Monday, August 29, 2011
Herman Göring is famous for saying, "Whenever I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my revolver," except, of course, that he didn’t say it. (It actually is a line from the play Schlageter, written by Hanns Johst.) But the concept is pretty clear, don’t you think?
There are some words that make us “reach for our revolvers,” and the Liberal/Conservative divide is fairly riven with these words. Of course, there is the controversy over so-called “inclusive language” but there are many more subtle shibboleths such as:
• Liberal parishes refer to themselves as “welcoming parishes” while conservative will admit to being “traditionalist” but prefer to call themselves “authentic Catholics.”
• Welcoming Churches list the times for “liturgy,” while Traditionalist Parishes list the “mass times.”
• While Traditionalists often criticize the behavior of “the bishops,” centering the fault on these individuals personally and by name, Liberals routinely blame “the hierarchy” and thus blame the very existence of an authoritarian structure for the problems.
• “Reconciliation” is usually offered for about half-an-hour on Saturday afternoons in Liberal parishes, while “confessions are heard before each mass” at Traditionalist parishes.
• Liberals often drop the article in front of nouns, speaking of “church,” “community,” or “spirit,” as in “church is community lead by spirit.” Traditionalists would say “The Church is a community lead by the Holy Spirit.” I’m not sure why Liberals drop the other articles, but in the case of “church” it’s because they don’t want to commit to saying that the Catholic Church is “a church” or “the Church.” They also don’t capitalize “Church” nor pronouns referring to the Deity, as in “Christ and His Church.”
• Bonnie Wheeler, in a history of women in the Middle Ages (definitely a liberal undertaking), referred to the popularity of “making journeys to sacred spaces” instead of saying (more accurately) “making pilgrimages to shrines.” I have no idea of what her agenda was, but such bizarre circumlocutions must have some purpose.
• Liberals say “eucharistic minister” instead of “extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist” because they don’t want to acknowledge that you’re only supposed to have them in the extra-ordinary circumstance of having an huge congregation and only one priest to give out communion.
• Traditionalist say “Tridentine mass” and “Novus Ordo mass” while liberals say “extra-ordinary form of the mass” to stress that the Tridentine form is not usual and not to be encouraged.
• Liberals say “contemporary music” to make it sound fresh and new, Traditionalist say “folk mass” to make it sound idiotic.
• I once read a piece in the Tribune about a mother whose child was celiac and could not eat wheat without serious medical consequences. She wanted rice-wafers to be consecrated for her daughter (neither valid nor licit), but the priest offered instead to give her communion under the species of wine. (The very same solution Father Phillips offered my celiac daughter.) The woman objected to this, because she “didn’t think children should be drinking alcohol.” Only a Liberal would think of the Blood of Christ as booze.
• Liberals never use the word “sermon,” always “homily.” I don’t know if there is a difference, but I do know that I like it when I am preached to, told that I am wrong/weak/licentious, and told to cut it out. I don’t need anyone to explain the Gospel to me, I need someone to harangue me into living the Gospel.
• Liberals say “abstinence,” Traditionalists say “chastity.”
• What Liberals denounce as the “rhythm method” is referred to by Traditionalists as “periodic abstinence.” Note that this is the correct use of abstinence (i.e. abstaining from something), as a married couple would still be “chaste” (i.e. abstaining from illicit sexuality) even if they were to engage in relations at such a time.
• Though it is a perfectly good term, Traditionalist never say “acolyte,” always “altar boy,” because they ought to be boys. Liberals usually use the “inclusive” term “altar server.”
• Some fool of a retired friar, looking to raise funds for a perfectly worthy missionary effort, gave an homily at Saint John’s that began with the phrase, “You have a beautiful worship space here!” After mass, I took him aside and told him that the phrase “worship space” hit the wrong note with the crowd at Saint John’s. “Really? What should I have said?” he asked. “Church,” I said, “We have a beautiful church here.” I hope he got the message, and was not lynched by the arch-traditional 12:30 crowd.