Liturgy: May 2007 Archives

What's "Gather us In" in Latin?


"For one thing, Catholics old enough to remember the pre-Vatican II Mass know that it’s as capable of being celebrated in drab, uninspiring fashion as any other rite." - John Allen

Allen does say something I agree with - namely that those anxious for the old rite will be disappointed when they see that it can be celebrated irreverently and abusively. I suppose some might say that at least there won't be any "hippie music", though I would caution them not to underestimate the lengths to which liturgists will go to undermine all things traditional.

Not that I'm against this motu proprio business, not at all. I think it's immensely important, just not in the way you might think. My hope is that a wider availability of the traditional rite will cause both to influence each other over the next few decades so that the next missal will preserve what is best from each of them and will be an elegant and organic development of traditional Catholic worship.

Hopefully I'll be alive to see it.

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Boo John Allen


John Allen disappointingly plays to his audience in the NY TImes op-ed on the Pope's anticipated motu proprio loosening the restrictions on using the 1962 Missal for Mass.

In any event, the real impact of Benedict’s ruling is likely to be measured in small changes over a long arc of time, not in upheavals or revolutions. That reality, however, will do little to lower the rhetorical volume. If only we could convince the activists to slug it out in Latin, leaving the rest of us blissfully oblivious, then we might have something.

This is shameful language. Not the long arc part - that's true and it's a good thing. I mean the part where he audibly exhales in exasperation and casts a pox upon both the Blefescuian trads and Lilliputian liberals.

He's right of course, in that most Catholics don't care, won't know what the motu proprio is (or even what that Latin phrase means) and won't notice anything different when it is released. What he doesn't address is whether those are good things. It is obviously not good and a sign of spiritual malaise that the average Catholic is ignorant about his spirtual patrimony, but Allen here laughs it off as a big-end/little-end squabble.

Is the Mass the source and summit of our Catholic lives? If so, is it a concern that many Catholics probably couldn't tell you what the Real Presence is? Or that others find the Mass at their local parish so spiritually uninspiring that they worship at schismatic traditionalist chapels? These are serious questions that touch on the center of the Catholic faith, not peripheral issues. What Allen dismisses as a food-fight between partisan "activists" is actually a discussion about the very substance of Catholicism. By liberalizing use of the old missal, the pope will be making an emphatic statement in that conversation.

Sure, Allen doesn't have to be an apologist, but with a slot in the NY Times, Allen had a teaching moment. He could have taken any number of angles that would have demonstrated the mystery and importance of the Eucharistic celebration in the Catholic life. Instead, he proudly proclaimed how embarrassed he is that his crazy uncles won't shut up.

Thanks for nothing.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Liturgy category from May 2007.

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