Sunday, 27 November 2011
Vassula and the Liturgy
I would like to make a few remarks on this topic because of things said elsewhere, but first of all I would like to say how difficult it is to say anything in defence of TLIG and Vassula, especially when others people are mentioned. There was a case not so long ago where a priest was almost deprived of everything because of a seriously false accusation based on some photographs. He was accused on concelebrating at a non-Roman Mass. The charge was false but it took quite a while to deal with this and one priest especially suffered greatly as a result. Often what appears to be the case is NOT the case. Vassula is often accused of being "disobedient" in one form or another, but this has to be seen in context. Intercommunion has been mentioned. Vassula personally visited the Unity Office at the Vatican, some years ago, and was told that in the case of the Roman Liturgy, on the TLIG pilgrimages, it would be acceptable to invite non-Roman Christians to receive Holy Communion. This was regarded as an "exception" and we have often told pilgrims that they are not allowed to do this "at home". Also, at the suggestion of the person consulted at that time (in the Vatican), non-Roman clerics could be invited to stand near the altar (not around it) in their liturgical robes during the Mass. To some this might look like concelebration - it is not! We have a TLIG policy document (which I helped to draft) which specifically states that we DO NOT encourage or ALLOW concelebration. As far as Holy Communion in Orthodox liturgies are concerned we have always honoured the local community and the bishop and where we have received Communion it has always been at the invitation of the archimandrite (in one case) or the bishop (in more than once case). We are now extremely careful in such matters and Vassula has NEVER encouraged disobedience to Church rules in such matters. having said all that I am not going to say that mistakes have not occurred. In the messages Vassula admits that she made a mistake in at least one case, but this was because she did not have enough knowledge about such things. Similarly there are people (and sometimes even priests) coming on retreat who seem to be ignorant of some matters. It is never possible to personally guide each individual in such matters and in any group or organisation there are always going to be "loose canons". The same applies in the Church itself. Do we condemn the whole Church because of innocent - and sometimes not so innocent - mistakes? If there have been rogue theologians in the Church and troublesome lay-people (take Austria as a present example) do we thereby condemn the Pope or local bishop by association or the whole local or universal Church? I can state categorically - in case anyone wants to know - that I have personally NEVER encouraged anyone to be disobedient to Church norms in these matters.