Friday, May 4, 2012

"Healthy irreverence" ?

Unsuitable dress for the "priest-president"

From a letter of Evelyn Waugh to the Editor of the Tablet, August 21, 1965, regarding an article in Commonweal concerning liturgists:

"The author is Fr John J. Ryan of the diocese of Peoria now, we are told, employed in writing "catechetical materials" in Chicago.

He begins by quoting a friendly priest who, with what he describes as "healthy irreverence", remarked: "Now that we have the liturgy in English, the people will really see how absurd it is."

The liturgy, he says, "fixed in all essentials" for the "tribal men" of late Roman society, says "next to nothing" about the "insights" of contemporary man.  The Gloria is a "curious thing".  The Canon an "obscure and puzzling list of Roman worthies."

".... Fr Ryan wishes to change the words "low obedience, duty, virtue" (I presume he is here referring to his catechism) for "encounter, commitment and involvement."

"He nowhere suggest the unique sanctity of the priestly office . . . The priest must not emerge "like a God in an ancient pageant".  Vestments are out and, also, it seems, any distinguishing costume.  Instead he wishes to have a "priest-president" who will conduct a "sort of town meeting" to discuss social projects."

Incidentally, Fr. John J. Ryan died in 2000.  According to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune, "Mr. Ryan was not active as a priest when he died and preferred to be called professor, his sister said."

Elizabethan martyrs, pray for us. 


  1. The ecclesiastical history of the early (i.e., pre-1968) revisionists is one of almost universal apostasy. Look up the careers of these now-forgotten firebrands: Thomas DuBay, Corita Kent, Gregoy Baum, Jeanine Deckers, John Cogley. Talk about sowing good seed....

  2. I recall a retired priest of the NY Archdiocese decrying the trendy clerics who "led their people into the wilderness and then left them there." Seems there were quite a few of these. Thank you for the comment.

  3. Correction: I meant WILLIAM DuBay, the proto-heretic of LA, not the kindly Marianist Thomas DuBay.

  4. By such evil fruit we know the tree was corrupt. Thank you for your comments.