How Long, Oh, Lord, How Long?
Joyful quote- “No matter what activity you are engaged in, perform it with awareness and joy”
I realize the Church moves slowly and cautiously, but how long it is going to take it to correct some of the goofs of Vatican II? Two generations have passed and the Church has its head in the sand regarding very serious problems created by Vatican II.
Through the centuries, the Mass was developed as a fitting vehicle for the deserved reverence and awe of the holy sacrament of the Eucharist. The guts of Catholicism can be summed up in three words: God became Man The Mass service in which the reenactment of this event and of parishioners physically receiving Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was one of deep reverence with a sense of awe at what was taking place. The Eucharist and the act of Communion have limitless spiritual depth — an ocean in which man with his limited human mind can only wade. But wade he should!.
During Vatican II, the key players used six Protestant leaders to advise them on means of modernizing and popularizing the Mass. Unfortunately, they heeded their suggestions, and the baby went out with the wash. It was decided that superimposed music should be the most prominent factor in a busy Mass. Parishioners would be requested to sing more than a dozen times during an hour-long service, when every minute would be filled with sound or activity. Silence and meditation were eliminated. Music would be written for the “Our Father” and the Gloria would be modified into a zippy song. One music director suggested re-writing the Apostle’s Creed into folk music. To water down the awesome fact that the Church members were to receive the Body of Christ, they were asked to sing before and after receiving Communion, without a moment to realize the awesomeness of what was taking place. The solemnity and mystique of the Mass were to be a thing of the past as the Church Fathers attempted to bring the Mass to the people rather than bringing the people to the Mass. This misguided act was like painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa.
As a awake-up call, every clergyman (from bishops on down) should sit in
the back of a church and observe what now takes place during a busy Mass.
He would find that during this sing-a-long service, only one out of twenty parishioners is singing. So, the hymns are a distracting solo performance. After forty years of trying to get Catholic to blast out hymns like the Protestants do, accept the fact that it ain’t going to happen.
While sitting in the rear of the church, the clergy-person would also observe the ho-hum attitude of the parishioners going up to received Communion. Monkey see and monkey do. With rare exception, each follows another in a disciplined manner to proceed to the front of the church to accept the wafer. Why not? It’s a free entitlement and is included in the package of attending Mass.
It would be an eye-opener if the observing clergy-person would ask parishioners what is to take place when they receive Communion. A minute number would reply, “I am going to take part in one of the most important acts of my life. Christ, who is both God and Man, has become the bread and wine. When I receive Communion, God is actually becoming one with me.” Instead, because of the current watered-down concept of Communion, 92% of parishioners could reply that receiving Communion is like swallowing a spiritual vitamin pill. Why not take it — it can’t hurt and it might help.
With these findings, the observing clergy-person might ask himself, “Could Vatican II changes in the Mass have caused the fact that today one out of ten Americans are now former Catholics? Is it possible that the modernized Mass is a factor for the Church now being in crisis?” Only by first acknowledging facts with self-scrutiny can our religious leaders consider and take corrective action.
Pray that they do!
Big deal! The Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian group, has told its members that it is OK for them to pray for President Obama. Personally, I think it is the obligation for every American to pray each day for our President of the United States. For eight long, long, long years, each morning I even prayed for George W. Bush.
For an inspiring account of a modern day saint, read “A Life Freely Given” on page 22 in the October 5th issue of America
The winner is Inez Thomson, Bronx, NY, who chimed in at 8:41AM on October 18.
1. The states with the highest number of church goers are Georgia and Mississippi. (Being a Southerner, I’m proud of this!)
And the states with the smallest number of church goers are New Hampshire and Vermont.
2. The European political leader who didn’t follow his grandmother’s advice of “Do whatever you want, but don’t marry a Catholic” is
3. There are over 10,000 saints, with 1,500 in the waiting room (and that doesn’t, but should, include 72% of you Joyful Catholic blog readers)
One morning, Father O’Reilly, an Irish priest recently assigned to the parish is a small Texas town, called the sheriff’s office to report there was a dead donkey on the church lawn. When he answered, the sheriff chuckled and said, “Well, you Catholics should know what to do. Just give the poor critter the last rite.”
“That I have done,” Father O’Reilly said, “and my second chore is to notify the next of kin.”
My favorite priest
For this issue, as there has been no submission for one’s favorite priest, I want to present one of my favorite Catholic laypersons. He is Joe Difato, publisher of The Word Among Us, which for a decade has been one of my morning readings, and I strongly recommend this monthly publication.
After many years of observing business and non-profit organizations, I found that greatness doesn’t seep upward. Every outstanding operation has an outstanding person at the head. Joe Difato proves this is true. Being one who has had his faith tested by personal tragedy, he is an admirable Catholic. Today, he and his splendid editorial staff are making a strong impact on the future of our Church. In addition to their many subscribers who benefit from The Word Among Us, his organization makes this publication available each month to 48,000 prisoners and 15,500 military persons. You can contribute to help finance this splendid action via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Joe, for being such an outstanding example of a joyful Catholic!
Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist priest and author