No words can describe how disturbed I am

Bp Christensen celebrating a "Polka Mass" in 2008
Iron River: The 2011 Lion’s Blueberry Festival Polka Mass begins at 10 a.m. with Bishop Peter F. Christensen of the Diocese of Superior, at Moon Lake Park, County Highway H, one mile south of U.S. Highway 2. Music provided by the “Singing Slovenes,” a popular group of musicians from Gary-New Duluth well known for their Polka Mass” and ethnic music. The group will also perform after the Mass for the enjoyment of the visitors at the Blueberry Festival.
Superior Telegram


His Excellency has celebrated the "Polka Mass" at Iron River for the past three years.  As a recent commenter from the north woods said:
Diocese of Superior is definitely a liturgical back-water. Please pray for us.
Let's all stop for a moment and say a prayer for the liturgical renewal for our brothers and sisters to the north.

You may remember that I posted on this quite a bit last year.  Along with "worshiping more vigorously" I would say the Polka Mass profanes what is sacred.  The fact that it is done outdoors on a ridiculous looking stage with a polka band standing right next to the altar isn't the worst part.  Sacred music is an integral part to normal Catholic worship.  We need appropriate music to worship our God.  The Polka Mass cannot provide what we need.  Even when done in a church it is totally inappropriate.  Apparently when someone is thirsty in a desert and asks for a glass of water, they are given a glass of sand instead of something to quench their thirst.

BTW for you new readers, The Polka Mass fiasco inspired the somewhat regular tradition of Polka Fridays on the Badger Catholic.

18 comments:

  1. That's too bad... the bishop enjoys festivals however.

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  2. A friend of mine (not me! there would be a scathing write-up if it was me) attended a Milwaukee Theology on Tap recently, where the topic was Interfaith Marriage. The speaker basically said that, if the two spouses cannot agree on raising their children as Catholic, it is not a big deal, and neither is attending Mass every Sunday. And people wonder why no one is at Mass, if that is the message being given.

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  3. Terry, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what festivals you are referring.

    ... Virginia, shouldn't you be writing a post on the subject? I've said before, at least heavy drinking can lull the pain of listening to a talk like that.

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  4. Crack the whip on your contributing sometime blogger...

    I just cannot bring myself to attend certain ToT events here in Milwaukee. There is exactly one ToT on my calendar.

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  5. Happy to have found "The Badger Catholic." Please do more features on Diocese of Superior; I'm sure there are other traditional Catholics up this way, but we have no way of connecting. It gets pretty lonely at times!

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  6. William:

    If you want to attend a fine Mass, check out Holy Rosary in Mellen, and its cluster. Fr. Bill Brenna, a second vocation priest, ordained three years ago for Superior, does it by the book and some day he might even start saying Masses in the Extraordinary Form if the demand is found.

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  7. Fr. Frank Perkovich, the originator of the "Polka Mass", celebrated one in St. Peters in Rome with the specific permission of Pope John Paul II.

    If you want to start talking about liturgical abuses, I have a long list of them that are much worse than polka masses. Let's start with masses where 100% of the congregation receives Holy Communion.

    If it is celebrated in a Church and the music selected is proper (a walz time works very well) a polka mass can be very reverent.

    Check out the polka mass at St. Anthony of Padua in northeast Minneapolis on August 7 at 11:30 a.m.

    The Iron River mass doesn't look that way to me.

    But I can think of some folk and contemporary masses that don't work at all either.

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  8. Ray, I'll have to agree to respectfully disagree on this one. I have other friends who like the Polka Mass but I've listened to the musical settings and I can't get past the fact that polkas are meant to be danced to. Anglican hymns, sure, I can get that because they were meant to be liturgical. But I don't think that polka can be fashioned to the Mass any better than jazz could. I enjoy both forms outside of the liturgy but within they just don't fit. Of course I don't listen to chant out at the pub either so I think each has it's proper place. And if Polka is okay, then what is wrong with a Life Teen Mass?

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  9. Matt - when he was a pastor and at the seminary, he liked parish festivals and parties - he likes social gatherings. That's all. Nothing nefarious! ;)

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  10. LOL, am I so scandalized that I read into everything now! :)

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  11. William, happy to have you aboard.

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  12. Hello Matt! My name is Brian, and I live in northeast Illinois. I am a daily reader of your blog. Regarding this post, my parents and I travel through the Diocese of Superior on our way to our property in the western U.P. of Michigan. We have visited several churches in the Superior Diocese, and have seen the "interesting" way these churches are designed, etc. I pray daily for Bishop Christensen and the Superior Diocese. Is there any Priest and/or Parish in the Superior Diocese that currently offers the Tridentine Mass?

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  13. There was coup d'etat in the Catholic Church at the 1958 conclave. Cardinal Giuseppe Siri was elected 2 days before John XXIII. A clear and unambiguous signalbillowed out of the Sistine Chapel for 5 straight minutes as seen in this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQp00j4H3Kg

    As soon as Roncalli usurped the Papal throne he called the the second Vatican Council setting the Church on a well designed plan to destruction.

    This is why we have polka "masses" and rainbow vestments. This is why the words of consecration have been changed. This is why priests never talk about hell.

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  14. Hi Brian, sorry for the late reply. There are none today, but.... I wouldn't be surprised to see some in the near future.

    I disagree anon. If there was a coup in the Catholic Church it had happened long before 1958. Even the SSPX have only taken issue with a very small amount of the documents of Vatican II. In that case I assume his coup was unsuccessful.

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  15. (Brian from Illinois): Matt, what do you think is the long term answer for authetic renewal in the Superior Diocese? Does Bishop Christensen need to be moved to another Diocese and/or replaced? I've read about some of the recent history of the Superior Diocese, and it's not good, to say the least. I've also seen pictures of several Churches that have been "wreckavated", and don't even look like Catholic Churches anymore, and I've even been in a few of them myself. Even if a very strong and orthodox Bishop were to take over up there, he would have a very long and hard road in front of him.

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  16. I don't know the answer Brian, and I don't really know why things are so much worse up there than in the rest of the state. There's many factors that play into a recovery, and a bishop is one of them. A renewal that starts with the laity and is then supported by the bishop and priests is probably most likely to succeed. I have heard from no one that has spoke to the bishop directly about renewing the faith in their area. Perhaps he would support good efforts(like traditional devotions or traditional liturgies) if he was presented by a group of laity ready to support it.

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  17. (Brian): I have a friend of mine who has a cabin with her husband in the town of Hayward, Wisconsin. (Superior Diocese) She reently attended a First Friday Mass at a Church about 20 miles away, also in the Superior Diocese. She has a friend who's a parishoner there. I have been telling her about how important it is to pray daily for our Bishops. When she mentioned this to her friend, she was like, "That's a great idea!" and she would spread the word around to start praying daily for Bishop Christensen. The sad thing about this to me is that people of faith should know already how important it is to pray for their Church leaders. Hopefully, more laity in the Superior Diocese will start doing this on a daily basis.

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  18. (aka Annie): Having lived in the Superior Diocese for the last 11 years coming from a very orthodox diocese --we have FINALLY "crossed the bridge" to the Duluth Diocese. It may be a 80 mile round trip, but worth every bit of time, mileage and gas. Now we can experience reverent liturgies, faithful priests, and fellow parishioners who are formed in their Roman Catholic Faith and obedient to it. The Superior Diocese needs PRAYER. When Bishop Christensen came to Superior 4 years ago, he should have done HOUSECLEANING in the Chancery !

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