Friday, January 20, 2006

Liturgical claptrap

I thought I'd post my periodic rant about modern Church ceremony, or lack thereof. I came across a quote from Pope Benedict XVI when he was Cardinal Ratsinger. His frustration with,

"claptrap and pastoral infantilism" — "the degradation of liturgy to the level of a parish tea party and the intelligibility of the popular newspaper" (Quote from EWTN Library)

is shared by many people, or at least by me. Before my visit to France, I assumed that this stripped down, modernist "Mass" (Oh, sorry, we don't call it "mass" anymore do we...) was a particularly American phenomenon. I'm sorry to say that it is not so, as I witnessed this in an otherwise wonderful convent in France as well.

The EWTN article also stated that,

"modes of liturgical dress, forms of prayer, different devotions, hymns that had been a part of the Church's cultural treasury for centuries, were not just dumped, but actively suppressed. To be a practicing Catholic in many parishes, one had to buy into the pop culture of the 1960s and 1970s."

How true this is, and how sad this is! I say this as a fan of the Beatles and a bit of a closet hippy with a 1970 VW bug in her garage. But to be forced into a kind of minimalist spirituality by revolutionary "liturgists" in parishes is akin to spiritual neglect.

It is ironic that I learned more about Catholic worship tradition taking art and music classes in a public college and during my stint as a "high" Episcopalian than during my time in the post Vatican II Church. The Catholic Church includes a rich deposit of faith and tradition that can transport us into an experience of Heaven if only we remember to draw on it and use the gifts given to us throughout history by God.


Ephrem said...

Dear Dymphna,

Greetings! Just a note to let you know about my hymn blog. It's devoted to the new evangelization, and looks very carefully at the way liturgical music is composed and used.

Stop by if you have a moment!

4HisChurch said...

I'll check it out, thanks!

Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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