Arbitrary rigorism, a recurring theme on this board

The following quote comes from the thread on whether the Sunday obligation can be fulfilled by attending a Nuptial Mass on a Saturday. The author is Deacon John Cameron, a canon lawyer:

It is a very edifying thing to think of how many of our members possess the kind of zealous faith Deacon Cameron speaks of here. Their personal practices of piety go well beyond the minimum and express their great love for God and the Church.

But there is a danger here. It is possible to present those personal preferences as if they were the law itself, causing confusion and discouragement among those whose piety is at a different stage of development. It can also foster scrupulosity.

We should be careful to present the law as the law, and find a different way to encourage our brothers and sisters to a greater love that goes beyond the law.

Some examples of rigorism that I can recall from recent discussions:
The idea that the Saturday vigil Mass can only be attended by those unable for a grave reason to attend Mass on Sunday.

The idea that one should confess face-to-face because it’s more humiliating.

The ever-present headcovering debate.

The idea that any work or commerce on Sunday is a violation of the third commandment.
What examples can you think of? How can we avoid placing unnecessary burdens on people while still encouraging their piety?

Betsy

Excellent, Betsy. This has been needed for a good while.

One that comes to mind is the excess zeal or devotion to keep the eucharistic fast from midnight, or if not, at least 3 hours as was practiced prior to the Church’s relaxation of the discipline.

Private devotion is good, if one is moved to adopt this practice, but it is being promoted rather heavily by traditionalists. I fear they may become pharisaical, “Why do your disciples not fast as WE do?”

Carole

One word: MUSIC

There are also those who lean the other way. The “Two for the price of one” when a HDO landed on a Saturday in the past. Or counting the minutes before Holy Communion, and getting in the back of the line so your minutes would expire in time. Instead of just not eating after leaving the house on Sunday morning! Don’t stop or take another route to church that does not have a McD*** on the way. So yes the boards tend to go both directions.

And that’s the way we humans are, wobbly in all kinds of directions.

Betsy,

Thanks for bringing this up. I am bone tired of people who talk like rather than praying at and celebrating the Mass, they walk in with their GIRM and checklist.

I’m also tired of the neverending EENS debate.

I think the Rev. Mr. Cameron had the term right when he called it arbitrary rigorism. I like to think of it as a disease, Deliberate Arbitrary Rigorism Syndrome or DARS.

Thanks again!

John, CTED (Committee to End DARS)

The idea that holding hands at the Our Father is anathema

Or the idea that not wanting to hold hands at the Our Father shows that one hates his/her neighbor.

[quote=Br. Rich, SFO]There are also those who lean the other way. The “Two for the price of one” when a HDO landed on a Saturday in the past. Or counting the minutes before Holy Communion, and getting in the back of the line so your minutes would expire in time. Instead of just not eating after leaving the house on Sunday morning! Don’t stop or take another route to church that does not have a McD*** on the way. So yes the boards tend to go both directions.
[/quote]

Could you honestly say that these people fit Betsy’s definition of “rigorous?” Are you suggesting the fast should be three hours so as to eliminate the above practices? Well, IMO, human nature is still human nature, and even if it were extended to three hours, you would still find people doing likewise. :stuck_out_tongue:

That practice of keeping the one hour fast is not sinful, even if it is barely kept beyond 60 minutes. The practice of overzealously looking down on other Catholics who do not keep the 3-hour or longer fast, can well be sinful, yes?

It does seem to me that one finds a lot of scrupulous persons on these boards, whose scrupulosity is then exacerbated by rigorists!

Betsy’s list is quite good. I would add the question of hand placement. Many people hold out their hands as they say “and also with you” or hold up their hands during the Our Father. Neither of these is approved by the GIRM, but unless someone is actually hitting you as they do it, I don’t see a reason to get upset about it.

Exactly. It seems that some people don’t come to pray, they come to look for possible liturgical abuses. And they’re ready to tar-and-feather the priest who makes them.

I’m also tired of the neverending EENS debate.

What is EENS?

What he’s saying is that there are extremes on both sides. The people who go to 10:30 Mass, stop at McD’s at 10:10 and wolf down a breakfast sandwich, and then check their watches at Communion and make sure their watch reads 11:15 before they receive are really about the same as the people who keep a 3 hour fast and demand that the rest of us do too.

Yes, the old Latin tridentine Mass may have been done in a haphazard manner at times, but at least priests then didn’t have to worry about parishioners second guessing their every word and gesture!

And I’d bet a tenner and a party seven that it is the internet (specifically EWTN’s Q&A site and this Forum) that has helped create these folks. You can learn a great deal from these sites, but as a good and holy priest once told me, “some people have just enough knowledge to be dangerous.” He was referring to the people who come with their checklist and their GIRM and watch for abuses.

I’ll admit it, for awhile I did that. Now, I go to Mass to pray and worship the Lord.

I’m sorry - but this thread is just another excuse for a crab fest. :rolleyes:

Count me out.

~Liza

All right! Now we get to talk about Lizaanne!:smiley:

There are good points on both sides of the subject. If this thread can stay civil, it’s a good thread and a good reality check.

[quote=SuscipeMeDomine]What is EENS?
[/quote]

EENS is Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, outside of the Church no salvation. That, when interpreted by rigorists, means that only rosary saying, Mass going, holy water using practicing Catholics will go to heaven. That is also called Feeneyism. Google it (I won’t link to it.)

John

How 'bout the idea that a woman must dress in such a way that any womanly features must be hidden (meaning no apparent curves) or else she is immodest? Or that sandals are immodest? Or that women’s trousers are immodest?

If one feels called to a personal devotion in which one does not wear trousers, or sandals, or dresses in a sack, that’s great. Please don’t expect the rest of us to fall in line.

Good one, Jen.

And as an EEM (or EMHC, as they are quick to remind me), I am offended at the arbitrary rigorism directed at that lay ministry, approved by the Church.

John

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