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Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ.
In addition to being D-Day, today marks the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ.
Spooky, right? Today Catholics paid more attention than usual to one of the great supernatural features of the Catholic faith; the actual transformation of bread into flesh, and wine into blood.
If you want to get kids interested in the Church (I tell anyone who will listen), sieze on stuff like this and make the confirmation ceremony look more like a Marilyn Manson concert than the fluffy joy fest it has become today.
Focus on rivers of blood, secret language (Latin), 3D Gothic images, Gregorian chants, etc. And dress those Knights of Columbus like Roman soldiers for effect and get them out of those Captain Crunch suits. This will get the kids interested. The last thing they want is 40 year old church ladies trying to make things “hip” with grooveless interpretations of mid-tempo tunes left over from the 1970s flowery Charismatic movement.
We all know there hasn’t been a decent song written for Catholics in a thousand years so let’s stick with the hits. Your kid likes the Beatles right? He’s gonna go ape for Panis Angelicus. Give it a chance. Your kid likes the 1980s? How about the actual 80s? when the Church was still smarting from its first Pope being martyred on an upside down cross. While we’re at it, let’s take the upside down cross appeal away from the metal heads and own it.
Let’s take the solemn dress code away from the Goths, the Rosaries away from the gangs, the blood & death fixation away from the scene-kids, the art away from the academics, the Latin away from the Harry Potter geeks, the bi-location away from Siegfried & Roy, the exorcisms away from Art Bell, the Angels away from Hollywood, the bling away from the players, the stigmatas away from the Arquettes, and the ghosts away from the new agers. In Denver there’s a beautiful downtown cathedral called the Church of the Holy Ghost. Who’s not curious about what goes on in there?
And don’t get me started on the Pope’s red shoes. If you’re kid’s watching too much Glee, have him take a look at those babies.
Published in General
As a Lutheran who regularly attends Catholic mass, I’ve been wondering whatever happened to the great Catholic liturgical elements and rituals — swinging incense, priests sprinkling Holy water on the assembled congregation, feet washing. I’m aware of these only because they’re regularly performed in my Lutheran church. I’ve never seen them performed in the Catholic masses I’ve attended, which must number into the hundreds by now.
Way too many milquetoast guitar masses. Here’s to Catholicism with attitude.
I’ve always identified with being a “soldier for Christ“. I was blessed with a father well versed in both theology and history, so I was saved from the popular image of hippie Jesus. Following Christ requires courage, temperance, and endless sacrifice.
Christianity has been watered down for too many, so it’s no wonder they lose interest. We’ve lost sense of the great drama of which we are part. We perceive life as a nursery or playground, rather than a war in which souls struggle heroically or die of slow poisoning.
It’s a reason I have strong hopes for the Legion of Christ, despite the order’s sad origin. I had the honor of getting to know many Legionaries during the Papal visit to New York. They understand the need to boldly bear witness to Christ in the public eye. I’m sure the Holy Father will help them amend and be fruitful.
Incidentally, if you scroll down to “Our Father” here, you can hear one of my overtly Catholic songs. I believe both subtle and bold lyrics are needed. As Flannery O’Connor once said, to the hard of hearing you must shout.
Joe, as you know, I’m a devout Episcopalian, which is to say I’m pretty much an unbeliever. But I think you and Aaron are right on: take away the mystery and the drama of the church, and you’re left with a drained, bloodless (in so many ways) experience.
I’ve always admired my friends who have faith, because they believe in not just something mysterious but Something Mysterious. The incense, the Latin, the amazing and deeply moving and barely graspable story of Jesus — it’s supposed to be a little spooky, a little shiver-inducing.
I’ve had two indelible religious experiences. One, Mass at San Rocco in Rome.
I went there after my first beloved dog died. (San Rocco is the patron saint of dogs, I was told.) There I discovered that San Rocco is also Saint Roche. Roche is an old name in my family. There I also felt Something Mysterious.
The first time I felt that was at an Orthodox Mass at a church outside Tbilisi, Georgia. An ancient church with crumbling walls. No roof. Rain drizzling in. Weeds growing through the ancient stone floor.
Both times, both Masses were in languages I don’t speak. Both times, it didn’t matter.
Benedict XVI’s efforts to encourage more Latin masses has set the tone for the pendulum to at least swing no further toward milquetoast. The Latin mass I attended today at St. John The Baptist in Orange County smelled like a head shop it had so much incense. People are invigorated there. Everyone is participating, even the young.
This is a great and courageous Pope who’s really making a difference. Our new Opus Dei formed Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez is also a step in the right direction.
Way too many milquetoast guitar masses. Here’s to Catholicism with attitude. ·
Jun 6 at 9:07pm
I don’t know what Catholic churches you’ve been going to, but they still have all those things. You’ll find incense during Lent and Advent, sprinkling water during the Easter season, and feet washing at one particular feast mass every year.
Notre Dame des Victoires in San Francisco, Our Lady of Angels in Burlingame, and a little St. Ignatius in San Francisco. I just haven’t seen much ceremony. At OLA last Christmas, their main mass centered around folk music… there was maybe one carol (I know, this is stepping into Rob’s Episcopal territory). But still — people were really disappointed. And this seems completely typical.
Otto, I can only vouch for Masses in north Houston, Mobile, and San Antonio. They practice all the special rites of the Catholic liturgical calendar, that I’ve seen. The washing of the feet is a moving experience. I’m often in awe of how the basics of the Mass (the prayers, the specific Biblical readings, the Eucharist) are being celebrated by millions of people, from countless cultures and circumstances, in unity. The Mass also unites us across generations, to our ancestors and to those yet unborn.
Parishes do vary greatly in terms of music, presentation, priests’ orations, etc. Some localizations does make sense, but even music can make the difference between an atmosphere of quiet contemplation or one of casual frivolity (each has its place in worship). Thankfully, the body and blood of Christ are the center of the Mass, and that is the same everywhere.
Pope Benedict XVI is indeed a wonderful pope. One thing I respect most is his willingness to confront errant philosophies, to explain how they err and even what might lead someone to such an argument. He strives to understand his enemies so that they may be reconciled.
The difficulty is that you have to search for a parish, the one near you may be on a bad path. Some are awful. But, if you’re looking for a “modern and open minded” parish, changing as times change, you are going to modernize yourself out of a beautiful thing.
Where do you go Joe? oh, here. It was a long journey for sure.
In the bay area I highly recommend St. Dominic’s on Bush Street (http://www.stdominics.org/), no lack of ceremony at their 11:30am high mass w/ choir. It’s so beautiful my family and I now just trek all the way from Santa Cruz for feast days rather than twist in the tortuous liturgical winds of the average norcal parish. SO worth it.
Joe Escalante: Benedict XVI’s efforts to encourage more Latin masses has set the tone for the pendulum to at least swing no further toward milquetoast. The Latin mass I attended today at St. John The Baptist in Orange County smelled like a head shop it had so much incense. People are invigorated there. Everyone is participating, even the young.
This is a great and courageous Pope who’s really making a difference. Our new Opus Dei formed Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez is also a step in the right direction. ·
Jun 6 at 11:04pm
Indeed, it has been my observation that those parishes that advocate for the Liturgy, for Tridentine Mass, and who are loyal to the Church’s moral teachings (especially pro-life issues) are growing parishes. Parishes that advocate for authentic Catholic culture have all of the young and large families as well, a clear sign of growth. I’m thinking of St. John Cantius in Chicago as a great example. Conversely, those parishes that persist in milk toasting, who make us endure those dreary, drippy lullabies know as contemporary hymns (to use a Peter Kreeftism), and constantly abuse the Liturgy are dwindling both in number and in membership.
Dear Messrs. Umpire, Miller, Long, Escalante, Gamgee and–certainly not least–Miss Breiling, Oh…you are going to get me started! I am a new member here at Ricochet. I am not new to this particular topic. All of us are always new to Faith. I think I am going to enjoy Mr. Escalante’s postings and the subsequent comments. My preferred interpretation has been that Roman Catholicism has been made effete. I would say, “feminized,” but then–not wanting to be rashly misunderstood–one of course has to make all sorts of qualifications, etc., and there is too little room for that in one blog entry. I hope we continue this particular discussion. The masculine & feminine overtones of Church life are not new topics, of course (cf. Leon Podles), but addressing it is a a monumental task just beginning. Let’s not give up! I am glad to see the non-Catholics joining in. This helps to make for focused and lively discussion.
Ideas have liturgical consequences and the corrosive philosophical architects of modernity are well represented in the effete rot which you have witnessed.