Let's put the pew where it belongs! In the...err...garden! Yeah!
A new campaign has been started called 'Lose the Pews: Pews Lead to Snooze, Drools and Booze'. The pew has long been thought to have been an invention of the Devil, introduced into Catholic Churches, probably as a result of masonic infiltration of the Church, a wicked scourge of holiness among the laity, a cause of untold numbers of lapsations and general, in-Mass sloth and mindlessness!
How much more room would there be in Catholic Churches if there were no pews but for a few around the side of the Church for the elderly and infirm? Even if Church attendance is down overall, at least all the Poles would fit into your local parish Church if you removed the pews and they wouldn't have to be queuing half a mile down the block hearing Mass, the pious Poles that they are!
Let us examine, in brief, the disasterous effect of the pew upon the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass...
1. We can say that the pew has had a negative impact on the Mass because it is not really used that much anyway...So why is it there?! At Mass we sit down during the reading from the Old Testament, the Epistle and the homily. That's about 5 minutes for the readings and 15-20 minutes for the homily. That's 25 minutes at the most in your average Mass. I think we can stand or kneel for that amount of time without suffering a heart attack and anyway, even if we do, at least we'll have died in Church, hopefully in a State of Grace! The whole point about Mass is that we are genuflecting every 5 minutes anyway, to remind ourselves of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and in the Tabernacle. The pews only hinder this...So, lose the pews!
2. What is the effect on the body and soul of the communicant of the pew? Comfort. Comfort?! At Mass!? The only comfort we should be receiving at Mass is the Consolation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts! And why do we not always receive such consolation? Why? It is because the pew has comforted our arses and we're sitting down, so we're drifting in our thoughts and thinking about whether we left the iron on, when we should be kneeling and thinking upon the great Mystery of the Mass! Did the Desert Fathers retreat into the wilderness, survive on cacti and pray always in the interior of their heart that they may always be in receipt of God's mercy, just so they could sit comfortably and sit on pews?! No! So lose the pews! If one of the Desert Fathers walked into a Catholic Church and saw a pew, he'd probably take them all outside, chop them all and turn them into Jesus Prayer beads and, most likely, single-handedly rescue the Building Fund by selling Jesus Prayer beads outside the Church door made from pews! One by flippin' one he do those pews! One by flippin' one!
3. Our Blessed Lord said, "Let your yes be yes and your no be no." That is 'kneel' or 'stand'. Surely sitting down is that ambiguous middle ground so despised by Our Lord! He couldn't stand all that shilly-shallying, oh what should I do, procrastination nonsense! "Are you mice or men!?," He would ask us with burning Charity! If we are kneeling then we are paying reverence and devotion to God throughout the Mass as He wishes. If we are standing then we are listening attentively to the Holy Gospel and the priest's fantastic and riveting homily on the Holy Faith! If we are sitting then what are we doing? Neither. Probably thinking about lunch or worse,the 'Big Match' live on Sky at 12pm in the pub between Fulham and Middlesborough, or some other sport even more tedious, like who can run the fastest...or worse, Grand Prix! You and I know how sordid and downright dangerous the imagination is when left to wander aimlessly and we leave it to wander at our peril, and we do it at our peril the most when, in all places, in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we take our focus of the Mass and think only of frivolousness! So lose the pews! The Court of Heaven are above our heads like in that painting of the Funeral of Count Orgaz by El Greco! And we're sitting down!? Shame on us that we don't kneel incessantly! So, lose the pews!
4. How much greater would our simplicity and our desire for holiness be if we knelt at times when we currently sit, knelt on hard, wooden floor that hurts our knees!? How much more devotion to the sufferings of Christ would we have if all the way through Mass we were thinking, "Oh Lord! My knees are flippin' killing me! And my legs can't sustain my body weight! I can't stop trembling! Still, I offer You this discomfort in union with the sufferings of my Saviour upon the Cross!" Oh yes, we'd soon be offering up our sufferings for the souls in Purgatory, the conversion of sinners and the liberty and exaltation of Our Holy Mother the Church. We'd be offering up everything, our knees, our arms, our hearts and most likely, thousands would be offering their lives in the Holy Priesthood or Religious Life. Oh yes! In a matter of weeks people would be saying, "Vocations crisis!? What vocations crisis?! Now we've removed the pews we've more Priests than we could possibly have imagined!"
5. Parishes could sell their pews and donate them to their Building Restoration Funds. Baptists, Pentecostals and other protestants could have our pews and pay us blinking good money for more important matters, like moving the Altar right back in the Sanctuary so that only the Traditional Latin Mass could be offered before Almighty God, to the joy of Laity, Priests and Bishops everywhere. So, lose the pews! Yeah!