when the facts don't fit, get new facts

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 30, 2006

Once a Paulist priest, James Carroll now makes his living bashing the Church, as the most vituperatively anti-Catholic columnist on the staff of the notoriously anti-Catholic Boston Globe. Today's rant against the Church involves the rumored return of the Latin Mass.

Carroll knows nothing about those rumors, except of course that the cries for the old Mass come from "reactionaries." He does treat his readers to a bit of history, noting that the leaders of the Reformation were keen on using the vernacular. By Carroll's logic, since the leaders of the Reformation disagreed with the Catholic Church, it follows that they were right.

Then came the changes of Vatican II, and...

Once Catholics entered into the mystery of the Mass as literate participants instead of as dumb spectators, an unprecedented renewal took hold.

St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Therese of Lisieux: all "dumb spectators."

But wait. Speaking of "dumb," here's Carroll's very next sentence:

The vitality and warmth of today's typical liturgy, involving intelligible encounters with sacred texts, has Catholic parishes surprisingly full, even in a time of widespread disillusionment with clerical leadership.

Surprisingly full? Surprisingly full?!

Carroll is writing from Boston, where about 15% of the Catholic population attends Mass each week. Dozens of parishes are closing, because there aren't enough parishioners tossing nickels in the collection baskets to pay the fuel bills. Pick one of the surviving parishes at radom, pop into a Sunday Mass, and you'll see row upon row of empty pews.

I am "surprisingly full" of admiration for the journalistic integrity of James Carroll, and for the perspicacity of the editors who let this howler get into print.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 10 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Sterling - Oct. 31, 2006 5:59 PM ET USA

    Carroll's wacky column goes on to say he learned from "scholar David Daniell" how much of Tyndale's version found its way into the KJV. But it seems that Scholar Daniell never got around to telling Carroll, however, that Tyndale wasn't burned at the stake by the Catholic Church, but by the Anglican Church under Henry VIII AFTER the reformation. By inadvertently leaving that fact out, Carroll holds the Church up to criticism. Wait! Did I say "inadvertently"?

  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Oct. 31, 2006 2:44 PM ET USA

    Is this what happens to Priests who don't say the Rosary? Number 3 of the 15 Promises of Mary to Christians who recite the Rosary: The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell; it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies. IF ONLY PRIESTS STARTED SAYING THE ROSARY EVERYDAY....

  • Posted by: - Oct. 31, 2006 10:30 AM ET USA

    There is no “breakdown of liturgical discipline” in the Novus Ordo, Clorox, because VCII’s Sacrosanctum Concilium and the N.O. GIRM demand no real discipline. (Ex: “A suitable place MAY BE allotted to the vernacular in Masses.”) That is quite different from the traditional liturgy’s order and rubrics, which are very precise and leave no room for priestly innovation. If you see an altar girl at what purports to be a Traditional Latin Mass, you can be certain that the priest is faking it.

  • Posted by: Clorox - Oct. 30, 2006 11:24 PM ET USA

    I'm all in favor of a greater availability of the old Mass. But I'm also all in favor of the proper celebration of the new Mass. If you like Novus Ordo liturgical abuse, you'll LOVE Tridentine Mass liturgical abuse. What will traditionalists say when they see their first Tridentine altar girl? The root problem we face is the breakdown of liturgical discipline. If that's not fixed, nothing will be fixed.

  • Posted by: Sterling - Oct. 30, 2006 7:20 PM ET USA

    Oh, Jimmy, what a KNEE-SLAPPER to imply in your column that we dumb Catholics thought Jesus was saying the Latin mass! Har, har. That's almost as funny, JImmy, as you not knowing that the Vulgate was being worked on at the time Tyndale rushed out with his own unscholarly version. Has Carroll asked himself why, if the Tyndale Bible was so great, none are used today? (Scratching your head, Jim?) I knew Carroll was a flaming heretic, but I did not know he was running on such low candle-power.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2006 3:52 PM ET USA

    Actually, far more telling from my point of view was the ineffable Carroll's use of the the word "esthete". In the broader population it's usually code for, well, you know. Carroll of course could be expected to endorse, well, you know, up to a point. But Carroll is admitting, more or less, that the liturgy the bishops have forced upon us is ugly. The beauty of what they hate is one thing of which Carroll and his friends are deathly afraid. As well they should be.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2006 2:48 PM ET USA

    The leaders of the Reformation (sic) weren’t keen on the vernacular; they were keen on destroying the Church. They did violence to the Mass because they knew it as the focus of Catholic life. Thanks to the Fathers of Trent, those reformers (sic) failed. Now, we have the reformers of VCII, who have sought to do what Luther and his ilk could not do. In fact, we “reactionaries” think the VCII reformers have already completed their dirty task--and the existence of people like Carroll is the proof.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2006 1:04 PM ET USA

    Diogenes: Great comments. I read the piece earlier today and was equally struck by the dumb comment about "surprisingly full." By the way, there is a good, short piece on Mr. Carroll here: http://www.catholicism.org/ad-rem-no-3.html Scroll down to the text "James Carroll: A Paulist Rerun." It compares Carroll to William Sullivan, another Boston Paulist who lost his faith and attacked the Church.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2006 12:22 PM ET USA

    Carroll is unsurprisingly full of you know what...

  • Posted by: - Oct. 30, 2006 11:41 AM ET USA

    A quote from Goethe sums it up: "There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action."