Sunday, November 6, 2011
Treasures of Our Catholic Faith
The following is from "We've Been Robbed!" by Jay Boyd, Ph.D., which appeared in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, May, 2008.
...I have acquired a copy of the Baronius Press daily missal of 1962 (reprinted in 2004). Included in its title are the words “liturgical manual” – and so it is. It includes a section called “The most necessary Prayers”. I found the wording quaint, but what immediately struck me was the difference in attitude such a title suggests in comparison to today’s attitude toward formal prayers. Today, I joked to a friend, we would not say “the most necessary prayers” for fear of offending someone whose favorite devotion was not included. We would be afraid to judge some prayers more “necessary” than others. We would not want to suggest that there are any “necessary” prayers; instead, we would say, “Here are some prayers that you might want to pray…if you feel like it…once in awhile, anyway…but we’re not trying to say that you should pray these prayers…if there are some others that you prefer…”
Scanning the table of contents of this volume, I also noticed an entry for “the seven deadly sins”! My goodness! Do we even mention such things any more? Not only that, but there is an entry for “Sins crying to Heaven for Vengeance”! Oh my! We’re so beyond that, aren’t we?! How judgmental! How about this one: “
of Being Accessory to Another’s Sin”. What?! Am I my brother’s keeper?!
Once again, the thought hits me: we’ve been robbed. We’ve had some priceless treasures taken from us: a language (Latin) that adds beauty and a sense of history to our liturgy; music (Gregorian chant) that does the same; a sense of the a sense of the hierarchical nature of the Church (cf. Lumen gentium, §18-29; Sacrosanctum concilium, §26-32); a sense of the Real Presence of Jesus; a sense of reverence, awe, and wonder associated with the mysteries of the liturgy; a sense of right and wrong; a sense of the power of God; a sense of the importance of our choice of words in speaking to Him; a sense of sin.
But the thief did leave something behind to replace some of the treasures lost: humanity has replaced divinity; “egalitarianism” has replaced the hierarchy; familiarity and contempt have been substituted for reverence, awe, and wonder; “innovation” has replaced tradition; “relevance” has replaced the essential mystery of the liturgy; “tolerance” has replaced our sense of right and wrong; moral relativism has replaced our sense of sin.
We’ve been robbed. But, thanks be to God, we have a Pope who apparently plans to restore those treasures to the whole Church.
In the letter to bishops accompanying the motu proprio, the Holy Father points out that “this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted,” and makes it clear that:
What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.
Ad multos annos, Pope Benedict XVI!
at 4:23 PM