Confronting liturgical abuse
John Loughnan's web site shows some success in confronting liturgical abuse.
On about 15 April 2003 he wrote to Archbishop Hart expressing concern about gluten free hosts. Archbishop Hart replied that he would investigate and on 22 December 2003 he wrote that he had contacted suppliers about the exact content of the hosts, without receiving a reply. The Bishop's Committee for Liturgy at the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference had directed that all suppliers "be contacted so as to ensure that what is being supplied conforms to the requirements of the Church as expressed in Cardinal Ratzinger's letter."
According to this letter, of 24 July 2003:
"1. Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.
2. Low-gluten hosts (partially gluten-free) are valid matter, provided they contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread ..."
A copy of the letter is in the November 2003 Newletter of the U.S.A.'s BCL at nccbuscc.org/liturgy/innews/1103.htm
I think John Loughnan is justifiably concerned that Tarrawarra Eucharistic Breads continue to have "gluten free" hosts advertised on their website eucharisticbreads.com.au/orderbreads.htm If they are gluten free the Church teaches they are not valid matter. If they are not gluten free people may be harmed by taking them.
On 1 January 2004 John Loughnan wrote to his parish priest about disregarding instructions regarding vestments, changing texts, bowing, genuflecting, washing hands, putting a portion of the host in the chalice, some of the congregation saying the doxology, leaving the sanctuary for the Sign of Peace and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion receiving Communion too early.
Over the next few months he also wrote to Archbishop Hart, Archbishop Canalini (the Apostolic Nuncio) and Monsignor Thomlinson (the Vicar General) about the liturgical abuses of his parish priest.
Archbishop Hart appears to have written on 7 April 2004:
"Dear Mr Loughnan,
"Your parish priest will soon return to the parish. It has come to my notice that your behaviour in note-taking, criticism and confrontation have had a seriously harmful effect, both on the health of the parish priest and on the wellbeing of the parishioners.
"When you come to celebrate the Eucharist your concentration must be on the worship of God, united with the people of the parish with the priest whom I have appointed as parish priest, and not on the observance or non-observance of minute prescriptions.
"For the welfare of the parish and of its priest, I therefore direct that if you choose to attend Mass at Lilydale you are to do so in an unobtrusive manner and you are to have no contact whatever with Father Langridge and are not to function as reader or minister of the Eucharist.
"I regret the necessity to impose these restrictions, which apply as of today's date, but I do so because of your disruptive behaviour, which has caused great concern to many parishioners and is totally unacceptable.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Denis J. Hart
Archbishop of Melbourne"
John Loughnan replied that he would appeal to the Vatican about this decision. Archbishop Hart responded with a longer letter on 20 April 2004, which included:
"I therefore requested that you refrain from acting as reader or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion for the good of the parish and so as not to pressurize Father Langridge. I have asked you to position yourself quietly in the church in order to aid this restoration of normal order in the parish I have no difficulty at your presenting yourself for Holy Communion, which is the right of all the faithful who are properly disposed, but I suggest that you do not have contact with Father Langridge for the foreseeable future outside of the liturgy, so that the situation can settle down."
I think the letters speak for themselves. Archbishop Hart had not "requested", "asked" or suggested. He had decided to "impose these restrictions".
On 12 May 2004 John Loughnan wrote a letter of appeal to Cardinal Arinze.
I think this incident highlights the difficulty of addressing liturgical abuses in this archdiocese. But it is encouraging that people are prepared to try.
By J.R. Lilburne, 17 May, 2004. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.