I'm afraid this is really just an update of my recent post (SEE BELOW) about the enthusiam of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity for silly games with empty shoe boxes.
Readers, of course, intelligently diagnosed (see thread) what was going on here. This is a quality blog!! The whole spirit of the PCCU enterprise resembled ... to a quite uncanny degree ... an English TV programme called Blue Peter in which children are encouraged to be creative with string and boxes. Good for children ... our five children had more fun with string and boxes than they ever did with expensive toys. But ... adults ...?
Much of what is wrong goes back to a wrong turning taken by the Liturgical Movement. The realisation of the immense riches in the Roman Rite led to a very laudable desire to open those riches more fully to the laity. This led in turn to the desire for (some??) vernacular. But the Enemy can pervert any good endeavour. So the ancient Roman Eucharistic Prayer, within a decade, was effectively displaced by a spurious confection which attracted employment by nothing except its brevity. And the seasonal Sunday Collects were eliminated en bloc. Then came Stage 2: the already mangled Roman Rite was corrupted still further in Anglophone regions by being 'translated' into the most cretinous, the most vacuous dialect of English imaginable. And, believe it or not, liturgical translators without Latin (!!) used the English version as the basis of their own renderings into minority languages. You just couldn't make it up.
Unsurprisingly, this has all fed through into the present crisis, in which God's People are treated with contempt; or, to be more precise, treated like very little children. Although the old corrupt translation has now been replaced (despite the fury of Tablet readers) by something markedly less unworthy, the damage had been done. The liturgical texts, in my experience, are still very rarely explained or expounded. Some clergy illegally but regularly paraphrase the authorised texts (even the Consecration), and do so in a way which reveals their own broad and deep incompetences. Nor are the Scriptures expounded, despite the explicit desire of Vatican II. Much preaching is pitiful. To cap it all, we now have a Roman Pontiff who talks about s**t-loving and s**t-eating and clearly feels he is a very fine fellow for doing so. Some clergy, presumably getting the message, break the rules by avoiding preaching whenever they can. Not surprisingly, they hate the Creed, especially if it's Nicene. But time can always be found for daft and soppy music.
The solution is really immensely simple. From Roman Pontifical Councils downwards [or do I mean upwards?], the clergy need to start treating the laity as grown-up Christians who do not need anybody's condescension. Who deserve respect rather than verbal cuddling. And seminarians need to be taught the essentially and unavoidably masculine character of the Roman Rite; they could well start by studying the work of those superb lay Catholic liturgists Edmund Bishop [The Genius of the Roman Rite] and Christine Mohrmann [The Origins of Liturgical Latin].
NOW FOLLOWS THE ORIGINAL POST!
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, invented by Anglican Papalists and originally, admirably, known as the Chair of Unity Octave, starts on Wednesday January 18; which, in the Old Calendar, was the Feast of the Chair, the Cathedra, of S Peter. This year the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in collaboration with some Ecumenical Partners, has set out quasi-liturgical formulae for use. These forms constitute successful attempts to scale heights of risibilty which have not to my knowledge previously been attempted. This is your real hard-core Guinness-book-of-records rubbish.
The central ritual involves the moving of stones. But, because carrying real stones might be a bit like hard work for the aged biddies of each sex who are likely to be symbolising their second childhoods by taking part in these rituals, the "stones" will in fact be shoe boxes covered with packing paper. No, I'm not making this up. Twelve of them. With labels. Labels naming 'things that divide'. The 'stones' will be built up to make a 'Wall of Division' which will then be dismantled and formed into a Cross. (What happens if the officiants disagree about the neatest way in which twelve empty shoe-boxes can be arranged into a Cross, and end up in a melee of fisticuffs, is a rubrical detail which these curial nut-cases have not catered for.)
At least two things worry me here.
(1) Some of the names on the stones involve non-statement, since they imply a tautology. How helpful is it, for example, to say that Division Divides?
(2) The Divisive Factors selected by the PCCU, of course, imply a specific (and distinctly narrow) mindset. I can best illustrate this by telling you some of the things which will not be written on any of the shoe boxes. 'Heresy' is not included. Nor is 'Disobedience to the Commandments of God'. No mention of 'Divergence from Holy Tradition'. Or of 'Failure to Worship God as He has commanded'. Try guessing what, in the Spirit of the Zeitgeist, these Ecumenists have come up with, then turn to the Vatican Website and discover how close you have got to analysing accurately the Spirit of the Age. And, No: 'Following the Spirit of this Passing Age' does not claim the dignity of a shoebox.
Nor does 'Encouraging grown men and women to play daft games with shoe boxes'.