Dear Editor: I take offense at the comments toward Cardinal Robert Sarah’s prophetically thoughtful appeal for a restoration of greater liturgical respect for God, which letter writer Victor Enemuo regards as diverting us to what he calls non-essentials (Sept. 17).
Ironically, laypersons telling the Church’s magisterial authority what it should or should not be doing is one of the very consequences from so many abusive liturgical practices of the past half century that have had the effect of undermining authentic reverence and humility toward God and His Church. We always do harm when we forget it is God’s Church and not our Church, and that the Mass is given to us to worship God, not ourselves. In the Mass, Jesus is Our Lord, not our pal.
It is not accidental that so many come to Mass today dressed disgracefully, chat with their neighbor, answer phone calls, take little offense at heavily amplified pop music displacing a meditation with the Real Presence of Our Lord at Communion, and take no offense at those who actually leave the church immediately after receiving the Eucharist, sometimes in a giggling footrace for the door.
It is not accidental that we’ve disseminated that boring word “inclusiveness” as a catch-all concept for the perpetual social club-like atmosphere in today’s parish life enabling us to avoid including the things that should be included. We should be addressing real spiritual concerns like our submissions to an anti-Christian culture, or our insufficient gratitude for what the community of saints gave their lives for, or perhaps something so simple as finding ways to avoid having our prayer groups devolve into gossip clubs.
Sometimes the real agenda with some progressive Catholics, in wanting to devalue received liturgical wisdom, is to rationalize their lukewarm commitment to God’s unchanging moral truths, which can be made to seem less binding when all Church “teaching” can be falsely thought of as capriciously man-made and culturally malleable.
Restoring a sense of humility is the necessary starting point for Catholic witness at this most dire point in human history, or we’ll someday have to explain to God why we failed Him.