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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Not "Heresy" But "Kerlessy"

I'm not the Temple Police, honest, I don't go to Mass to nit-pick or play gotcha.

So I don't think it is my fault when I am jolted or distracted by even honest mistakes when they are large enough, or loud enough.

Seriously, I don't know if there ever was a time when this was licit, a devotee of the Mass of 1962 might tell me, but at least since 1969 the Credo is said EVERY SUNDAY MASS UNLESS IT IS REPLACED BY SOMETHING ELSE, SUCH AS BAPTISMAL PROMISES.
But I've gotten used to its omission with certain celebrants, I try not to fixate on it.

My word it was noisy in the nave this morning.

And I remembered that on Saturday, the Feast of the Lateran Basilica, I had gone to church with the notion,, well, no, but at least pretending to myself that given the opportunity to do so undetected, it would be a fine day to go through all the Gather's and tear out #736.*
Well, what does the homilist up and proclaim, but that a church is "only a church when we come together there to pray."
Standing six feet from the consecrated altar,  and maybe ten from a well-placed, -designed, -elevated, and -lit tabernacle containing the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus, he, in effect, tells us that we are the ones who make this place holy!

I think what troubles me most is the failure of so many to look at the Church's troubles, (and She has many of them now, does She not? One might almost say they are.... legion,)  holistically.

The preacher whose careless wording in an explication of Catholic theology regarding the, well, reality of the Real Presence cannot see that he is directly or indirectly responsible for the irreverent behavior of the hens cackling about traffic and shoe sales as people gather for Mass and try to enter prayerfully into the Liturgy.

The celebrant who can't be bothered following rubrics about vesting properly cannot see that he is directly or indirectly  responsible for the 20 year old who vaguely thinks of himself as Catholic but can't be bothered following the precept about obligatory mass attendance.

The catechist who founds all his instruction on his and our feelings cannot see that he is directly or indirectly responsible for the rise of the church of St. WhatDoesItMatterAsLongAsYou'reANicePerson.

The strikingly long and strikingly repetitive 119th Psalm doesn't go on and on about precepts, and laws, and statutes, and commands because rules are the highest value of the psalmist.

He sings as he does because 1.) he knows that our right behavior and right belief are best fostered by attention and obedience to the laws of God and of the Church that He left us to guide us; and 2.) he knows that those laws are not random and arbitrary, but the way we can best be led to accept and understand the great truths behind them. 
(Here might be a good place to take to task those who enjoy mocking wearers of red shoes or cappae magnae rather than acknowledging the meaning liturgical garbs has and honoring those with the humility to don it in obedience to rubrics that intend to express those meanings. But I won't, because "not judging lest" and stuff.)
 Sebastian: ‘My sister Cordelia’s last report said that she was not only the worst girl in the school, but the worst there had ever been in the memory of the oldest nun.’ 
Cordelia: ‘That’s because I refused to be an Enfant de Marie. Reverend Mother said that if I didn’t keep my room tidier I couldn’t be one one, so I said, well, I won’t be one, and I don’t believe our Blessed Lady cares two hoots whether I put my gym shoes on the left or the right of my dancing shoes. Reverend Mother was livid.  
Bridey:  Our Lady cares about obedience.
Now I know that Bridey is a dope,  and that because of this it has been said by some that we are meant to take everything he says, including this, with a least a few grains of salt.
But I think it is a hallmark of Catholic literature,  that truth is often proclaimed by characters who are broken, young, outsiders, sinful, or, as in the case, somewhat dim.

* In Ed Schaefer's excellent Catholic Music Through the Ages: Balancing the Needs of a Worshipping Church, we read that one of Huub Oosterhuis's worst songs was an inspiration for one of Marty Haugen's worst... interesting and enlightening. 
Even more striking is a quote from Haugen in which he acknowledges that some people have problems with his text. 
Good for you, well done, sir! I may have to--
But then he reveals that it's the people who object to using  the words "blind" and "lame" he feels bad about.

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