Two Referred Links and Some Thoughts

Dear Readers,

Although I like to post my own material, I found the two following items from Fr. Finnigan:

First,

The Anonymous Us Project – a project that documents the stories of those conceived through IVF or other artificial means of conception. It really documents a very sad world of those people, to quote one person on the website, whose “genes were spliced together from two people who were never in love, never danced together, had never even met one another.” As Fr. Finnigan pointed out, this highlights one of the Church’s important teachings from the document Donum Vitae which condemned IVF: “Heterologous artificial fertilization violates the rights of the child; it deprives him of his filial relationship with his parental origins and can hinder the maturing of his personal identity.” How true.

Second, one for those special liturgical nerds in our midst. Many people complained, prior to the Second Vatican Council, of the use of Latin in the liturgy as lacking any value – the readings should be read in the vernacular, they said, because they were not sacred prayers, but rather didactic in content. While I certainly think there are elements of truth in that statement, I am of the opinion as well that there is a prayerful element to the readings, which is why I advocate chanting the readings – at least the Gospel. This is because the readings are more than merely instructions to us. They are part of our prayer to God. The psalms are a clear example, but it goes for all the readings at Mass.

Anyway, often people advocating the liturgical reform of putting the Mass into the vernacular would point to the Orthodox/Eastern Churches, who have continued to read the readings in the vernacular. However, what they often ignore is that it isn’t quite so cut and dry. The Orthodox/Easterns have practically the same thesis about sacred language that inspires the Latin Church to use Latin as a sacred language. They understand public prayers of the Church to require a stable (in essence, a “dead”) language in which meanings do not change very frequently. As a consequence, most Eastern Churches use a modified vernacular, such as Church Slavonic or ecclesial Greek.

In Greece, some bishop apparently got the great idea to read the readings in popular, rather than ecclesial, Greek.

Boy, did the laity get mad.

The Greek Orthodox Synod condemned such use of the vernacular in the liturgy last April.

Essentially, the whole kerfluffel was justified by the Metropolitan Bishop as something “the young people” wanted (or, he thought, needed). I think the video rather militates against that.

As Fr. Finnigan, again, pointed out: “I think he may find in due course that just as in the West, the young people who actually attend the Divine Services will want the whole deal of traditional Orthodox liturgy, not a watered-down version.”

Liturgy is a beautiful thing; it is intended by God as the chief aid of His Church to get us to heaven. It’s sacred language, sacred action, vestments, smells, bells, and cockle shells are means to that end. Often, we have to take ourselves out of the picture and let its sacred language speak to our hearts.

Or, better put, “Hodie si vocem eius audieritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra.”


Yours in Christ,

Br. James Dominic, OP

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