I have been looking at the latest edition of the Catholic newspaper within our Diocese, ‘The Northern Cross’, and found some of its articles, which I have discussed with several people more knowledgeable than myself, to be quite disturbing.
This month’s edition has, for example, a gentleman contributor saying that since the laity are “gifted by God with free will and the ability to doubt” we do not need the Hierarchical Church Christ left us: “we are not sheep” (apparently we need no Good Shepherd or anyone sent by Him as He was sent). Apparently, people who doubt and defend artificial contraception, homosexuality and women’s ordination are courageous and using their God-given gifts but “are met with a sledgehammer”. But isn’t this what Adam and Eve believed at the Fall? That we can doubt God and get by on our own reason?
We then have an Episcopal Vicar telling us the Diocese wants to prepare laity for leadership, which can lead to just what the gentleman contibutor proposes: a sheepfold without shepherds -or only of shepherds, if "we are not sheep". Now who was it at the Fall that told man he could go it alone? I expect the Diocese means we are to collaborate with yet under our priest leaders, but it isn’t always heard (or presented) that way. Too often it portrays equality of responsibility (wrongly perceived as power, which is how the misnomer of ‘empowerment’ enters into the equation). If we aren’t careful we will be unequivocally clericalising the laity and laicising the clergy.
Next we have a Retreat Centre in the Diocese telling us they offer the pagan practices of Tai Chi and Yoga –apparently, Christ-centred prayer can be replaced with man-centred practices (Tai Chi aims at helping the flow of ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force’ called “qi” that supposedly regulates a person’s body, mind and spirit; Yoga is designed to achieve “Kaivalya” (final freedom) by releasing the soul from the chains which bind them to reincarnation).
Finally, there is a photograph of (illicit) ‘liturgical dance’, showing that man has taken over the sanctuary, replacing God-centred worship with entertaining displays of human talents.
All in all, in reading the paper I found I was getting a disturbing picture of our Diocese; one where people are snared by the hermeneutic of discontinuity that appeared after Vatican II -as snared as were Adam and Eve in their sin following their fall from God-centeredness and grace. And like Adam and Eve, today’s ‘enlightened’ people are taking souls with them into the darkness of self-direction dressed up as free will and conscience; into paganism dressed-up as prayer, and into the admiration of man dressed-up as Divine worship.
Now I DO support lay involvement in the Church and collaborative ministry: I am an Extraordinary Minister; I am a Reader, I am a member of the PACT (formerly called the Parish Council) and active in the liturgy. But I want a parish family led by a man called by Christ Himself to be our spiritual Father; I do not want a parish led by Sister Smith or Mr Green, nor do I want to attend funeral services led by Mr Black or Mrs Brown. I want to come to Mass, there to adore, praise, propitiate and petition God; I do not want to come to Church, there to be entertained by, uplifted by or to applaud dancers and comedic homilists who by their dance and comedy transform us from a praying congregation into an audience. We need to be truly honest of heart here and ask ourselves some serious questions, since we shall one day stand before God. We need to ask: are we not promoting and even facilitating a ‘priestless Church’? Are we not building a Church which espouses pagan practices? Are we not building a Church which seeks to ‘entertain’ and ‘affirm’ man in its worship? Are we not building a Church which asserts the world’s atheistic ‘morality’ as courageous and enlightened? The articles cited would indicate that the answer is ‘yes’ –and all to the detriment of souls, I fear.
I once also was a Eucharistic Minister but then learned that they are not allowed in the everyday use our E&W dioceses use them so resigned as it is improper.
I have found solidity and solace in the EF Mass where there is certainty and teaching not a free for all as found in the modern church and liturgy.
Thank you for the comment.Delete
The OF does seem to be all too often a free for all, and the stability of the EF quite refreshing in such a liturgical climate!
I do so much agree.ReplyDelete
Very well said.
Thanks for the comment.Delete
And thank you for the support.
I totally agree,the paper seems to be quite depressing lately,I very much hope the Bishop got approvalfrom the Vatican to commission these lay people to conduct funerals,surely the shortage is not so dire that such action has to be taken??Perhaps its time to publish another diocesan newspaper??ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting.Delete
Father Dickson says he does not know of anywhere doing 'lay funerals' yet but that they seem to be on the horizon.
Is it perhaps not so much the paper that depresses, but the picture it gives of the Diocese -eradication of the role of shepherds by creeping equality, promotion of pagan mediation rather than Christian prayer and man taking over God's sanctuary? I cannot see how any of this can be in the mind or will of God.