A couple days ago Rorate Caeli shared a video on its website.
It was a brief, seven minute clip of “Deacon Sandy” from Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin explaining just how “unique” his parish is.
The video received so many views that Good Shepherd removed it from public viewing.
Why, you’re probably wondering, would more views cause someone to make a public video private?
Well, once you watch the first thirty seconds of it, the reason for doing so becomes quite apparent.
Once you’ve watched all of it, if you can, be sure to thank Patrick Archbold of Creative Minority Report. He had the foresight to make a copy of the video in the event that Good Shepherd would make it private.
There’s been a lot of reaction across the blogosphere in response to Deacon Sandy’s video, and for good reason. This sort of maniacal, strange blend of charismatic, Protestantized Catholicism is not how God wishes to be praised.
As a Latin Mass attendee, I have much to say about just how dangerous this “parish” in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church actually is.
For fear of being too uncharitable, however, I’ll allow myself to make only a few brief remarks. Then I want to hear from you guys.
The first thing that struck me after watching Deacon Sandy’s video is that upon entering the “worship space” at Good Shepherd one is instantly met with “talking.”
It seems painfully obvious as to how disrespectful this is to God. But for those who cannot grasp this, perhaps an example is in order.
Imagine that you invite your children over for Christmas dinner. After opening the door imagine that instead of greeting you and giving you a big hug, your children turn to one another and start talking about the weather, the latest movie or tell inside jokes about what went on at Thanksgiving. How would that make you feel? Not so good, I imagine. It might even cause you to resent them.
In a similar sense, when God welcomes us into his house, he desires that we pay full attention to him. He does not take pleasure in his children holding conversations better suited for the coffee shop in his pews.
Second, there is no mention in the video that the mass is a propitiatory offering for our sins. The incessant emphasis on the mass being a unification of two equal parts no different than one another is straight out of Martin Luther’s playbook. It inevitably leads to the understanding that the priest is not acting in persona Christi during the mass, that he is only a “presider” and that the mass is simply a gathering of like-minded people as opposed to being the unbloodied, re-presentation of the Sacrifice on Calvary.
Third, there are no kneelers at Good Shepherd.
We are told by Deacon Sandy that we should stand because that is how we “show reverence” to the President of the United States. I really hope I don’t have to remind the good Deacon that the President is merely a man whereas Jesus Christ, the Son of God and ruler of all nations, is both human and divine. This being the case, we should take our cues not from the customs of the world, but from Scripture, which reminds us that kneeling is a sign of obedience to God. We are not equal with him.
Embracing this sort of innovation leads to endless revisions and can have a detrimental effect on Catholics in the long run. Just ask Jimmy Fallon, the host of The Tonight Show, who stopped attending mass because of liturgical changes.
Next we are told that our experience at mass is “enhanced” by things like video screens. Oh how empty those who lived before the invention of PowerPoint must have felt after mass!
What Deacon Sandy is implicitly saying here is that the mass in inherently inadequate and not capable of edifying the congregation. Question: does Deacon Sandy believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ? Seriously, there is nothing more edifying than receiving Christ’s body and soul during communion. Nothing. Adding elements to the mass from the outside world injects things that are bound by time and built by man into something that is timeless and built by God.
Lastly I want to point out how absurd it is to have 70 parish “ministries.” This is a problem many parishes, especially in the United States, where finances are not always difficult to come by, have.
There is a great book titled “The Soul of the Apostolate” written by Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O. that tackles this precise problem. It is a fantastic book that used to be bedside reading for Pope St. Pius X.
The essence of “The Soul of the Apostolate” is that there is a danger to getting “too involved.” What happens is that we fall victim to thinking that things can only change and that our lives can only have meaning if we put away our missals, stop praying our rosaries and head out into the streets.
Eventually, we come to trust ourselves more than God. Sooner or later our frenetic behavior consumes our life to the point where our “interior” life becomes a hollow shell. Catholic classics like “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas A Kempis and “The Way of Salvation and of Perfection” by St. Alphonsus end up getting replaced by Shane Claiborne’s “The Irresistible Revolution” and Saul Alinksy’s “Rules for Radicals.”
So, that’s my two cents. I’m sure all of you have some thoughts on this as well. As Deacon Sandy might say, let’s “talk to each other.” But remember, no one opinion is “any better or worse than another.”
UPDATE: Deacon Sandy responded to Creative Minority Report on their Facebook page. You can read what was said by clicking here.