Monday, February 18, 2008

James Carroll nails it in his first paragraph...

As the priest began his sermon, he had trouble with the sound system, and muttered, "There's something wrong with this microphone." To which the congregation automatically replied, "And also with you."

Exactly! The banal, rote, and incidentally redundant and absurdly inelegant response requires no thought, no prayer, no...holiness.

Unfortunately Carroll loses it in the second.

That joke, told to me by a priest, takes off from the ritual exchange between priest and Mass-goers: "The Lord be with you," answered by "And also with you." It assumes a certain level of communication between clergy and congregation - the use of a common language.

It assumes nothing of the kind. It assumes, rather, a robotic response that has nothing to do with prayer, or even common courtesy.

The column is, unsurprisingly, still another dreary rant against the Magisterium...this time another hack job at the Tridentine Mass. The errors in the column are startling, even to me.

For example:

But the Latin Mass published by the Vatican last year resuscitated the conversion insult, praying on Good Friday that God "lift the veil" from "Jewish blindness."

Uh...correct me if I'm wrong but no Mass is celebrated on Good Friday.

The second most important change to take place in the Catholic Church in my lifetime was the substitution of vernacular tongues for Latin in the Mass. When it is the whole people saying, "And also with you," instead of a solitary altar boy reciting "Et cum spiritu tuo," nothing less than the democratic principle is being affirmed.

Mr. Carroll's chauvinism is showing. He is assuming that the English "translation" of the Mass is the one-and-only.

Not true, Mr. Carroll. If you'd ever, for example, participated in a Spanish language Mass, you would discover that the congregation responds to the celebrant in the very same way you deplore: And with your spirit.

The "Jewish insult" thing is, perhaps, something to be taken up in another post. (But frankly I'm tired of the whining.)

I love people. I'm bound to, as commanded by my Heavenly Father and His Son. Therefore it is only natural to give my hearty "Amen" to this prayer:

"Almighty and eternal God, long ago You gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to Your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Or however the Holy Father wants to put it.

You know, I'm sorry if people are "insulted" by prayers on their behalf, but there's more important things to worry about...salvation for all comes immediately to mind.