Written by Patrick Archbold
The admonishment is stated so often in discussions about inner Church workings that many people treat it as axiomatic: Do not view the Church through a political lens, the Church is different.
Yes, the Church is different. You cannot view the Church as simply aligning with your local political situation, but the Church is inherently political. Where there are people involved, there is politics. And I venture to say that not only is this current period no exception, it is quickly setting new levels.
A fair amount of ink has been spilled in recent weeks over the controversy that erupted after Cardinal Sarah’s London speech suggesting that priests might want to check out ad orientem worship this coming advent.
In all likelihood, the Cardinal’s suggestion would have been mostly ignored by the vast majority of priests. Of the few that may have been interested, most of those under Modernist Bishops are too well-versed in the consequences of such things to even consider such a move. Perhaps there exists a tiny subset of priests willing to try ad orientem that exists under the few bishops who would look kindly upon such a thing, but the response to Cardinal Sarah’s suggestion would have been minuscule. So why even pay any attention to it?
Well, the powers and principalities in the hierarchy did much more than pay attention to it. Although the Vatican Press office has shown itself completely incapable over the last 3 years of dispelling any of the confusion that arises from the calculated ambiguity of the Pope, suddenly the Holy See Press office develops “quick reaction force” capabilities when someone in the Vatican machinery accidently speaks like a Catholic.
Equally amazing is how those who daily disparage the ‘Doctors of the Law’ have suddenly morphed into strict rubricists unwilling to brook even the slightest perceived deviation from the GIRM. This sudden reactionary rubricism seems limited only to false interpretations of the GIRM, because anyone who has spent more than five minutes looking at the question understands that the ‘wherever possible’ of GIRM 299 applies to the placement of the altar and not the orientation of the priest. But mass ‘facing the people’ is the pre-eminent unwritten rubric of the Spirit of Vatican II, and thus turning together toward God will not be allowed and so the NuChurch ninjas were quickly deployed. But, no worries, the Vatican shows no signs of giving a hoot about any of the other daily violations of the GIRM so commonplace at the empty masses of today.
A reasonable person must look at the situation and the response and ask the simple question, “Why? Why such a reaction?”
The answer, in part, is politics.