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?
The Episcopalians kept the ad orientem setup for a long time after the Catholics abandoned it. I've attended both types of services both with the Piskies and the Catholics.
One almost immediately observes that there is a tendency for the priest to carry the pulpit/lectern attitude (where he is facing the people and communicating with them) over to the altar. One can observe this in mannerisms, tone of voice, body language, etc. and form a judgment accordingly. Of course, priests vary in personality so that the "emcee" effect can be greater or less, depending. But I have never seen ad libbing, casual posture, over-the-top theatrics, etc. on the altar from an ad orientem priest, while just off the top of my head I can think of several egregious offenders of the Broadway-style variety who celebrate facing the people.
Don't know if you have ever been in theater (I was for years in high school and college), but if you have you know the effort you make as a performer to engage your audience. I sure do notice it when our choir leaves the choir loft (where we sing for Mass) and go up front on the sanctuary steps for a choir concert. All those eyes!
There is also an intermediate orientation sometimes called "the Benedictine arrangement", where the priest is versus populum but a crucifix is placed on the altar between him and the people. One can immediately see a refocussing from the 'audience' to the crucifix.
Unfortunately, you and I may worship the same God, but I (perhaps due to my age and experience before Vatican II’s Novus Ordo) have elected to worship the old tested way that endured for many centuries.
I never left the faith while millions did led by the ‘successors’ to Pope Pius XII.
I can’t say I see much of what you’re describing in my parish.
No bongo drums, and guitars are relegated to the Saturday evening Vigil Mass.
No chattering in the church, though some quiet conversations go on in the narthex before and after Mass.
Tabernacle is center front, and everyone makes a gesture of reverence to it. Votive candles are front/right, and used.
And here’s a clue. The “Novus Ordo” is just as much Catholic as the tridentine Latin mass it replaced, as it was instituted by the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops in council.
Since I came from an Episcopal/Anglican background, the Novus Ordo is very familiar. Yes, the language is a bit mundane. IMO, what the council should have done was steal a “Book of Common Prayer” from the Episcopalians, correct the doctrinal errors, and use it. The “antiquarian” (Elizabethan) English adds the needed extra degree of reverence that you think is missing.
The Anglicans may have been heretics, but they turned out some of the most beautiful English translations ever done. The Douay-Rheims bible can’t hold a candle to the King James, linguistically.
And “modern” bibles may be more accurate and doctrinally sound, but artistic and inspiring language they do NOT possess. Just compare the 23rd Psalm from the King James to the current version (actually, there “is” no comparison).
I think we should just steal the 1662 BCP (after all, the heretics aren't using it any more), make appropriate adjustments in the Eucharistic prayers to correct the theological vandalism of Edward VI's bigoted advisers, and adopt it. We'll need a good committee of 17th c. English scholars to make sure that there's a seamless join between the ancient and modern (that's the big problem with the Anglican Use Rite as currently constituted -- the patches show.)
While we're at it, I propose that we steal the 1982 hymnal as well. Richard Proulx (and whatever you may have thought of him, he was a musician) edited it, and except for a few clunkers (mostly the multi-culti nonsense that I'm sure the radicals insisted be included over his protests) it's excellent, and it stole an awful lot of music from us.
Our parish, btw, is much the same as yours, except the "guitar Mass" is Sunday evening.
Too bad Tolkein is no longer with us. He would have been perfect for the task, both from the standpoint of linguistics and devout Catholicism.
True -- if they had just consulted him to begin with about an English translation, there would have been time, but it was the 60s, after all . . . opportunities lost!
My best friend wrote a letter to C.S. Lewis back in the early 60s. I was going to, but never got around to it. He actually answered her with a very kind little note. Another opportunity lost!
Bit of advice — do keep Catholic threads in caucus or you’ll get jehovah’s witnesses etc. jumping on and trying to disrupt any discussion...
It took a while for you to ferret out the comments I made on this thread a few months ago.
The first one doesn’t make a lot of sense to me now, excepting the second sentence.
As far as having Protestants jumping on a Catholic thread, I say the more the merrier. Unfortunately there aren’t enough of us who remember the era prior to Vatican II and what the Roman Catholic Church was all about: being a beacon and a bellweather for all Christians and inviting them back Home where it all began!
If any of the adherents to the new religion created as a result of Vatican II believe that this is pleasing to Jesus Christ then they should think and pray again.
Protestants like Presbyterians, etc. say that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Protestants, not even Christians...
Mormons aren’t either.