Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Essence Of The Liturgy

I have a couple of quibbles here.  First, Joseph Ratzinger wrote The Spirit of the Liturgy, not Benedict XVI.  So the Pope doesn’t say these things; Ratzinger said them.
Second, I hope that Ratzinger was not universalizing what seems to me to be a rather German sentiment. To universalize why he thinks people applaud at mass seems rather dangerous.  Or rather, I should put it this way: Ratzinger warns against applause that is “because of human achievement,” and then the author of the article seems to assume that all applause in the liturgy is because of human achievement.  Maybe that is where my quibble is.
I go to an African-American church on Sundays.  There is a lot of applause, and I am part of it.  I also grew up going to masses in Mexico and on the border, all of which were filled with applause (and liturgical dancing for that matter, though I hate the term).  But I think the author of this piece may be too sharply distinguishing grace and nature.  Applause can sometimes be just for the “human achievement.” Fine, now the mass has become a concert.  And then sometimes the priest will say, “Let’s give God a hand!” and that kind of applause is for God (which I don’t think our author would like).  But sometimes applause breaks out, and it is both for God and for the choir who sang to God and for the whole experience.  I often feel that I am applauding both the choir’s effort to praise God and God himself at the same time.  Grace and nature overflow into each other.  Nor have I found that the spirit of the liturgy is broken at my parish because of this applause.  The consecration is very somber.  So is communion time, even with all the clapping. Sometimes clapping is just another way of praising God.
Link (here) to read Mr. Nathan O'Halloran, S.J. at Whosoever Desires
Link (here) to Taylor Marshall and (here) Fr. Z on the subject

8 comments:

Maria said...

I attended a Mass in Washington DC wherein we were subjected to a rendition of "The Impossible Dream". I was surprised the lights weren't dimmed. I half expected a waiter to drop by my pew with a watered down drink. I was brief with the priest. I explained; " Padre, there is no clapping in Church". You know, like there is no crying in baseball. Surely, God is merciful. He has to be. How else could He endure it?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of clapping in church. Isn't popular in Rome though?

Clement said...

and then Jesus wept - NO CLAPPING IN CHURCH

Surely this is a joke - I did however clap when the priest in Philly was locked up for 6 years. It should have been Beviliqua. I will be sure to clap when there is smoke rising from the Vatican. The sooner the better ,,,,

TonyD said...

There are rules and there is judgment. In general, we don't have the wisdom to use good judgment. As a result, we are often expected to fall back on rules/laws. (eg. usery/interest should not exist since we don't have the ability to manage it wisely. Alternative systems could be devised, if we tried. We would lose some benefits which we would regain 10+ times over with a better designed economy.)

However, there is not a clean delineation between when we should apply a rule and when we should be trying to use judgment. The result is the mess of interpretations and misinterpretations that we currently have. We seem to ignore laws which we should be enforcing and applying advice which should consider the context (as though it were an unyielding law). I could give examples but they would result in more quotes from non-Prophets and out-of-context Biblical quotes in responding posts.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with clapping in church. But there is nothing intrinsically right with it, either. Context is everything.

Personally, I have been exposed to things that make it hard for me to justify any friviolity in the context of God and His teachings here. And, while I find myself thinking "if only they knew" when I see laughing and clapping in church, I also realize that there is more to this existence than reflection on such serious matters. (I am aware of situations where God Himself assigned "time-off" to those doing His work while lives hung in the balance.)

And I have probably laughed many times during light converstation outside of "mass proper". And I have even found myself clapping enthusiastically after a good performance. Those moments coexist with more serious thoughts and discussions.

Anonymous said...

To answer 12:17 p.m., yes they doclap in Rome.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

We don't clap because at Mass, the SOLE focus is on Our Lord and Savior, not the nice choir or the altar boy serving his last Mass or whatever. And no, applause doesn't "just break out" without people not being in control of themselves. I'll go by what the Cardinal wrote.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

We don't clap because at Mass, the SOLE focus is on Our Lord and Savior, not the nice choir or the altar boy serving his last Mass or whatever. And no, applause doesn't "just break out" without people not being in control of themselves. I'll go by what the Cardinal wrote. And TonyD, there is no "time off" during Holy Mass itself.

Anonymous said...

Your an idiot