The Catholic Culture Podcast: 99 – Ashes and Elitists

Feb 26, 2021This Ash Wednesday, following a note from the Congregation for
Divine Worship and the Sacraments, many American parishes did not
distribute ashes in the customary way of smudging a cross on the
forehead and saying one of two possible formulas to each recipient.
Instead, as an ostensible anti-COVID precaution, they sprinkled
ashes on the top of the head and said the formula once to the whole
Today’s guest, Gail Finke, wrote a thought-provoking article,
not so much on the appropriateness of changing the usual practice
this year because of the pandemic, but on an attitude so often
taken in discussing Ash Wednesday every year.
There is a certain spiritual elitism which regards concern for
the external rite, including the rare opportunity to explicitly
witness to the faith in a public way, as the province of those of
little or superficial faith, or even of the vain. If someone
objects to a seemingly unnecessary change, he is said to be overly
concerned with the inessential. Yet the experience of the past
several decades has shown us definitively that the elimination of
“inessential” devotions has had catastrophic effects on the faith
of Catholics.
External expressions of devotion are important. The little
things which set Catholics apart are important. Constant change and
disorientation are not good for the people of God. The assumption
that those who object to it must have little faith is arrogant. The
indifference to the reality that the large number who do have weak
faith will easily fall away when denied the rites of the
Church—“you don’t need to go to Mass, just make a spiritual
communion”—is callous and legalistic.
Watch on YouTube:
Gail Finke, “Are We Going to Throw Out Ash Wednesday Too?”

Are We Going to Throw Out Ash Wednesday Too?

Thomas Humphries, “The Case of the Great Pandemic Liturgical
Driving Home the Faith radio show produced by Gail
Ep. 84, Disobey Lockdown Now w/ Douglas Farrow and Andrew Busch
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