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warning: not for children or the squeamish

By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 28, 2006

Did you hear the words "mortal sin" from the pulpit this Sunday? Bet you didn't.

Contumacious parishioners, however, at St. Mary's by the Sea in Huntington Beach found themselves charged with mortal sin by their pastor, in a message communicated via the church bulletin. So, boys and girls, what filth, what abomination, what unprintable extravagance of Southern Californian turpitude -- so great as to deserve "exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell," according to the Catechism -- have the wretched souls indulged in?

Kneeling.

We're talking about kneeling at Mass, after the Agnus Dei. According to the L.A. Times article, Orange Bishop Tod Brown is backing the pastor against the kneelers. Helen Hitchcock, who is quoted in the Times story, points out that it's telling that a prelate of the "Let a hundred flowers bloom" school should bring the hammer down against diversity:

"It's hard to understand why any bishop would prohibit his people from expressing reverence in the way they have done for centuries," said Helen Hull Hitchcock, a founder of the conservative Adoremus Society for the Renewal of Sacred Liturgy in St. Louis.

Tactful reticence apart, is it so hard to understand? If you were one of the folks Tim Radcliffe calls "Kingdom Catholics," and you had the power to enforce your own will in the matter, would you want to see Catholics on their knees before the Blessed Sacrament?

L.A. Times photo

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