I think every Roman Catholic should see this http://www.traditio.com/nos.htm
I often am told by conservative Roman Catholics that crazy masses are a thing of the past such as when I mention the infamous clown masses. I am asked if it is even still relevant to a discussion about Roman Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. This page has photos and dates and the crazy masses are obviously not gone. It never ceases to amaze me how conservative Roman Catholics can just go to mass and not really worry about this abuse. I also wonder how a conservative Roman Catholic deals with the knowledge that archbishops and even Pope John Paul II took part in and are still taking part in the abuse.
[ . . . ]
I am sorry for the ranting but upon seeing these photos and the hierarchs involved I was shocked. Before I thought it was only a few rogue priests. I had no idea bishops, archbishops, and even the Pope took part in these crazy masses.
Hopefully some Roman Catholic here can give a rebuttal.
I won't try to give a rebuttal, but I will try to give an explanation.
The Novus Ordo Mass is a conscious and deliberate attempt by the Catholic Chuirch to make Catholic worship more accessible and adaptable to different cultures. Some tr5aditionalists will bqalk at this, but there was a feeling that the Catholic religion was becoming frozen into relgiioous formalism: like a fossil. So, the Church decided to change the religious forms so as to get the worship back to worship. For example, the liturgical language was changed to the vernacular, the priest faced the people so the people could see the Eucharist, obsolete vestments and language was dropped, the epiclesis was resumed, etc. The balance was this: flexbility in terms of music, songs, decorations, etc. but obedience to the rubrics (detailed instructions) for those parts of the ritual which cannot be changed.
Unfortunately, some people (including some priests . . . ) have disobeyed the rubrics. Hence, a yuear or so ago, the Vatican issued DETAILED new rubrics to squash many of the abuses of the Novus Ordo. Compliance with these news rubrics has been variable and gradual in some places, better in others.
Now, as for the website that was cited. Not all the photographed activity is not wrong by Catholic norms. Some things might be offensive to some people's individual tastes, and those things might be shocking to people from other churches (such as the Orthodox Church), but some of those things were not wrong according to Catholic standards. For example, it is perfectly ok to celebrate Mass outdoors (as long as there is a special,cloth used as an altar surface). It is also ok --and praiseworthy
to bring the Mass to people: on retareat, at a youth camp and, yes, even at a beach. ASs for the bishop wearinjg a cheese-hat at Mass, I wasn't there. Probably, though, he put it on for only a moment to show fraternity with the people gathered there: who are from Wisconsin, whose economic life-blood
is the production of cheese. Dancing women ("liturgical dancers") at Mass is soemthing that I personally find inappropriate, but apparently some bishops have allowed it. And so on: economia is useful at times, necessary at others but very ill-advised at other times. Nevertheless, I found most of the photos at that website to be within acceptable limits for liturgy in the Catholic Church.
Hence, my next point: we really are different Churches. I read several posts in this thread that said Roman Catholicism does not have valid sacraments, a position with which I (as a practicing Catholic) categorically reject. In my *expereince* as well as beleif, they are quite valid because He, Jesus Christ, is acting through them. But, we are different Churches. We have different beleifs, and we have different ways of doing things. The differences in beleifs and in how we celebrate our sacraments iullustrates this profoundly.
Hence my final point: I think that the rush to reunion by some is ill-advised. The differences in liturgy illustrate that. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have been divorced for a 1000 years. It will take time to understand each other (especially our differences) and to respect each other (including our differences). I would love some kind of spiritual communion -- genuine love among each other and working together to combat common foes of secularism, etc. Otherwise, I think the separation of the Churches is a fact that must be acknowledged for reasons that must be respected. In other words, I think we can be good neighbors not only by being nice but also by having good fences.