Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Liturgy never at rest

Several years ago the late Anthony Fraser reproduced on his blog a piece which awakened in this writer the sudden realisation that what the overriding idea of the liturgical revolutionaries at the Second Vatican Council must have been was an attack on our peace and our solace.

The millenia-old Catholic Latin liturgy provided the stability that gave us that peace and that solace, and ever since that ancient Rite was suppressed by a brutal abuse of episcopal power, an abuse which continues unabated to this day, our souls have been increasingly troubled.  I don't for a single moment believe that those who find the ever-changing, always new New Mass to their liking have peace in their hearts.  How could they, when almost every month brings us another change in the "style" of saying Mass, another banal musical composition thrown into the mix, ever more relevant and up-to-date vocalized responses of the Mass goers who are obligated to spout forth their uninteresting and mostly ill-considered thoughts, their gripes, to ride their favorite hobby horses, and who are obliged to grab and shake the hands, shoulders, head and who knows what of their neighbor in the pew?  It is to keep us continually off-balance, waiting for the next shoe to drop, the next "improvement" to be implemented, that was the true goal, I am certain, of the liturgical iconoclasts.

Psychologically, this never-ending state of flux in which Catholics find themselves can be dangerous not only spiritually but, dare I say, mentally.  What average mind can concentrate on prayer when the Mass is a kaleidoscope of lousy music, forced participation (so forced that it becomes an embarrassment to the participator as well as everyone else), uninspiring architecture and decor and a priest who might feel more at home at the London Palladium rather than at the altar of God.  That, I am coming to believe, was the main point of those who brought to the Church this pseudo Mass: never to leave us in peace, or solitude, never allow us to contemplate what is supposed to be happening at the altar. (I use the word "suppose" deliberately.  At so many new Masses one really doesn't know what is happening at the altar, if anything.)

Lest I be accused of lack of objectivity on this I hasten to point out that in some Ancient Rite Masses I have attended one can find this same forced participation, usually in the form of an usher ceremoniously placing some hymn book into your hands as you enter the Church with the expectation that you had better be singing with everyone else when the time comes.

I am aware that this is only a personal opinion, open to disagreement from Catholics who see things very differently on this matter. And I will add that Congregational singing, if done reasonably well, and done at the right time, and done only briefly, can be edifying.  [I am reminded of the lovely, spontaneous Congregational singing of the Pater Noster during a priestly ordination Mass in the Ancient Rite which I had the pleasure of attending in Wigratzbad, Bavaria, using the musical setting proper to the Mass.  The people were not hectored into doing this; it was spontaneous, it came from their hearts.] But in this writer's view it must not dominate the traditional Mass.  Equally doubtful is the use of the early 20th century innovation called "the dialogue Mass", where the congregation is expected to answer all the responses to the priest, leaving the altar boys with little to do but sit at he foot of the altar like mute dummies. This kind of Congregational chatter can have the effect of demolishing any attempt at quiet contemplation by those in the pew who might like on occasion to adore their God in silence.

But the authors of the Novus Ordo, I do absolutely believe, wanted us to never have a moment's peace.  This bowdlerization of a Mass is truly bad performance art. It so suited their larger bad ideas of updating everything else in the Church.  Their updating has been a complete success: the Church is in chaos, hundreds of thousands are apostatizing, not one in a thousand Catholics have even a nodding acquaintance with their Church's history or doctrine, and who have joined the merry band of unbelievers who can without pang of conscience accept the homosexual buggering of the entire earth or drop few if any tears over the aborted children thrown into trash heaps (or, more efficiently, used as fuel to heat buildings, as is done here and there in England) and who can be relied upon to act like zombies whenever a national election takes place and vote in some monster or another to lord it over us.   If your mind can never be anchored to the quiet beauty of the Mass, the ancient one, of course, it becomes nearly impossible to collect your thoughts, indeed it becomes difficult to reflect upon anything that matters. Those few who attend such performances in their churches and still come out sane and thoughtful are indeed a very special group.  I know some of them; they are remarkable.  The fact that there are only a few of these people suggests that the liturgical innovators have achieved the success they wanted.  They have reduced most Catholics into Mass-going Protestants and some (most of whom must write for Patheos) into gibbering idiots.  Their Mass will certainly not "restoreth our soul".

Cries of anguish over this sad farce of a Mass are being heard more and more, such as this heart-wrenching piece over at Vox Cantoris.  Attendance at it troubles us, wounds us inside.  Yes, I have heard the argument that attending this weird spectacle they call "Mass" can be like kneeling before Our Crucified Lord, joining in His sufferings, and therefore a good act.  It is possible I imagine to do this....for a time.  But not indefinitely.  Even the mourners eventually walked away after Our Lord was dead on the Cross.

A liturgy never at rest means a soul that is never at rest.


Anonymous said...

They took the words from our mouths. By constant changes in translation, dozens of them from the mid-60's to now, we have lost the ability to pray spontaneously the prayers of the Mass and the Psalms. They have taken the words literally out of our mouths. Worse than the Babylonians asking the Jews to sing songs of Jerusalem for their entertainment.

Aged parent said...

Spot on, Anon.

CJ said...

No. no. It is NOT like standing at the foot of the Cross. It is like standing with those who wield the flagellum.

Aged parent said...

You're right, CJ.

John Collinson said...

I attend the Novus Ordo Missae and I especially find the Responsorial Psalm to be a pain. I spend all my time trying to remember the response that I cannot possibly reflect on the words of the psalm. And unless the psalm is sung (only on Sundays) there is no uplifting of the soul anyhow, it simply falls flat.

Aged parent said...

Interesting observation, Mr Collinson. Getting distracted seems to be a feature of the Novus Ordo.

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