18 June 2005

I agree with the Anchoress...

(no surprise there) ... but I am perceiving it, too: that, for those of us who love the Church, the iron-fisted grip of the You Will Reform, Dammit crowd may at last be loosening.

You know, there was always one aspect of The "Spirit" of Vatican II that few seemed to mention, and the obedient sheep in the pews didn't protest (that I was aware of): the angry, mean, derogatory speech and behavior of those who were imposing their reforms upon us. I mean, think about it:

- the faithful who liked the old Mass told condescendingly that they had an "attachment" to a rite which had nourished the church for time out of mind - as opposed to a coupla decades.

- faithful, reverent Catholics being humiliated at the moment of communion by being scolded or refused if they chose to kneel before the Lord their God

- after so many centuries of devotion to our Lord's presence in the Eucharist, having the tabernacle hidden away

- churches demolished and ugli-fied over the protests of the faithful


Why could not the dignified, unifying Latin rite be maintained as an option? The most successful Protestant churches have "traditional" and "modern" services, all of which have beautiful music in different styles, all of which are conducted in order and dignity, and all of which have the same core teaching and structure. People move among the styles of worship as they feel led, or settle in one - nobody cares. All are happy. All are in church.

The whole scolding-if-kneeling thing is simply appalling. To scold someone in such a moment is, for me, the surest sign that whatever lies behind it or led up to it is wrong - especially since I came into the Church when for a layperson to touch the Host was Not Done.

In a local church, the tabernacle was tucked away from view, except for the extreme right side of the church. So people gather and huddle and stand and crowd on that side of the church to pray. (That was also the church where I was once interrupted in the late 70s during prayer by a young priest who tapped me on the shoulder and said, "That's okay, you can stop now. We all know you're holy.")

It is possible to rework a church's interior without stripping it of all things Catholic. Countless souls have been led to Christ by the contemplation of statuary, gorgeous windows, and soaring lofts. We need "and", not "or," with the only choice being a gym-like feeling.

The rationale behind all of it - the ruined liturgy, churches, catechesis - was to bring Protestants into the Church. If it wasn't so awful it would be funny, because many Protestants of my acquaintance were horrified by the changes (after all, they need us to be Catholic in order to have something to protest against, now, don't they?) and many of those that revert are staunchly traditional.

Charity never goes out of style. This is my litmus test about the changes: to the degree that the changes have been imposed cruelly, rudely, and without respect for people's sensibilities and faith, they are wrong, and inspired by other than the One who loves us, period. Our worship should educate, uplift and feed our souls. If you spend the entire Mass gritting your teeth and fighting the temptation to anger and judgment, and leave Mass feeling sorrow, what's happening is wrong. You can trust your gut. Mass is our refuge. If Father or His Eminence will not make constructive changes or treat you with respect and courtesy, cut off their allowance or vote with your feet. Do it kindly and without anger, but it's okay for there to be consequences for treating people badly.

More on that in another rant that's percolating. Grrr.

In the meantime, the Anchoress is right: something's happening... something wonderful.

1 comment:

Becca said...

It's good to find your blog ... I am an Episcopalian and we have four services on a weekend ... two contemporary services, one blended and one traditional ... and we find it works very well for all of us. Thank you for stopping by my blog ... God bless you ...