Does God really care about liturgical orthodoxy?

I'm not Catholic, but seems like there are a lot of people with strong opinions (and superiority complexes) on the different Catholic worship styles/rites.

Would God really care if people did a sign of the cross in sets of three versus once, or if Latin or English is used, or if there is incense, or if guitars are used instead of organs? I would think different worship styles would just be a matter of preference or tradition… but I keep running across this attitude that those who don't follow the Latin Mass, Eastern Rite, etc are less holy or less Catholic somehow.

Does God really care about liturgical orthodoxy? Aren't there bigger issues to worry about (like the culture of death..)? Just wondering what your thoughts are... cheers! :o

[quote="genevieve4, post:1, topic:179704"]
I'm not Catholic, but seems like there are a lot of people with strong opinions (and superiority complexes) on the different Catholic worship styles/rites.

Would God really care if people did a sign of the cross in sets of three versus once, or if Latin or English is used, or if there is incense, or if guitars are used instead of organs? I would think different worship styles would just be a matter of preference or tradition… but I keep running across this attitude that those who don't follow the Latin Mass, Eastern Rite, etc are less holy or less Catholic somehow.

Does God really care about liturgical orthodoxy? Aren't there bigger issues to worry about (like the culture of death..)? Just wondering what your thoughts are... cheers! :o

[/quote]

I think God is very concerned with pride. That is, after all, the first sin - the sin of Lucifer.

Your points are very true. Minor changes in the rituals under strained circumstances generally are minor matters. However, the Church has given us rubrics and texts to be followed for very good reasons - orthodoxy, assured validity, universality, catechesis, etc.. In the late 60's an anti-rubrical movement (admittedly in reaction to the rigid rubrics of the EF) arose which was tolerated. Over time the tolerated variances through pride of those who knew better than Mother Church became abuses and often so abusive as to lead to invalidity, heresy and confusion. What had been a loosening of strictures and a pastoral widening of the rubrics to accommodate differences was taken to the extreme and in further arrogance those faithful to the rubrics were/are held in contempt for being faithful to the texts and rubrics.

Naturally, the abuses, error and confusion have fueled apostasy, heresy, sin and scandal. What you see is the push-back. Yes, it can get intense - and border on it's own sort of arrogance. But, IMHO, this is what you are seeing.

The solution: faithfulness to the church's teaching, texts and rubrics if for no other reason than it's the law. That is the salve on this sort of pride at both ends of the spectrum - obedience.

No, I cannot imagine that He does.

I would imagine He is more concerned with how we are doing bringing about His kingdom here on earth-I imagine He is more concerned with the poverty, war, violence, social injustices and lack of respect for the dignity of all life (from conception, through all stages of life) that is prevalent in our society than He is with the nuances of liturgy.

My answer is not meant to be flippant but to really convey how many people feel.

  1. Does God care about worship? (Yes. The issues are not meaningless. If He doesn't care, why does He set it out so precisely in the Old Testament, and why did it develop so precisely in his Church?)

  2. Does God care about obedience? Of course. We are not just talking about styles here, we are talking about, often, frank disobedience. There is no way you respect the Holy Father as the Vicar of Christ if you are having a clown mass.

  3. Does God care about prayer? Again, yes. Does a style of music entertain you, get you dancing, make you hum? Does a second style make you feel like you are in a holy place, and help you focus on God? The first style is better for enjoyment outside of the liturgy. The second is better for worship.

  4. Does God care about Christian unity? Yes! "See how they love one another." Paying attention to liturgical issues will enhance a visible and clear unity within Roman Catholics and will be important for unity with others. As has been said on this forum, many Eastern Orthodox cannot begin to think of reunion with Catholics as long as our liturgy (often) looks more like a banquet than the Sacrifice of Our Lord in the Divine Liturgy. Yes, others will not be happy with traditional and more uniform (within-rite) liturgies, but see points 1, 2 and 3.

  5. Did Jesus found a Church, as is the Catholic Church that Church? Yes! So our liturgy must be a continual development from that time. Anyone who worships with a "that was before Vatican II, we don't do that anymore" mentality has a sadly deformed view of who the Church is.

For these reasons, of course God cares about liturgical orthodoxy. If someone uses that to justify uncharitable behavior, then that is a sin, but that's another matter. If God didn't care about how we worshipped, He would not have given us the means to worship Him in the Mass.

As says Fr. Z: save the liturgy, save the world!

Here are my thoughts:

Although I do prefer a more "orthodox" approach to the rites of the Church, I have no problems with rites that are done according to the rubrics. Now we could all argue on and on about the rubrics and why they exist and wether or not they are necessary but ultimately they exist. More importantly, the Church gives reasons for the rubrics. You will not find a rubric in any of the liturgical books, or the GIRM, or the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, that exists without a reason.

Therefore, because the Church carefully thinks the rubrics out they should be followed.

Also, people often forget that the Church offers its prayers as a whole. We hear thingsin the Eucharistic Prayer like, "with all the Angels and Saints," and "the whole Church." (not direct quotes). Therefore, we must remember that when the Church offers a Mass it is not solely the priest, or solely the congregation participating. Rather, it is the Priest offering the Mass for the Church, with all the Angels and Saints. Therefore, the rubrics tie us together. They unite all of the Rites so that the Church can offer its prayers as a whole, throughout time.

On a similar note, I think sometimes people confuse "orthodoxy." Many times people say that orthodoxy is doing things that most of the Church do not do. Often times though, these people are misjudging what "most of the Church" is. Not doing what the Church teaches and not following the rubrics of the Church is not an option. -]It is/-] Following the rubrics is required! Orthodoxy, then, can be more accurately described as adhering to traditional practices that are not required by the Church and not prohibited either.

Actually, God really does care about the manner in which He is worshipped. If you were to read Deuteronomy and Leviticus, He spells out in exacting detail how, when and in what form He is to be worshipped. He did not have Moses spend significant amounts of time writing this down if He did not care. Furthermore, when the norms were deviated from, the Lord severely punished the violators. One only has to look at what happened to the sons of Aaron and the priest Dathan to know just how serious God was about these matters.

In fact, Jesus never criticized the mode of Temple sacrificial worship, since He was the fulfillment of what His own Father had dictated to Moses.

We also need to remember that the first commandment is to love God. Loving God means, first and foremost, offering hin the adoration, praise and worship that is due His divine majesty. We get that wrong and everything else does not mean much. We believe as we worship.

[quote="johnnykins, post:2, topic:179704"]
Over time the tolerated variances through pride of those who knew better than Mother Church became abuses and often so abusive as to lead to invalidity, heresy and confusion.

[/quote]

I definitely agree. So often, when you find a parish that is very "loose" in its adherence to the rubrics you also hear things in the homily, and/or from parishioners that hint at non-catholic beliefs like sola fide. Sometimes, in exceptional cases, the priest - when changing the words of the Mass - actually can confuse the true meaning of the Rite and therefore confuse the congregation.

[quote="genevieve4, post:1, topic:179704"]
I'm not Catholic, but seems like there are a lot of people with strong opinions (and superiority complexes) on the different Catholic worship styles/rites.

Would God really care if people did a sign of the cross in sets of three versus once, or if Latin or English is used, or if there is incense, or if guitars are used instead of organs? I would think different worship styles would just be a matter of preference or tradition… but I keep running across this attitude that those who don't follow the Latin Mass, Eastern Rite, etc are less holy or less Catholic somehow.

Does God really care about liturgical orthodoxy? Aren't there bigger issues to worry about (like the culture of death..)? Just wondering what your thoughts are... cheers! :o

[/quote]

No but as followers of Christ the Savior, it is our duty to worship God in the most glorious way we can. He is our King and our God!. Nothing is spared.

Even in the OT, God gave rules about the service in the tabernacle and Temples. Uzzah who with pious reasons went to touch the Ark to keep it from falling from its cart suffered death, as this was not according to the laws God had set down.

And in the NT, St. Paul wrote concerning worship, "Let all things be done decently and in order."

I have also learned that if I see what appears to be an irregularity in the service, barring a simple accident (like turning to the wrong page), there is USUALLY a serious pastoral reason for I that I simply don't know about at the time.

We have heard stories about laxness in the proper order and observance of rubrics ranging from merely disorderly to downright scandalous and shocking or even embarassing. (I've seen only ONE such example myself.)

And yes, as I've often said, too often "litugical abuse" is used to mean no more than "I've never seen this before" or "I don't like this."

Carlessness and laxity about the service might indicate a careless and laxity about the faith itself.

Using more formality and reverence is always a positive thing. Why wouldn't it be?

[quote="genevieve4, post:1, topic:179704"]
I'm not Catholic, but seems like there are a lot of people with strong opinions (and superiority complexes) on the different Catholic worship styles/rites.

Would God really care if people did a sign of the cross in sets of three versus once, or if Latin or English is used, or if there is incense, or if guitars are used instead of organs? I would think different worship styles would just be a matter of preference or tradition… but I keep running across this attitude that those who don't follow the Latin Mass, Eastern Rite, etc are less holy or less Catholic somehow.

Does God really care about liturgical orthodoxy? Aren't there bigger issues to worry about (like the culture of death..)? Just wondering what your thoughts are... cheers! :o

[/quote]

On this site you will find many who believe that every t is crossed or i dotted or it is somehow less Catholic or less holy.

For them the Orthodoxy matters, it is the way they truely feel close to God. That is perfectly well and understandable. For others it's a Chrismatic worship style also fine and good. The beauty some fail to see is that in the Church we can have both and both can co-exists because both bring people to God. His wish if are to follow the example of Jesus is the be obediant to him and to love him.
The Center of our worship is the word and of course the Eucharist.

Peace,
FAB

I have been giving some thought to this recently.

I think "God doesn't care how we..." is a very prevalent but rather glib assumption that is well worth calling into question. People say it all of the time, but I think we should ask: is that true? Why is it so often assumed, without any examination, that an individual of prayer may safely do whatever suits him or her, even at Mass? Where did we get that idea? And why is the person who would question may be automatically assumed to be some kind of control freak? How is that not uncharitable, too?

On what basis can it be asserted that God has no preference about about the care or craftmanship or understanding or unity of purpose or respect for tradition that we put into the Mass, in particular? As NewYorkCatholic's list shows, that the idea does not bear much examination before showing how preposterous it is. I think that every one of us can understand this, because every one of us does something special, something about which we think attention to detail is extremely important. Whether woodworking or sewing or cooking or writing or building or putting on a symphony, we call these "labors of love." Liturgy is labor. Is the Mass not the exemplary labor of love, then, the ultimate "symphony"?

Is it possible that this is the only labor of love for which we may safely ignore the plan or be careless of the details? That seems impossible to me. So why can't we see this one? Maybe we are jealous that others get the work that is done at the drafting table, while most of us only get in when it is time to get out the chisels and lay the stones? Yet how else are cathedrals ever built? Perhaps Mass is simply a greater project, far more demanding of structural soundness, than we give it credit for.

I'm not saying our preferences count for nothing. I'm saying that we should not be too quick to think that our own personal preferences count as much to anyone else, including God, as they do to us, or assume too quickly that indulging our own preferences is always harmless. We need to be doubly circumspect, I think, when we are not, as the clergy ought to be, competent building inspectors. I'm saying that, in the knowledge of our human condition, employment of the axiom that "God doesn't care whether..." requires considerable care, even for clergy.

Our Lord gave the bishops the power to bind and loose that operates both in heaven and on earth. If that doesn't apply to the Mass--for what else do we do that happens both in heaven and on earth as the Mass does?--then I don't know what. So yes, liturgical orthodoxy matters. But I speak of an orthodoxy to the liturgy promulgated by the living Pope and bishops that the Lord gave to us in our time, I am afraid, and not orthodoxy to leaders given to other Catholics in other times and places.

[quote="genevieve4, post:1, topic:179704"]
I'm not Catholic, but seems like there are a lot of people with strong opinions (and superiority complexes) on the different Catholic worship styles/rites.

[/quote]

Indeed.

Would God really care if people did a sign of the cross in sets of three versus once, or if Latin or English is used, or if there is incense, or if guitars are used instead of organs? I would think different worship styles would just be a matter of preference or tradition… but I keep running across this attitude that those who don't follow the Latin Mass, Eastern Rite, etc are less holy or less Catholic somehow.

Well, it depends on what you mean. There are "theologically correct" ways to worship God and there are ways that lead to error. Lex orandi lex credendi, how we pray reflects and influences what we believe and vice versa. We also need to keep in mind that various traditions are vigilant about maintaining their traditions. That's not to say that other ways are inferior, but they are simply not part of that tradition. We can see an example of that in the Anglican-Catholic rituals. While the Catholic faith is shared it is expressed in rituals that are from the Anglican tradition but are in union with Catholic beliefs.

Does God really care about liturgical orthodoxy? Aren't there bigger issues to worry about (like the culture of death..)? Just wondering what your thoughts are... cheers!

Of course there are always "bigger" issues, but that doesn't mean everything else can just slide into a free for all. However, I do understand your larger point. Historically speaking local churches have always come up with their own "innovations". Some were condemned, others were adopted or allowed to be used. However no one could claim that liturgical innovation is something new. Outside of the 400 year period of Trent to Vatican II there have been plenty of innovations in local liturgies.

These discussions on liturgy can seem rather Pharisaic but I don't think there's anything wrong with examining how we worship and why we worship as we do.

[quote="genevieve4, post:1, topic:179704"]
I'm not Catholic, but seems like there are a lot of people with strong opinions (and superiority complexes) on the different Catholic worship styles/rites.

Would God really care if people did a sign of the cross in sets of three versus once, or if Latin or English is used, or if there is incense, or if guitars are used instead of organs? I would think different worship styles would just be a matter of preference or tradition… but I keep running across this attitude that those who don't follow the Latin Mass, Eastern Rite, etc are less holy or less Catholic somehow.

Does God really care about liturgical orthodoxy? Aren't there bigger issues to worry about (like the culture of death..)? Just wondering what your thoughts are... cheers! :o

[/quote]

Liturgical orthodoxy ties us into our own spiritual history as the Church. To cut it means that we sever the historical tie. For me, it would be like severing apostolic succession. Good liturgy pleases God because from it can be derived sincere worship and prayer. If you attend a Catholic or orthodox liturgy, it is quite different from many protestant services who don't have what could truly be called 'worship.' You can compare any protestant service with a lgeitimate Mass and you will see rather quickly that their concept of 'worship' is not worship at all. Some protestant services are nothing more than a glorified bible school. Others are self-centered on the congregation attending; others are a mixture of patriotism and bible. Still, other services are actually entertainment, catering to the puerile interests of those watching and listening. Good liturgy fosters a holy and authentic spirituality. And it does not sever the past.

[quote="genevieve4, post:1, topic:179704"]

Does God really care about liturgical orthodoxy? Aren't there bigger issues to worry about (like the culture of death..)? Just wondering what your thoughts are... cheers! :o

[/quote]

Well, God certainly cares about Eccumenical Councils, He promised to guide them so that they would not teach error.

And this is what one of the Councils produces.

Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.

So clearly God desires us to be obedient to Holy See, both in terms of matters of Faith, but also in the governance of the Church ( which includes the rubrics).

Therefore, if a person knows what the Church requires in terms of liturgy, but disobeys, then they really ARE violating the wishes of the Holy Spirit as articulated in a Church Council.

We can also see this in the words of Christ Himself.

'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!

Obedience is what matters. As long as the rubrics are approved and within the norms, it is holy and pleasing. Any deviation outside of that, no matter what the reason or motive, is cause for scandal, a display of pride, and a loss of the true purpose of the Mass.

Most people would do well to study what is allowed and what isn't before they criticize. OTOH, the rest of us should master our understanding of what is before us. That should keep us too busy to be worried about creative license or artistic expression.

As NewEnglandPries pointed out: Lex orandi lex credendi

That is all.

Sometimes God's thoughts can be a mystery, shrouded in an engima, and this might very well be one of those cases. But, wouldn't it be funny if, upon entering the Heavenly Gates, God said to people who fret so over the licity of the actions at Mass, "Eh, rubrics, schmubrics!"

[quote="ahollars, post:16, topic:179704"]
Obedience is what matters. As long as the rubrics are approved and within the norms, it is holy and pleasing. Any deviation outside of that, no matter what the reason or motive, is cause for scandal, a display of pride, and a loss of the true purpose of the Mass.

Most people would do well to study what is allowed and what isn't before they criticize. OTOH, the rest of us should master our understanding of what is before us. That should keep us too busy to be worried about creative license or artistic expression.

[/quote]

Yes. There are a great many crimes in this world committed out of ignorance. That the perpetrators were well-meaning does not undo the damage.

Sometimes, new ideas in design are hard to get used to, even the good ones. Still, it is fitting to learn something about architecture, engineering, and aesthetic design before one goes in and starts knocking out walls and moving windows about. Leave the craftsmanship and design to those with the vocation to do it. That could well include some laity educated and employed to help those with the episcopal office, but it does not include every male the Lord has given Holy Orders. The priests who fancy themselves Lone Rangers should not attempt remodels on the liturgy.

[quote="MusicMan, post:18, topic:179704"]
Sometimes God's thoughts can be a mystery, shrouded in an engima, and this might very well be one of those cases. But, wouldn't it be funny if, upon entering the Heavenly Gates, God said to people who fret so over the licity of the actions at Mass, "Eh, rubrics, schmubrics!"

[/quote]

They might well sigh themselves and reply, "Oy, vey, Lord, you're the one that gave the bishops the bind and loose thing. Maybe you could tell* them*?" :rolleyes:

[quote="MusicMan, post:18, topic:179704"]
Sometimes God's thoughts can be a mystery, shrouded in an engima, and this might very well be one of those cases. But, wouldn't it be funny if, upon entering the Heavenly Gates, God said to people who fret so over the licity of the actions at Mass, "Eh, rubrics, schmubrics!"

[/quote]

Gee, that is not what the Lord told Dathan and the sons of Aaron when they transgressed the norms of the sacrificial worship that He dictated.

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