So here we are, well into the new pontificate. Apparently B16 is not moving fast enough for some people to stamp out the dissenters in the Church. For others he’s a return to the stone age. Which probably means he’s doing OK. I think it’s a good sign generally, though not always, if you tick off the far left and far right elements at the same time.
Jimmy Akin posts that B16 by his nature is not really a heavy-handed leader. In that same post he links to the Catholic Exchange article that George Weigel wrote about what to expect from the new Pope. Personally if we get just those few things Weigel mentions and only those, I suspect that the Church will see a renewal the likes of which we haven’t seen in several lifetimes.
Weigel speculates, as have many, that the reform of the liturgy needs to be reformed and that it will be a priority for the new pontiff. Great! Just about everyone has some story about Mass that makes you cringe.
Personally I have not seen a clown Mass, nor a woman preach in place of a homily (which by definition can only be given by a deacon, priest or bishop). I do know that the latter happens in more than one parish in my archdiocese. I have personally heard a priest speculate that perhaps Christ didn’t know that He was going to institute the Eucharist at the Last Supper when speaking in the Bread of Life discourse in John 6. I have seen people invited to stand around the altar during the consecration. I have seen children invited to sit around the priest as he gives his homily at their 1st Communion. I have seen what appeared to be leavened, homemade bread at the same service. I have seen brats snatch the Body of Christ from the hand of the priest as if he were ticked off for even having to be there at all. I have seen priests sit down before all the communicants were taken care of, leaving them to the “eucharistic ministers”, which of course they aren’t. There’s the bad music that praises the people and forgets to even ask God who? There’s the glass “chalices” and wooden bowls for ciboriums. There’s the lack of a visible tabernacle, crucifix and kneelers. There’s the lack of genuflection by the people and the incessant hand holding during the Our Father and so much more.
And those aren’t necessarily the worst things I have seen reported. So what will start to cure these?
According to Weigel we will likely see a gradual change (as all Church change should be) back to certain practices and emphases. We are likely to see/hear more Gregorian chants for instance and the priest facing the East with his back to the people at appropriate times. New translations to replace the awful ones we have now might be given a kick in the pants to see them get to us faster. Maybe we will even see Holy Days of Obligation celebrated on the actual Holy Days! What a concept! Along with this, we hope to see an actual catechesis of what and why these things are changing.
That will be the harder part I think. Getting the bishops and priests to actually act on these things and then explain them. That seems to be where the Vatican II reform fell on its face. These changes may not seem like a big deal, but I think they would be a huge step in the proper direction. All of them would seem to restore an attitude of reverence and respect in some ways. Along with the meausres/reminders/prohibitions from Ecclesia de Eucharista, we would be well on our way I think.