Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bonfire of the Vanities

Speaking of implementing Pope Benedict's message, Fr. Fox over at Bonfire of the Vanities listed some interesting points in his homily today on the liturgical question, including an important corrective about the Council and Latin in the liturgy:

As you know, over a year ago, we began learning
the Latin "Lamb of God" prayer;
and I propose we do the same
for the "Holy, Holy" prayer, this Lent.

Many say they like it; a few say they don’t.
Yes, it stretches us.
In any case, you might wonder, why do it?

The Mass—like our lives as Christians—
is the intersection between the ordinary-and-familiar,
and the infinitely mysterious God who bends down
to draw us into the depths of his glory and holiness.

So Mass should be both "familiar"—and "other."
"Down here"—and beyond our reach.
Contemporary—and ancient.

It’s a balance; and in my judgment,
the Church in recent years has done far better
at the "familiar" and contemporary;
not so well at the ancient and timeless.
So—I’m aiming for a little balance.
By the way: our holy father says the same.

Now, just to prove my point about "balance":
there are folks who think this is somehow
contrary to the Second Vatican Council.
Some actually take offense to have Latin used, at Mass,
in the…Roman Catholic Church!

It’d be like going to a synagogue and saying,
"What’s all this Jewish stuff doing around here?"

Here’s what Vatican II actually said, to pastors:
teach people these prayers in Latin, and use them.*
Is that not what we’re doing?

I think the Council’s purpose was for us to remember
who we are, where we came from,
and that we’re part of a Church
that is worldwide and timeless.

Further, my hope is that, once we get past
the "newness" of something so ancient,
we might find we experience the beauty
of chanting those timeless words
in our Church’s ancient language!

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