Saturday, October 01, 2016

Ephemeral enthusiasm of the 1960s ... not aging well

Peter Kwasniewski, I was very surprised to learn, was involved at a crucial juncture in his spiritual journey in a charismatic prayer group. Wow.

He relates this and much, much more in an interview in a Czech Newspaper RC Monitor, addressing topics of Liturgy, Music, Philosophy, and Traditionalism. Via Rorate Caeli, HERE (September 27, 2016).. Excerpts:
My journey into the traditional liturgy was gentle and gradual. I grew up in a very typical suburban American parish and sang in its children’s choir and, later, adult choir. The liturgy was very “contemporary” in style, but I didn’t know that at the time.

In high school two things happened: I got involved in a charismatic prayer group, which re-animated my faith, and I took a course in philosophy that brought me into contact with Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. After a couple of years, my interest in the charismatic prayer group waned, but my intellectual life soared. I began to study theology, too, and had a vague longing for a form of prayer and liturgy that would correspond to the depth and breadth of philosophy and theology. Without knowing it, I was searching for the traditional worship of the Church, which was born of the ancient Fathers, developed by the medievals, and faithfully handed down to us from Trent onwards.

I was fortunate to attend a college [Thomas Aquinas College] where the Ordinary Form of the Mass was celebrated always in Latin and with Gregorian chant. This pleased me very much because it seemed like what I had been looking for. But then, towards the end of my four years there, I had several opportunities to attend Tridentine “low Masses.” The intensity of silence, the palpable holiness, the richness of the prayers, gripped me powerfully....

.... In retrospect, I think we are in a better position to see that some of what got into the documents of the Second Vatican Council was ephemeral enthusiasm from the 1960s that is now very dated. The Constitution on the Liturgy lays down general theological principles that have permanent validity but goes on to propose many particular changes, which are not doctrinal matters but disciplinary and therefore prudential in nature. Looking back, we can ask whether, e.g., the suppression of Prime was really necessary; whether “useless repetition” is really so useless after all; whether the Church calendar really needed anything more than superficial refinements, as opposed to a massive overhaul. In other words, many pages of this Constitution have not aged well and are a bit embarrassing now to look at; they are better forgotten, along with much else from the 1960s.
[Hat tip to JM]


Chris Garton-Zavesky


Prime, if I recall correctly, is the hour during which the Roman Martyrology is read. I can imagine why it was suppressed: no inspiration to stand fast against the forces of Satan, be they secularizing, iconoclastic, humanizing, or anything else.

CE User


Quite right, and I think sometimes it is necessary to remind folks that the specific directives of Sacrosanctum Concilium fall under "authoritative" rather than "infallible" (the concept of infallibility being applicable to doctrine and dogma, not prescriptive directives)
and even then they cannot bind future popes or councils. With one stroke of a pen a pope could make the EF normative.