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    Friday, April 06, 2007

    Non-Catholic liturgy



    When you are something other than Catholic, how do you see yourself on Sunday?

    This Aussie's blurb is a nice window.

    This is why in the service I attended we began with a “caring and sharing” session in which we were prompted to share anything from a birthday to a terminal diagnosis. This is Christian worship captive to pastoral care; the needs of the people take centre stage rather than the worship of God. The result is oozingly sentimental.

    The one message is that God loves us no matter what. While this may be true, it is a truncation of the Gospel imperative that while we may be accepted as we are, it is not expected that we remain as we are. Surely our hope is to be transformed into His likeness. However, we have been taught that it is not pastoral or popular to make demands on the congregation so we leave out the hard bits.

    Churches that pride themselves on their creativity, making it up as they go along, inevitably fall into sentimentality or manipulation. Those that erase hundreds of years of faithful church tradition, insisting only on the Bible, in a distortion of what Luther was about, will end up with thin liturgies or no liturgies at all, Sunday worship becoming an extended Bible study or an exercise in community building.

    Maybe I shouldn't think so poorly about some Catholic liturgies that I witness. They tend to stretch the limits, but still can usually go only so far. It is still possible to tune out Father's theatrics and agenda as he eventually returns to the rubrics. Even when he changes the liturgy wording with his great creativity, I can repeat to myself from memory or read in front of me what the real words are.

    I guess it's fresh in my mind how some Holy Thursday hymns this year have replaced 'Him' with 'God', adding to the Priest's same habit during the Gloria and at other places. A feminist agenda long after the feminists have won.. at least 20 years too late.

    And the theatrics? What ya gonna do? I am getting quite good at ignoring it. Something like a kid with an abusive father. I make believe it is not happening.

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