Tuesday, January 24, 2017

RIP Fr. Brannan: The importance of living links


My parish just lost one of its living links to our pre-conciliar culture. One of our supply priests, Fr. Patrick Brannan, S.J., who had been celebrating the traditional Mass again for Philadelphia since the indult years, over 25 years ago, has died. Glad he got to live to see Benedict XVI's pontificate with Summorum Pontificum, the reform of the English Novus Ordo, and thriving communities such as ours. Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray.

Pre-conciliar Catholicism has survived because it is barely still a living tradition; it didn't go extinct like Sarum. Living links, adults from before the council, Fr. Brannan's generation, lived to pass it down to a receptive generation, two generations later. Many of our parishioners are in their 30s and they're having kids.
I was discussing just this subject a few months back. I was saying it's why we put more emphasis on the PPX-XII era than, say pre-Trent traditionalism. Because the living tradition is our best link to the ancient tradition.
For pre-Trent there are the Eastern rites but, like our culture, they're not for everyone.

There's nothing theologically wrong with trying to revive a dead rite or church subculture but without living it and/or learning it from the people who lived it, it can degenerate into play-acting. Related: the SSPX does much good, even though I don't agree with them, but their model, a Counter-Reformation religious order, isn't nearly the depth and breadth of pre-conciliar Catholicism, including some more easygoing people.
Yeah, live-action role-playing (LARPing) came up in our conversation. Those are two arguments against trads: 1. Our traditionalism is too recent, therefore not traditional. And 2. We're just LARPers in birettas. But because of the living tradition perspective, these arguments cancel each other out.
Maybe well-meaning people under siege such as in the SSPX, who think the whole pre-conciliar church is a perfectionistic micromanaging cult ("everything and everybody was perfect"), can be accused of being fake.

Vagantes, clergy wannabes, are LARPers in birettas.

Disclosure: I've worn clerical choir rig, cassock, cotta, and biretta, as part of a group for public recitation of the office, loved it, and would do it again.
I go as far to say if the living tradition were to die, something like dedicated, sincere, lifetime LARPing would be the best way to revive anything close to the original.
Like the Anglo-Catholics, copying something that had been lost in England.

Of course I've been called a LARPer; hats and all that. One day some years ago I realized I could turn back the clock, so I did.

1 comment:

  1. LARPers? Just go to one too many N.O.M. and you will see live action and role playing . . . performance based worship in all of its not-so-glorious pedestrianism. OK, not every mass, but too many even today, even with a better English translation, and even with the restoration of some "traditional" Catholic devotions/rites, e.g., Exposition, public rosaries, etc.

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