Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Problem

John Allen Jr., perhaps spurred on by Fr. Dennis McManus's recent proposition, writes on the rather tiresome question of Good Friday prayer of the usus antiquior.

More than enough commentary has been made on the reality that the Church has not changed (and cannot change) her doctrine on the uniqueness of the Church and the singular necessity of Christ. Further, both Jewish and Christian writers have commented upon why these things are not wrong and certainly not hateful of their own accord.

However, what I found particularly revealing was one comment; a comment that reveals "the problem":

"...some critics charge that much of the symbolism and language of the old Mass is inconsistent with the vision of the [Second Vatican] council."

No doubt this "vision" referred to is similar to, or directly derived from, the Bologna school interpretation of the Council as a "spirit" and "event" -- for such a view could hardly be derived from the actual documents of the Council itself.

This idea, which some Catholics evidently hold, that the symbolism and language of the traditional form of the Mass is inconsistent with the vision of the Council is truly revealing of the hermeneutic of rupture and its damaging effects on liturgics and ecclesiology. (It also raises interesting questions as to how those same people would view the Eastern liturgical rites of the Church whose language and symbolism is quite proximate to the usus antiquior in these regards. This is an aspect that is often overlooked or avoided.)

At the end of the day, the Second Vatican Council did not change the Church's fundamental principles. This is why the "symbolism and language" of the ancient Roman rite is not contrary to the Council, and likewise, it is why the reform of the reform is not "backsliding". As the Pope has made clear, what was sacred then is also sacred now, and it likewise has a rightful place in the life of the Church today.

What this helps to reveal however is one of the primary problems we face in the Western church today, and it is a problem which affects the liturgy and most everything else.

Full Allen story: Vatican faces ticking clock on prayer for conversion of Jews

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