Dale Price in multiple posts yesterday like “How Bullwinkle Helped Me Find Liturgical Peace, Part I” wrote about the upcoming document on liturgical abuses and said it doesn’t matter. Lane Core Jr. also agrees with him.
I also agree with him on this. It doesn’t matter what will be in the final document, for the most part it will not curb abuses. It might be helpful in being able to go to a parish and present something as an abuse since it will be more clarified, but for the most part it will be ignored. Ex Corde Ecclesiae was published in 1990 and it has been largely ignored by Catholic Universities and hardly implemented by the Bishops. I am pessimistic that I will be an optimist, but on the other hand; I am optimistic that I will stay a pessimist. Currently there are parishes that I can go to where I know that I will not run into any liturgical abuses. Did they need a new document to achieve this? Obviously not. There are parishes I can go to where I know there will be some form of liturgical abuse that is already clearly defined as one, but that doesn’t matter to them. Since I am a liturgical pharisee this document will probably only add to abuses that I notice.
There is a giant disconnect between the awesome beauty and truth of the Mass and between how it is celebrated. It is like watching a movie showing the last supper, the crucification, and the resurrection and having a soundtrack from a cartoon. We would know something was wrong if we heard boing when the nails were driven through his precious hands or we heard Wa-wa-wa-waaaaaaa after Jesus says “It is finished.” We would know this did not go with what we were viewing on the screen. But we can go to Mass in short pants and T-Shirts in a ordinary building with very ordinary music and witness the the eternal re-presentation of the last supper leading to Good Friday and then the joy of the resurrection and not notice the incongruity.
Once we start to get jet a little inkling of the supernatural reality of the Mass and the ongoing miracle of the Eucharist, some abuses or acts of irreverence would take care of themselves. If we realized that we were there to worship and to give thanks to God and started to understand Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption would we even think about dancing in the aisles or clapping our hands? Speaking of myself I know I need the architecture, music, and the Mass prayed correctly to be able to focus on these events. My mind sometimes wanders so much during Mass that if I got frequent travelers miles for it, I would never need to buy a plane ticket. I wish my mind would wonder during the Mass, the wonder of existence, the wonder of salvation, the wonder that Christ died for each and every one of us.
While I am glad that the Vatican is focusing on liturgical abuses and doing what they can to correct them, as laymen we can follow by example. If we ourselves follow those rules and guidelines laid down by the Church to help us to celebrate the Mass, we can influence those around us. We are called to worship not worry and as Dale said:
Stop getting worked up over the failure of Bullwinkle to pull a character from Watership Down out of the top hat. You’ll find more peace that way, and even more by going somewhere else, even if the drive’s a lot longer.