For the first time in decades, the staff of the US bishops’ conference will (probably) not swing reflexively into line with the latest liberal rhetoric.

When John Carr retired from the staff of the US bishops’ conference, after helping to shape the bishops’ statements on political issues for more then 25 years, we wondered whether his departure signaled a shift in USCCB policy. Today we have our answer: Yes, it does.

Jonathan J. Reyes, who will be taking Carr’s post in December, will be coming to Washington from Denver, where he was head of Catholic Charities. His work there, and especially his involvement in projects like “Christ in the City,” testify to his belief that Christian charitable work is inseparable from evangelization. In other words he sees charitable work as a witness to faith, not a call for government support.

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The trends unleashed in the 1960’s threw all of American Christianity into crisis.

Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.

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Pat Buchanan: Look at how far we have traveled.

We seem no longer able to balance our budgets, win our wars or secure our borders. Compared to what our culture was, it is a running sewer today. Working-class wages and middle-class incomes seem to have been stagnant for decades. Factories and jobs continue to hemorrhage to Asia. Company towns become ghost towns. Made in China has replaced Made in America. And as one drives through cities and suburbs, one encounters vast concentrations of people who speak some language other than our own.

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Concerned about upcoming changes to the Mass …

Q: I am not so excited about changing the Mass. Forty years of hearing Mass in English is tradition to me.  People think changes will give more meaning to them. “‘What can the church do for us?’ has to be changed to ‘What can we do for our parish?’

A: The changes that are coming up next year are (virtually) all in English. They are just corrections to the very sloppy, rush job that was done in the 60’s. No big deal to learn.

As for the Latin Mass … some people like it. Some don’t. I appreciate both.

Any time Jesus becomes present on the altar for us, so we can worship God through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, (and that happens in every approved and faithfully conducted Mass liturgy) I have no complaints.

The problem lies in the fact that people fail to understand the reason and purpose of the Mass … so they fail to fully participate in the church … and they subsequently miss out on all or most of the grace that’s necessary to accomplish the things that you mention. That same weakness is manifest is the many liturgical abuses … which have become so common, as to be almost expected.

John 15:1-7 I am the true vine: and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he will take away: and every one that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now you are clean, by reason of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me: and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine: you the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.  If any one abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch and shall wither: and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire: and he burneth. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will: and it shall be done unto you.

It’s virtually impossible to abide in Jesus Christ without full, faithful and regular participation in the Mass and the sacraments.

If the sacred liturgy fails to “deliver” a clear and truthful “message” then the mission of the church is easily compromised and/or watered down. That’s pretty much what happened during the last 40 years.

So … weak, confused liturgy makes for weak, confused Catholics … while solid, authentic liturgy makes for solid, well-informed Catholics … and that’s pretty much the whole point.

Pope Benedict (when he was younger, as a priest and bishop) is largely responsible for the “Spirit of Vatican II” that led to many of the liturgical abuses and other wacky innovations, so now that he’s pope, it’s nice to see him trying to fix some of the messes he helped to make.

Perhaps you missed this article on the Mass changes that I posted, a while back. You can read all of  the changes, word-for word.

Submitted by Marcia C.

Vatican/USCCB ramp up efforts to launch new Roman Missal

WASHINGTON — After a decade of work, the greatest liturgical milestone for American Catholics since the 1970s is right around the corner: The Vatican has approved a new English translation of the Roman Missal, and the U.S. bishops have fixed the roll-out date in the nation’s parishes for the beginning of Advent 2011.

“The use of the third edition of the Roman Missal enters into use in the dioceses of the United States of America as of the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, 2011. From that date forward, no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used in the dioceses of the United States of America,” stated Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in his Aug. 20 letter to the nation’s bishops.

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Get ready for the changes in the Mass (and please, relax!)


The Church has been holding workshops all around the country in order to smooth the adoption of the changes to the Mass.

According to the latest information from the USCCB, the new English-language translation of the Roman Missal, the official text of prayers and responses used in the Mass, will be implemented on Nov. 27, 2011, the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new liturgical year.

For the most part, the changes are intended to more closely match the meaning and the intent of the original Latin, used in the old rite … and that’s a very good thing … since “change for the sake of change” … rather than “theological and liturgical fidelity” seemed to be the order of the day, back in the 1960’s.

This should be a “no-brainer” … so long as you don’t get all “clenched up” about it.

Visit the USSCB site

See the changes in the “People’s Parts”

Download a complete printable copy (PDF -44 pages)

Download only “The People’s Parts” (PDF-4 pages)

Seen on the web: Comment about the Catholic Church

This is from a cradle-Catholic, on her way to 82 years old.

There have been many changes in the Roman Catholic Church since I was carried there to be baptized many, many years ago. Some of these changes were mind-boggling to me at the time, but the church changed, nonetheless.

It boggles the mind to imagine the changes that will come to the church in the next 80+ years. God be with it. I loved the church of my youth, and I love the church of today. How can I not? The church has forgiven me, how can i not forgive the church. Thanks be to God.

— gep