There is a fallacy making the rounds, being perpetuated yet again.
Really, as Belloc said in Survivals and New Arrivals, there are no new fallacies. No new heresies. Just old ones, the same ones, wrapped in slightly different tissue paper, in slightly different words, but essentially the same heresies…the same errors.
Just when we think it is safe to pray at mass in peace, to receive Our Lord with reverence and grace, so we can “meet the Lord in all His love for us, … are ready to respond, especially in the care we give to the poorest and those most in need, those closest to the Heart of our Saviour.”(Archbishop
Nichols)..well, then we hear that same old heresy arise again.
Which one ?
You know, the one about the ancient Church. That the liturgy or practices of the ancient Church are those to which we should return today.
Which completely denies the living tradition of the Church, denies the Church’s wisdom and authority, the Church’s experience throughout history, Divine Revelation.
81 “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”
“And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.”
82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”
83…Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium. Catechism of the Catholic Church
So when I hear that the correct posture for receiving Holy Communion is on the hand, with the example of the early Church used as a supposedly definitive argument, I cringe.
Not because I want to enter into a debate about posture for receiving Holy Communion or reverence in reception…this has already been discussed by the Church and shared on this blog before…no, I cringe because of the fallacious argument. And because of the use of the word proper.
And I cringe because I hate to see poor argument. I mean, the proponents of a return to early practices in the Church deny the living tradition described in the CCC. And I note that those using the argument of the early Church as being definitive and for their own particular preference, are selective about which practices to which they wish to return.
“The “early church” arguments offered would be more persuasive if those who invoke them were more consistent in applying the principle. For example, one never hears of a liturgist urging a return to bread and water fasts, public penance for adultery, and other strict ascetical practices common in the early Church. Thus the “more traditional than thou” arguments for liturgical changes, which ignore the past several centuries of development in Catholic doctrine and liturgical practice, seem unconvincing.” ( See more discussion here)
When one discusses the teaching of the Church , particularly in a public setting and when representing the Church, or in a teaching position or within a homily, then it is important that one does not rely on personal preference and on fallacious argument. Lest others be lead astray. Or scandalized, when they find the errors in argument and that, in fact, some teachings of the Church are not what they were lead to believe, that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes.
“Therefore my own tastes, my own preferences, my own personality, my own view of ecclesiology, are marginal, of little importance, when it comes to the celebration of the Mass. We don vestments to minimise our personal preferences, not to express or emphasise them.”(Archbishop Nichols, again).