Zombie Liturgy?

Mark Johnson of Australia hits hard at MR3 and the exaltation of “a ‘zombified’ liturgy”:

Vernacular is a living language, and is more in harmony with our essential reason for being: to proclaim the Living God, not one expressing the static and past interests expressed in a dead language. It is important to appreciate that language is not divorced from life.

Rather, it is expressive of it, organically so. A dead language is such because the culture it was once expressive of is no longer. Merely translating such a language, out of place and time, is to adhere to arcane interests and cling to a corpse.

…The Good News is not about secrecy. The Good news is not about special languages by which only initiates will nod in exclusive and excluding assent. The Good News is not about a restless and never-ending search for the perfect liturgical language – as if the current push for the arcane will be the last.

The problem with the MR3 is less about vocabulary and more about usage. It’s also about authenticity. Instead of the structure of a dead language being used to burnish a vernacular, why not let the best of the vernacular shine? Poetic short sentences. A substantial variety of words and expressions.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Zombie Liturgy?

  1. Liam says:

    Poetic short sentences are great. But poetic long sentences can be, too. It’s just that the syntax is different from Latin. Pleonasms may be restrained in England, but American usage is rich with them; again, though, differently than Latin.

    God forbid someone who thinks Strunk & White is a good guide to prosody be let near translations of this sort. (Strunk & White is good for academic essays. Otherwise, use with caution.)

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