Author Topic: Long term effects of giving up smells and bells?  (Read 787 times)

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Offline Matthew

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Long term effects of giving up smells and bells?
« on: July 11, 2015, 10:50:39 AM »
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  • In the Trad world, "smells and bells" is said with disgust and derision, usually as an epithet directed against Indult-affiliated Traditional Catholics.

    The insult basically expresses that there is more to the Catholic Faith than just incense, statues, the Tridentine Mass, bells, pictures, and all the other material trappings of the Faith.

    Appearance is nothing compared to substance.

    Thus far I completely agree.

    HOWEVER.

    That is not to say that smells and bells are worthless, or of no value whatsoever. The Church DOES make use of these things for us imperfect human beings, who live in the material realm. We are not angels.

    I am serious about this. There have been actual heresies along these lines, including the Protestant heresy. They claimed that what was important was our personal relationship with God, and that we didn't need all those Romish trappings to be holy. Remember the Quakers. They forgot that we are flesh as well as spirit.

    Consider this quote from John Adams:
    Quote
    I have this Day been to a Romish Chappell. My Imagination is so full of holy Water, Crossings, Bowings, Kneelings and Genuflections, Images, Paintings, Crucifixs, Velvet, Gold, but above all, the Musick. I am amazed that Luther and Calvin, were ever able to break the Charm and dissolve the spell."


    If the "smells and bells" had this much effect on a Rationalist atheist, do you not suppose they have some effect on Catholics as well?

    Think of all the Catholics in the Resistance -- how many of them ever get to experience Mass anymore as they did back in their SSPX days? How long since they've smelled incense? Attended Benediction? Heard a High Mass? Seen a statue over 12" tall? Heard the full-bodied ringing of some real altar bells? And so forth.

    Now I want to make a couple points here, so there are no misunderstandings.
    Here are some things I firmly believe:

    1. For a short time, there is actually a BOOST to one's Faith as you attend Mass in the catacombs. There is a certain newness, an excitement which aids one in their fervor. But this doesn't last forever.

    2. Obviously not all groups have a choice about "building up" vs. "not building up" a permanent chapel with equipment. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it. Just do your best, and God will take care of you.

    3. But it is the ideal, and any group that can, should. We must not become some kind of protestant iconoclasts that totally downplay the value of "smells and bells" and other Catholic trappings. You know, those people who always have remember the Japanese "Hidden Christians" on their lips. Anyone who suggests upgrading the material elements of Mass is met with accusations of being a "smells and bells" Catholic.

    4. Weekly Mass is in the same category as images, incense, bells, and High Mass. That is to say, it is something that should be considered normal for any Catholic, and seized upon as soon as the opportunity arises. There is no real choice for a Catholic between monthly Mass and weekly Mass. To choose monthly (or worse, sporadic) Mass over weekly Mass, you had better have a good reason.  God is going to judge you, always remember that. "Be honest with yourself; be honest with God."
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    Offline Marlelar

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    Long term effects of giving up smells and bells?
    « Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 11:19:17 AM »
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  • Smells, bells, art, and architecture have a powerful effect in setting a prayerful atmosphere that can carry one through a day or a week or longer.  They are very important.


    Offline jen51

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    Long term effects of giving up smells and bells?
    « Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 11:25:34 AM »
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  • Quote from: Marlelar
    Smells, bells, art, and architecture have a powerful effect in setting a prayerful atmosphere that can carry one through a day or a week or longer.  They are very important.


    I agree. Smells and bells, afterall, played a part in my conversation. They clued me in that something sacred and important was going on, even when I didn't fully understand what was going on at Mass during the beginning. There is a reason that the church has used them for so long- they are used to draw people closer. Sure it's not all about smells and bells, but they sure do help.
    Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.
    ~James 1:27

    Offline Matthew

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    Long term effects of giving up smells and bells?
    « Reply #3 on: July 11, 2015, 11:30:14 AM »
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  • I think it's especially important for the simple -- including children -- to experience these material trappings.

    Perhaps there are some older people who could stay Catholic in a white room with only them and a prayerbook. That's great. But most of us need those material things to help us pray. And children certainly don't start out that "purified" of the world of sense.

    The great saints broke their addiction to consolations -- after many years and much effort. God has to wean each of us from consolations over many years. If He took away too much too soon, we would break. He knows what He is doing.

    But, long story short, children are usually quite attached to pretty things, consolations, the material realm, vocal prayers, and all that.
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    Offline JPaul

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    Long term effects of giving up smells and bells?
    « Reply #4 on: July 11, 2015, 11:38:11 AM »
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  • I think that this is a question of context. The terms are used to deride the indulters specifically because they will be satisfied with the appearance of Catholicism, and in varying degrees will compromise on doctrine as not vital to being a Catholic, and in that context, the shoe fits.

    The so called smells and bells are absolutely integral to the living out of a Christian life but, they mean nothing if they are not an expression of an orthodox Faith which is whole and entire.

    They can be a great help to souls, you might say, fuel in the tank to carry you to Heaven but can do you no good, unless your are already on the bus.

    Indulters have had their Masses while many of us have been exiled for decades from the true sacraments, for insisting upon orthodox doctrine, and a Mass with valid priests, and refusing the all seeing eye of Vatican II peering down at us from the choir loft.

    There are the faithful, and there are The Faithful. In this case, all things are not equal. If they have been right then all along, then all we have endured for so many years has been for naught.

    (I certainly do not believe that is possible)

    As an aside , we see this orientation even among our own.  One simply has to look at some others who are willing to ignore sliding doctrine and clerical ill behavior so as not to upset their Latin Mass potentialities. And still others who will reject valid Traditional sacraments, to wait for "thier guy" to come visit and say Mass.(Perhaps his incense smells better??)

    A lot of folks have no idea what they are doing or where they are going. Clear thinking is rare and many can be easily herded by illogical emotions or expedient self interest.


     

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