Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Exorcising the Spirit of Liturgical Freewheeling

~from Air Maria

Well, the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum is out, and the “spirits (poltergeists) of Vatican II” are agitated. Watch out for flying liturgical pottery and levitating felt banners.

We would expect to have all the well-worn clichés about how the Pope wants to turn back the clock dragged out of the modernist arsenal. Of course, the National Catholic Reporter has not disappointed us.

In her July 10 column, From Where I Stand, Sister Joan Chittister, deigns to enlighten us about how the poor Holy Father has blundered again. And, of course, she has the appropriate credentials to do so, having gained notoriety over the years for her support of abortion rights, the ordination of women to the priesthood, and her general defiance of the Vatican.

Sister Joan begins with the obligatory defense of inclusive language, and the usual demeaning of the Church’s unbroken tradition concerning the persons of Blessed Trinity. For Sister Joan, to insist that there is a real difference between a father and a mother is dissent from the deposit of the feminist, and that won’t be tolerated.

Perhaps Sister Joan needs to be reminded that most women have no problem with the fatherhood of God, or with strong men. In fact, most are tired of emasculated men who allow themselves to have their lives run by women. The idea is simple: Fatherhood equals strength and compassion. Kind of like the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, the author of the motu proprio. He tells the truth out of love for the Bride (the Church) and for his children (all souls). Honest, telling the truth is a good thing. It is not a monstrous crime of the patriarchy.
Two Liturgical World Views?

On the contrary, says Sister Joan. According to her, the motu proprio will not “make reconciliation easier with women, who are now pointedly left out of the Eucharistic celebration entirely.” Oh, really? Women have no place in the Tridentine liturgy? The motu proprio degrades lay participation in the Mass and reserves it to a “male cast” of priests?

Yes, says Sister Joan. According to Sister, the Tridentine Rite conveys a “theology of transcendence” as opposed to the “Vatican II liturgy” which proposes a “theology of transformation.” Sister says that the traditional rite is “certainly not a celebration of the entire community,” but merely “a priestly act, a private devotion of both priest and people.” It “makes the congregation, the laity, observers of the rite rather than participants in it.”

Sister also says that new liturgy has corrected all the old stuffiness:

The Vatican II liturgy, on the other hand, steeps a person in community, in social concern, in the hard, cold, clear reality of the present. The people and priest pray the Mass together, in common language, with a common theme. They interact with one another. They sing ‘a new church into being,’ non-sexist, inclusive, centered together in the Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Galilee curing the sick, raising the dead, talking to women and inviting the Christian community to do the same.

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