Month: October 2009

How Long, Oh, Lord, How Long?

How Long, Oh, Lord, How Long?

Joyful quote-   “No matter what activity you are engaged in, perform it with awareness and joy”

I realize the Church moves slowly and cautiously, but how long it is going to take it to correct some of the goofs of Vatican II?  Two generations have passed and the Church has its head in the sand regarding very serious problems created by Vatican II. 

        FirstHolyComm  Through the centuries, the Mass was developed as a fitting vehicle for the deserved reverence and awe of the holy sacrament of the Eucharist.  The guts of Catholicism can be summed up in three words:  God became Man  The Mass service in which the reenactment of this event and of parishioners physically  receiving Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was one of deep reverence with a sense of awe at what was taking place.  The Eucharist and the act of Communion have limitless spiritual depth — an ocean in which man with his limited human mind can only wade.  But wade he should!.

During Vatican II, the key players used six Protestant leaders to advise them on means of modernizing and popularizing the Mass.  Unfortunately, they heeded their suggestions, and the baby went out with the wash. It was decided that superimposed music should be the most prominent factor in a busy Mass. Parishioners would be requested to sing more than a dozen times during an hour-long service, when every minute would be filled with sound or activity.  Silence and meditation were eliminated. Music would be written for the “Our Father” and the Gloria would be modified into a zippy song.  One music director suggested re-writing the Apostle’s Creed into folk music. To water down the awesome fact that the Church members were to receive the Body of Christ, they were asked to sing before and after receiving Communion, without a moment to realize the awesomeness of what was taking place.  The solemnity and mystique of the Mass were to be a thing of the past as the Church Fathers attempted to bring the Mass to the people Mona%20Moustacherather than bringing the people to the Mass.  This misguided act was like painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa.

As a awake-up call, every clergyman (from bishops on down) should sit in

the back of a church and observe what now takes place during a busy Mass. 

He would find that during this sing-a-long service, only one out of twenty parishioners is singing. So, the hymns are a distracting solo performance. After forty years of trying to get Catholic to blast out hymns like the Protestants do, accept the fact that it ain’t going to happen. 

While sitting in the rear of the church, the clergy-person would also observe the ho-hum attitude of the parishioners going up to received Communion.  Monkey see and monkey do. With rare exception, each follows another in a disciplined manner to proceed to the front of the church to accept the wafer. Why not?  It’s a free entitlement and is included in the package of attending Mass.

          It would be an eye-opener if the observing clergy-person would ask parishioners what is to take place when they receive Communion. A minute number would reply, “I am going to take part in one of the most important acts of my life. Christ, who is both God and Man, has become the bread and wine. When I receive Communion, God is actually becoming one with me.”  Instead, because of the current watered-down concept of Communion, 92% of parishioners could reply that receiving Communion is like swallowing a spiritual vitamin pill. Why not take it — it can’t hurt and it might help.


  With these findings, the observing clergy-person might ask himself, “Could Vatican II changes in the Mass have caused the fact that today one out of ten Americans are now former Catholics?  Is it possible that the modernized Mass is a factor for the Church now being in crisis?” Only by first acknowledging facts with self-scrutiny can our religious leaders consider and take corrective action.

Pray that they do!


Current News

Big deal! The Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian group, has told its members that it is OK for them to pray for President Obama. Personally, I think it is the obligation for every American to pray each day for our President of the United States. For eight long, long, long years, each morning I even prayed for George W. Bush. 

Recommended Reading

For an inspiring account of a modern day saint, read “A Life Freely Given” on page 22 in the October 5th issue of America 

Quiz Time


The winner is Inez Thomson, Bronx, NY, who chimed in at 8:41AM on October 18.


1.       The states with the highest number of church goers are Georgia and Mississippi. (Being a Southerner, I’m proud of this!)

And the states with the smallest number of church goers are New Hampshire and Vermont.

2.       The European political leader who didn’t follow his grandmother’s advice of “Do whatever you want, but don’t marry a Catholic” is

Tony Blair.

3.       There are over 10,000 saints, with 1,500 in the waiting room (and that doesn’t, but should, include 72% of you Joyful Catholic blog readers)

Chuckle Time

One morning, Father O’Reilly, an Irish priest recently assigned to the parish is a small Texas town, called the sheriff’s office to report there was a dead donkey on the church lawn. When he answered, the sheriff chuckled and said, “Well, you Catholics should know what to do. Just give the poor critter the last rite.”

“That I have done,” Father O’Reilly said, “and my second chore is to notify the next of kin.”


My favorite priest

For this issue, as there has been no submission for one’s favorite priest, I want to present one of my favorite Catholic laypersons.  He is Joe Difato, publisher of The Word Among Us, which for a decade has been one of my morning readings, and I strongly recommend this monthly publication.

         After many years of observing business and non-profit organizations, I found that greatness doesn’t seep upward.  Every outstanding operation has an outstanding person at the head. Joe Difato proves this is true. Being one who has had his faith tested by personal tragedy, he is an admirable Catholic. Today, he and his splendid editorial staff are making a strong impact on the future of our Church. In addition to their many subscribers who benefit from The Word Among Us, his organization makes this publication available each month to 48,000 prisoners and 15,500 military persons. You can contribute to help finance this splendid action via

          Thank you, Joe, for being such an outstanding example of a joyful Catholic!

Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist priest and author


Love without Provisos

I’m worn out by worries, night and day. Stop. Everything is secondary to God. Give in to reason. God didn’t make me in vain. I am turning my back upon this song. Now when the beloved mind has sung for me these things, I headed home, now laughing at this self-estrangement.

                        Saint Gregory Nazianzen (died 390)


Love without provisos

     Love is love and it comes in many flavors. As joyful Catholics, we know that this broad expanse includes the love of humans for fellow humans, for pets, possessions, geographic location, nationality, religion, etc.  “Love” is the only verb Jesus used in his advice to us — to love one another as He loves us, and to love God.  He didn’t add a “however” for those whom some might consider not qualified.  What instruction could be clearer?

gay-marriage-hands-and-ringsWith the Church in crisis, I’m getting tired of the flurry about same sex marriage.  Why should we spend so much time fighting pro-and-con about this?  I can name five other national problems of extreme importance that better merit our concern.  Is there a need for national dispute about legalizing a lifetime loving relationship between two people of the same sex? 

     No one is protesting the deteriorating importance of marriage between a woman and a man, yet 50% of marriages today end in divorce. If we want to raise a rumpus about social behavior, let’s do something about our annual record of 30,000 abused children and even greater number of battered spouses.

     Love in any form should be encouraged.  This includes love of husband and wife, parents and offspring, young and old, rich and poor, resident and alien, those of different religions and the intimate relationship between persons of the same sex. If one loves a person of the same sex, it is understandable for one to want legal and financial protection for the person he or she loves.  The hurdle they face in achieving these goals is the word “marriage.”

     We can solve the problem by changing our laws to have “Confirmed Relationship” be given the same legal rights as “Marriage.”  Then, by means of this innovative law, lovers of the same sex could have their relationship legalized and each receive the same social and legal benefits as if they were “married.” After executing a legal Confirmed Relationship document, same-sex couples could celebrate their togetherness with a Confirmed Relationship celebration. Let’s restrict “marriage” for a male and a female, and “confirmed relationship” for two of the same sex. And hopefully we’ll all live peacefully from then on.

(And what are your thoughts?) 

Admired saying

  Hans Urs van BalthasarHans Urs van Balthasar, the Swiss theologian writes,    “Christianity is a joyful message. Its essential note must therefore incontestably be joy.  Christian joy retains such a particular burning, devouring element.”



Recommended reading

about_frBobVia the New Advent blog and YouTube, enjoy Father Barron’s  talk on “The danger of turning religion into a toy.”  He’s an effective spokesman for our Church.  I like him.



Joyful Catholic Quiz

(The first to send the right answers will receive a gift copy of

Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics)


1.  In a 2006 Gallup survey, which states had the highest and the lowest number of church goers?

 2.  Who the European political leader who didn’t follow his grandmother’s advice of “Do whatever you want, but don’t marry a Catholic”?          

3.     Which is correct?  Our number of saints are:

(a)   over 1,000

(b)  over 5,000

(c)  over 10,000 

Chuckle time

Nine-year-old Michael wrote about angels:










“It’s not easy to become an angel. First, you die. Then you go to Heaven, and then there’s flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.


My Favorite Priest

priest drinking 

(Submit your recommendation for your favorite priest by clicking here)

Busy Work!

Just because I am God’s own, totally unique, God’s very own possession, what else can I do but sing of God’s goodness. My whole being sings
Sr. Charleen Hug, S.N.D
(She teaches theology at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo, OH)

Busy Work 

With the Church in crisis, I was puzzled by our bishops devoting so much time and effort to change words in the Mass.  They remind me of two of my women relatives.  The first was my Mississippi great-grand-mother who raised prize chickens.  Back in the early 1900s, house parties were popular social events in the South. One would invite four or five couple to come for a picnic, 1940several day visit, when they would be constantly entertained with fancy dinners, parties, dances, picnics and games.  My mother told me that the few days before she had a house party, the place was in constant turmoil with the family and servants preparing food, getting the house in order and planning for every hour of the event.  During this time, her grandmother would devote her time to cleaning out her chicken house.

          The other person was my splendid Spanish mother-in-law.  Whenever she observed someone doing something which she thought was not of importance, she would say, “Ah, they must not have much to do.”

          One aspect of the bishops’ changes puzzles me. At the beginning of the Mass, the priest faces the congregation and offers his blessing: “The Lord be with you.” When he says “you”, I assume he is blessing each body and spirit. We used to answer, “And also with you.”

          But now, in reply, we are to say only “And with your spirit.” What gives?  Why shouldn’t we also want a blessing on the priest’s physical being?

          One reason they made this change might have been because of an event which happened one day at the beginning of a Mass when the priest was having trouble with his microphone. At the start of the service he was fumbling with his mike speaker attached to his robe, and the sound came on just as the priest said to the deacon, “There is something wrong with this mike,” and the congregation said with one voice, “And also with you.”


Admired sayings

henery James“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

                             Henry James 



Shame on me

(A letter to me from Rita S., in Portland, Oregon)

“Armiger, I read your book, Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics, and if I were the Pope, I would excommunicate you!”


Returned serve

(I wrote back)

“Dear Rita, I thank you for your frank comment about my book, and I thank God that you aren’t the Pope.”

 Current news

rick Santorem and bushFormer U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is considering a run for the presidency in 2012. (God, please save America)



Recommended reading

GradsIf have an interest in teenagers, don’t miss the article, “Faulty Guidance”, by Father William J. O’Malley, S.J. in the September 14-21 issue of America magazine. It’s an excellent no-holds-barred article.


Also, check out the “Pray” article by Zev Chafets in the magazine section of the Sunday New York Times on September 20.  In discussing how we Catholic pray, there is an interesting interview with Sister Janet Ruffing, director of Fordham’s program on spiritual direction. 

 Joyful Catholic Quiz

 (Answers to last week’s quiz)

The winner of the gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward bookcover_cathb_nCatholics is Jacob Rodriguez in Chicago in New Orleans who logged in at 8:27 AM on September 23.


1.     Because of the stain on her garment, St. Veronica is the saint patroness of laundresses


2.     Papal Elections take place in the Sistine Chapel.


3.     The first USA bishop was John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, consecrated on August 25, 1790.


Chuckle time

  From the book, How to Become a Bishop without Being Religious, by Charles Merrill Smith

“Two requirements to be a bishop: gray hair and hemorrhoids to give you that sorrowful look.” 

My Favorite Priest 

Rev. Andrew Gries, O.C.S.O.

While visiting at Carroll Manor, a nursing home in Washington, DC, I met Father Andrew Griest, a wonderful Trappist monk whose life has been dedicated to prayer and silence. While confined in this facility for the rest of his life, he continues his priestly mission by attending daily Mass in the chapel and sharing his time with fellow Trappist patients, Father Edmund and Brother James. He welcomes, listens and counsels both Catholics and non-Catholics who come to him for advice. He is a true priest—a good representative of God. I look forward to each visit with him and always leave peaceful and happy.

Submitted by Margaret Headley in Washington, DC 

                   (Click here to submit your recommendation for your favorite priest)