By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy
FOR Catholics there are two deposits of faith – the Bible and Tradition. Protestant churches rely solely on the Bible that they have also reduced in content understandably removing Biblical passages that do not conform to their doctrines.
I will not deal with these differences but in certain practices in the Catholic Church with roots from and are the exemplifications and expressions of Church teaching that had developed through the centuries.
I have written here some of these traditions that had been “lost” only in the sense that the faithful, tolerated by the clergy for whatever reasons, have abandoned for the sake of convenience and imitation.
Last Sept. 9, we attended the novena Mass in the Church of Our Lady of Compassion in Gardenville Subdivision where once I was the president of the chaplaincy’s pastoral council. By God’s grace, we were able to complete the church in December 1999, four days before the 20th century ended. It was a modest church with a small congregation, but it was completed.
The fiesta is on September 15, tomorrow.
Fr. Segundo Chua is now the chaplain of this church and he did wonderful work in renovating and beautifying the church including installing air conditioning facilities and widening the church ground. The church can seat 250 people comfortably and with generous use of glass, it makes good use of natural lighting. He changed the floor tiles from our modest ones. The church is ideal for a wedding.
Though the physical changes are great, the revival of Church traditions is the most impressive. Many modern practices in the Church resulting from the many innovations in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council had been restored. Some of these innovations were not allowed after the Council and they departed from tradition and teachings. Some even hew to the Protestant practices that have no roots in the Church liturgy or teachings.
Now in Gardenville, women go to church with the traditional veil over their heads and avoid wearing pants. I wrote about the Biblical injunction about pants that I recalled clearly the quote by the late Bishop Manuel Yap in a Mass – “women should not wear the apparel of men.”
I also wrote several times of the importance of respect for the Holy Eucharist, specifically in the reception of Holy Communion. Fr. Chua and his Eucharistic ministers now give communion only on the tongue with the faithful kneeling as it should be and had been for centuries. There is now a movable communion rail that insures the orderly distribution of the Sacred Host.
I wrote about the sacrilege that the reception of the Sacred Host by the hand of the communicants brings. We know, the clergy most especially, that tiny particles of the Host can be left on the hand and yet the communicants do not bother to check. These particles fall into the floor and unconsciously trampled upon. What greater sacrilege can there be?
Of course, the communicant and the people don’t know about the particle of the Host falling to the floor, but it could have been avoided if the Host was received by the tongue with a paten underneath his mouth to catch those tiny specks of the Host.
I commented to Fr. Armando Onion who celebrated the Mass that night that Christ must be generous to Gardenville chaplaincy to be able to find the money for the expenses of the beautified church because the pastor and the faithful respected the Eucharist and the Sacred Liturgy by being in the best disposition to attend the Holy Mass.
Fr. Chua added that the Philippines was not granted an indult or exemption from receiving the Host by the tongue; we simply imitated the Americans who were granted that indult by Rome. But nobody bothered even to just consider the practical aspects of the particle of the Host falling into the floor and stepped on by innocent people. But the priests ought to know but went along with the crowd and convenience.
Another innovation is the praying to St. Michael, the Archangel after the Mass that we used to do until the scramble to modernize. Now is the time that we must restore this prayer and other traditions that make the Catholic Church different from all others. Fr. Chua even plans to initiate the Mass Ad Orientem or the ancient Latin Mass.