Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Tenebrae Experience...

...Can't We Just Do One Thing Catholic Around Here, Without Getting Protestant Fingerprints All Over It?



This past Wednesday, my wife and I attended a Tenebrae service being held at our old parish with a couple of the kids. I personally had never been to one before, but the 'Curly Red Haired Girl' has told be about this type of service and I was really looking forward to attending an authentic form of Catholic worship during Holy Week. I figured it might help offset the inevitable washing of the female Apostles feet (4 females and 2 males at our parish this year! I predicted the right male to female ratio, I guess Father opted to just wash 12 feet, not 12 'pairs of...'), the extra rounds of applauds for the choir that will be generated by the 'twice a yearer's' and other abuses I might be enduring.

I should have known better. In my little corner of the Raleigh diocese, it just isn't right until we put our own little personal stamp on things. The Tenebrae we were given was a series of reflections on Christs Death, based on his Seven Last Words, from by seven 'witnesses' to his Passion. Oh joy! Dramatic readings from the 'High School Musical~The Liturgy' set... How Prod!!!

...let's just say I seriously felt like pinching my six year old sons leg, in hopes that I could induce a fit that would've forced us to have to leave. There were two things in particular that really bothered me. One, the obvious. Why call it Tenebrae? I have no problem with this sort of format to gather and reflect on Christs Passion, but why call it something it is not? There were no Psalms read, no chants sung, just a bunch of touchy-feely nonsense that is numbing up and dumbing down our Catholic identity.

The other thing that bothered me was the portrayal of some of the characters. There was Jonathan, friend and cohort of Dismas, the Good Thief or, as this presentation went at lengths to point out, religious Zealot and enemy of Rome. I came away thinking that Christs Crucifixion was not much more unjust than that of the 'community organizers' (Helmet tip to VSC on that one!) on either side of him. Kinda de-emphasized the whole contrast between our Saviors manner of death and those who were supposedly receiving a just punishment. Maybe we should rename Dismas, St. 'Not-Such-A-Bad-Guy-Once-You-Get-To-Know-Him...' I knew that Catholic teaching was somewhat vague on St. Dismas, so I did a little research on him and the strongest support I found for this take on him came from an Astronomy website. So I really don't know what to believe about St. Dismas anymore. Although now, I can't get the image out of my head, of him on trial and his defense lawyer calling for a sidebar saying, 'Your honor, in light of this new evidence...' and St. Dismas losing all sense of repentance, with a look I've seen plenty a time on the faces of defendants who've just had a piece of incriminating evidence thrown out. The look says, 'Dismas be mah's lucky day!'

Besides Jonathan, friend of Dismas, we also got to know about old 'Barak' the Sanhedrin. (Yeah, I know it's trivial and the name Barak is in the bible, but in light of the whole Notre Dame controversy, I'm thinking a change in the script could have been justified...Sheesh! ) Anyhow, Barak you see, tried to give Jesus some water, because he was stuck in the desert once and knew about thirst. Then there is the sick woman from Egypt who was dying and connected with Christ dying on the Cross, and several other folks with equally good excuses for their flawed natures and how they 'personally' connected with this man.

Me...me...me...me...oh, and did I mention me? Not a word on our own culpability in our Saviors death. His Divinity? Nary a mention. Nope, just another missed opportunity, another swing and a miss, all in favor of having another opportunity to gather in praise of self. Once again, a chance of regaining some Catholic identity squandered, the chance to impart some Catholic theology, wasted.

Business as usual around these parts...

Saint Michael the Archangel...

Defend Us In Battle!!!

9 Comments:

Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

I wonder what texts they were using concerning Barak giving water... and St Dismas-Be-My-Lucky-Day being tried as a Community Organizer????

Ya think that maybe someone may have used some false "gospels"?

Ya think?

5:43 AM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...

Tennebrae--

Because the universal lturgy just isn't good enough.... .

10:07 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

One day they're gonna find out that heaven isn't "all about me" either. But there is one place that is...

3:30 PM  
Blogger J said...

There will always to be something to complain about in the Church. As von Balthasar would remind, God did not chose angels to run the Church.

It is hard to appreciate your pain, when you so clearly do not see the point. Washing feet is not about recognizing Apostles! It is about serving the lowest among us. Go to a Chrism Mass if you want to see ritual which involves authority. Jesus did not say "I will wash your feet because you are men and meant to be leaders" he washed the disciples feet because they were his inferiors.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

There will always to be something to complain about in the Church.Yeah, pointing out heresy is "complaining". It is hard to appreciate your looking down your nose, when you so clearly do not see the point.

You're obviously part of the problem.

2:37 PM  
Blogger J said...

Just a FYI: Rome has approved bishops washing women's feet. Calling that heresy puts one higher than the Pope. If submitting to Rome is heresy, I am proud to be a heretic.

I will stand with St. Paul and say that "after the way that they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers!"

5:07 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

J,
You didn't read that posting very well, did you.

Here's some info you might find interesting;

Here is what the Sacramentary says: The men [vir] who have been chosen are led by the ministers to chairs prepared in a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers, he pours water over each one's feet and dries them.

This is what Paschale Solemnitatis (the circular letter on Holy Week issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) says concerning this: 51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came "not to be served, but to serve." [58] This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

Many people have decried that the USCCB has said it is allright to wash the feet of women.

And they have said that. Here: Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the "Teacher and Lord" who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality,2 the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service. While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men ("viri selecti"), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, "who came to serve and not to be served," that all members of the Church must serve one another in love.

This is the ambiguous way of saying "...we know it's wrong, but we're going to do it anyway."

Let me remind all priests in the Scranton Diocese and abroad: The USCCB is NOT an American Vatican.
Any "religious gather" that purposfully ignores Christ, yet embraces the "cult of man", is by definition, heretical.

But anyhow, I hope you enjoyed your most recent post. It's your last.

5:28 PM  
Blogger nypd green said...

Man, I thought this thread was dead! Hell Vir, let him(her) come back, since they don't have the guts to open their own blog to the public. Let's air it out here in the cozy confines of the cave!

J-I'm not looking for you to appreciate my pain. Venting publicly is just a theraputic way to get the nonsense of the world off of ones chest. I could care less who agrees with me or not. But since you brought it up, I won't even go into the whole obedience to Rome issue, you've already shown us how off-base you are there. I'll just raise my own personal concerns on the feminization of the Church. Let's just start with my parish.

-Altar servers-over half are female, my son being the only one over 14.

-Lectors-once again over half women

-Extraordinary Ministers-probably 70 percent female

The Altars of the Catholic Church are becoming a less and less inviting place for the male species. I wouldn't even know how they pick whose feet to wash. I'm a well known and very involved member of my parish and I've never been asked. No, my feelings aren't hurt, just making a point. That being, with all these women dominating the Altar, is it a wonder vocations are suffering? I mean, who needs men up there?

11:24 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

You got it NYPD. Let the dissection begin...

5:41 AM  

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