That is a surprising status update from Archbishop Soc Villegas who according to my sources is really the one posting on his Facebook account. The new CBCP president is obviously reacting to how so many lay people wanted to be at the sanctuary rather than working at other places in the church and in the Church. No, that's not a typo.
Now let me break it down for you the instances of the lay wanting to be at the sanctuary.
1. Altar boys serving only during high profile Masses like fiestas or when the bishop of Cardinal Tagle is around. But you never see them serve in ordinary Sunday Masses or in daily Masses especially early morning Masses. My guess? Too lazy to get out of bed or to few people to notice him performing.
- Did you see how the boy immediately changed his profile pic? That's an indication.
2. Girls wanting to be like the boys. They want to serve at the altar too.
- what's next women wanting to become priest? Oh yeah, it's already happening.
3. Batallion of EMHCs serving at the Mass.
- Watch the Sunday TV Mass at Studio 23 of Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite and see what I mean. Everybody wants to be seen on TV? Getting the common denominator now?
4. Liturgical dancers always!
- Also on Studio 23 Mass of Fr. Sobrejuanite, even though the Holy See has already outlawed liturgical dance. This practice is not only a certified LITURGICAL ABUSE but it is a public and blatant disobedience of Church liturgical laws? Why is it continuing? Why, because some people don't want to read from the lectionary, they cannot sing, they don't want to be an EMHC because they are not THAT old, but they want to showcase the whole world their Protestant way of worshiping in a Catholic Mass. Period. Oh, and they want to be noticed.
The archbishop also lamented the fact that since most want to be at the sanctuary, nobody wants to serve at the pews, collecting Mass donations, or even working behind the cameras (at the sacristy like what the Mother Butler Guild does, or at the field, after the Mass, like what the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women's League, catechists, Family and Life ministries, etc.) does. Why? Those are thankless jobs! They don't get to be photographed in ACTION with the famous cardinal, nor will they be able to showcase their liturgical prowess, nor will they be able to be spotted by the cameras...
Call me biased but most of the EMHCs I have known, most of the women who have talked to me about eh RIGHT of a young girl to serve at the altar, as an altar boy (yeah someone told me that) and how some nuns long to be priest (by offering the Mass, and yes, some of them still profess that they are Catholic) all boils down to one thing and one thing only...
NARCISSISM! The lays who desire to be at the sanctuary, dignifying their "vocation" or "calling" to be at the altar boils down with the selfish intent to be the center of attraction, to be at the most glamorous position, to be in a position of fame, to be given that title and prestige!
Blame it on liturgists like Fr. Anscar Chupungco and Fr. Genaro Diwa who like to quote and claim lay empowerment and active participation. It is through their faults and those two alone who taught the lay that the best way to actively participate at the Mass is TO DO the Mass, (by being at the sanctuary) and not by PRAYING the Mass!
We call them learned men, scholars of liturgy, world class liturgist, but looking at the state of the Mass in the Philippines, how each and every parish has its own way of interpreting the liturgical books, makes you wonder if we really do have working liturgists in the country.
With the state of the lay desiring to be more at the sanctuary rather than stay at the pews and "go out into the world", it won't be far fetched to have a Mass like this in the future. Almost the pews are empty because everyone is at the sanctuary.
Most of our laity spend too much time at the church forgetting that their main calling is NOT to work at the church, but to work at THEIR church, the domestic church, THEIR VERY OWN FAMILIES.
THIS IS THE VOCATION OF THE LAITY!
Not to spend too much time at the Parish Council! Nor to spend too much time doing what a priest must do!
We cannot totally blame the layman for this. The parish priest is at fault too for too much lay empowerment, for too much active participation, for too much CLERICALIZATION OF THE LAITY.
Indeed this must be corrected!
In this Year of the Laity declared by the Filipino bishops, the laity must remember their role in the Church, their chosen vocation. They are not called to spend too much time doing what the parish priest wants him to do. He must fulfill his/her role as parent, as son/daughter...
If most of the lay think this way, then woe to us!
We would not have great saints like Mother Teresa, or St. Therese or St. Francis who found their calling and vocation by serving at the foot of the altar, not at the altar. Mother Teresa served the poor when the world abandoned them. Would our EMHCs do what she did?
St. Therese taught us that in everything we do, ordinary things we must do it with extraordinary love. You can fulfill simple tasks and chores even though you are not at the sanctuary during that Mass.
St. Francis chose not to be ordained a priest because he felt unworthy of the call, so he became a permanent deacon. Shame on those nuns who continue to disobey Christ who did not ordain women!
Blessed John Paul II in Christifidelis Laici said: "The vocation of the lay faithful to holiness implies that life according to the Spirit expresses itself in a particular way in their involvement in temporal affairs and in their participation in earthly activities."
Stop desiring the job of the priest.
You are a layman by virtue of your baptism, confirmation and chosen vocation!
Your contribution to your local church is edifying. But first things first. Your job is at HOME.