Contra “The Dead Spirituality” of The Catholic Church: Against the Caricature That Public Prayer Isn’t Christian   Leave a comment

1. Introduction

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

As a child coming of age into young adult years, my Reversion to Catholicism is one marked by an initial hatred for The Catholic Church as I understood it. I was the poster child of Progressive Modernist thought who yet embodied a fierce New Age Protestantism about things pertaining to The Church and the surrounding cultural and spiritual developments that I found myself growing up around in. This series is written to rebuke the writings of my Youth, a sort of self-imposed Penance to atone for my own personal ignorance. The writings of my youth are held on the internet at the Yahoo! Voices website, there are 4 Articles written between July to November 2007, just after my graduation from High School. It should be noted that the rebuke is thematically addressed rather than chronologically answered.

The First Article written in July 2007 was titled, “Christianity Vs. True Christianity: A Problem with the Church?” This article embodied perfectly my Anti-Catholic view influenced by Progressive Modernism, Protestant propaganda yet New Age influences at the time. The Second Article written in August 2007 was title, “Church of Christ: The Church is Not the Real Thing!” This article embodied my confusion and the varieties of cultural propaganda set against the Church, this article sounds most like what I hear today, and that I have come to most fight against today. The Third Article was written in the same month and was titled, “Is the Bible Really Full and Complete?” This article was my argument that the Bible was incomplete and that since it has been left to many revisions it is no longer a trustworthy book, this attack the notion that The Bible was the Complete and Final Word of God. The Fourth and Final Article was written in November 2007 and was titled, “My Road to Christian Gnosticism” Here it is showcased for all to see my love of Heterodoxy and lack of understanding of Orthodoxy, of course in celebrating fighting against the superstitious ignorance of the Church I now confess that I was the one being superstitious and ignorant.


PART ONE – AGAINST THE YOUTUBE HERESIES

PART TWO – AGAINST THE YOUTUBE HERESIES

II. My Argument Against My Past Self

Because I believed in the Protestant Individualism to such a Radical Degree, even while consumed in the Occult and New Age Movement I saw Public Prayer as inherently Anti-Christian, whether it was the Novous Ordo Mass or The Protestant / “Non-Denominational” Superchurches and Massive Concert Halls dedicated to singing praise. In light of my Reversion back to Catholicism I believe I was half-right. What I was wrong over was that Public Prayer has its place, what I was right over was how this Public Prayer was expressed. In this article I will be writing about clarifying on the Nature of Legitimate Public Prayer and How It Is to Be Expressed while in Worship.

On The Nature of Public Prayer

Public Prayer it turns out has a place in Christian Worship. My contention comes from Scared Scripture itself. In The Old Testament Wisdom books especially, but even in The New Testament we see a call for Public Prayer. Prayer has an utterly private dimension but psychologically speaking Public Prayer has its place and purpose too. To start The Old Testament Wisdom Books, in particular The Book of Psalms is an entire book dedicated to Prayers both Private and Public. It is clear that we are to sing Praises to the Lord, actions like “singing, clapping, jubilee” are never actions that people do alone, and there is always a communal element to such things. Even in the Torah through the Book of Deuteronomy we see that canticles are written for others to hear, so that they may remember.

In the New Testament first by the Epistle of Paul to The Romans he tells that, he will sing about Christ to Gentiles, once again showing that even in the New Testament Public Acts of Praise and Recognition of God are present here for others to follow. In the Book of Revelation, John “The Beloved Disciple” tells us that, all the nations shall adore and sing in His sight. Once more, Public Prayer has a place in the worship of a Christian.

When you do things of a similar or identical action with others, it is designed to affirm to you that you are not alone and help strengthen your conviction of what it is you’re working towards. Public Prayer is necessary especially when one encounters the difficulties of this world of ours. Does this mean we neglect the Private component? No not at all, but Public Prayer (psychologically speaking) helps us affirm and strengthen us in our struggles. No wonder Catholics have a lower suicide rate then Protestants do! How would it be for a soldier who fighting a battle found himself outnumbered, wouldn’t he despair and be more likely to give up? Most would, but now how would be if the solider came to a place and saw reinforcements, would he be more likely to fight? I would say that most would, renewed by a sort of morale boost in seeing people who are trying to fight the good fight.

On The Expression of Prayer in Worship

What I was right about was the expression of Public Prayer in Worship. Whether you’re in the Novous Ordo Mass and The Protestant Superchurches and Concert Halls it seems like as if we are bombarded by contemporary expressions of music. I’ve heard guitars and drums in a Catholic Novous Ordo Mass for Easter, I’ve seen a pastor making a buffoon out of himself on stage while the music plays, and of course bands who make large sums of money playing at Concert Halls (aka Superchurches). All of these things I get so turned off by and quite frankly get a bit angry when Worship has been transformed into just another form of stimulating entertainment, there is no place for silence in our world today, and yet Mystic after Mystic and Theologian after Theologian tell us that through the Silence God speaks to us.

They claim to be so Christian, yet they deny the very Silence of God to enter into their lives, this goes back to a previous article about making the space Other and Transcendent, we devalue the Space of Worship and Act of Worship by making it identical to or similar to the Outside world from which we are trying to get a break from. This kind of expression of music is not good for the Formation of the Spiritual while giving Worship and Adoration to God. One of the reasons why I reverted back to Catholicism largely had to do with the Traditional Latin Mass, it was the only expression of Public Worship that I could aptly call Spiritual. Gregorian Chants and Psalmody are present, there are no drums, there are no guitars, but only people’s voices transformed sounding like the sound of the Angels of another Realm.

According to The Second Vatican Council in the Constitution of Sacred Liturgy via Articles 120 and 121 there are 2 pieces of information that need to be applied, namely “This may be done (using different instruments), however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful. Composers, filled with the Christian spirit, should feel that their vocation is to cultivate sacred music and increase its store of treasures.” The Pope actually agrees with me, or should I say I Agree with the Pope’s decision to Uphold the Primacy of The Gregorian Chant exactly because, “it is the Supreme Model of Sacred Music.” Now how could people sing and play songs in an irreverent, common, and secular manner possibly maintain the Dignity of the Temple or contribute to the edification of the faithful? The answer is it can’t and we can look at Church attendance to prove that.

I remember upon the Easter of my reversion back to the Catholic Faith, me and my family went to The Gymnasium of the School that belonged to the Church (for the Church itself was already full) and the singer had sung in such a terrible manner with the drums going off in the background, it was a Novous Ordo Mass-style. I was a bit turned off by the Mass, especially for this day which marked the Resurrection of Our Lord, I felt such irreverence coming from the tonality of the singer especially and of course with such singing the irreverently atmosphere was only all the more greatly emphasized. Since then I have made it a point to dedicate myself to going to the Traditional Latin Mass, for the edification of my own soul, at least there things are taken seriously.

On Pop Culture Music and Worship

Now does this mean that we need declare the Christian Genre, or even Catholic singers as heretics? No of course not! My point is clear we need to worship and adore God in an elevated way, common music and secular instruments and methods fail to convey that ability to do so in fact they succeed in making worship and adoration devalued and debased and when we see are world becoming increasingly sacrilegious, we need a place to go to remind us that reality is not like that. I say meet the culture where it is outside of the Church, let the Christian Hardcore bands play and the Christian R&B bands play too as well as everything in between, but once you get inside a Church I say let the Gregorian Chants play and only the Gregorian Chants. For in speaking of Beauty, the Heavenly cannot be conveyed in the common, since the Heavenly is so Other to the Common. In fact, I would argue that since Music goes past all language barriers, then the Universal Gregorian Chant of the Universal Church would bring together all the other fans of the various genres of music.

Advertisements

What Do You Think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: