Strings on the Liturgical Marionette


The LA Times notices the Orange County brouhaha over kneeling.

I think Amy and most of her commentariat miss the mark on it.

Liturgical “progressives” are all for diversity, except when it comes to a pet issue or two – like this one. And we’re all pretty tired of it, and we all see through it.

And yet I’m not convinced this is a liturgical progressive issue. I’ve criticized Seattle’s decision in print in my monthly column here, but I haven’t been asked to tender my LPMP* card. I did get an unfavorable letter from Seattle’s liturgy office suggesting I was a traitor. But the last time I checked, kneeling isn’t part of the conservative/progressive manifesto.

This “no kneeling” story is, in the end, not about kneeling. It’s about about a broader base of complaints that this group has and about the bishop and pastor’s stance toward this particular group and its complaints, and whatever fears and potential problems those complaints give rise to in the clerics’ hearts. It’s about power, and in a sense, it’s even about those “thinking,” “well-informed” Catholics that we’ve been hankering for since the end of Vatican II. What happens when the “thinking” “well-informed” Catholics can give back as much as you can when it comes to quoting liturgical experts, past and present, and are arguing against your views? Not exactly what we expected, is it?

Actually, I would expect it. And as I’ve said before, I welcome it. But it’s more about making oneself heard loud and long. Uncovering “thinking” Catholics is only the first step. The final goal is encouraging “being” Catholics: people who are unafraid to put their lives and their faith on the line, even when it seems inconvenient.

In my parish, the group that wanted 24-hour adoration had to do more than ask for it politely. They wanted to visit parish groups to promote it. Fine. I had access to the parish database and I gave them a list of committee chairs. Did they make the visits? I have no idea. But each hour finds a handful of folks in church praying. A few people want to build it into perpetual adoration. That works for me if they can make it happen; maybe we’ll be able to work an adoration chapel into the new building plans.

It is just insane, in a way. The whole “stand from the Lord’s Prayer to the end of Communion” thing is lame, artificial and manipulative. It is anything but organic and just has a feel of puppetry about it.

Much like the pre-pouring of chalices and the dismissal of glass. It’s the letter of the law, but it does indeed have a feel of puppetry.

My suggestion would be to have everybody just take one big step back from the liturgy wars and go on a nice long retreat.

*Liturgical Progressive Military Police

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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