Thursday, July 27, 2006

Liturgical Dance

I had been debating whether to draw attention to this piece. The writer is known to me, a prominent Catholic dissenter in Canada who has written many public pieces in newspapers which dissent from Church teaching: - Sacred dance ideal for today's Catholic worship

The piece demonstrates the great divide that continues to grow as the liberal intelligentsia continues to flirt with a kind of syncretism on the one hand as they search for the sacred -- having gotten rid of Catholic liturgical tradition, a most plentiful fount and genuine source of the sacred if employed -- which thus turns to non-Christian traditions for inspiration (there is something rather 1960ish about it all), and on the other, showing again a continued indifference to the instructions of the Holy See and the Second Vatican Council.

The over-arching anger comes out in Prof. Higgins comment as follows:

"the pastor was unwilling to have such a dance performed on "his" altar. The egregious stupidity of this theologically handicapped and artistically illiterate pastor continues to dumbfound me these many, many months later."

Bravo to the pastor. By Prof. Higgin's definition, the Church itself would be "artistically illiterate" and "theologically handicapped".

This statement can only be classified as itself ignorant and theologically handicapped. Prof. Higgins cannot see the Church and her liturgical tradition beyond his ideologisms sadly.

He concludes:

"The importance of all the art forms — visual, musical, literary, and physical — should not be in any way underestimated or demeaned by the Philistines that sometimes occupy the pulpit, or indeed, in no small measure, the pews. Art is a means, and I would argue a premier means, of achieving intimacy with God, tasting communion, and celebrating in ways unique to the human race the particular joys and anxieties, sufferings and hopes, of our time."

There is an irony in this statement. Both the reform of the reform and the classical liturgical movement have been making this argument about the importance of engaging the senses in worship for quite some time.

But there is a fundamental difference: this engagement must be of a certain sort, not just any engagement of the senses; it must be in accord with our tradition which has very much become attached to our sense of the sacred, and has formed it.

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