Finally! Liturgy in Sports Illustrated

I don’t like heavy-handed suspensions of anyone, but I have some sympathy for the Dutch Bishop on this one. But I wish it would be possible to uphold the integrity of the sacred liturgy without resorting to punitive measures.


Ed. note: Link is no longer operational as of 1/1/11.


  1. I agree that suspension should be a last resort in may cases, but from some of the reports that I have heard this is just the latest in a series of infractions by this priest. The Bishop has allegedly met with him previously and ordered him to cease and desist. If this is the case, then I think the Bishop is justified in making this decision.

  2. “People do not understand it. Everybody supports Pastor Paul and we don’t see what was so bad that he should be temporarily suspended.”

    I find it surprising that people don’t understand what was wrong about what Fr. Paul did. These people are not aware that what he was doing was negatively affecting “the integrity of the sacred liturgy.” I am sure the bishop will take measures to educate (in a liturgical and pastoral sense) the souls under his care, but I think the bishop’s disciplinary (and punitive) measure was appropriate.

    This priest has a history of “mix[ing] the Holy Eucharist with profane events.” (source). This was not the first incident of this sort; he had celebrated a falcon-Mass, or something like it, back in 2009. He had already been spoken to by his bishop.

    The footage of the football Mass can be seen here.

    Surely this can’t be justified as inculturation…

    1. Agreed. Redemptionis Sacramentum has been out for over six years now. Liturgiam Authenticam has been on the street for almost a decade. The Roman Rite has been in place for millennia. There is, in short, no excuse for this sort of debasement of the sacrifice of the Mass.

      And, with all due respect, Fr. Paul Vlaar isn’t helping his parishioners to understand what’s wrong by continuing to approach the altar in such a fashion. It is lamentable that they perhaps do not grasp the gravity of this abuse, but downright disturbing that their priest continues to confuse and mislead them.

      A priest with at least six years of university-level education and the experience of pastoral ministry has no excuse for this sort of thing. The bishop was right to administer what (we may pray) will be a corrective and charitable reprove.

  3. Granted, the shenanigans with the football were offensively over the top, and had no place in the liturgy.

    Let’s look beyond the immediate (and problematic) situation to the bigger picture: there are red masses for jurists and lawmakers, blue masses for law enforcement officers, white masses for the medical profession, etc. What color should be associated with masses for athletes? What propers should be used? How frequently should they be celebrated? And what pastoral strategies can be developed and employed to promote goodwill among athletes of opposing teams — rather than reducing “this” liturgy (whenever and wherever it is celebrated for real, and not just in a com-box) into an overdone intercession for my favorite team to win?

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