Look, there's a lot of stuff going out in the blogosphere these days. We can look at it and really wonder who these people are that write these things, or why things happen in archdioceses. The expression is though, that even "a broken clock chimes correctly twice a day." Unfortunately, something did chime in this morning about something in my own archdiocese.
I woke up to find this in my blogger feed. Here the blogger talks about some "Gaia Mass" happening in the diocese at Holy Name Parish staffed by a Fr. Morrasse. Normally this is not the kind of blog I like to give attention to on S.U.D, but this issue, deserved some reflection and attention and I had to think about this one. Is this an over-reaction to the event? What could have happened? What is the parish and Archdiocese saying/doing with regards to this?
Yeah .... it was happening ....
Unfortunately, the claim that the blogger makes that this was featured on the Archdiocesan website under their News and Events page, is true.
I'll reveal something to all of you. A week ago, I did find this entry on their website, while looking for an entry for the St. Joseph's Feast Day Solemn Latin Mass at SLTM (which I found out later, was just that the organizer had not called/e-mailed the archdiocese. No ill will here between both parties, despite others perceptions of the diocesan office with regard to the EF). I took a snapshot of the page:
Found March 17, 2013 on the News and Events Page of the Archdiocesan Website.
Why would I do this? Well, see, I was planning to write one crazy post on the matter. I really went away at it, but I just really felt uncomfortable writing what I had. Now before you go and demand like the crowd in the Passion for me to be crucified for being a failure to the Traditional Catholic community, listen to why I did not.
Something just didn't sit right with me releasing it in a manner like other blogs. I also have a mandate on this blog to be a positive example of the EF community, and not to misrepresent it as a EF-serving/participating Catholic. So before I wanted to do something so "radical," I sought out the council of trusted allies and friends (including a holy and noble priest of the Church) in the Catholic Faith, both of the EF and who are devout but attend the OF. While they too were shocked, I was counseled by them that there are more prudent means than this to go about slogging such a post of that nature. I listened to them and did not release the post. I have it archived on my computer as a personal testament, but also to keep what I found in my research.
However, in light of the revelation, and seeing as I knew about this earlier, I want to give my take on this matter. If you want to know more about the Church's stance on New Age Spirituality, please see this:
The Pontifical Council For Culture & Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: "JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE, A Christian reflection on the “New Age.” Please especially view 1.4, 2.1, 2.3.1, as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church sections 2112-2113, 2120:
My two biggest concerns about this are as follows:
1) By Conducting Such a Mass, if they are still on, it is highly possible that the Masses with be ILLICIT (Not conducted according to Church Law and the Liturgy as set out in the Missal) AND INVALID (NO SACRAMENT WILL TAKE PLACE!)
Plain and simple. If the Mass includes all these elements NOT APPROPRIATE to the liturgy, won`t be conducted according to the proper liturgical norms in the GIRM and the Roman Missal, AND Christ is Not the focus of the Masses, but ``Gaia/Mother" Earth is, then this will violate the three things necessary for a Mass to be valid:
- Proper Form (Liturgy),
- Matter (the instuments used AND the correct physical substances of a host with enough gluten to be wheat matter + wine from fermented grapes),
- and INTENT. The intent will be violated on the basis of Christ not being worshipped and focused on in the Mass. The "Sacrifice" if anything, will be focused on the Earth, a finite/real object. Not our Lord.
2) Possible, Irreparable spiritual damage and harm will be done or started to the faithful, ESPECIALLY the young children involved in the Masses/performances. This can be beginning of damage to their spiritual, psychological, and mental development, or make worse what is already evident in their lives.
Yes, There are likely young children involved in the Mass/orchestra/dancing, etc. This is tied to the Holy Name school and parish, and therefore, some of its parishioners who are children, and/or attend the school, might be part of this production or will see it. Unlike adults, who whether they were poorly catechized by "the system" or not have the faculties to truly reject the Catholic faith if they so will it, young children are impressionable and over- trusting in adults, so much they hinge of most or every word adults tell them as `truth` or knowledge.
Young children usually do not develop self-awareness or self-reasoning abilities until they start to enter puberty and carry out (poorly or not), self-independence. Which is why I am highly concerned if these Masses, or hopefully concerts only, take place next Wednesday and Friday. It is SO essential, between parents, clergy, teachers, etc. To give them the firmest foundation possible in their youths, so that they can be ready to delve deeper into their faith as adults and when challenges come their way, it is like a rock, and not like something built on sand that collapses along with them. What this Mass will do is build up an apathy/resistance in their young impressionable minds to the Catholic faith, including anything even Jesus-y related.
I'll also give one more interesting tidbit about kids: Once they get into their tweens (EDGE ages, which is Grades 6-8 or 10-14), they "wake up" so to speak in a certain sense, and those self-reasoning and self-awareness abilities kick in. That includes knowing straight up when adults are lying to them or being honest in their actions and their selves. THEY WILL NOT BE STUPID. They might be smiley and happy about what they do, but most will know you are serving them processed baloney when they really want the "organic, healthy and nutritious" meat of the Truth of the Catholic Faith. If they see Fr. is not serious about his role as an alter Christus, their parents don`t care about the faith, and their teachers don`t either, in actions like this `Mass`, they will think that Mass is a joke, It`s not obligatory or even that it is the re-presentation of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord, and worse, they`ll leave the Catholic Faith faster than I can type a corny yoga joke on my keyboard. Really though, I`m being serious here.
And worse, the spiritual damage that New Age Practices can do can really wreak havoc on one`s life, and those around you:
E.g. of Spiritual and Psychological Damage in the Form of an MTV Celebrity: Spencer Pratt (and his wife, Heidi Montag)
Take the example of former MTV celebrity, Spencer Pratt, from the self-absorbed and materialistic MTV production, ``The Hills`` (as in Beverly Hills, California). The ``reality`` show followed the lives of four main protagonists/antagonists/frenemies ... four privileged women living out "dream jobs" and posh lifestyles in Beverly Hills, with a cast of supporting characters (and enemies).
One supporting "character"/actor was Spencer Pratt, a blond young guy in his twenties, who ended up being the boyfriend and now legal husband of the main character, Heidi Montag. He was entertaining as a ``bad guy``, but unfortunately, as he delved further into being famous, he succumbed to New Age Spiritual practices, particularly in the form of "healing crystals". This aspect of the show was NOT scripted. As he got further into the practice and his fame, he became quite outrageous in behaviour (`famously emphasized in his `I want Heidi to myself!`` quote) and even his appearance. Seriously, here's some pictures back of him in 2010 during the height of his crystal worship:
Spencer Pratt: Poster Child for New Age Spirituality, complete with healing crystals, other deity or physical object worship stance, Tye Dye Shirt, and "Enlightened" Facial Expressions. You can be just like him! Be in tune with the harmonizing energies of crystals ...."
His life fell apart and he did irreparable harm to those important to him in his life. He pushed his own sister (Stephanie Pratt) out of his life and only acknowledges her as a blood relative, seen in the famous "un-friending" scene. With only the empty values of society and his crystals by his side, he was unsupportive to Heidi and allowed her to undergo multiple plastic surgeries when Heidi was clearly a physically, beautiful woman, even before all that. He essentially forced his wife to end, unjustly, the strong friendship that Heidi shared with the show's main protagonist, Lauren Conrad. Further, he spent a ridiculous amount of money on those crystals, over $500,000 on them! Combined with ludicrous spending that the celebrity society encourages, he and Heidi were in serious financial troubles post-Hills!
While he did try to sell off the crystals, and/or got rid of them, one can clearly see that this "poster boy" for the New Age Spirituality clearly went off his rocker with the whole thing. To this day, he and Heidi still try to engage in whatever the reality TV world offers them, having no other bearing to guide their life other than the principles of the secular world and left behind tatters of New Age Spirituality.
Had Spencer's life been deeply centered in the Catholic Faith under Christ, he would have likely not gone off the deep end. Further, he would have valued the friendship his wife had with Lauren, he would have valued his wife more and tried to help her see that she is not just a token physical object, but in union with her a reflection of the Trinity and a reflection of Christ and his Bride, the Church. Why, he might have even chosen a more noble path in life, had he been deeply rooted in his Faith, having been led by our Lord to his true vocation and lifelong dedication. Being part of the celebrity culture is bad enough, but New Age Spirituality make him go off the deep end, and clearly this individual is in dire need of prayers, as well as those whom are in his life.
How does Spencer connect to all this? This is what can happen to the children, should they experience and be exposed to this. Sadly, most people don't understand the harm it can do to your Faith, yourself, and those around you.
However, one question remains, Why?
My Take on the Archdiocese's Role in all This ... And an interesting revelation.
This is kind of a hard one to say who's right and wrong in this. I'll get to the critical point first.
Like all workplaces, institutions, etc. There will always be a few bad eggs in the mix. There are all kinds of examples out there of people who in office truly have liberal or self-absorbed agendas, or are negative Nancies who seek the job for power/money purposes/pride and love to take down others with them. Furthermore, yes, the media is indicating the "wrongs" rather than the "rights" of clergy in action, and yes, some of them have committed liturgical and even sexual crimes worthy of excomunnication.
While it is possible there might be someone in an office, institution, etc. like this, the majority of the time, the general body of workers in a workplace, including management, is NOT so. I, Julian Barkin, of Servimus Unum Deum, have never known or met an Archdiocesan Official who I can clearly say with a big fat finger, is of this nefarious type, so portrayed in right-wing Catholic blogs (e.g. Rorate Caeli) and intentionally posted this event to cause direct spiritual harm to the flock of the Archdiocese under ++Collins' pastoral care.
Unless hard evidence is submitted about the clergy and/or the liturgical team of the parish that proves/disproves culpability of their administration or actions in all this, I will state for now, that it is unclear who was responsible for this and why. I have no affiliation with the parish or the clergy/community there and therefore it cannot be determined whom is responsible for this.
Furthermore, I found an interesting revelation on all this. The "school" mentioned in the News page may not likely be Holy Name elementary school. In fact this is what the Church's website's bulletin says for the concert :
"Concert-April 3 & 5 Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts Music Department will present Missa Gaia at Holy Name Church Wednesday April 3 and Friday April 5 at 7 p.m. This concert will feature the combined choirs and select band/string performers of CCAA in an eclectic mix of traditional, contemporary and nature sounds all directed to praise Jesus Christ as Lord of all creation. General Admission $15" Interestingly enough, they do not list ``new age`` here at all. However, if one will look in that document above from the Vatican, Gaia Worship IS in fact specifically addressed in the document. Also, thanks to another blog, So Con or Bust, I found the poster for this ``Earth Mass``
[ So um, like , God/Gaia is like, a huge whale man, and like, heaven is, like, one big ocean of choice waves man ...]
So I guess the bigger question, is then, is this really a Mass then, or is this an actual concert with a poorly done, New Age, Gaia-worshipping composition? Because if it is a concert and not a Mass, it`s still a really poor decision to expose the young students who are Catholic of Cardinal Carter, the parishioners both old and especially young, to New Age Spirituality, even through this concert. If CC, like the Masses of the Baroque and Classical eras of Music, is the orchestra accompanying the organ to provide music for the Masses, with the dancers acting in "liturgical dance," and real Masses will take place alongside CC's orchestra, then clearly it was absolutely right to alert the diocese. Furthermore, who submitted the advertisement for the Mass, and worded it in that manner, differently from the Archdiocesan page? Was it someone on behalf of Holy Name? From Cardinal Carter academy? Was it someone in the Archdiocese? Clearly someone twisted this advertisement from its listed form on the Church bulletin/webpage to the form that was on the Archdiocesan events page.
When these events happen, unintentionally, or good-minded people, usually do not have the knowledge or skills necessary to handle an issue or protocols in place. In addition, there will be slip-ups and things not foreseen or passed by/ignored in these places. That or somewhere along the process from idea to completion, something is overlooked, or ignored, assumed to be fine, and so, it could become that one piece of the Jenga(TM) puzzle that results in the tower toppling over.
Furthermore, the people working in this office are human, and do we know what happened that day in the office of Communications, or the Web office? Maybe the hypothetical, combined 2-person team of the Auxillary bishop in charge and the communications/web person who is a young graduate student doing his/her doctorate in Divinity at St. Augustine's, were overloaded with work in the Conclave absence of ++Collins, and on top of clerical duties and the young graduate's school stresses, the website work had to get done.
That, or maybe one, or both the team members, didn't even know what New Age Spirituality/Liberal Theology is and just saw it as a Mass with kids/a concert, not knowing better. And thus it was passed. I would not be surprised if they did not with the crisis of catechesis in our institutional Church today, combined with the fact that general society loves doing things like Yoga, and that even certain retreats in Catholic spaces/retreat centers use New Age practices like Reiki and Ennagrams. They likely don't know it's not OK in the life of the Church, and just assume it is, without the proper knowledge from the CCC and the Vatican document mentioned earlier.
Clearly, some investigation should be done or something said, as to why this was passed under the noses of the Archdiocesan Office, and better protocols for the News and Events page should be established to the mistake never happens again. That's what Hospitals, businesses, etc. do. I believe the term for that in institutional lingo is "Quality Assessment and Improvement."
Regardless, I state, in my honest opinion, that it is highly likely this was an unintentional mistake, not caught until likely the faithful of the diocese alerted the office on the matter. The Archdiocese
has at least started the proper process of rectifying the issue by removing it from their webpage, and I do not sense that there was any malicious attempt to harm the spiritual constitution of the faithful in this diocese.
And this, everyone, shows just how vital your role in the life of the Church is! Even Bishop Fulton Sheen said once in a famous quote that it is the lay people who will help to govern the institutional Church's affairs and keep it in order. Because of your actions, you helped bring this to the attention of the diocese. At least on line, they have listened.
I must ask of you, to assist the Archdiocese of Toronto under the governance of ++Collins, in their efforts to pastorally care for you, to HELP THEM. They are a human institutional body interwoven into the life of the Church, of whom Cardinal Collins is in charge of, to care for your spiritual and pastoral needs. However, our archdiocese is big, with over 250 parishes operating in it! That means many priests, seminarians, and laypeople! Can an office of maybe under 100 people working for it, ensure the spiritual integrity of your personal salvation and the pastoral life of the archdiocese all on its own? NO! Which is why you should do your best to spiritually co-operate with the office on affairs like this. When there is something spiritually detrimental in the archdiocese needing attention, please help the staff there and communicate with them in an effective, Catholic, charitable manner! They need your help, and they need to know what's going on. If you choose to concentrate on bashing them and not communicate with them, how will they know when there's a crisis or spiritual decay going on? Which is also why it must be more than a few people. It must be you, me, your friends, family. We have to Evangelize, Catechise, and then help those tools, institutions, etc. in the Church already in place.
And that is my take on this matter. Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin of Servimus Unum Deum.