Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Therapy and Healing
Cathcon calls this "not just liturgical decadence but depravity", as much as I respect Chris he doesn't live in Brighton where we know about real depravity. I would suggest it is sad, in the same way as that Italian Archbishop, in pink with facepaint is sad. Both would have me running out of Church, and if I was a parent I would wonder if my child was quite safe in these situations and not just from a spiritual point of view.
Both seem to be about clergy and communities who have lost sight of the Mass as being anything beyond a source of social cohesion, both are serious signs of a tired Church, which is decaying, decadent, that has lost any sense that it supposed to bring Mankind into the presence of God, it is merely horizantal.
The video shows two women wafting incense around whilst a man bellows that, now ancient, and certainly tired ditty, "Spirit of the Living God", whilst a congregation looks on bored.
The great problem is that with "liturgies" of this kind is that they say more about the celebrant than Christ and His Church. We priest are often inadequate, sometimes quite damaged, like the rest of mankind we have to learn to live with that but so often in the "reformed" liturgy, the liturgy can be used as form of therapy, not for the congregation but for the priest or bishop.
I am sure the Italian Archbishop is a fun nice guy but what is his problem? Why is he so desperate to to communicate his ability to be approachable, "at one with his people"? Actually, there is something quite sinister about it, an old man with face paint is very strange. There seems to be a certain moral weakness at the heart of this, a sense that he, and his even more sinister looking priests, needs to be accepted and loved maybe. Why is he not content to let Jesus speak through him, why does he have to get in the way?
The Church is for the damaged; prayer, the sacraments heal, so does feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned. Jesus tells us to do those things as good things aimed at ourselves first, before they are a service to others, so that we might forget self and learn to live for others. That is Christian therapy, not the blatant celebration of self but learning to disregard self.
Monophonic Chant, the Church's music is about the many forgetting themselves so as to sing perfectly at the same pitch and rhythm so only the voice of the Church praising God sounds, when any individual stands out it becomes ugly and is distorted. We have to learn to say with the Baptist, "I must decrease...".
The liturgy too is healing but the healing comes through conforming ourselves to Christ and forgetting self, personally I find the traditional Mass helps this damaged, foolish, inadequate man to come closer to God, it is all that dark muttering about being unworthy and then turning to the people to tell them "Dominus vobiscum" or announcing "This is the Lamb.... Maybe it is the quite muttering of one's sinfulness with a few intimates that gives a model in the ancient rites, maybe having a public pentential rite actually within Pauline Mass itself makes us want to exhibit our inadequacies publicly.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake