Love for Latin Liturgy More than a Fashion

2014. március 17. 10:26

Rachel Lu
Crisis Magazine
Young Catholics have a deep yearning to be reconnected to the rich Catholic tradition that is their rightful heritage.

„»When I search more thoroughly — the Pope said — I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: 'móda']. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.« (...)

Nevertheless, the rumor caused a stir. Partly, that is because it lent further strength to the already-established impression that Pope Francis dislikes liturgical traditionalists. Also, the quoted passage expresses a view of the traditionalist movement (and particularly of the younger Catholics who have flocked to it) that is shared by many other Catholics. It thus invites us to consider once more the movement to revitalize older Catholic traditions (and particularly the Extraordinary Form of the Mass) which blossomed under the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. Is it fair to dismiss this movement as mere fashion or fad? (...)

People who have had bad experiences with liturgical traditionalists may be a little softened once they see how they interact among themselves. Catholics devoted to traditional liturgy have come to expect that they will be regarded with hostility and suspicion by many of their fellow Catholics. When their desires for reverent liturgy are satisfied, their reactionary tendencies recede into the background, and their love of beauty comes to the fore. This is one thing that is consistently mentioned when young traditionalists explain their attraction to liturgy. They are drawn to the beauty and solemnity of older liturgical forms, which bring them to a real appreciation of the power of the Sacraments.

Is this beauty and solemnity unique to the older liturgical forms? Not necessarily. The Novus Ordo Mass can be celebrated with great reverence and solemnity, as it regularly is in St. Agnes Parish here in St. Paul. Unfortunately, this is not the norm in every parish. In an effort to make the Mass more »accessible,« we dress it up in forms less reminiscent of the Courts of Heaven, and more reminiscent of the library »story hour« to which I sometimes take my children. (...)

Young Catholics have a deep yearning to be reconnected to the rich Catholic tradition that is their rightful heritage. Having grown up in the shadow of egregious doctrinal disobedience and liturgical neglect, they feel exiled from that tradition, and many ardently desire to return. Revitalizing older devotions and liturgical forms is one way of building bridges back to our own country and people, who carried the torch of faith through the centuries. This is not a fashion. It is, as for the Israelites, a way of rediscovering who we really are.”

(Rachel Lu a Cornell Egyetemen doktorált filozófiából, jelenleg a minnesotai Szent Tamás Egyetem filozófatanára.)

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