Most interesting article at Crisis Magazine on the Sign of Peace

This is a most interesting article by Gerard T. Mundy that I hope you read in full.

More akin to evangelical Protestants’ understanding of worship, the gesture of peace in its current place maims the Catholic teaching of the sacrificial purpose of the Mass. Evangelical Protestants and so-called charismatic Catholics similarly view worship as celebratory fun full of pomp, whistles, vocal affirmation, clapping, and music that mirrors that which is played at dance parties. The Catholic Mass, however, is not a celebration, nor it is a weekend party filled with bread, wine, and good company. Catholics gather to venerate the Eucharistic sacrifice upon the altar.

-snip-

As the catholic, universal Church it is necessary to avoid the quiet, but very real, incessant growing rift that increasingly sees more traditionalist Catholics embracing theforma extraordinaria Missae, thus leaving many Novus Ordo Masses filled almost exclusively with the less liturgically pious. Just as is necessary in politics, the Church needs unification of all community members in order to keep a healthy balance. To utilize analogous contemporary political terminology, we need those on the right, the left, and those in the middle under the same roof, for the effect is compromise, as friction and diversity of opinion undeniably helps to move everyone to the center, thus reducing factitious extremist tides.

I think this last paragraph is especially important.  It’s why I am involved in the Fire and Fusion/ United in Christ movement that seeks unity through pressing in to the Holy Spirit and is operating now among charismatic Catholics and Protestants.

Many charismatic Catholics are simply ignorant of the importance of the liturgy or of what constitutes a liturgical abuse.  And many traditionally minded Catholics have prejudices against charismatics “as happy clappy” Christians that are unfair stereotypes.

My work as a journalist for Catholic papers keeps me circulating around many different communities in the Catholic Church, and that helps me see the good in them.  May we all resolve to rise above factionalism, to seek out communities that have differing ways of approaching God and let the Holy Spirit bring us into true unity in Christ.

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4 Responses to Most interesting article at Crisis Magazine on the Sign of Peace

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotation: More akin to evangelical Protestants’ understanding of worship, the gesture of peace in its current place maims the Catholic teaching of the sacrificial purpose of the Mass. Evangelical Protestants and so-called charismatic Catholics similarly view worship as celebratory fun full of pomp, whistles, vocal affirmation, clapping, and music that mirrors that which is played at dance parties. The Catholic Mass, however, is not a celebration, nor it is a weekend party filled with bread, wine, and good company. Catholics gather to venerate the Eucharistic sacrifice upon the altar.

    Thus the author proves his abject ignorance of Catholic liturgical theology.

    >> 1. The placement of the gesture of peace is quite deliberate, right before the reception of communion in the heart of the communion rite. Christian faith has a vertical component (our relationship, as individuals, with God) and it also has a horizontal component (our relationship, as individuals, with one another in Christ). Neither the vertical component by itself (|) nor the horizontal component by itself (-) constitutes authentic Christian faith. Rather, authentic Christian faith comes into being only when we bring both of these components together (+). If we are not willing to exchange a sign of peace with our a brother or a sister in Christ, we are not in communion with them — and thus it is not appropriate to receive communion from the same altar. And this is exactly why the new Order of Mass in Divine Worship has removed the options to place the sign of peace at other places that existed in the 1983 edition, placing it in the same place as the ordinary form of the Roman Rite.

    >> 2. The Catholic mass is very much a celebration — or, at least, should be, without prejudice to the fact that it is also the anamnesis (making present) of the sacrifice of Calvary, the fruits of which are the flesh and blood of our Lord, of which we partake. Indeed, there’s a whole article in the Catechism of the Catholic Church entitled “The Liturgical Celebration of the Eucharist.”

    >> 3. And the last sentence of this paragraph is utter nonsense. We gather, in the mass, to celebrate the eucharist and to partake of the sacrament of holy communion, which demarks both the horizontal and vertical components of Christian faith.

    You wrote: Many charismatic Catholics are simply ignorant of the importance of the liturgy or of what constitutes a liturgical abuse. And many traditionally minded Catholics have prejudices against charismatics “as happy clappy” Christians that are unfair stereotypes.

    My work as a journalist for Catholic papers keeps me circulating around many different communities in the Catholic Church, and that helps me see the good in them. May we all resolve to rise above factionalism, to seek out communities that have differing ways of approaching God and let the Holy Spirit bring us into true unity in Christ.

    I agree completely with you on this. Both extremes err in the same way — that of throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water — when each has much to learn from the other.

    Norm.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Everybody,

      So, just after writing

      Christian faith has a vertical component (our relationship, as individuals, with God) and it also has a horizontal component (our relationship, as individuals, with one another in Christ). Neither the vertical component by itself (|) nor the horizontal component by itself (-) constitutes authentic Christian faith. Rather, authentic Christian faith comes into being only when we bring both of these components together (+).

      in the midst of the first numbered point in the above post, I stumble onto the new (“Winter 2014-15”) edition of The Ordinariate Observer. Note the first paragraph beginning an article by Fr. Michael Birch, Parochial Vicar of St. Columba’s Church, Vancouver, BC, on Page 8.

      Norm.

  2. David Murphy says:

    I agree with the Pope Emeritus that the Kiss of Peace (and Sign of Peace) should be situated before the Liturgy of the Eucharist (as it was in the Book of Divine Worship, by the way) and I do not really understand why the Anglicanae traditiones commission changed the position.

    To tell the truth, however, I never appreciated why this is such a big thing for you North Americany, until I recently saw two videos of ACNA services. The sign of peace was mayhem! People walked about the church, embraced each other and patted each other on the back, led conversations at quite a loud volume and it took ages. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. Compare with that the discreet exchange of handshakes with two or three people close to one and the quiet murmuring of the “Peace be with you” that I am used to.

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