Liturgy

Garland Shooting

How to Alienate Moderate Muslims

The recent “draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas not only drew fire from two armed jihadists, it also drew fire from Christian leaders and media critics. One of the chief objections was that events of this type will alienate moderate Muslims and possibly drive them into the radical camp. It can just as easily be [...]

Further Problems With American Eucharistic Practice

Christian Browne’s excellent critique of how receiving Communion-in-the-hand while standing are practices that might be reconsidered to strengthen American Catholics’ understanding of the Eucharist properly notes that these ideologically driven changes were required in no way by Vatican II or even the Holy See. Let me add three additional Eucharist-related phenomena bedeviling the “American Church” [...]

The Reception of Holy Communion in the United States

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis has decided to mark the occasion with the “Year of Mercy.” Despite much happy-talk and positive papal press, it is a time of foreboding in the Church. The anxiety over the coming Synod on the Family is substantial and growing, [...]

Catholic Sensibility: Our Compass of Sanity

Boswell: "Then, Sir, what is poetry?" Johnson: "Why, Sir, it is much easier to say what it is not. We all know what light is; but it is not easy to tell what it is."  —Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson  Let me begin with an incident that I witnessed in the last year that expresses [...]

On Integrating Latin Mass Parishes into Church Life

During the past few decades there has been a sharp rise in the number of Catholics attracted to what Pope Benedict XVI called the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman Rite. This phenomenon has manifested itself in the foundation of traditional orders, the vocation boom that these orders are experiencing, the establishment of new parishes and [...]

A “Liturgy Snob” Answers Her Critics

Last week I wrote a piece here on Crisis about good liturgy and its effect on the minds of children. It provoked a number of strong reactions, with some positive and others very critical. This is unsurprising. All liturgy-lovers have heard these critiques before, because they arise as a matter of course whenever liturgical practice [...]

Liturgical Wisdom from the Mouths of Children

This past Yuletide, my husband and I decided to escape the Minnesota winter by taking our family to South Texas. We had a joyfully green Christmas, with our children running wild on the beach while the Gulf of Mexico lapped at our toes. We didn’t miss the snow. Of course, there are always drawbacks to [...]

Passages from Vatican II that Every Catholic Should Know

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). While all agree that the council was a milestone in the history of the Church, the meaning and application of Vatican II and its sixteen official documents has been a source of contention right down to the present day. Numerous [...]

More Ways to End the Vocations Crisis

My recent article on the self-inflicted crisis of vocations to the Catholic priesthood engendered a lot of discussion, from which I conclude that my suspicion is correct. Many Catholics are content with strategies of suicide, because they do not really want the Church to prevail in her war against a world deranged. Since in our [...]

Marching Orders

I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street!   ~ Pope Francis What is the most important moment in the Mass? The Anaphora and the Institution Narrative? Yes, of course, from a liturgical and sacramental perspective. If you had to choose just one, what could be more important [...]

The Liturgical “Sign of Peace”: Move or Remove?

At the request of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a requisite inquiry into the timely appropriateness of the Latin Rite's gesture of peace shared amongst the people during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass commenced almost a decade ago. The Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (“the Congregation”), under the papal [...]

What the Traditional Mass Means to Me

I came to the Church through the Traditional Latin Mass. I would have converted anyway. It was becoming more and more obvious that the Church was where I belonged, and it seemed pointlessly obstinate and even artificial to remain apart from her. But the Traditional Mass made the situation clearer, because it made it more [...]

Corpus Christi: Punctuation and Continuity

Too often academics are impressed with novelty as it appears in history, preferring to emphasize what they see as discontinuities and divergences, rather than attempting to study development rightly understood. This is for two reasons. The first is that the long shadow of a whiggish progressivism is still upon them. Lurking in the back of [...]

The Impoverishment of Liturgical Culture

On his flight back from the Holy Land recently, Pope Francis made it clear to the journalists he was addressing that he dislikes the discussion, and press coverage, of the prospects for the forthcoming synod on the family being focused mainly on the question of Communion for the divorced and remarried. What he wanted instead, [...]

And All Shall Say: Alleluia, Alleluia

Throughout the world, in the Easter Sunday liturgy, Catholics sing the ancient Sequence, Victimae Paschali Laudes, or as it is known in English, “Christians, to the Paschal Victim.” The sequence offers praise to Christ, the Victor over sin and death, beginning with the verse Christians, to the Paschal Victim Offer your thankful praises! A Lamb [...]

Love for Latin Liturgy More than a Fashion

As a lover of traditional liturgy, I was momentarily excited by a report last week that, for once in my life, I might actually be hip to the trends. It would be a nearly-unprecedented thing for me, and I’m still not sure how to feel about it. But according to a recent second-hand report, Pope [...]

Symbolism and the Language of the Liturgy

In his conversations with the journalist Bill Moyers, the mythologist Joseph Campbell commented on the power of lived symbolism in communal life. When the judge comes out in a black robe, sits behind a high desk and calls the court to order with a gavel he is no longer an ordinary man. He is the [...]

The Promise and Fulfillment of Christmas

Some years ago, when I was recently ordained, it fell upon me to celebrate the Vigil Mass of Christmas at my parish. The pastor, as was his prerogative, always celebrated Midnight Mass, so the other parish Masses were divided between myself and the other associate. The gospel for the Christmas Vigil Mass is the beginning [...]

Benedict XVI and the Way of Beauty

 Something unusual is revealed here as well: the house of God is the true house of humans.  It becomes the house of humans even more the less it tries to be this and the more it is simply put up for him.  — Pope Benedict XVI In modern memory, has there been a Pope who [...]

Jesus Christ Superstar Now

When I was a kid, the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” was all the rage.  Both the local high school and my parents’ church (a large United Christ Methodist affair) each put on large, well-attended performances of the “rock opera” that included the entire teen choir.  The biggest questions were always: Whose booming bass voice would [...]

Pope Francis Will Enliven the Benedict Legacy

Being quoted by the press often leads to an out-of-body experience. This happened to me this weekend when an article posted by the Religion News Service was sent out through the wire and landed at the Washington Post, Huffington Post, National Catholic Reporter, and many other outlets. Every time I would read a new posting [...]

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