Sunday, 4 September 2016
Oh What A Mess...
Since the heart attack, minor stroke, Atrial Fibrillation and COPD made me useless to the people of the parish and forced me to move into a warden-assisted flat for retired folk, I have been trying Novus Ordo (N.O.) parishes in the locality for a decent act of worship. Unfortunately all I have found is acts of community celebration: affirmation of the people; applause for children after their separate liturgy of the word, and homilies focused on social justice rather than on God lovingly calling sinners to individual repentance and conversion of life. The Masses I have attended have anything but prayerful; more a community get-together than the adoration and propitiation of God which the General Instruction of the Missal sets before us. Indeed the ethos of every N.O. I have attended recently has been one in which the Mass is presented as something to be enjoyed and the folk are to be affirmed. Further, I have found in conversations at such Masses a common rejection of long-standing Catholic dogma (for some the Mass is about attending the Last Supper, not the making present of the sacrifice of the Cross; for some there is a questioning of the Church as the One True faith, leading to religious indifferentism, and for others there is a serious questioning of ordaining males exclusively). As a result I feel many who attend the N.O. are in a state of material heresy. Truly, every N.O. Mass I have attended has left me desperate for a celebration of Mass in the Traditional Form.
Sadly, if those who attend the N.O. veer towards heresy and self-adulation, among those who attend the Traditional Form (Usus Antiquior) there are some who seem to suffer from pride and a lack of charity (wherein Popes, Bishops and priests are judged as lacking and even wicked because “they deliberately ignore defined articles of faith and turn the liturgy from the adoration of God to the affirmation of man”). While N.O. folk are happy seeing more and more jollity in the Mass, hard-core Traditional folk become more and more entrenched in their narrow doctrinal understandings.
The Church, I submit, is in a mess in all facets of its life today: doctrinally, liturgically and pastorally. I am more and more convinced that what is required is a return to the Traditional Catechism in schools, colleges and seminaries, and a liturgy that is solemn and directed towards the Lord (with ad orientem posture, the use of Latin for the Ordinary of the Mass, and reception of Holy Communion on the tongue from the hand of the priest), be that Mass celebrated in the N.O or the Usus Antiquior. Unless we get back to upholding defined teaching and liturgy that is God focused, the Church will never be ‘Fit for Purpose’: the saving of souls.
Why would the Church ‘Not Fit For Purpose?’ Because ignoring defined teaching is ignoring Christ the Truth (the enemy of whom is the father of lies) and because liturgy that is focused on the affirming and jollying-up of the folk is thereby man-centred and thus, idolatrous. Lies and idolatry do not lead to heaven. Nor does a narrow interpretation of doctrine held in uncharitable manner. For the sake of souls, let us get back to teaching the Catechism, worship that is God-centred, and charity in all things.