Beteiligung der Laien: Empfangt den Herrn!

Der immer gute und manchmal exzellente Priester-Blogger Fr. Dwight Longenecker schrieb vor kurzem auf seinem Blog (bitte klicken und lesen): (Meine Kommentare eingeklammert in rot Hervorhebungen freizügig ebenfalls von mir, nach bewährter Father Z-Manier)

How many times have I heard priests exclaim their enthusiasm for ‚full participation‘ at Mass. It is a kind of modern Catholic mantra. Indeed, not only a Catholic mantra, it has become an ideological slogan before which all must bow. So, in the name of ‚full participation‘ we have overturned 2000 years of church architectural tradition and built round churches, fan shaped churches, churches that are auditoria, churches that are circus tents, churches that are stadiums–all in an attempt to get as many people as close as possible to the altar as if proximity to the altar constitutes full participation. (Man versucht krampfhaft, möglichst viele Leute, besonders Gemeinderats-wichtigtuerInnen, an den Altar zu stellen, um damit zu suggerieren, eigentlich gebe es doch gar keinen wichtigen Unterschied zwischen Priester und Laien, und die Hände heben und Gebete sprechen könne doch eigentlich jeder, und vor allem JEDEes geht diesen Gruppen IMMER um „Gleichstellung“ von allem mit jedem)

The tradition of sacred music has fallen to this revolutionary creed as well. Down with Gregorian chant and classic hymns and the venerable music of the liturgy and up with tacky songs with sentimental semi heretical lyrics. (Die Attitüde der Revoluzzer: Ecrasez l’infame. Bewährt seit den Zeiten Voltaires, der den letzten König mit den Innereien des letzten Priesters erdrosseln wollte.) More often than not this music is imposed on the people. Every kind of secular style of music has entered the sanctuary in an attempt to get ‚full participation‘ and all of it has been imposed by well meaning ideologues–and the irony of it is that these are the same people who claim to be democratic and ‚listening to the voice of the people of God‘.

And has it worked? I have celebrated Mass at churches where an eager liturgy director (usually an ex-nun or priest) waves his arms about and brings the energy and fake enthusiasm of a Broadway dancer to his task and still the hymnbooks stay in the pew rack, the arms remain folded on the chest, the lips remain firmly closed and the expression of bored frustration remains stamped on the faces of the faithful. (Zufall? Ich wäre auch frustriert, wenn ich in die Kirche gegangen wäre, nur um schlechtes Theater und minderwertige Unterhaltung präsentiert zu bekommen.) I’ve seen the priests celebrate Mass with the ‚game show host‘ style of liturgy–all false bonhomie and dumbed down cheerfulness–and his efforts are still met with solid, silent animosity. „Do what you like Father. You won’t get me to open my mouth.“

After experiencing my own frustration at expecting congregations to sing hymns I am beginning to come around to their point of view. Let us stand things on their head and really listen to the ‚voice of the faithful‘ and ask ourselves whether they might actually be right. Maybe their instincts to be silent at Mass and not sing or wave their arms about or hug people are right. Maybe they know more about it in their blissful ignorance than we do with all our good ideas about ‚full participation‘.

Maybe what the faithful actually want is not wonderful orgasmic hymns and breath taking music. Maybe what they want is a quiet, dignified Mass with a simple, skilled choir or schola. Maybe what they want–even if they don’t know it–is a Mass where they simply watch and pray and listen and wonder at the mystery of what is going on at the altar.(Ja! Genau das wollen wir!) Maybe they are ‚fully participating‘ in this way and who am I to judge? So I am moving increasingly to the position that I will let the people do what they want at Mass. I will encourage them and direct them, but I will not dictate my views or my tastes and impose them. I will simply say the black and do the red and preach the gospel and try to be a priest not an entertainer. (Katholizismus kann so einfach sein – auch die Liturgie ist zwar komplex und vielschichtig, aber nicht kompliziert. Es geht um eine Atmosphäre, in der das große Mysterium würdig gefeiert werden kann. Eine Atmosphäre der Andacht und der Ehrfucht, nicht der belanglosen, flachen Lustigkeit)


If I am right, then suddenly I understand „full participation at Mass“ I am there fully and completely and attentively in body, mind and Spirit. I am caught up with the action of the Mass and the transaction between earth and heaven. My whole being is participating in what is going on and as I receive my Lord–Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity–I am fully participating in that sublime and contemplative action of Grace. (Das ist wahre „Teilnahme“ an der Messe. Jeder katholische Gläubige im Gnadenstande kann in jeder Messe wirklich „partizipieren“, „teilnehmen“, „teilhaben“, oder wie das Modewort auch immer gerade lautet. Teilhaben AM HERRN SELBST. Es gibt keine aktivere Teilnahme.)

Then as I go out into the world, by that same grace, my life is transformed and I am a light in the darkness and the grace of the Son becomes incarnate in my life and I fully participate in a whole life that fully participates in the life of Christ–and if this is what is happening a far, far greater thing is taking place than some priest and music director forcing me to sing Eagles‘ Wings for the umpteenth time. (Ja, im Leben geht es um mehr als nur weltliches Ansehen, weltliche Lustigkeit und weltliche „Beteiligung“.)

Das ist doch eigentlich alles, worum es bei der Messe geht: HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM. Haben wir Teil am Leib des Herrn selbst, nicht bloß an irgendwelchen Gesangsfestivals.

Jetzt müssen das nur noch die deutschen Priester und Bischöfe verstehen…