Friday, March 02, 2007

Liturgeist Unleashed: Beware of Cat-Scratches

What Does the Prayer Really Say is an outstanding website run by a Minnesota-born priest. "Fr. Z." as he's known on the 'net, is also a student of one of the best, Mgr. Schuler (retired) of St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul.

Here he simply demolishes an article written by a Liturgeist, (Jesuit) who screeches a bit about the forthcoming high-English translation of the Roman Mass.

My nomination for best descriptive phrase?

CM’s liturgical gnosticsm (the author is Andrew Cameron-Mowat, SJ, abbreviated "CM", and the gnosticism in question is CM's haughty yappaflappa about "actuosa participatio".

But there's other good stuff. Sample:

"Let us", he wrote, "pray for an end to the squabbles". And yet his piece in The Tablet is nothing but a tendentious sneer at anyone who either desires traditional forms or dares to voice an opinion that is out of set with the liturgical gnosticism of which he is a priest…er um… ordained minister.


A major starting point for CM is this: "The renewal of the Vatican Council is not essentially a break with our liturgical past but preserves a deep Christological and sacramental mysticism and spiritual experience that has beencentral to the Church’s life and thought. That is why, for example, there can be only one Roman Rite within our living tradition."

This means that, for CM, what resulted in the reforms after the Council in no way constitutes a break with the pre-Conciliar tradition. This is pretty much the opposite of the opinion of many liturgical scholars who didn’t make it onto CW’s selective list (including Pope Benedict XVI).


CM makes the claim that the so-called "Tridentine" form of Mass was abrogated, which he interprets as "replaced". "Replace" for abrogate is in keeping with the very finest tradition of the older, lame-duck ICEL translations CM elsewhere defends. To abrogate means to abolish, not replace. Abrogation means that it may never be done again, it is finished, and you cannot appeal to custom to continue doing something. On the other hand, immediately after issuing the Novus Ordo Missale Romanum, Paul VI issued permissions for the older Mass to continue in some cases. This was expanded greatly by John Paul II in 1986 and 1988. It is going to be expanded again by Pope Benedict some time soon.

(Although I'm on thin ice with this opinion, the proper term woud seem to be "derogated," not "abrogated." But the argument is used constantly by the 'geist crowd, hoping that their interlocutors are ignorant, or afraid of Latin-based Canonical terminology.)

Finally, we arrive at the social-activism prong of CM’s attack on traditionalism which, oddly, he seems to be extended even to the current edition of the Missale Romanum. This is classic museum-piece liberal stuff. ("The rusty cutting-edge of '60's liberalism", indeed...)

Quoting CM:

We need to reassert our commitment to the whole of liturgical history and to the movement for liturgical development in its entirety; we cannot be held hostage by those who claim the agenda is solely about a particular version of the Roman Rite, which Paul VI abrogated (?) over 35 years ago. There is so much to do with future developments of the Roman Rite that we need to move on. There are serious pastoral questions yet to be faced. How do we respond to the call for a deeper understanding of post-colonial liturgy? Do our celebrations have underlying structures that oppress minorities, particularly people of other races, the powerless, the marginalised? In what ways can and should the liturgy respond to those whose hunger for Christ is not being met in our present celebrations? How can preaching truly make present Christ as he speaks from the ambo?

Good grief. The man LIVES in the 1960's, and may have written lyrics for Peter, Paul, and Mary, or the Stalinist Pete Seeger.

There's more at the link. All good stuff!

1 comment:

St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

It never ceases to amaze me that, in modern times, intellectualized faith is mistaken for real faith. Look at all the hyphenated concepts (post-conciliar, post-colonial, pre-conciliar) and adnouns (horizontal model, faith community, worship space) that these self-styled intellectuals like to throw around. Yet, there's a complete aversion to theologians prior to the Reformation. It seems that there is something in sacred Tradition that the "Spirit of Vatican II" crowd is deathly afraid of, and so they use intellectualism as a shield.