Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Necessity of "THE" Reform

This thread on the CMAA discussion group surprised me, just LOOK at the passion it brought out!
My post (no doubt repeating others' wiser, less excessive verbiage...) on said thread, because really, what's the point of having ones own blog if not to disseminate ones own opinions, tastes, preferences and words...
That's all right, I am not a slave to fears of redundancy...
"Let's face the facts: people were all too happy to abandon Latin and what little chant they were doing."
That is not a "fact," Gavin, it is a description of SOME places, which you, and most of us, know ONLY BY HEARSAY. Some people were, some people weren't. I don't know, it may even be correct to say "MOST people were all too happy to abandon Latin" but you really should try to qualify these sweeping statements in some way.
"Pragmatism, as today, ruled." True.
"Catechesis sucked...Musical standards were low." And....? As you yourself said of that other matter but neglected to admit on this subject, "AS TODAY."
"the fact remains that SOMETHING allowed Reform #1 to happen "Yes, firstly, the fact that is was NEEDED, as, shock of all shocks in this postlapsarian world, Things Weren't Perfect.And secondly, (this is what allowed it to happen so BADLY,) in this postlapsarian world, People Aren't Perfect.The timing of the Council, (NOT of the reform, per se, because despite the blather of many, history did not begin with the Council, the reform was on-going.,) may have been a perfect storm of bad reform, because of the glamorization of opposition to all authority, the rise of the idolization of youth (which springs from the post-war years,) a generally ugly period in popular aesthetics.And then there was Humane Vitae...At a time when the Church (and society,) were in a state of great flux, the Church came out with a Hard Saying.Plenty left over the thing itself, but I suggest that it is possible that as many if not more left not as a result of the encyclical but as a result of the open defiance of the Magisterium, in the form of this encyclical, by those persons the PIP thought were bound to uphold it.It surely must have seemed to the faithful but undereducated observer as if everything was up for grabs.And if priests and bishops could go their own way on something as important as THAT, and since the PIPs could SEE that priests were going their own way on the liturgy, many PIPs decided to go their own way on EVERYTHING -- and that is protestantism.
"My stance is based on logic: why have a council if everything was so wonderful?"For someone who is old enough to have lived through the marketing debacle of New Coke, your asking this surprises me. Wonderfulness is open to improvement. Fixing what ain't broke is a cliché, killing the goose that laid golden eggs to see if there were more inside is a fabled human weakness.(Way off topic, I doubt I am the only one here to have had an experience such as asking someone to oil a squeaky hinge and returning to find the door on the floor, the components of the hinge scattered about, a Pella catalogue being pored over, and a new lock assembly being badly installed.)So surely no one argues that the execution of the Sacred Liturgy had always and everywhere attained perfection.I believe a primary improvement the Council was intended to produce was, besides increasing the PIPs understanding of and participation in the liturgies, the bringing of our separated brethren and sistren back into the One Holy Catholic And Apostolic...Our failure to achieve that aim on any great scale, and our remarkable ability to along the way achieve some horrendous unintended consequences does not invalidate the original aim. (SO I split an infinitive, sue me...)
"You and those who defend the old days as an immaculate period to be returned to still have not dealt with the title of this post,"Who are these people?
"still have not dealt with the title of this post, namely why was Latin abandoned?"

Actually, the title of the post was about reform, not Latin, per se.... is Latin what you really wanted to address?
But I can answer in 3 words: Pragmatism, Inertia and Sloth.
"And what's to prevent our re-introduction of it being treated as another 'fad'?"

Our educating those who suggest such a silly thing. Never allowing anyone the opportunity to treat it as such by not trying to have your own way, trying to have the CHURCH'S way, and demonstrating with documentary evidence that that is what it is.I can give a very specific example -- I was in a parish once that was doing something that was a minor liturgical abuse. After it was brought to their attention, TPTB decided to clean it up, via announcements, bulletin inserts and preaching.Unfortunately, the director of liturgy and the pastor decided to use the opportunity to introduce a pet project of theirs that, although licit, was NOT a requirement of the rubrics, so these two matters, one having to do with universal rubrics and one the personal whim of a few people were tied together in the minds of the PIP. They were both, as far as anyone who didn't research the matter (which the PIP can't be expected to do,) of equal weight, and just a matter of doing it "Father's way."
When I press for something in my music ministry, I SCRUPULOUSLY never press for my personal preference. You spend your capital on more important things.For instance, when I took my present job I kept some settings of the Ordinary that the PIPs like which I abhor because my line in the sand for that battle was settings of the Ordinary that play fast and loose with the text.
And finally,"So my question is, at least as far as music, what's keeping chant in place once our authoritative German Pope is gone? In 80 years, when the last of Generation Y is in the ground, what's to stop the new group of young people from saying 'hey, this Latin stuff is horrible! Let's ditch it!' "
And the answer is nothing, nothing at all.We are not called to succeed, we are called to try (whatever Yoda's advice to young Skywalker.)We will never have utter, final, lasting, immutable perfection in ANY endeavor in this world.In this world, sometimes the bad guys win, sometimes treasures are lost forever, the poor (of taste) we will always have with us, heroes are slain and the cowboy doesn't always get the girl by the fade-out. (I have it on good authority from someone old enough to know, that in any movie shown to Adam and Eve in Eden, the cowboy DID get the girl. After they relocated, not so much...)

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