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Abusing the People of God

Someone (who shall remain nameless) was telling me recently about a Mass that he went to. The Novus Ordo was used. Actually his description was "the Mass was abusive". Most of you reading this should know exactly what type of thing he was referring to. I reminded him that even if the Mass is done poorly, God can still communicate His grace to all those present. This does not justify a sloppy celebration of the Mass, but it does give us some encouragement in the way God's love can shine through in spite of our stupidity.

I have often said that it is sin to harm the people of God with the worship of God. And furthermore, if a priest wishes to show irreverence during the Mass, what (we may ask) is his attitude toward God? Does he really think that God likes irreverence? Even if all the rules of the Mass are obeyed (and they were not in the instance that was told to me above) a clergyman can still perform that Mass in a casual or disrespectful manner.

I have mentioned this before, and will continue to do so in the future, the worst abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests today is to abuse people liturgically. This is not to diminish the horrible action of sexual abuse (absolutely not!), but merely to keep our priorities in accord with what the Scriptures consider abusive. It reminds me of a wonderful quote by C.S. Lewis (who, though an Anglican until his death, understood the worship of God better than many today who are more "trained" than he was in these matters!).

"The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual." -- C.S. Lewis


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