Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The tides of time

It is often with disbelief that an older generation has to wrestle with a younger generation reclaiming what it had cast away. Plainly, the majority of the Roman hierarchy does not readily comprehend why the old liturgy fascinates anyone with no living memory of its regular celebration. Indeed, even the bishop of Rome doesn't quite get it.

There are a myriad of reasons why this is the case, most of which do not have any discernable connection.

Part of it is undoubtedly a matter of perspective. Time has allowed, say, my generation, the perspective to review the religious praxis of prior generations with some appreciation.

Yet there is certainly an element of rebellion about it. To embrace Catholicism as it existed before the Council is also to reject the Catholicism of the generation still holding influence. Indeed, it is to reject a whole worldview and its corresponding values.

Oddly enough, it is also to seek a degree of stability. The old liturgy doesn't like surprises and it doesn't allow much room for post-modern creativity. It is what it is and that is what you get.

There are many other reasons. Although I am not entirely sure what makes the old liturgy and its accompanying spirituality appealing, other than the fact that it conveys a perception of reality diametrically opposed to that of contemporary Western culture.

Religion, Christianity in particular, should never be too complacent with the culture. Pre-Vatican II Catholicism, despite the missteps that may be found in its more contemporary applications, provides one with a religion with a purpose. By comparison, post-Vatican II Catholicism can often be filled by most any NGO.

The hubris of an aging hierarchy is exemplified in its unwillingness to seriously ask what the old liturgy and a forgotten spirituality offer that the attempts at modernization seem to have forgotten. I personally don't know what it is, nor can I explain my own preference for it. I would, however, implore the future head of the CDW to ask this question.

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