Saturday, April 15, 2017
LITURGICAL NEGATIVITY AS DESCENDING INTO HELL
It is easy to be negative and cynical about the state of the crisis of the Church today. Many want to bury their heads in the sand and simply be grateful that at least 12 % of Catholics in some American dioceses actually practice the Faith by attending the Liturgies of the Church.
For Holy Thursday and Good Friday, my new church that can seat up to 1,200 people, was less that half full which is about 500 people. It looked half full, but if the same number were at the previous church that seats 500 it would have looked packed. So it is all a matter of perspective. And Richmond Hill, Georgia only has about 30,000 people but is a fast growing bedroom community of Savannah, if that many, compared to Macon with over 150,000 people, but a declining population.
I am not as negative about the modern liturgies of the Church as some are. I am not negative at all about the extraordinary form liturgies either. I've only celebrated Mass, baptisms and Nuptial Liturgies in the ancient form, never Holy Thursday, Good Friday or the Easter Vigil. I would find that I would be a fish out of water if I had to do it now after 37 years of the modern forms of these liturgies.
I think where ultra-traditionalists miss the mark is in their negativity about the modern forms which can be celebrated well if there is attention to detail, rehearsals when needed, and doing it by the book, meaning that old cliche, do the red and read the black, but without being robotic.
I know from experience that prior to the reforms of the Mass, most priests were not robotic with the ancient form of the Mass. Younger priests today, and maybe it is scrupulosity that also existed in the pre-Vatican II Church, seem so robotic, as though the liturgy is foreign to them, not integrated into their very soul and they are trying just a bit too much to disengage their humanity from the divinity they celebrate, not realizing that the Mystery they celebrate is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, one Divine Person, with two natures, human and divine and the human part comes from the humans that God created in His image and likeness, especially the Blessed Virgin Mary who was no robot!
The hope for the Church is coming from not only our Emeritus Pope's liturgical legacy, but from the likes of Cardinal Sarah and Bishop Morlino. They recognize the crisis in the Church and have a "Marshal" plan to fix it beginning with the Liturgy of Vatican II celebrated in continuity with the Liturgy of the Church from all times, with beauty, care, solemnity and sobriety.