Sunday, June 24, 2012
THE REFORM OF THE REFORM OF THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS AND THE REFORM OF THE REFORM OF THE ORDINARY CATHOLIC'S LIFE
It's Catholic identity stupid! The Reform of the Reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass has to go beyond the Mass to the whole panoply of Catholicism and finding the "Baby" that was tossed out with the bathwater.
At one time and not too long ago, within my living memory, and of course I am oh so young, there was a clear Catholic identity that Catholics certainly knew what that identity was and also non-Catholics.
Catholics were fish eaters, meaning they abstained every Friday of the year. They went to Mass every Sunday. They were virgins when they got married and they didn't divorce. They didn't practice birth control and they were obedient to the Church, meaning the Magisterium of the Church and exclusively in the areas of faith, morals and Church precepts (canon law). They had a strong Catholic conscience which meant that they had a lot of Catholic guilt and relieved that guilt and the punishment due their sins by going to confession regularly. They truly believed in judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory and were grateful to the Church of the gifts of indulgences that would lessen their experience of purgatory after death or could help their brothers and sisters in the fires of purgatory.
Anything missing there? Oh, yes, they believe in the Triune God, Jesus Christ the judge of the living and the dead, in His mother, Mary most Holy and all the angels and saints. They believed in the real and literal presence of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament and their Church view was not congregational or horizontal but worldwide and vertical. The transcendent God outranked community and the exaltation of the human Church. Reform was not their God, Church organization and lay participation was not their God, and Vatican II wasn't their God, God was their God and fidelity to Him was their goal for the alternative, infidelity to God on the personal or corporate level would be damnation in the eternal fires of hell.
Catholic identity was built upon a deep sense of loyalty and obligation to God and, family, neighbor and country.
Of course all of this developed from two aspects of every Catholic's prayer life, the public, which included Mass every Sunday, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament regularly, popular public devotions and novenas, missions, and personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in Churches that were always open, the Holy Rosary and sundry other popular private devotions and novenas.
Catholics also promoted vocations from their big and small families and participated in the various apostolates of the Church often called Catholic Action to assist the poor and promote healthy political awareness.
The Reform of the Reform has to go way beyond reforming the way we worship today; it has to go the the heart of Catholic identity and recovering the precious gifts of Catholic identity that have been lost in the last 50 years.
Did Vatican II intend for us to lose our Catholic identity? No, but those who promoted the breach between the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council and the so-called renewed Church after the Second Vatican Council, often referred to as the "spirit" of Vatican II intended to refashion Catholic identity along ecumenical lines, interfaith ambiguity and openness to the world's secularism often at odds with traditional Catholic identity and faith.
The way they would do this is to corrupt the Mass of Pope Paul VI, destroy popular devotions, denigrate obedience to the Magisterium of the Church in the areas of faith, morals and Church precepts and become libertines when it comes to sexuality, contraception, abortion and divorce.
Unless the hierarchy of the Church, meaning our bishops and the "lowerarchy" of the Church meaning our priest, deacons and laity realize what is at stake in the reform of the reform and then start to "rebuild my Church" from the mandate of Christ to Saint Francis, then the reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass will make us more like High Episcopalians, Catholic facade only and no real Catholic substance, all of the gilt and not of the guilt. It will be more of the same of lite Catholicism whereas true Catholicism is heavy man.
So what do we recover in the reform of the reform? Well everything below flows from the recovery of the meaning of TRUE LOVE, true love of God and neighbor. This means tossing out the ideology of love as a feeling, especially a sexual feeling, and recovery of love as calling people to God, His Church and His truth. It means helping people to stay close to God and not ENABLING people to be happy in their immoral life-choices that go against the faith, morals and precepts of the Church. Love does not mean embracing sin or the sinner's immoral lifestyle. It does mean calling them to conversion, repentance and the hard choices that both entail. In the traditional sense it means quite literally: LOVING THE SINNER AND HATING THE SIN BUT LOVING GOD FIRST! THE CLEAREST SIGN THAT ONE HAS LOST THEIR CATHOLIC IDENTITY IS WHEN THEY CAN'T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE SIN AND THE SINNER!
1. For the Mass: the use of more Latin, Gregorian Chant, ad orientem and good taste in the Liturgy and Church architecture. Keep the reform of more active participation but coupled with interior spirituality based upon Catholic sensibilities.
2. Recover popular devotions both private and public, such as Benediction, Novenas, the Holy Rosary and the like, but also continue to make better use of the Liturgy of the Hours for the laity.
3. Recover sound obedience, but adult in nature, for the Church's Magisterium in the areas of Faith, Morals and Church Precepts. This means of course teaching the Catholic faith in a sound way so that Catholics know what is the Faith, Morals and Church Precepts and aren't confused where obedience must be given and where it should never be given.
4. Emphasize traditional Catholic families and be counter-cultural in terms of the politically correct number of children Catholics should have and teach that children are a gift from God to be embraced not a disease to be eliminated.
5. Emphasize that the Catholic family is the Church in miniature, that the Father is the head of the family and its "pastor" or good shepherd. That he is the bridegroom and to imitate Jesus Christ in that regard and that His bride represents the Church and that through her they beget spiritual children for the Kingdom of God. That like Christ who will lay down His life for His bride and never abandon or divorce her, so too the married couple must have the same fidelity.
6. Acts of penance must return both public and private built around regular confession, indulgences, meatless Fridays and added days of fasting and praying (ember days).
7. Chasity as it pertains to one's state in life, married, single, in religious life or Holy Orders.
8. Healthy suspicion of interfaith dialogue, ecumenical relations and openness to secularism but viewing all of these as an opportunity to bring true Catholicism to the public square which is diverse and where the laity and the clergy, well versed in strong Catholic identity can dialogue but without giving up any aspect of their Faith, Morals and Canon Law.
Did I leave anything out?