Sunday, 17 January 2010

Is this the future?

I watched the Midnight Mass at Christmas from Westminster Cathedral on television.

Archbishop Vincent was warm in his welcome but I could not help but notice that the Incarnation was not for women and children.

The choir was to be congratulated.   They gave a superb performance which was highly enjoyable.

The TV camera gave me a birds-eye view of the sacred space.  The thing that struck me forcefully was the no-mans land between the altar and God's people.  The people were huddled at the foot of a flight of steps while the Priests conducted their rites above and at a distance from them.   Is this the Church of the future?  Is this the Church of Jesus who broke bread at the same table as his disciples?

Why, I ask, was it considered necessary to have a strange mixture of two languages?   Presumably the Priests understood Latin but I was very saddened that around half the audience could not join in "the prayer Jesus taught us" because they did not know or understand the language.

It was indeed a wonderful performance, and no doubt convincing to Anglo-Catholics that they will feel at home in the Catholic Church, but to the ordinary man and woman in the street it portrayed a Church that is anachronistic, out of touch with the times and irrelevant to most intelligent people.

How very sad, when the Church actually has a lot on offer to help modern people struggling to cope with the complexities of today's word and to overcome its many stresses and anxieties.


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