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.