Not only does Fr. Rutler know English; he knows people.
Under the avalanche of commentary on the new translation of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, just approved by the Vatican, I poke my head above the erudite criticisms, to speak as a man whose entire priesthood has been in parishes. I am not a liturgist and, from the parochial perspective of a pastor who has studied worship much less than he has done it, I risk the tendency of many like me who probably unfairly think that liturgists are the ecclesiastical equivalent of lepidopterists. [Yes, I had to look it up. He's right.]
A pastor is too busy leading people in worship to attend workshops on how to lead people in worship, and his duties in the confessional prevent him from attending seminars on how to hear confessions.
Here's a genuine true fact:
One thing is certain to a pastor: the only parishioners fighting the old battles are old themselves, their felt banners frayed and their guitar strings broken, while a young battalion is rising, with no animus against the atrophied adolescence of their parents, and only eager to engage a real spiritual combat in a culture of death.
And a warning to the dilettantes--both "righty" and "lefty":
Our Lord warned enough about the experts of his day who loved long tassels, and who swore by the gold of the temple rather than the temple, to stay us from placing too much hope in ritual and texts to save lives. Neglect of the aesthetics of worship is not remedied by the worship of aesthetics. A pastor will sometimes observe an over-reaction to the corruption of the Liturgy, so that ritual becomes theatre and Andrei Rubleyev yields to Aubrey Beardsley. Any group or religious community that is too deliberate about external form sows in itself the seeds of decadence.
[I could name names, but it wouldn't be nice.]
So how to celebrate Mass?
Liturgy should be chantable, reverent, and expressive of the highest culture we know, without self-consciousness.
A genius of the Latin rite has been its virile precision, even bluntness. Contrast this with the unsettled grammar of “alternative opening prayers” in the original books from ICEL (the International Commission on English in the Liturgy), whose poesie sounds like Teilhard on steroids.
They were much wordier than the Latin collects or their English equivalents, and gave the impression of having been composed by fragile personalities who had not had a happy early home life. So too, the Prayers of the Faithful cloyingly pursued “themes” usually inspired by an undisciplined concern for air pollution and third world debt.
I think there should be few options in the Liturgy, and no attempt to be “creative,” for that is God’s particular talent.
There, he aced Cdl. Ratzinger, who said the same thing but took 1000 words or so to say it.
And he provides elegaic Newman...
“Clad in his sacerdotal vestments, [the priest] sinks what is individual in himself altogether, and is but the representative of Him from whom he derives his commission. His words, his tones, his actions, his presence, lose their personality; one bishop, one priest, is like another; they all chant the same notes, and observe the same genuflections, as they give one peace and one blessing, as they offer one and the same sacrifice....
There's more at the link. Every bit just as good, or better.
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Fr. Rutler hits another home run. & he is right when he says we "unfairly think that liturgists are the ecclesiastical equivalent of lepidopterists." Unfair to lepidopterists that is. Lepidopterists provide a useful service, liturgists rarely do!
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