Its been a while since we have perused the silliness that goes on in the local Church bulletins every week in the parishes of progressive dinosaurs across the land. Too long.

So I present to you, for your viewing pleasure, Fr. Bill Conway of Divine Savior Parish in Downers Grove Illinois (courtesy of Please give a click).

Fr. Conway is a powerhouse of sill ideas and he packs so many into this one bulletin, it is hard to keep up.

It is worth one’s time to consider what some of the Church’s leading theologians at the Second Vatican Council thought and wrote concerning the Eucharist and liturgy. In recent years one hears some speaking of the role of the priest in the liturgy as acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ). My fear with such language is that it may have the effect of clericalizing the celebration of the Eucharist, making the assembly once again a passive observer. At. Augustine reflecting on the meaning of ecclesia as the unity of the Body of Christ.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum, Concilium) clearly underscores this understanding when it states the when we are gather at the Eucharist Table, it is in that moment that we are truly Church (ecclesia). Furthermore, in the gathering through the Holy Spirit we act with Christ, the High Priest, in offering the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Father.

On this idea of the sacerdocio of the assembly in the Eucharist Yves Congar, O. P. cites the words of St. Peter Damian – words that at first glance appear somewhat contemporary: “the sacrifice of praise is offered by all the faithful, not only by men but also by women, even though it might appear to be offered in a special way by the priest alone (p. 26)”. These words were written a thousand years ago! Would that those who wish to restrict or limit the presence and active participation of women in the liturgy take heed of the words of St. Peter Damian.

While I respect the decision of the Holy Father to permit the extraordinary rite of the Tridentine Mass (please note “extraordinary”), my criticism of this form is that by the very manner of its celebration it renders the role of the laity to being little more than onlooker. In fact, it was precisely because of this that the Council Fathers in Sacrosanctum Concilium mandated the reform of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Mass: “In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else (#14)”.

Phrases, such as “in persona Christi”, “ad orientem”, I believe run contrary not only to the spirit of Vatican II but to the very tradition of the Church. Jesus did not celebrate the Last Supper with His back to the apostles (ad orientem) but rather reclined at table with them.

It is worth noting the language of the Eucharistic prayers of the Church concerning the role of the Holy Spirit in the Eucharist. The Holy Spirit is not only the one who sanctifies and makes holy, but also makes us the “communio sanctorum” one in Christ: “may all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit (Euch. Prayer II).

Be it Yves Congar, Odo Casals, Virgil Michels, Karl Rahner, Hans Kung, Schillebecxks, [HAHAHAHHAHAHA] Joseph Ratzinger, or other theologians, I am grateful for their insights that have deepened my appreciation and wonderment for the Eucharist as the prayer of the People of God.

– Fr. Bill Conway


Wow. Where to start. What seems underly all of Fr. Conway’s silliness here is a complete misreading of the term active participation. He and his ilk conceive of active participation as some sort of liturgical calisthenics rather than something interior. This is why Fr. Conway’s ejaculatory euphoria over the contemporariness of St. Peter Damian’s thousand year old quote is laughable. As if contemporary were the criteria.

It is just as easy, if not sometimes even easier, to be nothing more than an onlooker in the ordinary form as it is in the extraordinary form. My experience is that I am usually much more engaged in the extraordinary form, but that is just me. His contempt for anything pre-council is the very definition of the hermeneutic of discontinuity.

As for the rest of his little digs, they are as contemptuous as they are banal and quite unbecoming.

There could be much more to say, but I have to run now. You know who could have a field day with this one? Father Z. Let’s see if we can get father to take a crack at this crackpot.

Your comments are welcome.