Consubstantial? Come on. I think the Catholic Church is pulling my leg.

Ok, I’ve given this a couple of days to sink in, and now I have to say something. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, or an old dog that can’t learn a new trick, I have to pipe up about the changes to the catholic Roman Missal (basically, what we say or recite during mass) that I experienced for the first time at mass this week. So here goes.

WHAT on earth are you people thinking?

I’m told the goal was to get closer to the true translation of the old writings. But come on, boys. And I know you are mostly boys. “Consubstantial”? Who are  you kidding? We used to say “one with the father”, referencing Jesus, of course. Now consubstantial makes more sense to you?

I’m sitting here imagining scores of CCD students saying that word, with their cute, juvenile lisps (which they will grow out of) and the look of confusion on their cute little faces. Just think of all the songs whose lyrics you were not sure of throughout your life, and the words you made up to replace the ones you weren’t sure of. Come on, I grew up Catholic. Who can forget “Round young virgin” (Silent Night)?

Photo from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (this is not really God)

And another thing: Many times during the weekly celebration, the priest will say “the Lord be with you” and we would respond “Also with you”. Makes sense right? Well, now we are to say “And with your Spirit”. I have my confused face on right now. Here’s my issue with this. I’ve had no problem wishing peace right back at the priest all these years. He wishes it upon me, I wish it back. It’s a give and take that I accept, sort of a tit for tat that seems like a good deal. I’m good with it. If you wish me peace while walking down the sidewalk, I’ll wish it right back at you, as long as I’m fairly certain you aren’t going to follow it up with a request for money. Or my leather jacket.

So here’s my problem with this whole spirit thing. Why are we separating the person (priest) from his spirit? This hit me as soon as I read it on the nice card they supplied for us in church. Am I only wishing peace upon his spirit, and not the man? AND, if his spirit can be peaceful, does that mean the person is a separate entity and can be other than peaceful? In other words, can the person be a bad ass but as long as his spirit is in good shape, what, he’s ok with us and God? Maybe I’m not making sense. But it makes sense to me. Why the two entities? If we are going to go to the trouble of using an SAT word like “consubstantial” to explain the combination of God/Jesus, why are we then splitting ourselves in two so less  eloquently?

I’ll admit that part of my problem here may be my own agnosticism. But I am just trying to think of the semantically challenged among the flock. I may have also been driven a bit mad by the small child behind us in church continually shouting “Boo Ya” throughout the entire mass. Frankly, if you believe there is a God, words probably don’t matter a fig. Mass was in Latin when I was a kid. I don’t think my mother has ever spoken that ancient language, but she still went. And it meant a lot to her. I may not have the same feelings toward the whole “organized religion” thing, but, hey, if it makes you feel good, and you aren’t starting any wars or committing genocide because of it, what’s the difference.

Since it’s lunch time I think I’ll go become consubstantial with a corned beef Rueben. May you and your spirit have a great day.

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4 thoughts on “Consubstantial? Come on. I think the Catholic Church is pulling my leg.

  1. Okay, I’ll bite. As long as you want to discuss language, if you are referring to the liturgy, that would be “Mass”. A blob of something may have mass, but it is not a proper way to refer to the liturgy. If you want to be a blogger, language and usage counts.

    Perhaps the point of your post is moot, since you refer to yourself as Agnostic, and thus no matter how or why you may choose to parse the language used in the liturgy, your self-described belief system states that the existence of God is unknown, or cannot be known. Perhaps you are Skeptic, tending toward editor. In that case, tighten up your English, and admit the failings of your intellect while spending some time praying for discernment. Ask in faith and it shall come.

    I wish you peace and clarity.

    p.s. And “bad ass” should be hyphenated.

    • Thanks for your comment. I am trying to figure out what bothered you more: my grammatical errors or that I did not show the proper respect for your beliefs. Surely, the lack of capitalization on my part did not confuse you to the point that you believed I was speaking about some sort of “blob” of material. And your dig at my level of intelligence belies your overt concern for my writing abilities. Your agenda seems to be one of belittlement rather than advisement.

      What do you mean by “Perhaps you are Skeptic, tending toward editor.” ? I am not a skeptic, if that is what you are trying to say. There is a difference between skepticism and agnosticism. Look it up, if you like.

      I am amused that you would recommend prayer to an admitted agnostic. However, I know many good people of faith and I respect them for their beliefs as they respect mine. When they offer me prayers, I know it is with kindness and good wishes in their hearts. You probably consider yourself a person of faith, yet you insult and then backhand me with your recommendation. If there is a God, I don’t think he meant for his word to be spread through sarcasm and reproach.

      Thank you again for visiting my blog. Peace and clarity are wonderful things. We should all be lucky enough to find them, but wishing and hoping won’t make that happen.

  2. The word consubstantial was coined in 44 A.D. Later in 325 in the Council of Nicea, the Church canonized this word:

    “Consubstantial” describes the relationship among the Divine persons of the Christian Trinity and connotes that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are “of one being” in that the Son is “generated” (“born” or “begotten”) “before all ages” or “eternally” of the Father’s own being, from which the Spirit also eternally “proceeds.”

    The point of the wording change is to be more accurate (in English) to the sentiment of our prayers and to use language that reveres God. Unfortunately, the Second Order of the Mass (in English) did not do these two things that well.

    Perhaps a link that explains why things changed may help?

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/Missal/

    • Thanks for the information! I guess I truly am just an old dog fighting learning those new tricks.

      I truly do not like the way the word sounds or feels. It just seems so cold and mechanical, compared to the former language.

      But that’s just me. Luckily, we humans are very adaptable and I’m sure, before long, it won’t matter a fig. 🙂

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