Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Plain Fare..."

Ian Jack writes in The Guardian (UK) today about the speculation surrounding Tony Blair's possible conversion. The part that is pertinent to the NLM is this:

"When the writer Edward Sackville-West wrote to Evelyn Waugh in 1949 to tell him that he was preparing for his conversion, Waugh replied that conversion was "like stepping across the chimney piece out of a Looking-glass-World, where everything is absurd caricature, into the real world God made; and then begins the delicious process of exploring it limitlessly".

Yesterday, the feast day of St Paul and St Peter, I decided to see if I could catch a small part of this feeling and went for the first time to mass [sic] at the Blairs' old church. As Pevsner says, the interior is handsome - bare, light, sparse, more Protestant than Catholic. There were about 50 in the congregation, very few under the age of 60. The priest was Irish, a woman read the lesson, another woman delivered to the priest the wine and the wafers, which the congregation eventually queued for. The whole thing lasted about 20 minutes. Aside from a few bells and responses, it might have been a ceremony devised on a busy day during the Reformation. "Exotic" it was not; hard to see how this plain fare would have attracted Edith Sitwell."

It is precisely such a reaction to the average parish liturgy that the re-discovery of the classical Roman rite and our rich liturgical heritage might help overcome. Then, by the grace of God, the Church's liturgy may attract still more people and draw them to worship and love Him.

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