Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Back in Black

I know it's been a while since I've written with any regularity here. I've had a few things going on in my life, both professionally (namely, late Advent and the Christmas season) and personally. As I said in a previous blog entry, there are plenty of places out there to satisfy your hunger for Catholic blogging, many of which I've been reading myself during my hiatus from writing. But regardless of that, I'm back here at the computer, keeping watch for all that's new and exciting in the world of Roman Catholicism. So let me see if I can "catch up" on some things:
  1. Pope Benedict's Choice of Vestments. Much has been opined about the Holy Father's use of vestments and thrones used by his predecessors, as if this is one of the signs of the Apocalypse. People everywhere wear jewelry that belonged to their parents or grandparents. President Bush uses a desk in the Oval Office which was used by Presidents Clinton, Kennedy, et al, all the way back to Rutherford Hayes! So if Pope Benedict uses a cope worn by Pope John XXIII, or a miter worn by Pope John Paul I, what's so bad? Has the Church stopped using copes? Do bishops not wear miters? Where's the gang that loves to criticize the Church's vast wealth? They should be out there praising B16 for recycling old vestments, rather than spending money on new ones. Culturally, we've become a "disposable" society that lives day to day with paper plates, plastic razors, cardboard juiceboxes, and instant furniture that is meant to last about 2 years, and then be thrown away so new, instant furniture can be bought at the local IKEA. So why the wailing and gnashing of teeth? Simply put, some in the Church (both clergy and laity) have an ecclesiology is only "skin deep". They see a vestment and immediately make a judgment. At the sight of an amice or a clerical shirt in any color other than black, their eyes send a message to their brain which causes such a drain of energy and memory space that they "step out" of the moment and lose themselves in their own funk. Yes, they'll give you their opinion about whether they either loved or hated what the Pope wore, but ask them their opinion about what the Pope said in his homily, and they've got no clue because they didn't listen to the homily. This brings me to my next topic...
  2. Pope Benedict's Mass in the Sistine Chapel. Oh, sweet Jesus, get over it; he used an existing altar that is built against the back wall of the chapel. Depending on which blogs you read or with whom you spoke, this was the liturgical equivalent of either 9/11 or Viagra. Yes, his back was to the people (it's ok, I don't think they forgot what he looks like), but it also means that celebrant and congregation were all facing the same direction together (dare we say, "facing God"?). It means he was no longer the center of attention, and for some Priests, therein lies the hangup. For some of my brothers, a Mass in which they don't get to "do their shtick" is a Mass not worth having. This is why many don't believe in or celebrate private Masses; what's the point if there's no one there to impress? Also, for those who think this was an attempt by the Pope to "turn the clock back", you should be mindful of the fact that the Mass was in Italian, not Latin, and Eucharistic Prayer II (the shortest, perhaps with the awareness that babies and toddlers have tiny attention spans) was used.
  3. The Society of Jesus' election of a new Superior General. Though one may ask, "What will the next Jesuit Superior General be like?", the better question is, "Will Jesuits listen to him?".


Unknown said...

Welcome Back!
Though there ARE many Catholic blog sites - none satisfies, encourages and provides the honest insight that you give us each day. Thank YOU and God Bless You -

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

And also that the rubrics say that the Mass Ad Orientem is possible :)