Tomorrow I will be attending Mass in another church: With some friends I am going to St. Boniface’s in Leeuwarden for two reasons.
The first is the fact that this Mass will be first Mass organised by my diocese for live television broadcast. A bit of an event, especially since, starting this year, the dioceses have taken the responsibility of the televised Masses in their own hands. The Masses rotate through the dioceses, so that each organises seven TV Masses per year. In Groningen-Leeuwarden, they have chosen for the church of St. Boniface in Leeuwarden, with Father Albert Buter as celebrating priest.
Leo Fijen, head of the Religion & Culture department of the KRO, the network responsible for the TV broadcast, says that the new arrangement shows “the diversity and vitality of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands”. What I’ve seen of the Masses broadcast up till now is that the quality is actually quite good. Of course, there is always room for improvement: priests should use proper missals instead of binders, ugly glass ‘altar tables’ and choirs in the sanctuary have to go, but in general, the impression is positive.
Let’s hope that tomorrow’s Mass will fit in that trend. I’ve never attended a Mass by Father Albert, but the church will be impressive enough. St. Boniface is a massive building, larger than the cathedral here in Groningen.
The Mass will be broadcast live on Nederland 2, starting at 10:00, and will be preceded by an interview with Fr. Albert starting at 9:35.
After the Mass I intend to stick around at a diocesan youth platform event to mark the start of Lent. A nice occasion to see some people I haven’t seen in a while.
Unnamed ‘sources in Rome’ appear to know that four Asian archbishops will be among the new cardinals to be created in October, if UCANEWS.com is to be believed. The buzz for a future consistory certainly seems to be increasing and many options are still open, judging by the lack of overlap in the predictions. Well, the Church does have a fair number of archbishops…
The four new names of possible future cardinals (cardinalibile?) are those of Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati, India, and Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon. Archbishops Okada, Ranjith and Menamparampil all have close ties to Rome, while Archbishop Bo distinguished himself in the aftermath of hurricane Nargil in Myanmar.
The article further refers to the possibility of a cardinal in Pakistan as a sign of support for the Christian community there. That would then have to be Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi or Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore.
Finally, the article shares my prediction of a new cardinal in the Philippines because of the upcoming retirement of Cardinal Vidal there.
The SSPX in Germany has released a statement condemning so-called carnival Masses and services, and they call upon the German bishops to act against those practices. These carnival services have become custom in many parts of Europe where the prelude to Lent is celebrated extensively, which are basically the historically Catholic areas. Carnival, while not something I would go out of my way to take part in, is a harmless cultural celebration, originating as a last chance to celebrate before the forty days of Lent started, when the faithful would prepare for Easter.
Carnival has long since become a mostly secular reason to party and as such it has come back to the churches. This time around, however, it is not organically linked to the period that comes after it, but it has become imposed on the church’s actions in that period. The sanctity of the liturgy, the music, the sacraments and even the priests have been replaced with dress-up parties, funny interludes, clowns and inappropriate music. These are just fine outside the church, but inside, Christ and His sacrifice on the cross are at the centre of attention.
Normally, I am sceptical about the SSPX. I don’t agree with their near-schismatic stance towards Rome and the Second Vatican Council, and I find it particularly ironic that they now cite one of the council’s documents and call upon the council’s authority to confirm their position. However, that does not take away the validity of their concerns in this matter.
The sense of the sacred has all but disappeared in western society, and these carnival Masses are both part of the result and reason of that. Party all you want outside the Church, but do not destroy the innate sense of the sacred that is present in Christ and His people.
The original press release, in German, may be found here, and below is my translation into English.
Carnival services are not authorised
The Priestly Society of St. Pius X points out that the carnival services currently taking place in Germany are not authorised, since they are in contradiction of the law as well as 2,000 years of Church Tradition. The Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council reads: “Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority”(22.3).
The things that go on during the time of carnival in the Churches go not only against the sanctity of the consecrated space, but also against every Catholic understanding of the sacrifice of the Mass. Sacrosanctum Concilium also reads: “[T]he sacred liturgy is above all things the worship of the divine Majesty” (33). And: “Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop” (22.1).
We therefore ask the German bishops, who are otherwise always keen advocats of Vatican II, to immediately order a stop to the unworthy spectacles in Catholic churches and to strongly affirm the regulations of the council regarding the liturgy, as their Swiss brother bishop Vitus Huonder has already done.
The culture of near-arbitrariness and banality that has entered the holy service to God certainly goes against the intentions of the Council fathers. Theatre and entertainment have replaced the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, which is renewed in the sacrament of the altar. Costumed priests have the same agenda as Catholics who dress up in fool’s caps and dance the polonaise in church.
Christ Himself did not even allow the seling of animals for the sacrifice in the anteroom of the old covenant’s sanctuary, the temple in Jerusalem, but expelled the traders and moneylenders as a scourge. What would He have to say about these abuses of the holy places and acts of the new covenant?
Berlin, 12 February 2010
Fr. Matthias Gaudron, Dogmatic of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X