Abuse of The Liturgy

Abuse of The Liturgy

Nigeria map Game

The question “Liturgical Celebration: a solemn worship or a show” is a pointer that there is an abnormal development. These anomalies have been projecting the Church in the bad light and leading the faithful astray. The Liturgy is not primarily what we make but what we receive in faith – Cardinal Arinze. How we worship reflects what we believe and what we believe determines how we live.

Fr. Martinrita Ogumanwo said that the Sacred Liturgy is a gift from God to the Church and no one (Clergy or Laity) should turn it into a personal property.
There’s no question in my mind that the abuses in the sacred liturgy, reduction of the sacred liturgy to some kind of human activity, is strictly correlated with a lot of moral corruption and with a levity in catechesis that has been shocking and has left generations of Catholics ill prepared to deal with the challenges of our time by addressing the Catholic faith to those challenges.” – Raymond Cardinal Burke, former Prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura. 

In his book, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) famously said,
\”Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.” (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)

In 1988, Pope JohnPaul II noted that not all of the changes in the liturgy have always and everywhere been accompanied by necessary explanation and catechesis; as a result, in some cases there has been a misunderstanding of the very nature of the Liturgy, leading to abuse, polarization, and sometimes even grave scandal. “Scandal” is a word much in the news these days, but it doesn’t really mean a shameful or sexual misdemeanor. “Scandal” in the Church’s vocabulary means just what it means in the Bible: a stumbling block, something that obstructs a person’s way to the faith (Matt. 18:6–9).

Similar and exceedingly troubling signs of moral corruption in today’s society are analogous to liturgical corruption – they show a conspicuous lack of obedience and decorum. We seem to be ever more independent and democratic in our thinking. Yet the Church isn\’t a democracy, nor are we independent. The worldly ideal appears to be that no one is going to tell me what to do and many people do this so it must be okay. This is the moral relativism about which the Holy Father Pope Francis has cautioned.

SOME OF THE ABUSE OF LITURGY AMONG THE LAY FAITHFUL.
I watched a video on a WHATSAPP group chat where a white Priest is dancing an Igbo song the sanctuary with a raggae/acrobatic disposition.
Then, I tried correcting the person that posted it and told me
*That I am applying fanatic mythology against nature.
*That David danced naked before God to show that he is nothing.
*That I should allow God to judge him.
This maybe be the response of someone here but kindly pay attention to the foolishness of the church.

1, IGNORANCE OF THE SUPREMACY & PLACE OF THE LITURGY IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH.
“Liturgy is a public worship which our Redeemer as Head of the Church renders to the Father, as well as the worship which the Community of the Faithful, render to it’s founder, and through Him to the Heavenly Father. It is in short, the worship of the Mystical Body of Christ” – Pope Pius XXI.
It is unfortunate that a Catholic don’t know that in our worship, we have come to connect with the children of God to Jesus and to God.

I,NO REVERENCE FOR JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST
*Some wed without receiving the Eucharist.
*Some Guests avoid Holy Mass for wedding Reception.
*Some Brides and Bridal train come to Mass or wedding reception almost naked.

II,LOVE THE WORK THAN THE MASTER OF WORK.
*Some prefer going for legion work or meeting for Mass.
*Some prefer convert class, ministry meeting or soul winning to Mass.
*Prefer counting money, selling bulletin, engaging in harvest promotional exercise, cleaning the church or working for the poor for Mass.
*Prefer vigil or other assumed revival gatherings for Mass.

III, some participate only when their choice Priest is celebrating.

2, UNDERSTANDING THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION AS THE ULTIMATE FORUM FOR FUND RAISING.
The inadequacy is common in most diocese in Nigeria. Examples of them are;
*Blessing and selling of items like oil, salt, water, Apple, stickers etc.
*Inviting Powerful Money Preacher priest or Lay person to moderate.
*Interrupting the Mass.
*Importing styles like stepping into the Sanctuary, touching the garment of the minister, handshake with the minister.
*creating another homily to suit the aim.
*There is a bad impression that only those who give love God.

3, SUBTRACTION OR ADDITION OF WORD TO THE APPROVED LITURGICAL TEXT.
*Priests trying to be appealing or emotional.
*Lectors trying to be news caster, movie celebrity than a proclaimer.
*Choir trying to display special number where there no need for that.

4, PRESENTING THE LITURGY AS SOMETHING CASUAL, ENTERTAINING OR IMPROVISATIONAL.
this is a full blown importation of Protestant/Pentecostal influence.
*The use and multiplication of oil, water, salt, sand etc.
*Practicing Man of God mentality where we create a competition of Priests whose Mass in entertaining, who displays magical styles or shows power.
*It is an importation of heresies.
*Opening ministries.

5, COMBINING POPULAR DEVOTIONS/PRIVATE PRAYERS WITHIN THE LITURGY.
*saying the rosary.
*Reading the Bible or other spiritual books.
*attending to assigned private prayers within the liturgy.

6, ENTERTAINING VARIOUS FORMS OF DISTRACTION WITHIN THE LITURGY.
*Taking calls ,accessing WhatsApp, Twitter messages etc.
*Reading Newspaper or anything unconnected to the Liturgy.
*Chatting away with friends on disturbing your neighbour.
*Eating or drinking.
*Standing or sitting at the wrong time.
*Failure to obey the Church Warden.

CONCLUSION
I am grateful to His Grace Most Rev Alphred Adewale Martin who from time to time tries to get us on the right track by issuing directives against the abuse of the Sacred Liturgy as we know.

The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescriptions of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church, and to follow their own form of spiritual life consonant with the teaching of the Church.” (Canon 214)

When speaking of ‘legitimate pastors of the Church, we’re not talking about every individual priest and his personal preferences.  Only the Holy See (and duly appointed bishops) has that authority. As we read in article 22 of Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Divine Liturgy), “Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority”.

Yet a decline in sacred music, priestly showmanship, secularized church design, and casual reception of the Holy Eucharist demonstrate a lack of respect for the dignity of the Divine Liturgy. What this world badly needs is reaffirmation of the importance of experiencing the Sacred in the sanctuary and prominent placement of the Tabernacle. As liturgical worship has been overwhelmed by poorly discerned trends, the worship of the contemporary Catholic Church has been undermined. The Rubrics (norms) of the liturgy have often been discarded or marginally followed. Instead of joining the angels as they bow in profound reverence at the Supper of the Lamb, we find minimalism.

The Holy Roman Catholic Church by this week’s engagement brings erring Clergy and Laity to make a u-turn and join the train going to Heaven. Our disposition to Mass must express ADORATION, CONTRITION, THANKSGIVING & SUPPLICATION.
If proper celebration of the Liturgy sends the faithful away strengthened, nourished, ready to Evangelize, we must recognize the vital necessity of proper disposition – BIRGIT JONES.