Monthly Archives: December 2015

Catholic Liturgical Indifference

mediocrityReligious indifference is one thing; bad enough in its own right. Liturgical indifference is another and, although maybe not as serious, it still ranks highly as an offense against the honor of God due to Him in the Sacred Liturgy. Should we not have a zealous desire to worship God in the grandest fashion possible?  Should we not think it a grievous transgression against the honor of God that we do not expend every means available to provide liturgical worship that saves no expense or effort to return (in our little ways) for His majesty and bountiful mercy and plentitude?  But what transpires in the liturgical “celebration”, at least locally, falls far short of what we are capable of and is a sad commentary on our liturgical and religious priorities.

The first and usually the most obvious indication of liturgical sensibilities is the music.  The blatant disregard for the Church’s direction in selection and presentation of liturgical music are immediately obvious.  Gregorian chant is preferred by the Church but is totally and absolutely ignored. The organ as the only instrument suitable for liturgical worship is totally ignored. For reference, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, sets forth these guidelines.  Latin, once again, is totally ignored.  The mass settings, at least locally, are from collections by contemporary music publishers composed with absolutely no attention to Church guidelines which stipulate new music in conformity with chant structure. A performance mentality is predominate and, with musicians and choir located near the altar, visual distractions are unavoidable.  “Presentation” songs and pre-Mass concerts abound conveying an obvious lack of the understanding of the essence of liturgy as theocentric and, once again, pushing the anthropocentric theme pervasive in the post conciliar church.  Song selections are mostly pop style tunes selected from contemporary resources egregious for their lack of sound theological content and borderline heretical in what they do present.  Think “The Supper of the Lord” or “At This Table” or “Sing a New Church”.  Plodding melodies, no appreciable dynamics and a general lack of musicianship contribute to the mediocrity.

And the congregation, for the most part, expects nothing more.  Mouthing the words to the songs, laughing at the occasional homiletic joke and visiting with their fellow pew sitters, they seem to be generally oblivious to the great mystery being reenacted before their very eyes.

 

Happy Birthday Jesus! Sorry Your Party Was So Lame!

You really don’t hear much about liturgical abuse these days especially when the concerns involve liturgical music.  Most NuChurch Catholics just “luv” the guitars, drums, mandolins, string bass (yes, string bass), accordion (yes, accordion) and what not. With a blue grass theme and a cheesy mass setting, what’s not to like about a little Sunday morning jamboree to get the day going. And if its Christmas day, all the more reason to have a rendition of  “Joy to the World” plucked out on a mandolin.  If you care about music and have even a modicum of appreciation for good, music warning bells should go off.

If you care about the liturgy, the Mass and liturgical music, sirens should be signaling a five alarm fire. What an egregious offence against the Holy Sacrifice!  What a pathetic effort at liturgical music! And what an obvious example of the performance mentality rife throughout NuChurch and the post-conciliar era.  With “musicians” stationed next to the altar, there is no escaping the associated visuals and to top it off after Mass the priest is overheard telling the band “Good Job”.  But of course, the priest and associated clericalism are the root of the problem.  Poor seminary formation and a twisted sense of full, conscious and active participation have given us what we have today.  And the church of nice goes merrily on its way.

Happy Birthday Jesus! Sorry your party was so lame.


 

General Apathy

There seems to be a general apathy concerning the state of our souls and our eternal destination. We have been lulled into a complacent state of mind; either satisfied with the situation in our spiritual lives or ignorant of the dangerous condition of our souls. The Church has not been a faithful teacher in this regard; downplaying the dangers of hell, talking about the possibility of universal salvation and, in general, suggesting that we need do no more than “show up” to be “saved”. It shows in the liturgy, it shows in the “church of nice” attitude where everyone is all smiles and no one can do wrong and it shows in the priests who are all about glad handing parishioners and giving milquetoast sermons rife with jokes and platitudes and bereft of anything other than cursory church teaching. “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling.” Lord help us.

The Sorry State of the Priesthood

From the “Mystical City of God”. Words to Mary of Agreda from the Mother of the Lord on the condition of the priesthood. Although spoken in the 1600’s, they are undoubtedly more relevant today then they were when originally spoken.

“These are the reasons why the prelates and priests of our times do not perform the miracles of the Apostles and disciples, and of those who in the primitive Church imitated their lives by an ardent zeal for the honor of the Lord and the conversion of souls. On this account the treasures of the blood and death of Christ in the Church do not bear the same fruits, either in his priests and ministers, nor in the other mortals; for if they neglect and forget to make them fruitful in themselves, how can they expect them to flow over on the rest of the human family? On this account the infidels are not converted on learning of the true faith, although they live within sight of the princes of the Church, the ministers and preachers of the Gospel. The Church in our times is richer in temporal goods, rents and possessions; it abounds with learned men, great prelacies, and multiplied dignities. As all these advantages are due to the blood of Christ, they ought all to be used in his honor and service, promoting the conversion of souls, supporting his poor and enhancing the worship and veneration of his holy name. Is this the use made of the temporal riches of the Church? Let the captives answer, whether they are ransomed by the rents of the Church; let the infidels testify, whether they are converted, whether heresies are extirpated at the expense of the ecclesiastical treasures. But the public voice will loudly proclaim, that from these same treasures palaces were built, primogenitures established, the airy nothingness of noble titles bought; and, what is most deplorable, it is known to what profane and vile uses those that succeed in the ecclesiastical office put the treasures of the Church, how they dishonor the High-priest Christ and in their lives depart just as far from the imitation of Christ and the Apostles, as the most profane men of the world. If the preaching of the divine word by these ministers is so dead and without power of vivifying the hearers, it is not the fault of truth or of the holy Scriptures; but it is because of the abuse and of the distorted intentions of those that preach it. They seek to compromise the glory of Christ with their own selfish honor and vain esteem, the spiritual goods, with base acquisition of stipends; and if those two selfish ends are reached, they care not for other results of their preaching. Therefore they wander away from the pure and sincere doctrine, and sometimes even from the truth, which the sacred authors have recorded in the Scriptures and according to which the holy teachers have explained them; they slime it over with their own ingenious subtleties, seeking to cause rather the pleasure and admiration of their hearers than their advancement. As the divine truths reach the ears of the sinners so adulterated, they impress upon the mind rather the ingenious sophistry of the preacher, than the charity of Christ; they bring with it no force or efficacy for penetrating the hearts, although full of ingenious artifice to delight the ears.”