to be in the least laizised and at most excommunicated as apostates—-Pacem

bill912 March 20, 2007 at 10:51 am

Wow, what insight! “Vatican II bad! JP II bad! Paul VI bad!” Gee, we’ve never heard *that* before!

Esau March 20, 2007 at 10:57 am

Tod Brown, roger mahoney and a host of other clerics ARE in direct defiance of the mandates coming from the Vatican
Why should they CARE about what the Vatican has to say?
Don’t they have the right to DEFY the Vatican as RAD TRADS do?

David B. March 20, 2007 at 11:30 am

“They also talk [about someone]…who is off in liturgical la-la land”

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