I wonder if God Almighty shakes His head as He watches His Church divide, dissolve and lead His children far, far away from Him?
I wonder if God finds anything humorous about the proposed liturgical changes that are currently being implemented in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, and similar liturgical changes are being undertaken in countless dioceses around the globe.
I wonder if the saints and angels go and comfort God, hugging Him, telling Him that there are still a few who are praying, living the Gospel, worshipping Him, adoring Him, desiring to give Him their all as He taught them to do. I wonder if Our Blessed Mother holds her Divine Son in her arms as she once did on Earth, and whispers to Him that sheís visiting her children, telling them to beware these evils...but the hearts of Godís children are so closed, so cold, so uneducated, so afraid of offending mortal man, but not afraid of offending God in the least.
Cardinal Mahoneyís recent headline-making announcement concerning his program of liturgical change within the diocese over which he presides has certainly saddened my heart. I know God is sad. He allows me to feel some of His sadness.
Whatís really sad is that the vast majority of the Catholics in the LA Diocese are going to go along with what the Cardinal says because, after all, he is a Cardinal and the Holy Father must know what heís doing, and therefore, itís okay, even if they donít understand the changes and wish the good Cardinal would just leave well enough alone.
But, you see, Cardinal Mahoney hasnít checked with the Holy Father...even though the LA red hat is one of the chief officers of the American Synod underway in Rome right now. No! Heís set himself up as virtual pope of Los Angeles, and is telling everyone that before the end of the year 1998, its going to be done his way, or they will have no place to go and worship, thank you very much.
What type of nonsense is this? What blasphemy? For Cardinal Mahoney to tout his new liturgical reforms as necessary, is right on the brink of insanity, if it doesnít send one tumbling into the abyss right off the bat. To insist that everyone get on his bandwagon and do it his way, or they can forget being Catholic, much less Roman Catholic, is the trial before the Sanhedrin all over again. The names have changed. The style of dress has changed. Yes, the setting has changed. But the bottom line hasnít changed.
Jesus fulfilled the Old Law and gave to all His children a New Law. He didnít say that, in time, this New Law, would become outdated, old-fashioned, or need revision. Does God need to be revised? Does God change?
What on earth, or in Heaven for that matter, is the Cardinal thinking when he sends out a message that the priest is merely a presider, that the people are god, that all the traditions of the Church must be swept out of the sanctuary, because we need to involve everyone in a more personal way, even to the point of having the "Kiss of Peace" extend to an all-out get-together that might take fifteen minutes or more.
This Cardinal would like the entire assembly to gather around the altar during the Eucharistic prayer, to watch as the "presider" concludes the consecration with the great Amen, which should be shouted from the roof-tops in whatever form it takes to get the congregation whipped into a frenzy. How about a marching band, dear Cardinal? How about cheerleaders on the altar, with liturgically correct pompoms chanting the Amen, and the other prayers of the Mass, so that the faithful can give a rousing cheer...having their emotions so stoked that they couldnít hear God speak to them if God tried, which of course God does at each and every moment of our lives.
Why not tear down the churches? Why not turn them into entertainment arenas while heís at it? Youíd get a lot of bodies in there on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning, and, hey, why not put in Surround-sound and all the super technology we have in the movies today, which burst our ear drums? Why not have monitors, like they have in sports bars, a TV in every pew! Thereís the ticket. No more boredom. Go on, bring the kids. Theyíll have a ball! What a show itís going to be, folks, in Los Angeles, and how many other dioceses around the globe. No more praying from the heart! No more reverence for God. Hey, weíre god! We deserve to be entertained. Right? Sure, and if youíre going to get bodies in a church then you better compete with all the TV and Cable sports networks, compete with all the bawdy, tawdry, obscene junk that floats through the sound bites of our lives, because, come one, come all, the new American catholic church (please note, not the Roman Catholic Church), really knows how to put on a really good show.
So did the people of Christís time. They knew what they wanted. They didnít want Him. So, they put on a really good show to get rid of Him. They crucified Him, and the crowd went wild.
The crowd was whipped to a frenzy then, the crowd is being whipped into a frenzy of human emotions that are base today.
The end result...as Cardinal Mahoney so succinctly put it: Itís either the new liturgy, or nothing! Take it or leave it.
Thanks, but Iíll leave it.
I can hear Godís angels and saints weeping. I can hear His Mother crying. Oh, that we have made our Lord and God cry!
Maybe, if Cardinal Mahoney wouldnít mind, Iíll just find a priest whoís a true priest and ask if heíd say Mass, be it underground or in my home, or in the local storefront, and invite all the passers-by, as Jesus did in the Gospel of the Wedding Feast, when He sent His servants to bring in all the rabble off the streets.
I admit that Iím rabble, Iím chaff. Iíve sinned. I sin. I need God. I need His forgiveness and mercy, and I need Him in His sacramental Church.
If I want to have entertainment, Iíll turn on the TV set, or spend precious dollars for some other event, but I donít think Iím going to go to any church to have my fancy tickled, thank you.
What a sad, sad, time! Where will it all end? God knows; Our Lady has warned us. Perhaps the signs of the time are clear after all, only we donít want to look at them.
City of angles or city of the Angels? Heavenly angels, or fallen ones? Cardinal Mahoney has made his choice. Which is yours?