Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A liturgical miscellany

Every so often I am reminded of why I eventually fell out of line with the Traditionalist crowd in the Roman Church, and why I cringe when I read the words "new liturgical movement." The original liturgical movement was well versed in some of the more obscure and arcane corners of liturgical history. The "new liturgical movement" seems to have little more on its horizons than securing its fantasies of what the Tridentine liturgy must have been like

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I read recently the Tridentine liturgy should essentially not be reformed. Or, if it is to be reformed, the reform must follow all previous reforms of said liturgy and be the result of a slow and organic process. I can only wonder if the author has any genuine appreciation of the reforms of Pius X and Pius XII and how very un-organic they were. I never understood this particular bout of cognitive dissonance.
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The myth of the organic development of the liturgy has to go - it has accomplished little more than a solidification of the paranoia held in some sectors of the Roman Church concerning the liturgical reform, not to mention a smug self satisfaction. Worse still, it ignores a very concrete historical process (the development and modification of liturgical rites and books), disembodying it as some ethereal motion, for which no hard historical data can attest.

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The Roman liturgy has been reformed. There is no disputing this, nor is there any real likelihood of reversing its direction. Whatever further reform of the Roman liturgy comes along, it will use the liturgy codified by Paul VI as its template. The monastic orders have already done this, especially the Carthusians.
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There can be innumerable scholarly discussions on the Roman liturgy and the reforms of the 20th century. There can be millions of propositions of the avenue future reform ought to follow. At some point, things have to get concrete; they have to redolent with the real and live very much in the world as it is, not how anyone romanticizes it to be. Which is to say, the restoration of the Latin liturgy will not be compromised of dramatic restorations of old liturgies or the spontaneous celebration of rites that now seem like an alien world to the majority of a religion's adherents. Rather, it will come from taking the existing template and utilizing all of the (neglected) tools available. It will involve exploring the corpus of restored hymns for monastic liturgies and seeing what can be done in the parish setting. It may indeed involve some general rediscovery of Latin on a limited basis. If all goes well, it will come from a rediscovery of the liturgy (without fetishization of a particular Missal) as the rhythm of the cycle of life.

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The hallmark of a morally upright liturgist, whatever end of the spectrum, is the ability to be fully cognizant of his or preferences while having the ability to realize said preferences may very well not contribute much to the greater or nor be practically sustainable.


1 comment:

  1. Yes, indeed, quite a few monastic orders have adopted the new liturgy. Some have even adapted the one-week psalter to the new liturgy.

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