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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, June 05, 2006

"Praeclarus Calix" or "Cup"

I have always had the gut feeling that those folks who inhabit and staff Campus Ministry Departments, are generally those who are too dumb to teach theology and thus fall back to being professional retreat givers or at least permanent retreatants--now, lest there be any confusion, this is to be read as being permanently out to lunch.

These are generally the same folks who plan liturgies, create worship spaces, memorialize the murder of communist so-called martyrs, excise any Latin from the Mass, and sing Spanish songs when the congregation is 98% white. I remember even back in my Jesuit high school--the liturgy planning team. (I was a member just to piss off the fat woman faculty member in stretch pants and members of the drama club. Ok, ok, not the purest of aims.) When it came time for the graduation Mass and discussion of the music, I suggested Panis angelicus or some such hymn as a post-Communion reflection, but alas, I was outnumbered. The drama kids won--which was about everyone else but myself and one other person. Ahh yes, there is nothing more fitting for meditation and contemplation than listening to the strains of James Taylor's "You've got a friend" after receiving the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord.

What is my point. My point is that it seems that many of our beloved Bishops were members of Campus Ministry Departments. In the liturgical battles that continue unceasing, Uncle Di points out the challenge of translations and what the language of the Mass is supposed to look and sound like. The Campus Ministry bishops would have God be reduced to our level, but are opposed to the faithful being raised up to God. We can't possibly call it a "precious chalice," we must call it a "cup"--after all the Scriptures just say "cup!" These Shepherds are content with earthen vessels but seem to forget that Our Lord is Rex tremendae maiestatis.

A vignette from Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J.'s experiences in Russia points to the preciousness of the Mass and the power of language:

After a few months, when Father Victor and I had adjusted somewhat to barracks existence as a way of life, we were able to find more and more occasions to say Mass. We would walk out together, for example, into the forest and there offer Mass on the stump of a tree. I could not help thinking how the forests sometimes resembled a cathedral--the tall rows of towering trees arching over us, the hushed silence, the natural beauty around us, the silent whiteness of the snow in winter. Even time seemed to stand still as we offered the eternal Sacrifice of Calvary for the many intentions that filled our thoughts and hearts, not the least of which was the thought of the deprived thousands of the Church of silence here in this once Christian land for whom we had come to work as priests in secret.

The Campus Ministry types might scold Father for using such terms as "forests...resembled a cathedral" or "eternal Sacrifice of Calvary." Normal folks would get it.