Thursday, 24 April 2014
Papal Controversies and Liturgical Irregularities Elsewhere...
We do not normally take up controversies on this blog, but we thought we should comment on two things that have disturbed us in the last few days.
The first is that the Pope is alleged to have telephoned a woman in an objectively sinful situation to say that she is OK to receive Holy Communion. We doubt this story is true, because no Pope could continue with integrity as Vicar of Christ if he took it upon Himself to over-rule Christ’s clear teaching; he would become anti-Christ by the very fact of over-ruling Christ. Should we be proved wrong we would have to understand his action as an imprudent act of an imprudent man rather than a Papal Act, but our confidence in him would undoubtedly be diminished if he were shown to be so imprudent on such a core aspect of the Faith as Christian Marriage. The confidence of many has already been unsteadied already by his disregard for liturgical norms that previous Popes thought wise, and by his off-the-cuff remarks that need to be re-interpreted by Vatican spokesmen, but each of these demonstrate the good-heartedness of the man, so we can easily bear them: to lack in prudence does not mean to lack in holiness. It would not be so easy to bear with him if he demonstrated a mind opposed to the teaching of Christ in the Gospel and the constant teaching of the Church, but as we say, we expect this story will eventually be shown to be nonsense.
The second thing that has disturbed us is a post on Rorate Caeli on self-serve Communion. Honestly, the way the Blessed Sacrament and its surrounding liturgy (which is meant to convey the holiness and transcendence of the Eucharist) is treated these days, it is no wonder we have massive lapsation: the Blessed sacrament is God and if we can mishandle God in this way (and at the same time diminish the integrity of both the ordained as shepherds and lay state as lambs, whose area of apostolic action is in the Church in the former case and in the world in the latter case) then we cannot expect anyone to have respect for God or the moral laws which flow to us as expressions of His nature as pure, committed and faithful. ‘Law’ has become a dirty word these days because “it ‘oppresses’ people”; no, it does not: it protects people and holy things from abuse and damage. Every home has rules; “don’t go into your sister’s bedroom”; “don’t eat without washing your hands”; “make sure you do your homework before you go out”; “make sure you say please and thank you” provide for boundaries of respect, achievement and safety in the home. A household without such rules is a household in chaos –and isn’t that what we see in today’s Church? We have forgotten that freedom from law is freedom for anarchy. If we do not have clergy humble enough to teach what is right and subjugate their ideas to the norms of the liturgy, then the household of God (the Church) being filled with anarchy is all we can expect, and can continue to generate.