Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wojtyla, Weigel, and Bare Ruined Choirs

Fr. George Rutler is a remarkably gifted dissenter from the Modern Project, even when that Project includes such as John Paul II and his biographer, George Weigel.

...Another subject for another day is how the theological dissidents and dilettantish revisionists who patronised Wojtyła and loathed Ratzinger burrowed into the cultural underground, suborning the media and academies, waiting for their moment which, if tenuous and fragile, they think had arrived. The geriatric modernists are breathing fresh air, and the test will be how long their moment will actually last.

With scholastic realism, John Paul II believed that, in theology, 2+2 = 4. He did not subscribe to a Hegelian synthesis whereby truth is what is left after “making a mess”. His Theology of the Body was of a vision loftier and more demanding than instruction in how to kiss. If anyone could express that even more clearly than Wojtyła it was Ratzinger, whose masterful articulation confounded all stereotypes of German obscurantism. John Paul evidently recognised that himself, which he is why he relied on him so much, and that may have been another instance of the wheel of Providence at work. Both of them were like Bunyan’s pilgrim contending against “dismal stories” but they did so without subjecting doctrine to casuistry, or condescending to rudeness and insults.

The way John Paul focused on the horizon may at times have distracted him from what was going on around his doorstep. His episcopal appointments sometimes were perplexing and his idealism beclouded his willingness to acknowledge abuses within the clerical system. My friend Fr Stanley Jaki once expressed to me his caution that phenomenology might be Wojtyła’s “Achilles heel” rather than the strength of his philosophical narrative. It is curious that such a sublime visionary should have been remarkably atonal in matters liturgical and artistic. His pontificate boasted no Borromini, and its cultural landscape was pockmarked with such offences as the Jubilee Church in Rome, the Divine Mercy Shrine in Kraków, Los Angeles Cathedral and the pharaonic John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington DC....

Indeed.  George Weigel stopped in Milwaukee to address a charity dinner a dozen or so years ago, and was very clear in his distaste for Latin and the Old Rite movement.  JPII was also distinctly un-enthused about the EF.  But the fact remains that the Old Rite (EF) and its Latin lingua franca still have a near-monopoly on Beauty in the liturgy (although the Anglicans have done very well with English, by and large, as the exception to that rule.)

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