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Saturday, 28 April 2012

CNS on the "Old Rite"

My only quibble with this story, (and I remain someone whose druthers are for a well celebrated NO,) is the oft-repeated falsehood that "most Catholics" "embraced or at least accepted" the liturgical changes in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.

No, "MOST" Catholics' reaction was to "embrace" their pillows or their golf clubs or their bloody marys and brunch forks of a Sunday morning.

"MOST" Catholics stopped attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

"MOST" no longer found what they saw and heard in Church compelling enough to bring them back on a regular basis.
It was, mind you, it was compelling. The central truths had not changed and they were and are more compelling than any other facts of existence -- but those truths were so often robed in trivialities and easiest options and outright contradictions that their beauty was obscured.

So let's stop pretending that "most Catholics" are okay with how things are.
Of all the Catholic Church's modernizing reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council, none was more evident to ordinary members of the faithful than changes to the liturgy. Latin gave way to local languages, women ceased to wear veils in church, and Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony and 19th-century hymns were replaced by devotional music in popular contemporary styles.

Most Catholics embraced these changes or at least accepted them without dissent. But a minority persisted in their devotion to the traditional Tridentine Mass, and eventually the church accommodated them.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI lifted practically all restrictions on celebration of what is now known as the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. In the near future, the Vatican is expected to announce results of reconciliation talks with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, which broke from Rome almost 25 years ago in protest against several elements of the legacy of Vatican II, including the liturgical reform.

According to Father Joseph Kramer, pastor of Rome's Church of the Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims, the enduring appeal of traditional worship is in large part a matter of aesthetics.

Classical liturgical music has an "uplifting, energizing effect, it really moves people to prayer," he says. "Both Gregorian chant and polyphony highlight the texts of the liturgy. When you're listening to them, you meditate on the words and internalize their meaning."

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