Priests, Prayers, and Others (Part 2)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

(Since I've already tackled this topic before here: PART 1., let's just consider this as a part 2.

Today I went to Church service with my younger sister and mother. The priest that headed the mass is, for the lack of a better term, hardcore traditionalist. And yes, he's the very same priest that caused me to write a pretty lengthy article last time. Please don't get me wrong. I love going to Church. At the most pragmatic level, I have a belief that there's a functional need for religion in the human intellect. At the least pragmatic, well, I like the idea that somebody out there is looking for us. Sometimes though, I can't help but feel there are a lot of things in a Catholic Mass that we could do without, without having to lessen the effect it has on people, if not even improve on it.

1. I sat through 25 minutes of homily today. That's 5 minutes short of a highschool class, minus notes, visual aids, or a chance to validate what you're listening to. I've always believed the human mind is capable of 7 minutes of undivided attention. It's probably much less now given our propensity to multitask. So after 25 minutes of speech material, even though I tried hard, I am left with almost nothing that I can remember. It's not me, it's really just the nature of the human mind. You'd think people who are public speaking their whole adult lives would know a thing or two about effective communication. I mean, look at the Bible. If Jesus spoke of the beatitudes in a 25-minute speech, Bibles will be 3x thicker, and nobody would probably pass Religion 101. Brevity is the soul of wit. Jesus had the right idea.

2. Because of Lent, our roster of songs have changed again. Not change changed, but changed just enough so that it's still basically the same song, but with subtle changes made to the rhythm, tune, or lyrics. I take it that the choir wasn't expecting the change either because the priest and the choir at times were singing different "covers". Naturally, the community spirit was deader than a Christian in a Roman Coliseum. Where people should be encouraged to sing along, they just couldn't, because somebody in the Ministry of Who Sings What decided that Church songs should be seasonal, but should still sound remarkably similar and dissimilar to each other at the same time. If we really want to write more songs for the church why don't we make it 100% different? So we don't have to get confused which song is currently playing? To make matters worse, some versions of popular songs seems to only exist to showcase the range of the voices in the choir. Are they really singing to foster the community spirit, or is that just pride I'm hearing?

3. The second collections. Why do we still have second collections? Why can't we just have one and let the Church decide how much of the community-pooled resource goes to where? Can't they tell us what we need to give money for before the first collection so we can deem how much we are going to give? The whole idea of the collection is to show that we are one community. By adding as second collection for a "special purpose" it makes giving sound optional. If we are really "one" then there should be no optional when it comes to giving.

Lastly, and I really didn't want to discuss about the whole Republic Health bill brouhaha here because it's too controversial, and I've already done it before, but I want to mention the Oratio Imperata, an ordered prayer. I am not questioning the nature of Oratio Imperata. I am questioning its contents, which if you have heard before, sounds so imperative about what we want to happen, that it already sounds ARROGANT and INSOLENT. Whereas normally, we ask for God's guidance, this prayer makes it sound like we are guiding the good Lord himself, as though omniscience won't tell Him what's best for the people. In truth, if you analyze the prayer frther, it's so imperative because the Oratio Imperata is more of a device to condition the mindset of those who say the prayers, which is an unfortunate turn of events because a very powerful device is being turned into a method of advocacy propagation, which begs the question who we really are addressing. It's a lose lose situation, most saddening, and until things change, embarrassing.

I know I've nothing to say but bad things for the Church at the moment, but that don't mean I love it any less than the lot of church goers, I am speaking out because I believe that there's more to the Mass than advocacies, tradition, and grandiose worship. It's about sanctity of dialogue with the Maker. And that's something we might be forgetting in the long run.


Anonymous said...

good to know the "changes" you were proposing did not involve any omissions from the dogmatic structure but come from Parish-prerogative elements

re: Oratio Imperata, it guilted the hell out of me the first time i prayed and then suddenly have all these questions from the back of my head invading my prayer. qs like "is this about the RH Bill?" or "who said anything about abortion?" so my prayer is half-hearted and unfinished at best. i think i wanna talk to my priest now.


Respect for Religions has always been the center of my idea of religious maturity.


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