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Does liturgical abuse cause dissent on Catholic moral doctrine? March 3, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, sickness.

Does a bear @#$%! in the woods?  Fr. Z picks up an article from CNA (the good Catholic news agency) asking this very question.  It’s a very long article at CNA, so I’ll just post a bit and you can read Fr. Z or the original, or both.   The argument (this time, my comments in blue, since Fr. Z uses red):

Polling data published by the Pew Research Center in October 2010 claims that 42% of Americans support gay “marriage,” while an even greater percentage of self-identified Catholics (46%) responded likewise. More noteworthy still is that the percentage of those who so reject Church teaching on the sanctity of marriage remains remarkably high (34%) even among weekly Mass-goers! [Well, the author could cite alot more than that. ‘Catholics’ reject Catholic moral doctrine on a massive scale on a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from abortion to contraception to issues of modesty and porn and masturbation.  This is a huge issue].

The author then goes on to tie various events, like the Stonewall riots that ostensibly started the militant gay ‘rights’ movement in this country, to Vatican II.  He believes these cultural shifts were linked to the 1969/70 Missale Romanum (the original released in 1969 was so chock a block full of errors it had to be pulled and quickly replaced):

The majority of Catholics, who as the name suggests worship in the Ordinary Form, are further faced with yet another unprecedented set of potential liturgical choices as the Novus Ordo is given to multiple variations.

Do I prefer the Folk Mass or the “regular” Mass? Do I like Fr. Joe’s Mass or Fr. John’s Mass? Do I want to drive a few extra miles to go to the charismatic Mass, or should I take the kids to that parish across town with the video screens and the PowerPoint homilies?

Saving any commentary on the merits of these choices for another day, the very idea of shopping for a liturgy that suites one’s fancy is inherently flawed in that it approaches a divinely instituted gift that is given by Christ to His Church (not to the local community, much less to the individual) and it treats it as though it is a product of the people that can be repeatedly reinvented according to popular fashion as seems useful to the meet the demands of personal preference. It is, in other words, a liturgical approach that is inordinately “me-centered.

With this being the case, is it any wonder there are Catholics in our day who operate as though their personal preferences legitimately reign supreme in such fundamental matters of faith as how one defines the sanctity of marriage

I don’t believe the author is trying to say that the liturgical ‘reforms’ of Vatican II, or the myriad abuses that have come out of gross misinterpretations of those reforms, is responsible for the culture-wide collapse of traditional understandings of morality.  He is simply arguing that for Catholics, obeying Church Doctrine on morality has become optional, since it seems something even so very fundamental as the Mass is open to ‘experimentation.’  I’m sure many think something like this: “If the Church can’t make up its mind what the Mass is, then why should I believe what the Church says on issues that really affect my day to day life, like contraception?  I don’t want umpteen kids, and it’s just a bunch of weird old celibate men (who are probably gay anyway) telling me what to do, and what do they know?”  I don’t think it’s quite as literal as that, but I do think the lack of reverence in the Mass has led to a lack of reverence for everything else the Church believes.  If Fr. ‘Just call me Bob’ is flippant about the Consecration, permits talking during Mass, doesn’t say a word about people bailing from Mass with the Host in their hands, and makes up all kinds of additions/subtractions from the form of the Mass, that tends to tell people that what is going on there is just not all that serious.  And if the Mass isn’t that serious, then neither is anything else the Church does.

Now, it’s quite possible to take this too far – I think another salient aspect is the fact that, sadly, many priests either fail to stress Catholic moral doctrine regularly in homilies, or outright reject it, either publicly or privately (and this private word tends to get around).  But I don’t think it is too much to say that, especially in the US and Europe, lack of reverence in the Mass, liturgical abuse, etc., have played a part in the collapse of Catholic adherence to the morality taught by the Church.  When less than 1/3 of Catholics believe in the Real Presence anymore, is it really surprising that most Catholics, even those who attend Mass every Sunday, don’t accept what the Church believes regarding moral issues?

It’s not to me.  We have much work to do.  But stopping liturgical abuses plays a part.  We need to assist on reverently celebrated Masses, and support those priests who do same.

Thanks to my friend Steve B for the heads up on this topic.

Two Cardinals agree – liturgical abuse weakens the Faith.  Canizares and my favorite – Cardinal Burke!


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