On Liturgical Abuse and Zany Catholicism


Antidote to Liturgical abuse in Catholicism

With gratitude to BellatorDei for the beautiful non-zany graphic …


Today, we are continuing from recent extracts concerning the tragedy of the liturgy taken from my upcoming book. Recently, then, I mentioned approaching the altar of God in France to receive communion while Pink Floyd was played. And yet I was still startled to receive a comment from Juan about the rock group KISS providing tunes for his Mass in Argentina …

As heartbreaking as this is, I am grateful to Juan and also Sharon reporting these liturgical abuses here.

Today, we continue with further things in this deplorable vein. I will just clarify that much of my book emerged after a long travels in France and other countries. My wife Kim and I were becoming ever more disturbed by the daily French Masses that we saw, as we visited parish after parish on the road.

(For as distressing as the modern liturgy frequently is, I declare frankly that my soul needs daily Mass …)

I am indebted to my beloved wife Kim for the title of this entry. She turned to me one day in France and said words to this effect: ‘Do you know what this Catholicism is? It’s zany …’

And so continued extracts now from my manuscript on Zany Catholicism – but not without acknowledging the brave, good priests of the Novus Ordo who resist the zany tide …


As common as liturgical abuse is, it must be stressed that the situation is not omnipresent. A world of gratitude is owed to those Priests who celebrate the modern Mass with reverence and dignity.

Who can count how many souls have had the way to Christ illumined by such sincere Priests of the Novus Ordo? There are no statistics for such matters. But let us render thanks to these courageous men who battle against the zany currents of the day!

In saying these things, dear Reader, I am conscious that I highlight the worst abuses. I know that across the world there are innumerable sincere Priests in fine parishes, which are not at all hives of subversive activity. Indeed, I risk injustice to many good Priests and laity.

For in writing these things, I have stressed a very concerted, very liberal faction of the Church. This faction exists and it carries on conscious, yet undeclared, warfare with those who try to consciously uphold Catholic tradition.

Between the two groups, however, is a large grouping of sincere Christians, who are – alas! – less than conscious of all that is at stake.

Sadly, my own travels across Europe (and even America) have confirmed that liturgical abuse is much more widespread than many souls readily appreciate.

Dear Reader: If your God-given lot has been the happy fortune of spending long years in a single, sincere parish with a reverent Priest of the Novus Ordo, you may not even realise just how bad things have truly become in the wider world. You may even ask: Why all this fuss?

My own God-given lot has been different. For my lot has been to travel from one country to the next, from one parish to the next, seeking out daily Mass everywhere I went. Years of daily Mass in innumerable settings has yielded me the often-sorry experience of thousands of Masses, by now, in English, French, Spanish, German and further languages besides.

All of this has been wretchedly instructive: It becomes all-too-clear how the Novus Ordo readily facilitates liturgical abuse.

Let me elaborate. For centuries, the Priest had his back turned; every soul turned together with the Priest to face the arrival of the Lord. And no doubt the Priest’s ad orientam position aided him to pray all the more intensively.

Now, facing an ‘audience’ it is far easier to become distracted from prayer.

Temptation frequently becomes all-too-great.

Now, the audience must be entertained.  The Priest ad-libs or even feels he needs to play comedian: Jokes must be cracked. This Mass must be made accessible to the world. Modern music must replace Gregorian, Baroque or humble, pious hymns. Bring out then the electric guitars! Let us harken to the strains of Pink Floyd, as we approach the altar of His Sacrifice.

A profound disjunction – nay, an abyss – opens out between the true, holy meaning of the Mass and the way that Mass is celebrated.

How many abuses can be witnessed when one travels and witnesses so many parishes: Priests as stand-up comics; Priests who aspire to be the star of the show; Priests who can barely conceal their trivialisation – even active disdain of the Sacrament.

In Switzerland, I witnessed a Priest who broke the bread before the consecration and then held the broken fragments at arm’s length. He did not raise these pieces of the host above, but stared at them – at eye-level and arm’s distance.

Quite honestly, he seemed to scowl at these pieces. And in the same country, another Priest recommended prolonged ‘Eucharistic fasting’ to his flock!

In France, I have assisted at Mass seated around something that looked very much like a large boardroom table. And the Mass was said in like fashion: The Priest kept asking questions, as though it were necessary to consult the fellow members of the board.

And a Bishop of France grinned inanely during the Mass, while he tapped his crozier in time to a rock beat.

Will you accuse me of being all-too-subjective, dear Reader, with my talk of zany Bishops or scowling Priests? Well, accuse me then! I will roundly declare that I saw not the least hint of reverence in either and my soul is shuddering still at that Swiss Priest’s icy glare …

Moreover, dear Reader, I have witnessed even worse. I recall one unhappy parish I stayed in, where a newly-arrived Priest initiated open warfare with his sacristant. The sacristant and her old friends in the parish valiantly tried to maintain their traditions.

But their new, ultra-liberal Priest would not refuse one dirty trick after another in his efforts to undermine them.  The sacristant was dedicated to the Divine Mercy devotion and the Priest openly confessed to me his utter revulsion for this Saint Faustina’s legacy to this world.

He even tore up the sacristant’s literature before her eyes. His hostility to the Holy Father was marked. Eventually, the sacristant abandoned her parish, broken-hearted, and found a traditional Latin Mass community instead …

I report these things because the grace of a travelling lifestyle has provided me with an unusual set of windows onto the world – windows onto innumerable parishes throughout Western Europe. From this, it is clear how many Priests, and indeed Bishops, have lost the true understanding of the Mass.

And all of this is just one man’s own personal experience!

Surfing the Internet one can find untold further reports of things like: ‘Clown Masses’ (with the Priest dressed as a clown); an Easter bunny Mass (the Priest concelebrates with the Easter bunny, who hands out chocolate); a Doritos Mass (the Priest attempts to consecrate tortilla chips instead of bread); coffee, Mountain Dew and Kool-aid Masses (the Priest attempts to consecrate other beverages than wine); a Spongebob Mass (where a figure of Spongebob Squarepants features prominently in the sanctuary during Mass); a ventriloquist Mass (the Priest celebrates the Mass with a ventriloquist dummy) and a cheesehead Mass (where the Priest wears what appears to be a block of cheese on his head).

Can these reports be really true? Tragically, I find no reason to doubt them, dear Reader, and I have seen photographs of everyone of them on the Internet – with dates and locations provided.

End of manuscript extract.

More about the Liturgy and the Sacraments can be found here.

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  1. sharon
    Posted 24 May 2013 at 02:49 | Permalink

    Roger, I think the key point here is that the Priest now faces the congregation and succumbs to the temptation of viewing them as an audience to be entertained. And once he views himself as an entertainer, his ego must intrude more and more. More and more he will desire to have all eyes on himself rather than the Eucharist. That’s really what all these abuses you describe amount to: the priest overshadowing the Eucharist.

    The only difference between these abuses and Protestantism is that the Protestants have eliminated the Eucharist entirely; the pastor is quite openly an entertainer and the absolute center of the services.

    You make many excellent points in this essay.

  2. Johannim
    Posted 9 July 2013 at 20:28 | Permalink

    And now you know why I left the Catholic church for Good and millions like me.

  3. Posted 13 July 2013 at 06:37 | Permalink

    Johannim and sharon, I thank you for these comments, which further illumine how very grave the situation really is. ‘The priest overshadowing the Eucharist’ … these five simple words say so much.

    This is what I think baffles traditional Catholics. This problem is so, so, SO serious. And yet it seems so little is being done – compared to what is truly needed.

    Your words speak volumes Johannim. Sad as they are, I appreciate you offering them.

    I can only say: Christ is there – buried beneath the zaniness.

    Christ is there, which is why I have gone to Mass day in day out for years now. And how I am strengthened and succoured and helped and transformed … even while I frequently have to suffer.

    But millions turn away …

    Johannim, your words reveal the tragedy of the West and I appreciate you going on record here.

    (A final thank you to others here, for comments which I have not responded to yet. I will do.)

4 Trackbacks

  1. By The Future of Irish Catholicism? on 11 September 2013 at 09:57

    […] As I indicate above, that crisis has much to do with the general malaise of liberal Catholicism everywhere and indeed, as I have called it elsewhere, Zany Catholicism … […]

  2. […] it has to be said, the desacralised, even zany manifestations of the Church of recent decades do not inspire people with the zeal the traditional Church once […]

  3. By On the Latin Mass in Ireland on 16 September 2013 at 12:56

    […] He is not gone. He has simply been buried, buried by zany mediocrity … […]

  4. […] cap everything off, today’s liberal, desacralised, even zany Catholicism renders the final, finishing touches to the […]

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