By the classical definition one can say that anarchy is a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.
Sooooo....where am I going with this? Some of you know that I'm currently in a conversation with the pastor of the home parish I grew up in. The conversation is about trying to bring the liturgical life of the Church in that parish in line with the expectations of said Church. It has been a monumental struggle. I've contacted the bishop. He has responded and is hoping for a dialogue between the pastor and myself. Frankly, I'm hoping for that too. As of now, it hasn't happened.
Yesterday, I had an email exchange with a reader and something he said to me rings true. I think that the liturgical life of the Church is in a state of anarchy. I think that it's applicable under both definitions above.
What does the Church demand of the liturgy for the faithful? It demands that the faithful have a right to the properly celebrated Mass. Redemptionis Sacramentum makes this clear from the beginning to the end. Yet, widespread abuse still takes place in virtually every parish in the USA. It certainly is happening in my home parish.
At first, I thought that maybe there was a sense of ignorance, because priests haven't been properly trained over the last 40 years. I don't buy that anymore. If I can know what is supposed to happen and articulate it, then there is no reason any priest shouldn't be able to do the same. By definition, the change of the rubrics from law to a norm is the first step into anarchy.
Tell me if this sounds familiar....the Mass is guided by a set of norms, but the inculturation of the Mass allows for options which may or may not allow for the Mass to be more accessible to the "people of God." That fits the definitions above...and we, as Catholics accept this. In this sense, the 1960s hippie movement has worked....the "social inculturation" of the Mass took place 100%. But is this what the Council Fathers intended? Clearly not. It is what the reformers wanted. And they got it. And those of us who are trying to be faithful Catholics are now subject to anarchy. The thought that has brought me to this comes from the following portion of the email I mentioned above:
I commend you for what you are doing, but, unlike a civil court of law, you can have the facts and the law on your side, still lose and have no recourse. This is all indicative of the extent of the permeation of the smoke of Satan into the Church.
If the Church says we have recourse, but the reality is that we don't, then isn't that the definition of anarchy? Living in the Church means we must stand up to that which is unjust. Anarchy is never justified, not in a civilized world. If the Church is being undermined, because the law isn't law and it is merely a norm, what can be done?
In short, we must fight! We must fight the anarchy and the tyranny which prevents sensible and legal celebration of Holy Mass. Clearly, clearly we must do what we can, EACH ONE OF US, to ensure that we have an authentic experience in the Mass. That is our right. I'm going to paraphrase a very famous speech:
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for orthodoxy in the history of our Church.Two millinea ago, a fisherman was given the keys, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, proved that the great forgiveness of Christ exists. This momentous moment came as a great beacon light of hope to all mankind who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.[...]But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this Church. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.[...]The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Catholic community must not lead us to a distrust of all Councils, for many of our brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.We cannot walk alone.And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.We cannot turn back.[...]I have a dream that one day this Church will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "One, Holy, catholic and apostolic."I have a dream that one day on the seven hills of Rome, the sons of the TLM and the sons of Novus Ordo adherents will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.I have a dream that one day even the United States, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of authentic freedom and justice.
I have a dream today![...]
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the parish with.
We have to start getting it! We have to understand that the movement to the authentic expression of the Mass lives in each of us...not just in the liturgists and the priests. Authenticity! I do have a dream! And it is to see the proper implementation of Vatican Council II and the clarification of the difficulties which have come forth!
May God Bless you and Merry Christmas!