Notes on liturgical maximalism

30 04 2019

Just some unconnected thoughts I’ve had recently.

As you may know, I was connected to the Society of St. Pius X for a number of years in my youth. This experience was quite formative to me. My experience of the traditional liturgy was thus somewhat minimalistic and combative. Back in the late 1990’s, you were lucky to find the old Latin Mass anywhere. It was either relegated to the basement, to a time that was equivalent to the basement, or it could be found in little chapels or in groups that were considered “schismatic”. In the SSPX in particular, it was made clear to us that the liturgy was just the tip of the iceberg. Ecumenism, religious liberty, the New Theology, really it was opposing these things that brought me into the traditionalist sphere in the first place, at least initially. Later I would become much softer on these issues (wishy-washy?) but I never forgot that all of this was connected. The modernists also grew up in and celebrated the traditional liturgy for years before they got to change it. The traditional liturgy was thus never a panacea for me. Read the rest of this entry »


On the Triduum

18 04 2019

Sometimes I feel more cursed than blessed having had a thoroughly Catholic youth. As I have stated previously, the strongest memory I have of Good Friday is our grandmother reminding us to fast or God would strike us dead (something like that), and showing up to church one Good Friday and seeing an ambulance in front. “He probably didn’t fast,” I thought to myself then. Read the rest of this entry »

Reginald Foster

20 02 2019

I stumbled across the above video from last year which reminded me of my own indirect tie to Fr. Foster. I took a course with an instructor who had studied under him in Rome who also encouraged me to do the same. I politely refused because by that point I no longer felt like chasing butterflies. The instructor sadly passed away at a very young age, so I remember that as one of our only one-on-one interactions. Of interest to me is how much of a “progressive” Fr. Foster comes across here. I have written the same of disgraced Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who was a great medieval musicologist who came to dislike the musical patrimony of the Church. While there were many smart and capable scholars who let go of tradition with a heavy heart, many more threw it away with relish. Read the rest of this entry »

4 minute Mass

30 01 2019

Looking up things for the last post, I came upon this video of the complete Mass of the schismatic church of Palmar de Troya. As you can see, it’s four minutes long. Read the rest of this entry »

Malachi Martin

28 01 2019

I have been really enjoying listening to Dr. Taylor Marshall’s podcast and I highly recommend it. One of the latest on the deceased former Jesuit and novelist Malachi Martin in particular sent me down memory lane. Specifically, I’d like to jot down a few things about what it was like to be a Catholic traditionalist in the mid- to late 1990’s, during the time of “Internet 1.0”. I realize that having lived through those things as a young man colors my views of the Church in the current year, particularly when it comes to the current scandals. Read the rest of this entry »

Interesting post on the Society of St. Pius X

30 07 2008

A balanced and interesting post by an ex-supporter of the Lefebvrist movement, found here

The Distorted Mirror

10 04 2008

Some Clarifying Notes

Yesterday’s post wasn’t one of my better ones, nor do I think that I was very clear in what I was saying, so hopefully here I can clarify what I was saying:

1. The nakedness I refer to is man without God.  Unlike in the ancient world, there now exists the idea of the division between philosophy and theology. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (of all people) openly mused about abolishing the division between philosophy and theology years in Roman Catholic seminary training. I think he had a real sense that philosophy standing on itself would only lead to more confusion. Man without God is an abyss as a philosophical question. We have wanted to strip man of the Divine, and that leads to nothingness.

2. The modern Roman Catholic order in many ways co-operates with this process. In its theology of the “People of God”, it aims to project an image of God by putting a mirror to contemporary society in order to worship it. As Chenu would say, this would be an example of the Gospel incarnating itself in our contemporary society, complete with felt banners, drumsets, and psychobabble/Oprah-speak. But no society can ever worship itself consciously. This is what Mass versus populum ultimately becomes. It is an idolatry that not even the most darkened ancients could have conceived.

3. If I could find the solutions to these problems, I wouldn’t be writing this stupid blog, would I? But I walk into a church now and I am no longer enchanted by it. When I was in the religious life, I was enchanted by the traditional liturgies, both Eastern and Western. I was enchanted by the posadas in Mexico, young Mexican immigrant  men crawling towards the Crucifix in Hollister, the Stations of the Cross in Buenos Aires, the All-Night Vigils in Russian Churches, and the Coptic vigils in the Mojave Desert. Maybe it is just play-acting. Maybe we are deluding ourselves. Maybe it is a form of idolatry. But it is the only religion that I can give any credibilty to. It is a religion that is uncommon, disruptive and somewhat scary. That is because the Gospel is a scary thing. The Incarnation is a scary thing. It is not pleasant and it is not nice for a God to be incarnated, die on the Cross, and rise from the dead. And if we have a religion and liturgy that is pleasant and pasturized, then we are NOT communicating what Et Verbum caro factum est  really means.  That is a tension that I have sensed in my own life growing up Catholic in this country. And I feel that our church is still going down the wrong road.

We are stuck in a hall of mirrors where we think that modern man, devoid of imagination, tradition, and a real sense of the Divine, is the only thing that exists.

And a Bishop Williamson follow-up…

9 03 2008


Some of you may know that the good bishop spoken of here is in a good deal of trouble right now, not that  he cares or anything. I just find it interesting that the death of Western civilization in his eyes entitles him to say/believe anything he pleases. I suppose this is the danger of saying , “The problem with this society is…” It can lead to all sorts of slippery slopes.