Mallon's Media Watch

Mallon's Media Watch

Friday, August 02, 2002
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Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Please Email Emily Stimpson here and beg her not to permanently close down her blog! It's my favorite! Emily, Please! Even if you're busy you can leave it up even if you only post once or twice a week...

Thank you.

Those Crazy Apologists... From WSJ's Best of the Web Today:

Shot to Hell
In Godley, Texas--we swear we're not making this up--a religious argument ended with a fatal shooting. Reuters reports 21-year-old Clayton Frank Stoker, a corrections officer, exchanged words with 20-year-old Johnny Joslin:

The talk became heated when the subject turned to who would go to heaven and who would go to hell.

Stoker said he would settle the argument and went into a house and returned with a shotgun, which he loaded and placed in his mouth, [Sheriff Bob] Alford said the witness reported.

"The victim Joslin then took the gun out of Stoker's mouth, saying, 'If you have to shoot somebody, shoot me,' " Alford said, citing the witness report.

The shotgun went off, hitting Joslin in the chest and killing him.


"Openness and Dialogue" with VOTF

>From the VOTF message board, posted Mon Jul 22, 2002 3:05 pm:

"I attended the conference Saturday and was greatly disappointed in many
respects. Jim Muller and Paul Baier have emphasized that VOTF was not a
left or right wing group, but wished to transcend what is obviously a
barren dispute in order to side with the victims of clerical abusiveness.

"What I heard, instead, was the same left wing ideas I've been hearing most
of my Catholic life (I'm an under 40 post-Vatican II Catholic). Jim
Muller's diagram of the Church re-newed, butressed by left and right
putting aside its differences, was not exemplified in the choice of
speakers, unfortunately.

"Most disappointing was the misrepresentation of the Vatican II document
"Lumen Gentium" on the Church, which nowhere gives the laity a role in the
governing of the Church. Read the chapter entitled "On the Hierarchical
Structure of the Church" especially the last sentences of paragraphs 18 and
20, if you doubt this. The laity's role in the Church, according to the
same Council document, is secular -- we're called to change the world not
to engage in ecclesiatical politics, the kind of which have hindered the
evangelizing mission of the Christ's church ever since Vatican II.
Paragragh 31 of Lumen Gentium summarizes the Council teaching well.

"I note at least a quarter of the assembly Saturday seemed to vote with
their feet and walk out after the morning talks. I attended with a friend
who was a victim of clergy sexual abuse -- he felt used and marginalized by
the convention's proceedings."

Scott McHugh


Tuesday, July 30, 2002

I've received many responses to my blogs on charismata, and I feel duty bound to respond to them because the misunderstandings are legion. But, I'll do so as I'm able. Here's a start:

Greetings John Mallon!!!

Charismatic Tridentine Mass? Well, I too was "saved" from wild times by charismatic Christians, although they weren't Catholic. This was in the '70s. Some of them were former Catholics. I was not then a Catholic; this was to come later due to my taking their word for it that the Bible is utterly true ... and which, unseen by them, presents the Eucharist.

You have to realize, John Mallon, that there is a time for schmoozing and a time for external austerity. The Tridentine liturgy provides us with a God to human situation, which is necessary; the "horizontal" liturgy (charismatic, etc.) puts a lot of noise in the deal, and makes it more of a human to human thing. I loved the reparative effects on my life given by the charismatic way, but eventually found that I required more than this would provide.

First of all, I have to object to the notion that a charismatic Mass is a. "horizontal" and b. "noisy." They can be loud, and I used the term, but I find them distinctly "vertical" and breathtakingly contempletive—even when the praise is loud. Liberal/dissident Masses are horizontal. Praise is a profound form of prayer which has been misplaced over time (of course I realize praise also takes many outward forms).

Unfortunately, most Masses I attend these days are a bit of a penance for me and rather lonely, at least for that social aspect, but that's not why I go to Mass. So I just try to tune into Christ. Generally, any concern with "being seen" doing this or that is annoying at Mass but I don't know others' motives. I do resent the popular notion that charismatic stuff is mere "emotionalism." It is not, but there is nothing wrong with being emotional with God either, again, so long as it's not a show. At the same time I think it's distracting when some people make florid and ostentations genuflections when receiving Communion. I'm always afraid I'm going to trip over them.

Granted, this could be an age thing, or a rite of passage thing ... you know, proceeding "by the numbers" up the experiential ladder, step by step. The solemn aspect of Mass requires self input far more than the elbow to elbow, eye to eye Mass.

I don't know what an "elbow to elbow, eye to eye Mass" is. Do you mean by that a charismatic Mass? Furthermore are you saying charismatic Masses lack solemnity? Their solemnity is what I like about them! before going further I should add that all masses are charismatic. The Holy Spirit directs the Mass.

I have had numerous responses on the charismatic issue, most confining the charismatic experience to a mere style of worship. And then a stereo-typed idea of of it. Traditionalists all seem to assume that charismatics are theological dummies and hopelessly naive spiritually and seem to have an unconscious attitude of superiority. The charismatic corrolary is what Trads complain about when they infer charismatics look down on them for not excercising the charismatic gifts listed in 1 Cor. 12-14.

Being charismatic is much more than a goofy looking style of worship. It is the power of God. For example excercising the gift of healing: when someone appears in my path who is ill and conversation develops and, from an inner prompting, I ask if they would like me to pray with them, and they permit me to lay hands on them and I do so, it is very moving to see the darkness lift off them like a gray mist, and their distress recede. I may feel heat in my hands on I may not They may feel heat in my hands or throughout their body or not they may be physically healed or they may not, but it is clear that God has visited and brought healing.

Or when I am vexed by some problem and I ask someone to pray over me and they receive a word of knowledge which provides a startling key to unlocking my issue which this person had no way of knowing, and the ice begins to break up, I am very grateful that the charismatic gifts are a normal and essential element to my life in Christ. It doesn't make me better or holier than anyone else, I just don't know why anyone would not want this astounding assistance from the Holy Spirit in following Christ. We no longer live the Christian life on our own power but the Holy Spirit living it through us.

There is another aspect to it that can be critical for some souls. Let me put it like this, the Church has a long tradition of monastic life. Why? Because some people need this austere solemn way. God has provided it; perhaps it is a gift that has been pulled back somewhat these recent decades. Some days as a substitute teacher I am surrounded by "charismatic" kids, pre-teens to full-on teens. I have more of this elbow to elbow thing than I personally can stand for long. This leaves me with two ways to have some solitude. One is in the Tridentine Mass, and the other is alone (or with my puppies) in some nature place -- But I don't carry the Host with me to these places of quiet. Clergy has this grace available where they reside, the Real Presence; I don't. The Tridentine Mass provides this; without it, it is hard to find the one-on-one with the material presence of God. You might argue that God is with me (in a state of grace), but there is a difference.

You are speaking here about what nourishes you or restores you. I suspect anyone spending the day with little kids may crave some solitude. You have to get it where you can. I you feel God's presence more strongly at a Tridentine Mass than elsewhere that is the place to be. There is nothing wrong with this kind of subjectivity. I'm surprised you didn't mention adoration. Soeaking of which, it was Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, back in the late 70s and early 80s (while it was "out of fashion") that led me to the charismatic renewal. And the charismatic experience only deepened my love for the Eucharist, Adoration, Mass, the scaraments, theology, orthodoxy and of course, Holy Tradition.

Am I opposed to such a thing as a charismatic Tridentine Mass? No, but I would not be moved to go to even one; yet, neither would I protest against such a thing. Our unity is not found in our external ways, but in the Eucharist, regardless of rite of celebration.

Exactly! The Tridentine Mass—like any valid Mass—is a gift of the Holy Spirit. And since the Holy Spirit is not scizophrenic there is no conflict!

Consider that the Pope has always been telling us to respect other cultural traditions. This is not so easy for those of any civilizational orientation, not even for those whose ancestors were European and American. Let's not make the liturgy "ethno-centric". The majesty of the Tridentine Mass seems ethno-centric but is more than this; because of its primitive solemnity it allows for any culture to fully participate. On the other hand, the "horizontal" liturgies restrict this and hence each culture requires its own style of liturgy.

Yes, and charismata is not a "cultural tradition" but transcends culture and ethnicity, including anchient Rome and Mediaeval Europe. The Last Supper was not in Latin. While the Tridentine Mass goes back to the Council of Trent and the charismatic gifts go back to the birth of the Church, the first Pentecost.

I always have to remind people in these discussions that the Church did not begin—or end—at Trent, nor did the Church begin—or end—with Vatican II. It began at Pentecost and will have no end.

Again, I have no interest in "horizontal" liturgy, and it is a gross misunderstanding to put Mass where the charismatic gifts are free to flow under this heading. Either "vertical" or "horizontal" is only half the story. Remember the "horizontal" is held in place by the vertical and the vertical is longer when it comes to the cross, which is the only proper model for the Mass, and what the Mass is all about.

BTW: One of our Tridentine Mass devotees always wears a small yellow smiley face lapel button on his shirt or coat.