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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Partial Answer to A Priest on Noise in The Mass

Mary and Martha-thanks so wikimedia

A smart friend of mine sent me this article. Take time to read it. Not only is it shocking, but it shows the depth of the falling away of the sense of Fear of the Lord and persistence of people centered worship. Humanism is alive and well in the Church.

I am only going to correct a few of the errors I see in this priest's thinking. I have not read the comments, either, but only the article.

First, large Churches existed from day one and from day one, contrary to popular belief, the Masses were mostly solemn high Masses. Small, intimate Masses only happened after the Church was heavily persecuted, and the simplicity of the Liturgy corresponded either to the need for hiding, or for the need of the displacement of the Mass from the urban areas to the country. Catholicism, as we see in Revelation, was urban from the start and the Mass would have been ornate. Contrary to Protestant belief, the Mass was more complicated and an expression of "high liturgy" for many reasons, including the main one, which was that the Bishop presided.

Now, the idea of silence was already common in both pagan and Jewish liturgical celebrations. We see St. Paul reminding the women to be silent in Church, not because they wanted to read, but because they were gossiping about who was getting married, who was pregnant again and who got a new donkey.

The ideal of silence in the Liturgy has, for centuries, been connected to Fear of the Lord, and the understanding of Transcendence.

This sense of Transcendence was part of the congregations sense of the sacred. God was God and duty plus appropriate worship was due to Him. The idea of respect would have been prevalent in the early Christian times, as the people were used to hierarchies and the appropriateness of behavior.

Which leads me to my second point. The moderns have no sense of appropriateness in dress, speech, eating, drinking, praying and so on. They have no sense of the sacred. How this happened is a combination of many things, including the changes in the Liturgy, but I blame the entire cultural shift in the past thirty years to the ideal and, indeed, idolization, of CASUAL.

Being casual is equal to sincerity, and sincerity is not a virtue. As I noted a few posts ago, one can make a heresy out of sincerity. Being casual indicates several psychological  problems, such as a lack of boundaries and a certain type of narcissism which allows a person to think that they never need to conform to outside, cultural values.

This priest is also confused on then nature of our relationship with God. We are creatures, sons and daughters of the Most High, owing God worship which is due to Him because He is God and because we are not gods.

That people go to Church on Sunday for community is the another point I want to cover. Wrong, wrong, wrong,
as community should be happening daily, during the week, with people building community. Some of you may remember that after many frustrating Sundays in parishes where the noise level was worse than in Marks and Spencers, it dawned on me that the reason why people talked so much before and after Mass, was that they did not have real relationships during the week. If there was real community, as in the old TLM days, people would not need to talk on Sunday, as they would be fraternizing, helping each other out and so on during the week.

One last point-when do people listen to God? If we do not have silence in our lives, we cannot hear God. and there are times when the entire community should be listening to God.

I can write more and maybe I shall, but not tonight. God bless this priest and may he learn to love God more than people. We love people because we love God, not for their own sakes. This idea is missing in this article.