Rorate Caeli

Praise be to Jesus Christ! Aldo Maria Valli on the importance of a forgotten salutation

Aldo Maria Valli
H/T Riscossa Cristiana

February 1, 2019
Quite frankly, I think a priest should always – and I underline always – greet by  using the formula: “Praise be to Jesus Christ”, and the interlocutor should necessarily reply “May He always be praised”. I think this greeting is very beautiful and in a simple and immediate way renders praise to Jesus by putting Him in first place with regard to everything else.  I’d go further: for me even lay Catholics ought to greet each other like this.
And instead...

Instead, the formula has been cast into oblivion and priests don’t even use it anymore in their homilies. Perhaps they begin with a “good morning “ and end namelessly. And at the end of the celebration? Perhaps they say “have a good Sunday!” and “have a good week!”
On the other hand, why be surprised since the priest has been virtually transformed into a television presenter equipped with a microphone? Why be surprised when we have the priest as an entertainer in the place of the celebrant? Why be surprised when the worship of God has been substituted by the worship of man?
One of my readers when questioning  the fact that priests before and after the homily no longer say “Praise  be to Jesus Christ”, one religious replied: “The Missal doesn’t include this salutation. It doesn’t prohibit it but doesn’t consider it fitting since it is deduced by the preaching before i.e. outside the Mass. The homily is part of the Mass; the faithful have already been greeted at the beginning.”
What kind of answer is that? Apart from the fact that I believe the formula was not included even before (but I’m not certain) this here is about good liturgical and spiritual manners. We are, shall we say, at the a b c of our relationship with Our Lord Jesus. The way of greeting my Lord Jesus must not be reduced to being deduced by the  codes! And what does “the faithful have already been greeted” mean?  If Jesus is in first place, isn’t it perhaps better to greet Him one time more rather than one time less ? Well, following the same logic, when a mother teaches her child to use the words “please” and “thank you” the child could say: “I already said it yesterday! Besides, it’s not written in any law!”
How wonderful it was when John Paul II, in his booming voice, the evening of October 16th 1978, greeted the crowds with “Praise be to Jesus Christ!”  Here we already had the program of  his papacy..
Saying “good morning” or “good evening” or using other worldly formulas at the beginning and end of a homily add to eliminating any difference between the space and time of the sacred, reserved for God, and the space and time of the profane. It is an effective way of homogenizing and mixing everything.  Like this, though, the Church is not rendered closer to men. Like this you simply get farther away from God and the sacred is no longer respected.
If it were up to me, I’d even use the Latin formula “Laudetur Jesus Christus!”. To which one has to respond “Nunc et semper!”
Nowadays we have primary school children who call the parish priest “Don” and when they greet him they say “Ciao Don”  The poor children. Trapped by democracy. They are made incapable of recognizing and thus respecting authority. Nobody will ever tell them that the priest is an alter Christus.
Now someone will label me a “tradtionalist”, but I couldn’t care less.
Form is substance and those who say the contrary are frauds.
Those who no longer say “Praise be to Jesus Christ” and tolerate the addressing of  a priest with “Ciao Don” are the same that say kneeling and folding hands in prayer aren’t important, because “what we have in our hearts is more important” all the rest is hypocrisy. But  man is not only spirit. Man is spirit and body and the attitude of the body influences (and how!) what we have in our hearts.
In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis is very clear about this. The experienced devil, Screwtape, advises the young devil in training, Wormwood,  his nephew, to do all he can to “spiritualize” the faith of the person entrusted to his “care”. Teach him not to bend his knees, Screwtape suggests, and soon you will own him.  Convince Christians “that the position of the body has no sway in their prayers”! Do what you can, adds Screwtape, for them to forget “constantly what you must always remember”, and that is “that they are animals and whatever their bodies do, affects their souls!”
I think today Screwtape can be truly satisfied. In fact he says” One of our greatest allies, at present, is the Church itself.” 
Who can fault him?
Praise be to Jesus Christ!
Translation: Contributor  Francesca Romana