I read an interesting take today with a new view of a possible nexus of abuse of children by women religious and priests and, on the other hand liturgical abuse of congregations by women religious and priests.
On the blog MommyWrites comes, the writer starts with an explanation that she is teaching CCD to 2nd graders… may God bless her. She describes a video that has something to do with her mandatory VIRTUS program. The video showed how to deal with children and it showed really bad liturgy. She makes a very interesting point toward the end.
Here is what she said:
As I watched, I wondered what message the Bishops were trying to send by including bad liturgy in the Virtus video.
1. Was it supposed to evoke warm fuzzy feelings? “Why, that parish is just like MY parish!” It didn’t, because those liturgical abuses wouldn’t fly around here.
2. Was it supposed to show us what the Bishops think a parish SHOULD look like? If so, I weep for our Church.
3. Or was it something more subtle? Was it supposed to help us make the connection between Liturgical abuse and sexual abuse? [NB:] After all, if we can’t treat the body of our Lord and Saviour with respect, why would we treat the bodies of our neighbors with respect? Is there a short, slippery slope that runs between sloppiness at Mass and sin?
I have a feeling that the makers of the video were aiming for 1 and 2. But I think our pope would probably point to number 3. When we take Mass and the Eucharist seriously and let all our relationships flow forth from that first, essential relationship as Christ, we cannot use other people as objects. When the Mass goes, everything else starts to go too.
Of course, abuse can happen in ‘Good Liturgy’ settings too – because good liturgy can not be our goal. Our goal is to love and adore Christ. I think that a reverent liturgy flows naturally from a love of Christ in the Eucharist and a realization that we’re in the presence of God. (For instance, I noticed my 6-year-old’s behavior at Mass has improved DRAMATICALLY since we started attending Children’s adoration once a month.) If you have a nice-looking Liturgy, but no love, it’s just an empty pageant.
On the other hand, most awful liturgies are also empty pageants, focused on the congregation instead of the Divine.
In the end, I did learn something at Virtus training. Father Z is right. “Save the Liturgy, Save the World.” It’s not a coincidence that the pope who is focused on cleaning up the filth of abuse in the Church is also focused on cleaning up the Liturgy. If we can’t respect God, we won’t respect each other.
I wonder if it is possible to make a connection at this point with those who are trying to poison the atmosphere regarding the implementation of the new English translation.