Friday, January 18, 2008

"The Return of Triumphalism"

Harping onThis week's Catholic Herald, a UK-based Catholic weekly, has a brilliant opinion piece by James Macmillan, CBE. For those who are unaware, James is described by the BBC as "one of today’s most successful living composers" and by Hyperion Record as "the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation."


James Macmillan's writing style is frank and to the point and he has often spoken out on issues of Catholicism, culture and politics. In this week's article, he says:

"It is not just in the liturgical sphere that we see a new impatience with the comfy laxness of the previous generation. For many years successful professional Christians have sought to ingratiate themselves with their liberal secular associates by playing down the parts of the Church’s teaching that caused most offence. Nevertheless there was more at stake here than just their incorporation into trendy sophisticated company.

Secular liberals have gladly gobbled up all these concessions and now want more – the complete obliteration of religion from public life. In the process liberal Christians have lost the respect of their secular peers. They gave no indication of intellectual rigour or ethical integrity in their eagerness to ditch bits and pieces of the faith. Their faith has been caught in a cruel light – their Christianity is bland, sentimental and anaemic.

History will look back unkindly on the generation of Vatican II Catholics who were handed such a precious pentecostal gift of grace – a unique opportunity to purify the Church, only to squander it disastrously. They bent over backwards to accommodate the zeitgeist, rather than open a generational heart to the Heilige Geist...

We can begin with the liturgy. Nothing signals the weakened state of the modern Church more than the contemporary practice of Catholic liturgy in hundreds of churches throughout the land. A breath of fresh air is wafting through St Peter’s, and in his own gentle way Pope Benedict is inviting the universal Church to taste the beauties and spiritual sustenance of true Catholic worship. I am convinced that from the liturgy everything else will flow."
 
I encourage you to read the rest of this article here

For a taste of James Macmillan's sacred music, recorded on his most recent disc, visit this page, which also has an interview with him. James is a member of the Glasgow Lay Dominicans and worships in the Dominican-run parish of St Columba's in Glasgow.