Responding to Dead Ritual Questions


#1

I often get Protestant objections over Catholic Liturgy which I call “the dead ritual question” often from fundamentalist/non-denominationals who beleive in a “free form worship”

  1. I was wondering if there can be a scriptural case in favor of liturgy?
    I wish more was written on this because I often get in the position having to defend what Protestants believe to be dead, ritual and (to them) Catholics obsession over Posture, form in Liturgy etc. I even hear some Protestants comparing Catholic worship to Muslims in that we have a “a form of religion” (ie,externals) like people of the muslim faith who pray five times a day and fast.

I would like to see more on how answer these type of charges.


#2

Wow…the Mass is so rich and multilayered with meaning. I’m sure some of the people on this list will take the time to give scriptural evidence of this. But for the time I have, I’d like to tell you to check out Scott Hahn’s, “The Lamb’s Supper” It is a wonderful apologetic on th Mass, explained in easy to understand language.

One thing you will certainly come away with, is that our Mass is certainly ALIVE!

Peace,
Philomena


#3

I can only imagie it being dead ritual to one who just sat there with a dead soul himself. I just went to Mass yesterday for the 1st time in about 4 years, & it was beautiful. The consecration…My eyes were on that host & that chalice because I KNOW Who that really is. The tears just rolled down my face as I simply prayed “My Lord and my God.”

Anima Christi…


#4

Show thru the fathers, especially St. Justin Martyr and the Didache, how the church has always been liturgical. The notion that the early church was “spontaneous” at worship is a myth.


#5

[quote=philipmarus]I often get Protestant objections over Catholic Liturgy which I call “the dead ritual question” often from fundamentalist/non-denominationals who beleive in a “free form worship”

  1. I was wondering if there can be a scriptural case in favor of liturgy?
    I wish more was written on this because I often get in the position having to defend what Protestants believe to be dead, ritual and (to them) Catholics obsession over Posture, form in Liturgy etc. I even hear some Protestants comparing Catholic worship to Muslims in that we have a “a form of religion” (ie,externals) like people of the muslim faith who pray five times a day and fast.

I would like to see more on how answer these type of charges.
[/quote]

The Mass is extremely Scriptural/Bilblical in nature. Philomena’s suggestion of “The Lamb’s Supper” is a great starting point. You can also peruse the book of Revelation and find many elements of the Liturgy directly in there.


#6

Going back even farther into what we are…

We’re body and soul…God has always required action, and action equals ritual equals liturgy. (Many protestants have trouble with the required action part).

The Bible is filled with ritual. Things have meaning if done a certain way. Society is filled with ritual. We shake hands, we act a certain way to be polite or to honor others, we move when we celebrate. Man is not spirit but also physical body, and God knows that we must react to him from all that we are.


#7

I found a good argument to my original question at cathinsight.com/apologetics/bloody.htm
in article entitled “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” by
Mario Derksen. The relevant paragraph I pasted below from Mr. Derksen’s article I pasted below which answers Fundamentalism criticism of Catholic Liturgy nicely. Derksen writes:

**The standard for worship is certainly set by God Himself. In Hebrews 12:28, St. Paul says: “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” [RSV]. Gee, read that again. He *doesn’t say, “any worship, with shouts of joy and clapping of hands.” He says it must be done in reverence and awe. Also, Paul emphasizes that the worship ought to be acceptable. This means that some worship is not *acceptable. How to decide? Whom to trust on the matter? You can choose between the Protestant notion of “each believer decide for himself” (whence Paul’s admonition in Heb. 12:28 would make no sense at all) and the Catholic notion of “listen to the Apostles and their successors,” for they speak for Christ (see Lk. 10:16; 2 Cor. 5:20). **


#8

The Disciples asked Christ how to pray (Luke, 11,1-4). The earliest Christians presenved this prayer (it appears also in Matthew 6,9-13) and in the Didache. The First Apology of Justin outlines the mass substantially as it is today.

Finally, Christ himself commanded us to perform certain rites – not the least of which is the Eucharist (Matthew 26,26-28 for example.)

Finally, don’t be trapped into the Sola Scriptura argument. After all the Catholic Church existed for some 350 years before the Canon of the New Testament was proclaimed. We existed then, on tradition – and that tradition is as valid as scripture.


#9

I used to throw out the “dead ritual” objection. Not any more.

The liturgy is a richness. I’m sure that there are some people there every week who are just going through the motions and that for some people it realy is a dead ritual. But for others it is alive and rich. I can’t yabber too much about the liturgy - lack of knowledge.

In any case - I’ve been a part of churches with “free form” worship, some of them very, very free with very little that can be called liturgy beyond singing some songs and having a talk most times. Just as some people in liturgical churches have a dead ritual, some people in non-liturgical churches have a dead non-ritual and are just going through the motions.

In either case the fault isn’t with the spiritual practices. The fault is with the individual attending the practices. The worship in both cases can be alive or dead depending on how we approach them.

The ritual is only dead if someone approaches it a just a ritual, the “done thing”. And then it is only dead to the individual. To the person next to them it may be fantastically alive, not just a ritual that has to be done, but a rich encounter with God through words, phrases, actions, and whatever else given through the church of God.

Sorry for the above being rather unchannelled & incoherent

Blessings

Asteroid


#10

I think there is the outline of Christian liturgy in the Acts of the Apostles. All the believers stayed faithful to the prayers, the psalms, the teaching of the apostles and the breaking of bread.


#11

I have been trying to put together a good defense lately for the liturgy. I made a thread on this to get ideas from other people. Here it is.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=22203

There was a Hebrews quote above talking about reverence. I thought this quote from 1kings19(3Kings19 in the Douay Rheims) was also a good one for that.

*11 **

1 Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD–but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake–but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was fire–but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. *
This is a good view of how good is not a wirlwind of noise and is silent. It is a good support for the reverence and the quietness of the Liturgy.


#12

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