Monday, June 24, 2013

"Such clerics should limit their repertoire to the jokes that St. John told the Blessed Mother as her Son bled on the Cross."

Fr. George W. Rutler, via Jeffrey Tucker, "Fr. George Rutler on Liturgical Narcissism" New Liturgical Movement (June 22, 2013):
Any young man called to the priesthood must be like St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). This is true of all Christians. Cupio dissolvi — “I wish to disappear.” Dioceses that understand this, especially in their liturgical life, excel in vocations, and those that do not, fail.

When I arrived at this parish, there were many liturgical abuses. Let it not be said that these were the predilections of young people, for there were practically none then. Rather, they had become the habit of older people who had simply shifted from perfunctorily expedited Masses and a few sentimental hymns to the fabricated folk Masses of the 1960’s. I put a stop to the habit of applauding the organist and choir. The musicians we have now would be embarrassed by such behavior. Pope Benedict XVI said: “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.”

There is even a danger of that same narcissism when attempts at a “reform of the reform” become self-conscious spectacle. Evelyn Waugh said that Anthony Eden was not a gentleman because he dressed too well. We try to offer the best to God, but we must not be fussy about it like the nouveau riche. It once was said that dowagers in Boston did not buy hats, they had hats. C. S. Lewis’ view was that true worship should be like a good old shoe, so comfortable that you don't have to break it in: “The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.” That is a sensibility I have long admired in the Byzantine liturgies. While some speak of the High Mass of the Western Church as the “most beautiful thing this side of Heaven,” I know of nothing so formally transcendent and still so informally natural as the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

The constant fidgeting for “theme liturgies” and experimentation is a sign of failure. Worse yet is the priest who solicits laughter like a ham actor in a dying vaudeville show. Such clerics should limit their repertoire to the jokes that St. John told the Blessed Mother as her Son bled on the Cross. One is struck by the way Pope Francis, in his personal simplicity and affability, is so enrapt in the solemnity of the Mass that he would not think of smiling through the Sacrifice of Calvary.

It may seem that reform of abuses is as futile as King Canute ordering the tide to roll back. Actually, that great king was showing his court that human pride has no authority over what does not belong to him. That is why he placed his own crown on a figure of Christ Crucified, and that is what true worship is all about.


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

No matter in what Country it is offered, The Real Mass is recognisable as The Real Mass due to its form and its rubrics and its Christocentric orientation whereas the Lil' Licit Liturgy (Anthropocentric) is an confession that, since Vatican Two and the imposition upon the faithful of the revolutionary rite of Pope Paul VI, the Catholic Church, in its praxis, is now a questionable organisation of congregational assemblies with each assembly authorised so many options in its worship that one never knows what type of crap he may step in if he has to go to some N.O, Parish Community (they eschew the idea of "church") to fulfill his Sunday Obligation for in those Parish Communities, ( He must decrease so I can increase), all manner of retarded crap happens inside the Sanctuary and, instead of the TRADITIONAL OFFERTORY, we get a Jewish Meal Prayer.

The Key to our escape from this Cell of Confusion we now live in is the restoration of the Real Mass as normative and the suppression of the revolutionary rite and any arguments to the contrary (such as that would be too radical an act) are just the conservative real guard actions in defense of the successful revolution of the modernists.

The malign results of this mephitic revolution are there for those who have the eyes to see but the willfully blind keep repeating the same tired old execrable excuses that can be distilled to this absurdity; Everything is different, nothing has changed

There has been a complete and total rupture inside the Church and Vatican Two was the cause of this confusion. I KNOW, for I was born into the Catholic Church in the 1940s and none of this shit was happening at Mass and if any Priest dared to try and pull some dumbass stunt that now passes for Liturgy he'd have been sent packing to Pakistan or committed to an insane asylum.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

What Rutler does not seem to get is that, in this case above all, "reform of abuses IS as futile as King Canute ordering the tide to roll back." That is what makes the achievement of the gregorian mass all the more remarkable: it has already been successfully shepherded through centuries of abuse. Can't he see that? On the one hand he criticizes the misbehavior of our clerical jokesters, very properly; but on the other, he turns his back on the one true liturgy that would squelch the Fr Sheckys. There's only one explanation for this kind of self-contradicting behavior: he knows the side on which his bread is buttered, and he truly likes his bread with butter.

In my diocese there is one priest that I know of who actually defied the unspoken preferences of his bishop and learned the gregorian rite (wrongfully termed the "extraordinary form."). I witnessed (I hate that word) him say it in a mission church in Buffalo NY. He was subsequently named the part time pastor of FIVE far flung small parishes along the southern tier of my diocese. That'll teach him.

Pertinacious Papist said...


"Everything is different, nothing has changed." That says it all!


I can't believe what you describe about that priest who had the gall (in your diocese, anyway) to learn and say the TLM. Assigned as administrator of FIVE far flung parishes! Sheesh! They might as well have sent him to Teheran.

Athelstane said...

Hello Ralph,

"...on the other, he turns his back on the one true liturgy that would squelch the Fr Sheckys."

You *do* realize that Fr. Rutler celebrates the TLM on a regular basis in his parish? One of the few regular TLM"s you can find in Manhattan?

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

No Athelstane, I did not realize that. I am glad to hear of it. It is in itself a risky thing for an AmChurch priest to do. Thank you for the information.

But you *do* realize, of course, that he is saying nothing about that in the article at hand, and is instead offering the same tired old neo-Cath strategy of making a liturgy of an anti-liturgy ("if we pretend real hard, maybe . . . "), and that is indeed "as futile as King Canute ordering the tide to roll back."

For my two cents, he ought to say out loud what he probably knows in his heart, that the NO is unsalvagable. But he has far more to lose saying that than I do. Perhaps he is trying to slip it in between the lines. I wish him good luck to with that.