Thursday, February 3, 2011
THE CONUNDRUM OF DISUNITY IN THE CHURCH WHICH IS USALLY BASED ON DISOBEDIENCE TO LEGITMATE AUTHORITY
To kneel or not to kneel; to receive in the hand or on the tongue; to attend the EF Mass only or have the OF Mass in Latin; to have a vernacular EF Mass or not; to wear a chapel veil or not; these and much more are the questions!
In comments on other posts, some feel very strongly about kneeling for Holy Communion and are quite willing to do so on the hard floor to make their point. They encourage others of a like mind to do so.
I have heard of pastors who have removed kneelers from their churches so that people are forced to stand for the Eucharistic prayer. In some places people stand even after receiving Holy Communion until the last person has received. EWTN at one time provided portable kneelers to people whose churches had none.
The Society of Saint Pius X which is a break away group of Catholics who have their own illicitly consecrated bishops came about as a direct result of dissent from all or at least most of the documents of Vatican II especially the reform of the Mass after Vatican II. This group brought public dissent amongst the laity and clergy to a new high in the post-Vatican II Church, similar to those who dissent from Humanae Vitae, but have found no bishops to lead their schism.
Praytell is a blog that encourages academic debate about liturgy and other things in the Church, such as authority, secrecy, and dissent. Its editors never call caustic liberal commenters who try to humiliate others who disagree with them on the carpet but constantly strike out at the more conservative comments thus painting conservatives as mean people and liberals as victims when in reality both groups are rather caustic and mean spirited. There is also an academic and condescending attitude taken with those who disagree with some posts and comments. It really is the academic equivalent to "clericalism."
Praytell's primary ethos has been to denigrate the new English translation of the Mass as a botched worked that neglected the advice of scholars and others in the know and was revised in Rome after the 2008 translation was approved thus making the 2010 translation somewhat different than that which was submitted to Rome and had even received papal approval. These people are not happy campers. They are as mad as hell and they aren't going to take it anymore! Liberals like to stay in the Church to create more division and wreak more havoc whereas conservatives usually strike out on their own since they are more unified and can find unified leadership.
PRAYTELL now reports dissent from a liberal clique of rebellious Irish priests who are asking the bishops to shelve the whole implementation of the new English translation for another five years until the Irish can come up with their own better version, reflective of Irish values and culture. Keep in mind that it is quite common for Sunday Mass in Ireland not to be sung and to be finished in 12 to 15 minutes. The liturgical heritage of the Church which the Church of England preserved and the Irish Catholics did not because Catholicism was outlawed and Catholics could not worship out loud and in large numbers, make the Catholic Mass of Ireland a Mass on the run done quickly and quietly so no one was killed. High Church, meaning Catholic Liturgical heritage, is considered too Protestant, i.e. Church of England, because the Church of England took over all the beautiful churches and cathedrals of Ireland and could worship out loud and in beauty. How unfortunate for the Catholic Church of Ireland today to associate our high church traditions with Protestantism.
One wonders if those who side with the more liberal and mean-spirited side of Praytell won't create their own schism similar to the Saint Pius X Society. Although liberals are so all over the place they are incapable of a unified approach to anything because their premise is dissent. A unified liberal approach is an oxymoron in other words. Division and dissent are what liberalism in the Church is all about.
So with all the liturgical divisiveness today, what's a pastor to do? What's a congregation to do? Personally I believe it will cause more people to become more apathetic about their faith, clergy and laity included. Who wants even more grief added to their complicated lives. Shouldn't the Church prepare people for heaven, comfort the afflicted and challenge the comfortable to be more Christ-like. Don't we win people over to Christ with honey rather than vinegar? Should not the Mass in the Latin Rite be universal, peaceful, and a experience of God's grace, peace and unity?
No one wants to be a part of a family that is always bickering. They fall apart, spouses divorce, children go between parents. Do we need that in the Catholic Church?
A unified Roman Catholic Church would go a long way in presenting the world the Gospel of Christ. The only one that can truly unify such a diverse group of people as Catholics are is the Holy Father, the pope. But respect for him in matters fallible and infallible as well as in matters of canon law have to be at the basis of this unity. Sacrificing one's own principles and perspective on Church matters for the greater good and the common good of the Church is necessary. That takes humility which unfortunately is in short supply in many quarters of the Church today, both conservative and liberal and in between.