It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vatican Cardinals Explain Reason Catholics Lose Faith

A Traditional Style Novus Ordo Mass
(Catholic Herald) - A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass can be traced to liturgical abuse or Masses that are not reverent, two Vatican cardinals and a consultant have said.

US Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s supreme court, said: “If we err by thinking we are the centre of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith.”

Cardinal Burke and Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, spoke yesterday at a book launch in Rome.

The book, published only in Italian, was written by Fr Nicola Bux, who serves as a consultant to the congregations for the doctrine of the faith and for saints’ causes and to the office in charge of papal liturgies.

The English translation of Fr Bux’s book title would be, How to Go to Mass and Not Lose Your Faith...

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Hate to say I told ya so, (well actually I love to say it), but I told ya so!!! Lex Orandi Lex Credendi, or "The Law of Prayer is the Law of Faith." A watered-down banal liturgy produces a watered-down boring faith which in the end results in a lack of faith entirely. Liturgical innovations (i.e. "abuses") only exacerbate the problem. If local Catholic parishes want to energize youth and revitalize parishioners than there is only one way to do it, and that is to bring back the old customs and start celebrating the liturgy with cheerful reverence. Seriously! Pastors listen up. I'm as serious as a heart attack here. If you want to breathe new life into your parish, this is how you do it...
  1. Arrange the altar and liturgical furniture in the most reverent way possible, bringing attention to the altar as the center of attention, with the tabernacle in a central location (if physically possible).  
  2. Place a crucifix at the center of the altar so that the priest is always facing Christ, and arrange the altar candles symmetrically on either side of the crucifix, so that the crucifix on the altar becomes the symmetrical center of attention in the chapel.  (Again, having the tabernacle centrally located aids in this process as well.)
  3. Once the furniture is arranged properly, make provision for the people to kneel for communion using movable kneeler benches if no altar rail is available.  (Prepare your congregation for this in the homilies leading up to the transition.)
  4. Consider the logistics of celebrating the mass ad orientem in your chapel.  Is it possible?  Is it practical?  If so, how could you make it happen?  It's not always necessary, but it certainly does help in adding a feeling of reverence to the mass.  The symbolism of the ad orientem posture is magnificent as well.  (If you decide to use it, be sure to prepare your congregation for this in the homilies leading up to the transition.)
  5. The last preparation that is needed is for your altar servers.  First, change the rules in your parish to reflect the following.  Your altar servers are going to get a whole lot more involved, so make it a new rule that your altar servers must be males over the age of 16.  Younger children (male or female) may only serve as torch bearers and collectors for the offering.  All persons assisting should be coordinated with the same type and color of vestment.  If girls are assisting the vestment should be a white (or off white) alb.  If girls are not assisting the vestment may be a cassock (usually black) with a white surplice.   There is considerable controversy over the use of girls assisting in the mass.  Ideally, all person assisting should be male.  However, in those cases where it is too difficult to eliminate girls assisting because of a long standing parish tradition, changing the rules to only allow males over the age of 16 to directly assist at the altar should be a sufficient compromise for the time being.  These changes are absolutely necessary in order to make the necessary liturgical adjustments to follow.
  6. Make your new altar servers study the rubrics of the old Latin mass for altar servers.  This will serve as a foundation for the changes to be made in your celebration of the new vernacular mass.  In everywhere permissible by the GIRM, implement these traditional elements into the altar servers' duties.  These will be done by the men over 16 years of age only.
  7. Instruct your choir to learn traditional Catholic music from Gregorian chant to traditional hymns.  These will be integrated into the liturgy and most especially all psalms will be chanted during the liturgy.  Plainchant may be used for the responsorial psalm so that the congregation can more easily participate. 
  8. In all things careful attention must be paid to the GIRM, and as a general rule, where the GIRM is silent, ancient tradition (rather than modern innovation) should prevail.
  9. Use incense -- FREQUENTLY -- especially on Sundays.  If members of your congregation complain, it's because they're not used to it.  Smelling incense is part of being Catholic.  If it bothers their allergies, tell them to sit away from the altar and center isle.  (As a person with severe asthma and allergies, I can personally testify that incense is NOT a threat to my health.  I find that when taken in through the nose, as opposed to the mouth, it is not irritating to my airways at all.  In contrast, cigarette smoke puts me into a full blown bronchospasm that can be life threatening if not treated.  My point here is that I'm at far greater risk entering a common restaurant than a Catholic mass using incense.)  Be Catholic already, and help your parishioners experience the fullness of their Catholic faith.
  10. When the time for communion comes, stand behind the mobile kneeler, or altar rail, and let your parishioners make the first move, keeping your altar server with paten ready.  Those that want to kneel will kneel, and you can administer on the tongue.  Those that want to stand will stand and will reach out with their hand.  Should they choose to stand, make sure they bow beforehand.  Of course you could simply require (as a parish rule) that all parishioners receive on the tongue while kneeling (if able) but that is your prerogative.  If you have sufficiently explained things ahead of time, and stand strategically behind the kneeler (or altar rail) you will find that most parishioners will voluntarily kneel and open their mouths.    
Now I'm going to make a bet with you pastors out there.  I'm willing to bet that within one year after making these above recommended changes, and celebrating this way with both cheer and reverence, you will see in increase in mass attendance.  To make good on my bet, I'm giving the comments section over to you.  If you are a priest, and you have implemented these changes above, tell us about your experience.  Did they increase your mass attendance over time (within a year)?  Do your parishioners show a greater level of reverence and devotion now?  Has the spiritual life of the parish improved?  If so, how?