Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tolerance, Diversity and Liberality

Those are three things that (Rather surprisingly) I'm a big fan of, for semi-obvious reasons. I used to be on the ultramontanist 'Let's get the Pope to change all the liturgy and make everyone only have what we like, including those dastardly liberals!!11!' bandwagon, but I realised that that's obviously not the way to go. Why? Because that's what the people in charge did to the church during and after Vatican II, and we see how that ended: Factions, anger, splits, deceit and the formation of new sects and the resurgence of sedevacantism and other heresies.

For the moment, it seems that those of us in the Reform movement may be getting the upper hand in the nasty and unfortunate system of Church politics that we call the Vatican. Bishops, Cardinals,priests and other clergy sympathetic with the extraordinary form and with reforming the new mass are heading dicasteries and congregations, and the possibility of a real reform seems immanent. But don't let that get the better of you and do to the current old guard what they did to us 40 years ago.

The simple truth is, the only way anything in the church is going to change in a positive direction is by being tolerant of other people's opinions and likes, and sometimes allowing and supporting those who go in another liturgical direction. We can't steamroll in with chant and polyphony, throw out the nave altars and burn copies of Breaking Bread and other OCP/GIA music resources. That's only the opposite of priests who steamrolled in with guitars and drums, ripped out the high altars and burned copies of the St.Gregory Hymanal/Liber Usualis.
Good change happens gradually, and having alternatives is the best way to keep a community together. That's highly unlikely as long as the old guard is in charge, because some of them are still ripping out high altars and re-ordering churches,regardless of what a respective parish community might like, but it's at least a hope.

So you ought to get what I'm saying. Right now, it's a lie to say that there is liturgical diversity in most dioceses. In my own diocese, out of at least 200 parishes, there are only two that actively promote traditional liturgy and praxis. And I know personally many priests here who would be happy to begin reforming their parishes, most of whom have or know how to celebrate the traditional liturgy, but the old guard of diocesan regulations and politics are here to keep things the way they've been since 1983. The situation is the same in most other dioceses: Two or three parishes where one can access some type of classical or traditional liturgy among hundreds that refuse to do so.That's not diversity, that's uniformity. That's wrong, since it doesn't attempt to spiritualy feed an entire group of the faithful for no other reason than that they don't like the people, or they don't care for the faith that they want to practise. In an ideal situation, I would have nearly equal access to an ad orientem mass celebrated in tasteful vestments with high quality music as I do to the usual Haugen/Haas/Schutte fest that the majority of parishes have.

That's the sort of thing I would like to see in the church. Neither the near uniform repudiation of traditional liturgical music and the old mass, nor a total repudiation of the past 40 years. Possibly learn to forget the worst of whatever remains, but have it so that most Catholics could easily find a place where they can go to Sunday mass without gritting their teeth, cursing in their minds, and being forced to omit communion because the anger and uncharitable thoughts they've had are probably mortal sins.

In other words, Tolerance of different forms, more Diversity in parish liturgy, and Liberally allowing that with which we may disagree, for the good of the faithful.


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