For the Liturgically Impaired

I have great affection for Franciscan University at Steubenville. However I feel compelled to ask, is this what passes for liturgy at the university. Oy!

Pope St. Pius X over at the blog Totus Pius (A great concept blog!) asks
One of the greatest benefits of a liberal education is refinement of taste and an appreciation for that which is true, good, and beautiful. The fact that these college students are reveling in gatherings such as the ones shown above says a lot about the education one receives at Steubenville. A minimal knowledge of theology and philosophy is enough to see the separation of faith and reason in the aforementioned video. A minimal knowledge of music is enough for one to know that what is being played in the video has little to no artistic merit.

If Catholic students are graduating from this university and see these liturgies as representative of their faith, there are much deeper problems that subjective sentiments and childish attachments to emotional music-- somebody is not being educated properly.
I am forced to agree. Here is the link to video.


  1. Pat:

    Where have you been? This nonsense has been going on for years. They speak in tongues at the end of the Gloria every Sunday. First time I was there for that was ten years ago. I remember looking around for the exit signs, just in case.

    Scanlan saved the FUS from bankruptcy in the early 70s, and he can be credited with restoring Catholicity to the campus. Unfortunately, he brought the charismatic movement with him, which has long run its course. The ongoing tension between the status quo among students and faculty, with the trad movement, is coming to a head with the recent motu proprio.

    We'll all be watching this story. Stay tuned...

  2. David,
    I knew the charismatic movement had a foothold there and I have been following the travails of the Motu Proprio there as well.

    But, I had never actually seen a liturgy there before. When I saw this video, my reaction was "Oh no. Really? That bad?"

    I thought the commentary from Totus Pius was good too.

    As you said, stay tuned.

  3. I am truly ashamed of the language I just blurted out in my office as I watched these videos.

    Tragic--truly tragic. I expected someone to start handing out the Kool-Aid.

    God Bless His Holiness as he tries to eliminate this filth from our Church.



    PS Sorry if I seem so extreme, but this sort of thing tends to upset me a bit--as you can tell!

  4. Mike,
    You are right about one thing, it does have a Jim Jones Guyana vibe to it!

  5. Truly disturbing. Yet another reason why this traditional Catholic chose to go to a secular public university for graduate school. As a Catholic young adult I am still in awe that educated young people still accept this drivel as representative of authentic liturgy. Have we not grown up beyond this "hippie" nonsense? Thanks be to God that His Holiness has chosen to work towards the slow but gentle path towards authentic liturgical renewal.

  6. I thought I was converting to Catholicism to get away from this from this banal protestant style drivel. It's not much better at all the local Catholic churches I've visited. When is this lunacy ever going to end??


  7. First, let me say that I NOT Charismatic myself. I prefer chant and more quiet in my mass and my prayer in general. While I would not want to attend the mass shown in the video, I saw no liturgical abuse.

    And btw, this isn't a "Charismatic" mass so much as what passes as a "youth" masses. And yes, many youths do like it, and yes they eventually do grow out of it.

    But even if it was a charismatic mass, the charismatic movement is a legitimate movement in the Church, and there is room for it. The Church has room for the faithful charismatics, and if you disagree then YOU are the one not being Catholic. It is sad when faithful Catholics attack other faithful Catholics because they have a different (allowed) mode of prayer.

    Condemning a group who is loyal to the Church because their movement is not your movement does not come from Christ.

    Beware whose work you do when you condemn faithful Catholics because they are different. I know some out here on the West Coast who do that to traditionalist. This is the same thing going the other way.

  8. Rob,
    I am not sure to whom your comment is addressed, although I agree with much of what you say. With that said, I don't think I condemned anyone. I simply voiced my concurrence with the blogger who said "One of the greatest benefits of a liberal education is refinement of taste and an appreciation for that which is true, good, and beautiful."

    I have no problem with charismatics, but I do not care for, nor do I find much beauty in such a liturgy.

    I am not sure if a girl running around during mass with a tambourine qualifies as a liturgical abuse, but is sure is annoying.

  9. Rob:
    I certainly would debate your statement whether the charismatics are in fact a legitimate movement with the Church. At best charismatics are tolerated, but I'm not sure you can find any papal statement condoning them.

    I am a convert to the Church, and a former Pentecostal no less, I have nothing personally against charismatics. Many Pentecostals and Charismatics I know are very holy, good people. I respect them as human beings and find them to be admirable Christians.

    That said, however, the Charismatic movement necessitates the affirmation of heretical interpretations of key scriptural passages. The fact of the matter is that there is no Church Father who ever interpreted glossolalia (the speaking of languages unlearned) as xenoglossalia (speaking unintelligible utterances). Charismaticism is part and parcel of the hermeneutic of discontinuity.

    As for my own part, as a Pentecostal, I did experience xenoglossalia, I did experience "being slain in the Spirit." I came to realize that, however genuine I felt these experiences to be, they were in fact some form of self-hypnosis. Pious, perhaps, but un-representative of authentic biblical experience.

  10. Patrick, you know I love the blog. But I do think we need to be careful when we start to attack our own. Some of the comments AND the original post are both rather condemning.

    Chris, Are there or are there not charismatics who are faithful to the Church. I know for a fact there are. Those that advocate clinging to the chair of Peter.

    And there are charismatics who know the distinction between speaking in tongues as in the bible with what they do. Which, btw, I have no desire to participate in.

    You see, I agree with the preferences expressed here - I don't like mass prayed like that. And I am turned off by charismatic prayer.

    BUT This is a great big Church. To walk around pointing at groups who are within the bounds laid down by Rome, and suggest they be condemned or that they are less Catholic is to act not with a spirit of Christian charity. That is my point.

    There are so many shooting at the barque of Peter from without, that it gets irritating to find those shooting each other within (left to right and reverse).

  11. Rob,
    I don't mind critiques, honestly. I have from time to time questioned myself as to whether I have gone over the line on a post. So therefore I don't mind at all when someone tries to keep me honest.

    With that said, I can't see anything in my post, or the post that I linked, that is CONDEMNING to charismatics. Condescending, maybe, but certainly not condemning. There is a big difference in my mind between saying that the liturgy is lame and saying charismatics are bad Catholics.

    If there is something in the post that is "condemning" please point it out to me.

    I do not agree with some of the commentary on this post, but I try not to police the combox too much. I can usually rely on other commenters to keep people honest.

  12. Patrick, I think you are right.

    I also think that the tone of the post you link to at Totus Pius is certainly one of tearing down a Catholic institution know for orthodoxy. Certainly not building up - and not about a matter of dogma or false teaching. Fair?

    I also understand, not limiting comments. That too is fair. Of course, it is easier to spout overly strong views in a com box. And sometimes, those need a gentle correction.

    The point of my comments is to remind those who are actually not that dissimilar from me in view that the Church is a BIG Church. And there is room for all of us - including those who like youth masses or are charismatic - as long as they remain faithful to the Church and her teachings.

  13. One difference between the charismatic people at Steubenville and the tradists who attack them, is that the charismatics are happy about following Christ, and their enthusiasm is contagious, drawing many unbelievers to accept the Gospel.

    I can't say the same for trads.

  14. Anon,
    That is a pretty broad brush you are using there. Charismatics are fine catholics. This post is about the quality of the liturgy in the video. A reasonable discussion I think. For those who have criticized the charismatics some gentle correction (like RobK) is appropriate. Broadly criticizing "trads" as unhappy is as untrue as those who criticize charismatics.

  15. Firstly, as a very devout Catholic and secondly, as someone who is a member of a Ecumenical Charismatic Community, I have to respond to your rude and judgemental responses. Both Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict have given their approval over what our community is doing. Have you ever asked the
    Holy Spirit what gifts He would like to give you? The last itme I checked in the Bible, speaking in tounges is the least of those gifts. Infact it says that not all will be given that gifts because we all are different parts of Christ's body. While I don't agree with the whole liturgical and interpretive dancing, the other aspects of this service are not offensive to me. Let me also say that out of our community that will be 35 YEARS old this February countless voacations to the priesthood have come and many more to the religious life. Also, countless miracles. We have an alliance with Rome and our elders meet once a year to make sure that we are not doing something that would go against Church teaching. We also meet with our diocesan Bishop. So, if you need it put this way - His Holiness - as you like to say a lot - has given his o-kay to what we are doing. Yes, I find myself speaking in tongues sometimes during the Eucharistic celebration. However, I do not jump up and down and do it out loud. Everyone's spirituality is different. There is a time and place for those things, but if you happen to find yourself at a charismatic mass and the Spirit moves you, you will know it. Just to be clear: I like the standard form of Mass : quiet, solemn, but if there is a song that moves me to praise Jesus by raising my hands -I will do it. The comments here are judgemental and probably from those who have never taken the time to find out what the Charismatic movement is all about. Hmmm, sounds like those protestants that never take the time to find out what the Catholic Faith is about but think they can truthfully say that we are going to hell etc...etc...
    Check out Alleluia Community in Augusta, Georgia. Call our number 1-800-yes-lord and ask questions. Don't assume you know what is going on by a video someone posted on you tube of all places.
    In His peace.

  16. I am always baffled by individuals in the Church that spend their time tearing down other members of the Church because they are not Cathoic enough for them or becasue they don't subscribe to their particular definition of orthodoxy.

    I am not charismatic but do know many students and graduates of Steubenville. I am always impressed with their joy, love for God and for the Church which is very contagious.

    Spend your time working on your own holiness and stop tearing down the Church.

  17. To the writer who said he didn't see any liturgical abuses, I'm not sure where he was looking. Women swaying and carrying bowls of incense through the crowd is an abuse. Using electric guitars at Mass is an abuse. Waving palm branches is an abuse. The entire atmosphere of secularism and the feeling that one is at a concert is completely opposed to the dignity and sacredness of the Mass. It was not authentic liturgy. Using non approved psalm based "songs" for the "Responsorial Psalm" is an abuse. They might as well just have used the Jehovah's Witness bible for the Gospel reading. I could go on and on, but I won't. That so called Mass was a slap in the face of our Savior. They weren't approaching Mount Calvary, they were at a rock concert. Blah.

  18. "Spend your time working on your own holiness and stop tearing down the Church."

    This misses the point entirely.

    Without commenting on the excesses of Catholic "traditionalists" one way or the other, there is genuine concern about some characteristics of the charismatic movement. For one thing, Catholicism is of a cognitive nature, as opposed to merely experiential or emotional. Further, there is no assurance that certain "gifts" are invariably of divine inspiration.

    St Irenaeus was a student of St Polycarp, who was in turn a student of St John the Apostle. It was Irenaeus who addressed the issue of the use of certain charismatic gifts in his "Treatise Against Heresies." He cited a known figure of the time, a magician named Marcus, who possessed abilities not unlike those claimed by some charismatics.

    There were attempts by the Catholic charismatic movement to form "covenant communities" in both Ann Arbor and Steubenville. They became seed beds for manipulative behavior by the "servant leadership," and eventually fell apart, or were condemned by the local Church. It is dangerous to follow those who claim certain "gifts." That is why private revelations, for example, are initially viewed with skepticism by the Church.

    To be "working on your own holiness" is to be wary of forces beyond nature. God is found in "a still small voice" rather than a "clanging cymbal." The concern highlighted in this post is genuine, and has its basis in the teaching of the Church. This does not mean that "charismatics are bad." It does mean that charismatics should exercise prudence.

    Like everybody else.