Skip to comments.A Cancer at the Heart of the Church
Posted on 05/08/2012 5:28:22 AM PDT by IbJensen
A Cancer at the Heart of the Church
How and why does this sort of thing happen? It causes me a piercing sorrow because it is emblematic of the widespread loss of faith in the adorable mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist that is a cancer at the heart of the Church.
The Erosion of Faith
Several years ago, in the context of a course I was teaching, I suggested that the erosion of faith in the Most Holy Eucharist was, in fact, fostered by a number of liturgical and disciplinary changes:
Minimalistic approach to the fast before Holy Communion.
The offering of the Holy Sacrifice by the priest facing the congregation.
The removal of the communion rail and obfuscation of the sanctuary as the holy place.
The relegation of the tabernacle to the side of the sanctuary.
The reception of Holy Communion standing, and in the hand.
The introduction of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
Taken together, these changes sent a chilling message to the Catholic faithful (and even to confused clergy): Folks, the Blessed Sacrament just isnt all that we thought it was.
The Protestantization of Catholic Worship
Let it be noted, en passant, that while all of these changes are a cause of scandal to Eastern Orthodox Christians, not one of them would be considered offensive to mainstream Protestants. When one begins to worship like a Protestant, one begins to believe like a Protestant.
The cumulative effect of these changes, compounded by a woefully deficient sacramental catechesis and by certain lamentable theological, liturgical, and moral sensibilities in seminaries during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, is the current Eucharistic Crisis. Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004) remains, in most dioceses, a document that is virtually unknown. Pope John Paul IIs Year of the Eucharist seems to have faded into oblivion; his EncyclicalEcclesia de Eucharistia (2003), and his Apostolic Letter, Mane nobiscum, Domine (2004) seem not to have been assimilated at the parish level. Pope Benedict XVIs Sacramentum Caritatis (2007) is, in many places, unknown.
Adoration and Reparation
Adoration in a spirit of reparation is more than ever necessary. Where are the adorers and reparators who will console the Heart of Jesus, wounded by the irreverence, coldness, indifference, and sacrilege that He receives in the house of them that loved Him, and in the Sacrament of His Love?
As for the much discussed reform of the reform, might it not be a case of too little too late? Can anything apart from a Divine Intervention, a new sacerdotal Pentecost, obtained through the intercession of the Maternal Heart of Mary, bring about the change of heart that is needed?
I wouldn’t call the creation of an entirely new religion straining at a gnat. Trivializing the evil of Vatican II may be helpful to you for the sake of justification, but it is very unhelpful to our Creator.
Those airy hand jestures you refer to are the result of the evil that began happening in the seminaries. Bishops consecreted homosexuals, another part of satan’s plan for the Novus Ordo, that would hopefully cause the mighty Roman Catholic Church thereby pleasing the devil as well as those who ruled the USSR and considered the USA and the Vatican their two enemies that needed to be destroyed.
Your attempts at trivializing the Church’s present situation are not helpful.
So who has turned this simple ceremony into a show?
Those bongo drums and guitars are supposed to secularize the ceremony and make the hip-hop crowd feel comfortable.
The chattering that goes on as soon as the gaggle enters what passes for a sanctuary proves that those people believe there is nothing important about to happen.
Oh, and where's that tabernacle? Open enough doors and you'll be sure to see it. The priest is merely the president of the congregation and he generally sits during the readings and if a deacon is available he doesn't even read the gospel.
There is nothing Catholic about the Novus Ordo. When one goes from church to church and especially to a foreign country, one has no idea what is going on.
The new churches are bare and look like aircraft hangars. Votive candles? Forget it. Some have electric ones that will stay lit with a Chinese light bulb for a few hours. The sermons are dry as toast and nothing controversial comes forth like ‘watch out how you live your life or you may spend an eternity in hell.
Your bad hips should not be considered the rule, but the abnormal. When the abnormal becomes the rule we are violating a first principle. As for transmittion of disease: when was the last time you didn’t wash your hands before eating especially after shaking hands with several people. Receiving by mouth should be more sanitary than in the hand for that reason. But that is not why we should be motivated to do things that are holy in the sight of God. We should strive to adore God.
How do you know they have not been and are unworthy? You don’t get a gold star on your forehead for going.
VII evil? Where is the Christian unity, the “one faith” Paul spoke about if you call the Pope’s summons to meet an evil while others might praise it?
Does not the Holy Spirit cause the Pope and his bishops to act? If VII was evil then they were acting against the Holy Spirit since it is not and never does evil.
“Your attempts at trivializing the Churchs present situation are not helpful.”
The chest beating and ripping of garments over showy traditions versus the simplicity of the celebration by Christ is helpful to whom? Our Creator? (who doesn’t need our help.)
So who is trivializing here?
You two are correct. I shouldn’t be so judgemental. However, I am aware of the people I see in the pews every week and when I see someone lining up for communion ask their brother/sister/neighbor what they should do, I can surmise that they probably haven’t been to mass in a while. And, we need our priests to be more direct, in a respectful way, who should and shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion.
You are under the impression that the Mass is a repetition or re-presentation of the Last Supper. You are mistaken.
Nevertheless, for your information, if Jesus and his apostles followed social conventions of the time, they would all have been on the same side of the table -- not facing one another across the table.
By the way, when Jesus and other Jews went to the Temple to pray, they used a language which had fallen out of everyday use and required study to understand.
Since you ask, the Mass has been turned into a talent show by innovators who have misunderstood or misinterpreted the documents of Vatican II -- which say nothing at all about the novelty of turning the priest around to face the people, like a narrator and show host.
Your liturgical catechesis is badly out of whack. Seek help.
Believe it or not, even before Vatican II, there were people with bad hips or knees or whatever problem who would have difficulty kneeling. They simply stood at the Communion rail, and the priest reached a bit more.
As for "public health" concerns, I seem to recall a strong and recurrent warning that to avoid contracting contagious diseases, keep your hands away from your face!
Anyway, Sister Sylverius assured us in 9th grade (pre-VatII) that no one ever contracted a disease from receiving Communion! ;-)
“You are under the impression that the Mass is a repetition or re-presentation of the Last Supper. You are mistaken.”
Not as mistaken as you might think. Says the caholic encyclopedia under: Origin of the Mass,
“The Western Mass, like all Liturgies, begins, of course, with the Last Supper. What Christ then did, repeated as he commanded in memory of Him, is the nucleus of the Mass”
You think Jesus and the rest of the Jews could not not speak Hebrew? That is what you’re saying, no?
“By the way, when Jesus and other Jews went to the Temple to pray, they used a language which had fallen out of everyday use and required study to understand.”
When the priest is facing ad orientem, towards the East (from which Christ will come on the Last Day), he is leading his people towards the Lord. Moreover, when he offers the Holy Sacrifice, he is facing the Lord. All this symbolism is destroyed when you turn the altar around - the priest is no longer even facing the crucifix.
The practical difficulty is that the priest is no longer the leader of his people, he is 'on stage' facing an 'audience'. Instead of his personality being submerged in the common worship, he becomes the center of attention and feels the need to interact with his 'audience', becoming a performer or a sort of emcee instead of a priest, instead of concentrating on what he is doing.
There really is a big and observable change between ad orientem and versus populum.
Sounds to me like you’re reading attitudes you might have into other peoples minds.
Underscoring your point, the ad orientem posture is sometimes referred to as versus Dominum!
Please don’t try to BS me and others on this thread. You are way out of your league.
The Mass was instituted at the Last Supper. That is NOT the same thing as saying the Mass is a repetition or re-presentation of the Last Supper. The Catholic Encyclopedia doesn’t make the claim you want to pretend for it, because it isn’t true. The Mass is the unbloody re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary. At the Mass, it’s Calvary at which we’re made mystically present — not the upper room.
The vernacular of 1st century Jerusalem was Aramaic. Greek was widely understood; Latin was a more recent arrival and not as widely known. Hebrew was a language of scripture, study, and worship; it had not been a spoken language for centuries — evident from the crucified Jesus’s Hebrew quotation of the psalm, which was widely misunderstood by casual onlookers at Golgotha.
Posture helps everyone remember that the Mass isnt all about us. True, the Mass is a gathering of Gods people, whos present in their midst. It is a sacred meal. And it is preeminently the public act by which the Church recalls her faith and proclaims it to the world. But beyond any of these things, the Mass is a sacrifice, the unique sacrifice of Calvary made present on the altar, offered for the forgiveness of sin and the healing of the world. Sacrifice requires the presence of an offering, of one who receives the offering, and one who does the offering. At Mass, the offering is Jesus Himself, fully and really present in the Blessed Sacrament. The One Who receives the offering is God the Father. And the one who does the offering? Thats the priest of course, but acting in persona Christi capitis in the person of Christ, the head of the Church.
The ordained priest exercises his priesthood in the name of Jesus the true High Priest, so his identity and personality are relatively unimportant. His talents and accomplishments are unimportant. Thanks to the grace of his ordination, even his sinful human nature is unimportant. With his back to the people, his identity is submerged in that of Jesus. The message of what the Mass is all about is reinforced by directing attention to the sacrifice itself and the true High Priest, and away from the personality of the ordained priest.
The decision to turn the altars around so that priests would face the people was never ordered or even contemplated by Vatican II. This change obscured the Masss focus on the sacramental dimension — the divine Victims atoning sacrifice and of the Mass. Replacing it was a liturgy with a more evangelical spin, with far more emphasis given to proclaimed scripture and preaching and even ad libs improvised by the celebrant. While all of the critical elements of the Mass are still there, they are sometimes overshadowed by the over-emphasis of alien elements.
All of the worlds great monotheist religions stress orientation in worship. Its well-known that Muslims face Mecca when they pray; their Mosques are designed with this in mind. Jews at prayer traditionally face Jerusalem because it held the Temple that contained the Ark of the Covenant. Jews living in Jerusalem today face the Temple Mount, for the same reason.
From a very early age, Christian worship also has emphasized liturgical orientation. While faithful Jews at prayer look to Jerusalem as a sign of their messianic hope, Christian churches are traditionally aligned east, the direction of the rising sun, as a reminder of the Resurrection. The alignment reinforces the significance Christianity attaches to Sunday the day of the Resurrection, but also the eighth day, the first day of the new week, a new and redeemed creation, reminding us that in the risen Christ all things are made new again.
The risen Lords prophetic message to the apostles was that He would be going before them, into Galilee where they would see him. Whether true east or liturgical east, the practice of everyones facing the same direction also effectively makes the point that at Mass the priest at the head of the people is symbolically preceding them, as Christ said of himself to the apostles. Finally, the common alignment symbolizes a hope shared by Jews and Christians for the coming of the Messiah. At the end of the world the Jewish hope will at last be fulfilled, as the Messiah returns as he promised, this time in unmistakable majesty. When we participate in the the ad orientem posture, were maintaining continuity with the immemorial practice of the Church, reminding us that for Catholics communion is about all members of the Church looking to Christ as our head in all times and places, not just those whore with us here and now.
Some Catholics have come to feel uncomfortable with the ad orientem posture. To some it feels unfriendly (but to emphasize friendliness at the expense sacramental symbolism is a poor trade that reduces the Mass to a meet n greet social event). To some it feels like rejection (its really inclusion, since by a common posture the priest and people are doing something together, participating more perfectly in the sacrifice). To some it feels as if the people are irrelevant to the Mass (but even in the Extraordinary Form, the priest always turns to the people when his words are addressed to them. The rest of the time he like us is turned towards God). They cant see the celebrants face but this is a good thing since it removes a source of distraction for us, not to mention the distraction for the priest of hundreds of eyes watching him.
Even though most Catholics no longer know why churches are traditionally oriented aligned towards the east it doesnt change the underlying principles: that the priest is there above all to make newly-present and to offer in sacrifice the Lord who offered himself for our sins. The priest is not there merely to remind or instruct the people about Jesuss sacrifice. Not just to preside at a meal. Not just to lead the people in prayer. Certainly not just to offer his personality or creativity as inspirations to worship or to gratify his ego. The return to ad orientem posture, whether in the older Extraordinary Form of the Mass or the Ordinary Form thats so much more common, promotes the core principles of what the Mass is all about by removing distractions while allowing the Mass to speak for itself.
“Please dont try to BS me and others on this thread. You are way out of your league.”
Keep it clean and skip the personal insults, O.K.? Good.
Luke certainly knew what was the Hebrew language and calls the language Paul used to speak to a crowd of Jews “Hebrew”. (Acts 21:40, 22:2)
“Hebrew was a language of scripture, study, and worship; it had not been a spoken language for centuries”.
Evidently not so since even Asian Jews in that crowd understood what Paul was saying.
Aramaic expressions seem common enough but no one confused Aramaic with Hebrew.
Jesus was quoting the Aramaic Targum -- the Hebrew is Eli, Eli, lamah azavtani? I would think the misunderstanding was more due to inability to hear clearly.
The very fact that Luke notes Paul’s speaking in Hebrew shows what an extraordinary thing this was. It’s plain from the context that Paul chose Hebrew to demonstrate his Jewishness, speaking to fellow Jews in a private allocution that the tribune would be unable to follow. “Asia” here probably denotes Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia as opposed to Egypt, Greece, and the Western Mediterranean. Asian Jews are those least likely to have been assimilated into non-semitic cultures and languages.
All of which is beside the main point, which is liturgical orientation and what the Mass is.
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