Friday, July 6, 2012

Tradition? To hell with it!! Part One


Fr Martin Cilia in his modern-looking and colourful oratory. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli
Fr Martin Cilia in his modern-looking and colourful oratory. (Photo: Matthew Mirabelli, Sunday Times of Malta)

Last Sunday, the Sunday Times of Malta carried an interview with Fr Martin Cilia MSSP.

At first I thought it might make interesting reading. In a way it was, for the wrong reasons. In order not to pain you with it unnecessarily, I will select the most memorable parts of this article, and my comments will be in blue.

1. Fine things, tasteful décor, aesthetics and art top the list of Fr Martin Cilia’s priorities ... and Jesus?!?

2. “We do not need to be surrounded by rubbish,”  ... so St. John's Co-Cathedral and Malta's wayside chapels are? Yeah, right. Rubbish!

3. “The Church is selling product Christ, but if it is wrapped in the old, traditional way; youngsters, young couples and those still searching can refuse the content for the covering...” ... same old story with those who are so afraid of Latin. It's all tradition's fault. But reality in Europe and America is very different.

4. “One of the major problems of the Church is that Mass does not offer a sense of community. It is like a supermarket – no one knows each other.” ...oops, this is not fair. Why should a priest speak so negatively about Mass in MALTESE?!?


5. The environment is vital and “mood manipulative”, Fr Cilia believes. So among his mini “revolutions”, he has changed the church structure, pushing the altar into its midst to ensure the priest is not separated from his congregation. ...  hmmm, to ensure the priest (not Jesus) is not separated from his congregation...

6. Mass is not always the best experience, he admits. It can be “so boring” – all the more for children. Asking them to remain quiet for an hour is asking for the impossible, Fr Cilia believes. In fact, during his homily, the young ones leave for their own liturgy, which even includes activities they then demonstrate to their families back in the church. ... I recall having read that St. Dominic Savio, St. Mary Goretti, the Fatima seers and other young children all getting bored during the Mass in Latin. Yeah, pull the other one ...

7. “Things are changing and fast – but the Church is moving slowly. It is too tied to tradition, and faith is too tied to religion. But the Church is not just religion and doctrine; it is an experience.” ... and an experience can be good and bad ...

8. But it also faces criticism from the community’s older members, who are only concerned with tradition. “I hope those who come because of their faith influence those who come for tradition. They are like two different religions,” he says. ... again, to hell with tradition! And while we're at it, how about dumping the Bible and Jesus? After all they are so traditional!!!