Friday, August 12, 2011

Fr L rips on ‘full participation’
Of course in its true sense there’s nothing wrong with it; it’s what the liturgical movement’s about. But it can mean different things to different people (like the ‘diversity’ the liberals go on about but for real). Like a liturgist’s nightmare, a traditional Western Catholic Low or High Mass or Orthodox service where the priest does his thing (John Boyden pointed out to me, quoting Gregory DiPippo I think, that λειτουργία doesn’t mean ‘the work of the people, comrades’, but rather ‘the public work’, the work that is done pro populo, for the public) and the people tune in and out and wander in and out, doing their things: walking around lighting candles to their lucky saints, praying privately, falling asleep etc. (The Catholic Church: here comes everybody.) The Mass just goes on as usual, orthodox and more or less by the book, regardless, like it or not. (So the Orthodox service literally goes on for hours.)
Maybe they are ‘fully participating’ in this way and who am I to judge?

It’s not clericalist but as Fr Rutler says sacerdotalist. The grace through the priest acts ex opere operato, regardless of his feelings or yours, and the laity are very free. Actually the push in the other direction is clericalising (so you get these priest wannabes like the abuse of extraordinary lay distribution of Communion: the rule actually says it’s for emergencies, perfectly sensible), putting off many laity.

Reminds me of the second- and third-generation Italian-American New Yorkers I happen to know. The church is for certain things, it’s unspoken but understood there’s only one church, and most of the time we don’t talk about it. A man who hunts deer upstate doesn’t want some dope at a podium or mike trying to force him to sing ‘On Eagle’s Wings’. (Sidebar: men famously don’t like sissy religion.) Pazzo! Basta. Sta’ zitto. (Crazy! Enough. Be quiet. He’s the last generation who can speak Italian.) A little mystery, a little grace, ite, missa est and off you go.

Thought of this one over 20 years ago when, after a man basically denied Jesus’ divinity, he complained to me that in traditional services the people don’t participate. Well, if Jesus isn’t God, who cares if they do? Stay home!

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