Split in Consciousness: Split in Conscience:
“liberal” and “conservative” reactions to Caritas in Veritate
by Michael D. O’Brien
As Cardinal Josef Ratzinger pointed out more than 25 years ago, the political terms “liberal” and “conservative” are grossly misleading when applied to the Kingdom of God. They are especially so when applied to the ongoing evangelical mission of the Church, which is to draw all men to Christ, to work while the light lasts, to be a “light to the Gentiles.” …Read More
LCR ran a story the other day about a Mass celebrated by a priest familiar with the Catholic Worker movement. The story is no big deal, but there was a picture of a group of people in lawn chairs around a table loaded with picnic foods. No biggie, except in the middle of it all were a Paten and Chalice, and the story describes the scene as the Mass itself. The photo above is a redacted view with just the immediate area around the supposed-to-be sacred vessels. The reason for this is that I didn’t want any flack for showing specific people.
In any event, this rusticated abuse of Mass set off one of my regular readers, who goes by the nom-de-guerre of StGuyFawkes. Like Guy, he throws an incendiary or two in the post below:
THE POT-LUCK MASS
Once upon a time, you were at a Mass like this. It may have been after your theatre club finished a three night run of “GODSPELL” . Or maybe you attended this Mass on a “Youth Group Weekend”. But admit it. You did once attend a Mass like this.
Examine the photo: Men have not even bothered to remove their hats. The consecrated bread and wine stand alongside what looks like a cheese ball. The whole set-up suggests that Christ’s body were another kind of three-bean-salad, or a Jell-O mold. My mother would say, “Don’t these heathen know how to kneel?”
On the other hand, it does look to be a Mass conducted before dinner — observing the one hour fast. And to be generous, the pot luck items, one supposes, might be “Offertory Gifts”. Still, this “Pot Luck Mass” drives me crazy! I just can’t get past the consecrated matter being placed across from a crock-pot. Wherever I witness the “Pot Luck” Mass I always get these strange messages.
1.) The sacrament is mere food! Christ’s body is no different than hot dogs.
2.) Another message is, “Everyone here is just as informal and sincere as the disciples at “The Last Supper”. Gee, aren’t we all loving and intimate?”
3.) Also the “Pot Luck Mass” always seems to whisper, “If we are now, in this liturgy, just like Jesus and the disciples at the ‘Last Supper’, then who needs bishops? Or a Church? We are Church.”
And of course, “The Pot Luck Mass” suggests THE BIG QUESTION, “Who confects bean salad, string bean casserole, and bundt cake, really? Well, women, of course! Therefore, why not women priests?”
“The Pot Luck Mass” seems like a buffet of half baked ideas taken off the back of the macaroni box; and worse, it draws ants. It invites the little crawlies of vanity and self delusion to come up on the table. And the worst part of the “Pot Luck Mass” is that lurking within the sauce — maybe it’s the taste of a bug that fell in — is the flavor of Calvinism.
Oh, yes! In this “loving, accepting, all inclusive” liturgy there’s often just a teaspoon of Calvin’s idea of the pre-destined elect. In their arch-casualness and stern sloppiness you sense the aroma of high self opinion. The congregants studied cluelessness of rubrics whispers, “We’re so good, we’re so holy, we’re so close to Jesus, we don’t have to kneel or beat our breasts or do anything uncomfortable. We’re better than other people.”
I don’t know if anyone ever meant it this way but it’s there anyway. The “Pot Luck Mass” is snobbish precisely because it is slobbish. The mixture of informality, and intimacy, in liturgy – or anywhere else — always excludes more than it welcomes. Think of your college fraternity acting badly. Think of the relaxed grossness of your soccer team after a match. It’s a rule of human nature: informality and intimacy imply in-group exclusivity. “The Pot Luck Mass” is for people who already like and approve of each other. Too often, at the “Pot Luck Mass” you find a confraternity of the like-minded whose deepest wish is to celebrate themselves.
They call that “being sacrament to each other”. I call it group narcissism.
Paradoxically, it’s the regular Sunday parish Mass that escapes all this warm and fuzzy self-admiration. The Tridentine Mass, or the Novus Ordo Mass, done reverently, creates a community out of anyone who shows up. It’s as unselective as an A.A. meeting. The regular scheduled Masses don’t need a pre-existing social base to work as liturgy. They create one by the power of reverence and discipline, humility and rubrics. Just like in A.A.
The fact is that the regular Parish Mass is more egalitarian than the back yard “Beggars’ Banquet”. Why? Because the regular parish Mass is there for everyone. It’s there for the Antonin Scalias and the Dorothy Days. It’s there for both Martin Sheen and Phyllis Schlafly. It’s universal, it’s Catholic.
When I went to “Pot Luck Masses” in the 1970s I always felt lonelier after they ended. I finally figured out why. These Masses were only for the “special people” who were really supposed to be there. They weren’t really for everyone. Those Masses may have been valid.
But they weren’t Catholic.
I couldn’t phrase it any better than the headline from this article in the Vancouver Sun:
Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites
Geologist Ian Plimer takes a contrary view, arguing that man-made climate change is a con trick perpetuated by environmentalists
By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun
July 28, 2009
Ian Plimer has outraged the ayatollahs of purist environmentalism, the Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming, and he seems to relish the damnation they heap on him.
Plimer is a geologist, professor of mining geology at Adelaide University, and he may well be Australia’s best-known and most notorious academic.
Plimer, you see, is an unremitting critic of “anthropogenic global warming” — man-made climate change to you and me — and the current environmental orthodoxy that if we change our polluting ways, global warming can be reversed.
It is, of course, not new to have a highly qualified scientist saying that global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon with many precedents in history. Many have made the argument, too, that it is rubbish to contend human behaviour is causing the current climate change. And it has often been well argued that it is totally ridiculous to suppose that changes in human behaviour — cleaning up our act through expensive slight-of-hand taxation tricks — can reverse the trend.
But most of these scientific and academic voices have fallen silent in the face of environmental Jacobinism. Purging humankind of its supposed sins of environmental degradation has become a religion with a fanatical and often intolerant priesthood, especially among the First World urban elites.
But Plimer shows no sign of giving way to this orthodoxy and has just published the latest of his six books and 60 academic papers on the subject of global warming. This book, Heaven and Earth — Global Warming: The Missing Science, draws together much of his previous work. It springs especially from A Short History of Plant Earth, which was based on a decade of radio broadcasts in Australia.
That book, published in 2001, was a best-seller and won several prizes. But Plimer found it hard to find anyone willing to publish this latest book, so intimidating has the environmental lobby become.
But he did eventually find a small publishing house willing to take the gamble and the book has already sold about 30,000 copies in Australia. It seems also to be doing well in Britain and the United States in the first days of publication.
Plimer presents the proposition that anthropogenic global warming is little more than a con trick on the public perpetrated by fundamentalist environmentalists and callously adopted by politicians and government officials who love nothing more than an issue that causes public anxiety.
While environmentalists for the most part draw their conclusions based on climate information gathered in the last few hundred years, geologists, Plimer says, have a time frame stretching back many thousands of millions of years.
The dynamic and changing character of the Earth’s climate has always been known by geologists. These changes are cyclical and random, he says. They are not caused or significantly affected by human behaviour.
Polar ice, for example, has been present on the Earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time, Plimer writes. Plus, animal extinctions are an entirely normal part of the Earth’s evolution.
(Plimer, by the way, is also a vehement anti-creationist and has been hauled into court for disrupting meetings by religious leaders and evangelists who claim the Bible is literal truth.)
Plimer gets especially upset about carbon dioxide, its role in Earth’s daily life and the supposed effects on climate of human manufacture of the gas. He says atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at the lowest levels it has been for 500 million years, and that atmospheric carbon dioxide is only 0.001 per cent of the total amount of the chemical held in the oceans, surface rocks, soils and various life forms. Indeed, Plimer says carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but a plant food. Plants eat carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen. Human activity, he says, contributes only the tiniest fraction to even the atmospheric presence of carbon dioxide.
There is no problem with global warming, Plimer says repeatedly. He points out that for humans periods of global warming have been times of abundance when civilization made leaps forward. Ice ages, in contrast, have been times when human development slowed or even declined.
So global warming, says Plimer, is something humans should welcome and embrace as a harbinger of good times to come.
For a dear family that has suffered a loss. Thank you.