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Tuesday, December 04, 2007



An evangelical church near my house has billboards that say "The Encampment Church, where it's all about YOU!" I always thought church was supposed to be all about God...

Gail Finke


The Vitz essay is excellent.


A great benefit of celebrating the Mass in Latin is that very few priests know enough Latin to "innovate" during the Mass and even if they were capable of doing so they wouldn't bother because few would notice.

The Vitzs' article underscores the narcissism that underlies deviations from the rubrics. I agree entirely that the deviations are expressions of self-regard; that is part of why I find them so iritating (the deviations also irritate me because they typically suggest that the priest has a higher regard for the teachings of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan than for the teachings of the Church). But I also have seen deviations that suggest yet other psychological problems. Just recently, for example, at a Mass I attended a guest priest (who is involved in an AIDS ministry and was invited to celebrate Mass to commemorate World Aids Day) altered the liturgy by saying "God" instead of "Father" every time "Father" is said during the liturgy (the one exception was during the Our Father prayer; the priest said the word "Father" but noticeably lowered his voice as though he wanted to skip over it). Freud would have a field day with this priest.


Gail, a few quotes from my recent recon visit to Saddleback Church:

-"God doesn't want you to be anybody else but you."

From an openly homosexual pastor:

-"I finally realized that I have a heavenly father that loves and accepts me just the way I am."

-"Turn to someone and say: 'Only you can be you.'"

These churches are all about the self. They make no bones about it. It's all right in your face. Verses such as Luke 9:23-24 and 1 Cor. 6:19-20 are utterly foreign to them.


Also, Saddleback Church uses many different paraphrases during its service, depending on which most supports a particular point. I noticed that The Message paraphrase (actually, it's not even a paraphrase) was often used. Compare:

"And he said to all, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'"

-Luke 9:23-24, RSV

"Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: 'Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat—I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?'"

-"Luke 9:23-24," The Message

Appalling, isn't it? Also see this:

"So God said, in effect, 'If that's what you want, that's what you get.' It wasn't long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!

"Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn't know how to be human either—women didn't know how to be women, men didn't know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men — all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches."

-"Romans 1:24-27," The Message


Sorry, I can't resist. Get a load of The Message version of Psalm 1:

Psalm 1

1How well God must like you - you don't hang out at Sin Saloon, you don't slink along Dead-End Road,
you don't go to Smart-Mouth College.

2-3 Instead you thrill to God's Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You're a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

4-5 You're not at all like the wicked,
who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
unfit company for innocent people.

6 God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.


And now see this irony:

"Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege."

-"Matthew 7:6," The Message

I didn't make this up. See for yourself here:;&version=65;


I just read Matthew 5 at that link. Unbelievable. Utterly diabolical. Take a look.

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