dotCommonweal is hosting one of the blogosphere’s usual discussions on liturgy. Some of us note the limitations of the “written internet” as a communications medium. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually host a real-time discussion? That’s why I think Brian’s format is cool.
However, the wires are getting crossed at dotCommonweal, too. Fr Robert Imbelli writes of his parish:
(T)he lower church, where daily Eucharist is celebrated, had been “creatively” renovated in the early seventies. The walls were painted a garish orange; the altar and ambo looked like they were hand-made of wooden crates in the local high school workshop.
Lots of Catholics think the liturgy tussles are about liberals versus conservatives or progressives versus traditionalists. This is untrue.
There’s actually a triangulation afoot.
These days most Christian iconoclasts are pragmatists. They sure aren’t liberals. They usually sit on finance committees. The caricature is that they sit in the back pew, drop a George Washington or two in the Sunday basket, and look for ways to criticize every parish endeavor without lifting a finger to get truly involved.
The real adversary of beauty is a hyper-rational mindset that tries to boil down everything into practicality and functionality. If all we need for a valid Mass is the priest saying the right words with the right substances, who needs any of the frills?
Father Imbelli’s lower church was not uncommon. If the local hardware store had orange paint on sale, it’s more likely his predecessor nabbed that deal. He probably also got the Boy Scouts or the Confirmation Class to paint it for him.
I’ll admit that the post-WWII church culture, including the misreading of Vatican II, emboldened some pastors to cut corners.
Before casting blind aspersions in the liturgy tussles, let’s give ourselves the benefit of accurate information and analysis of the problems.