Loopy liturgy: symptom, not disease

St. Jimbob asks: “If the Tridentine Rite is so devotion inspiring, then why is it that the generation that was born and raised with it the same ones to bring in the guitars, dancers, and EEMs?”

What a great question, one that I’ve been pondering off and on since my last trip to a Tridentine Mass. Something was going on in the 50’s, early 60’s, and even before, that led hordes of Catholics everywhere to delightedly chuck the old Latin Mass and embrace legions of imitators of Peter, Paul, and Mary (and not Sts. Peter, Paul, and Mary). Something prompted the switch from Gregorian to 70’s-sitcom-jingle. Contrary to the rose-colored dreams of traditionalists everywhere, the Golden Age was gilded at best, or we would never have ended up where we are. A healthy ecclesial culture just does not throw itself to the garbage heap.

So, from the myopic point of view of a newish convert who is mightily drawn toward the traditional, here are some hypotheses about why there wasn’t massive revolt against the liturgical nightmare that happened after the second Vatican Council (and as Pope Benedict states in his new book on Jesus, these aren’t magisterial so feel free to contradict me):

Catechesis. This is self-explanatory. If Catholics really knew their Faith, and why things were done as they were for centuries, then they would not have rejected everything surrounding the Tridentine Rite. That does not mean that reforms weren’t needed or possible; the Pauline Rite can be celebrated with dignity and reverence. The problem is that in most places, it isn’t. And very few people seem to care.

Latin. It pains me to even propose this, but as a corollary to the first hypothesis, the continued use of Latin in the liturgy in a time when few people understand a word of it is not a recipe for success. Yes, I know, it enhances the feeling of ethereality in the liturgy; it preserves the text of the Mass from liturgical innovators (mainly because most of them don’t know Latin either); it is an indubitable link with our past. But, if the people don’t understand it, it just won’t work. As I have argued before, and still maintain, the problem is not with English per se, it is with banal English and bad theology, compounded by liturgical minimalism. And, as the Holy Father argues in Sacramentum Caritatis:

Similarly, the better-known prayers of the Church’s tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant.

There is no reason why the faithful cannot be taught a little bit of Latin, as well as the English text corresponding, but a reverently-celebrated English liturgy, admixed with bits of Latin to cement our patrimony, is the best answer for today.

Culture. The Church of the 1950’s, because of poor catechesis, was ripe for being swept away by the massive cultural changes of the 60’s. There is no way to argue around that verdict of history. We had few links with the vast resources available to counter the seductive lies of the Sexual Revolution and the general atmosphere of radical individualism of the 60’s and 70’s. It is no wonder that Catholics ignored Humanae Vitae; and, it’s no surprise that we embraced liturgical madness. It goes right along with the prevailing society. (And might I also suggest that our current vocations crisis is directly related to Catholic acceptance of contraception and “family planning”? Fewer children equals fewer priests and religious, but it’s even worse than that because Mom and Dad are not going to want Johnny becoming a priest, or Susie becoming a nun, when he and she are the only hopes of carrying on the family name.)

There are many signs of hope that my generation and younger are coming out of the collective insanity of the Baby Boomers and realizing that reverence and transcendence do matter. But, using the Tridentine Rite as a bandage is not going to heal the wound. Recovering a knowledge of the Faith–and more than that, recovering a sense of the numinous–is what we need. The Motu Proprio will be nice, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think it’s a panacea…or will be much help at all.

Advertisements

18 Responses to “Loopy liturgy: symptom, not disease”


  1. 1 The Other Chad May 21, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    It’s a great question and one that keeps me from identifying myself as a traditionalist, though many points draw me.

    It also makes me instantly suspicious of all cause&effect arguments used to deride a holy, ecumenical council (e.g. “look at all the obvious satanic results!!”)

    I think the biggest causeof the whole fallout was two things happening at once: a loosening of rules by the Church (often as well-intentioned options for encouraging diversity and resourcement) mixed with a societal upheaval.

  2. 2 The Other Chad May 21, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Oh, and I blame hippies.

  3. 3 Edmund C. May 21, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    I think the biggest cause of the whole fallout was two things happening at once: a loosening of rules by the Church (often as well-intentioned options for encouraging diversity and resourcement) mixed with a societal upheaval.

    I hadn’t thought about loosening of rules as being a cause of this mess. I think there’s a lot of truth in that, but I wonder if loosening rules in a context of good catechesis would have caused as big a problem. With the hippies around, I don’t know…

  4. 4 actar.wordpress.com May 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    After looking into a number of the blog posts on your web site,
    I seriously like your technique of writing a blog.
    I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking
    back soon. Take a look at my web site too and tell me your opinion.

  5. 5 extra-earning.com June 12, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I am not certain where you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend a while studying more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  6. 6 womens fashion jewelry June 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Hello.This article was really remarkable, especially because
    I was investigating for thoughts on this issue last Tuesday.

  7. 7 Customized Paracord bracelets June 24, 2013 at 5:12 am

    If that wearer is you, then be sure to select charms that have deep personal meaning.
    Celtic jewelry, as the name suggests, is the representation of
    Celtic symbols in jewelry. Your sapphire and diamond jewelry is best stored
    in a fabric-lined case with separate compartments.

  8. 8 music sharing July 9, 2013 at 5:27 am

    This business plan is tailor made for the solo operator.
    This music licensing company charges a larger fee but it is worth paying.

    If you are an act that releases product oftent than this method will slow you down.

  9. 9 frontier cable July 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Great site. Lots of useful info here. I am sending it to some pals ans
    additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks in your effort!

  10. 10 fitness mobile phone apps July 19, 2013 at 3:53 am

    When someone writes an post he/she maintains the idea of a user in his/her brain that how a
    user can know it. So that’s why this post is outstdanding. Thanks!

  11. 11 clairol beautiful collection gray solution hair color | GRAYHAIRCURE.NET July 21, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Not that Diana Briggs was exceptionally beautiful; she only
    seemed so in gray hair nutritional deficiency comparison with the baldness treatment minoxidil is
    also being assessed.

  12. 12 help me sleep August 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    magnificent put up, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t realize this. You must continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base
    already!

  13. 13 raspberry ketones September 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    My partner and I stumbled over here different web page and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking
    into your web page again.

  14. 14 stocks xd March 12, 2014 at 11:03 am

    This is a topic which is near to my heart… Many thanks! Where
    are your contact details though?

  15. 15 Reta April 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit this site, for the reason that
    i want enjoyment, since this this site conations actually good funny information too.

  16. 16 hotels.com coupon code aug 2014 ,hotels.com couponsvt ,hotels.com discount code june 2014 uk July 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could
    do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  17. 17 serrurier vachette paris 13 July 15, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    great points altogether, you just received a new reader.
    What may you recommend about your post that you simply made some days in the past?
    Any sure?

  18. 18 novoline online kostenlos spielen August 22, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Simply desire to say your article is as surprising. The clarity in your post is just spectacular and i could
    assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to
    keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





%d bloggers like this: