Monday, April 01, 2013

Where has a man-centered liturgy taken us?

Albert Drexel, in Ein Neuer Prophet? (Stein am Rhein: Christiana, 1971) explains that: "The modernism or neo-modernism within Christianity, and especially within the Roman Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council, is above all characterized by a turning away from the supernatural and an exclusive predilection for this world, the Aggiornamento of Pope John XXIII interpreted one-sidedly and hence misapplied. Teilhard's ideology was was a definitive precondition for this. Inasmuch as he turned his back to the past, fused God and the supernatural with the process of a universal evolutionism, and proclaimed religion to be an active participation in a progressive development ending in Point Omega, the basis was given for a humanist cult of the secular." (p. 115).

In the New World Order, man will no longer believe in a God whom he cannot control. Man will worship himself and his new leader who will, like Hitler, be deified: the man spoken of by Saint Paul as the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition. 

The new worship which is emerging is man-centered.  And it is reflected in various liturgical actions such as banal pop-style music "concerts" and spontaneous applause over human achievement.  Pope [Emeritus] Benedict XVI - while still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - wrote a book entitled "The Spirit of the Liturgy," in which he warned that, "Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.  Such attractiveness fades quickly - it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation...Liturgy can only attract people when it looks, not at itself, but at God, when it allows him to enter and act.  Then something truly unique happens, beyond competition, and people have a sense that more has taken place than a recreational activity." (The Spirit of the Liturgy, Ignatius Press, pp. 198-199).

Since Vatican II, we have entered the time of wretched idolatry prophesied by the Fathers of the Church - for they emphasized the corruption of the liturgy which would prevail just prior to Antichrist during the last days.  The Holy Mass is valid in her essence.  But years of reckless tinkering with sacred realities has produced a mediocrity-ridden liturgy, a shallow show which has distracted from the holy while driving the faithful out the doors or so weakening their faith that they find themselves paralyzed before the current zeitgeist.  Emptied churches, convents and seminaries does not a reform make.

This past Saturday, while at the Easter Vigil Mass at Our Lady Immaculate in Athol, Massachusetts, I witnessed spontaneous applause some 5 times during the liturgy.  The entire atmosphere was more akin to a circus than a solemn liturgy.  I am reminded of the words of the Psalmist:

"Why, God, have you cast us off forever? Why does your anger burn against the sheep of your pasture? Remember your people, whom you acquired of old, the tribe you redeemed as your own heritage, Mount Zion where you dwell. Direct your steps toward the utter destruction, everything the enemy laid waste in the sanctuary.Your foes roared triumphantly in the place of your assembly; they set up their own tokens of victory. They hacked away like a forester gathering boughs, swinging his ax in a thicket of trees. They smashed all its engraved work, struck it with ax and pick. They set your sanctuary on fire, profaned your name’s abode by razing it to the ground. They said in their hearts, “We will destroy them all! Burn all the assembly-places of God in the land!” Even so we have seen no signs for us, there is no prophet any more, no one among us who knows for how long. How long, O God, will the enemy jeer? Will the enemy revile your name forever? Why draw back your hand, why hold back your right hand within your bosom? Yet you, God, are my king from of old, winning victories throughout the earth. You stirred up the sea by your might; you smashed the heads of the dragons on the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan, gave him as food to the sharks.You opened up springs and torrents, brought dry land out of the primeval waters. Yours the day and yours the night too; you set the moon and sun in place. You fixed all the limits of the earth; summer and winter you made. Remember how the enemy has jeered, LORD, how a foolish people has reviled your name. Do not surrender to wild animals those who praise you; do not forget forever the life of your afflicted. Look to your covenant, for the recesses of the land are full of the haunts of violence. Let not the oppressed turn back in shame; may the poor and needy praise your name. Arise, God, defend your cause; remember the constant jeering of the fools. Do not forget the clamor of your foes, the unceasing uproar of your enemies." (Psalm 74).

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Many of today's Masses are more akin to rock concerts and theater productions. The priest often becomes an actor on a stage, trying to regale us with his "jokes" and his colorful speech.

But none of this has anything to do with authentic worship. When the priest was facing the altar, all of this asinine behavior was not to be found.

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