Saturday, August 23, 2008

Liturgical and Sexual Abuses: How could it have gone so wrong?

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If you don't ever read any other article, please follow the link and read this one. The history of the Church these past 40+ years has been catastrophic, on the altars, and in the rectories. And those situations are very closely related it turns out. How did that happen?

G.C. Dilsaver wrote this article that was published last December in Homiletic and Pastoral Review. Using Thomistic philosophy and theology that is easy to understand, Dilsaver explains how the rigidity of the older form of a Mass full of reverence abruptly changed to a free form Mass where the focus was on the "presider's" chair, rather than the "Holy of Holies." From there, he explains, it was a very short step for a few priests to begin to explore their personal morality.

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Before the replacement of the traditional Roman missal with that of the Novus Ordo Missae, candidates for the priesthood were taught to observe most meticulously the rubrics of the Mass. Any intentional addition or subtraction, that is any personal innovation, was potentially a mortal sin. The man was completely subsumed under the office of the priesthood of Christ. The many genuflections, Signs of the Cross, invocations of the Holy Trinity, physical and verbal acts of humility and atonement, detailed and precise rubrics, all were to insure a sense of self-abnegation and a corollary sense of the sacred and a reverence for God. . . .

In comparison to the traditional Roman rite, the structure of the new Roman rite, even when celebrated in the most exacting way, diminishes reverential acts. The many genuflections, invocations of the Trinity, the physical and verbal acts of humility and atonement, the detailed and precise rubrics, have been either eliminated or greatly reduced. In sum, the vertical orientation of the Mass has been reduced to give more play to the horizontal, and thus the eliciting of humility, poverty of spirit, reverence, and fear of God has been, at least at face value, diminished. . . .

This liturgical upheaval did a grave and often lethal violence to the Catholic’s, especially the priest’s, sense of the sacred; to their fear of God; to their reverence, to their humility; to their poverty of spirit; and to their chastity. . . .

But there were also the others who stayed and eagerly acquiesced to or helped perpetrate the ever-waxing changes, including those liturgical and doctrinal innovations that went against the Council and the Vatican. These priests were at best men of compromise, at worst unprincipled and effeminate men whose love for the Faith was weak or non-existent. And it was from the ranks of these latter clerics that the most heinous liturgical and sexual abuses were perpetrated. Read the full article Here

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