Who you callin’ “Bi-polar?”

A few folks here and at the blogsite 1Peter5 might have noticed a couple of articles focusing upon the homiletic style of a particular celebrant at a particular parish in a particular diocese as captured on personal video and posted to YouTube. The article I wrote I chose to delete as the YT poster/owner removed said video from YT, which of course is their prerogative. I have no clue, guess, or intuition as to why the video was washed from this site and 1P5, and I’m not going to riff at all on its removal. I “feel” sorry for using the video as an exemplar of “Liturgy Gone Wild,” as I did not intend to condemn or bury the pastor and parish in toto based upon three minutes of an unusual homily.

As of June 4th, it seems that the video was recovered by the Blog 1Peter5. Here is the URL link-


That said, I did choose to do a minimal amount of research about the parish, diocese and priest. Imagine my surprise when opening the “Liturgy” window of the diocese that virtually everything there was pro forma GIRM/CMAA/MS/CSL, even down to extolling polyphony, an official ministerial role reserved to choirs and scholas, throughout various other category buttons/windows. The button indicating the definition of “Sacred Music” was linked to Corpus Christi Watershed’s famed video featuring JMO’s wife (and sister in law?) narrating the orthodoxy of the discipline.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I tend to wonder how much lip service is paid to the informed lobby of CMAA and those who subscribe to the “Reform of the Reform” referendum bubbling up all over global Catholicism, versus the anecdotal evidence that is strikingly contrary and seemingly, purposefully subverted at the parish level? The diocesan website actually represented an ethos that is somewhat to the right of the USCCB letter, “Sing to the Lord.” So, despite the lack of perspective that a three minute video excerpt prohibits, it’s clear that there’s some sort of benign neglect in this diocese as to what constitutes pastoral leadership and surety. That’s not news to me. I’ve lived with this duplicity for decades.

I, as I indicated in my removed article, am no where’s a liturgical purist or Puritan. But, again, for the sake of future generations of baptized Roman Catholic children, we’d better get our story straight or this schizophrenic duplicity will truly bring on the “Remnant Church.” And at this moment, I am not going to be silent about propriety in a political manner of what constitutes “source and summit” of my soul’s existence. I’m not ready for the Benedict Option (google it) to further erode our Faithful’s comprehension and desire for the Divine Liturgy.

I’m done now.

7 Replies to “Who you callin’ “Bi-polar?””

  1. There may be a genuine concern for the reform of the reform in this diocese but it may be combined with a reluctance to act in a heavy handed way. There can be much wisdom in this approach.

    Speaking as a manager, I can understand this situation very well. I often have to move my staff in a particular direction that is contrary to the direction they want to move in. I can, and sometimes do, exert my authority and force them to move in the direction I want but the results I get in this case may not always be what I truly desire. To be sure, the staff will move in the direction I want but I may well incur a cost of bitterness, resentment and loss of trust on their part. And once I take the pressure off, the staff will just revert to their former ways of doing things anyway. More frequently I will pursue a course of bringing about voluntary compliance using persuasion rather than compulsion. It can take considerably more effort and significantly longer to effect the change I want but the results go deeper and last longer and I pay less of a price in terms of my relationship with my staff.

    Voluntary compliance, if it can be obtained, is always better than forced compliance even if you have to tolerate less than ideal behavior for a time.

  2. For musicians, liturgy is the hammer that makes every problem in the Church look like a nail. I didn't see the original post or YT, so can't really comment. But I'm always amused by my pagan friends referring to the "rigid hierarchical authoritarian" RC Church, since it seems to be an anarchy in practice. Dioceses don't keep adequate tabs on their priests. The only solution I can think of is for the laity to drop a dime to the Bishop (preferably with audio/video), but I could also see problems with that. In some parishes, the dimes would be falling like snowflakes in Hell.

  3. The problem, as I argue in a post below, is the perception of expectations of extroversion on the part of priests formed in certain timeframes.

    Although one can never be certain about motivations, I would imagine that the priest in the video sincerely thought he was doing a wonderful job of reaching out to young people on their own level. I would also imagine that he had received many kudos from adults for being so down to earth, so approachable.

    The enormous problems with this kind of approach, its inadequacy on every level–artistic, pastoral, thrological, liturgical–these considerations would have a very difficult time outweighing a multitude of local pats on the back.

  4. It's easy to post good theories on the diocesan website, but that is no indication that there is any kind of formation or leadership going on to actually bring about changes at the parish level. At times, the exemplary office of worship website can be the result of one person in an office with no connection to or interaction with the parishes. OR, the office of worship may be staffed by a CMAA type, but the Cathedral music director may be coming from a completely different perspective. Thus, while some people might read the website, what they see even at the Cathedral has nothing to do with the theories. This works the other way, too – I know some dioeceses have really flaky office of worship directors, but very talented cathedral and parish directors who ignore what comes from that person. To ease the bipolar disorder, you need an excellent cathedral program, coupled with an excellent vision for bringing that vision/formation/leadership out to the parishes via the office of worship. And even then, you can't necessarily force change.

  5. Everyone here is pretty much on the same page, near as I can tell. Mr. LeBlanc, I'm confident you realize I wasn't calling out for a "forced compliance." And Jared's scenarios are spot on as one of them illustrates the reality happening in my neck of the woods. Whether the dysfunction stems from the chancery or the parishes is sort of a symptom of the most common failure of the institutional church, coherence. Borrowing from the great Paul Newman film, "Cool Hand Luke," "What we have here is a failure to communicate."
    Speaking for myself, during the pontificate of the Pope Emeritus, the liturgical drumbeat was sure and steady and being heard in increasing measure. Now, not so much.

  6. The incongruous things in this picture are the crucifix, the altar, and the chasuble. What is missing is the camp fire. How could you move to the offertory, not to mention the Canon of the Mass after that?

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