Friday, January 15, 2016

So, how's that traddie "renewal" working out for youse? A challenge

Lots to chew on here; Fr. Chadwick's always had a good heart too. First, I hate the expression "post-Christian," as if the Jews were right that Jesus was deluded or a fraud. Anyway, apparently I'm supposed to lose heart and thus leave the church for something else, but of course I never expected Pius XII's and Cardinal Spellman's church back, full-size, eight or even 20-50 years after SP. (My line: we're still suffering from Vatican II; the American church hasn't even bottomed out yet; we'll survive but be small.) Our Mass is in theory available to all but in practice is very much not; the old liberal churchmen (such as the reigning Pope?) are still in charge for now (Benedict was a respite; we need a younger version of him who will stick around to finish the job), and of course most Westerners are now materialists: sin and be happy, then die and that's the end; "you only live once." Giving Pope Francis credit: he's left us alone because he doesn't seem to care about liturgy.

"Dear Father: Please stop it!" Most orthodox Catholics' Sunday mainstay is what it has been for 45 years, the earliest, lowest Novus Ordo, because it is least likely to have ad-libbing (as long as there has been the Novus Ordo, low-churchifying, anti-liturgical libcaths have been teaching well-meaning priests to "turn on the warmth and charm" by "personalizing" the services thus, antithetical to liturgy, which is for all, including the non-charming) and experimentation. (Our Mass is a yearly long road trip for many of those so inclined.) "Say the black and do the red." Now with Pope Benedict's reform in English it works even better: you can go to Mass anywhere in the English-speaking world and hear... Catholicism, regardless of whether the liberals like it.

Most of the nasty Millennial descendants of ethnic ex-Catholics and of ex-Protestants won't come into the church; our beautiful services won't draw them in. Does that mean we chuck the Great Commission? If anything, in the Internet age, the church has fulfilled it. Low-churchify and evangelize like conservative Protestants? American Catholics left and right tried that with the charismatic movement (the thing they told people like me to join), in the excitement of last century's ecumenism; wrongheaded (the traditional liturgy's the way it is for a reason; it can be muddled and inefficient but it works) and it seems to be dying too. And nobody likes a church that's a lame imitation of secular culture; smart kids see right through it.
There is also the question of the contradictory aspect of using the old liturgy in defiance of authority...
Anglo-Catholicism in a nutshell! Both its original version asserting Anglicanism's truth claim (vs. us and others) and its would-be Catholic version, its opposite. Different from the internally consistent old high churchmen who were all about that truth claim and authority: obey your bishop and stick to the letter of the Prayer Book. Rather, "we're still part of the larger church so we answer to a higher authority" (actually us but only some said so); semi-congregationalism enabled it.
If this element is gone by the old liturgy being assimilated into the ordinary diocesan system, the salt loses its savour.
Speaking for myself, this schoolboy naughtiness isn't the culture's appeal; nor is spiritual pride (fun looking down on other Catholics; "we're the saintly remnant"... well, the Duggars thought they were too, as does a homey, "warm," gnostic "spiritual" church that's given up on converting the world). See "we are still part of the larger church"; it's about praying with the universal church including the communion of saints, canonized and otherwise (keeping faith with Msgr. Murray; I have his faith, dressed in Fr. Wetherell's Anglicanized English and borrowed Roman finery).
The real issue is not whether we like churches or not.
Yeppers. See above in parentheses on true liturgy being for all; like it or not, the Mass is what it is and goes on.

Whichever form of liturgy you use, it all comes down to the daily and weekly grind of showing up at Sunday Mass, saying your prayers every day (hopefully starting a personal conversation with God), and avoiding the near occasions of sin.

All that being said, beware of appearances.
Indeed: high churchmanship is in itself true but in practice it's often just a game. Anyway, insights like Fr. C's are a reason I say listen to the alterna-Catholicisms even though there's only one church; on things that aren't doctrine they have a lot to teach us.

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