Sunday, November 30, 2014

1st Sunday of Advent


That's long been one of my favorite hymns. Fortunately, the Novus Ordo parishes I've attended almost always include this in their Advent repertoire, albeit in English. I attended Mass after confession last night. If I could only change one thing about the Novus Ordo, I'd have all of the clergy celebrate it ad orientem, read "his back to the people." Having the priest face the people caused more chaos and probably did more long term damage to the Roman Catholic Church than the Protestant Reformation. When the priest faces God, he is exercising his spiritual leadership and fatherhood over the congregation. When the priest faces the people, the temptation is strong for him to become an entertainer. He's nothing so patriarchal as a priest offering sacrifice. No, he's just another member of the community who's been chosen to preside over a gathering of friends. We look at each other, he smiles, cracks jokes, we laugh, we hold hands, etc.

Novus Ordo parishes can be very nice and chummy, the way office parties can be nice and chummy. If you attend daily Mass regularly they might ask you to be a lector or an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I've been a lector, but I always politely but firmly refuse to ever be an EMHC. I don't believe unconsecrated fingers should be handling the chalice or paten, let alone the Eucharist.

It's funny how I feel much closer to the FSSP congregation than I ever have at a Novus Ordo parish where they emphasize how welcoming and inclusive they are. It might have something to do with how Traditionalists generally wear the same scars from the same battles with the hierarchy. But ultimately I think it's because in a Trad setting, I know we're mostly on the same page. I know these people believe and worship and pray in the same way I do. We all have the same goal: getting into heaven. At Novus Ordo parishes, you never know what people really believe. This isn't Beefy Levinson being uncharitable, this is statistical fact. We may share a common baptism, but many of my fellow Catholics feel as alien to me as mainline Protestants or Evangelicals.

I'm friends with many priests and seminarians on Facebook thanks to my years in the seminary. One of them posted this story this morning. "If only I had known, if only someone had told me," said one of the husbands. God have mercy on those whose responsibility it was to teach him. Orthodoxy and charity are never in conflict. If it appears that they are, either you don't understand orthodoxy or you don't understand charity.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny how I feel much closer to the FSSP congregation than I ever have at a Novus Ordo parish where they emphasize how welcoming and inclusive they are. It might have something to do with how Traditionalists generally wear the same scars from the same battles with the hierarchy. But ultimately I think it's because in a Trad setting, I know we're mostly on the same page. I know these people believe and worship and pray in the same way I do. We all have the same goal: getting into heaven. At Novus Ordo parishes, you never know what people really believe. This isn't Beefy Levinson being uncharitable, this is statistical fact. We may share a common baptism, but many of my fellow Catholics feel as alien to me as mainline Protestants or Evangelicals.

    I know exactly what you mean here. I know that those at FSSP parishes, save perhaps the children, are there because they made a conscious choice to be Traditional Catholics. At a NO church you never know why someone is there.

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