Each day I get up, and after prayers, say within myself, “What fresh and stupid hell awaits me today?”
The Fishwrap often answers that question, as it did this morning.
Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) has targeted Bp. James Wall of Gallup, who has determined it opportune to celebrate Mass oriented, toward the liturgical East. Ad orientem.
This is one of those liturgical practices – as sound and confirmed and deeply resonant in the Catholic faith and worship as the best of beautiful bells – which makes lib heads go click and straight into silly.
The writer here is one Don Clemmer. He is a former USCCB staffer. His contributions to Fishwrap include a fulsome piece about a “queer” show on Netflix. He brings this depth of perspective to a look at ad orientem worship.
‘Ad orientem’ tussles turn on matters of community, liturgical diversity
As the church has been tussling over liturgical practices since the Second Vatican Council, it’s easy to anticipate criticism. So when Bishop James Wall of Gallup, New Mexico, announced in a July 22 letter that he would begin celebrating Mass in his cathedral ad orientem, that is, “toward the east,” with his back to the people, his words leaned into the punch.
First, the canard of celebrating with “back to the people” has been debunked for a long time. At the best, the image is shallow. At the worst, it’s malicious.
The photo at the top of the Fishwrap offering is from an ordination to the priesthood two years ago in Madison, which the late Bp. Robert Morlino celebrated ad orientem. Most of the vestments – with an obvious exception – were lent by the TMSM. Fishwrap doesn’t have Morlino to kick around anymore – though they do try – so they are now picking on Bp. Wall.
You can read the piece for yourself. You’ll find it slithers on to your screen from Fishwrap, just as you might expect.
While the writer and those who were interviewed toss out the occasional irenic word or two, their intention is clear, even if their line of reasoning isn’t. For example, at one point it is acknowledged that liturgy is a “battleground” and the liturgy is “enshrined” in a central place in Vatican II documents. However, we are also told that fights over liturgy are “silly”. I don’t know how they can be silly if liturgy is that important.
BTW… let’s talk about what Sacrosanctum Concilium said about liturgy, shall we? What did the Council really say? Bring these things up, and the Left thinks you are attacking instead of stating facts, which are stubborn things. Shall we talk about Redemptionis Sacramentum? Sacramentum caritatis? Summorum Pontificum?
Are fights about liturgy silly?
Clearly some are, for example, when people fret because a chair was moved.
But, if liturgy is so very important for the life of the Church and for the identity of Catholics, then aren’t the fights about substantive issues rather important?
There are times when we have to have the fight.
Invariably, however, this is what happens. When the debate is engaged, and the Left starts to lose, they plaintively demands that “we all have to get along” and that we have to “tone down the rhetoric”. “Oh no! We mustn’t ever fight!” Then they hit you again even as they plead for you to lower your guard. That’s how they roll.
In any event, you read it and decide for yourselves.