HE NATIONAL Catholic Reporter has long been the darling of “progressive” Catholic liturgists. Most of their articles seem to have a common theme: rebellion against traditional Church teachings. They strike me as a very unhappy group of people, and when I read their paper, I ask, “Are these people real?”
For the record, we at Watershed are real. Each of our full-time contributors is married with children and directs a real choir which sings every week. The only exception is Fr. David Friel, for obvious reasons. 1
But what about folks at the National Catholic Reporter? Consider a recent article they published. Here are some excerpts:
Jesus’ one new commandment was equally clear: Don’t be afraid. Live without fear. Live in harmony. Make peace. But whatever happens, don’t be afraid.
Has this author looked in the Bible? Doesn’t he know the many verses (both Old and New Testament) which praise fear of the Lord? For example, the Tract for St. Joseph on 19 March is the first verse of Psalm 111: “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord.”
The article continues:
Instead of proclaiming confidence in God’s care, right-wing Christians push fear: fear of immigrants, fear of the dark-skinned, fear of Islam, fear of Ebola, fear of education, fear of honesty, fear of the poor, fear of gays and lesbians, fear of women, fear of the Gospel that Jesus actually proclaimed.
Seriously? I can’t remember hearing anyone proclaim, “Abolish honesty!” Nor do I recall anyone saying, “Let’s fear the dark-skinned.” My children are 50% dark-skinned. Does the author maintain that right-wing Christians feel my children should be 50% feared? I feel like I would have remembered such a claim…
Christianity has many viewpoints, from conservative to liberal, traditional to contemporary, institutional to personal, hierarchical to radically independent, wildly exuberant to monastically quiet. No one gets to say theirs is the only “true faith.” No one gets to demonize other pathways, or vote them off the island, as it were. Ours is—or should be—an open society where all ideas are welcome, all voices heard and all citizens free to pursue their self-interest, as they define it.
This person certainly is dogmatic! Apparently, he alone gets to define Christianity. That’s quite a responsibility; who appointed him with this task?
But wait a minute. He said nobody has the “true faith,” yet makes all kinds of demands—telling everyone else what ought to be—and creates rules which must be obeyed, like “No one gets to say such-and-such.” Is that something which is true? But he just denied that anyone can know the truth … I’m so confused! Maybe we should stick with what our Lord taught, eh?
AGAIN, I ASK: Are these people real? Can I call them on the phone, demanding that they defend their statements? I doubt it. I suspect my questions (above) will be added to the list of unanswered questions we’ve mentioned so many times, such as:
1.) Why are the Mass texts copyrighted and sold for profit, even by non-Catholic companies?
2.) Why does a drafter of the USCCB document on Sacred music refer to Gregorian chant as a “weapon” when Vatican II mandated it?
3.) Why do progressive liturgists assure us over and over that we are free to ignore Latin, while Vatican II mandated its use? (See discussion of “servetur” and page 18 here.)
4.) Why did the USCCB approve a Mass setting which alters the official words of the Roman Missal and imitates a secular song about unicorns?
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Latin Rite Catholic priests cannot get married. Nor can they direct choirs—since they’re busy celebrating Mass at the altar—but Fr. Friel has composed the lovely Mass in honor of St. John Neumann.