Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 1, 2002
WCR Letters to the Editor
Put the beauty back into the liturgy
Regarding Bernadette Gasslein's letter (Standing expresses solidarity with body of Christ, Letters, March 18), I wish to make the following observations.
Gasslein's dismissive volley toward Mr. Lorenc aside, I challenge her slanted use of selected passages from the missal to buttress her zealous defense of standing during the Eucharistic prayer.
In fact, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, number 21 says, "They should kneel at the consecration unless prevented by lack of space, the number of people present, or some other good reason." Number 43 continues, "They should kneel at the Consecration, except when prevented . . . However, those who do not kneel at the Consecration ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the Consecration."
In no way, does the missal say that standing is the law of the Church as Gasslein intimates in her letter. Indeed, the practice of standing versus kneeling varies greatly from parish to parish, diocese to diocese and country to country. Ultimately the issue of posture, although contentious, is certainly not the end all and be all.
As a member of the liturgy commission, Gasslein would have better served the reader had she impartially addressed legitimate points on both sides of the issue.
Unfortunately she chose not to do so.
Of far greater consequence, is the broader issue of the absence of beauty in liturgy. In the epilogue to his book, Understanding the Sacraments, Father Peter Stravinskas critiques the modern church liturgy. He asks, "When we survey the landscape . . . of the past thirty-five years, what do we behold? There is nothing - a void, a desert."
Has there been any artwork that anyone would want to preserve into the next millennium, let alone look at? What do ugly vestments that resemble horse blankets do for a person's aesthetical sense?
Have you ever wondered what happened to those art shoppe pottery and clay vessels used in the seventies now that Walmart glass substitutes are in wide use? Could any of these be seriously called "sacred vessels" worthy to contain the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, let alone have any intrinsic beauty of their own?"
To this I would add the obvious - too many Catholics are undeservedly forced to endure dreadful homilies, painful music, and church architecture that too often resembles school gymnasiums. Most disturbing is the prevailing tendency in liturgy to diminish worship in favour of an undue emphasis on the emotions of the people.
Where is the beauty? Indeed, where has beauty gone?
Stravinskas makes the compelling argument that goodness, truth, and beauty cannot stand alone: each one fully involves the other two. "Having lost the beautiful, should we be amazed to wake up and find that we have eventually lost the good as well?" Perhaps Gasslein and her committee can render a useful service by addressing the stark absence of beauty in our liturgy.
Catholics should worship comfortably anywhere
Re: "Standing expresses solidarity with the body of Christ"
Total confusion! No wonder the people who attend Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica, and our archdiocese in general, are confused about whether to stand or kneel after receiving the Eucharist (WCR, March 18).
If Bernadette Gasslein's letter was an indication of the type of clarification coming from our Liturgy Commission, confusion is the natural outcome. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal supposedly has the answer, but she did not tell us what it was. All this letter did was leave all the readers that I have spoken saying, "What on earth was she talking about or trying to say."
It is also interesting that the good people of our area keep wanting to kneel. Does not this say something to the "powers" that in our hearts, we believe this to be the proper posture for the time.
For my part, I believe it to be a time of "falling to my knees thankfulness" for the great gift of the Eucharist. If Christ were to come in our midst at this moment, would we wait for him to address all present individually before reacting?
Tradition and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal dictate that kneeling is a sign of profound respect and adoration and standing is an attitude when we proclaim with special emphasis (like we do for Gloria, Creed, or Our Father).
As far as I know, our archbishop has never decreed that we should stand and our archdiocesan Liturgy Commission is not a law making body.
We live in a time when the word ecumenism is so important to us.
Sometimes we try so hard to be like others, we forget our uniqueness.
In our Church, we have something to kneel before, the Real Presence of Christ. We do not have to be ashamed that we are unique and that we have a Catholic identity.
I hope there will be one day some true direction coming to us from our Church leaders and it will stop the confusion in our churches. We need to be Catholic, to be universal; we need uniformity and oneness.
In St. Peter's Basilica, the people kneel; at Lourdes, the people kneel. We need to feel at home in every Catholic Church we attend.
Girls have every right to serve at altar
Regarding the letter from Peter Mendes, MD (WCR Feb.25, "Holy Church honours and respects women").
I was very shocked to read such a comment/opinion from a doctor who is supposed to be more analytical if anything when looking at something as delicate as this issue. Just as a doctor should be very careful in diagnosing an illness, I think Dr. Mendes did not stick to the text of what Fr. M. Joly was trying to emphasize in his letter.
If he looks at the text deeply, Fr. Joly was simply stating equal treatment for altar servers . . . that girls have the same right and ability as boys to become altar servers.
Don't you think, that after all these years of having girl/female servers, not promoting them to continue to serve is very discriminating? Females have special talents as males in terms of serving God and the Church. Fr. Joly was not talking about the purposes of procreation here.
I also disagree that "God did not create man and woman for the same purposes in life." God created man and woman with the same plan for both genders to know and experience that God loves all of us unconditionally and for all of us to love one another as Christ Jesus has shown us in his lifetime . . . thus being of service to one another with love.
Not serving does not slight teen
Regarding "Religious desire equality be both practised and preached," by Jim Verhesen, WCR March 18.
I'd like to say that I am, in fact, a girl, and I don't feel the least bit slighted or less worthy than boys just because I don't serve at the Lord's table. Contrary to what you might think, I don't have to be an altar server to feel fulfilled in my faith. The most important thing is that we are all invited to the banquet.
Why must it be hard for women to remain faithful to the Church just because their roles are different than the roles of men?
If you're only faithful when you can do what you want, then it's not the Church you're serving, it's yourself.
There is much more to the Catholic faith than participation as altar servers or priests.
What kind of world is it when Catholics openly put down their Pope? I shudder to think.
Kate Walsh, 13
Entering God's house must be a spiritual, not social event
In many Churches today, when you walk through the doors, you are met by a welcoming committee member -- which may even include the priest in his Sunday garb -- who greet you, wish you a good morning, crack a few smart remarks and jokes.
This happens in the church lobby, or at times, even at the back of the Church.
With all the noise and chattering that takes place, there is no longer an opportunity to quietly meet God and adore Him in peace.
This has occasioned the practice of entering a Church, looking around to see who has or has not showed up, saying hi to this one and that one across the aisles, and simply sitting down waiting for the concert to begin.
What would you think if people off the street just walked into your house, tramped by you without saying a word to you, and sat down at the TV to watch the afternoon soap opera?
Then why do you do the same thing to God in his own house?
Speak out Christians, tell God's story
Charles Moore's article Tell the Good News (WCR March 18) observed that religious proselytization has become unfashionable and that Christian proselytization is the least fashionable sort of all, even, shamefully among many nominal Christians.
I would like to address Moore's observation by asking why nominal Christians find proselytizing unfashionable and even offensive?
Is it that Christians no longer accept the notion that salvation is only for those who profess to be Christians?
Or is it that Christians believe that words of Jesus such as "Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be condemned" (Mark 16: 15-16), are taken too literally and not seen in a larger context?
Or perhaps have Christians as a whole become more tolerant of others' beliefs and do not wish to add to the already so prevalent religious strife in the world?
It is my contention that all the foregoing questions are affirmatively answered by the larger Christian population.
After all, our nation is a nation where religious freedom and religious pluralism are sacred first principles.
Therefore, if any proselytization needs to be done by Christians, it is to proclaim, announce and declare to the world that religious freedom and religious pluralism is a right of all peoples.
Christians should be the first to vocalize that there is only one God, a God who pours himself into many vessels, and expresses his truth in many ways, but still his truth is one.
By coming from a mindset of unity, tolerance and the acceptance of other religions in a new way, Christian proselytization may indeed become fashionable again and, in the process, lessen some of the religious strife so common in the world today.
Rocky Mountain House
Military saved Argentina from communist tyranny
The article written by Hank Zyp in the March 18 WCR issue has some very misleading words regarding past situations in Argentina.
Mr. Zyp writes: "The mad women in Plaza de Mayo have walked . . . in Buenos Aires ever since the military coup led by General Jorge Rafael Videla suspended all civil liberties in March 1976 and set in motion a cycle of kidnapping, torture and murder.
Over 7,000 persons disappeared in Argentina's dirty little war. . . . The junta management resulted in the liquidation of a third of the country's productive capacity".
I am currently a Canadian of Polish origin who used to live in Argentina, and as a high school and university student, I lived most of the Argentina's problems for three decades. I'm appalled so much twisted, fallacious and false information was written in a Catholic newspaper.
- It was not General Videla who put in motion the kidnapping, torture and murder. It was communist guerrillas trained by Fidel Castro in Cuba that started it many years earlier.
The kidnapping of generals, murdering industrialists, bombing huge skyscrapers full of families, women and children were performed by groups like the Montoneros, FLP and others.
The incompetent government of Isabelita Peron let these murderers and assassins spread in every province of the country.
The terror that we endured included carnage and bloodshed in Catholic Churches and the slaughter of priests.
When finally Rafael Videla, a Catholic general with full integrity and respect for the inhabitants of Argentina, decided to bring peace and order, he was "put down" by the western media as an evil person. He was considered by me and millions of others as the "saviour of the country".
- It was not a "dirty little war." It was a full-blown war of majestic proportions in the whole of South America. The communists' guerrillas finally began to retreat when Pinochet in Chile, together with Uruguay and other countries, followed the example of the Argentine Militaries.
- The Madres de Plaza de Mayo are mothers of communist murderers who were in possession of heavy weapons, mortars, cannons, rocket launchers, grenades etc. who could easily overtake military garrisons. All (were) financed by Fidel Castro and the Soviet Union.
- The Desaparecidos in reality were many less than the official number. They mostly were killed in battles, or murdered by their own comrades when surrendering. Many were found alive in Mexico and other countries when they fled Argentina, and were never reported.
- The militaries were the backbone of structural integrity in the poor handling of civilian governments for years. They always defended the Catholic Church and morality. Look at the economic collapse of today's Argentina. It was done by a civilian government; I'm positive if the military were in power , this wouldn't have happened.
- Canada has given refuge to many communists from South America; and I urge snowbird Canadians to realize that by taking vacations to resorts in Cuba, they are supporting financially the homicidal Fidel Castro and communistic machine that decimated tens of thousands of innocent victims led by Che Guevara throughout the world.
Invest in homes, not shrines
On Page 2 of the March 11 edition of the WCR, there is a write-up and picture of St. Joseph's Oratory. It states the Montreal Shrine is slated for a $45 million renovation.
This is a large amount of money.
Even half of that would build a lot of affordable housing for lower income persons.
Based on the amount of working people that end up living in substandard housing in other cities, I would think there's just as much shortage of affordable, decent housing in Montreal.
Teach children, the circle grows
Concerning Charles Moore's column in the March 18 WCR, titled Tell the Good News.
You may know this already, but the current belief that we're not supposed to teach the Gospels has deep roots in history.
It became popular to believe near the beginning of the 19th century.
It became a doctrine as a result of a conspiracy between the western governments and the Freemasons at that time. It is better known in the Book of Revelations as the Mark of the Beast or the 666.
This dogma is the Freemasons unwritten 11th commandment of social order, and they believe that anyone who does not accept this mark as a true teaching is evil and will be severely punished. They believe preaching starts wars and conflicts and their objective is peace at all cost.
It is said in Revelations that a person can accept the mark on their forehead or on their hand. The mark can be any excuse people use to abstain themselves from teaching the Gospels.
Some excuses are: You don't have to teach the Gospels if you live an exemplary life; You shouldn't teach the Gospels because you have to be an expert to do that; Teach only your children and the circle grows.