Friday, April 19, 2013

On the Seriousness of Liturgical Affairs

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has been writing some articles over on Views from the Choir Loft and here is an excerpt from his most recent piece:

In my last blog, I talked about the phenomenon, quite common today, of those who would delay or oppose the correction of liturgical abuses or imperfections because they feel that people’s feelings will be hurt or that they will be confused by “more change.”

While I grant that too much change too fast would be a bad thing, and that all change should be accompanied by explanations, I maintain that it is morally necessary to change from bad practices to good ones and, to the extent possible, from inferior practices to superior ones. That is, it would be sinful to refuse to make such changes. (For example, if you currently have no one in the parish who knows how to sing Gregorian chant, you can’t very well insist that the next Mass will be a full-blown Missa Cantata; but you can send a couple of talented singers to a chant workshop, or invite a schola director to come and give a workshop. There are always steps that can be taken to improve the liturgical life of the community.)

Sometimes one finds even orthodox bishops voicing a certain despair: “Well, you are right, in principle—it would be better to discontinue the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of holy communion, and to have more chant, as Vatican II called for. But what’s the cost? Most of our people are trying their best to be good, many are involved in our parish ministries . . . I don’t want to discourage them by insisting too much on a severe liturgical regimen. After all, the Vatican permits X, Y, and Z, and who am I to change what even the Vatican isn’t changing? Are we supposed to be more Catholic than the pope?”

The serious problem with this kind of mentality is that it overlooks the serious long-term damage that is done by poor liturgy and poor custom...

You can read the entire piece here.

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