Out of interest, two entries appeared on my blog feed, one linking to the other. Some of you who venture into the online Catholic blogosphere, would know of the high quality devotion and defense of the faith provided by Catholic Answers, at www.catholic.com/. One of their frequent authors in their publications, and in numerous collaborations, is Mark Shea, a Catholic apologist, who also writes a weekly column for the more conservative National Catholic Register (NOT the NCreporter!).
Of course, for this week, he decided to cover the Liturgy. On the whole, Mark gets it absolutely right in his column, here:
" .... Quarrels about liturgy have, for me, this same maddening and distracting quality. I don’t want a liturgy I can look at. I want a liturgy I can look along—to see God .... I want to enter into the Paschal mystery, not keep being dragged back out by the thought “What is he doing now?” [as in stupid liturgical abuses or things the priest likes.] I want music that makes me think of God, not ... a riff from Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5” ... I want vestments that clothe the priest in Christ, not in gimmickry. I want them to just stick to the script. Say the black, do the red, as the saying goes. [Father Zuhlsdorf !!!!]
I’m not at Mass to be entertained, charmed, fascinated by a dazzling personality, or amused. I’m not there to worship myself or hear about ... which lay martinets dominate a few “ministries” in the parish ... and are now ... tiny tyrannical fiefdoms [over the whole of the parish community]. I don’t want to hear a homily in which a priest is now so remote from the most elementary truths of the Tradition ... I don’t want to improve the Our Father to the Our Mother nor pray in the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. I don’t want to live with the impression that the last words of Christ to Peter were “Try experiments on my rats” and not “Feed my sheep.”
Why am I at Mass? I want God. That’s why ...."
Wow! This, Mark, is exactly what those of us of the Generation X and Millenial generation, want of our Catholic liturgy and faith. WE ARE TIRED of the stupid things that priests and misguided lay teachers think we want. We want the whole kit and caboodle, without lies about the true teachings, doctrine, and dogmas of our faith. Screw the "Jesus loves everyone" garbage and "tolerate one another" stuff.
Now, Mark continues on because he's about to, like Christ always has, turn the tables and challenge the other extreme when it comes to the faith: The liturgical Pharisees and/or the "Trads behaving badly."
" .... But for exactly the same reason, I’m also not interested in the reaction to all this sort of twaddle from laity who have made it their life’s mission to be perpetually angry or obsessed with the minutiae of liturgy and hyper-critical of the Paul VI rite. Just as I don’t want a priest to take me out of the Mass and into the cult of “Aren’t I Fabulous?” so I likewise don’t want angry Reactionaries endlessly critiquing and carping about how intrinsically inferior even a well-celebrated Paul VI rite is. [a sadly typical behaviour of Trads Behaving Badly (TBBs), and their organizational counterparts e.g. the Society of St. Pius X.] I don’t want to listen to paranoid rants about the Jewish conspiracy tunneling under the sanctuary, or how the vestments aren’t quite the right color, or how we must all panic because Pope Francis’ priorities are not particularly on gorgeous liturgy. I find his simple offering of a beach ball to God in gratitude for 3 million hearts touched by Christ at World Youth Day to be an occasion of deeply moving joy, not a reason to scream "Sacrilege!" I also don't think the Little Drummer Boy insulted God by not playing Palestrina. I’m not super-inspired by singing “City of God”, and I can't stand "Anthem", but on the whole, I think that if that's the worst suffering I have to endure, I’m getting off way better than the Hiroshima martyrs and I am not going to let it destroy my peace ...."
While I do appreciate the gesture to Pope Francis about the beach ball thing, and I get his point not to act like a `trad behaving badly` to such a thing, personally, beach balls don`t belong on the altar. If you HAVE to absolutely bring something up like that in the Novus Ordo, then put it below the actual altar in front with those ``liturgical displays`` done by ``liturgical committees``. I`ve seen it before though usually with things the "Children's Mass/Liturgy/schools" do. I respect the sacredness, especially even higher, of the Sanctuary, and we should not willingly be doing things to violate that. Though I get we can't take out our mace and batons and do citizen's arrests on priests and people for that. So I`ll take my lumps with Mark on that.
HOWEVER, His overall sentiment rings true. This is the sickness that KILLS any hope of people coming to the Latin Mass, or even the Church in general. It`s not the form of the Mass itself that drives away people. It`s the bitter, angry, TBBs that do it, in person and their social media. This anal-retentiveness about all things liturgical and keeping the purity of "t/T-radition" just angers people off except their own allies/adherents. The Church and the Latin Mass is for everyone, and if you TRULY care about spreading the EF, you don't be like how Mark is describing above. Seriously, youth these days hate over-burdening authority of ANY sort. You have to break down our sensitivity barriers people.
SO, of course someone else decided to chime in, the Latin Mass Society UK head no less on his blog! At first glance of the title, I feared another TBB reaction was coming, and usually, these "Neo-Con" bloggers and Trads don't mix, like oil and water. Interestingly, there is some agreement from the author, Joseph Shaw. I still think there is a tad bit of reactionary "self-defense" mode going on, as I've seen his tone and writing in other posts, especially concerning a Lie-Beral Monsignor Basil Loftus, but he actually had some support for Mark Shea. Let me show you:
".... To liberals, comparing Mass to a piece of theatre is like showing a red rag to a bull. They want it to be natural and spontaneous. Nevertheless, Shea has a point: you need to lose yourself in the liturgy. The trouble is that doesn't make the point he wants it to make, which is that thinking about the liturgy is a Bad Thing.
There may sometimes be an element of 'I murder to dissect': if you are thinking too much about how the poet is producing his effect, it won't have its effect on you. But it equally won't have its effect if you can't understand the words or images or references (like me reading Mark Shea's blog), or if it is being read badly or printed in the wrong order. So learning about poetry or drama and getting a good text or a good performance will ultimately enhance your experience. Learning about the liturgy, and attending its worthy celebration, will enhance your liturgical experience.
If liturgy is important, as Shea presumably thinks it is, if he thinks it allows you to 'look along - to see God', then we need to argue about it a lot, we need to make it better, we need to adorn it with the best music we can and art set it in the best architecture. There's no easy escape for those 'conservatives' who don't want to takes sides on liturgical issues, I'm afraid ....
So while Joseph is about maybe 89.27546% in agreement with Shea (as he still defends most argumentation about the liturgy in general here, which, I agree somewhat, of the sentiment that we should not be blind sheep obeying our parish overlords and Lie-beral types of clergy and lay authroities), It is great to see some agreement between the Trad and Neo-con side here with this critical analysis blog post from Joseph.
The main message is clear between the both of them:
--> Liberals, stop thinking the liturgy is all about YOU. Stop trying to screw with the means God gives us as the highest form of worship, set about by Christ in his Passion, Death, and Resurrection that Passover Seder 2000+ years ago. Stop trying to violate the Church's doctrines and dogma. It ain't going to Happen as Christ said in Matthew 16:18. Priests, say the black text in your Missal and do the Red indicated. Nothing else NOT in the liturgy or outside of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Give the laity what they deserve: A liturgy fit for Christ the King!
--> Conservatives: Stop being TBBs, over dissecting the liturgy and pitting one form of the Mass against the other, Pope Benedict Emeritus and his preference of the EF over Pope Francis and his preference of the OF against one another, and stop being a bunch of liturgical police that enforces every rubric known to man, 1860 or 2013. You are sickening the liturgy and the people who come to the Church with your overzealous, and often anger-laced behaviour.
Good job to both of them. Pax Tibi Christi, Julian.