Repost: Non-Changing Church

Here is a repost of an article from Fr Ray Blake’s Blog.  I commend it to you, read the whole thing over on Fr Ray’s Blog.  It strikes me as being accurate, and profound.

Non-Changing Church?

I like bishops rings, I like big amethyst one’s, I like the idea of bishops beingamethystos “not drunk (for it is only the third hour)” Acts 2:15. I like the symbol of the ring on the finger of a bishop because it symbolises his marriage to his Church…

If we use the highly scriptural analogy of the Church as the bride of Christ then we should be wary of adulterous clergy who ‘covet other Sees’ as my Orthodox friends would describe it. If fidelity is important for ordinary married people then it should be even more important for clergy too, especially bishops, the Church should never encourage adultery like the Ashley Madison website…

Problems always arise when one portion of the Church gets out of balance, when one part takes control, we are still living with the problems of nineteenth century. Thinking about the Church of the late 60s and 70s what seems to have happened  was the Church got out of balance, that the centre decided on change which was rejected by the peripheries. Rome went for change and the people left. No longer was the Mass, ‘our Mass’, the doctrine ‘our doctrine’ the leaders of the Church ‘our leaders’, by ‘our’ I mean something we collectively owned by us or our parents, our grand-parents, the saints. No-longer did bishops and priests act like loving spouses defending and protecting their family and encouraging its spiritual increase. No longer were laity, priests and bishops, including the Pope, servants of the liturgy, or catechesis like the workmen Anne Roche speaks about, instead they took control of the Church forcing change, often with a sledge hammer or a wrecking ball against their spouses will. It was the reign of the experts. These expert took over the common heritage of all the Faithful that rightly belonged to the whole καθολικός passed on by whole Church. No longer was the Liturgy a safe place hallowed by time and frequent use, invariably it was transformed beyond recognition, as too Church buildings, people were robbed of their spiritual home, but of course they were assured this was not a doctrinal change. Doctrine of course never changes but its presentation did, and how it was lived did, and how it was taught did, and the mindset that received did, and the ‘Churches’ adherence to it did.

The result was disenfranchisement, Catholicism which no longer belonged to Catholics, it belonged to the bishops for the first time in history bishops became innovators, if they remained the ‘faithful’ and many clergy became consumers of faith rather than owners. The catastrophic changes robbed ordinary Catholics of their faith, bishops handed over much to ‘experts’ who took control to themselves of what had previously belonged to all. The bishop, tended to see himself no longer in terms of  bridegroom ‘guarding, protecting and defending’ but as managers of change and innovators,  I suspect five years in the rarified and highly politicised atmosphere of Rome during the Council had changed them significantly. Rather than being immersed in faith they became either fodder for factions or highly politicised, themselves collaborators full of faith but fellow members of a faction. They came to see themselves as Lords of the Church pushing forward ideology rather than faith rather than being servant spouses and spiritual fathers. Either pre-occupied by, or at the Council they became strangers to their clergy and people, reappearing amongst them with what appeared to be new doctrines, new liturgy, they wrecked the very house their bride had previously recognised as home, and the bride fled, for they no longer smelt of the bride and she no longer recognised their smell. Whether it was bishop himself who inflicted the damage, some like Cardinal Heenan felt they had lost control, all was done by in the bishop’s name.

In parishes there was confusion, if the Mass had changed, then surely doctrine had changed. If the Blessed Sacrament was removed from altar to a side chapel, or the priest was commanded to turn his back on it, then surely what was believed yesterday is no longer to believed today. It was what bishops considered little things that ‘stole’ the faith from the people. It was the take over by ‘experts’ from ordinary members of the parish that added to the alienation. Not only had the liturgy changed, but also devotions were more or less removed, the Marian and Corpus Christi processions, the Novenas, for many pre-Concillior Catholics Mass was of precept whilst devotions were of love, they embodied the ‘always, everywhere and by all’ that is the patristic essence of Catholicism….

What had changed? Catholicism was no longer a faith, ‘always, everywhere and by all’ believed, St Vincent of Lerins definition but something handed down. The Church was no longer a Communion but a Heirarchy, in the secular sense, ruled by diktat from above. The Council Fathers had managed to kill the very thing the Council had sought to teach.

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