Tuesday, April 24, 2007

on informal styles of worship

This usually involves singing of songs written in the modern idiom, very often from Protestant origin, which people would term "Praise and Worship".

I am uncomfortable with this term as used in this way, because the Church teaches that the ultimate Praise and Worship is done through the Liturgy, at Mass and at the Divine Office. I'd prefer some other name, maybe "songs of praise session".

I am uncomfortable with such a form of worship for two reasons:
(1) the choice of songs often leaves much to be desired, with very bizarre texts sometimes chosen eg. those that suggest "Jesus is my boyfriend". This is because we pray as we believe, and the texts of the songs have to reflect our beliefs.
(2) such a session often leaves the participants all emotionally fired up. However the effectiveness of prayer is not measured by one's emotions.

Two objections to my two reasons have been expressed to me:
(1) one should not "intellectualise" the process of prayer and worship
(2) everyone has the right to express his faith in his own way

I answer that
(1) we cannot divorce our intellect from the practice of the Catholic faith.
(2) while this is true, we must also not ignore the fact that we have to seek guidance and not be left to find our own way towards holiness.

Nevertheless, I'd leave those who prefer this style of worship alone.

just some thoughts. will revise this post if necessary.

Monday, April 16, 2007

on the question of liturgical language

The Muslims have their Azan (Call to Prayer) in Arabic, and they have no issues with understanding it. I'm sure we Catholics can do likewise, and learn the meanings of simple Latin prayers too, starting from "Dominus vobiscum".

Sorry for the lack of posts. Have been very busy!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jeff Randall of the Daily Telegraph...

...defends Christmas:

Before you ask, I haven't become a weirdo fundamentalist. This is not a matter of religiosity (I flicker somewhere between an agnostic and a mild believer). My protest is about resisting those who seem hell bent on turning Christianity into a crime.


No, it's not the Muslims, Jews or Hindus who are behind the drive to secularise Christmas. They are not the culprits. The presence of a small cross round the neck of a British Airways check-in staff member does not prompt them to scream in protest, vomit in the aisle or rush for a transfer to another carrier. On the whole, they couldn't care less. The demons in this horror story of crucifying Christmas are white, middle-class do-gooders whose assumption of a superior morality is as disgraceful as it is disgusting. They are busybodies, obsessed with forcing on us their vacuous "ethical" code.

Monday, November 27, 2006

we ought to see this matter primarily as the occasion for an examination of conscience

From Cardinal Ratzinger's address to Chilean Bishops. As someone pointed it out to me, it is no use saying that the other side is wrong if we don't actively correct our own faults too. Ergo,

For all these reasons, we ought to see this matter primarily as the occasion for an examination of conscience. We should allow ourselves to ask fundamental questions, about the defects in the pastoral life of the Church, which are exposed by these events. Thus we will be able to offer a place within the Church to those who are seeking and demanding it, and succeed in destroying all reason for schism. We can make such schism pointless by renewing the interior realities of the Church.

On New Mass vs Old Mass

We must avoid falling into the trap of arguing which is better, or which should exist, and so on. What is good for one section of the church benefits the entire church (from Fr Z).

It is a fact that for now, many people are simply too used to the New Rite and will find the Old Rite totally foreign, and so any action taken for the good of the New Rite, eg. better translations, more reverent celebrations, will be good for the whole church.

At the same time, to deny that the Old Rite has a place in the church now is to ignore the exalted place it had in the Church after the Council of Trent. Any assertion that the old rite is no longer relevant or not needed is faulty. We keep on learning from the past, in studies of scripture, the writings of the Church fathers, the Saints. We still recite the Nicene Creed today. The Mass of St Pius V, which was the Rite in use by the Roman Curia, as well as the other rites, Sarum, Dominican, Carmelite etc etc are no exception. Along with the Eastern Catholic liturgies, they are treasures for us to learn from in their diverse expressions of the one True faith.

It is a tragedy that the Old Rite is thought to be associated with sectarian and polemical groups. Such groups are surely on the slippery slope towards separation, and this is the case whether you are left-leaning or right-leaning (eg. so-called "pro-choice catholics", Archbishop Millingo etc etc) .

There is nothing to be gained if we do not work together for the good of the Church. There is nothing to be gained if all there exists is criticism for the old rite, yet not acknowledging the deficiencies of the new rite, and not working towards better celebrations of the new rite. Very often we hear people say, "you know in the Old Rite if the priest left out certain things it would be mortal sin!", without actually having a certain familiarity with it. Heh - in the New Rite, if the priest left out the words of consecration ... .There is also nothing to be gained if the new rite is scorned and derided. Any assertion that the new rite is sacrilegious because of its faults is utterly ridiculous - the Church can never lead us to sin.

Keeping the old rite alive and encouraging its wider use serves to remind us that it still belongs to us, the whole Church, not to sectarian interests. Keeping the old rite alive serves to be an example for the rest of the new rite people to follow. Keeping the old rite alive serves to show the rest of divided Christendom that we have, like them, great respect for our traditions.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Your Bloggers: A Definition

Norman --


Extremely extreme!

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Constantine --


A hermit living in the big city

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Edward --


Tastes like fried chicken

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Michael --


Fuzzy to the touch

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Panagia Ierosolimitissa

To those whom I gave prayer cards to during the past two weeks, if you were unable to read the (modern) Greek at the back, I have received a translation from Maria of the Greek consulate:

Panagia Ierosolimitissa (Theotokos of Jerusalem)

This is Gethsemane's Panagia, overlooking the empty tomb of the Most Holy Theotokos, blessing the numerous pilgrims to the Holy Land of Jerusalem. Today's small underground tomb is situated at Gethsemane, next to the Mount of Olives where the Saviour often prayed with His disciples. It was there that the Apostles gathered and buried the most-pure body of the Mother of God. Her icon remains there as an endless spring of blessings for all the Christians, celebrated (or venerated) by the name 'Panagia Ierosolimitissa'.

I hope this helps.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

33rd sunday in ordinary time

It is interesting to spot a thread that connects the propers in the liturgy. The collects speak about eternal life. The propers speak about praying without ceasing, and God's assurance that He will hear us. And the Gospel speaks about Him coming in glory. Look at what we lose if we ditch them for hymns arbitrarily chosen!

Ergo, We are taught in this Sunday to pray without ceasing, so that one day we may be with Him in the glory of eternal life.

In today's Introit, we have the following
The Lord said, "I am pondering thoughts of peace and not of affliction; you shall call upon me and I will hear you; and I will bring you back from all the lands where you are held captive."
and what do we call upon him in the Collect? From Fr Z
Grant unto us, we beg thee, O Lord our God, always to rejoice in your devotion, for happiness is perpetual and full, if we serve constantly the author of good things.
We ask in the Prayer over the Gifts that
acquire for us the effect of a happy eternity
The Alleluia Verse and Offertory verse reminds us of a very common attitude we must have when praying,
Out of the depths I have cried to you O Lord, Lord hear my voice/prayer.
Yet, the Gospel in year B assures us of
"And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power"
and the Introit comes to mind,
"you shall call upon me and I will hear you"
We are reminded again in the Communion antiphon that
Amen, I say to you whatever you ask in your prayers, believe that you shall receive it, and it shall be granted unto you.
and of course, God gives us what we need, not what we want, and our aim is to be close to Him in heaven.