Thursday, February 12, 2009

"We Said Mass".

St Patrick's Cathedral was packed today for the service of prayer and remembrance for the bushfire victims.

There were no theatrics or "special ceremonies" such as candle lighting or things with ashes or anything.

As the Archbishop commented to us afterwards: "We did what Catholics do at a time like this. We said mass."


At Friday, February 13, 2009 6:48:00 am , Blogger Tony said...


There were no theatrics or "special ceremonies" such as candle lighting or things with ashes or anything.

I have wondered, ever since this post appeared, what you're getting at here. It's got me stumped.

At Friday, February 13, 2009 8:43:00 am , Anonymous Sue W said...

Candle lighting and other rituals can assist people to pray in times like these, where words are often hard to find. Don't discount them

At Friday, February 13, 2009 9:45:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

I noted that Rob Hulls was filmed deep in prayer,and what appeared to be the health Minister-Daniel Andrews -having tears in his eyes.
and afterwards they along with Peter Ryan-National Party leader- were talking to a couple of St Johns Ambos and also with the Archbishop.
My employer-an NGO- is going to donate money to the CFA units that staff members belong to,as they will need replacement of equipment.

At Friday, February 13, 2009 9:57:00 am , Blogger Paul said...

I think what David was getting at is the Catholic idea that sacraments are a source of grace, not just a symbol. All the other things people do in times of distress, like releasing doves, paddling out in circles in the surf, singing favourite songs, etc are only symbols and nothing else, and their only purpose is to give emotional comfort to the survivors. The sacraments, like the Eucharist, on the other hand, are a source of real grace.

At Friday, February 13, 2009 12:27:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Paul, you've hit the nail on the head. I find it interesting that the Christian groups who are most into "symbolic" gestures and rituals these days are those in which traditionaly the sacraments were either rejected or viewed purely as symbols. Unless you are in the habit of attending the services of other churches, as I am, you might not have noticed this.

What really gets me is that when this happens, a whole lot of new "symbols" are simply invented. In fact, the worshippers have to be told before the "symbolic" gesture what the gesture represents, because of course they don't know what it represents. It was simply made up in the head of the celebrant who put the order of service together and who thought "This will be a good idea".

The truly powerful symbols are those which have centuries of meaning attached to them, and in which the meaning is precisely and really encapsulated. In short, the resources that the Church has in the Sacraments can never be surpassed and to allow the Sacraments to stand "on their own" is to allow them to have their full power.

On top of which, a Buddhist nun once begged me, when we were planning a memorial service, not to have candle-lighting. "You Christians", she said, "are always lighting candles..."

At Friday, February 13, 2009 4:57:00 pm , Blogger Tony said...

It must be just me then David, because with this little observation, your speculation about a God's wrath and the remarks about +Morris, your coming across as very superior, insenstive and b*tchy.

Other than that, of course, you're a fine chap!


At Friday, February 13, 2009 8:32:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Who me? Surely not.

And my "speculation" was just raising a question - I certainly wasn't endorsing Pastor Danny's tirade.

And I meant what I said about Bishop Morris - everything I have heard about him says he is an excellent pastoral bishop. I wasn't being snarky about that. I don't dispute it.

And this blog wasn't being "snarky" or "bitchy" - it was just saying that it is a good thing sometimes just to leave the sacraments speak for themselves.

I think you may be mistaking me for someone else, Tony.

At Saturday, February 14, 2009 7:30:00 am , Blogger Tony said...


And my "speculation" was just raising a question - I certainly wasn't endorsing Pastor Danny's tirade.

Perhaps someone else snuck on to your PC and wrote:

... and yet for whom the logic was so tight as to be convincing.

And the mass is theatrical and it most often involves candles and (once a year at least), ashes.

To me, given the gravity of the situation, it seemed an unecessary swipe. There is no need to belittle -- and that's how it came across -- the way other people do stuff.

And again, I ask you to consider what it would be like for someone traumatized by the fires to read 'speculation', that you describe as 'convincing', that this horror was God's doing as 'punishment'.

To me this kind of speculation is obscene whenever it occurs -- that's my issue I guess -- but to give it credibility while people are right in the middle of this trauma is ... well, you know what think.

At Sunday, February 15, 2009 8:46:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Dear me, Tony, you have gotten the wrong end of the stick and started beating me with it.

When I wrote: "... and yet for whom the logic was so tight as to be convincing" I meant for THEM, ie. Those to whom the "logic" seemed "so tight", not me, you dolt.

Read the sentence again: "FOR WHOM the logic was so tight as to be convincing". I do not include myself in the "for whom".

Lord, help me. for the record, this "logic" doesn't convince me one bit. It mystifies me. It leaves me wondering. It leaves me with questions. So I asked them.


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