Monday, November 28

(Not) keeping up with the Joneses

This Sunday was the first week of Advent and the service was, as expected for non-ordinary times, slightly quirky and very pleasing. The boundless creativity of our liturgy committee to re-imagine the non-ordinary times of the year is heart-warming, even if I don't always 'get it'. The hot topic of discussion in the Narthex wasn't the new wrinkles in our service, but rather what the Joneses Romans are up to. Somehow, I ended up being the Shell Answer Man.

"Did you hear about the new Roman Missal?" I've read the new mass, yes. No, I haven't heard it 'in person' as I'm not really welcome in a Roman church and have no interest in flying under false colours to hear a liturgy which I can't support theologically, morally or scripturally.

"Are we going to do that?" A change like that would require several public meetings and agreement by both laity and clergy. In short, it's more likely we'll be inviting the Arch-bishop to Christmas midnight mass. (Considering that the arch-diocese presently doesn't HAVE an archbishop, the odds are pretty easy to calculate).

There was one off-hand comment that really struck home, though. During these discussions, I mentioned how the new Roman liturgy makes me sad to one of our parishioners. She patted me on the shoulder and said, "They can do anything they like."  She's right and yet....

I guess what bugs me about that is the definition of the word 'they'.  To say 'they' implies an 'us' and indicates an 'other'.  Of course, I realise that she meant 'they' as 'Romans', but my mind went to the prelates and priests as 'they' vs. the 'us' of the laity.  I mean, the changes which the Roman laity want has nothing to do with consubstantial and mea culpa.

In our catholic church, the laity and the clergy decide together how things are to be run, how mass it to be celebrated and whether or not we, as a parish, will accept and abide by what the House of Bishops and the Synod say.  The separation between laity and clergy is a VERY thin line.

I've not been involved with the Roman church, but all accounts say that this is 180 degrees from their modus operandi.  Here's the sticking point, though - the basis of what I've described above came directly from the Roman Church with imprimatur.  The fore-runner of our church was established by Archbishop Casey some 30+ years ago wherein the laity ran just about everything and their was an on-call priest who lived an hour away who came and said mass on Sundays.  The most recent Arch-bishop decided to put a stop to that, so most of the laity left the Roman Church and became the core of our present parish, which joined the already extant Ecumenical Catholic Communion.

This is all a bother to me because, fundamentally, there is no 'they', whether collared or RC.  There are only 'us', the creations of the Divine.What clothes you wear or what job you hold doesn't change that.  What person you love or church you attend doesn't change that.  If the Joneses want to think otherwise, let them.  They can do anything they like.  Then again, so can we.

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