Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tolkein on Liturgy

Tolkien and Waugh were definitely NOT pleased with the Revolution of Liturgy following VatII.

Here's a Tolkien letter on the topic:

The 'protestant' search backwards for 'simplicity' and directness - which, of course, though it contains some good or at least intelligible motives, is mistaken and indeed vain. Because 'primitive Christianity' is now and in spite of all 'research' will ever remain largely unknown; because 'primitiveness' is no guarantee of value, and is, and was in great a reflection of ignorance.

Grave abuses were as much an element in Christian liturgical behaviour from the beginning as now. (St Paul's strictures on Eucharistic behaviour are sufficient to show this!) Still more because 'my church' was not intended by Our Lord to be static or remain in perpetual childhood; but to be a living organism (likened to a plant), which develops and changes in externals by the interaction of its bequeathed divine life and history - the particular circumstances of the world into which it is set.

There is no resemblance between the 'mustard-seed' and the full-grown tree. For those living in the days of its branching growth, the Tree is the thing, for the history of a living thing is part of its life, and the history of a divine thing is sacred. The wise may know that it began with a seed, but it is vain to try and dig it up, for it no longer exists, and the virtue and powers that it had now reside in the Tree. Very good: but in husbandry the authorities, the keepers of the Tree, must look after it, according to such wisdom as they possess, prune it, remove cankers, rid it of parasites and so forth. (With trepidation, knowing how little their knowledge of growth is!)

But they will certainly do harm if they are obsessed with the desire of going back to the seed or even to the first youth when it was (as they imagine) pretty and unafflicted by evils. The other motive (now so confused with the primitivist one, even in the mind with any one of the reformers): aggiornamento: bringing up to date: that has its own grave dangers, as has been apparent throughout history. With this, 'ecumenicalness' has also become confused.
(The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, no. 306.)

It was precisely the DENIAL of development which motivated the "reformers." That's clear; they traded adult worship for 'puerilification' of the Mass.

Probably a result of some childhood deficiency.

HT: TNLM

1 comment:

Pamela J.C. Folbrecht said...

I had no idea Tolkien said this! Excellent!