Saturday, 8 October 2016
What could liturgically deviant priests be implying?
At a parish I attended for Mass one day this week the priest preached about following Our Lady’s lead and pondering the life of the Lord in order to better recognise His hand at work and discern what is and is not of God. He warned that, just as the Pharisees not only failed to recognise Our Lord but even called His works demonic, so we can fail in discerning what is of His hand, and even call things of God ‘demonic’.
I couldn’t help but think how Catholics faithful to the rubrics and traditional catechesis are often vilified as Pharisees, even by Pope Francis. One priest defended his ignoring of liturgical norms by saying, “It’s because I think it’s more important to care for people than follow cold rules written by some priests in Rome who have never had parishes of their own”. He thus unwittingly accused faithful priests–lauded by the housebound, the bereaved and those in crisis for having been a rock and a balm in their suffering– as being completely unpastoral and heedlessly following ways detrimental to persons. And here lies another insult liturgically deviant clerics lodge: that it’s not simply that Traditional priests don’t care about people, but that Rome doesn’t either! It also supposes that the Roman Church is without insight and competency regarding the good of the faithful.
In the widespread liturgical deviancy that we encounter on an almost daily basis, the reason for their deviancy is that Rome issues offensive liturgical texts –there is a clear indication that some clergy think the Bible is politically incorrect or even misogynist in that they insist on saying ‘Sisters and brothers’ rather than ‘Brothers and sisters’ or even the inclusive ‘Brethren’. I have even heard the Beatitudes changed to ‘Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called daughters and sons of God” (Matt.5v9). Are women really so easily offended? Is Rome really misogynist? Are today’s Catholics so banal in their language that they need a Jackanory text? It irritates me every Holy Thursday when the Gospel says (when speaking of the Apostles) that when the soldiers came to arrest our Lord “and they all ran away”. I much prefer to hear good English: “And they fled”. I feel like fleeing from many a Novus Ordo celebration when norms are ignored and I am confronted (and I use that word deliberately) by a ‘performing priest’. Fathers, please just say the black and do the red. We of the laity don't need theatrics to help us to pray: please stop getting your personality in the way.