Saturday, December 19, 2015

"The ultimate test of our liturgical life": Liturgical renewal's good intentions and bad conclusion

Making the rounds in novusordoism and probably in the mainline too.
...actually on the back cover of our missalettes:
The ultimate test of a Christian community’s liturgical life is whether it changes lives. Does our liturgy call us to be one with the poor, to share our table with the hungry, to visit the sick, to embrace the dying? If so, then we are well on our way to being more like Christ and our liturgy, no matter its style, is truly a foretaste and a rehearsal of the eternal Jerusalem. In the end, if the liturgy does not change us into becoming more like Christ, then it is nothing but ritual fits and follies. So, let’s celebrate the liturgy well so it may change our hearts and minds and send us into the world to make a difference. (Quotations by Johan van Parys, Liturgical Press, 2014)
Both the legitimate liturgical movement before Vatican II and the "renewal" afterwards said they wanted to turn tepid Catholics going through the motions into fervent ones. Well and good. Here's what's wrong with it. A quotation from an Episcopal friend's Facebook wall: any sacramental liturgy without sound theology is dangerous. Van Parys means well but we Catholics believe in ex opere operato, not receptionism. "Nothing but ritual fits and follies." That's on us, not the liturgy. His words can easily be taken to mean "if the congregation is people I don't like, the liturgy is graceless," which is nonsense; that wouldn't be the church. (Like its cousin, Donatism: I don't like the priest, I know he's up to no good, so no grace.) That's what novusordoism and the mainline really are: trying to be a "warm, friendly" private club "celebrating upper-middle-class decorum" as Michael Cuneo says; mirror worship.

Part of the largely untold big story of America in the Sixties: the Protestantization of its big Catholic minority, buying this notion.

By the way, nice racket Oregon Catholic Press has going, printing those missalettes and hymnals every year and making parishes buy new each time. No, thanks. My hand missal's from 1957, a product of the real liturgical movement, teaching people to love the Mass as it was, carefully handed down.

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