Saturday, July 2, 2011

More dubious, misleading and sometimes dishonest words and phrases

1. DISSENT This one's a bit difficult since the Holy Father used it when addressing the bishops of England and Wales at their 'ad limina' visit last year:
("It is important to recognise dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate."  Their lordships remained with stony expressions on their faces, except for Archbishop Longley who looked very nervous indeed. However, it seemed clear that they knew perfectly well  what the Holy Father thinks it is. Characteristically he avoided the harsh word 'heresy'. But what else could he have meant?)
2. LOYAL  DISSENT  I first met this expression in a Tablet editorial during the early 80s. It seemed a nonsensical contradiction in terms at the time, and it still does. If you persistently dissent from the Magisterium and from the teaching of the Pope, you cannot claim to be loyal to the Church or to him..
3. PRESIDER Unfortunately this term is increasingly used even in the Vatican Radio and TV English translations. I prefer always to say that a priest offers or celebrates Mass. He is not a Committee chairman with a casting vote. Without him there would be no Mass.
4. PASTOR I'm not sure but I think this has crept in from American usage. I don't like it because it emphasises only a part of the priest's role and completely leaves out his main function at the altar. The word 'priest' is all embracing.
5. LIBERAL CATHOLIC The people who thus identify themselves when they are in vociferous disagreement with Church teaching on various matters of faith and morals, would really be more accurately described as Protestants. Protestant Catholics would be more truthful. Even though it is an oxymoron it would make such people realise what they really are.
6 TALIBAN CATHOLICS Extreme Traditionalists. A dangerous term because ordinary Orthodox Catholics can be absorbed into that grouping if they are not careful.
7. GIVING OUT THE WINE The administering of the Precious Blood of Our Lord at Holy Communion.. Thought to be used by some EMHCs as the result of poor or non-existent catechesis.
8. SONG  The word is banal and inadequate to describe the variety of music the Church has in her repertoire. What's wrong with hymn, psalm, motet, antthem etc.?
9. SOLEMN WALKING PROCESSION. This one is a real corker of a porky. It refers to the queue for standing Communion and seems to have been invented very recently. If any reader had heard it before I'd be grateful to know. At the time this queueing was introduced nobody ever explained to me that we were to do it as a special act of reverence. Had they done so, it would not now be necessary to 'recommend' that standing communicants make some sign of reverence.  The reason always given for the queue method was that it is quicker than to have everyone kneeling at the Communion rail. In fact that reason is absolute nonsense as well. No, the real reason it was adopted is quite different. Looking back one can only fear that it was either carelessly foolish or part of a deliberate strategy, an iconoclasm in fact, that destroyed the spiritual meaning of the internal architecture of many of our churches and dealt a hammer blow to Catholic understanding of the Mass.

Enough for now.Time to cook supper.    


Marc said...

I've heard the term 'communion procession' since becoming Catholic in the mid-1970s: that it was, the queue itself, supposed to be a reverent action analogous to kneeling is the EW bishops' doing or their bureaucrats' (although my guess is that if you submit yourself to the penance of looking into the 'pastoral liturgy resources' that plague us you would probably find that the notion is celebrated there). In my experience (several US dioceses), it is just a descriptor of what happens at that point in the Mass (one can't very well say 'communion waiting line').

Jane said...

Thanks Marc.

It is still a notion that I find totally unconvincing. Why can't one say 'Communion waiting line' when that is what it is?

Genty said...

I think it's known as sophistry?

Patricius said...

I don't have a problem with the Communion procession as a functional term. We do in fact process, after a fashion, to receive Communion. That this should be seen as an adequate sign of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament does, however, strike me as somewhat half-baked!