This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Friday, 31 July 2020

How not to break the Ten Commandments in church

Following the well-deserved triumph of "IDOLS" in the World Cup of Liturgical Abuses, perhaps because their use is so obviously a breach of the First Commandment, it seems only right to see which other commandments you (or your priest/bishop/cardinal/pope) may break during a standard service.

Pachamama

This one needs no introduction.

1. I AM THE LORD THY GOD: THOU SHALT NOT HAVE STRANGE GODS BEFORE ME.

Yes, we've just done that one. They don't come much stranger than Pachamama, even if Austen Ivereigh told us that she should be identified with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

2. THOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN.

I don't think I've ever heard priests swear in church. One of the tests they make seminarians go through is to drop a heavy weight on their feet and see what swear words they come out with. If it's the F-word or the J-word (the name of our Lord), they're out and can only become Jesuits. If it's a more restrained "Thump! Blinking Heck!" then they are allowed to graduate. You will NEVER hear a bishop say worse than "Chase my Aunt Fanny up a gum tree!" even if someone puts tin tacks on his Cathedra. Try it and see whether I'm right.

brass tacks

Getting down to brass tacks, bishop?

3. KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY.

Well, round here they have suspended the Day of Obligation aspect to Sundays. Indeed, as part of social distancing or whatever, we are encouraged to go to Mass on a different day if possible ("keep Tuesday holy"). So now there is not the smallest sense of obligation about Sundays - you can if you wish watch a livestreamed Mass, or (for light relief) one of Bishop Barron's videos; but you don't need to.

4. HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.

It's fairly easy to keep this one in Mass, except for the occasional "Shut up, Gran!" when the old dear is talking during the homily. Or you may prefer "Speak up, Gran!" if it's Deacon M. preaching.

5. THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

Human sacrifices are not normally part of Mass, even in the Amazon. However, we have not yet seen Cardinal Marx's full plans for the German church.

6. THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.

Well, since Amoris Laetitia, this commandment has more-or-less been abolished. Still, adulterous unions are not an intrinsic part of the liturgy. You might count a general condemnation of immorality here, so banners celebrating LGBT relationships, polygamy, or three-in-a-vat-of-custard nude wrestling are also out.

Custard pride flag

Fly this flag or you will be guilty of Custardophobia!

7. THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.

As Cardinals Becciu, Versaldi and Maradiaga are at pains to point out, they just borrowed the collection bags and took them home for safe keeping.

8. THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHOUR.

This really depends on the sort of Mass you go to. In a Novus Ordo Mass everyone is silently praying before the service. The Extraordinary Form people are gossiping away like nobody's business - in Latin of course.

9. THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOUR'S WIFE.

I think there's a footnote in Amoris Laetitia saying that this is now allowed (after accompaniment, discernment, and perhaps an evening out in an expensive restaurant). Still, it's really more trouble than it's worth.

10. THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOUR'S GOODS.

Originally this included male or female servants, oxen or donkeys, or anything that belonged to your neighbour. This is why most people do not bring their servants or animals to Mass, to avoid giving temptation to others who might covet them. Likewise, if someone sits down next to you and puts an ox or donkey within coveting range, then we advise you to go and sit somewhere else.

Palm Sunday donkey

Avoid Palm Sunday processions if you are a donkey-coveter.

8 comments:

  1. Dear Sir Bruvver:
    As a recovering Donkey-Coveter, I take the greatest possible offense at your asinine insinuation that I refrain from liturgical 20-team mule processions for donkey’s years.

    Yours truly,
    H.E. Haw, esq.

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  2. My priest told me a story of one time when driving, another driver ticked him off and he flipped him off. I raised an eyebrow but didn't want to judge my priest but then he said, "It gets better...I was in my clerical collar!" At this point, I began to open my mouth wide. Then he said, "It gets better...my mom was in the car with me!" To which point, I had no choice but to exclaim, "OH NO!"

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  3. Dear H.E.Haw esq. & Eccles,
    As a regular donkey-coveter (unsaved) I see that in this case there is no need as the donkey has already been coveted with a striped blanket. But I do covet the farrier who did those excellently trimmed hooves.
    Yours etc.,
    Equusasinus.net esq.

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  4. I wonder if the suspension of the Third commandment is not just the Bishops trying it out as a dry run for a formal suspension of the Sixth?

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  5. Don't be fooled by the donkey photo.
    Actually, the donkey brought the human to the procession/service.

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  6. Actually, Leo D. Lion, your comment reminded me of something. In the 1980s a very good Anglican liturgical guide to Holy Week & Easter was produced. (I studied it as I was sacristan at Glasshampton monastery at the time, but I cannot find any reference to it on the internet now.) The instructions regarding donkeys were roughly as follows: "Never use a donkey in a Palm Sunday procession as it is a complete distraction: the empty donkey will get all the attention and the proper symbolism is missed. It entirely leaves Jesus out of the event."

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