News is bubbling out of various Catholic bishops who are banning the ad orientem celebration of Mass and the faithful from receiving communion kneeling at altar rails.
Is it possible that Catholic leaders could be any more stupid than this? Do they not understand the quirks of human nature and how we all respond to senseless rules and regulations from on high? As soon as some representative a bloated bureaucracy enacts yet another rule and forces it on people they immediately begin to find ways around it.
Anybody who has worked in a school with a uniform dress code knows how the students delight in subverting the dress code. Tell the boys they must wear a tie and the girls all start wearing ties. Tell the girls they must wear skirts and the boys start wearing skirts. Tell the boys they must wear a blazer–the little boys swap with the big boys. They all wear blazers that don’t fit. You get the idea.
So Bishop Bloat says, “No more celebrating Mass ad orientem. So Father Obedient sets up the “Benedictine” setting on the altar. Six large candlesticks on the West edge of the altar and a large crucifix in the center–essentially creating a kind of rood screen enabling him to focus on the crucifix and what he is doing as he celebrates rather than adopting the entertainer mode of celebrating Mass facing and interacting with the people.
Tell the people they may not receive communion at the altar rail? Watch how even more of them reverently kneel when they come forward in their line to receive communion. Watch how more and more of them receive on the tongue and how reverently the altar boys use the paten to prevent the host or particles of the host from being profaned.
Now you have deprived the elderly the assistance of an altar rail to rise from kneeling? Watch how the ushers re-configure themselves to stand at the elbow of all those kneeling old people to help them get up.
Tell the people they may not receive communion at the altar rail? Watch how the hours of Eucharistic adoration multiply in that parish–hours at which the faithful come and kneel at the altar rail in adoration.
When are Catholic bishops and bureaucrats going to realize that they cannot enforce uniformity in the church? This is even more crazy and hypocritical as it is accompanied by demands that we become more diverse–that we welcome and accommodate everyone. We are encouraged to turn a blind eye to the wayward, the weak, the lowly and those who are alienated from the church while at the same time we alienate, push aside, marginalize and mock the very ones who are in church.
“We must reach out to those alienated from the church! I know, let’s come up with some rules to alienate even more!”
The reasoning behind these clericalist, obscurantist decisions is ostensibly “church unity”. Everyone will be more united if they all receive communion the same way. If that’s the motivation, why not have an experimental period in which every priest in the diocese celebrates ad orientem and all the faithful are asked to kneel to receive communion?
Uniformity should not be imposed in a false attempt at unity. To try this is the stupid attempt of mediocre middle managers and uninspired elementary school administrators.