Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mencken (!!!) On Latin in the Mass

HT to Ten Reasons, who reveals that he has reason to be concerned (he's a lawyer.)

He posts a quotation from Mencken, arguably the Icon of American curmudgeons, and an atheist--about the Mass.

The Latin Church, which I constantly find myself admiring, despite its occasional astounding imbecilities, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. [An echo of GKChesterton, by the way...]

...Rome indeed has not only preserved the original poetry of Christianity; it has also made capital additions to that poetry -- for example, the poetry of the saints, of Mary, and of the liturgy itself. A solemn high mass is a thousand times as impressive, to a man with any genuine religious sense in him, as the most powerful sermon ever roared under the big top by Presbyterian auctioneer of God. In the face of such overwhelming beauty it is not necessary to belabor the faithful with logic; they are better convinced by letting them alone.

[Here Mencken bewails the tendency for priests and Bishops to preach...excessively.]

... Let the reverend fathers go back to Bach. If they keep on spoiling poetry and spouting ideas, the day will come when some extra-bombastic deacon will astound humanity and insult God by proposing to translate the liturgy into American, that all the faithful may be convinced by it.

Well, the implementation was by an extra-bombastic Benedictine here in the USA. We only wish he'd remained a deacon...or sub-deacon...or just an acolyte.

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