In the future,I wonder how many are going to look back at their childhood experiences hearing "All are Welcome" with the same sense of fondness. If they even look back at all.
The Money Paragraphs are at the end.
..... Of course the Latin liturgy also disappeared. As an ex-Catholic, I have no place in the argument over the liturgy, which I now understand has intensified in the wake of Pope Benedict’s efforts to broaden access to the Tridentine Mass. I confess that on this question I think the pope has a point. I have often wondered why the reformed liturgy could not be made more beautiful. To me theNovus Ordo seems perfunctory (it rushes from one thing to another), and the accompanying music is usually pallid. Also, I’ve noticed that the architecture of new Catholic churches is often utilitarian at best.
All of this leads me to believe that, even before Vatican II, and particularly in the United States, the church was embarrassed by beauty—much like Harold Ross. Or, to put it another way, John XXIII’s council strove for truth and goodness, two of the three transcendental virtues, but somehow forgot about beauty and left it behind. It gives the traditionalists a powerful argument. Both Thomas Aquinas and Augustine taught that goodness, truth, and beauty were just different aspects of the same object, and that the reflection of beauty illuminated goodness and truth. It should be used to illuminate the Mass. Are there no Palestrinas or Carravagios, no craftsman architects left in the church? And would it be sinful to intermingle some of the old with the new, as Benedict has suggested? Chartres contains Romanesque crypts. Stravinsky harks back to Mozart. Something as inherently glorious as the soprano birdsong in Greek of Kyrie eleison, answered by the deep-throated tenor and bass response of Christe eleison, should not be tossed aside.
I write this partly to rescue the old traditions from conservatives who use them as a symbol in their resistance to any reform. And also for those liberals who are just as adamant that concern about aesthetics is somehow suspect. Yes, I know the liturgy is not fundamentally a drama or theater but a ritual, a rite—it is worship, not spectacle. And I know that the council’s reforms were an effort to engage Catholics as participants in the Mass rather than as spectators closed off from each other in private devotion. And I know that my youthful liturgical experience at St. Mary’s was perhaps exceptional. The old rite was not always beautifully or even reverently done. But I still find it tragic that the unplowed and fallow fields of today’s Catholic youth no longer soak up the nutrients of two thousand years, composted from the dead language of the Romans and the poetic drama of the Greeks, with a heavy leavening of Gothic romanticism. Thank God—I say it now without irony—that Roman Catholic architecture, murals, sculpture, paintings, music, and the theater of the traditional services were there to nourish my soul, exactly as my father believed they would.
More good quotes...
...But that was sixty years ago. When I went to Marquette University, I left the farm forever and after graduation and two years in the U.S. Army, I left the Catholic Church. ...
...This very formal and traditional religion provided the window for me to see the world as more than sex and food and excrement. Whatever spirituality is, I believe it exists. It may be only a more refined brain chemistry that allows us to fathom beauty, but this chemistry crystalized for me in an oaken pew, with unpadded kneelers, sixteen rows from the Communion railing and to the right of the center aisle at a church in Burlington, Wisconsin....
Still, when I daydream while mowing my lawn, I dream in the catholic, universal world of Palestrina, Verdi, El Greco, and O’Neill.
I implied perhaps that when those German priests goaded their relatively poor parishioners into building a huge edifice with their pennies that they had been thoughtless and unjust—arrogant men wasting resources better spent, some would say, on the poor. It is an old but specious argument.