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Catholic Culture Solidarity

the good catholic

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 01, 2005

Vision Book Cover Prints

It is the right of all of Christ's faithful that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms. Likewise, the Catholic people have the right that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass should be celebrated for them in an integral manner, according to the entire doctrine of the Church's Magisterium.
-- Redemptionis Sacramentum ยง12, 2004.

"Are we lost, daddy?" I arsked tenderly.
"Shut up," he explained.

-- Ring Lardner, "The Young Immigrunts," 1920.

Of course we know it never happens in reality, but suppose, just suppose, that your pastor were to depart from the words or rubrics of the Roman Rite in his celebration of Mass. Suppose further that, after approaching your pastor personally, the chancery by phone, and your bishop by letter, you received no substantive explanation and no amendment took place. As a devout and committed Catholic, how do you account for the circumstances?

Account A. You reason that the designated provider of the Eucharistic liturgy is your pastor, that your pastor wouldn't be in the position he is unless your bishop wanted him there, that your bishop wouldn't be your bishop unless the Pope wanted him to be. Ergo, you have the Mass the Church wants you to have. Call this the Nuremberger with Fries Approach.

Account B. You reason that, appearances notwithstanding, the liturgy as conducted by your pastor -- being at least passively ratified by your bishop -- is in actuality the Mass according to the Roman Rite, but that you yourself are too sinful to see it. Ergo, in the eyes of the saints, you have the Mass the Church wants you to have. Call this the Rex Mottram Approach.

Account C. You reason that, even though your parish Mass is not the Mass the Church says she wants you to have, she is the supreme and ultimate guarantor of your rights. Ergo, the Mass the Church wants you to have is a Mass the Church doesn't want you to have. Call this the I Guess It Was None of My Business in the First Place Sorry to Have Bothered You Approach.

Don't be bashful. Tell your Uncle Di: which line of thinking is most in keeping with our authentic ecclesial maturation and the kind of churchmanship the recently-concluded Synod of Bishops wants us to have? I can imagine other possibilities beyond the three mentioned but, alas, they all entail the imputation of discreditable motives to others. Far be it from us to take that path.

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