Appeal to Our Bishops: “Restore the Former Glory!”

by Fr Richard Heilman | September 26, 2015 10:24 AM

If you missed the Fox News Special, “Losing Faith in America?[1]” … allow me to sum it up for you …

Cardinal Dolan stated that he did not know why religious practice is down.

Meanwhile …

Those churches, religious orders, etc. who have fully embraced modernism (basically, a rejection of tradition and the sacred – see image on the right above), are emptying out at an alarming rate.

At the same time, there is an “awakening” going on[2] in those churches that are staying true to the traditional and the sacred. “The Church is not meant to change with culture, but to be counter-cultural.”

I find it “extremely” interesting that this TV special was aired on the very same day that this reading appeared at Mass …

Who is left among you
that saw this house in its former glory?
And how do you see it now?
Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?
But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD,
and take courage, Joshua, high priest, son of Jehozadak,
And take courage, all you people of the land,
says the LORD, and work!
For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!
For thus says the LORD of hosts:
One moment yet, a little while,
and I will shake the heavens and the earth,
the sea and the dry land.
I will shake all the nations,
and the treasures of all the nations will come in,
And I will fill this house with glory,
says the LORD of hosts.
Mine is the silver and mine the gold,
says the LORD of hosts.
Greater will be the future glory of this house
than the former, says the LORD of hosts;
And in this place I will give you peace,
says the LORD of hosts! (Haggai 2:3-9)

With all due respect, Cardinal Dolan (and all of the USCCB), this is really not rocket science. Once the decision was made to remove everything that points to the Glory of God, we are left with something banal and mundane and common. We are mere mortals … we need our eyes and, therefore, our hearts filled with visual reminders that “THIS IS GOD!” And, to be reminded, “THAT MEANS THIS IS A BIG DEAL!”

At the recent Sacra Liturgia gathering in New York city, Cardinal Burke instructed …

“The beauty of the Sacred Liturgy is given concrete expression by means of the objects and the gestures of which the person – a unity of soul and body – has need in order to be raised to the realities of faith which transcend the visible world. This means that sacred architecture and sacred art, including the sacred appointments, the vestments, the vessels and linens, must be of such a quality that they can express and communicate the beauty and the majesty of the liturgy as the action of Christ among us, uniting heaven and earth.”

Cardinal Burke went on to say …

“According to the rationalistic thought which has strongly influenced contemporary western culture, beauty has been stripped of its metaphysical meaning. It has been ‘liberated’ from the order of being and has been reduced to an aesthetic experience or even to something sentimental. The disastrous consequences of this revolution are not limited to the world of art. Precisely because we have lost beauty, we have also lost goodness and truth.”

Yes!! And our ancestors were keenly aware of this. If the “effort” we put forth in what we fashion for worship reflects a minimalism, we are bound to approach our discipleship with the same spirit of minimalism, which is doomed to fade into nothing at all (“Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?”). In my own beautifully adorned church here in Pine Bluff, WI., I am awestruck when I reflect on the fact that poor tenant farmers from the 1800s built this. Why? It was just that important! They knew the strength of their faith depended upon it … and they were right!

Why are people leaving their faith in droves? Because for the past 50 years, our bland and ugly and half-hearted approach to the Source and Summit of our faith has sent the message that “THIS IS NO BIG DEAL.”

Where is the awakening happening in our Catholic Church (especially among the youth)? In those places where they MAKE IT A BIG DEAL … in those places who seek to restore our churches and our liturgy TO ITS FORMER GLORY!

Please, Bishops!! We tried a thin and bland and kitschy Catholicism for the past 50 years, and the results have been devastating. RESTORE THE GLORY OF THIS HOUSE!! RESTORE THE GLORY OF THIS ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WE LOVE SO MUCH!!

Endnotes:
  1. Losing Faith in America?: http://video.foxnews.com/v/4510356560001/fox-news-reporting-losing-faith-in-america/?#sp=show-clips
  2. “awakening” going on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u47uSo8b04s

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