Sunday, February 15, 2015

Liturgical Blindness (and Deafness)

There is no such thing as co-incidence, right?

So today I run across a near-year-old essay containing the following:

...But it was an unkind fate that allowed the new mass to come to completion just when – elsewhere – the importance of non-verbal communication was being rediscovered.

This was what was missing from the Liturgical Movement. An appreciation of non-verbal communication is not incompatible with the writings of the earlier exponents, such as Guéranger, despite his emphasis on 'understanding'. But as the movement develops, and turns into the movement to create the Novus Ordo, a blindness to non-verbal communication (and a parallel lack of interest in gestures and visual ceremonies) becomes increasingly evident and increasingly problematic

Earlier, I had been to Mass in a parish where the "prelude music" was Debussy's Au Claire da Lune, which made me think that perhaps I had taken a wrong turn and landed in the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria, or maybe a funeral parlor.  This was not the first time such an incongruity had occurred; in another parish, the "church musician" had serenaded the congregation with one of the Gymnopedie during Communion.

Then this graf appeared.

Yes, the Ordinary Form development IS blind--and deaf--to "non-verbal communication."  For the totality of the Form rests on text, text, text (which--in its place--is appropriate), but it is now clear that that particular emphasis has overcome all other sensibilities.  Thus the churches denuded of statuary, of stained-glass, and built with the tabernacle in some off-center position (or entirely obscured.)  Thus the 'entertainer priest' phenomenon, which strains the capacity of most priests or--worse--brings out their inner ham, which is usually .......ahhh.......pathetic.

No such thing as co-incidence, said Jack Ryan.  And he was right.

HT:  Pertinacious.  You'll find the entire discussion of the Ordinary Form's problems linked at the end of his post, in 5 parts.

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