Friday, April 22, 2011

HOLY THURSDAY - BRISBANE : MAUNDY MADNESS

ST. STEPHEN'S CATHEDRAL BRISBANE

ARCHBISHOP JOHN A. BATHERSBY   -  Three Months to go.
How difficult is it to "Say the Black and Do the Red?". To judge by last night's performance of the Maundy liturgy or ritual washing of the feet- it must be beyond the Cathedral authorities completely!The particular cause of the problems is a daffy idea that Our Lord's injunction to the Apostles to the effect that if He, their Lord and Master had washed their feet, they should wash each others', should be copied in the liturgical co-operation of all manner of layfolk in movable numbers!

Firstly, the Liturgy is not the proper place for private indulgence in the latest conceived "neat idea". Secondly it is the property of the Catholic Church and is to be used according to the rites and proper usages of the Catholic Church. Thirdly it commemorates the Lord's washing of His Apostles' feet, and the liturgy excludes for that very reason, women being involved in the process. Fourthly the liturgy makes NO provision for those whose feet have been washed , EVEN IF THEY ARE PRIESTS to "pass it on" by washing the feet of others.

But that is exactly what happened last night. It has been done now for several years, but I have tended to close my eyes and think of Rome , knowing that it is useless to write in complaint locally since all one gets is soothing  platitudes in reply.And writing to Rome only gets one pilloried in the Press by a senior cleric with a mitre, as a "spy" not interested in worship etc. etc.(The same technique has been refined to great effect in Toowoomba with attacks on "the Taliban "and "the Temple Police"by the Bishop  - William Morris who has advocated women priests, recognition of Anglican,Lutheran and even Uniting Church Orders.But he remains in place, despite an Apostolic Visitation and a personal Audience with the Holy Father!Tragic farce!

But I digress - so easy in a See of scandal - the result of the liturgical "new steps" last night was sheer farce with little teams of bowl of water and jug of water and towel bearers rushing hither and yon , and eldely ladies having their two minutes of women's' rites - the whole scene resembled a liturgical madhouse. The increasingly bewildered Archbishop kept his head down doing his part and no doubt hoping none of the teams tripped over him or spilt a bowl over him. The entire exercise reduced the solemn liturgy to pandemonium and it took quite some time to clear all the paraphenalia away and for calm to be restored.

Clearly the Sacred Liturgy is carefully designed to be just that- Sacred. It is not the place for gimmicky innovation, much less dangerous traffic congestion! Perhaps the progression of the Triduum will offer less opportunities for idiocy.

1 comment:

Aquinas said...

Bishop Morris has now submitted his resignation this weekend, so who cares what names they give us - what matters is that the Holy See and Pope Benedict have finally acted.