Monday, January 01, 2007

I'm back!

Actually, I didn't realize I would be "away" (from blogging that is). We just returned from spending the holiday with our families in Central Pennsylvania. I thought I'd have some time to blog while we were visiting. But as it turned out, we were much too busy.

My Roman friends might like to know that my oldest son and I attended a Christmas Eve Mass at a Roman Catholic parish -- St. Joan of Arc, Hershey, PA. The church was packed out! And it was only one of many services they were having that day. The service was a typical contemporary V-2 affair, and yes, I admit that I could not help musing that the Romans could learn a lot from the Episcopalians about how to "do" liturgy. But there is one thing the Romans seem to do right EVERY time I witness it, no matter what style of service (contemporary or traditional): the consecration of the elements. The solemnity of THAT moment was worth enduring all of the contemporary praise music beforehand. Even though I did not (and obviously could not) partake, I left that service fully nourished.

Until next time.

P.S. Blessed New Year to all my readers!


Anonymous said...

Our contemporary services are embarrassing. They are hard to stomach. I have told many RCC friends that the RCC will NEVER be successful at converting "good" Anglicans as long as our liturgy and especially music sucks.

At our parish here, they had a childrens Mass, which wasn't bad, and then the High Mass which I was told by some friends who have good liturgical taste, was magnificent. We have a very good choir made up of regular Joe's.

I have come to learn that the RCC teaches her priests to be administators and NOT liturgists or musicians, sadly. I believe that the eductation that I received prepared me to preach and make good music and liturgical decisions, but was pooris on the administrative side.

However, if the RCC does not learn, they will continue to miss out on many good Anglican converts going to EO, and some simply because the liturgy is done poorly.

Anonymous said...

I have come to believe that it is not exactly the outward forms of worship (whether that be ritual or ceremonial) that makes for good liturgy. What is more essential is the spirit in which it is done. I’ve been to a shoddy Divine Liturgy where chant and incense seem to obscure rather than illuminate the divine presence. I’ve also been to a Southern Methodist prayer service were recitation of the Creed, evangelical hymns, and simple appreciation for the Gospel convey the fullness of Christianity.

Our small bilingual urban-suburban RC parish is a model of good liturgy. It is neither traditionalist nor innovative. Primary importance is placed upon the ritual (i.e. the official form of words which constitute the spoken part of the event), especially the reading of Sacred Scripture. The ceremonial is moderate (incense is used occasionally) but always appropriate (there are no altar girls). Our priests are evidently conscious of both the doctrinal and moral content of orthodox worship.

I wish the renewal of the sacred liturgy would look to churches like ours as an example.

lexorandi2 said...

Hey, my daughter is an "altar girl"! (i.e. "acolyte" in our tradition).

Anonymous said...


It's actually "acolyte" in our tradition as well, but unfortunately unsexy modern words like "ordinary time", "extraordinary minister" and "altar server" are too common to be avoided.

lexorandi2 said...

Isn't an "acolyte" in the RC tradition one of the minor orders that one picks up on the way to the priesthood?

Thomas said...

Well it was. But to be honest, I'm not up on my Vatican II theology of ordination. I do know that it was once considered an ordained office without being a sacramental ordination. Ordination lacking a sacramental character…Don't you just love medieval theology? I think the inclusion of women (and girls) in the ordained ministry today has its justification, in part, in this traditional distinction. While we may not redefine the matter of the sacrament of order (deacon, priest & bishop), if ordination is not a sacrament - as in the case of lectures and altar servers, then there seems to be no a priori reason for excluding them in every situation.

**It ought to be more widely recognized, however, that women lectures and female acolytes are technically “extraordinary”.