Tuesday, June 19, 2007


RSCT to Shawn Tribe at NLM. Here's the link to an article from Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson, New Jersey.

Some excerpts:

The anti-authoritarian prejudice that we have inherited from the social revolution of the '60’s imprinted on many a deep mistrust not only of government but of Church. Some even reject the very idea of hierarchy (literally, “a sacred origin”) as a spiritual authority established by God. As a result, Church means, for some, simply the assembly of like-minded believers who organize themselves and make their own rules and dogmas.

Kind of a reminder of the rock opera Tommy. Actually, I never saw the rock opera, but did see the 1975 movie version thereof, and recall when Tommy's followers got frustrated, and started chanting We're not gonna take it! and rejected him completely. That's what's happening in the scenario that Bp. Serratelli points out, except those same people rejecting their Catholic Church STILL have the nerve to call themselves Catholic.

Living in our world, we breathe the toxic air that surrounds us. Even within the most sacred precincts of the Church, we witness a loss of the sense of the sacred. With the enthusiasm that followed the Second Vatican Council, there was a well-intentioned effort to make the liturgy modern. It became commonplace to say that the liturgy had to be relevant to the worshipper. Old songs were jettisoned. The guitar replaced the organ. Some priests even began to walk down the road of liturgical innovation, only to discover it was a dead end. And all the while, the awareness of entering into something sacred that has been given to us from above and draws us out of ourselves and into the mystery of God was gone.

Teaching about the Mass began to emphasize the community. The Mass was seen as a community meal. It was something everyone did together. Lost was the notion of sacrifice. Lost the awesome mystery of the Eucharist as Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The priest was no longer seen as specially consecrated. He was no different than the laity. With all of this, a profound loss of the sacred.

Just one big party. Which explains such BS jargon as gathering hymn, gathering rite, gathering space to mean narthex or vestibule, worship space to mean church proper.

Walk into any church today before Mass and you will notice that the silence that should embrace those who stand in God’s House is gone. Even the Church is no longer a sacred place. Gathering for Mass sometimes becomes as noisy as gathering for any other social event.

Weddings and very large funerals always seem to be the worst, at least in my experiences. However, even on a Sunday (or Saturday anticipated) Mass, there has been occasion where my pastor would have to stop just to beg a certain section to be quiet. A little bit of common sense - when you get into the church proper, shut your pieholes (except for the purpose of worship, that is... singing and saying the parts proper to them).

We may not have the ability to do much about the loss of the sacredness of life in the songs, videos and movies of our day. But, most assuredly, we can do much about helping one another recover the sacredness of God’s Presence in His Church.

That is so true. Don't think about it then ask What if the people pitch a bitch? Just do it!

Bishop Serratelli's article is the first in a series of four on this topic. I'll be looking forward for more. Kudos, Bishop.


1 comment:

Dad29 said...

Good catch--I'll post pieces from it later.

That "sacred" stuff encompasses 1) language; 2) space; and 3) music. The "set off" previously accomplished by the communion rail denotes the "space."

The rest is easy to figure out, too.