Thursday, November 29, 2007

An example of the problems dogging Byzantine Catholics
The latest from Archimandrite Robert (Taft), SJ, not to be confused with the sometime governor of Ohio or Gov. Taft’s senator grandfather who should have been president in 1952

Don’t eat anything before reading this.
If you think Bp. Trautman is off his nut, or that Richard McBrien is arrogant, you should familiarize yourself with some of Fr Robert Taft’s unguarded opinions. Even the white papers Taft has written for various Roman dicasteries betray his Jedi Master level of nincompoopery.
As I was saying:
At the other extreme from the hateful fanati-dox there’s ‘mainstream modern(ist) RC with Byzantine trappings’ as much of Byzantine Catholicism is.
Dr Taft:
In one of his last articles, Fred McManus wrote lyrically of this liturgical renewal’s “fresh breadth and flexibility” flowing “from a genuine return to evangelical and patristic sources”... a return to the “venerable traditions of the early post-biblical centuries.”[2] This echoes the mandate of the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, that the rites “be restored to the vigor they had in the tradition of the Fathers” (§50). Has this promise been fulfilled? Was the liturgical reform mandated by Vatican II a success? From where I stand as an historian of Christian worship down through the centuries, it has been an overwhelming, resounding success!
As friend Paul Goings would say, are you on crack?

The RC restoration (there’s a new sheriff in town as Ad Orientem puts it) is not about Latin nor nostalgia, and is the resumption of the liturgical movement suspended after Vatican II. My tastes changed slightly rather early on from something like this about 25 years ago (just like in the movies) to something more like this, or this old Roman basilica is fine eastward-facing with some hanging lamps and iconography on the walls. (Which works both with flowing ancient, Gothic or Eastern Orthodox vestments on one hand and birettas, fiddlebacks and lace on the other.)
What’s rather scary to me is that Father Taft has some disciples in the Orthodox Church.
It’s better to hang out with some 19th-century-school Russians.

To be fair to the man he’s right about this:
A reliable eye-witness reported to me that during the 2006-2007 academic year, the graduate students of liturgy from the Pontifical Liturgical Institute Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, during their customary annual courtesy visit to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, were informed by a high official there that the purpose of the Mass was the devotion of the priest! That would be simply funny, were it not also rank heresy.
It’s like the old Anglo-Catholic joke (taking the mickey out of Protestants) that Jesus’s reason for starting the Eucharist was so we could have Benediction.

For a more authentic Eastern perspective read this from Fr Methodius.

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