Friday, 3 August 2012

Hieratic Language

Fifty years ago, the Fathers of the Council and, it seems, priests and bishops worldwide were gripped by the idea that a Glorious New Age for Christendom would be ushered in IF ONLY vernacular language could be introduced into the Roman Liturgy.

Guess what?  That Glorious New Age didn't come about.  Instead, those with a fervour for Reform brought about one of the greatest periods of upheaval in the history of the Church.  We are very far from being recovered from that.  A good beginning has been the new translation of the Pauline Missale Romanum, the product of years of work, which we are settling into now.  This is a great blessing for the Church.

This is not enough for some, it seems.  More is needed, it seems.  We need an alternative in which the language is more hieratic, it seems.  Not only that, but we have been asked to take a survey to prove a theory (amongst other things) that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite can only be saved from becoming an obscurity or a relic if vernacular language is introduced into it.  This has an all-too familiar ring to it of the Liturgical experiments of 1964-69.

Does history have nothing to teach us?

How many liturgical experts have been telling us over the last 50 years "If only we do this, everything will be well!"?  I read (with disbelief) one such recently in a comment box at the Chant Cafe Blog, who believed that we need to recreate the pre-Constantinian liturgy in order to have a purer form of worship.  Dear me...

Let's just leave the Extraordinary Form alone, thanks very much.  It has much to offer those who participate in it, just as is.  If you don't understand Latin, there are Missals available for you.  And for those who don't like the Extraordinary Form, don't worry!  You don't have to attend it:  there is the Ordinary Form aplenty for you.

This is one of those rare occasions when I have allowed myself the liberty of speaking candidly about something which has irked me.  I hope I haven't offended anyone by doing so.

PS At this time, when negotiations towards Reconciliation between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X (sometimes referred to as the Lefebvrists) are slowly inching forward, I think it unwise and impolitic to be publically proposing modifications and "improvements" to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  After all, the question of the Mass has been central to the spirituality of that Society.