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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.


Linda Zentner said...

I thank you for this from the bottom of my heart. After homelessness, I find myself often in the position of showing the inside of a Sanctuary to youth, who are very poor and have a next to zero chance of being exposed to Truth for complex reasons.

This will help me on an entirely new level. Peace be to you.

Supertradmum said...

Linda, are you ok now?

Dismas said...

As Fr. Z would say; "Feelings, oh oh, oh, feelings....

Let's not forget that Jesus Christ is Fully Human and Fully Divine. After reading this article, it's evident that not only Humanism but Gnosticism is still very much alive and well in our Church today.

Just as our Head, Jesus Christ, is Fully Human and Fully Divine, so does his body, it's members, still struggle to accept and integrate both natures as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be.

As Fr. Pope tends to silence in recognition of Transcendence, as stated in his article, so do I. However, just because one is silent does that automatically mean they are experiencing Transcendence? Just because one is not silent, does that mean they are not experiencing Transcendence? Does another's lack of silence automatically mean they are interfering with my experience of Transcendence?

My answer and experience to these questions is: NO.

Supertradmum said...

You need to read the Doctors of the Church and the great spiritual writers who would disagree with you. No silence, no reflection, no meditation, no sensing the Transcendence.

Name me one saint who has said that silence is not necessary for coming into the Presence of God without long times of silence.

Dismas said...

I've always known Fr. Pope to promote and encourage that all mortal flesh be silent. I believe your criticism of his pastoral concern for all his flock to be harsh and out of context.

Supertradmum said...

Why did he write what he did? Millions of people do not get that angle which you point out from what he wrote-fair to criticize ideas on the Net without disliking a person. Your generation has trouble separating ideas and people. This is not a criticism of a priest I do not know but what he wrote for the world to see.

Dismas said...

I suppose the root cause of my complaint is your deviation from his premise of Pastoral Perspectives on Silence in Church to your premise of Noise in the Mass and silence in liturgy. None the less, you're not a Pastor and I'm just a modern, so I suppose no further discussion on the topic would be advantageous.

Supertradmum said...

Well, if you think the laity cannot criticize bad pastoral theology, you are more conservative than I am.