Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vortex: The Church of "Nice"

Yesterday’s “Vortex" (June 20) was well worth watching – view it below if you haven’t seen it yet.

Interestingly, what struck me especially at the beginning of the video is that this is a perfect “companion piece” to what I was trying to say in my post yesterday; Archbishop Prendergast was making some good points in his homily about the “two usages” of the Roman Rite, but the reality is a little less rosy.

As a commenter on that post said:

The new Mass does not express nor teach the fullness of our Catholic faith. It just doesn't, no matter how reverently it's offered. It was created to appeal to Protestants by making the Holy Mass more like a Protestant service, not to sustain and continue to teach Catholics their faith.

And when one takes a close look (heck, you don't even have to look very closely), comparing it with the Traditional Mass and what it expresses and teaches, there's just not really much comparison.

It's valid, it's licit, but it's very, very unfortunate that generations of Catholics have grown up with nothing but the new Mass. It's no mystery why we have lost so many souls, so many have lost the Faith. And ironically, I sincerely doubt we brought in many Protestants by this brilliant move (tongue in cheek).

Another commenter added:

One [form] is a plain Jane Chevy and the other a Rolls Royce. They will both get you from A to B but that's about the only thing they have in common

Here’s “The Vortex”, with the script below.

Have you attended Mass lately at the Church of Nice?  The Catholic Community of St. Nice?

You know, the typical suburban parish where Fr. Pleasant starts his homily with a stupid priest joke and then goes on to say essentially nothing that can specifically help you get to heaven.

Then you can participate by singing a horribly composed piece of something that is supposed to be music as the altar girls looking totally vacant and out of place while escorting some members of the congregation up to the sanctuary with the gifts… all the while with the band crooning away.

The FEW young people who you might see look totally bored as they keep checking their phones for texts. 

To be fair, even Father looks a little bored when the spotlight has temporarily shifted from him to some other action downstage…er…somewhere else in the sanctuary.

But through it all, no one says a word – before or after – because it wouldn’t be nice. Little mention, as a matter of fact, of anything of substance at all, because it’s a sure fire bet that someone sitting out there in the audience will be offended and that wouldn’t be nice.

There are of course the contracepting couples – check; the divorced and remarried – check; the cohabiting – check; the believers in abortion rights or same sex marriage – check.

And if you breathe a word about any of those topics, a letter is sure to get fired off to the chancery, and the priest will get hauled in front of the bishop, and have to give an accounting for preaching the teachings of the faith.

I want to share a quick story with you. I heard this with my own ears so it isn’t something that was told to me in a garbled misreported way. I was present at the event.

A bishop was speaking before a gathering of mostly lay people and lamenting the horrible condition of his diocese. Marriages down, baptisms down, sacraments all down, vocations falling off the cliff, parishes closing down…everything down.

He lamented the state of affairs for a couple of minutes and then said, “But there is one area in which things are looking up: burials.” Yep: burials. We have had a 200 percent increase in the number of people being buried in our Catholic cemeteries which, he added – get this; he actually said this; I heard it with my own two ears – “which goes to show you: even if they miss a few sacraments here or there, we still get ‘em in the end.”

Honest to God: those were his exact words.  A joke about the current state of affairs – the dismal soul-costing state of affairs in the Church – offered up as a cheap laugh line as souls flee from the Church and quite possibly eternal salvation.

This man is a successor of the Apostles. Can you even begin to imagine St. Peter or any of the Apostles cracking a joke about souls being lost?  By the way, he was READING his comments from prepared remarks – not just winging it – which means he contemplated this line, and thought about it, and made the conscious decision to include it.

But see, in the Church of NICE, this is standard fare. To even say anything about it means you AREN’T nice.  You’re just a big meanie. You can’t take a joke. 

Nothing is really sacred in the Church of Nice – most especially Our Blessed Lord. We can worship him dressed immodestly; with no real education about what Mass is REALLY about; show up a few minutes late or later; bolt out right after we’ve gone up and grabbed the bread; sung emotional, whiney, fingers-on-the-chalkboard music; and felt like we are all very nice people.

And the leaders will neither say nor do anything about it. They like the Church of Nice, because since they are the leaders, they are perceived as nice as well. “Nice” is the most disgusting language in the lexicon of modern Catholicism. 

“Nice” means never being objectionable, always agreeable; never taking a stand. It is an apt substitute for the word “coward” – which is fitting, since the etymology of the word “nice” comes from the Latin word meaning a COW… as in COWARD.

Let’s get something clear and understand it clearly: Our Blessed Lord was most assuredly NOT “nice”. He was filled with zeal and passion, and upset the status quo of those leaders who were content to let souls be damned so they could be perceived as nice.

The “nice” gang is the gang of the lukewarm – the ones who never venture too far this way or too far that way; the guardians of the middle of the road; the ones who everyone likes because they are “nice”.

Love is not about being “nice”.  It is about being charitable, which has noting to do with the social convention of being “nice”.  Love is fiery, passionate, totally absorbed in the beloved for the sake of the beloved. It does not care about itself; it throws itself with reckless abandon headlong into danger for the sake of the beloved.

It’s fitting that when there are two people and one has a romantic interest in the other, but the other isn’t interested at all, the supreme blow-off line is, “I’m really not interested… I mean, he or she is NICE and all, but...”

“Nice” is a cheap substitute for LOVE. It never has passion; it will never bleed for anyone or anything.  It couldn’t spell zeal if it tried. “Nice” is boring and conventional, uninspiring…and, frankly, for spiritual losers.

Why are Catholic parishes closing up faster than lemonade stands at the North Pole? Because they’re all so flippin’ nice. And “nice” – meaning lukewarm – is what Our Blessed Lord promises in the book of the Apocalypse He will vomit out of His mouth.

Even God can’t tolerate “nice”.

For other posts on the EF Mass, click on the "TLM and Liturgy" tab at the top of the page.
For other Vortex posts, click on the "Vortex" tab at the top of the page.

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