The Thomas Mass and Father Richard Rohr

world | Jun 24, 2007 | By Stephanie Block

The Thomas “Mass”

 

Richard Rohr’s “catholicism”

 

By Stephanie Block

 

While Jim Wallis was launching his new political movement to co-opt the Catholic vote, Fr. Richard Rohr was there to co-opt the Catholic faith.

 

One reporter gushed with enthusiasm over “a very powerful ecumenical Communion service known as the Thomas Mass on Sunday morning. It was a tangible and credible example of what the Holy Spirit can do when allowed to flow through us. When together we sang ‘They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love,’ my heart overflowed with the possibilities. I wondered, what if all our actions as Christians led others to Jesus because they were performed with love rather than with moral judgment, arrogant certitude or required duty? What if we were truly recognized by our genuine love for one another? How much good could be accomplished then?” [Pauline Hovey, “Conference Brings Gospel Message into Public Arena,” Catholic Herald, Diocese of Arlington, 1-19-2006]

 

What is this Thomas “Mass?”

 

At the Emerging Worship website for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Office of Theology and Worship, Rev. John Wesley explains his experiences while on sabbatical in Finland.  He had earlier met people who were extolling the St. Thomas “Mass” as a European model for postmodern worship, claiming “this worship service was having a significant impact on worship in northern Europe.” Wesley wanted to see for himself.

 

Since the St. Thomas “Mass” community began in Helsinki, at the Lutheran cathedral, that’s where he headed as part of his sabbatical itinerary.  The pastor of the cathedral community had been frustrated by a worship attendance that was only ten percent of church members.  “His church was drowning in a sea of Enlightenment rationalism. He did not believe Finns were antagonistic toward God, but they were not being moved by the sterile ritual of the church.”  W



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