Fr. William Rowe and the New English Translation

Was Fr. William Rowe of the Belleville Diocese fired for refusing to use the new English translation of the Roman Missal? No. But the news media say he was.

Since the promulgation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal in English in Advent of this liturgical year, Catholics throughout the English-speaking world have been on the edge of their seats, expecting a wide-ranging liturgical backlash at Church hierarchy from congregations as well as clergy about the new English translations that have been made mandatory in all Latin Rite parishes that use the “ordinary” form of Mass.  At least, that’s the expectation the popular media had reported to the general public prior to the implementation and it was even earnestly expected by more than a few.  Contrary to such expectations the difficulties, the confusion and the uproar have been little more than a fizzle, mostly in places few and far between.  In fact, if one were to look for reports of serious confrontation over the new English Missal actually happening, one would be hard-pressed to find any.

One example has stood out lately and gotten nationwide attention.  In the past few weeks, news has been made of a certain Fr. William Rowe, his practice of ad-libbing the Mass, and his recent resignation as a priest of the diocese of Belleville, Illinois.  Father Rowe, 72, has served in the same parish for seventeen years and by his own admission both he and his bishop, William Braxton (and his previous bishop, Wilton Gregory), had over the years received complaints about his liturgical “style”, in particular his choice of words which ignored the Missal.  Five years ago Fr. Rowe was called to the bishop’s office to answer for letters of complaint received from parishioners and he offered to resign.  To this he received no reply and continued to serve as parish pastor until October of last year when he was called to Bishop Braxton’s office again for the same complaints.  Again, he offered to resign.  Early this year the bishop accepted his resignation, effective this June.

Going by the headlines of articles found on the internet (nothing short of dozens are found), any reader would be lead to believe that the new English translation of the Roman Missal is the kernel of Father Rowe’s problem:  Illinois Priest Loses Job after Refusing to Use New Catholic Prayers (STLToday.com); Illinois Priest Resigns, Refuses to Use New Translation (CatholicCulture.org); Priest Fired for Refusing to Use New Catholic Prayers (WashingtonPost.com), to name a few.  (Note that Fr. Rowe offered his resignation of his own volition…he was neither fired nor did he “lose his job”.)

Reading the stories, the mandatory new translation is pointed at again and again as the heart of the problem but one glaring omission to this intimation is the lack of other examples…why is Fr. Rowe the only priest to receive citation for his liturgical improvisation?  Where, out of over 41,000 priests in the United States, are the other priests with the same insurmountable difficulty?  The United States is not the only country in the world where English predominates…where are the articles about all the other priests in the same boat as Fr. Rowe?  Are there any at all?  There are no examples of other Fr. Rowes cited in any article.  So far, only the head of Fr. Rowe’s deanery, Fr. Jim Buerster, has publicly acted in support for Fr. Rowe, and he did this by resigning as dean.  That may sound serious but at most, it releases Fr. Buerster from the responsibilities of being dean (he’s elected by his fellow priests) and “Very” gets dropped from his title of “Very Reverend”.

Still, at the insistence of the media at large, could it be possible for the new translation to be Fr. Rowe’s (and countless other unidentified, possibly imaginary priests’) problem, even to the point of resignation?  The answer is clear…Fr. Rowe hadn’t been using the prayers of the Missal to begin with, old or new, and that was going on years before the new translation even came to be.  He’s held both in equal contempt.  The Roman Missal has nothing to do with it. This seems completely lost on the newsmen.

If the new English translation isn’t the cause of Fr. Rowe’s problem, what is?  Quoted by CNS, Father Rowe made the following statement, both odd and revealing:  “I had no desire to resign or retire from the active ministry. … My offer to resign seemed to be the best way to resolve the problem in a pastoral way.”  It’s odd for the obvious contradiction…he had no desire to resign or retire, yet he had immediately offered to do so not only last October but five years previous without hesitation.  It’s revealing because one can here see a desire to be freed from an obligation (in other words, resign), not just recently but for years.

There is one word that’s found in every article written on Fr. Rowe:  “refuses”.  This word is the true center of the story.  Naturally, a few quotes are printed from some parishioners in praise of Fr. Rowe.  This is a habit of journalists and it’s not necessarily a bad one for the sake of a balanced and objective story.  One wonders though, if Fr. Rowe really cared about his parishioners, was truly honest in his role as pastor and worked for his flock, why would he prefer his own personality over continuing to pastor them?  As an ordained minister and pastor of a parish, a priest has exceptional opportunity to preach, teach, heal, council and ultimately save souls.  That is the purpose of a pastor.  Come June, he will give this up because he’s not allowed to behave as he likes.  He has chosen himself above all others, and that is quite literally diabolical. Good on Bishop Wilton Gregory for giving the parishioners of St. Mary’s a pastor.

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22 Comments

  • Roman, my annonymous and legalist friend: When one picks and chooses over elements and peices of out of context conversations one invariably ends up with half truths which are by definition whole lies. Certainly not a healthy base for a conversation. However…

    Can you not simply accept that Father Rowe is a man, trying through any and all of his mortal weaknesses to pastor to an assigned flock? That he has been honorably using his knowledge of and love for his assigned flock, with his best judgement of the circumstances of the moment, to communicate God’s word to that whole flock in group gatherings and individual encounters? The Bible records events where Christ Himself showed the ability to be flexible to the circumstances of the moment to more effectively deliver His word to a larger audience.

    Further, the Church has benefited from a rich history of Saints who did not quite fit the then current “legastic” mold of pastoral comportment during their days of service to Christ. We could start that list with Saint Paul..?

    The core of pastoral duties is to communicate, to get people to pay attention, to get them to listen with their hearts, to accept God’s word, to long for His kingdom. There is a time and place for man made legal boundaries, but in the competition for the hearts and minds of mankind a focus on these seems to more frequently produce fear and decension than acceptance and love. And, the last time I looked our whole theology is still based on God’s ovewhelming love as evidenced in Christ’s sacrificial love.

    My southern Illinois church is turning out an asset at a time of need, a major loss. I am however comforted in two things; I know that God has not acted in the same way to turn away his faithful servant Fr. Bill, and I know that Fr. Bill will continue to accept His personal invitation to serve. I pray that it will be here in Southern Illinois.

    Don

    • Hello Mr. Goff –

      My name is Roman Schuette and you’ll find me on Credo’s board of directors (see link at top, “About Us”).

      I quoted no law and am not a lawyer. If any Canon laws were broken, I haven’t listed them. Father Rowe isn’t trying to pastor an assigned flock…he resigned. When questioned by his bishop about complaints about his behavior, he didn’t hesitate to resign. He has preferred his own personality and to abandon his post, both now and five years ago, rather than continue to be a pastor. His “best judgment” is to refuse his bishop and leave his parish and pastoral duties. If he is your pastor, his choice has been to leave you. Father Rowe refused to use the new translation of the Roman Missal. It’s clear he refused to use the previous one as well. What other things has he refused to do that’s in his line of work? The bishop required nothing of him that’s contrary to faith or morals or the fulfillment of his role. Scripture and the lives of the saints aren’t exactly littered with examples of refusal of legitimate authority. God will never turn any of us away, including Father Rowe. It’s Father Rowe that’s doing the turning…“Non serviam”.

      Cordially,

      Roman

      • Roman – You might be misunderstanding the Duty of a priest, which is to, and from, none but God. It is not the priests personality or personal preference that drives his conduct during Mass. He has given up his free will to his sense of Duty, and that comes from the Divine. It is blasphemous to the Holy Spirit for you, the Bishop or anyone to question it. The Bishop’s Duty was only to ordain Fr. Bill, not to regulate his conduct while performing his duties.

        Quite the opposite – SERVIUM!!

  • What is not being reported is that neither the Bishop nor the Vatican have any authority to question the conduct of a priest WHILE PERFORMING HIS DUTY [emphasized so as not to suggest that priests are perfect, just that there is a difference between conduct performed under a sense of Duty (see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05215a.htm) and otherwise.]

    Fr. Bill’s duty is to God, not to the Church, not to the parishioners, not to the Bishop. His refusal emanates from his sense of Duty — his obligation to perform— not from some sort of rebellious spirit. His Duty is not his own free will, it emanates from the Divine.

    For the Bishop, or ANYONE, to question the conduct of a priest performing his Duty is blaspheme of the Holy Spirit.

  • Mr. Schwartz –

    Wow. Your comments are so riddled with dissent that they require no on-point replies from me. Lunatics in asylums could claim their duty is to God (and no doubt many do), that they are “performing their duty” (whatever bizarre thing that may be), and your application would be equally valid. I am a sinner, no doubt, but I am loyal to Christ’s spouse, the Church, and obedient to her lawfully appointed leaders, not least of which are the Pope, the Magisterium, and my own local bishop. Your accusation of blasphemy is absurd.

    –Roman

    • Thanks for pointing out that you can make no on-point reply. That did not seem to prevent you from responding so we must assume your response is therefore not on point, right?

      In any case, a lunatic has not been ordained by the Bishop nor is he bound by Duty when conducting Mass, you see.

      Though a priest might be acting under the authority of the Bishop, the Bishops acceptance of it is not required. In short, the priest doesn’t answer to the Bishop, he answers to his conscience which is impelled by God. Deny the sanctity of the priest performing his Duty in favor of a Bishop, or any man, exercising his own preference, is to deny God – is that not blasphemy?

  • And if you are not loyal to your priest conducting Mass, ordained by the Bishop, how can you say you are loyal to the Church?

  • Mr Schwartz — Of course I’m loyal to my priest…he’s he’s a pastor in good standing. Now your’re reversing your argument and saying if I’m not loyal to my priest, I’m not loyal to the Church. You’ve stated that even the Pope has no authority when priests are fulfillng their duty! You’ve made your dissent clear and it undermines your argument. Fr. Rowe has resigned. He will not serve. “Non serviam”. And yet you contradict his own words and say he is serving. The bishop’s acceptance of how a priest says Mass is not required? The reality is clearly contrary of what you say as Fr. Rowe has been called on the carpet for his behaviour more than once. The absurdities you’re stating are a waste of time. Your dissent from the Church is obvious. -R.

    • I’m not making an argument — it’s not ours to argue. That’s my point. Look beyond what you might perceive as dissent, absurdity and a waste of time. The truth is never so obvious as it would first appear.

  • Tom Leith
  • Looking beyond the immediate circumstances, it seems clear to me that Messrs. Goff and Schwartz do not believe that the Catholic Church is what she claims to be. I don’t know whether the same is true of Fr. Rowe but its clear he has a deficient appreciation of ritual and a poor understanding of the role of the Priest in the public prayer of the Church. In one sense, he at least behaved honorably by offering his resignation. In another sense, dishonorably by abandoning his post. But it is far better I think to plainly abandon one’s post and go than it is to secretly abandon it and hang around nevertheless. We can give him that.

    Maybe all three of these men would be happier in an
    Alternative “Catholic” Communitiy
    .

    • I won’t go any further here, other than to thank you for bringing out the point that the issue is not about the new translation. That is a very important thing to note as it shows there is no greater rebellion and no one is making a grand statement of defiant dissent. I believe Father Bill is bound to do what he believes, not what he is told, and has no requirement to please ANY MAN. And I believe that the Church believes the same thing, I just don’t possess the skills to convey that, so let me just refer you to the source of my discord – the Vatican:

      DECREE ON THE MINISTRY AND LIFE OF PRIESTS, PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS, PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS, POPE PAUL VI ON DECEMBER 7, 1965

      SECTION I
      Priests’ Functions

      4. The People of God are joined together primarily by the word of the living God.(1) And rightfully they expect this from their priests.(2) Since no one can be saved who does not first believe,(3) priests, as co-workers with their bishops, have the primary duty of proclaiming the Gospel of God to all.(4) In this way they fulfill the command of the Lord: “Going therefore into the whole world preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15),(5) and they establish and build up the People of God. Through the saving word the spark of faith is lit in the hearts of unbelievers, and fed in the hearts of the faithful. This is the way that the congregation of faithful is started and grows, just as the Apostle describes: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17).

      To all men, therefore, priests are debtors that the truth of the Gospel(6) which they have may be given to others. And so, whether by entering into profitable dialogue they bring people to the worship of God,(7) whether by openly preaching they proclaim the mystery of Christ, or whether in the light of Christ they treat contemporary problems, they are relying not on their own wisdom for it is the word of Christ they teach, and it is to conversion and holiness that they exhort all men.(8) But priestly preaching is often very difficult in the circumstances of the modern world. In order that it might more effectively move men’s minds, the word of God ought not to be explained in a general and abstract way, but rather by applying the lasting truth of the Gospel to the particular circumstances of life.

  • And a little further down …

    Priests therefore, as educators in the faith, must see to it either by themselves or through others that the faithful are led individually in the Holy Spirit to a development of their own vocation according to the Gospel, to a sincere and practical charity, and to that freedom with which Christ has made us free.(25) Ceremonies however beautiful, or associations however flourishing, will be of little value if they are not directed toward the education of men to Christian maturity.(26) In furthering this, priests should help men to see what is required and what is God’s will in the important and unimportant events of life. Also, Christians should be taught that they live not only for themselves, but, according to the demands of the new law of charity; as every man has received grace, he must administer the same to others.(27) In this way, all will discharge in a Christian manner their duties in the community of men.

    • You forgot the 1st paragraph of PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS which states:

      “The excellence of the order of priests in the Church has already been recalled to the minds of all by this sacred synod.(1) Since, however, in the renewal of Christ’s Church tasks of the greatest importance and of ever increasing difficulty are being given to this order, it was deemed most useful to treat of the subject of priests at greater length and with more depth. What is said here applies to all priests, especially those devoted to the care of souls, with suitable adaptations being made for priests who are religious. Priests by sacred ordination and mission which they receive from the bishops are promoted to the service of Christ the Teacher, Priest and King. They share in his ministry, a ministry whereby the Church here on earth is unceasingly built up into the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in order that their ministry be carried on more effectively and their lives be better provided for, in pastoral and human circumstances which very often change so profoundly, this sacred synod declares and decrees as follows. ”

      As well as: “5. God, who alone is holy and who alone bestows holiness, willed to take as his companions and helpers men who would humbly dedicate themselves to the work of sanctification. Hence, through the ministry of the bishop, God consecrates priests, that being made sharers by special title in the priesthood of Christ, they might act as his ministers in performing sacred functions. In the liturgy they continue to carry on his priestly office by the action of his Spirit.(12) By Baptism men are truly brought into the People of God; by the sacrament of Penance sinners are reconciled to God and his Church; by the Anointing of the Sick, the ill are given solace; and especially by the celebration of Mass they offer sacramentally the Sacrifice of Christ. In administering all sacraments, as St. Ignatius Martyr(13) has borne witness from the early days of the Church, priests by various titles are bound together hierarchically with the bishop. And so in a certain way they make him present in every congregation.(14)”

      And in para 7: “Priests, never losing sight of the fullness of the priesthood which the bishops enjoy, must respect in them the authority of Christ, the Supreme Shepherd. They must therefore stand by their bishops in sincere charity and obedience.(43) This priestly obedience, imbued with a spirit of cooperation is based on the very sharing in the episcopal ministry which is conferred on priests both through the Sacrament of Orders and the canonical mission.(44)

      This union of priests with their bishops is all the more necessary today since in our present age, for various reasons, apostolic undertakings must necessarily not only take on many forms but frequently extend even beyond the boundaries of one parish or diocese. No priest, therefore, can on his own accomplish his mission in a satisfactory way. He can do so only by joining forces with other priests under the direction of the Church authorities.”

  • I don’t feel that it is mine to question or judge. I am only trying to understand and I’m only attempting to educate you on the very beliefs you must think you are defending. The bias presented here is the only thing that is clear. Where this article claims contradiction reveals only ignorance.

    The author asserts the source of Fr.’s willingness to resign could ONLY be impelled by a desire to be free of his obligation. To the contrary, it is his obligation that requires him to obey his conscience despite any pressure to do so.

    Or, that acting in defiance is the ONLY way he could be free from his obligation. Also not true because he could simply quit.

    The author WRONGLY believes that Fr. Bill is in in error for “choosing his own personality,” when that is what he HAS to do because it is NOT HIS OWN – his wisdom comes from God. Instead of condemning Fr. Bill you should be praying for the same conviction were someone attempting to force you to go do other than what God willed you to do.

    I know I’m not using the right words here and they may be offensive but here they are: The Bishop is just being lazy. He does not rule by command or by granting or withholding his acceptance. Remember, he is also a Priest and would not be a Bishop were he not. His duties as a priest are no greater or any different than Fr. Bill’s. If his conscience is directing him then he will find a way to convey what needs to be conveyed to Father Bill so that Father Bill can in turn act in good conscience. Otherwise, the Bishop would be merely forcing Fr. Bill to ignore his own conscience, i.e. what God is directing him to do, and I know that’s not what the Bishop can intend.

    That being said, I know it is not mine to question Fr. Bill or the Bishop but to pray for understanding.

  • After reading the dissenting comments by Messrs. Schwartz and Goff, I can only conclude that these gentlemen are de facto non-Catholics who hopefully will find a home in a protestant church of their choice. They have nothing in common with the Catholic church and everything in common with protestant dissention. The Catholic church has never claimed to be democracy. A democracy would happily allow anyone to dissent and vary from liturgical rubrics as well as church teaching. Again, protestantism is a perfect alternative for these gentlemen since their diatribes confirm that they are self-imposed de facto protestants anyway.

  • I’m sorry for wasting your time. I was expecting intelligent discourse not just “if you don’t like it go be a Protestant.” Back up anything you say with some Church doctrine, as I have, and then we can discuss it. You have backed up none of your assertions with anything but some vague idea. It seems you also have no idea what Fr. Bill is doing. Mr. Goff and myself are familiar with Fr. Bill and therefore know whereof we speak.

  • Tom Leith
  • Dear Mr. Schwartz,

    It is not being reported that neither the Bishop nor the Vatican have any authority to question the conduct of a priest while performing his duty because it is not true.

    If you’re trying to understand, I’ll try to help. It isn’t exactly “go be a Protestant” — you have a Protestant understanding of the Church demonstrated in several ways but most clearly here:

    Fr. Bill’s duty is to God, not to the Church, not to the parishioners, not to the Bishop.

    I am glad that you’ve at least started to read Presbyterorum Ordinis; too few Catholics read the actual documents of Second Vatican. But you are misreading it, and apparently reading it under a hermeneutic of rupture instead of the hermeneutic of continuity called for by Pope John Paul the Great, and by Pope Benedict. I point out to you that both of these men attended the Council, one as a Bishop, and the other as a theological adviser to a Cardinal.

    Church documents are very dense, and one must read every word with its full meaning (which may be technical or rich with history or both) in its context. The footnotes are part of the documents too. Anyway, here’s an example that speaks directly to your apparent understanding of the role of the priest:

    Priests by sacred ordination and mission which they receive from the bishops are promoted to the service of Christ the Teacher, Priest and King.

    This is right in paragraph 1 of Presbyterorum Ordinis which you yourself have referenced. Priests receive ordination from the bishops as you’ve rightly said. But they also receive “mission”. This means the priest is sent, given his marching orders so to speak. Even today, in the rite of ordination itself, the priest places his hands between the hands of the bishop who ordains him and promises lifelong obedience. He’s not ordained and then told he’s free to go do whatever he he thinks God wants him to do.

    So when Roman said Fr. Rowe chose his own personality over his flock, it seems to me he was referring to Fr. Rowe’s remark “that’s not the way I pray” (or something to this effect) and when the bishop told him to use the prayers prescribed by the Church, he preferred to resign rather than obey.

    When you say the bishop “does not rule by command”, if you mean “the bishop does not rule according to his whim” I’d say that’s right. He rightly rules according to the mission given to him at his consecration and subsequently, and from the tradition of the Church. So long as he’s within these bounds, he does indeed rule by command at least with respect to those who owe him obedience. When Bishop Braxton (rightly) commanded Fr. Rowe to faithfully use the public prayers of the Church for public prayer, he was 1) well within the tradition of the Church, and 2) as the ordinary of the diocese, is owed obedience by the priests. This was not a personal whim of his, the actions (or inactions) of his predecessors notwithstanding.

    It may be that your apparent misunderstanding of the structure of the Church is genuine: the Belleville Diocese has had weak and ineffectual leadership for a long time and the spirit of rupture had taken root there pretty firmly. We have seen its fruits and you also may be a victim of this. But if you really don’t want to be a Protestant, then stop accusing Bishop Braxton, acting within the overwhelmingly clear tradition of the Church, of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Realize that there was no break with the past at Second Vatican and try to learn the art of sentire cum Ecclesia (literally “to think with the Church”). But if you are committed to the positions you’ve expressed so strongly and wish to “educate” others in, then you’ll be happier in some or another ecclesial community that shares them, and more intellectually honest to boot. Only you know which is the case though.

  • If you’re through attacking me, perhaps you can just stick to referencing the doctrinal sources of your reply and keep any of your opinions or judgements of my Catholicism to yourself.

    Although I seek to understand, I accept that I may never, for “quot capita tot senses,” no two men think the same. That is the importance of maintaining faith. Though I don’t understand what the Bishop is doing I am not criticizing him. It is not my place. The blasphemy I suggest is from this article, not from the Bishop.

    I also believe in the traditions and hierarchy of the Church, which demands that I be loyal to the its central element — the ordained Priest, who was ordained by the Bishop and acts in his place, and who has been charged with protecting my soul.

    I do not believe that Father Bill has ever used his own voice or that any of his actions are or have ever been based on his PRIVATE JUDGEMENT, because, unlike the Bishop, I do not think it is possible – as the Catholic faith demands of me. If I do not first have faith in the holiness and endowed spiritual power of my Priest, then the entire structure of the church collapses, and THAT is what I think is being advocated here.

    The very fact that Father Bill REFUSES only reinforces my position because NO PRIEST would ever deny his Duty to God and deny his own conscience. He’s not just some protestant minister explaining the Bible as he sees it. He is an ordained Priest acting as Christ the Head, spreading the Word of God “as it was given to him.”

      Tom Leith
    • Wow. And I am called a clericalist. No, friend, the structure of the Church does not depend on your faith in the holiness of ‘your’ priest (whatever that means). It does not even depend on the fact of the holiness of your priest. To get a hint of the tradition behind my rejection of your formula, look into the the Donatist controversy and the topic ex opere operato.

      Your own source contradicts your position; it doesn’t reinforce it (thanks to Fr. Richard for providing more references). And it is silly, especially after the experience of the past dozen years or so, to think NO PRIEST would ever deny his Duty to God. It happens all the time. It is called “sin”. And one kind of sin is to refuse religious obedience to one’s superior.

      • I’m not advocating any position with regard to the new Missal. As was pointed out, that is not really the issue. I am also not denying in any way the hierarchy of the Church, where I understand the Bishop’s primary responsibility is the sanctity of his priests (which I don’t believe means pruning out the unholy ones as much as it means sanctifying them all, this is where I may be in err).

        My position does also does not mean that every other priest is somehow in err. Quite the contrary — I believe all Priests subordinate their own will to God’s but that it may take different forms.

        I’m specifically referring to sacramental celebration when I speak of my (yes, MY, because I am to have a filial relationship, as a son to his father) Priest, his Duty and my Faith (not my personal belief) in its sanctity due to the concept of ex opera operato (Which I understand to mean, the act is holy because it was done — not because it was “accepted” or “approved” or “ordered to be”.

        I agree disobedience to another person, including one’s superior, MIGHT be a sin, but ONLY if it is in opposition to God’s will — which is the definition of sin.

        And finally, how do you resolve Catechism 1158, which requires only “conformity with Church’s norms” while allowing “the voices of the faithful to be heard”?

        “The harmony of signs (song, music, words, and actions) is all the more expressive and fruitful when expressed in the cultural richness of the People of God who celebrate.25 Hence “religious singing by the faithful is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises as well as in liturgical services,” in conformity with the Church’s norms, “the voices of the faithful may be heard.” But “the texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine. Indeed they should be drawn chiefly from the Sacred Scripture and from liturgical sources.”26”

  • Tom Leith
  • So now you agree that the structure of the Church does not hang on your faith in the sanctity of the priest?

    > the act is holy because it was done — not because it was “accepted”
    > or “approved” or “ordered to be”.

    More like “the sacrament works because the work of confecting it was done” but for now I’ll use your terms.

    Under your understanding the question becomes “what act is holy because it was done”? Not just any act is holy in the context of a Sacramental celebration no matter the intrinsic qualities of the act itself. In the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass there are I think four places set aside for an ad-lib; where the priest is permitted to say either what is printed “or words to that effect” — he’s not allowed to say just anything either, it has to be “words to that effect”. Only four, The rest of the time, he’s to follow the ritual. Even the bishop himself has no authority to change the liturgy, much less one of his helpers, even if the change considered in isolation is of excellent quality.

    > I agree disobedience to another person, including one’s superior,
    > MIGHT be a sin, but ONLY if it is in opposition to God’s will — which
    > is the definition of sin.

    It is quite legitimate for Bishop Braxton to tell Fr. Rowe “Do the red, say the black” at Holy Mass (or when conducting any public prayer). It is God’s Holy Will that religious obedience is shown one’s superiors, therefore disobedience is in opposition to the Divine Will.

    1158. So what are the Church norms? 1158 basically tells pastors to teach chant to all the faithful, not just the schola cantorum. It also tells them not to let the schola constantly show off with obscure or very difficult melodies, howsoever beautiful or satisfying they may be to the schola to sing, because the rest of the people also have a part and must ordinarily be accommodated. Finally if something besides chant is used, the “You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings” is out. See the St. Pope Pius X instruction Tra le Sollecitudini. It is easy enough to find. If you want to learn a lot about liturgy have a look at the website of our friends at Adoremus. If you want to experience Holy Mass in conformity to Church norms, go to the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica any Sunday. I’d say 10 AM or later: I don’t remember whether they have music at their 8 AM Mass. But even at the 5 PM Sunday Mass they have full-on music with chant.

    Does any of this help?

  • The resolution of the the paradox of Christ is amor concupiscentiae IS amor amicitiae.

    Believe it or not, following your path leads to Quietism, which doctrine repeatedly dispels, because it sounds like how they used to think (old testaments). There is New way, though! a New Testament!

    If its because you are stuck on jurisprudence and pedagogy, I’ve got Good News for you, my friend! (Actually, it’s not really “my” news, it from Jesus Christ. I just want you to know it so you will be Happy!)

    Does this mean anything to you: “You have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel.” It means you have abandoned the more important things, judgment, and mercy and faith, in favor of the law.

    Anyway, if I were to limit my analysis to jurisprudence and pedagogy, I, of course, would agree with you 100 percent. HOWEVER,we are in the realm of Catholic ethic, which not only presupposes both, but to which both are also subordinate (they are the guide, not the judge). So when we simplify this and look at the three pillars of virtue (truthful, right action): Faith, Hope and Charity, you will have realized the message of Jesus Christ (even if you don’t understand it – you have to have Faith!).

    Before anything, honor God (The Right Thing, The Right Way, The Right Reason). Then do as you would have done to you. Good has Right of Way. Do not quiet your Personality— commit it to God. Do not base your actions on natural calls like lust and malice. Our natural bodies feel good because they follow the laws of nature – that’s why drugs feel good. But go SuperNatural and base your actions on what is Right. No matter what ANY man says be they KING or MASTER.

    Free thought is a product of your Mind and is realized as Belief (what you understand to be true). Faith is a product of your Conscience and is realized as Truth (what IS true).

    “If anyone says that a justified person sins when such a one does what is right with the hope of eternal reward, let him be anathema.”

    If there is a right way you will refuse to do ANY other because doing so would deny you eternal happiness.

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