About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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"The local church should be conscious that church worship is not really the same as what we sing in a bar, or what we sing in a convention for youth."
— Francis Cardinal Arinze (2005)

“Liturgy Shaming”
published 14 March 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

673 liturgy shaming image OR SEVERAL WEEKS, various liturgical blogs have been commenting on an article by William Bornhoft against “online liturgy shaming.” It’s important to realize that Mr. Bornhoft is on record with hysterical statements 1 that disqualify him from speaking about the liturgy. He has also written the following about Catholics who appreciate Mass in the Extraordinary Form:

Anyone interested in seeing the Catholic faith thrive in the world, rather than be ignored, should be concerned about a generation of Catholics who oppose reforms that the vast majority of Cardinals supported 50 years ago.

So much is wrong with that statement! For example, Vatican II never approved any liturgical changes. The Council approved principles—such as the preservation of Latin (a mandate not a suggestion) and the primacy of Gregorian chant—and we’ve seen how the wishes of the Council were ignored. Indeed, when Michael Cardinal Browne warned that Latin might disappear entirely if the vernacular was allowed, the fathers of Vatican II famously roared with laughter at such a suggestion. 2

When we consider the crisis in the Church, it would be difficult to imagine a subject less worthy of attention than “liturgy shaming.” Consider the thirty-five members of my choir here in Los Angeles. Not one of them would even know what “liturgy shaming” refers to. They are focused on trying to get closer to our Lord, raising their children properly, avoiding sin, praying, and doing spiritual & corporal works of mercy. They don’t go to sleep at night worried about people disseminating videos of public liturgies.

Moreover, Bornhoft’s thesis has major fallacies. For example, some have pointed out that “a process” also exists for reporting police violence (think “Rodney King”). Yet, which of us would assert that police videos should be kept private? Sharing such videos does not obliterate the process in place. This analogy—while not perfect—is worthy of consideration.

MANY ONLINE HAVE COMMENTED in favor of Bornhoft’s article, and keep telling potential liturgy shamers to “mind their own business.” However, they fail to realize they’re partaking in the very thing they profess to deplore! They’re typing on the internet in an effort to stop something they dislike, rather than addressing the perpetrator directly.

Indeed, Mr. Bornhoft is not in a position to tell others to “mind their own business.” Consider his internet article attacking a tiny minority of the Catholic Church (my family included) who simply want to be left in peace.

Perhaps “liturgy shaming” would be appropriate in this instance. In the past, I have advocated contacting bishops directly with letters like this … but that doesn’t seem to be working! I suspect liturgy shaming would reveal that “tacit approval” is actually “imaginary approval.”


1   My wife and I are both millennials who appreciate the Traditional Latin Mass. Consider what Mr. Bornhoft has written about us:

I appreciate TLM Millennials as strong advocates for better adherence to Catholic teaching, whether it’s fasting before mass, showing more reverence towards communion, or engaging in regular confession. But their views on the liturgy, and reform in general, are misguided and threaten to intensify divisions within the Church. Whether they realize it or not, TLM Millennials are not on the side of orthodox Catholicism. They are at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
I’m not offended by such words, because Mr. Bornhoft clearly craves attention—and vile words like those have obtained for him that which he craves!

2   Notice that Mr. Bornhoft refers us to something that happened 50+ years ago to keep us “current”—whereas Summorum Pontificum was issued in 2007, and Universae Ecclesiae came in 2011.