Thursday 11 April 2013

St. Michael's Cathedral: A Nightclub or a church?

The Sacred and the Profane
 Few Catholics understand what the Sanctuary is, what a church is, what an Altar is. On May 19th, 2011, in St. Michael's Cathedral, the Sanctuary was profaned and the Altar overturned. Before the archbishop's very Altar, upon which the Holy Sacrifice is offered, a woman sang and danced in a manner that should be left to a nightclub, a cabaret: not a church. The issue is not the young woman's nightclub performance. The issue is the local church authorities who allowed a concert fit for a nightclub in a cathedral.

Historically, when a sacred place was desecrated it needed re-consecration. The Catholic Church, traditionally, regarded sacrilege in a very serious manner. A concert of profane music, including a dancing, immodestly dressed woman (for a church, not to mention a Sanctuary). we do not know if the Blessed Sacrament was removed: the photos seem to suggest that the door to the Tabernacle was shut. Church law, for a concert of sacred music, requires the Blessed Sacrament's removal, and the Tabernacle door wide open to publicly denote Our Blessed Lord's absence from the church. 

Blessed Sacrament Side Chapel during the
May 19th, 2011 concert
In ancient times, this was always understood to be the abomination of desolation against   the Temple in Jerusalem; the profanation of the holy of holies. To understand the seriousness of the crime of sacrilege, as we delve back into history, recall that we are "spiritually semites" (c.f. Pius XI), and that the religion of Israel was the one, true religion; it was the religion that our Lord was born into, practiced, and fulfilled as the Jewish Messiah. Antiochus the Wicked, not content with oppressing the Jews, decided to desecrate the holy Temple; reserved for the worship of the one, true God. Antiochus, the desecrator of the Temple in Jerusalem is described in this manner in the Jewish Encyclopedia

Concert videographer  with hat on
in the Cathedral
Antiochus combined in himself the worst faults of the Greeks and the Romans, and but very few of their good qualities. He was vainglorious and fond of display to the verge of eccentricity, liberal to extravagance; his sojourn in Rome had taught him how to captivate the common people with an appearance of geniality, but in his heart he had all a cruel tyrant's contempt for his fellow men.

Does he remind you of anyone? The description seems very contemporary. Antiochus would have found a perfect place in today's world amongst the chattering classes of the local church "establishment". Vain, liberal, eccentric, with a public display of geniality - but carrying the iron fist of repression for those who oppose him.  
The audience: note the theatre-like lighting

It would seem that we have our own modern day desecrators of the Holy of Holies with us. Rome has spoken in the issue of using churches for non-liturgical actions. One point made being the need for performers to be dressed appropriately, and behave appropriately; and not to be in the Sanctuary. The use of tight, strapless ball gowns; sensuous dance movements in the Sanctuary, the use of profane lyrics, all are violations. Canon law denotes the care that must be taken to keep our churches as holy; actions not consonant with holiness is forbidden. 

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