Volume 118, Number 2, Summer 1991
WHAT ABOUT OUR HOLY DAYS?
Monsignor Richard J. Schuler
The ecclesiastical bureaucracy in Washington is busy again in its
continuing effort to change (if not destroy) the Church in this country.
Despite clear indications in the past that the majority of Catholics like
and want the holydays, the liturgists are determined to remove them. Of
course, they are at great pains to say that it is only the obligation of
Mass attendance that they want to remove. The feasts will remain, but who
will there be to celebrate them? Look only at the holydays of former times
that are scattered throughout the pages of the missal, days that were once
kept with Mass attendance but which today are hardly thought of, let alone
The universal law of the Church lists twelve holydays. Provision is made
for national hierarchies to reduce these, and the United States
traditionally kept six of them. Those days emphasized basic Catholic
truths: the birth of Jesus, His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven,
devotion to Mary through faith in her Immaculate Conception and Assumption,
and finally our relationship with those who have gone before us, all the
saints in heaven.
For the church musician these were special days when the liturgy abounded
in texts and musical settings of those texts that were rich and beautiful.
One thinks of the wonderful Marian literature, antiphons, hymns, motets to
Our Blessed Lady. Then there were pieces for All Saints, Ascension Day and,
of course, Christmas.
The bureaucrats have robbed us of so many Catholic things. Why are so
many parishes being deprived of the posture of kneeling at prayer? Who has
pushed communion in the hand and reception under both species almost to the
exclusion of the former practices? How many Catholics know the basic
prayers that were always the mark of a Catholic? Why have statues,
communion rails and so much church furniture been torn out of our churches?
Who invented the ugly vestments worn so widely? From where does the so-
called turned-around-altar come from? We have lost the Catholic practice of
fast and abstinence; the rosary and Marian devotions are rarely found
anymore; the tabernacle in many churches is relegated to an obscure closet.
The piano, the combo and the guitar have replaced the organ which the
council gave so high a place. What is left?
We have a shortage of priestly ordinations. The religious orders of
sisters are decaying and disappearing. Parishes are being closed and the
churches demolished. Schools are combining and closing. Contraception and
abortion daily become more widespread and accepted even by our Catholic
people. The ignorance of Catholic children and even adults about the faith
is appalling. Mass attendance has dropped dramatically. Support of the Holy
Father and his teaching daily grows less even among the bishops. The growth
of witchcraft, even in religious orders, and the practice of cultic rites
among the young truly can be called scandal. Sexual violations and lawsuits
directed against the Church are announced in the public press as enormous
sums are paid in penalty. Is this the renewal we hear praised so highly?
Why don't we admit it? The implementation of the reforms of the II Vatican
Council has beem an unmitigated disaster in this country. Why? Our bishops
have never given the council a chance to be put into effect. Why? Because
the Washington bureauacracy has dictated what was to be done and the
bishops have allowed these programs of destruction to be adopted. And now,
not content with what they have already accomplished, they have another
nail to drive into the coffin. Take away the holydays!
What is left to take away? How about the Sunday obligation? That will be
next. Then the total protestantizing of the Catholic Church will be nearly
complete. The pope remains, but he will be eased out. In the fourth
century, the world awoke to find that it had become Arian. If we don't
awake, we will be protestants.
It is time to cry out "Basta! Basta cosi!"