warning: not for children or the squeamish

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 28, 2006

Did you hear the words "mortal sin" from the pulpit this Sunday? Bet you didn't.

Contumacious parishioners, however, at St. Mary's by the Sea in Huntington Beach found themselves charged with mortal sin by their pastor, in a message communicated via the church bulletin. So, boys and girls, what filth, what abomination, what unprintable extravagance of Southern Californian turpitude -- so great as to deserve "exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell," according to the Catechism -- have the wretched souls indulged in?


We're talking about kneeling at Mass, after the Agnus Dei. According to the L.A. Times article, Orange Bishop Tod Brown is backing the pastor against the kneelers. Helen Hitchcock, who is quoted in the Times story, points out that it's telling that a prelate of the "Let a hundred flowers bloom" school should bring the hammer down against diversity:

"It's hard to understand why any bishop would prohibit his people from expressing reverence in the way they have done for centuries," said Helen Hull Hitchcock, a founder of the conservative Adoremus Society for the Renewal of Sacred Liturgy in St. Louis.

Tactful reticence apart, is it so hard to understand? If you were one of the folks Tim Radcliffe calls "Kingdom Catholics," and you had the power to enforce your own will in the matter, would you want to see Catholics on their knees before the Blessed Sacrament?

L.A. Times photo

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  • Posted by: R. Spanier (Catholic Canadian) - May. 31, 2006 5:23 PM ET USA

    The diocesan Bishop has the authority of the Church supporting his decision. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (including Adaptations for the Dioceses of the United States of America) approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments states this: “The faithful kneel after the ‘Agnus Dei’ unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.” http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/revmissalisromanien.shtml

  • Posted by: - May. 31, 2006 12:58 AM ET USA

    This whole dispute is sad, pathetic, and perverse. It appears intentionally designed to suck the life out of any faithful Catholic. I think I would be tempted to give the Bishop a charitable knuckle sandwich.

  • Posted by: - May. 29, 2006 6:05 PM ET USA

    If one does not put something in the collection at Mary's by the Sea does he get "excommunicated"?

  • Posted by: - May. 29, 2006 10:04 AM ET USA

    In our parish the pastor asked us to stand when he raised the host and chalice before the Our Father. I didn't feel it was right to adore my Lord and God by standing, I never felt that worthy. What was funny is it happened only 3 times and then he never asked us to stand again. Me thinks the good "daily Mass ladies" in our Church all got together and told the pastor it wasn't a respectful thing.. nevertheless the practice stopped. There isn't enough kneeling at Mass!!

  • Posted by: - May. 29, 2006 2:47 AM ET USA

    Bishop Brown must have indigestion from a meal cooked by one of his two 5 star chefs. He seems to have lost track of the requirements for a mortal sin. Is kneeling a "serious or grave matter?" Since when did parish priest get the power to add such activity which clearly shows NO malicious intent, only respect and devotion to God, to list of mortal sins. The bishop's action in this matter seems to me to be sinful. He may be mentally incapable of doing his job. Rome needs to send someone in

  • Posted by: - May. 29, 2006 12:45 AM ET USA

    Major, thank you for your service both to God and to our country.

  • Posted by: Sir William - May. 28, 2006 11:50 PM ET USA

    Conscience. It is simply a "matter of conscience". There is nothing more holy and inviolate to this sort than a "matter of conscience". It is used to justfy everything from abortions & use of contraception, open homosexual behavior and 'gay' adoptions, ordaining women on a barge on a river, excusing anti-Catholic 'Catholic' politicians, to giving Holy Eucharist to nonCatholics, etc How can the bishop or priest possibly argue with it?

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2006 10:31 PM ET USA

    All part of the next phase of liturgical "renewal". In phase I you monkey with the liturgy to the extent that interior adoration and devotion become practically impossible due to the superficial, vernacular format of the Mass. In phase II you actually prohibit exterior signs of love and devotion. Note that this episcopsal edict does not apply to anyone wearing a Rainbow Sash. Active homosexuals are welcome and may receive Communion. Devout kneelers are condemned to everlasting fire.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2006 9:50 PM ET USA

    The good (sic) bishop is obviously mental. Pray for him.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2006 9:18 PM ET USA

    I find the Bishop's order incomprehensible. I offered Mass on the battlefield in two wars. My soldiers knelt,. I did not have to tell them. they knew WHO was there.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2006 7:28 PM ET USA

    All of the partisans in the liturgical wars should be big enought to admit some small role for the Holy Spirit. Pray to Him for peace in the pews.

  • Posted by: Gene Church - May. 28, 2006 7:07 PM ET USA

    I don't know what I would do. I think I would kneel, and be there for every Mass I could, even as I did not receive the Sacraments. I suspect that this form of civil, ecleisiastical disobedience, with acceptance of the Magisterium, might draw the attention of others, and encourage change. But I am certain that if nothing else, I would pray for Bishop Brown and this priest.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2006 6:05 PM ET USA

    Let them kneel DURING the agnus dei, too: "Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, HAVE MERCY ON US." And those who go along with these moon-bat priests have a case of acute FALSE OBEDIENCE.

  • Posted by: - May. 28, 2006 4:11 PM ET USA

    Bishop Brown must be a contemptible little man...