fredag 18 augusti 2017

The Journey East #3

The local situation
The Catholic church in my part of the world is apparently in quite good shape. However, the liturgy is resolutely Lutheran in style and content. Far from the influence of Rome, it has become so thoroughly Lutheranised that Catholic services are almost indistinguishable from those of Svenska Kyrkan; any traditional Catholic music which happens to make its way into a Catholic Mass does so through a smörgåsbord approach to liturgy which draws primarily on Lutheran and English Anglican and Nonconformist sources. Sometimes, the result is hilarious, as when Britain’s favourite funeral hymn, “Abide with me”, was used a couple of years ago at an ordination!

I do not agree with the view of some Catholic traditionalists, that the Novus Ordo Mass is not valid. My objection is to the way it is almost invariably celebrated, which contravenes the guidelines in Sacrosanctum Concilium and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to the point of abuse. Thus, in practice, if I am not to end up getting angry and in no condition to receive communion, I have to find a Mass in the Extraordinary Form. At my local parish it is squeezed in on a Saturday evening between a Spanish Mass and a Polish one, squeezed being the operative word when the Spanish one runs over time and the Poles are wandering in during the distribution of communion, so that one has to climb over them to get back to ones place. It is also celebrated on Sundays at a religous house out of town at 12 noon, not a convenient time for a lot of people, and at a cost of 82kr, about €8.5, for the return journey.

But it is not celebrated consistently or reliably. There are only the two priests who are willing to say it; the others are firmly opposed. So it stops when the priests are on holiday or sick, and in practice that means much of the summer.

In that situation it is tempting to look to the east for a consistently worthy form of worship. With the large influx of Christians from Orthodox countries, we are spoilt for choice.

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