Video: The Spirit of Vatican II rears its ugly head in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

A couple days ago Rorate Caeli shared a video on its website.

It was a brief, seven minute clip of “Deacon Sandy” from Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin explaining just how “unique” his parish is.

The video received so many views that Good Shepherd removed it from public viewing.

Why, you’re probably wondering, would more views cause someone to make a public video private?

Well, once you watch the first thirty seconds of it, the reason for doing so becomes quite apparent.

Once you’ve watched all of it, if you can, be sure to thank Patrick Archbold of Creative Minority Report. He had the foresight to make a copy of the video in the event that Good Shepherd would make it private.

There’s been a lot of reaction across the blogosphere in response to Deacon Sandy’s video, and for good reason. This sort of maniacal, strange blend of charismatic, Protestantized Catholicism is not how God wishes to be praised.

As a Latin Mass attendee, I have much to say about just how dangerous this “parish” in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church actually is.

For fear of being too uncharitable, however, I’ll allow myself to make only a few brief remarks. Then I want to hear from you guys.

The first thing that struck me after watching Deacon Sandy’s video is that upon entering the “worship space” at Good Shepherd one is instantly met with “talking.”

It seems painfully obvious as to how disrespectful this is to God. But for those who cannot grasp this, perhaps an example is in order.

Imagine that you invite your children over for Christmas dinner. After opening the door imagine that instead of greeting you and giving you a big hug, your children turn to one another and start talking about the weather, the latest movie or tell inside jokes about what went on at Thanksgiving. How would that make you feel? Not so good, I imagine. It might even cause you to resent them.

In a similar sense, when God welcomes us into his house, he desires that we pay full attention to him. He does not take pleasure in his children holding conversations better suited for the coffee shop in his pews.

Second, there is no mention in the video that the mass is a propitiatory offering for our sins. The incessant emphasis on the mass being a unification of two equal parts no different than one another is straight out of Martin Luther’s playbook. It inevitably leads to the understanding that the priest is not acting in persona Christi during the mass, that he is only a “presider” and that the mass is simply a gathering of like-minded people as opposed to being the unbloodied, re-presentation of the Sacrifice on Calvary.

Third, there are no kneelers at Good Shepherd.

We are told by Deacon Sandy that we should stand because that is how we “show reverence” to the President of the United States. I really hope I don’t have to remind the good Deacon that the President is merely a man whereas Jesus Christ, the Son of God and ruler of all nations, is both human and divine. This being the case, we should take our cues not from the customs of the world, but from Scripture, which reminds us that kneeling is a sign of obedience to God. We are not equal with him.

Embracing this sort of innovation leads to endless revisions and can have a detrimental effect on Catholics in the long run. Just ask Jimmy Fallon, the host of The Tonight Show, who stopped attending mass because of liturgical changes.

Next we are told that our experience at mass is “enhanced” by things like video screens. Oh how empty those who lived before the invention of PowerPoint must have felt after mass!

What Deacon Sandy is implicitly saying here is that the mass in inherently inadequate and not capable of edifying the congregation. Question: does Deacon Sandy believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ? Seriously, there is nothing more edifying than receiving Christ’s body and soul during communion. Nothing. Adding elements to the mass from the outside world injects things that are bound by time and built by man into something that is timeless and built by God.

Lastly I want to point out how absurd it is to have 70 parish “ministries.” This is a problem many parishes, especially in the United States, where finances are not always difficult to come by, have.

There is a great book titled “The Soul of the Apostolate” written by Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O. that tackles this precise problem. It is a fantastic book that used to be bedside reading for Pope St. Pius X.

The essence of “The Soul of the Apostolate” is that there is a danger to getting “too involved.” What happens is that we fall victim to thinking that things can only change and that our lives can only have meaning if we put away our missals, stop praying our rosaries and head out into the streets.

Eventually, we come to trust ourselves more than God. Sooner or later our frenetic behavior consumes our life to the point where our “interior” life becomes a hollow shell. Catholic classics like “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas A Kempis and “The Way of Salvation and of Perfection” by St. Alphonsus end up getting replaced by Shane Claiborne’s “The Irresistible Revolution” and Saul Alinksy’s “Rules for Radicals.”

So, that’s my two cents. I’m sure all of you have some thoughts on this as well. As Deacon Sandy might say, let’s “talk to each other.” But remember, no one opinion is “any better or worse than another.”

UPDATE: Deacon Sandy responded to Creative Minority Report on their Facebook page. You can read what was said by clicking here.


Categories:Church News Video

  • Bill Monteith

    Forgive my ignorance, but how do they have Mass without a priest.?This is disturbing to say the least, even more so because it seems to have the approval of the Archbishop.

    • Bill Monteith

      Sorry, figured it out myself.

  • David

    I’m pretty sure they have an invalid Eucharist. That should be the most important thing here. I mean, leavened bread that was baked by them? It sounds like they have an invalid Eucharist, so Jesus is not in fact truly present in their Church.

  • Del Ross

    I am reminded of the extremist punditry of talk radio and Fox News. None of your observations about the video or this parish’s approach to Mass are based in fact, but are rather your own stilted opinions clearly rooted an an antipathy to the direction of the Church since Vatican II.

    All religions of the world break down into two types of followers: those who prefer the spiritual, contemplative approach and those who prefer a strict formula. In theology, these have been characterized as the “Path of Wisdom” and the “Path of Love.” The author of this article clearly espouses the “Path of Love” in which followers adhere to ritual without need for understanding. The Latin Mass has a beauty of its own, but there is nothing inherently sacred about a language which neither congregants nor Christ Himself can speak or understand.

    The approach of this parish is a bit more than would make me comfortable, but its practices are grounded in a Catholic tradition and intent that predates and supersedes the Tridentine Mass which was devised and published nearly 1,600 years AFTER our Savior’s birth.

    • Stephen Kokx

      Um…I am not sure what is extreme or unfactual about pointing out how talking in the House of God is disrespectful or how the video above doesn’t mention the mass as a sacrifice. You don’t have to be a Latin Mass goer to think that not having kneelers at a Catholic Church is, to say the least, odd, or that having 70 “ministries” is a bit too much focus on the corporal works or mercy. Your other statements betray a naive grasp of the different Catholic spirituality types as well as a stilted antipathy for the Church before the 1960s

      • Del Ross

        Show me what part of my comments represents “antipathy for the Church before the 1960s.” The title of your article states your own feelings outright.

        I’m interested in knowing what motivates you. You see yourself as a defender of the faith, but you come across as a didactic. The Church is not merely a collection of forms and traditions which must be preserved at all costs. It changes and SHOULD change over time so that it can continue to reflect and support Christ’s love and teachings in a changing world. I trust the leaders of our Church. 2,000 years of success seem to bear out my trust.

        • Del Ross

          I am amused by the notion that a Catholic priest, Pope John 23, and Paul 6 are all being questioned as to their application of dogma while Jimmy Fallon is upheld as the moral compass to which we should be compared. I know nothing of Mr. Fallon’s morality (and I find him hysterical), but it is certainly interesting to find him referenced in this conversation. Repeatedly.

  • Lillian

    It is one thing to call out renegade priests – please do! But to title this “The Spirit of Vatican II Rears Its Ugly Head”?!? To paint the entire post-Vatican II church with the brush of these shameful anomalies is very much the same as placing the blame for sex scandals in the Church on every Catholic priest.

    CatholicVote is veering toward the schismatic. One more article of this kind and I will most certainly “unlike” the site and stop visiting or supporting it.

    • Stephen Kokx

      Actually, Lillian, the title of this blog post is as follows: “Video: The Spirit of Vatican II rears its ugly head in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.” You might not know that if you don’t have twitter. Nevertheless, you are going overboard in your reaction to say the least. Is it something about the essay itself you are annoyed with? Or disagree with? It seems silly to stop supporting CV because of the title of one little post.

      • Lillian

        I saw the full title – how does adding “in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee” change anything? You’re still essentially calling Vatican II an ugly spirit. This is the second CatholicVote article in the space of 48 hours that basically implies that all post-Vatican II, Novus Ordo Masses are bad liturgies. That is why I say it is veering toward the schismatic.

        I followed CatholicVote because of the way it was informing *voters,* as the name implied, about political issues from a Catholic perspective in a more direct and courageous way than Church leaders, who fear for their 501(c)(3) status etc, are willing to do. I’m not interested in a publication that has shifted from that purpose to trying to shove Latin Mass down the throats of all the faithful just because there are some parishes some places that have done a loopy job of interpreting Vatican II.

        • Stephen Kokx

          When “The Spirit of Vatican II” is capitalized it is referring specifically to the fact that “some parishes have done a loopy job of interpreting Vatican II.” I am not, at least not in this article, calling Vatican II an ugly spirit. You are missing the point of this post as well as the other post, which was probably the one on Jimmy Fallon. To think that CV has somehow shifted its purpose to “shoving the Latin Mass” down your throat is also confusing. Two articles in 48 hours on the matter somehow makes this true? Moreover, believing that someone who writes about the Latin Mass is a schismatic is just bizarre. You are aware Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum in 2007 that says all priests can celebrate that Mass, haven’t you?

          • Paul Sadek

            I caught the satire in the title, Stephen, even if others didn’t. Perhaps quotation marks placed around “Spirit” or even around “Spirit of Vatican II” would have helped? I don’t know.

        • Tom P

          I’m also growing tired of the increasing TLM slant. I am a faithful Catholic. I follow the teachings of the Church. I also happen to like well done contemporary music at mass and the ability to understand what the priest is saying in my native tongue. That doesn’t make me a heretic or apostate. It’s worth noting that one of the principle reasons Benedict allowed for a greater use of the TLM was prevent/heal schism by the Rad Trads. It’s called Extraordinary because it is the exception to the norm. Too many people have a romanticized idea of what TLM liturgies were like over the centuries. People disconnected from the mass, sitting/kneeling in pews practicing private devotions with little attention paid to what was going on at the altar. They also forget the developments over time within the TLM itself.

          I’m not defending all that Deacon Sandy mentions. However, if you follow the link to his reply to Creative Minority you’ll see things aren’t quite as bad as this article makes it seem. Maybe little journalistic integrity in the form of contacting Deacon Sandy before publishing this post and allowing him to answer questions would have been helpful. But then it wouldn’t be quite as sensational.

          • Tyler


            Are you really, actually demonizing the liturgy that Holy Mother Church used for at least 1500 years…and you call yourself a “faithful catholic?”
            You do realize that St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John Vianney, St. John Bosco, St. Bernard, St. Padre Pio…all of them said this “romanticized liturgy?”

            You really believe they were part of some drab, disconnected faith and liturgy?


  • Caro

    This is very interesting. I was intrigue by this and shocked, so O wondered if they held confessions seeing as they are “deacon” based, I guess this is where I am confused, but it Priest do actively participate in confessions before Mass. I really don’k know how to feel about this, I just don’t think it is right. If you are no longer following catholic liturgy then how can you be a catholic parish? And I thought there was a ban against consecrating actual “food”?

  • Benjamin

    The Liturgy is a high ridge, and veering from the Church’s teachings, laws and orders will put you on a slippery slope away from God. This is a prime example of falling off the path. What shocked me the most, apart from the kneelers, was the idea that they were baking their own bread and seemingly using leavened bread. Perhaps that’s a wrong assumption, but none the less, there are way too many instances of departing with Church norms for the Liturgy.

    While we recognize the problems this kind of parish directed departure causes, we must not forget the other side of the ridge. Those who think they are more catholic than the Pope, those who side with groups like SSPX and the sedevacantists are falling off the other side of the ridge.

    Neither extreme is good and a true Catholic follows the teachings of the Church whether they fully understand it or not. We do not have the authority to change the Liturgy, only the Church does, and that is true as much for the extreme modernists as it is for the extreme traditionalists, neither of whom follow the Holy See and both who cause scandal among the faithful.

    Where are all the cries about how drastically the Church has changed the way we confess our sins. At one time you could only confess your mortal sins once in your life, after the age of 35, in a public setting. We are a far cry from this ancient practice, yet no one claims that the popes after the third century were invalid because the process of reconciliation changed so drastically.

    It is time to recognize that the Church and Peter’s successors are legitimate and while we may not understand or agree with something the church teaches, we must regard Her teachings as coming from Christ, for whoever rejects those whom He sends are in fact, rejecting Him.



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