Friday, November 09, 2012

Father Likes It




I don't like plainchant much, I like singing the psalms, I like the Salve, I like the Kyrie from Orbis Factor but truthfully I just can't remember chant unless I have the notes in front of me. If it is done well it is a pleasant sound that meditates on the words, if you hear them but for me it is a sound to be pray with, a sort of tuneful silence. I love baroque music, sagbutts and cornetti, viola d'amori etc but as clever as it is I find polyphony, again useful to pray with, it quietens the soul but I don't actually like it. So therefore when my parishioners mutter, "We sing Missa di Angelis because Father likes it" I want to bash them over the head with a candlestick. We sing what we do because the Church tells us to do it, or at least to sing chant and this late, decadent, almost hymn tuney stuff is about the best we can manage, if the majority of the congregation are going to take part, but I don't like it.
It is a sad reflection that doing what the Church instructs, is put down by good Catholics to Father's preference.
The problem is that it is not just liturgy, it is devotions too: we say the Rosary because Father likes Our Lady, we have Exposition because Father likes Blessed Sacrament, well he does actually and he loves Benediction but that is not why we do it.
It is the ghastly problem of today and the victory of a wicked strand in modern theology that everything is put down to personal preference: Father preaches about Papal Infallibility, openness to Life in marriage, frequent   Confession, going to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, the Last Things because its Traditional and Father likes Traditional things.
"We go to Father's Church because we like what what Father likes", has become the mark of the Cafeteria Church which is really another name for a Broad Church, which used to be associated with the CofE, now is very much part of The Church, we have been infected by "Churchmanship".

I beat my head against the wall wondering how we get over the idea that it might well be your way, or even Father's, way but we are after is the Church's Way, the Right Way, which in Greek is Ortho Dox. I am glad that at least a few Bishops: Portsmouth and Shrewsbury, are at least using the word from time to time, without smirking, or suggesting there are other legitimate ways that aren't orthodox.

6 comments:

Sixupman said...

Indeed, but what alternative have we? At my previous area of the country, my parish church was terrible, more like Low CofE and cannot believe the PP believed in Transubstantiation and he actually preached against the Magisterium. At Confession, at an adjacent parish, I raised my difficulty [lack of empathy when hearing Mass there] and was told to accept it as a penance! I did not name the parish, but I guessed the Confessor was aware of the problem.

Jan said...

Well, indeed what other option do we have. We are in a situation when it's up to the preference/good will of the priest whether or not he offers EF, whether or not he celebrates ad orientem, whether or not or how much Gregorian chant there will be ("pastoral" considerations ofc)... not to mention the wildly different standards in ars celebrandi.

Jeremy said...

Using the same argument, 'Father' won't hear of saying an EF because he doesn't like it, and thinks it might undo all the wonderful progress of the last 50 years. Unfortunately the Bishops allow this and any sense of duty is suspended. Fortunately the newer intake of priests think more 'old school.'

Mike Cliffson said...

Trickledown perhaps from enemedia-speak: EVERYTHING from Pentecost, year dot, they disapprove of, is "The Pope's (sometime's Rome's or the Vatican's) stance/policy on...."

Ma Tucker said...

Ah I think you are asking too much here. Is it not the priest who leads people to a love of God and His Church? Naturally there will be a willingness to do what they perceive to be your will. And to be honest your will ought to be conformed to the will of Holy Mother Church. As regards your sentimental attachments to inappropriate musical forms well you could try mortifying them with a few belts of a candlestick across the head. So speaketh an avid chant adherant :-).

GOR said...

Unfortunately most Catholics under 50 will not have experienced a time when what Father liked or didn’t like never showed up in the Liturgy or in public, period. If Father had problems, doubts or disagreements about an Article of Faith, popular devotions or rubrical niceties, he would never let it be known to the congregation.

He might mull things over with brother-priests or at Deanery Conferences, but he would be loath to let what he considered his weakness of faith affect the faith of the congregation. He would consider that it might well give scandal - potentially leading others into error and weakening their faith.

Sadly today many a Father Tom, Dick or Harry has no compunction about expressing his doubts or direct opposition to the Magisterium. I get angry when priests blame ‘Rome’ or the ‘Vatican’ for what is really a weakness of faith on their part. The Deposit of Faith is not defined by Rome, the Vatican or even the Holy Father himself. But it is their job to ensure that the deposit is preserved intact.

To priests who cannot adhere to the fullness of the Faith I’d say: leave, before you do more harm to the faithful. Or to put it in more secular terms: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”