Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Sunday, 11 January 2009


Lenten planning has intruded itself on my lay existence too early, as I am going to be otherwise engaged during the part of February when I might otherwise put together all my cantor programs for that season.
Fortunately, my "otherwise engagement" also removes me from the "Ashes" conversation, with the ladies who love it, (and who will no doubt, alas, poison the school children's minds with it.)
On the Musica Sacra discussion boards, one David Andrew has as neat an explication of WHY NO THINKING CATHOLIC WOULD EVER INFLICT THAT DREKY SONG ON OTHER CHRISTIANS as I've read, so, herewith, in it's entirety:

Pelagian Heresy is clearly present in verse 1. Several theologians, that is, priests who have attended seminary and in whom I have a great deal of respect, have clearly identified it. So, in this case heresy is not inappropriate or an overuse of the term.

The problem with the texts isn't a confusion over the symbolism (?) of ashes as a sacramental, it is the notion that we rise again to create ourselves anew. Here is the Pelagian Heresy and the reason for objections over this text. Equally, and as mentioned before, ashes are a sacramental and as such are something we are offered as a vehicle of graces, not the other way around. We don't offer ashes to anyone for the purposes of anything, let alone creating ourselves anew.

I believe that there has been a systematic weakening of teaching the Truths of the Church and the opposite heretical teachings in clear, unequivocal terms. As a result, even those who should not shrink from the use of the term "heresy" suggest that it's "too strong a word. Heresy really doesn't exist anymore." B as in B, S as in S. We should no more quickly accept this text or others like it that promote heresy, or at the least a weakened, watered-down version of the Truths of the Faith than we would accept a priest who preaches on a subject we know promotes the same heresy. In other words, if you think a particular text may be really bad, but not fall within your understood definition of heresy, imagine hearing the words coming from a priest in the context of a homily and ask yourself if you'd give it a pass under those circumstances.

When we hide behind the veil of "pastoral consideration" to excuse ourselves from pointing out those texts which have the potential of weakening the faith of another, we fail to enter into the baptismal call to love our neighbor. It is important that the Truth, and not "pastoral consideration," be that which sets us free. That said, I recognize that there are folk who are better equipped to deliver messages of Truth with great sensitivity and Christian love (charity) than others, and we need to be willing to ask them to do so when we cannot. BUT we must not shrink away from naming heresy where it clearly exists.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

I hate that song...haven't heard it for a few years at our parish but I wouldn't be surprised to hear it this year.