I sort of called him out, so I’m glad Shawn responded on that thread below about my standing challenge to pick a topic, focus it, and have a two-sided chat about it on some kind of amicable level.

Shawn wrote, “As for a discussion and debate, until we have the Church and her organic tradition and official decrees as our common point of reference, it cannot happen.”

Yet I don’t see a problem with taking an official decree as a starting point for discussion. Visitors to my web site are bored with — I mean they notice I’m covering all the Vatican II documents. Been at it over a year now. I also don’t have a problem with taking a historical point of reference and going from there.

“I haven’t lost any nerve, but I’m also not terribly keen on wasting my time and breath, when I already have posted positions quite publically and thoroughly elsewhere, and where you have the ability to respond, including in private email if you deem it necessary.”

I don’t think your blog nor your responses are a waste of breath. However, if your expectation is to convert me to your opinions on prudential judgments or matters of taste, then I think you have your priorities out of kilter. I happen to think our discussions are helpful for the present and future state of worship in our mutual parishes and a little bit, in the Church as a whole. My blog traffic goes up when I post on liturgy. I’m sure my forays at NLM poke your hit counter a bit, too.

“Ultimately, Todd, who you are going blow by blow with is the Church, her tradition, and her decrees not with me.”

This is where I would worry about myself if I were elevating personal opinions to the level of Tradition. Here’s a list of Shawn’s posts on NLM the past few days:

– An interview with three persons about the upcoming CIEL conference
– A criticism of a published commentary favorable to liturgical dance
– The story behind the founding of a FSSP parish in the Netherlands
– A reprint of an editorial by architect Duncan Stroik
– A link to angry Anglo parishioners upset with their bishop for having a mostly Spanish Confirmation Mass and some commentary
– The discovery of a Psalter manuscript from the first millennium

Nice stuff, but nothing of the stature of the Church, tradition, or decrees. In fact, I’m probably in agreement with Shawn regarding dance as professional performance in liturgy. But there’s nothing in the main topics of these posts that has anything directly to do with big-T Tradition.

What there is room for interesting discussion on would be any of these topics:
– the place of metrical psalmody anywhere in liturgy
– how would one introduce congregational plainsong in non-Eucharistic services, especially baptism and weddings
– which traditional chants are best suited for the catechumenate rites
– Trappist architecture
– the merits of particular music programs in any parish

I’m sure our readers could think up a few more.

Let me say the excuse that I’m not sufficiently orthodox is … um, well, baloney. At least you can’t say the progressive side was never willing to engage you.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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