Leaning on the Everlasting Lingo

Jimmy Mac sent me the CCD pick-up of the CCMA b**** list. I’d already seen it elsewhere in St Blog’s, and I wasn’t going to comment on it, but what the heck.

Here’s my own wish-list of terms the Catholic Right would retire:

reform of the reform: This gets more tired as the years pass. And for progressives it was never about reform for the sake of reform. It was always about the liturgy. And as for the opponents of reform, I recognize that the desire for beauty and loyalty are good things. But why not admit you’re reformers, too? Nothing wrong with that. You can be more or less radical as you wish–just keep focused on the liturgy, please.

John Paul the Great: Can we wait until we’re all dead and buried before consigning our late pope to the upper reaches of history? How about we tackle things in due order? Sainthood first. Then maybe doctor of the Church. We have more doctors than “greats,” don’t you know? A little respect for tradition, please.

The Stuffed Mass. Makes me think of turkey. Or mushrooms. But on a practical front, I have a question: How does this notion jive with the Roman Rite’s prescription for noble simplicity? Isn’t it enough that we have our parishes split into quiet Masses, youth Masses, choir Masses, Latin Masses? Now we want to express our diversity within each potential unit of the liturgy? Now we can have a musical performance attached to a congregational hymn, and it’s the best of both worlds: performance and participation all rolled up into two easy verses, an antiphon, and a trail of frilled functionaries down the main aisle.

Terms I’m glad they didn’t mention:

Assembly: it’s in the GIRM

Paschal Mystery: two words that represent a reality we can’t explain in less than an encyclopedia.

Active participation: they want to edit it and squash it, but they can’t escape from it.

The real challenge is to move beyond the vocabulary, no matter what one’s ideology might be. To live the Gospel, and to serve honorably, skillfully, and with love. Not just talk about it.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to Leaning on the Everlasting Lingo

  1. Todd, I must admit I’m speechless about “your” hit list.
    The term “stuffed Mass” was advanced by Mahrt as clearly a sort of semi-indignant, nose-holding accomodation to very practical concerns and needs of a very diverse set of situations in many, many parishes and cathedrals. And if you’d look at other threads at CMAA/Cafe you’d clearly see that this term and “use” is not championed whatsoever. To the contrary, CMAA VIP’s argue for the complete return to the proper processionals ASAP; I you know this as well. But I think you’d decry that in a heartbeat with as much disdain as you demonstrated in this post. Personally, to link the term to my blogpost… well, I don’t know how to regard that. I’ve never been an absolutist in practice. And that I did not participate in the CMAA “terms” thread you mock attests to that.
    When your animus towards CMAA crosses over to such a two dimensional presentation of your theses about liturgical stuff, I question whether you actually do believe that your experiences, knowledge and remedies present just as much a “one size fits all” prejudice that you ascribe to CMAA’ers and the dread RotR folk. Pomposity and pontification come in all sizes as well.

  2. Todd says:

    I felt like I was treading on the boundary between tongue-in-cheek and a direct poke on this piece. Perhaps it would have been enough to suggest sinking the first term, a most unfortunate addition to the liturgical lexicon.

    Thanks for the corrective on the “stuffed Mass.” I remember Prof Mahrt writing of that somewhere, and I remembered you had linked on it. I am sorry to have lobbed my rotten veggies your way.

    I save most of my disdain for the whole hermeneutic of subtraction: forbidden lists, moratoriums, and the like, regardless from where they come. I know you and many others have devoted decades to giving positive and constructive build-up to the music ministry of the Church. CMAA could look more like you and these others. And less like it does.

    Mockery is a strong word. I don’t know that I have the heart to engage in it. I see recent developments: trading one flawed Roman Missal for another, Jeffrey virtually crowing this week about discouragement in his adversaries, and mainly, I see CMAA getting more snipey as the days pass. Will nothing satisfy them? I doubt it.

    And definitely, there is room to be catholic in the universal approach to music. As long as the people keep singing, I’m good with whatever gets them there. I cannot say the same for many of my Catholic colleagues.

    My wife mentions I’m arrogant, and doubtless others see it. But arrogance and pontification doesn’t necessarily cloud the vision, though I will say CMAA is long past listening to me anyway.

  3. Ditto for my wife’s admonitions my way as well, and I don’t disagree with the contention that “bluster” doesn’t cloud our vision.
    But all that aside, I think that ideology trumps vision, wisdom, charity, practicality, flexibility and common sense in St. Blogs every time.
    Retreat and reconciiation in my own backyard is where I’m at, even at the expense of my affiliation with CMAA if it is an encumbrance upon my sense of well-being.
    Perhaps we Don Quixote’s need to confine our wanderings, and lay down our lances and let the windmills grind on. I might wish to have the detachment of Liam and other sensible fellows, but God didn’t grant me that disposition.
    Peace and out.

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