Are We Walking to Heaven Backward? A Pastoral Consideration of Liturgical “orientation.”

Some years ago the theologian Fr. Jonathan Robinson wrote a commentary on the modern experience of the Sacred liturgy and entitled it, The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward. It is a compelling image of so much of what is wrong with the celebration of the Liturgy in many parishes today.

While Fr. Robinson certainly had the celebration of Mass “facing the people” in mind, his concerns are broader than that.

Indeed, we have the strange modern concept of the “closed circle” in so many modern conceptions of the Mass.Too often we are tediously self-referential and anthropocentric. So much of modern liturgy includes long lists of congratulatory references, both done by, but also expected of the celebrant.

Read more . . .

Must read file: Reflections on an Insightful Column describing how the West has become and Anti-Culture « Archdiocese of Washington

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

As we have discussed on this blog before, the Western World seems to have embarked on a (failed) experiment, testing whether a culture can exist without a shared cultus. That, is to say whether a true and unifying vision that we call culture can really exist at all without something above and beyond it,  which unifies it and to which it must answer.

Unfortunately the word “cult”  has strongly negative connotations in English, referring to extremist forms of religious association. But the Latin word cultus refers to devotion and/or religious adoration to God or to a body of religious beliefs and vision. As such, it serves as the basis for culture and makes up the very heart of that word.

In America, and to some extent parts Europe, the cultus did not have to be so specific that it admitted only of a strict sectarian quality. It was enough that we had a basic agreement on the biblical vision of God and a general assent to what has been called the Judeo-Christian vision.

But having largely shed this premise, our culture has broken down into a series of increasingly isolated and warring sectors which have no real basis even for simple discussion, let alone some significant agreement.

In fact, many now refer to our culture as an “anti-culture” given the iconclastic shredding of most of what was once considered sacred and inviolable. Almost nothing in our “culture” has withstood the efforts of those who recklessly tear down and exultantly destroy any vestige of anything they consider to limit their freedom or raise doubts about their behavior. In a way, to the cultural iconoclasts, everything must go. And while it is true that individuals may possess this iconoclasm to a greater or lesser degree, collectively, the devastation is vast, and shows no signs of stopping.

I would like to comments on excerpts of an article recently published over at the American Conservative by Rod Dreher entitled: Sex After Christianity. In that article he details some of demise of culture that we have discussed here as well. He focuses especially on how and why the recasting of sex has been the pulling of the linchpin in culture. And while he focuses on the issue of same sex unions and how we have gotten here, since we have discussed that issue a lot already, I will here excerpt the sections of his article on the wider question of culture. But I do encourage you to read the whole article as it sheds a lot of light on the bizarre celebration of same-sex attraction in our culture and where it has come from and where it will lead.

Read more via Must read file: Reflections on an Insightful Column describing how the West has become and Anti-Culture « Archdiocese of Washington.

A Look at Some Biblical Texts in Opposition to Contraception « Archdiocese of Washington

A Look at Some Biblical Texts in Opposition to Contraception

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

In the following post I seek to lay out a few of the biblical texts related to the Church teaching against contraception.  This is not a post intended to give a full defense of the teaching against contraception. I have done that elsewhere, e.g. HERE & HERE & HERE

This post is intended only to set for the kind of biblical logic and background for the teaching which comes to us from antiquity. In fact, no Christian denomination prior to 1930 ever taught the contraception was anything but sinful. The first denomination to depart from this received teaching was the Anglicans,  who at the 1930 Lambeth conference set aside more than 5000 years of Jewish and Christian wisdom and embraced the modern contraceptive notion that there is no necessary connection between procreation and sex. One by one the other Protestant denominations fell, such that today, only Catholic and Orthodox Christians, as well as some Orthodox Jews, are left holding the light of ancient antiquity.

Read more: A Look at Some Biblical Texts in Opposition to Contraception « Archdiocese of Washington.

Is the Church a Thermometer or a Thermostat? A Biblical reply to those who prefer a trendy and compliant Church « Archdiocese of Washington

Is the Church a Thermometer or a Thermostat? A Biblical reply to those who prefer a trendy and compliant Church

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

Is the Church a thermometer or a thermostat? In other words are we called merely to reflect the temperature (thermometer), or are we called to set the temperature (thermostat)? Many are deeply confused as to the role of the Church in the modern world, think we ought simply to reflect the mores of current times, rather than to prophetically announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Yes, there are many insist that the Church needs to “get with the times……Update her teachings….Be more modern in her thinking, teachings and structures.” She needs to “Listen more to young people and speak their language and share their vision.”

Put more in a hostile way, the Church “needs to abandon her medieval ways, cease being hostile, judgmental, intolerant, bigoted, sexist, homophobic, hateful etc (and the usual list of modern accusations that reflect more the accuser’s personal issues than the Church).

Read more via Is the Church a Thermometer or a Thermostat? A Biblical reply to those who prefer a trendy and compliant Church « Archdiocese of Washington.