Saturday, February 24, 2007

Plunging "back into the liturgical life of another age."

Some French bishops think that freeing the Church to pray the mass of John XIII would "plunge us back into the liturgical life of another age."

Catholic World News reports French clerical and seemingly official "opposition to release of a papal document that would allow wider use of the traditional Latin Mass." According to a story dated October, 24th, 2006, "A group of 35 French bishops and priests have issued a statement urging Pope Benedict XVI ... not to issue the motu proprio that has been widely discussed in recent weeks. The clerics predict that by allowing broader use of the Tridentine rite, the papal document would 'plunge us back into the liturgical life of another age.'"

I like that phrase. The purported goal of the liturgical reforms imposed on the Church after the Council was to restore the mass to the pristine simplicity of worship in the early church. Now THAT, had it succeeded, would have plunged "us back into the liturgical life of another age."

Unfortunately, the experts and bureaucrats were more reductionist than restorationist. They created much that was new while destroying much that was old. Research and scholarship in the decades since have taught us how inaccurate was their understanding of liturgical history. Far from plunging us back into the age of the early church, they worshiped idols of their own intellectual making.

Now the council is finally bearing fruit. We are growing in our understanding of the worship of the early church. (See

Mike Aquilina's The Mass of the Early Christians.) The Council's call to rediscover the patristic roots of our theology and prayer life has been heard. And a true reform of the Roman liturgy is budding up through the dirty snow of our winter of liturgical discontent.

Deo gratias!

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