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.

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Today is Born a Savior. And here are some of His saving Gifts | Archdiocese of Washington

There is a Scripture reading proclaimed at the Christmas Liturgy that usually gets overlooked. And yet it should elicit considerable reflection since it is proclaimed at the Christmas Midnight Mass, one of the Church’s most prominent Liturgies. It is from the Letter to Titus in the Second Chapter. I would like to reproduce it in full and then give some commentary following.

The grace of God has appeared, saving all

and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires

and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,

as we await the blessed hope,

the appearance of the glory of our great God

and savior Jesus Christ,

who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness

and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

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A Call to Courage in a Climate of Crisis and Conflict. | Archdiocese of Washington

There is debate among some in Church, as I suppose there has been in every age, as to how to interpret the signs of the times. It was common in the 1970s and into the 80s for many to speak hopefully of a “Springtime for the Church” as they looked with confidence for the fruits of the Second Vatican Council to take off.

And there have indeed been many Spring fruits: a laity that is more engaged in daily Church life, a Liturgy that flourishes in very diverse ways from traditional Latin Masses, across the spectrum to more charismatic and vernacular expressions, the Catechism of the Catholic Church which has helped stabilize the content of catechesis, the bouncing back of vocations that is underway and the founding of new and reformed Orders along with the blossoming of many lay apostolates, these and other such things speak to the fruits of a kind of springtime.

And yet it is increasingly hard to argue that the temporal order is in anything but increasing disrepair,

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REMNANT E-EDITION   |   Liturgical Dance is an “Abuse”…..Unless We Say it Isn’t

Liturgical dance

Liturgical Dance is an “Abuse”…. Unless We Say it Isn’t

God help us if they decide this is not an abuse of the liturgy. If you have ever witnessed such an abomination it will make your head spin. Although forbidden, this abuse is still seen from time to time in parishes throughout our country.