Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Henry's take on the beauty of the TLM:

Far from criticizing the TLM nor the bulk of those who attend it, Dr. Rowland's Sacra Liturgia lecture was strongly supportive of the TLM in emphasizing its importance for the new evangelization, implying that Church leaders (I read "bishops" here) should recognize this and encourage the TLM accordingly. The remark about antiquated dress was peripherealin some final remarks where she was suggesting ways to encourage wider TLM participation. In contrast with all this "noise" stemming from the CNS video that appeared edited to present an emphasis that belied her arguments warmly in favor of the TLM, some of what she actually said in the main body of her presentation:

“I want to argue that the usus antiquior is an antidote to the ruthless attacks on memory and tradition and high culture, typical of the culture of modernity, and that it satisfies the desire of the post-modern generations to be embedded within a coherent, non-fragmented tradition that is open to the transcendent.”

“The project of the 1960s generation was one of transposing a high sacral language into the vernacular of a low mundane culture, with the result that something sacred became more mundane, and when the sacred becomes mundane, it becomes boring.”

“The 1960s generation dismantled a high Catholic culture by removing its cornerstone and they left subsequent generations of Catholics in a state of cultural poverty, confusion and boredom. A Catholic who is ignorant of [the usus antiquior] is like a student who majors in English literature but is unfamiliar with Shakespeare.”

“It would be a major advance if those responsible for liturgical decisions could at least get the message that modernity has not been fashionable since the 1960s. Elements of Catholic culture which were suppressed by the 1960s generation of pastoral leaders are being rediscovered by younger Catholics who treat them like treasures found in their grandmother’s attic. Catholics of the post-modern generations want to know how the Church looked, how the faith was practiced, when there was a coherent Catholic culture.”

“The whole structure of the usus antiquior engenders a deeper sense that there is a sacrifice, not a mere meal… There is really no greater antidote to secularism and what Pope Francis calls a ‘self-referential Christianity’ than a reflection on martyrdom and the sacrifice of Calvary and the Roman Canon sustains a person’s reflection on this reality.”

“The usus antiquior should be a standard element of the cultural capital of all Latin Rite Catholics since it so effectively resists secularism and satisfies the post-modern hunger for coherent order, beauty and an experience of self-transcendence.”


Rood Screen said...

Placed in the context of these reflections, the earlier post seems to be more balanced, and less akin to the usual passive dismissals we're accustomed to.

"It would be a major advance if those responsible for liturgical decisions could at least get the message that modernity has not been fashionable since the 1960s." Sadly, from the highest leadership levels of the Church Militant to the lowest, the consensus is that the way to find acceptance in the Modern world is to become more Modern. Sentiment trumps evidence, it appears.

James said...

Can you go tell Rorate Caeli this, since their response to this issue only serves to highlight the negative aspects of Trad/TLM culture?

Rood Screen said...

As I sit here awaiting a no-show appointment, I've been thinking of a theme song for your blog, Fr. MacDonald. I'm using Glen Campbell's "Southern Nights" for inspiration:

Henry said...

James: In particular, it seemed to me that the typically hysterical Rorate Caeli reaction to some inconsequential remarks taken out of (what I understand to have been their original) context served only to illustrate what many long-time laborers in the TLM vineyard know full well--that the hyper-defensive circle-the-wagons mentality of some of our folks does indeed tend to put off some not carrying the same baggage from the past, whom we ought to recruiting more effectively into our ranks.

Wouldn't it have been more constructive for traditionalists to broadcast and extoll this big-stage endorsement of the TLM by one of the mainstream English-speaking Church's premier theologians? (Dr. Rowland is dean of the John Paul II Institute in Australia.) Emphasizing as she did the Church's need to put the TLM at the center to the "new evangelization".

rcg said...

PEople react strongly to these sorts of things. I had someone tell me he would leave the Church if they didn't allow him to take communion in both species. I would pull way short of that, some people did stop coming to MAss when the Liturgy changed. I know it was wrong of them to do so, but I must admit I understand that better than the person who feels pain because he does not get to give the Sign of Peace.

Henry said...

"the person who feels pain because he does not get to give the Sign of Peace."

Thinks he himself is Christ, does he?

Or does he not know that, when he and his pew mate shake hands and wish each other a good day, they are NOT thereby passing on the Peace of Christ--from his living presence on the altar--which is what the liturgical Sign of Peace actually is.

Each person in the congregation has already received His Peace when the priest turned to the people and said Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum (The peace of the Lord be with you always). That's it, nothing else required.

Gene said...

Thank you, Henry!