4 March 2011

Spiritual health warning - avoid liturgical abuse

Don Nicola Bux has published a new book in Italian "How to go to Mass and not loose the faith".

You migh think that the title says it all. Well, Cardinals Burke and Canizares don't. They said quite a lot at the book launch. Courtesy of CNS, enjoy.

-- A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass in many parts of the world can be traced to Masses that are not reverent and don't follow church rules, said two Vatican officials and a consultant.

"If we err by thinking we are the center of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith," said U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican's supreme court.

Cardinal Burke and Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, spoke March 2 at a book launch in Rome.

The book, published only in Italian, was written by Father 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 Father Bux's book title would be, "How to Go to Mass and Not Lose Your Faith."

Cardinal Burke told those gathered for the book presentation that he agreed with Father Bux that "liturgical abuses lead to serious damage to the faith of Catholics."

Unfortunately, he said, too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant when, in fact, they are "serious abuses."

Cardinal Canizares said that while the book's title is provocative, it demonstrates a belief he shares: "Participating in the Eucharist can make us weaken or lose our faith if we do not enter into it properly" and if the liturgy is not celebrated according to the church's norms.

"This is true whether one is speaking of the ordinary or extraordinary form of the one Roman rite," the cardinal said, referring to Masses in the form established after the Second Vatican Council as well as the Mass often referred to as the Tridentine rite.

Cardinal Canizares said that at a time when so many people are living as if God did not exist, they need a true eucharistic celebration to remind them that only God is to be adored and that true meaning in human life comes only from the fact that Jesus gave his life to save the world.

Father Bux said that too many modern Catholics think the Mass is something that the priest and the congregation do together when, in fact, it is something that Jesus does.

"If you go to a Mass in one place and then go to Mass in another, you will not find the same Mass. This means that it is not the Mass of the Catholic Church, which people have a right to, but it is just the Mass of this parish or that priest," he said.


  1. Sounds like the good Cardinals have finally gotten around to reading the US bishops' 1972 document on Music in Catholic Worship. Its most famous quote was the blunt "Good celebrations foster and nourish faith. Poor celebrations weaken and destroy faith."

  2. How about this fellow Fr. Joe Ratzinger who celebrates Mass at a pretty impressive church in Rome? Where does he get off mumbling strange prayers under his breath at the Offertory and doing weird gestures with the thurible? I think there may be other horrors as well. I do hope Father Bux or one of the good Eminences let's him know that this causes "serious damage to the faith of Catholics."

  3. If the pope making utterances under his breath, or doing strange things with the thurible, or celebrates Mass in the EF, OF, Sarum, Byzantine, or Mozarabic forms endangers the faith of Catholics-- in what are man-made rites --then those Catholics never had a very strong faith to start with. Irrespective of the liturgical floor show used to entertain, amuse,inspire, and instruct them, it's just a matter of time before they leave altogether.

  4. Anonymous, why is liturgical abuse committed by the HF any better than that committed by Fr. Bagadonuts? If their Eminences are correct, and I believe them to be (and would guess our dear host does too based on his fastidious observance of every jot and tittle of 1962), then this is dangerous for souls. Alternatively, adherence to the books is optional, for Ratzinger and Bagadonuts.

    It it so typically and unfortunately Catholic to suggest, as you do, that those of us who are scandalized by this are not real Catholics.