Pray Tell
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,935
    I just spent a long day posting to a single article on the famed Pray Tell blog that so many here are so fond of. The article was about how to catechize children on the meaning of the liturgy.

    http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2011/03/19/teaching-liturgy-where-do-i-begin-part-iii/

    The long and short of it is that it is best to teach children mainly about the meal aspect and let them eventually arrive to the truth about its sacrificial nature later in their life. The Mass is presented primarily as sharing a "dinnertime" together.

    Well, you know me. I systematically went about presenting Eucharistic Theology and how the emphasis of meal over sacrifice has been one of the great erroneous spins away from the documents of VII. I brought out one of the heavy hitters on Eucharistic theology, Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church. Unfortunately, I was the target and I was the one who got hit hard. That didn't bother me so much (I love a good debate), but I was totally caught off guard for the vitriol and relativistic stance that was presented.

    In a phrase, "nothing is sacred" according to this crowd. Theology and doctrine never remain fixed... it is always moving and developing towards... what, I don't know. There is no reference point from which to argue a position. Every whim and novelty of belief seems to be fair game. All I could do was throw my arms up in the end and bid them goodbye with this final declaration:

    "I will pray that you all come to full knowledge of Christ and not continue to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine."

    I then deleted PrayTell from my bookmarks and shook the dust from my feet.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    I.
    They.
  • Erik P
    Posts: 152
    .
  • benedictgal
    Posts: 798
    I lost all respect for Fr. Ruff because of the accusations that he was leveling. While he's said some good things in the past, it seems to me that some of the folks have lost their way on a lot of things.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,138
    I went over and read the discussion Francis encountered. While I understand the nature of theological discussion is always about pushing ahead or seeing some new revelation, the unwillingness to see merit in other views other than those espoused by the usual cast of characters is sad. Conservatives are often accused of a theological "fundamentalism" and sometimes it is true. But PT is just as dogmatic and hard line, proving the progressives can be just as difficult or that those positions are passing out of fashion.

    No more reading PT anymore. I do not need any more difficulties in my life.
  • Fact check:

    *Fr. Ruff continues to visit and contribute to this forum, positively, as late as yesterday.
    *As Liam states, we have a choice to conduct ourSELVES as either "I.They." or "Us."
    *The editorial manangement standards at PT are difficult to fathom, much less understand, but that is their business, and everyone has to decide whether to participate without expectation of "fairness" being a factor in that decision.
    *Francis fought a very good fight; but one could look at PT as a fortress of ideology. Sooner or later the best an opponent of their status quo should expect to achieve is "hitting the wall." One would hope that AWR and RF, editor, would keep an open house, rather than a castle surrounded by moats, fences and other defenses....alas.
    *To me this is a fact: thinking about thinking is valued more at PT as opposed to thinking about doing. In that same thread one of the "cast of characters" actually declared that one particular exchange was "argument, not discussion," and therefore that polluted the dialectic. Argument, to me, seems an integral aspect of discussion. Argument is not intrinsically a bad thing. The person who made that charge seemed to have missed "Monty Python 101: Argument v. Contradiction."
    *One should expect, if advancing an agenda about doing, rather than thinking, to be swarmed and stung with barbs about not being intellectually qualified to contribute to the discussion. True or not, that often also conflates into ad hominems. If a contender to PT conventional wisdom levels an ad hominem, heaven cries out for vengeance. If a PT adherent levels an ad hominem, the only sound one should expect is silence (maybe with crickets.)
    *We ought not to ever state we have lost all respect for any soul who follows Christ. We have to own our statements because we must account for them. Tell the truth in love, want to reconcile with our siblings, and move on.
    *I believe the way in which young Adam Wood enters the fray at PT is both wise and cool. He speaks from his experience, doesn't appear to re-state anyone else's opinion, and gets his point across succinctly. (Something this old fart, schooled by Wm.F. Buckley Institute of Bloviation, cannot do!)
    *And when all else fails, consider how folks like AOZ/MJB regard these kerfuffles: "Oh, it's all a bunch of hooey."
    Have a nice day, everyone.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,935
    I have great concern for the minds and souls of the PT contingent... more for their souls and hearts, actually. Win those, and their minds will eventually come wagging their medullas behind them. O God, help us, your Church, who is so lost in our own ways to know your way and your truth and your life.
  • Jazzer
    Posts: 34
    As much as I am wary of enlivening long forgotten threads, I have to say this:

    Pray Tell Blog is an ideological echo chamber. In my efforts to contribute constructively (and not always contrary-mindedly) to some of their discussions, I have been repeatedly shot down (posts deleted without comment).

    I don't know what exactly the editors/purveyor are afraid of, but they are afraid of something.

    Time to shake the dust off... sorry for the rant.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    One of the last times I tried to have a constructive discussion on PTB, I was jokingly refereed to as someone with "spiritual aspergers" which was quickly jumped and agreed with by on by the regulars.

    That says it all.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,465
    (begin purple bold) Of course, anyone who wears a bow tie is immediately suspect since he bows to archaic conventions and clings to simplistic notions and must therefore be intransigent and inflexible. Furthermore, a predilection for stripes is proof of a triumphalist, regimentalist, Victorian mindset. There is very little doubt that the bow-tie wearer is a social dinosaur and subscribes to a belief in----horror of horrors--- Absolute Values. (shudders uncontrollably) (end purple bold)

    P.S. That being said, I must confess that I think bow ties are the epitome of sartorial splendor, esp. striped bow ties, and hope you will always wear one, Ben, mainly because, rightly or wrongly, it gives the impression that you are a Man of Conviction and perhaps, even, maybe, possibly, a Fundamentalist Christian/Catholic, and for that I applaud and salute you, despite what our pontiff says to the contrary.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,935
    well it's comimgup on five years from when I started this thread and I am not the least bit surprised. However, I do still pray for their souls.

    they should rename their blog

    To and Fro
  • Ted
    Posts: 190
    What has astonished me more is that the local bishop still considers St John's Abbey and its related schools and seminary to be Catholic institutions.
    Thanked by 2Ben Yanke Gavin
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,935
    who is bishop
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,943
    It's Diocese of St. Cloud, Bishop Donald Joseph Kettler.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,372
    Wm.F. Buckley Institute of Bloviation
    Love this.
    If you think Pray tell is rough, I would invite you to check out the comments section of National Catholic Reporter. I have been called some very creative names there.
    Thanked by 1Ioannes Andreades
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    If the commentariat on the "Pray Tell" site think that bow ties are something foreign, perhaps none of them are classically trained singers.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,536
    I think I see what Chonak is getting at, but Ben, black or white ;-)
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I never read Prey Tail. Melo Charles seems to think well of some of the folks there, but I have never heard of most of them and they are irrelevant to anything I am doing.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,138
    Is there some problem with bow ties that I am not aware of? I wear them most every day.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,935
    ok... tangent... I wear real one with tux

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VJv4Qh7zR3E
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,678
    I love Pray Tell. Wonderful blog.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    I find it fascinating and informative.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 388
    One Peter Five's comment boxes are also seas of vitriol, I've come to find. Which is especially disappointing, given their more traditional leanings, but they just seem to be angry and defamatory all the time.

    Joseph Pearce came to speak at my college a few weeks back and said that he's incredibly suspicious of "righteous anger", and I think he's getting at a good point, it's so easy to excuse ourselves of defamation, personal attacks, and even hatred on the grounds that we have the better liturgy, or doctrine. If we do have what others lack and despise them for it, we've lost the very soul of what those things are for, Charity for God in our neighbor. "But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire." (Mt 5:22) I'm as guilty of it as anyone else, but I won't put myself in that occasion, so I've shaken the dust from them too.
    Thanked by 2JulieColl Gavin
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I'm as guilty of it as anyone else, but I won't put myself in that occasion, so I've shaken the dust from them too.


    Perhaps, but we were also told to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. We seem to not have picked up on the "wise" part yet. I can stay away from that site because it offers me little of use in my own situation.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    he's incredibly suspicious of "righteous anger", and I think he's getting at a good point

    I'm not so sure about that. There is truly a lot wrong with the church, especially when leading bishops, supported by the Holy Father, speak outright falsehoods, and even the holy father himself walks the line between lack of clarity and outright falsehood.

    That seems like something to be angry about to me.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    This is a bit disheartening for me. Timely too, as I just got tarred and feathered at 1Peter5 for my predilection for trying to be Rodney King over there. Won't make that mistake twice. I do hold certain folks over there at PTB as being "well," particularly those who also have the trust and confidence to visit and comment here. Like Kathy, a small portion of content is of value to me, and some fascinating and informative in both sides of the meaning. Bob Hurd used to characterize the liturgy wars as being tension between those who cling to ecclesiology/theology from a Jacob's ladder POV, and their opponents to a Sarah's circle motif. Then it made sense. Now, it seems everyone wants to commandeer the ladder so that those who make it up can close their circle to that which is alien. Doesn't make sense.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    One Peter Five's comment boxes are also seas of vitriol, I've come to find. Which is especially disappointing, given their more traditional leanings, but they just seem to be angry and defamatory all the time.


    If you found this surprising, you should check your cognitive biases.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    In English, Adam, please?
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    He's saying traddies aren't always well known for their patience and happiness so it shouldn't be surprising.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    Someone who leans trad, and is surprised by vitriol in the comments section of a traddie/conservative blog probably has has a self-created blind-spot when it comes to how people they sort-of agree with behave.

    It's like when people say, "All politicians are liars... except the one I like."
    No, even that one.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    He's saying traddies aren't always well known for their patience and happiness so it shouldn't be surprising.


    And that a traddie who is unaware of that fact is practicing willful blindness and confirmation bias.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    Basically, there's a considerable portion of St Blog's and its penumbra that have their origin in venting resentment. (Before blogs, there were the USENET discussion boards, and this dynamic obtained there no less.) There are information-sharing places, resentment-stroking places, and places that combine both functions. Across the spectrum, and including the mushy middle (though the mushy middle tends to have less energy to bother to scream aloud at the world).
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Thanks Ben and Adam.
    Amplifying (for clarity's sake) my point, I would suggest that PTB/1Peter5 have more in common than contrast. They seem extremely insulated, mostly inhospitable, and awfully convinced of the "my way, or the highway" ethos as justified and salvific. Liam just barged through my typing happily, as he always has the sharp eye.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    Melofluent

    The problem in general in the Internet is that there's a barbell curve overrepresenting insulated, inhospitable and awfully convinced people who are overcompensating for finally finding a "safe space"....to vent and demonstrate our Righteous Thinking(TM).

    It's a very human dynamic.

    And boy do we need grace.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Ben can always move to Boston, where people will take his bow tie to mean he is connected with Harvard.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    If Ben does, he will learn that the bowtie will, unfortunately, be taken as an invitation to especially ignore him here. (Disclosure: I wore crooked bowties in college, and like them, so long as people know never to wear them with button-down shirts (cough, cough). I was in Virginia. It was 35 years ago. I was drunk a couple of times. I remain sufficiently impressed with people who know how to tie them properly, but hope they understand that the bowtie may get in their way.)
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,704
    I excuse 1P5, at least partially, given that trads tend to be poked at by the hierarchy. Should they express their anger? Perhaps not but it's no wonder the readers feel as they do. PrayTell has almost the full support of bishops the world over. Their paradigm infected parishes. They have no excuses.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Vilyanor
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Liam, I live here too. Being ignored is not the worst form of social status.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Liam
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    Unkindness, lack of empathy, and lack of trying to understand what the other is saying are all unchristian and unCatholic - whatever blog they occur on.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    Richard,

    Yes. You are not alone. I know a number of bowtie wearers in Catholic music circles around here. And I agree that being ignored is certainly far from the worst form of social status. It can at times, however, be an unforced error when you need to persuade people who have the metaphorical keys, as it were.

    I can think of a priest I once knew who was a local and who had a hard bias against people who went to Harvard or MIT - he felt they had opinions they weren't entitled to. Whereas he worked that bias so much that someone should have told him that just because these people went to Harvard or MIT didn't mean they were stupid. Bias abounds all over.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    Matthew

    I would venture to say many of those speak of at Pray Tell have their own victim stories to tell. It's not a zero sum game. And it's a reinforcing cycle if we let it be so.
  • I was visiting PrayTell today, trying to see if Msgr. Mannion who posts there is the same as associated with the recent Utah Eucharistic phenomenon. Alas, I have seen no references.

    However, I foolishly read a post and got frustrated (about Intercommunion). However, as a music director hired to shift the direction of the parish music program toward tradition, I find it helpful to discover what the perspective is that shapes (consciously or not) the music currently. From my venture this morning to PrayTell, I discovered that their view is that Communion is achieved through interpersonal relationships, which lead to God, fed by the "Bread of Heaven." This is in contrast to the traditional Catholic view that Communion is achieved through relationship with God, and through Him to those others who are also in Communion with him, and the perfect form of that Communion is the Eucharist. The former seeks Communion with everyone, and does not see why all cannot receive the Eucharist, whereas the latter is God-seeking first, and desires to achieve the perfect Communion that the consumption of Christ's flesh and blood, soul and divinity, fosters.

    Relatedly, I recently read some of James Hansen's "Cantor BASICS," a book from 1990 left by the previous music director (may she rest in peace), published by the Pastoral Press. While immensely frustrating, it was enlightening to know what mindset has in part shaped the liturgical worship at this church (again, consciously or not). Specifically, his answer (on pages 108-9, Q. 92) to "What is elemental music?" explained to me so much of why Bad Catholic Music is the way it is. For example, elemental music seeks to be immediately accessible to untrained congregations, so scale-steps and -skips are desired, rhythm is emphasized over melody, since people can pick that up quicker than complex tunes. Originality and musical seduction are rejected. "The ritual function of the assembly's acclamation is accepted as basically a political, legitimating act." Music must serve "here and now," not "art which transcends time."

    The text of such music is "defined by the needs of this world only." The object and often subject of texts is the assembly or its actions. "Ritual is the celebration of what is not certain." (?)

    These insights, and the anthropocentric, God-is-not-necessary answer of the following question (p. 110, Q. 94, "How can we sing real life?"), have shown me the root of the musical problem. I do not have the answer, though the work of CMAA is obviously a great source of inspiration, but it is worth understanding what happened and what you are up against.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431
    Just as an aside, I think it is silly that conservatives always feel the need to second guess their righteous indignation.

    It is perfectly legitimate to say someone is off the rails, without immediately looking for an example of conservatives being off the rails equally badly.

    Do you think progressive liturgists spend angsty hours wondering if they are too one-sided? They do not. They have an agenda and they advance it.

    Our agenda is worth advancing, for the salvation of the world. So rock on.

  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    1+ K. Well said.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,605
    "Do you think progressive liturgists spend angsty hours wondering if they are too one-sided? They do not. They have an agenda and they advance it. "

    Actually, Kathy, some do, and some don't. Just like with conservatives.
    Thanked by 3MBW Gavin PaxMelodious
  • One commenter on this thread posed the question "What are they afraid of at PrayTell"?

    I suggest it is a growing sense of the "creeping mortality" of they're seemingly intractable stuck-in-the-darkest-days-of the-1970s mindset. The liturgical world is shifting ever more to the traditional which scares them because it forces them to take notice that their efforts have turned out to be a temporary aberration, producing no lasting fruit.

    I read PrayTell for about two months a couple of years ago, and posted some rather innocuous comments on the topics presented. In response I was attacked with some of the most stunningly petulant, vicious, and hysterical vitriol it has ever been my experience to see and hear from alleged adults.

    To go there is a borderline occasion of sin. I recommend avoiding it.

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Heath
    Posts: 897
    I appreciate the Pray Tell blog greatly . . . many topics of interest and lots of bright people comment over there, even though I often disagree with their conclusions.

    That being said, I do wish the comment policy was changed. I know that MANY comments have been deleted as it didn't jive with their ecclesial paradigm and whole conversations are shut down if anyone gets their panties in a bunch. It's unfortunate, as I think much good can come from respectful dialogue between two parties who fundamentally disagree.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood MBW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I suggest it is a growing sense of the "creeping mortality" of they're seemingly intractable stuck-in-the-darkest-days-of the-1970s mindset.


    I worked as a teacher in Catholic and public schools for some years before retirement. What always seemed to tear up the aging guitar crowd and crooners at school masses was when the middle-schoolers laughed at them. That is the problem when you attach yourself to dated schemes and philosophies. Time does not stop and those philosophies become like an open can of tuna that can't stay fresh in the sun.
    Thanked by 1RMSawicki
  • I love Pray Tell. Wonderful blog.

    I find it fascinating and informative.

    I'm curious - how so? (I don't mean this to be a rhetorical question.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    Perhaps someone can clear up something about PT. I don't know anyone there, so I am not attacking anyone, just asking for information. Supposedly, Fr. Ruff is a chant expert and I had heard he is the leading light behind PT. Is Fr. Ruff serious about Gregorian chant or is he like the infamous Rembert Weakland - a fine musician who understood chant quite well, but didn't want anyone singing it during liturgies. Enlighten us ye knowledgeable ones since I don't have a clear picture of PT or understand exactly what is going on there.
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    It is worth reading Fr. Ruff's book Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Music-Liturgical-Reform-Anthony/dp/1595250212 to understand his positions and practice. Suffice it for me to say that he teaches chant to many students, using a generally semiological approach; and that he programs a good deal of chant for the liturgies at St. John's Abbey.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Liam