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Thursday, March 26, 2020

THE RESURGENCE OF THE PRACTICE OF POPULAR PIETY IN THE PANDEMIC OF THE CORONAVIRUS, WILL IT BE A TWO EDGED SWORD?


One of the dastardly effects of the post Vatican II, spirit of Vatican II ideologies, was the complete denigration of popular piety being too private and too pietistic. The Rosary, novenas, adoration and Benediction among others were discontinued or discarded almost over night.

The main emphasis was placed on the Mass as the source and summit of Catholic life because it was communal and the post-Vatican II Church’s so-called new ecclesiology including a more communal expression to the Mass in a much more horizontal, family meal like fashion with little attention to the vertical aspect of God’s intervention into the Church’s liturgical expressions.

Priest were celebrating Masses all over the place, in homes, on beaches, at hotels and at camps. The Mass was the popular devotion but a priest was needed, whereas most other popular devotions, especially those prayed privately did not need a priest.

Most modern Catholics had no idea about what an “act of perfect contrition” is or consists and its parameters. They certainly did not know about “spiritual Holy Communion.” Most Catholics when they attend Mass, even sporadically, will go to Holy Communion regardless of the state of their souls and lives. The thought of a “spiritual Communion” is not something they’ve ever heard about. You go to Mass, you go to Holy Communion. You don’t go to Mass, you don’t even think about it or Holy Communion, let alone contrition or attrition.

And now, with Masses closed to the general public and lived streamed, we are teaching once again about acts of perfect contrition and spiritual Holy Communions.  Will this new fangled theology bring about a new private piety based on the Mass, but watching it on TV or various media sources where one simply makes an “act of perfect contrition” and then a “spiritual communion” as though that’s just as good as being present in body and soul in the Church for Mass?

Will the rediscovery of popular piety encourage the 8% to 30% of Catholics who did go to Mass regularly to consider a new form of the heresy of dualism, that the spiritual without the physical is just as good as the physical without the spiritual? By that I mean, they think spiritual contrition and Communion is all that is needed and one doesn’t need to be physically present at Mass to tangibly receive our Lord’s forgiveness and Holy Communion. And when we are allowed by in our churches, fewer will return, the truly committed, hard nosed rigid Catholics only, the ones denigrated the most by the Holy Father?

This of course is very Protestant, pietistic and dualistic. No?

22 comments:

ByzRC said...

"And when we are allowed by in our churches, fewer will return, the truly committed, hard nosed rigid Catholics only, the ones denigrated the most by the Holy Father?"

I've thought about this. As the wake-up call referenced in another posting, particularly within the hierarchy probably won't occur (e.g. back to business as usual....sigh), this is likely to happen.

Marc said...

A person must be in the state of grace in order to make a meaningful spiritual communion. People who regularly go to mass are likely already aware that sacramental confession is the usual means to achieve the state of grace. And they would also know that it is very difficult to make a perfect act of contrition, even for a soul who is already very close to God.

It would seem this is an excellent teaching moment for the Church since spiritual communion should be a daily aspect of the Catholics life. Alas, the people are locked out of the churches.

John Nolan said...

With the churches closed, and moreover being constrained to work from home, I am able to see the daily Mass (EF) live streamed at 8 a.m. In the normal course of events I would be unable to attend any of the Lenten ferial Masses. Now I have the chance of getting to know them better.

All the 'epistles' are from the Old Testament and are longer than anything permitted in the Novus Ordo lectionary. That wretched tome will not even tolerate a moderately long gospel without giving a shortened version as an option. Today's reading (4 Kings iv. 25-38) tells of Elisha's restoring to life the son of the Sunamite woman; the Gospel (Luke vii. 11-16) recounts Jesus's raising of the son of the widow of Naim.

Last Saturday's epistle told the story of Susanna and the Elders, from the book of Daniel. It took nine minutes to read in fairly brisk Latin. Is this to be found anywhere in the NO lectionary?

Anonymous said...

"Is this to be found anywhere in the NO lectionary?"

Yes, it is.

It is #251 in that "wretched tome," one of the readings assigned for Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent.


Anonymous said...

With people not being allowed to attend Mass, all of the home devotionals should be seen as a good thing. It’s a good thing to see votive candles in the home, it’s a good thing to see holy cards and holy water displayed in the home, it’s a good thing to see rosary beads around the home. It’s a good thing for people to say daily prayer and to make perfect acts of contrition. It also would be a good thing to see some of these things continue in the church: benediction is something I haven’t seen in decades, I occasionally hear groups pray the rosary in church, votive candles have nearly disappear, holy cards aren’t given out as often as they should be.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

"By that I mean, they think spiritual contrition and Communion is all that is needed and one doesn’t need to be physically present at Mass to tangibly receive our Lord’s forgiveness and Holy Communion."

I've thought of that too, Father. Without proper catechesis some people may get the idea that these acts replace confession and Mass, even though we know they are nowhere near the same. Pious acts, even spiritual communion and acts of contrition said privately, are wonderful prayers and do bring God's grace if done rightly (like any prayer or devotion), but they are not sacraments.

Watching livestream Mass at home in front of the computer, saying an act of contrition, saying the prayer for a spiritual communion are very easy compared with actually going to church to do those things. Thinking it is "good enough" just feeds into the already lax attitude some Catholics have about our Faith.

That's why we should be praying for them. We can make the deprivations of the sacraments at this time into a fast, our longing for them and sorrow at not receiving them into an offering to God for graces for those whose faith is weak, who are lukewarm, who do not really seek Him, but who are Catholics due to habit or cultural expectations.

There is a lot of power in the fasts we willingly suffer with submission and humility. We did not choose this fast, but it is an incredible opportunity to suffer something for our faith. We shouldn't waste such an opportunity.

Whether we are called names or not, even by those sectors within our own Church who scorn us, even by our Pope, we who practice piety and conformity to God's word should use this time of exile and banishment as an opportunity to gain graces for the world.

From the day it was announced that public Mass was suspended it occurred to me that it is like Good Friday after Jesus was laid in the tomb. I feel as if we the laity are given something of the experience of what that must of been like on that day for those who had walked with Him and truly believed He was the Messiah.

God is in control of history, we are not. His permissive will has allowed such a thing to befall us. Will we rise to the occasion, as did the first disciples?

We are truly blessed.

God bless.
Bee

John Nolan said...

How many verses of it? The traditional lectionary has 1-9, 15-17, 19-30 and 33-62, almost the entire chapter. Your average lay reader would hardly be able to 'proclaim' it in the vernacular in under twelve minutes, and those who make a practice of reading slowly (a not uncommon breed) would take considerably longer.

Anonymous said...

The traditional lectionary - not your traditional one, but my traditional one - contains verses 1-9, 15-17, , 19-30, and 33-62.

Now, my sainted aunt, would you look at that!

YOUR traditional lectionary and MY traditional lectionary, the one you like to think of as a "wretched tome," has exactly the same reading.

Knock you down with a feather, eh, mate?

John Nolan said...

Anonymous

Thanks for answering my query, although the tone of your reply reminds me of Dick Van Dyke's attempt at Cockney in 'Mary Poppins'. Am I to understand that the weekday lections are not subject to the optional shortenings which occurred in last Sunday's gospel (the man born blind), which drastically truncate the Passion narratives on Palm Sunday, and which even mutilate the St John prologue on Xmas Day?

An honest answer would be appreciated. As for the OF lectionary as a whole (hardly traditional, since it dates only from 1970, was compiled in haste and signed off by Paul VI who hadn't even read it) there are many who find it unsatisfactory and prefer the version which served the Church for over 1500 years, myself included. But this does not make it MY lectionary, any more than the 1970 version is YOUR lectionary.

Add to this the absence of the Lenten Tracts in the 1970 lectionary, and the fact that it is closely tied in with a drastic reform of the calendar (described by Louis Bouyer as 'insane'), and wretched, albeit hyperbolic, isn't too wide of the mark.

Anonymous said...

In honesty, you have access to the "wretched tome" as I do. I would invite you to pick it up and find the answers to your questions now that your shot-across-the-bow has never even left the muzzle of the cannon.

A spoonful of sugar might help your swallow that crow you just took a big bite of.

Many find Earl Grey tea unsatisfactory, yet that is not a statement about the quality of the beverage.

TJM said...

Anonymous K,

Instead of posting your asinine comments here, why don't you go out and minister to your flock. Basta

Anonymous said...

Basta? I tried to get basta at the grocery today, but they were out of everything - spaghetti, linguini, vermicelli - everything!

Now, go make yourself a nice cup of unsatisfactory Earl Grey and chill.

TJM said...

Anonymous K,

Go find Catholicism why you are on your hiatus from Feel Good Catholicism

Anonymous said...

Tried again, could find no basta, no gigli, no orecchiette, no fidei, not even calamarata!

If I go in this "hiatus" - is that a boat, I hope so, cause I could use a good boat trip right now - will it take me to a store where basta can be purchased?

John Nolan said...

Anonymous

I don't have a daily Missal for the Novus Ordo, since I have no use for one. You obviously have access to the weekday readings, so I'll ask again - do they have the optional shortenings that occur in some of the Sunday readings?

It's a simple question. Perhaps you might take time off from being flippant and gratuitously offensive to answer it.

If not, and before I apply the maxim 'qui tacet, consentire videtur', could someone else out there enlighten me?

Anonymous said...

John - Access to a Novus Ordo missal or lectionary is available to you. It's a simple step to acquire one.

Perhaps you might take time off from making snarky comments - "wretched tome" - and check out the facts about the NO lectionary before you make assumptions about it that prove to be false.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

You understand you are dealing with a narcissistic ersatz priest. He’s wasting his time here instead of ministering to his flock. I think he gets his jollies this way. Sad

John Nolan said...

Anonymous

You were ready and able to answer my first two questions regarding the Lenten ferial readings, which were not meant rhetorically. Why balk at answering the third? I have adequate resources for the Novus Ordo, to wit:

The New CTS Sunday Missal (2011)
The Solesmes Gregorian Missal (1990 - invaluable for sung Masses in the new Rite)
The Graduale Triplex (1979)
The GIRM (2002)

Not many people purchased the daily missal; it is bulky and the readings would be in the vernacular anyway. It is different in the older Rite, where a daily missal is more or less essential for those who attend Mass during the week. Mine is a reprint of the St Andrew Daily Missal (1945).

Even if I wanted to acquire other resources it is impossible in the foreseeable future since churches and bookshops are closed. Interesting that you only answer questions when you think you can score points thereby. When you have information which might be of use you are strangely mute.

By the way, today's OF Gospel (the raising of Lazarus) isn't particularly long, but it still merited a 'shorter version'. Not that the Oratorians would dream of using it.

Anonymous said...

John - Your ersatz comrade TJM is right - you are wasting your time.

Your made a baseless remark about the NO lectionary. And you have been corrected

When the facts were presented to you, you quickly altered your tactics, saying that "Oh the reading may be there, but it may be proclaimed in a shorter form" in an attempt to justify your "wretched tome" comment.

So you and the Oratorians can dream or not dream whatever you choose.

Attempting to divert the conversation by referring to "bulky" missals and readings in the vernacular is, indeed a waste of time.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous

You are incapable of conducting a meaningful conversation irrespective of whether I or anyone else should attempt to divert it. A quick overview might help to clarify matters (probably not in your case, but other readers are more intelligent than you are).

Q. Is such-and-such a reading in the NO lectionary?
A. Yes. [Fine, we've cleared that up]
Q. Does that include chapter and verse?
A. Yes. [Fine; I'm surprised, given its length, but I'll take your word for it]
Q. Is there an optional shorter version, as occurs in the Sunday readings?
A. I refuse to answer that question. [OK, I'll take that as a yes]

I didn't say 'it may be proclaimed in a shorter form' because I didn't know. I suspected that it may, hence the query.

Asking supplementary questions does not signify a change of tactics.

Anonymous said...

But, John, John, John, your question was not, "Is such-and-such a reading in the NO lectionary?", now was it?

No.

Your query - more of a condemnation than a query, really, followed your lament, "All the 'epistles' are from the Old Testament and are longer than anything permitted in the Novus Ordo lectionary. That wretched tome will not even tolerate a moderately long gospel without giving a shortened version as an option."

You were looking to score points in your criticism, not elicit information. Only after the set-up did you come to "Last Saturday's epistle told the story of Susanna and the Elders, from the book of Daniel. It took nine minutes to read in fairly brisk Latin. Is this to be found anywhere in the NO lectionary?"

Your suggestion now is that it was a simple question being asked to clear something up. It wasn't.

You can easily access an NO lectionary - something you could have done in the first place if you REALLY were seeking information - and discover answers to your many questions.

Thrust and parry all you want. Dream on - or not - with your Oratorians. Blame the Holy father for whatever heresy you want. It comes to naught outside your own mind.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous, the expression 'would not dream of doing X' has nothing to do with dreams as such, so comments like 'dream on' are simply grotesque parody, and for what purpose?

I have, in the past, attended Masses where the Gospel was shortened, as is permitted in the lectionary, but never in an Oratory parish. Nothing to do with dreaming.

Do you really think that the idea of the 1970 lectionary being flawed is merely a product of my imagination? Or that criticism of the Francis pontificate exists only in my own mind? It suits your 'ad baculum' style of argument, but is pure fantasy.