“The Church's great liturgical tradition teaches us that fruitful participation in the liturgy requires that one be personally conformed to the mystery being celebrated… Otherwise, however carefully planned and executed our liturgies may be, they would risk falling into a certain ritualism. Hence the need to provide an education in eucharistic faith capable of enabling the faithful to live personally what they celebrate.” (Pope Benedict XVI, SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS, 64)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Fighting Relativists of ND - Post Script

I'm not really feeling inspired enough to produce a blog post. However, I am motivated to bury the post directly below this one. Despite Andy's well intentioned point, posting videos of such a grotesque nature might be offensive to certain classes of people, for instance, people who breathe.

So, on to Notre Dame. I must confess that as one who was an avid college football fan before becoming an avid Catholic, I have had little regard for the University of Notre Dame, the prima donna of the college football community. Too good to join an athletic conference. Too fawned-over to actually have to have a decent team in order to be ranked. So worshiped by the sports media that they get opportunities not afforded to other teams (like getting a shot an #1 Florida in in the 1992 Sugar Bowl).

Now things are different, and, unfortunately, my attitude hasn't changed much. I'm not at all thrilled that they have a mural of the Risen Lord that they trivialize by calling it "Touchdown Jesus". And they employ on their Theology staff a Fr. McBrien, who's never found a doctrinal error that he didn't want to teach.

In short, Notre Dame did not impress the secularistic or the theistic portions of my life. But three years ago, something happened that made me reconsider. Father Jenkins, the university president, voiced a marvelous critique of Vagina Monologues, and seemed to be signally an eventual ban from the Notre Dame campus. Progress, so I thought, initiated by a courageous priest willing to stand-up for Catholicism in the midst of the antithetical world of American academia. That lasted a few weeks before he folded like the football team did against Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl (or the Insight.Com Bowl, take your pick). Any thoughts of sending my kids there lasted for the same few weeks.

So as far as Obama's honorary degree and his commencement speech go, I have to say that I'm encouraged by the fact that some Catholics put up a fights. Over 70 bishops penned their disapproval! When have we ever seen that? And while the mainstream media avoided the condemnations and protests, noting them only to display them as freakish, the news that Notre Dame won't honor a basic moral principle is out, and they will be damaged goods to faithful Catholics until they clean house.

Father Z followed the story tenaciously, and he seems a little discouraged by the outcome. But still looking forward, he offers a solution to this and other deeply rooted problems within the Catholic community.
We are not getting the fullness of the Church’s teachings from Notre Dame or other, now lesser, water carriers of the secularist agenda. We are not getting it from very many of our leaders in the Church.

And so…

I urge all priests and bishops who read this blog with any slight quaver of resonance or benevolence, to consider this with care:

If you sense that something quite serious and important is going on right now, for the love of God rethink your approach to how you foster Holy Church’s proper public worship.

Do all in your power and through your influence to foster a worship of God which conforms not to worldly goals – as praiseworthy as they may be in a world still dominated by its dire prince – but rather to the real point of religion: an encounter with mystery.

Our worship must become more and more focused on the one who is Other. Seek what is truly above in your rites and raise people to encounter mystery.

You will be challenged and reviled, blocked and attacked as you do. You will be worn down and afraid under the weight of resistance.

But I think that to save the world we must save the liturgy.

Sunday reaffirmed this for me.

They can’t compete with the fullness of Catholic liturgy and sound preaching.

Reforming the liturgy along the lines Pope Benedict has proposed may be the most loving and effective option we have in these ever hotter times.

People will have to keep working very much in the sphere of the secular. Of course! Our inward Catholic Christian identity must find outward expression and bring concrete fruits.

But I think the real work now – where we will make some effective headway – must be done at the level of our public worship.
It always keeps coming back to that.

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