Sunday, June 22, 2014

Corpus Christi and the Church of the World


The good ole days

This weekend my mother attended a Corpus Christi procession at a parish that is not her regular parish. She passed on to me the booklet the congregation used for the procession prayers, a composition called the "Litany of Lament for Sins Against the Body of Christ." As I read the prayers, I soon realized that these prayers were of such banal hilarity as to merit being the subject of a post. I should note, this came from a parish that is not known as a particularly progressive or dissenting parish; this is just your typical EWTN-watching, Fr. Barron-loving, Medjugorje-affirming fairly orthodox parish from American Novus Ordo Land.

I have omitted the customary prayers at the beginning of the litany (the "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, etc). I present, the "Litany of Lament for Violations Against the Body of Christ", followed afterwards by my comments.

FOR SINS AGAINST THE BODY OF CHRIST IN THE WORLD

For those times when we have failed to welcome the stranger or have been silent about immigration reform, Lord have mercy.

For those times when we have been silent about political issues, especially those that threatened religious liberty, Lord have mercy. [Laughable, because these same priests who are bewailing being silent about political issues would rather walk on hot coals than criticize Obama or say anything even remotely contoversial]

For silence by too many members of the Church while fifty-five million lives wee lost to abortion, Lord have mercy.

For those times in our history when we have not spoken out against slavery, segregation, or persecution, Lord have mercy.

For those times and in those places we have ignored those in prison and the needs of their families, Lord have mercy.

For ignoring genocide in our world - by starvation, by brutal atrocities, and by civil and military actions, Lord have mercy.


FOR SINS AGAINST THE BODY OF CHRIST DUE TO ABUSE

For the sins of Church ministers who sexually abused children, Lord have mercy.

For the failings of those in hierarchy who failed to remove offenders from parish positions, Lord have mercy.

For the irreparable harm caused by victims of abuse, Lord have mercy. [one wonders if the harm is "irreparable", what is the purpose of this prayer of reparation?]

For all those times when any of us has failed to protect children, Lord have mercy.

Let us pray: Lord, we worship you living among us in the sacrament of your Body and Blood. May we offer to our Fathers in heaven our solemn pledge of undivided love. May we offer to our brothers and sisters a life poured out in loving service of that kingdom, where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

FOR OUR SINS AGAINST THE BODY OF CHRIST IS THE DOMESTIC CHURCH

For those times when we have failed to reach out to families who were experiencing difficulties, Lord have mercy.

For too quickly judging divorced and separated spouses, Lord have mercy.

For our failures to reach out and support mothers and fathers considering abortion, Lord have mercy.

For failing to use our resources to help the poor and unemployed, Lord have mercy.

For failing to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless, Lord have mercy.

For those times when we have ignored the gifts of our youth and their contributions to the Church, Lord have mercy.

FOR SINS AGAINST THE BODY OF CHRIST

For all those times when we ourselves have failed to be instruments of reconciliation, Lord have mercy.

For not fully utilizing the gifts of women in the Church, Lord have mercy.

For being uncivil in our disagreements about liturgical practices instead of uniting in worship around God's altar, Lord have mercy.

For those times when we have caused other members of the Body of Christ to suffer, Lord have mercy.

For perpetuating historic divisions among Christians, Lord have mercy.

For not recognizing our shared heritage with Orthodox and Protestant believers, Lord have mercy.


For those times when we have been intolerant of non-Christian believers and to those who profess no faith, Lord have mercy.


LITANY FOR THE COMMUNITY

For those who own businesses, may they be good stewards of their gifts, Christ graciously hear us.

For employees, may they reflect the Gospel of Jesus, Christ graciously hear us.

For those who frequent the businesses, may they be bearers of truth, Christ graciously hear us.

For those who visit, may they see the light of Jesus shining all around them, Christ graciously hear us.

For our leaders, may they be filled with justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance, Christ graciously hear us. [Why not faith, hope and charity, also?]

For our public officials, may they act according to the wisdom of God, Christ graciously hear us.

For our utility workers, may they persevere in joyfully serving the community especially in emergencies, Christ graciously hear us.

For all social workers, may know the peace of Christ, Christ graciously hear us.

For all school teachers and principals, may they reach the children they teach emotionally, spiritually, and academically, Christ graciously hear us.
For all hospital personnel...

[Here it goes on and on, mentioning medical workers, police, firemen, EMTs, charitable agencies, those who work with victims of domestic abuse, Salvation Army, postal workers, court workers and judges, prisoners, the "lost and confused", church ministers, senior citizens, foster care workers, those who are suffering from addictions, the depressed and suicidal, and finally, teenagers]


Let us pray: Lord Jesus, on the night you told us to take and eat your Body and Blood, you prayed to the Father that we may all be one as you are one with your Father. We too pray dear Jesus that we may all be one as you are one with the Father. Amen.
...[end]...

Whew. Okay. A few observations-

First and foremost, was there anything in this entire litany about the actual, sacramental Body and Blood of Christ, which is the whole rationale for the feast? No. Never is the presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament mentioned, except for one vague allusion in the prayer "Lord, we worship you living among us in the sacrament of your Body and Blood," and the presence of the phrase "living among us" renders this prayer extremely questionable - as if we cannot worship the sacramental Lord without doing so mediately through the community who receives Him.

Second, I also noted that every intercession, without exception, is entirely worldly, focused on this side of heaven. No prayer for those in the hour of death. No prayer for the conversion of poor sinners. No reparation for offenses against the Sacred Heart or our Eucharistic Lord. No prayers for the poor souls in Purgatory. No prayers for the salvation of the non-believer or for the Church's missionary efforts. Whoever composed these prayers evidently envisions the Church's mission as completely earth-bound, about speaking up for immigration reform.

Third, it should be evident that the presence of Pro-Life sentiments is no longer and indicator of orthodoxy. Perhaps this was once otherwise; maybe back in the 80's and 90's. But the Pro-Life standard has become so ubiquitous within Catholic parish life that it has become kind of disconnected from any larger orthodoxy. This same litany which laments the holocaust of abortion and prays for mothers considering abortion simultaneously prays for greater recognition of the "gifts of women" in the Church (we know what that means), suggests that arguing about liturgical matters is "uncivil", and laments that we are "intolerant" of other faiths. In other words, we have reached a place where Pro-Life sentiments coexist comfortably with progressive theology. Being Pro-Life is no longer an indicator of legitimate Catholicism, and it can be arguable that it never was (related: Profile of a Theological Liberal).

Fourth, the incredible naivete! This "Litany of Lament" bewails the fact that there is not enough influence of women in the Church, that we are too intolerant, that our problem with Protestantism is that we have not sufficiently affirmed it, that we are too judgmental about divorced Catholics. So, women don't have a big enough role in the Church? Maybe whoever wrote this prayer has not seen some of our diocesan publications, or has never Googled "Director of Religious Education" on Google Images,  nor Googled images for "RCIA Director" - or for that matter, "Director of Faith Formation" or "Parish Administrator". Can anyone who has spent one year in a modern Catholic parish and done these basic image searches really be serious that women are not represented enough in the Church today? That the Church has not been sufficiently pro-illegal immigration? That divorced Catholics are treated too harshly? These people are living in fantasy land. But, as has often been pointed out, the solution for the problems caused by liberalism is more liberalism.

Catholics obviously think of the Church as merely an institution for the betterment of society - and when the Bishop of Rome says things like the greatest crisis facing the modern world is youth unemployment and then skips out of Rome's Corpus Christi procession so he can make a pastoral visit to a Calabrian prison, the situation is definitely not made any better. By the way, I also noted the "Litany of Lament" did not include any prayers for the Pope.

We could go on, but why bother? 

"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." ~Rev. 22:11

4 comments:

EtVerbumCaroFactumEst said...

For comparison purposes, here is the traditional "Litany of Reparation to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament" that we prayed today during the Eucharistic Procession at OSP. The difference is almost beyond words!


Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, offered for the salvation of sinners,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, annihilated on the altar for us and by us,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, despised by lukewarm Christians,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, mark of contradiction,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, delivered over to Jews and heretics,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, insulted by blasphemers,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, Bread of angels, given to animals,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, flung into the mud and trampled underfoot,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, dishonored by unfaithful priests,
Have mercy on us.

Sacred Host, forgotten and abandoned in Thy churches,
Have mercy on us.

Be merciful unto us,
Pardon us, O Lord.

Be merciful unto us,
Hear us, O Lord.

For the outrageous contempt of this most wonderful Sacrament,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For Thine extreme humiliation in Thine admirable Sacrament,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For all unworthy Communions,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For the irreverences of wicked Christians,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For the profanation of Thy sanctuaries,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For the holy ciboriums dishonored and carried away by force,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For the continual blasphemies of impious men,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For the obduracy and treachery of heretics,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For the unworthy conversations carried on in Thy holy temples,
We offer Thee our reparation.

For the profaners of Thy churches
which they have desecrated by their sacrileges,
We offer Thee our reparation.

That it may please Thee to increase in all Christians
the reverence due to this adorable Mystery,
we beseech Thee, hear us.

That it may please Thee to manifest the Sacrament
of Thy Love to heretics,
we beseech Thee, hear us.

That it may please Thee to grant us
the grace to atone for their hatred
by our burning love for Thee,
we beseech Thee, hear us.

That it may please Thee
that the insults of those who outrage Thee
may rather be directed against ourselves,
we beseech Thee, hear us.

That it may please Thee graciously
to receive this our humble reparation,
we beseech Thee, hear us.

That it may please Thee to make our adoration acceptable to Thee,
we beseech Thee, hear us.

Pure Host,
hear our prayer.

Holy Host,
hear our prayer.

Immaculate Host,
hear our prayer.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.

V. See, O Lord, our affliction,
R. And give glory to Thy Holy Name.

Let Us Pray

O Lord Jesus Christ,
Who dost deign to remain with us
in Thy wonderful Sacrament to the end of the world,
in order to give to Thy Father,
by the memory of Thy Passion, eternal glory,
and to give to us the Bread of life everlasting:
Grant us the grace to mourn,
with a heart full of sorrow,
over the injuries which Thou hast received
in this adorable Mystery,
and over the many sacrileges
which are committed by the impious,
by heretics and by bad Catholics.

Inflame us with an ardent zeal
to repair all these insults to which,
in Thine infinite mercy,
Thou hast preferred to expose Thyself
rather than deprive us of Thy Presence on our altars,
Who with God the Father
and the Holy Spirit
livest and reignest one God,
world without end.

Amen

Loneliest Place in Rome said...

The latest Catholic cause that is "supported by the bishops" is the Fortnight for Freedom. Didn't we bring the loss of religious liberty upon ourselves when it was decided that, to quote your definition of a liberal, "it is no longer expedient for Catholicism to be the formal religion of the State; liberals thus profess an American style separation of Church and State and deny that religious liberty will lead to indifferentism"?

Anonymous said...

Well, at the very least, they had a litany!

Such a traditional manifestation of piety is a start.

They could have just done bidding prayers, or added stanza's to John Lennon's "Imagine," or worse!

Paul

I'm an Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Whenever one assists at the new Mass one hears this crap. ABS never joins in any prayer request that is inane- especially the prayer for religious liberty..