Recovering Words

Fr Z:  Unless you recover the words, you can’t recover the concepts.

When you change the words, you change the concepts.

The liberal progressivist liturgical terrorist reformers were successful in changing our way of speaking about our sacred liturgical worship.

For example, they made us – and no one asked them to do this, by the way – give up talking about “sacrifice”. And when we lost “sacrifice”, we therefore lost a clear understanding of “priesthood”. No “sacrifice”, no “priest”. Today, “minister” dominates. We are losing or have, in some places, lost the words “worship” and “adoration”. Now we talk about “celebration”. We “gather”. We still “pray”. But do we? Really? To whom or what?

“Sin”?  It is to laugh. “Hell”?  What’s that?

“Worship” and “adoration” had to go, of course. They smack too much of Tantum ergo, and all that stuff. You can see why the now aging-hippies tried to do away with those words. In seminary, after all, the same generation of Richard McBrien types incessantly crammed down our throats “Jesus said ‘Take and eat’, not ‘sit and look’!”

“Altar” is now associated more with protestant “altar calls”. Catholics, talk about “table”. Altars are connected with “sacrifice”. Thus, the concept of altar had to go. “Tables” are us!

It is not, I think, that they were trying to find new ways to express old and fundamentally Catholic concepts to a new generation in modern terms. They were trying to destroy the old and fundamentally Catholic concepts for a new generation.

We must recover our terms.

Unless you recover the words, you can’t recover the concepts.



4 thoughts on “Recovering Words

  1. Indeed the only true “recovery” for the historical churches of God, Roman Catholic or otherwise.. is the Holy Scripture of God! St. Paul called the “sacred writings”, which he himself had known from childhood, were “able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15-16). And when Paul wrote this he was surely thinking of the OT Text of God!

    Jesus spoke of “spirit and truth”, “for GOD is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4: 24)

  2. Just like anything else…when we went from Vatican I to Vatican II…we went from one side of the pendulum to the other…this happens all the time when we seek ways to dramatically change our lives..In the case of the church, we lost the meaning of “sacredness” over the years. However I do see today that the church is trying to find a balance, and is backing up a little in their practices, bringing back the practices of certain rituals, bringing back sacredness for the Eucharist.

    As for myself, I don’t see words being the problem…I would like to continue referring to the Altar as the Lords’ Table, for in fact, it is; additionally, how many times have you heard people say, when referring to the sanctuary area, “Go on the altar” …but you wouldn’t hear anyone say…”go on the Lord’s table”.

    Also, with the introduction of Vatican II….Jesus became real, where at one time, he was referred to only as God’s son who died on the cross for us…now we have a more personal relationship to Him.

    “Hell” is no longer preached probably because we were trying to get rid of the old time fists pouncing on the pulpit, as we were told we would go to “hell” if we continued to sin…God’s mercy was never spoke of…which is of equal importance. God used to be considered a punishing God.
    Additionally, with the sins of many priests today, people would most assuredly consider our priests as hypocrits.

    Pray? If we submit ourselves to God’s will, and allow him to direct us in life, isn’t that the ultimate prayer; and worship and thanksgiving should be the words we express, not a laundry list of requests.

    I, myself, go along with a balance, but not to reverse ourself, and imagine ourselves back in Vatican I.

  3. Speaking about myself , I am more Orthodox, so really prefer the altar of God. Talking about sin and hell is still relevant , but the Church of God wont do it much. As mentioned in the article ,
    there is a trend in the Roman Catholic Church to add some Protestant touches and I dont think it goes too well.
    Father Ed Bakker OPR

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