The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The MP

I am not going to post any thoughts on this. It's only an excuse to link to this post at the Undercroft:

Catholicism, one might be forgiven for observing, only actually exists today on paper. What Bishop Fellay calls "normal Catholic life" is not possible anywhere - not in a "conservative" parish, and not in the SSPX, either. Whatever one's position, one requires an additional layer of theory (“Hermeneutic of Continuity” or “State of Emergency”, according to inclination) to qualify it - to paper over the theological or ecclesiological gaps and fissures one has to live with in practice.

I reiterate what I said in the comment box: I am very skeptical now that such a thing as "Catholic tradition" existed before the Council that is now somehow lost. Certainly, many liturgical externals were lost, but it very hard for someone my age to tell just how different things are now than they were then. (And I lived in Society of St. Pius X religious houses for three years of my life.) If this tradition existed in such a profound way, then why did it disappear so rapidly? And I cannot believe that this is such a bad thing since so many of my family members did keep the Faith, and even some people very close to me have a very profound "traditional" Faith having been raised with the Pauline Mass.

I greatly admire the traditional liturgy, and I suppose my solution would be to have Catholic traditionalists play the role that the Old Believers play in the Russian Orthodox Church. But an "integrated Catholic life" has never existed, not since the fall of Adam and Eve. All we can do is maneuver around this falleness, and no amount of incense and lace can fix the problem.


At 12:35 PM, Blogger Anagnostis said...

Who said anything about incense and lace?

an "integrated Catholic life" has never existed, not since the fall of Adam and Eve

That's as may be - I'm not a puritan: I just think telling the truth is something we ought to aspire to.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Alright, the incense and lace comment was just rhetorical flare. My bad.

I think you might be going somewhere with the whole telling the truth bit. I really, really didn't want to write anything on the "MP". It's way too "band-wagon-ish" for my tastes. (I'd rather post translations of Urdu love poems, but I haven't found any today.) But since it is only fair to say something, I will agree that it all has a "flavor of the month" feel to it. The traditionalists are having their day in the sun; the conservatives will cheer for the Vatican home-team no matter what it does; the liberals will just wait for this to pass because, let's face it, it will have practically no effect on the broader Church; and the vast, vast, vast majority of people in the pews either don't know about it or don't care.

There is a hegemonic idea in the Church now that whatever happens is so ephemeral that basically all has to be reduced to soundbites and fifteen minutes of fame. Sure, this Pope thinks that the Old Mass is cool, but what about the next Pope? And the next? And the next? And what about the last one? Vanilla, chocolate, rocky-road, cookies 'n cream, whatever happens to be popular. Is that all it is?

That doesn't say anything about the content of the argument, but it doesn't speak well for Catholic Internet punditry.

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of my thoughts on this Catholic tradition: My father was 89 when he died 3 years ago. My mother is 86. Both were born in Calabria, one of the poorest sections of Italy; and came to this country in 1934. They had little formal education. They grew up in a traditional Catholic family and in a conservative culture.. In this country their lives were marked with faith, family, and work. How did they handle the changes they witnessed in the church post Vatican.II? From what I recall over the years they complained of certain things such as altar girls, but for the most part they seemed to practice their faith serenely. They prayed at home by reading the Bible and prayer books and saying the Rosary. Once my father retired they attended daily mass. They went to Confession periodically. They continued to light candles at the statues of the saints. They continued to have masses said in memory of the deceased. Their children continue to practice the faith. My impression was that they were comfortable in their relationship with God and His Church. Where does all this fit into the picture?

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had the good fortune to stumble onto a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin, performed with great reverence and dignity and in a very Theocentric manner -- no clown mass; no worship of the community or the priest.

It definitely was not Tridentine, but in my opinion, I think it was MUCH better. It kept all the reverence and mystery, but seemed to be a Ressurectional Celebration, as it should, not a Good Friday service that the old Tridentine Rite seems to be IMHO. I can't really say I am sad to see Counter-Reformation Spirituality go away.

Of course, avoiding Anthprocentric Novus Ordo Parishes, which aren't really Christian much Catholic, can be a bit diffcult. But I pray for my RC brethren that a course can be charted between unenduring Tridentine anachronism and Novus Ordo Vaudville. A decent translation of the NO into English, long, long overdue, might go a long way to help.


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