"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Tuesday, May 28, 2002 Correspondent Dale at Mark Shea's closes a dispatch on liturgical flummery in Bp. Untener's Saginaw Diocese thus:
"What has this to do with the abuse scandals, you may ask? Simple--it's of a piece with the same clericalist mindset that recycles abusive priests. Why? Because he can, and he knows no one--not Rome, and sure as hell not the laity--will be able to call him on it. As you pointed out in our early discussions, bishops do not get removed. Ever. In this knowledge, the American bishops sit secure in their diocese--secure enough to pay $450,000 to protect an inflated reputation, secure enough to shuffle around priests with a history of abuse, and secure enough to allow flatly unlawful tampering with the worship of Jesus Christ. Their biggest concern is the Pope accepting their mandatory retirement proffer at age 75. Clearly, they do not fear agonized letter writing campaigns to the Papal Nuncio. For all the shrieking that Weakland, Untener, etc. do about the Curia in Rome, they are missing a delicious irony: they have managed to recreate the same thing right in their own downtown chanceries."
Mark Shea has written compellingly on a clericalist culture in the American ecclesiocracy that has been marked by the worst impulses of the Right and Left, with the worst of post-Vatican II reforms being safeguarded by the most intransigent of mossbacks.
A few years back I queried the then-director of the Boston Archdiocesan Office of Worship on the disappearance of sanctus bells from many local parish Masses (a trend I viewed with regret). Bells, he declared, are superfluous: A congregation fully participating in the liturgy doesn't need them to follow the action.
"These requests are referred to the Office for Worship directly by Cardinal Law. In most cases, when the requirements for Perpetual Adoration are explored, the request is withdrawn by the pastor. In one case, the parish moved ahead with the request.
"In order for them to begin on an experimental basis, they had to tend to the primary form of Eucharistic activity. They were required to celebrate Sunday liturgy with attention to ministry, to engagement of the assembly, and to music at every Mass. They had to institute communion from the cup, and have a full corps of [communion] ministers to serve in the hospitals, nursing homes, and in the homes of the sick. They also had to build a secure place for adoration apart from the main body of the church and provide a sufficient number of volunteers to fulfill the requirements of the devotion. After these matters were attended to, the parish returned to the Archdiocese for permission, which Cardinal Law granted.
"Occasionally a parish moves ahead with a request for Perpetual Adoration. I usually begin by sending them to St. Patrick's in Natick to see the scope of liturgical change required before a request can be heard. You can imagine what the promoters do when they realize that a request for Perpetual Adoration activates Archdiocesan policies on communion under both species, not to mention singing at Mass."