Sunday, April 6, 2014

St John Neumann Catholic Church Bulletin - Poor Theology Of The Mass

As you read this post, please have open the bulletin insert in question; it is here, on page 5, right-hand column.  Before I proceed, I voice agreement that our devout assistance at Holy Mass is imperative to our receipt of the graces that are present at Holy Mass.  However, these graces are present owing to the nature of the Mass itself.  No other person present can impede my reception of these graces, provided that I am properly disposed.

First, what is the Mass?  Let's look at the clear, concise answer from the Baltimore Catechism.  That question, by the way, is Question 263 of the Baltimore Catechism.  The answer is - again from that catechism - The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ.  Here are more questions and answers from the Baltimore Catechism delving into the nature of the Mass.

Here are some more from EWTN.  Take special note here of Question 360, and part (a) of the answer: "Christ, though invisible, is the principal minister, offering Himself in the Mass.  The priest is the visible and secondary minister, offering Christ in the Mass".  This statement of fact is why this statement from the SJN bulletin is flat-out incorrect: "Mass at St. John Neumann and in any church is the joint effort of all the people in the assembly, not just the priests and special ministers who are, first of all, also members of the assembly. Every member of the parish assembly has a serious responsibility to help make the Mass a life-giving sacramental experience. To the degree that any member of the assembly does not work to make the Mass life-giving, to that degree the sacramental signs fail and the Eucharistic sign becomes less than what it should be."  The rather modern error that seems to be the undercurrent of this paragraph is the error that the roles of clergy and the roles of laity are on a par with regard to the Mass.  That's simply incorrect.  Christ is the primary minister and the priest is the secondary minister.  That's it!  No more "ministers"!  This is why a priest can say a private Mass, by himself.  The presence of laity have absolutely no impact on the sacramental validity of the Mass.  Conversely, no priest means no Mass - no matter how many devout laity are gathered.

I just don't have time to elaborate on all the error that is contained herein.  Suffice it to say that it is absolutely false to equate the role of those who've received the Sacrament of Holy Orders with the role of the laity.  It is NOT our presence that is "the transforming energy of all sacramental celebrations".  A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace (again, from the Baltimore Catechism).  What's with this "transforming energy" new-age talk?

But in going down, we see the lists of ushers, readers, musicians, etc.  "Priest" is thrown in the laundry list, and there's no particular order.  That's simply wrong.  It is the priest who is the minister, acting as alter Christi.  No lector nor greeter can do that.

I agree that one's lack of attention can impact the grace that they are able to receive from Mass.  So too can a faulty understanding of what Mass is.


  1. Thanks, DC Cat, for this delicate, urgently needed clarification. It is so important to understand, considering the Eucharist truly is the source and summit of our faith - a reality, not a nice notion. Hopefully there can be, as you say in your posting comments, a "respectful and courteous" correction at the parish level.

  2. According to the bulletin, Mary Lu Hartsell who wrote this ‘faulty’ theology is the Director of Music and Liturgy (paid staff) at St. John Neumann, contact info: 301-330-7565 Have you contacted her or the pastor? This is a public bulletin and she directs the liturgy and music and probably all ministers listed. How many parishioners have access to your blog? How many children? As paid staff, she speaks with the teaching authority of the RC Church which cannot teach error (lead people to hell). If false ministers are teaching falsehoods and won't publicly recant (especially about the holy sacrifice of the mass which w/priesthood & holy communion were the Last Testament of Jesus Christ), but pastor, bishop and Rome throw your letters in the trash (or say it’s a scandal but allow said scandal to continue year after year (like drag shows at Universities), then you need to disassociate yourself from this parish. Even by your presence at mass, you are giving your public assent to their errors (also, like bad company leads to sin, so does exposure to error).
    Other problems: funding of abortion and contraception (CRS Rice Bowl); making a joke of sin: “Haven’t been to confession in a while? Need to go again? Still upset with your husband? Forgot Valentine’s Day and need to make amends with your wife? Whatever your responses, come to the Penance Service this Friday.” [Does [in our lady refuge of sinners] Fr. Joe know because of our sins Jesus was horribly sacrificed to re-open the gates of heaven? Proper understanding of holy sacrifice of mass begins w/understanding of man’s sin and need for a redeemer.]

    Daughters of Mary Breakfast-This annual event for women of the Parish, which particularly honors Mary, includes a delicious buffet breakfast, door prizes, and give-a-ways for adults and children. Guest speaker, Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, is an international lecturer, gifted with a humorous and dynamic speaking style. Her message is all about living a life filled with joy and humor. [how does this event honor Mary? “Sister” speaks at REC conference, Gay conference and then at your Mary breakfast – at 32 min hear how she and three other sisters are kicked out of a wake because too loud for rosary for the deceased (to honor Mary wouldn't sisters join in prayer even if think no hell/all saints? No! it's all about ‘healthy’ moments (her words!)).

    P.S. It is INTENT of priest which confects the sacrament. Many priests hide behind words that they intend to do what the church has always done while believing in their heart that the church has NEVER confected the real presence. Original preface to the 1969 mass matches Mary Lu's theology. After a protest by Cardinal Ottaviani, preface was changed--but NO changes to the 1969 mass!

    Francis always saying 'faithful son of the church' too:

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Well, unless we all want to retreat to caves somewhere (only a few saints have done that), we'll have to deal with the error etc that comes our way.
      A clarification (eluded me too) - The Daughters of Mary Breakfast is sponsored by Mother Seton Parish (just to our north), not SJN. That being said, the pastor of Mother Seton should be advised of a potential problem in his parish.

  3. You are totally spot on about this! And the role of the priest keeps being diminished. Some priests allow this because they are lazy, and/or don't recognize the dignity of their role. Fr. Shannon Collins has talked about this in Firestorm of Faith. It is so sad!


  4. You have a complacent attitude that error will not affect you, but your attitude isn’t Biblical.
    As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Prov 27:17 Your priest’s cavalier attitude toward sin will rub off on you, but even more important you don’t seem concerned about generations behind you that never had any other teaching than Mary Lu Hartsell and Fr. Joe.
    You think it is sufficient to correct errors in a blog or by personal letters or pickets, but when all these fail, just like Jesus cleaned out the Temple, I believe it is the duty of Catholics to stand up for the faith in the venue (not outside the venue) and at the time when the error is occurring if that venue claims to be Catholic. I believe if the hierarchy will not separate pro-abortion, fornicating, adulterizing, sodomite Catholics from the body, the body must separate from them—or die and be fit for nothing but to be burned. A little sin will leaven the whole body and kill it (as is happening as we speak).
    For some time I agreed w/you due to the Bible verses ‘where else can we go?’ and that apostles continued to rejoice and to go to the Temple every day to pray even though Jesus had been killed by the corrupt Jewish religious leaders and in reality Jesus’ death had destroyed the efficacy of the Temple sacrifices. One thing I didn’t notice at the time, but which happened to me also, was that they preached and continued to preach in Jesus name (see Acts 5 and other places) even when flogged, arrested, forbidden and expelled (how many times was Jesus threatened w/arrest, stoning and death when He preached?). I knew that by AD 70 Temple was destroyed and I figured that would happen or somehow God would take care of it although I never ceased to pray to be delivered. I was also thrown out, but at the same time God came and got me and showed me a cave, which if you pray I think will happen to you (God will not leave you orphaned). I have never been so filled w/joy as to find this cave [While Jezebel was killing off the LORD's prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water. (1 Kings 18:4) For he hath hidden me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle. (Psalm 27)]. You don’t want to retreat to a cave, but would you rather be led to crucify Jesus Christ as happened to the Jews?

    I think the Bible illustrates that throughout history ALL the prophets retreated to caves, the desert or the hills and many were mocked like Noah, Moses, David (1 Sam 22 & 24), Jeremiah, Elijah, Ezekiel, John the Baptist and even Jesus for following God to build an ark when everyone else was partying or wearing a yoke or skins and eating locusts or manna, but surely you don’t want to be numbered among the mockers? ONLY saints get into heaven. Don't presume you will make it to purgatory (that is what I mean about attitudes rubbing off). I don't see how any Catholic in right mind can continue to be associated with these events (surely a cave is far preferable):

    1. First, let's get a little deception out of the way, shall we? You are AJ McDonald (yes, we bloggers have tools to tell us these things). Your attempt to hide behind the cloak of anonymity is quite revealing of your character - a character that WILL become corroded when one separates him/herself from the One True Church, no matter the excuse. I pray for you and other similarly deluded souls that who believe they can survive without the Sacraments. To those who continue this siren's call to abandon the One True Church, I say "get behind me satan".


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