Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Catholic Mass

I have spent the majority of time the past few evenings viewing a rather assorted set of videos posted on YouTube concerning the Catholic Mass. With some I viewed some egregious liturgical abuses (from the incidental to the flagrant), the profane use of liturgical dance (why???), and even clowns during Mass. (YES, CLOWNS!!)

* HALLOWEEN/Barney-Giving-Final-Blessing Mass (Version 1, Version 2, Version 3)
* Clown Mass (Link)
* Teen-Giving Homily, Etc. Mass (Link)

I did however find a comforting video (broken into three parts) done by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (God bless his wondrous soul!). I viewed them a few evenings ago after running across those horrible liturgical abuses:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

It was a most excellent oratory presentation of the Mass and its significance of being much more than a "fuzzy warm" communal celebration. Heck, you find those anywhere, secular or religious for that matter. Archbishop Sheen's words on the Mass reminded me exactly why I'm Catholic. It's not because of the liturgical dancers (!!!) or the priests who dress up as Barney for the Ite missa est. It's not for the poor music at times at Mass. It is because of Our Lord, it is because of His Sacrifice and His Love. If you have not viewed the Sheen videos, please do. His words are timeless and always worth listening to. It's truly the next best thing to being at Mass.

I also viewed a Traditional Catholic video (Reform or Revolt: The Mass of Paul VI [Part 1 and Part 2) yesterday evening. I, at times, agreed with the presenter's arguments with regard to Church design, the significance of the Eucharist, and similar things. However, I had to take quite an exception to his treatment of the entirety of Vatican II and especially of Pope John Paul II. I think it is a new "Spring Time," and it is evident in how the Church is now in a counter-reform stage. We are realizing that a number of the interpretations by a select number of people went too far. We've started to realize the need for much better catechesis. The accusatory tone of some of this supposedly "unbiased" video is a bit unnerving. The author of the video clearly indicates his position, but fails to site specifically the works he consults. Furthermore, it borders on blurring the line between actual Dogma (which is unmovable—it is what it is) and mere practices.

For it is known that the Mass was celebrated at times facing the congregation before Vatican II because it simply wasn't possible because in some churches in, of all places, Rome itself. It should be noted that I do agree with the hard-line traditionalists in the call to show the utmost reverence to that of the Lord's Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I don't think many wish to degrade the Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, however the wolves in sheep's clothing should be noted when found (read: the flagrant liturgical abuses of the specified California dioceses, among others). The question is what are those abuses? What is the baseline for all things that we as Christians, let alone just us Roman Catholics, ought to be viewing in what is acceptable and what is not? This rests on Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. This does not involve "outside help" of ecumenicalists and other non-Catholic "experts." Heaven help us if we decided to reform the Anglican (or better yet the Lutheran) worship service against their wishes.

I consider myself a Catholic who is striving with the utmost to follow Christ through his teachings, thus carried down through his Apostles and their successors. Fundamentally, we must get to the heart of why we are at Mass. It is to acknowledge, praise, and reverently worship our God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Without end let praise ever be on our lips for the graces that He has bestowed on us. Vivat Jesus!

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