Throwing In The Towel

I’ve been following NLM these past few weeks, and commenting there a bit. I think they forgot they banned me a number of years ago. My days may already be numbered there–who knows?

Another voice seems to be giving up on liturgical reform, reform2 as I call it. And another, here. It seems like a handful of traditional-leaning Catholics seem to be getting more shrill and more depressed as the past year has unfolded. There is no longer an ally at the top who agrees with “fabrication.” Professor Kwasniewski:

In essence, the conclusion is this: a “reform of the reform” is not, in fact, possible. The Pauline rite is so radical a deconstruction and reconstruction of the Roman liturgy that it does not exist in the same tradition of organic development. It is a new departure, a new thing, not a revision of the old thing that had been handed down over the centuries. As an artificial liturgical entity constructed out of pieces of the Roman heritage combined with modern scholarly inventions, any future reform of it would be no more than a variation on the new theme. The only way forward is not to tinker any more with this “fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product” (as Ratzinger called it in 1992), but to return steadfastly and stalwartly to the Catholic and Roman liturgical tradition embodied in the preconciliar Missal.

Like any missal wasn’t an artificial reconstruction of the Scriptures and tradition. Jesus prayed the Psalms, the Law, and the Prophets. Anything that came after that, blame the Holy Spirit.

This exaltation of a 1570/1962 Missal (sometimes minus the 1962) is just idolatry.

And the criticism of a new departure from the past, well why not? Peter went from fishing nets to preaching in the Temple. The woman at the well went from divorced-and-remarried to apostle. Francis went from millionaire playboy to beggar. Rose of Lima from debutante to convent. Naturally, the converted sing a new song. And mean it.

As for the NLM echo chamber, one commenter at PrayTell (#7) said it well enough:

(they are) clearly not thinking with the Church.

What will come of this? I’m convinced the best course of action is to do nothing. Let them turn the clock back to 1962, 1955, 1946, 1902, or 1570. No doubt because they still embrace the Scriptures, though in an obscured way, some will find fruit. Simply because that’s the way God works. I don’t foresee God abandoning embittered traditionalists.

I think I must acknowledge these brothers and sisters have love. And that love will continue to be expressed in their families and communities. To their gurus and idols, too. But that’s really no different from any of the rest of us. Something worked for us once, and it’s natural to cling to that, and avoid what most definitely did not work for us.

What doesn’t seem to work at all these days is engagement and conversation. All too often it turns sour, and nobody is edified by that.

Rorate Caeli’s kiss-off:

This does not mean that the Novus Ordo is not valid, or that many souls do not benefit from Sacraments and prayers dispensed with the made-up 1960s and 1970s rites, just that they are liturgically gravely deficient, historically untenable, prone to subjective whims and preferences, and simply irreformable. They are what they are, and that is that. While the present is discouraging in many ways, what the decades and centuries to come will bring is quite another matter. Let each one of us make our own effort according to our own state in life. Lest we be misunderstood, we are not gleeful great minds are reaching the same conclusion: it is instead terrifying to contemplate the work that is to be done by generations to come. May God help us  — and them.

And so the re-reform goes out with one last burst of oratory and then we are consigned to the centuries ahead. Auf wiedersehen?

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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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4 Responses to Throwing In The Towel

  1. While I was not around in the 60s and 70s, and feel no fondness for the Extraordinary Form, I do think that the changes in Vatican II were not handled very well.

    That being said, there is no going back, only forward. There are basically two generations of people who have never been to a Latin Mass, and would not be bowled over if they did. If the Reform of the Reform push stuff on people who do not want it, it’s no better than what happened 40 odd years ago.

    Or it’s no better than George Lucas insisting on editing the Original Star Wars Trilogy. (But I am firmly on the side of the Society of the Original Trilogy. #HanSoloshotfirst )

  2. Charles says:

    Peter’s victory dance is disconcerting, and he should be among the first to be mindful of the lack of sensibility of the “R2 is dead” position because that, if those of that opinion are members of CMAA and also accept the premise of Summorum, they’re missing the forest for the trees. No one I’ve ever encountered at the colloquia has ever challenged the efficacy of the Pauline Missal. In point of fact, even Mahrt has time and again affirmed that publicly in plenums there, and plenty of OF’s in English and/or Latin have been celebrated mindful of an ars celebrandi that clearly bespeaks the R2 agendae. I fully realize that Kocik, Peter et al are NOT saying the OF is bereft and wanting, but it is highly unseemly for those academes to wash their hands of any concern for the millions of worshippers who dwell Sunday after Sunday in a liturgical DMZ, and have no clue of what a reformed (whether bent towards your or Rory’s modality or mine) OF can effect within the sincere or seeking soul.
    I have publicly acknowledged that if I were “King of the Liturgy” (in the Titanic sense) I’d slip into the deep mystagogy of the Solemn High Mass in Latin for the remainder of my days, no problem. And I rejoice for those really good people like David Hughes, Ed Schaefer and Mary Ann Carr Wilson were led to situations where that option was provided them by God. But, there are way too many who already are convinced and intransient in their belief that parish liturgy praxis can be turned on a dime. Peter should be more prudent.

  3. Melody says:

    This is quite a statement, “The Pauline rite is so radical a deconstruction and reconstruction of the Roman liturgy that it does not exist in the same tradition of organic development.” I was around when it happened, and didn’t find it *that* radical a departure. It’s always funny how some people are in favor of organic development, until they aren’t. Organic is defined as “developing naturally, not forced or contrived” So, something which just kind of happens, in a grass-roots sort of way, is organic. Like holding hands during the Our Father….oh, wait, not that kind of organic!

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