TUESDAY
October 8, 2002
volume 13, no. 111

The Germs of GIRM



Part Fifty-Two: Lukewarm Liturgy

    "The very language used in the General Instruction to the Roman Missal is reflective of a theology which seeks to canonize sinners who have yet to root out sin from their lives. To call sinful people holy is to reaffirm them in their lukewarmness and in their sins, which leads souls away from the Confessional and thus leads ultimately to sacrilegious receptions of Holy Communion. This is nothing other than a Rousseuean-based effort to reduce the Mass to an exercise of community self-congratulations."

Paragraph 111 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "All concerned should work in harmony and with diligence in the effective preparation of each liturgical celebration in accord with the liturgical books as to its rites, pastoral aspects, and music. They should work under the direction of the rector of the church and should consult the faithful about things that directly affect them. However, the priest who presides at the celebration always retains the right of directing everything that pertains to himself."

Comment and Analysis: Again, the confusion and disarray caused by all of the options extant in the Novus Ordo. This is such an utter waste of time. Our Lord wants us concerned about sanctifying our souls. He does not want the energies of the faithful drained by "planning" the constituent elements of the liturgy on a week by week basis. How many members of the laity are diverted from spending time with their families, which is where they belong, as a result of "participating" on some liturgical planning committee in order to place their own idiosyncratic and congregational stamp on the community worship service? A fixed rite is not planned, it has grown organically over the course of time. A fungible rite is subject to constant and unremitting change and evolution, thus bewildering the faithful, as I noted in my preface to this continuing analysis of G.I.R.M. And it is interesting to note that the priest "retains the right of directing everything that pertains to himself." However, this also that the priest may choose to delegate that right to others, which is what actually happens in more cases than not.

Paragraph 112 of G.I.RM. reads as follows:

    "In the local Church, first place should certainly be given, because of its meaning, to the Mass at which the Bishop presides, surrounded by his presbyterate, deacons and lay ministers, and in which the holy people of God take full and active part, for herein is the preeminent expression of the Church. At Mass celebrated by the Bishop, or whenever he presides without celebrating the Eucharist, the norms which are form in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum should be observed."

Comment and Analysis: Oh, yes, the bishop should be surrounded with his priests and deacons and "lay ministers." Why? Why is this necessary? What does this convey? It conveys the impression, whether wittingly or unwittingly, that the bishop is the first among equals (primus inter pares). And it especially conveys the impression that it is necessary for "lay ministers" to be visible and active in Masses celebrated by a bishop. More egalitarianism and participatory democracy. The most destructive element of this paragraph, however, concerns the use of the terminology, "the holy people of God" to refer to the lay faithful who hear Holy Mass. As a priest noted to me recently, "I know my people and they are not holy." The very language used in the General Instruction to the Roman Missal is reflective of a theology which seeks to canonize sinners who have yet to root out sin from their lives. To call sinful people holy is to reaffirm them in their lukewarmness and in their sins, which leads souls away from the Confessional and thus leads ultimately to sacrilegious receptions of Holy Communion. This is nothing other than a Rousseuean-based effort to reduce the Mass to an exercise of community self-congratulations. No wonder the new Mass of its nature de-emphasizes penance and references to a God who judges souls at the time of their deaths, as is mentioned rather explicitly in Paragraph 15 of GIRM.

Paragraph 113 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "Great importance should be attached to a Mass celebrated by any community, but especially by the parish community, inasmuch as it represents the universal Church gathered at a given time and place. This is particularly true of the community's celebration of the Lord's Day."

Comment and Analysis: There is special irony contained in this Paragraph. Yes, the parish should be the focus of a Catholic's spiritual life. It should be as safe and as secure for him as his mother's womb. It should be the cradle of his Faith. As we know, however, because the new liturgy aborts reverence and Christocentricity in most instances, the parish has become as unsafe to a Catholic's spiritual life as a mother's womb has become to the unborn child. The new Mass has driven Catholics out of their parishes. Even those who are unaware of the reverence of the Traditional Latin Mass but want to worship God devoutly as is His due are forced to flee from their home parishes to find some oasis which bears a resemblance to authentic Catholicism. Thus, if they have to drive thirty miles to Our Lady of Peace Church in Santa Clara, California, or forty miles to St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California, or eighty miles to Saint Boniface Church in Lafayette, Indiana, or twenty miles to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculata in New Bedford, Massachusetts, or fifteen miles to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park, New York, they will do so because of the instability, irreverence, and dangers to the Faith found in their own home parish. This is precisely the result of the congregationalism produced by the Novus Ordo. That is why Sharon and I look forward to the day we can settle in Pequannock, New Jersey, and have the security of the parish life which is available at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, which is administered by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. Unfortunately, the Novus Ordo has made each parish an autonomous self, contemptuous of the past and ultimately dismissive of Rome. How ironic.

Paragraph 114 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "Of those Masses celebrated by some communities, the conventual Mass, which is a part of the daily office, or the "community" Mass have particular significance. Although such Masses do not have a special form of celebration, it is most proper that they be celebrated with singing, especially with the full participation of all community members, whether religious or canons. In these Masses, therefore, individuals should exercise the function proper to the order or ministry they have received. All the priests who are not bound to celebrate individually for the pastoral benefit of the faithful should thus concelebrate at the conventual or community Mass, if possible. All priests belonging to the community who are obliged to celebrate individually for the pastoral benefit of the faithful may also on the same day concelebrate at the conventual or community Mass. Further, it is fitting that priests who are present at a Eucharistic celebration, unless excused for a good reason, should as a rule exercise the function of their own order and hence participate as concelebrants, wearing sacred vestments."

Comment and Analysis: Again, more irony. Here we see the triumph of the collectivism of Marxism, which denies the individuality of the human soul in favor of the collective identity of the masses. Holy Mass thus becomes a vehicle for the collectivists within the Church to deny the individuality of a man's priesthood, thus stressing a collective consciousness during the celebration of the Mass. The individual exercise of a man's priesthood is thus denigrated as somewhat destructive of the desire to "build community" whereas the collective exercise expressed by the re-institution of concelebration by Pope Paul VI is meant to be the "fullest" expression of unity within the priesthood and the Church. Thus, side altars and side chapels must go the way of the buffalo. Anything that smacks of individualism is divisive and narcissistic. Any wonder that men are not attracted to the holy priesthood in communities where a man's priesthood is denigrated as part of a collective consciousness?

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives



Oct 3, 2002
volume 13, no. 108
CHRIST or chaos
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