Friday, 11 May 2012

More on EF and pro-Life

I have been thinking more about yesterday's post, and wish to add a few things. One is that I am not claiming that people who attend the EF are necessarily more likely to do good works or support charitable organisations than people who attend the OF.  Rather my contention is that they are likely to support different types of charities.  In the OF, many support CAFOD, and Amnesty International (in support of the whole Justice and Peace agenda) as well as excellent organisations such as the SVP.

CAFOD  and AI (who are now actively pro-abortion) are problematic from a Table d’Hôte point of view.  But they are socially acceptable and much-lauded by OF people. EF people are more likely to support specifically pro-Life organisations, in their caring, educational and political work, as well as excellent organisations such as the SVP.

The second point on which I wish to elaborate is that the horizontal (community) focus of the OF can and does lead to real problems, at least from a Table d’Hôte point of view.  Many innovations are introduced that are clearly contrary to the law of the Church, and yet because people like them and priests feel that pastoral sensitivity trumps the law of the Church (or in some cases because they fear that to follow the law would lose them their flocks) they continue.  That simply does not happen in the EF (though I am not saying it is not prone to other problems - but hey are problems less in keeping with the dominant trends in society, and therefore less of a serious risk on a large scale).  If my assumption of intrinsic links between right prayer, right belief and right action is correct, that is clearly problematic. 

Finally, there is a different disposition fostered by each.  The OF is the Easter People orientation.  The EF is the Church Militant.  I think of this in terms of the Mysteries of the Rosary.  The OF seems to focus predominantly on the Glorious Mysteries: the Resurrection and the Descent of the Holy Spirit; the Sorrowful Mysteries are in the dim and distant past.  The EF sees that we are still living in this vale of tears: that our joys (as Our Lady’s) and our luminous insights are shot through with the prescience of the Passion, and that, whilst we are indeed  confident of Our Lord’s victory over sin and death, we are not complacent about our own.  Again, I think these perspectives may influence how we engage with the great evils of our time: the Church Militant sees that fighting is our job.


Megan M said...

Here I am again, in a more appropriate medium...
Very interesting: I think your point about 'lex orandi, lex credendi' is quite right, and the example of the LCWR very apposite - liturgy should not and cannot be seen as separate and distinct from the rest of Christian life. Two points: you appear to be drawing a distinction between 'EFers' and 'OFers' but I know, and I'm sure you do too, people who take a more 'pick-and-mix' approach and are equally happy at OF or EF - how would they fit into this? After all, not all OF masses are egregiously happy-clappy liturgical free-for-alls - I think in response to your analysis of the OF Mass, some would say it certainly has the *potential* for fostering unorthodoxy in the way you describe but it depends largely on the pre-existing attitudes and opinions of the laity and the willingness of the parish priest to indulge those attitudes/opinions. Bit of a chicken and egg situation, possibly.

Left-footer said...

In agreement, once again, and in particular with your reference to the 'vale of tears', which is what the world probably is for most of its inhabitants.

As to the OF style of music which I heard in England, I wouldn't tolerate it at a party, but would make my excuses and leave.

Ben Trovato said...


Thanks for this. Yes of course I'm oversimplifying for the sake of clarifying. We go regularly to OF and only get to EF twice a month at best. But I think the tendencies I've identified are reasonable to claim as tendencies.

I do think the very nature of the OF - and indeed the very fact of the radical change in worship in Catholicism between 1960-now - are contributory factors to the decline in adherence to orthodox belief. I also believe that had everything been perfect pre-1960 things would be very different now.

In parallel with the liturgical changes was the complete collapse of traditional Catholic education, which I don't think can be ascribed to the liturgical changes, and was also a major contributory factor to the current problems.

So it is complex, as you suggest.

Part-time Pilgrim said...

This post I like a lot less than the preceding one.

It gives the impression that those who attend the EF are almost a separate church from those who attend the OF.

The fallacy is this: All the Catholics challenge the Church's teaching on life issues attend OF masses therefore the OF Mass itself nurtures these beliefs. That can't be true. In essence it's the same Mass, same sacrifice and same graces that flow. In fact OF masses are full of people who accept the Church's teachings.

In addition it's wrong to conflate liturgical abuses that may happen in some OF mases with the OF itself.