Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Response to the National Catholic Reporter's Editorial: Nostalgia Is Not a Path to the Future

I just spent the last hour reading The National Catholic Reporter's editorial and the diverse comments that followed. Quite a bit of sniping, as you can imagine. I'm not interested in going to the mat with Novus Ordo-ites. Their spiritual life is between them and God and if they are growing deeper in their faith, that is a beautiful thing.

However, I can't help but wonder how a Catholic newspaper can justify slamming a Cardinal because he was the one chosen for what I'm sure is the unpleasant task of evaluating [some of] the women religious in America. The NCR goes on to make further digs at those who love the Traditional Latin Mass. How charitable of them.

Although most of the comments occurred between November 10-12, I decided to post mine. I'm not sure if anyone is still reading it or, if my comment will be approved. For what it's worth, my post is below:

You don't want to go down that road...
If you saw the film "The Matrix," there is a scene where Trinity is imploring Neo not to leave and forget about his quest. If he left, he only would have dead-end streets that would hold no answers for his questioning mind. Well, I had questions about the Roman Catholic Church, which is why I left it when I was 20 years old. I was "bored" by the Mass, no matter how "friendly" it tried to be. I ended up in the non-denominational church for almost 20 years and believe me, this is what many Catholics are so yearning to have: vibrant worship, the laity performing the work of the church, and a deeper commitment to spiritual growth; among other things.

You may (or may not) be surprised to know that there is a great deal of confusion in these churches. What some progressive Catholics desire to have has resulted in nothing less than the dilution of Christian faith in these non-denominational churches (of which many ex-Catholics are now members). There has been a two-pronged attack on the Church for decades, both from the radical elements of feminism and homosexuality. Show me a church that has given in to these radical elements and I'll show you a church that is more irrelevant to the world today than they could possibly imagine. The Kingdom of God has been hijacked by the fickle whims of man.

This editorial speaks of a "nostalgia." Why is it considered nostalgia to prefer the traditions of the Church? There are so many assumptions made with this editorial that it's tough to decide which to tackle. But I'll take the "dressings of royalty" paragraph.

Has it ever occurred to those who slam the vestments that there is a reason for them? Do these detractors believe that the Vatican just pulled it all out of a hat? I've read the comments and yes, Jesus Christ came from a very humble family and certainly was not wealthy. However, He also stated that He did not come to destroy The Law but fulfill it. Do you think He avoided attending Temple? The celebration of the Feasts? The traditions of Judaism? Of course not. All of it held meaning, just as our liturgy holds meaning for us today. The Traditional Latin Mass, (which yes, I've fallen in love with) is filled with "types" and "shadows" having to do with Jesus Christ and His mystical union with His Bride, the Church. Just because there's not a group of twentysomethings rocking it out on guitars and drums doesn't mean this more traditional rite is "dead."

"Facing a wall, with his back to the people" is one of my hot buttons. The truth is, the priest is facing East, as prescribed by Mosaic Law. The priest is facing the High Altar, which is symbolic of Jesus Christ, and also facing the tabernacle, a sanctuary where Jesus Christ dwells. Why would a priest not face Jesus Christ? When he faces "the people," several things usually occur. 1) The celebration of the liturgy becomes personality-centric and 2) the congregation loses focus of where their attention should be. When ever another Catholic says to me, "Oh, you attend the Latin Mass? Isn't that where the priest has his back to the people?" I immediately say, "No. He is facing Jesus Christ and is leading everyone else to do the same."

Whether you like the "New Mass" or Latin, whether you want to see Vatican II continue to "speak" to the current culture around us - the bottom line to ask yourself is whether you're growing as Christian to the point where you will be willing to be a martyr. If so, great. Because ultimately, that is what is required of us - the willingness. Whether some want to recognize it or not, the world is becoming darker. And the world hated (hated... like crucifixion-hatred) Jesus Christ. Jesus told us the world hated Him and would hate his followers. Are you willing to be hated by the world?

To me, editorials like this and some of the comments are nothing more than rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic. As Christians, we're going to have more opportunities to stand for truth. Not the world's "truth" regarding equality, social justice, and solidarity with the poor. The truth that says Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Not politics. Radical Islam is bent on destroying all who will not submit to them. Ever hear of Knights of Malta? We're about to relive it.

So have your "tit-for-tat" debates, NCR. But in the end, ask yourself if you're really doing your beloved progressives a favor by not telling them what the real spiritual battle is about. Because somehow I doubt that women ordained as priests and gays being allowed to marry is really going to make one bit of a difference when either a radical Islamofascist or a dictatorship government comes knocking on our door.


Christine said...

Your posts are great!!

Unknown said...

What a fantastic response!

X said...

Funny thing is it's probably the 20-somethings that want the TLM and it's the 60-somethings rocking the guitars.What the he** is WRONG with that generation?!

Pablo the Mexican said...

Dear Madam,


The Holy Father has stated "The smoke of Satan has entered the Church" The Catholics you mention in your rebuttle are those who have succumed to smoke inhalation. Traditional Catholics are falling into a trap just as dangerous: Gnosticism.

Traditionals have overall lost what you must have to enter Heavem: Charity.

Novus Ordos have lost the Faith. They have entered the Church of the man made God, and left behind the Church of the God made man.

What is left for us Catholics to do is pray. Storm Heaven asking the Holy Mother to help correct this mess our Church leaders have put us in.

The True Mass is Christ crucified. It is the exact representation of Calvary.

The new Mass is an assembly gathered with a presider. Pray for those souls trapped in it because their Bishop refuses to do away with a false Mass and replace it with Christ crucified.

Don't forget to pray for those who petitioned Heaven for your return to Holy Mother Church.

The children of the world are separated one from another because their hearts are in different places; but the children of God, having their hearts where their treasure is, and sharing only one treasure - which is the same God - are consequently always united and joined together. ---St. Francis de Sales


Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I love your metaphor: rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. That could refer to many senseless things that we do.

Pablo, if you are following the comments to this blog, I would love to track down where the Holy Father spoke of the smoke of Satan entering the church -- I fear that I am dealing with such a situation right now.

Pablo the Mexican said...

Dear Mrs. Mahlou,


and here:

use google translate to English.

I am recovering from emergency surgery after an altercation with satan. I am recovering well, thank God, but please pray for the intentions of the two Priests who were involved.

In this case satan had lots of help from catholics who consider themselves Holy. I hope one day to become humble.

I will include you in my Rosary prayers at Mass tonight. Lets stay in touch.

God be with you.



Janny said...

"Rosary prayers at Mass"?

I hope you mean Rosary prayer after Mass, or Rosary prayers before Mass...because if you're saying the Rosary DURING Mass, that's one of the things the Novus Ordo and vernacular in the Mass was designed to CORRECT. In other words, it's NOT correct to pray the Rosary during Mass. That's
"hearing" Mass while your brain and heart are somewhere else.

Please, people, please resist the temptation to lump all of us who worship in a Novus Ordo Mass into the group that's "lost the faith." Some of us, true, do have to put up with a lot of abuses...but many of our parishes are gradually turning around. And many of them are using the best of both worlds, keeping a very reverent worship going on even while the priest faces the altar (and, coincidentally, the people--who are also facing the ALTAR), while we're speaking English, and--shock of shocks!--even while some of us are singing to guitar music. I know many of you think that's not possible...but that's just as wrongheaded as the "progressives" who wanted to throw out the TLM with the Vatican II bathwater.

It's what happens in my heart and my mind and my spirit, when encountering the Sacrifice and all it entails, that counts; not whether I have my head covered, whether I receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue, whether I sing in English or Latin, or whether my Mass translation is pre-1965. Those are peripherals only. In some cases very IMPORTANT peripherals...but in the end, peripherals anyway.

The Devil loves nothing better than to have us sniping at each other. Certainly, call an offense and an abuse by their proper names, and certainly, do all in your power to correct them; in the meantime, however, don't write off brothers and sisters who worship in sincerity of heart. Pitching them out the door because their bishops may be idiots means you're kicking the wrong people to the curb.


Mary Rose said...

Janny, I certainly support attending Mass, whether it's a Novus Ordo or a TLM. As I said in the beginning, my issue isn't with those who attend the NO. It's with people who slam those who love the TLM as being "nostalgic" and acting as though loving tradition is a bad thing.

I attend the NO on occasion and it is still beautiful to me as I focus on the liturgy. I agree with you that what matters most is what happens in your heart, mind, and spirit.

The point of my response was a shock at the clear attack on a Cardinal and also those who cherish the traditions of the Church through the TLM. As an added note, it will be interesting when the new translation for our liturgy comes out in the United States. From what I've read, there are some great changes.

qualcosa di bello said...

a moving response, one of love & truth.