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Friday, 19 June 2015

"A Different Pathology and a Different Remedy

I do not see his name anywhere, but my recollection is that Vultus Christi is written by Father Mark Kirby. (Incidentally, if you EVER have the opportunity to hear this man preach, or speak, but no - they are the same thing with him! - take it, SEIZE it.)

Something in ones situation changes, routines are broken, bookmarks lost, memory fails and one forgets to check in on writers who have been very important.
Glad to have remembered this.

Anyway, he is writing about the Troubles in Ireland, (you thought they were over with the Good Friday treaty? think again...) but like Pope Francis's demand that we ban all  air conditioning,* encyclical about "global warming", it is actually about a much broader subject.
People of goodwill are attempting to identify the root of Ireland’s [the world's]  spiritual pathology. Some would argue that it has to do with the cultural shift away from immutable objective values, and the consequent spiraling down into the tyranny of relativism. Others would wish for [a new] Savonarola to rouse sleepy consciences, denounce vice, and spearhead moral reform. Still others would wish for a new rising of intellectual insurgents and articulate theologians capable of appealing to reason: teachers of the true faith gifted with eloquence; orthodox catechists; zealous apologists...
I would identify a different pathology and propose a different remedy. Allow me, if you will, to relate a fact communicated to me not a fortnight ago. Two men well known to me attended Holy Mass — it was a Sunday — at a national shrine ... They returned disheartened by the manner in which the Holy Sacrifice was celebrated: the rushed pace of the sacred rites, the breezy disregard of the rubrics, and a general impression of liturgical minimalism. What shocked them most, however, was this: although the Mass was that of a Sunday in Paschaltide, the priest arbitrarily, and in flagrant violation of what the Roman Missal prescribes, omitted the Gloria of the Mass. You may be asking yourself, “What of it?  Is this not a mere detail in the bigger scheme of things. With all that is going on ... surely there is no need to get worked up over the fact that a priest deprived God and the people of the Gloria at a Sunday Mass”. I would argue that this omission of the Gloria at a Sunday Mass in a national shrine is patently symptomatic of Ireland’s [humanity's] spiritual pathology. One believes as one worships, and one acts as one believes. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi. Worship is the ground of doctrine, and doctrine shapes morality.
The glory of God comes before all else....
One who is dismissive of the liturgical praise of the Most Holy Trinity will, inevitably, slide into a dismissive attitude with regard to Catholic doctrine; and one who is fuzzy about Catholic doctrine will, inevitably, descend into moral relativism and, ultimately, social chaos. The restoration of Ireland to Christ must begin — not in the media, nor in the schools, nor even in the pulpit — but at the altar. Not for nothing have some perceptive wits quipped that to save the liturgy is to save the world. This is, in fact, the teaching of the Second Vatican Council:
Every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree. . . . The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, articles 7 and 10)
Let me repeat Fr Kirby's words -
The glory of God comes before all else
So - why does the Liturgy matter?
Aren't there more important things for us to worry about, the corporal acts of mercy, for instance? the spiritual acts, works of charity, saving the environment? (sorry, had to throw that in.)

Well, in the immortal words of every stewardess and steward EVAH -
In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from above. If you are travelling with a child o anyone requiring your assistance, place your mask on first.
(You can't keep them safe if you are unconscious. Okay, maybe you could be of some use as a flotation device even when unconscious, but usually....)
You can't give what you don't have, you can't work on an empty stomach, you cannot give the Living Water to another if you haven't gone to the spring the Source, yourself; you can't celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass properly if you don't think it's important enough to get right, and you can't know how important it is if you don't understand Christ's Real Presence.

* I KID!!!! Do you hear? it's a JOKE. Just because some people choose to believe that's what his Holiness said, doesn't mean we can't all simply read the dang thing and see what he actually said.

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