Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Donutist Heresy

Since time immemorial – or at least since 1968 – any Catholic perceived to spend too much time defending doctrines or liturgical norms has been labeled a “Pharisee.”

So wrote Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons on Sympathy for the Pharisee, and so I've been called at St. Al's for raising a liturgical issue.

It turns out that at my parish one is a Pharisee if one believes that the rubrics of the liturgy are more important than the rubrics of after-Mass donuts, see The call to holeyness. If, as Bishop Richard Sklba has written, there is a ‘heresy’ of rubricism, then, alas, St. Al's is in the grip of the Donutist Heresy.

The Donutist Heresy turns pet projects and pet peeves into policy, and puts pet phrases into mission statements, vision statements, even liturgy.

For another example, some time back our pastor was attempting to make a homiletic point by repeating gossip from another pastor about parishioners concerned that the altar candles should be beeswax. This was characterized as a negative that kept people from embracing the positive message of the Gospel. He summed this up as a call to "turn our 'nos' into 'yeses'". He then went on to insert that phrase into every part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Any "rubricist" present might have wondered if this didn't lend some support to those unnamed parishioners' larger point about rubrics, even if they were wrong on the specifics of altar candles.

Pope Benedict XVI said in a 2005 homily on today's Feast of St. Joseph that "The 'nos' of the Commandments are as many 'yeses' to the growth of true freedom." That might be applied to rubrics and liturgy. And if there is a law of the conservation of rubrics, better they all be used up in liturgy so that none are left for pastry.

P.S. Bishop Sklba points out that Pharisees come across pretty well in USCCB pamphlets compared to in the Gospels, see Renewing our Jewish roots during Lent.

Update: today's Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis
Pearls Before Swine



Blogger TS said...

You had me at the title. That's high-larious.

9:32 AM  

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