Offensensitivity (Part II)
In Offensensitivity Part I, I began to detail the ways in which any delicate soul moved by the "spirit of Vatican II" should find "Tom and Jerry" to be the ramblings of two unenlightened feral troglodytes. Thankfully, the "spirit of Vatican II" folks have been busy tinkering with Catholic churches and liturgy to try to help us pre-historic knuckle-draggers toward the path of enlightenment, but Tom and I have been guilty of not clutching every “spirit of Vatican II new Mass” initiative to our bosom with a cocoon-like embrace, as on Sundays we can regularly be found displaying symptoms of….
WITHITT (“Where In The Hell Is The Tabernacle?”-itis)
Used to be that the tabernacle was behind the altar, so you when you went to sit in your pew, you just genuflected in that direction and then knelt in prayer facing it. Apparently, the “spirit of Vatican II” requires that churches built or renovated since then play “Where’s Waldo?” with tabernacle: it’s either way off to one side of the church, or, more commonly in the churches here in Dallas, in a separate room in the back of the church. Now, I walk into church, find a pew, and proceed to genuflect toward…..um, where, exactly? Left? Right? Behind me? The roof? What exactly is the rationale for moving the tabernacle away from its central spot? I can only wonder. I imagine that the “spirit Of Vatican II” community will take this “Where’s The Tabernacle” game to its next logical step and put theirs in a closet in the basement.
While the tabernacle can eventually be located in most “modern” churches, I soon find myself suffering from....
CD (Crucifix Deprivation)
Go into just about any Catholic Church built before, say, 1960, and hanging over and/or behind the altar will be a crucifix – a powerful scene invoking both the sin of all of us that made Christ’s bloody sacrifice necessary and the even more powerful Love that made the sacrifice possible. It is, quite simply, the event upon which not only our salvation history, but indeed all of human history, turns on. As Fr. Richard John Neuhaus proclaims in his profound and highly recommended “Death on a Friday Afternoon”, “If what Christians say about Good Friday is true, then it is the truth about everything.”
The “spirit of Vatican II”, however, has a different agenda: the crucifix is such a....downer – if thoughts of sin were brought to mind, someone might feel bad about themselves. So what should go in its place? At the parish I grew up in, St. Margaret Mary in Orlando (built in 1968), Christ has his back against the cross and his arms upraised, I suppose to convey His victory over the cross. My mom liked it, and though I prefer the crucifix, I certainly didn’t object to it.
Of course, with this sort of thing, it would be easy to go too far, so the "spirit of Vatican II" folks saw no reason not to. At every Catholic church that I've been to that was built post-1970, they continue to move further toward ridiculousness. A small sampling: At All Saints here in Dallas, Christ is up against a cross (one about ½ the size of one that could actually support Him) with His hands out, arms bent at a 45 degree angle, palms facing up, like the King of Kings wants you lay your hands on His and see if you can pull them away before He slaps them. St. Catherine Seton does away with the cross altogether, and has Jesus against a wall with His arms upraised and His left leg bent and slightly forward: He looks like He’s about to take off from the 3-meter springboard into a 1 ½ twisting somersault with a pike at the World Diving Championships. St. Stephen’s back in Orlando has Jesus suspended in mid-air high above the altar, tilted at a 45 degree angle - all that’s missing is a cape and a big ‘S’ on his chest: “Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Saviorman!”. St. Virgil’s in Morris Plains, NJ (my sister’s parish), however, is the worst. A large cloth picture hangs behind the altar, with Jesus standing sideways with his back arm lifted above His head and His front arm out at a 45 degree angle, as if to proclaim “Ta-Da !!”.
Then the music starts, so that I can bear the cross of…
MHF (Marty Haugen Fatigue)
Oh joy, another groovy ditty about banquets, dancing, acceptance, stars, flowers, the moon, whatever....and, of course, Us, Us, Us, wonderful Us!
Here in this place, the catechetically clueless
Meander in from both near and far
To sing hymns recounting our virtues
So the whole world will know just how special we are
Gather us in, the nominally Catholic
Put thoughts of God or sin on the shelf
We are the ones who deserve all the praise here
Join with us now as we worship ourselves!
Of course, we wouldn’t be experiencing the full effects of the “spirit of Vatican II new Mass” without....
LDD (Liturgical Dancer Disgust)
Apparently, one of the chief tenants of the “spirit Of Vatican II” is that for almost 2000 years, the Church Fathers and saints were completely in the dark about the fact that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass is just not complete without undulating pre-teen nymphs prancing around the altar.
So there you have it. I tried to alert the “spirit Of Vatican II” site to amend our list of offenses to include those mentioned in my last two posts, but they were on their way to “dialogue” with some Call To Action folks, a gay Anglican bishop, a Congregationalist minister, a couple of wiccans and an imam, and then to join hand-in-hand with them around a fire to sing “Kumbaya” while burning copies of Humanae Vitae. I’m sure they’ll get around to amending the list, though....