Thursday, May 27, 2010

TWO FORMS OF THE MASS AND TWO FORMS OF SPIRITUALITY

Vertical:

Vertical:

Horizontal:

Horizontal:

Yesterday, Roger Cardinal Mahony began to pass the leadership of his archdiocese to his successor, Archbishop Jose`Gomez. Cardinal Mahony said the following in his homily: “As I near the end of my time of tending this corner of the Vineyard, the shepherd’s staff is being passed to Archbishop Gomez,” said Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles. “Mahony goes; Gomez comes. Christ alone endures. The Church’s foundation and its future is not in either one of us. Our foundation and our future are in Christ alone.”

Although the cult of the personality has always been around in the Church and in politics, I believe that it is more magnified today than ever in the post-Vatican II Church and her liturgy. This would include not only the much discussed "cult of the personality" of the priest who presides at Mass, facing the congregation as though an actor on a stage, but also the "cult of the personality" of the congregation. Many Catholics today choose a parish based upon the friendliness and hospitality of its members, the types of programs offered for young and old, the sense of community and belonging as well as whatever outreach programs there are. They also look for a particular theological vision, progressive, traditional, contemporary or extemporaneous.

It seems to me with our incarnational theology, the "Body of Christ" meaning all of us who are baptized, confirmed and receiving Holy Communion and celebrating the other sacraments, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders, are a part of but not distinct from our Head, Jesus Christ, true God and true man. In Him alone is there the perfection of the intersection of the Divine and human, both in His Divine Person and in His Body, the Church , which is also Divine in origin and human in expression.

In Canon Law, a parish is a geographical jurisdiction which a pastor heads. In the everyday life of Catholics, the hope is that we act as Catholics toward one another, are hospitable to our neighbors, show concern for the poor who live with us and beyond and work in politics to bring to bear our Catholic teachings and identity.

The small amount of time we spend at "Church" on Sunday and during the week is meant to reinforce our community life outside of the Church's physical property. Therefore, a more vertical relationship with God should be reinforced at Mass rather than the horizontal relationship we should be having with each other everyday within our "parish boundaries."

The vertical expression of our relationship to God during Mass is precisely a focus of attention upon God present in the Most Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle before Mass and after which means praying to God silently and not visiting with one another--do that during the time you are not in the Church, the horizontal, which is important but in the right location and time.

The same is true for listening to the Scriptures, responding in song and prayer appropriate to your state in the Liturgy, and receiving Holy Communion. The "Ite Missa Est" is all about going out to the world in a "horizontal" way to love and serve the Lord after having experienced Him in the most "vertical" way possible during Holy Mass.

I don't beleive the intention of the reform of the Mass was to do away with the vertical experience with have with God at Mass and substitute a more horizontal expression of the Mass with one another. The horizontal means emphasizing hospitality, community on Sunday morning in the Church building, holding hands during prayer, extended sign of peace, talking and clapping when moved to do so. This occurred not from the post-Vatican II liturgical documents, but at the behest of liturgists who often had their own vision and agenda as it regarded what they preceived to be the "spirit" of Vatican II.

So, why do you join or leave your Catholic parish? Because of the priest, the congregation or some other factor?

26 comments:

Templar said...

Why does one join or leave a Parish?

For me that is simple. Orthodoxy

I should be able to walk into any Catholic Church anywhere in the world and the Mass I serve at should be the same. But it is not. Leaving aside the language issues, the actual content of the mass is wildly different from Parish to Parish. I want, actually I have the RIGHT, to attend Mass at a Parish that celebrates Mass reverently AND in strict accordance to the Rubrics. I have the RIGHT to hear a Homily that speaks not only the the readings for the specific Mass, but is tied to ORTHODOX Catechism and Dogma. I have the RIGHT to a Priest(s) who takes seriously his role as my sacramental intercessor, and is driven by the desire to save souls in the here after and not by a desire to be accommodating, well liked, and socially relevant.

It is because I can not be assured of experiencing that in every Roman Catholic Church in the world that I am compelled to "shop" or "church hop". I blame the Bishops when a Diocese is Heterodox enough to cause large numbers of Church Shoppers.

Anonymous said...

Just this week, a church shopping issue came up!
I saw a man for the second time this week whom I had seen for the first time a couple of weeks ago.
We met because of us both attending my parish. He and his family had recently moved here from another state.
At our first meeting he expressed dislike because of no communal chalice, and a few other warm fuzzy things were not there as he and his family were accustomed to at their previous parish.
At this second meeting, he informed me that they had tried a different parish and really liked it!
Newcomers were welcomed, there was the communal chalice, and it was a modern (in the round) structure just as his previous parish.
So for him, it's alsways been horizontal.
Therefore, vertical seemed cold and unfriendly.
I think no one has ever taught most people the concept of Vertical vs. Horizontal
Most people only have their feelings to go by, to help them discern and decide most things in life, including churches.
Hmm...prhaps a lot more catechesis is in order.
It's my hunch that many people would have an eye-opening experience, or a conversion, if they were only taught properly by someone.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Templar...who says YOU (or anyone else for that matter)have a RIGHT to anything?

And remember that Priests are human too. they are influenced by others also. How can you say that YOU have a RIGHT for them to be any certain way?

pinanv525 said...

Well, Anonymous, maybe it is a bit strong to say we have a "right," but there is a reasonable expectation of homogeneity and consistency at a Catholic Mass. Otherwise, what would you see as normative? The Priest may be human, but when celebrating Mass he is in persona Cristi and his individuality and personal quirks are supposed to be submerged in that identity. As the Apostle Paul says, "We are the vessel and not the treasure."

Anonymous said...

pinanv525 said:
"...but there is a reasonable expectation of homogeneity and consistency at a Catholic Mass."

Doesn't that homogeneity exclude one parish having extensive Latin, much of it not "singable" or understandable for the common parishioner/visitor, in the Ordinary form?

Templar said...

The Church is a Hierarchy, established along Feudal Lines technically, and not a Democracy. Within that Hierarchy the separate classes of people have duties and rights in relation to each other.

The message, rites, customs, practices, beliefs, dogmas, etc etc at St. Joseph in Macon should be the same as the message from the top in Rome. I have the RIGHT to expect it to be so, because Jesus established that arrangement, and my Pastor has that DUTY to see that it is so. In exchange for that RIGHT I have the DUTY to accept, embrace and practice ALL of the Church's teachings, not the ones convenient to me.

I assumed these DUTIES, and obtained these RIGHTS on the day I stood to be Confirmed as a member of the Church Militant.

Anyone who believes contrary to things otherwise is at least bordering on being other than Catholic. Congregationalists set their own rules, and do as they please. Catholics follow Peter.

Pater Ignotus said...

In some places in Africa the Book of the Gospels is carried in solemn procession in a rough woven sack that the book-bearer carries on his or her back. This is nothing most Western Catholics have experienced, and it might strike someone looking for world-wide liturgical uniformity as "bordering on being other than Catholic."

This would not, however, be the case. It is simply the way a portion of the mass is celebrated in another culture.

In other places in Africa, dancers might accompany the presider as he comes down the aisle. They would be moving rhythmically, chanting in their vernacular language, accompained by drums. This might appear to some as "bordering on being other than Catholic."

This would not, however, be the case. It is simply a portion of the way the mass is celebrated in another culture.

A Western Catholic might wander into a church in the Australian outback and lament the absence of baroque carved marble cherubim and scoff at the natural fibre woven rugs in the sanctuary. This "WC" might be inclined to think that the people there were "bordering on being other than Catholic."

This would not however, be the case. It is simply a legitimate difference in the way Western Catholics and aboriginal Australian Catholics design and decorate their churches.

In Japan, a WC might be surprised to find red vestments being worn at Easter time. The visitor might conclude that this Japanese parish, or maybe the entire Church in Japan, is "bordering on being other than Catholic."

This would not be the case...

We Catholics have a right to the proper celebration of the liturgy and to orthodox teaching. We have no right to demand that every Catholic in the world celebrates a liturgy that looks, feels, smells, or sounds like what we have grown accustomed to in our own Catholic home parish cocoons.

The Church is bigger than any language, any one style of music or instrumentation, any style of brocade or damask chasuble.

"I" am not the sum of the experience of the Church.

Templar said...

By that logic the catholic Church in America should adopt Protestant practice and culture because that is the predominant culture in the US.

If these Churches in Africa, Australia, Japan, et al are engaging in Liturgical varainces which have been approved by the CDW (like say the Ambrosian Rite)and are governed by their National Council of Bishops in a manner similar to our USCCB, then fine, all is in order.

If that's what you meant when you say: "We Catholics have a right to the proper celebration of the liturgy and to orthodox teaching." then I think we are in complete agreement. If you're condoning non-European cultures changing the Liturgy becasue it suits their cultural tastes and at the same time grossly violates the rubrics, then I disagree and those parishes are being other than Catholic.

pinanv525 said...

While there is room for varying cultural expressions of reverence and worship, a line has to be drawn somewhere. I believe the Church already goes too far in compromising what is primarily a Western/Judaeo-Christian tradition in an effort to appeal to "World Religions." What if the head-hunters want to include a shrunken head in their ritual? Once you begin to compromise, where does it end? What is normative for you, anyway, Pater?

Anonymous said...

Pater is rightly in tune with the Catechism:
http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect1chpt2art2.shtml


For all of us we need to take a deep breath and not let our personal beliefs lead to that separation/schism which is referred to in #1206

Pater Ignotus said...

What is normative for any Catholic is normative for me. The problem I see is that too many Catholics think that their own (limited)experience of Catholicism is or should be the norm for all Catholics. This is not what the Church believes or teaches. (Thanks, Anon, for the Catechism reference.)

I always get a kick out of someone who says disparagingly "This place doesn't even look like a Catholic church!" There is no "Catholic Church look." Even a cursory review of the history of architecture used for Catholic churches would reveal dozens, if not hundreds, of styles of design and decoration through the centuries. Each is as "Catholic" as the next.

Maybe you don't care for the style, maybe you have never seen the style, but to dismiss the architecture/decoration of a church as "not Catholic" is an example of personal preference being raised to the level of doctrine or dogma.


The very fact that the Church recognizes that "liturgical diversity" exists and that it "can be a source of enrichment" should give pause to those who are beating the drum for unflinching uniformity.

I do not agree at all that the Christian faith is "primarily a Western/Judeo-Christian tradition." I would further argue that it is also not primarily a Greco-Roman tradition. While Western and the Greco-Roman patterns of thought have had the preponderance of influence on the Church in terms of philosophy, theology, and architecture, these are not by any means essential to the Christian faith. They are accidents which, like the accidents of bread and wine, contain a far greater and more sublime Truth.

Templar said...

Actually Anon, Pater is not in tune. He says "what is normative to any Catholic is normative to him, and the Catechism you reference specificly states that "Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity".

That was laefully recognized rites.

Therefore my statement stands that if these dancers and burlap sacks are part of recognized rights of the Latin Church, then yes they're Catholic. If it's cultural intrusion into the dignity of the Latin Rite Liturgy it's clearly the exact opposite of Catholic.

"Diversity" is the banner of the Modernists who seek to destroy the Faith, and as the Pope has recently pointed out, the "enemy" is not only attacking the Church from without but from within. Diversity is the exact opposite of the meaning of Catholic.

pinanv525 said...

Well, Dear Pater, you would have a difficult time arguing that the Judaeo-Christian/Catholic tradition is anything other than Western,in particular,the theology and doctrine of the Catholic Church. From the Platonism of John's Gospel, the Greek influences upon the Apostle Paul, and the Platonism and Neo-Platonism of the Early Fathers and Augustine. St. Augustine relied heavily upon Platonic and Neo-Platonic elements in his explanation of the Trinity, as well as for his rather prescient concept of rationales seminales. Aquinas, whose name is Aristotle, drew heavily from Greek philosophy, as did Anselm and many others. Our present Pope hails solidly from the tradition of German Idealism,and Protestant (albeit Christian) theology is heavily dependent upon Kant and Hegel.

Christ commanded his disciples to go and convert people to belief in Him. The Church is commanded to convert the heathen...not compromise with them or concoct some vague globalist notion of Christianity's orogins. Christians and Catholics should speak boldly and unapologetically from within their solidly Western Faith (even the Eastern Church is still just an Eastern version of a fundamentally Western tradition), attempting to draw others into it. We speak from a position of strength and,yes, we do know something they don't.

Anonymous said...

Anon here.
Pater Ignotus: Please don't live up to your name. You were doing okay but you've made too far a leap with your last paragraph:
"I do not agree at all that the Christian faith is "primarily a Western/Judeo-Christian tradition." I would further argue that it is also not primarily a Greco-Roman tradition. While Western and the Greco-Roman patterns of thought have had the preponderance of influence on the Church in terms of philosophy, theology, and architecture, these are not by any means essential to the Christian faith. They are accidents which, like the accidents of bread and wine, contain a far greater and more sublime Truth."

Pater Ignotus said...

Let me clarify: I am not suggesting that our theological reasoning is NOT primarily a western phenomenon. It most certainly is. I am suggesting that, had historical events taken a different turn - St. Paul going east instead of west - we'd have a very different basis for our epistemology.

It did not HAVE to be Platonism, neo-Platonism, or Aristotelian thinking that provided the basis for Aquinas. That was Aquinas' historical/geographical location and so it came to be.

There is a danger in equating the philosophical underpinnings of Catholic doctrine with the Truth expressed in the doctrine.

pinanv525 said...

Oh, for God's sake, Pater. And frogs could have evolved to have wings, and if Egypt was in North America we'd have the pyramids. If historical events had taken a different turn, we'd all be goose-stepping and speaking German. We aren't playing "what if" here. The form in which the truths are expressed is significant and it is an integral part of that truth. "Truth" is not something just floating around out there waiting to assume any form. That isn't incarnationalism, it is animism or pantheism. The Truth expressed in our doctrine and theology took a particular form in a particular time. Positing a hundred different possible scenarios is absurd. Ever try your hand at Science Fiction?

Pater Ignotus said...

We are taught, when interpreting Sacred Scripture, that if we want to know what God has revealed, we are to "take into account the conditions of their (the human authors') time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current." (CCC #109)

I don't know why you think the same
process should not be applied to understanding the Church's doctrine. It is as conditioned by time and culture as St. Paul, Isaiah (I, II, and III), or the evangelist Luke.

This process is not destined to lead one to denial of revealed Truth. Otherwise, why would Holy Mother Church, in her infallible Second vatican Council, make such an assertion?

No, it is not a game of "what if." I never suggested such. I do suggest, though, that confusing a culturally conditioned expression of the Truth with the Truth itself is not sufficient.
(Watch your epistemological methodology here.) Otherwise, all theologians after the end of the Patristic age should have been ordered to lay down their quills.

Templar said...

Pater Ignotus said:

" Otherwise, why would Holy Mother Church, in her infallible Second vatican Council, make such an assertion?"

Infallible Second vatican Council?

I have rarely agreed with you, but I at least took what you had to say seriously, but after that whopper I'm not sure I can anymore. Vatican II was a purely Pastoral Council, nothing Infallible was declared, and no Dogma changed. And if you know that, as I would expect any Priest to, you are being purposely disengenious.

Frajm said...

I too was shocked by pater's infallibility! FrAJM

Pater Ignotus said...

"The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith - he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an ecumenical council." (CCC #891)

It strikes me that the Second Vatican Council was the body of bishops together with Peter's successor, exercising the supreme Magisterium.

Bishops do not gather with Peter's successor, vote on, and promulgate four Constitutions, nine Decrees, and three Declarations just for fun . . .

Good Father, neither I nor you possess the charism of infallibility. I have not claimed it - do you?

Frajm said...

Priests and laity teach infallibly when what they teach is infallibly taught by the Church and defined as such by the Ordinary and/or Extraordinary Magisterium of the Church. So the Second Vatican Council taught some infallible truths, but previously defined as infallible.There was nothing new from the Second Vatican Council that is to be considered infallible. But not everything taught by the documents of the Second Vatican Council are infallible, like how the Mass should be revised, etc. Now it is infallible that the pope and a council can revise the Mass--no argument there.

Templar said...

"In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted with docility according to the mind of the Council concerning the nature and aims of each document" (Paul VI, General Audience of 12 January 1966).

Pater Ignotus said...

So, since the Second Vatican Council was a "purely pastoral council," what am I to make of the oft cited "The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the latin rites."? (SC no 336) Shall we disregard it, since Vat II taught nothing?

Or, "The Church has also a high regard for Muslims..." (NA no 3)

Or, well, you fill in the blank.

Too often I hear "Vatican Two was merely or purely pastoral" from those who wish to disregard this or that passage.

If you think nothing changed in our doctrine, I urge you to re-read especially Nostrae Aetate, Unitatis Redentigratio, and Dignitatis Humanae, and compare these to the former teaching on Jews and other non-Christian religions, non-Catholic Christians, and the freedom of individuals to choose which religion they will follow.

Frajm said...

Nothing changed in our Dogma, Pater, attitudes were changed in doctrine,but not revealed doctrine itself. Why did the post Vatican II reformers of the Liturgy disregard a very clear "precept" about Latin but others took to heart changed attitudes towards Jews, other Christians and other religions? Maybe those who were in the ecumenical and interfaith movements actually obeyed the direction of Vatican II. But some did go off on the tangent of some perceived spirit of Vatican II allowing for Communion to anyone including the non-baptized, all religions equal and you can be saved apart from Jesus Christ. So, what's your point Pater?

pinanv525 said...

So, Pater, if as you say, all doctrines are culturally and historically conditioned, does that mean they are also conditioned by the cultural phenomena of physics, mathematics, and biology? The certainly we can do away with the Trinity, which is a physical, mathematical, and biological absurdity. The Resurrection has to go, as well, because who ever heard of....well, you know. Ditto the Virgin Birth, a biological no-no. Scratch the miracles, the Real Presence, Priestly succession and, yes, your own ordination. You are playing sophomoric word games. The very nature of the truths of Christian doctrine is that they are timeless and eternal. The truths of the Church are embodied truths, not some "Truth" with a capital "T" scooting around out there looking for some timely "categories" or "occasions" to hop into. These truths may have been embodied in particular times and places, which is a part of their uniqueness. Salvation history is linear, not cyclical like some Oriental Phoenix. You are sounding like a relativist or, perhaps, a Neo-Protestant theologian, for whom it is all just some embodiment of existential "truths" (now there's an oxymoron)about the self vis a vis the world. Please say it ain't so.

By the way, your quoting from #109 of the CCC is misappropriating the teachings regarding the interpretation of Holy Scripture. That interpretation does not include relativizing it with regard to the ephemera of culture and politics. It all starts with the Church. It is the Church teaching and evangelizing from a position of authority...nay, superiority. You know, convert the heathen and all that. That really bothers you, doesn't it?

Templar said...

Pater Ignotus said:

"So, since the Second Vatican Council was a "purely pastoral council," what am I to make of the oft cited...."

Did you read the whole quote from Pope Paul? Let me repeat it since you once again prefer to debate disingeniously.

"In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted with docility according to the mind of the Council concerning the nature and aims of each document" (Paul VI, General Audience of 12 January 1966).

Note: "...but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted..."

Believe me, I think Vatican II was the worst thing to happen to Holy Mother Church in my lifetime, but that doesn't mean it can be ignored, or discounted. Just don't make it out to be something other than it was and is.

I believe we're hearing the buzzing of the Modernist Bees as their Autumn approaches.