Monday, February 28, 2022


On social media - a swamp I advise others to tread in cautiously - I've seen repeated debates over certain Catholic issues.

Usually, they are started by one side in the debates.

There are those who hate Pope Francis no matter what he says or does.

There are those who contend the only valid way to celebrate Mass is the Traditional Latin Mass.

There are those say only traditional hymns played on organ or sung by choirs are proper for Mass.

Tired of the endless stream of criticism - again, largely from one side - I posted:

All the squabbles over TLM vs. NO, contemporary (guitar) music vs. traditional organ hymns, Pope Francis vs. "Pope X" deemed more "orthodox," I think of The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis uses Screwtape to point out that the devil uses such squabbles to help undermine faith.

I added two quotations from Screwtape:

“Provided that any of those neighbors sing out of tune or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.” 

“Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.”

The response was as if I stepped on a wasp nest.

Oh, there were those who agreed with me - but even more who attacked not only me and my position, but Novus Ordo and Vatican II in general.

So many claimed that with NO the liturgical abuses are the norm, not the exception.

I pointed out that I regularly attend NO Masses that are reverent and liturgically correct.

One person suggested that I must attend a "magical unicorn parish."


I know that the TLM folks have a beef because of some recent statements and guidelines out of the Vatican. Though I think a few brought it on the whole because of the way they talk and act - as some of the responses to my postings show.

I know that most TLM folks - especially the ones I know - are faithful, devout people who don't run around pontificating with chips on their shoulders. 

As a musician, I know a lot of contemporary music is flawed. But there are also some wonderful new hymns out there - including some played on guitars. And I've been to churches where traditional hymns are played on an organ - and it sounds as if I'm at a circus. Musicianship is important!

I engage in debates with pro-choicers on a regular basis. To be honest, I find those debates less painful than these liturgical/Church ones. The pro-choicers are like the kid down the street who calls you a name. It may bother you - but not as much as when a relative or someone you considered a friend calls you the same thing.  

The Church is universal, and I think we need to accept that as long as people are following the rubrics, various forms are worship are equally valid, so we need to be careful how and when we criticize. If something is being done incorrectly, speak up. otherwise, we need to accept that we are not all the same.

There are more important spiritual issues that need our attention than what language one uses or what  musical instrument one plays.

As Screwtape notes, when we do this we play into his hands:

“The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers when there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat, which is already nearly gunwale under.”

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