Saturday, February 11, 2017

CWR Knocks It Out of the Park Again!

For the second time this week, Catholic World Report has published an extremely good and useful article on the topic of mutual enrichment, this time from the perspective of the Eastern Rites. It is the work of Dr Adam DeVille, Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Theology and Philosophy at the University of St Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As with the column published earlier this week by Nicholas Senz, I cannot encourage our readers strongly enough to click over to CWR to read the whole thing. Here are a couple of particularly good excerpts.

“... a counsel of negation for the Western liturgist. First, stop sneering and sloganeering (‘he’s not a liturgist!’) and pretending like you belong to some great guild of illuminati whose academic credentials qualify you and you alone to speak on these matters. Stop condescending to the people of God (link in original) by claiming they cannot possibly understand what ‘consubstantial’ or ‘oblation’ mean. Have you tried to teach them? (After just two sessions last semester, the Roman Catholic students in my Trinity class were confidently and intelligently discussing Greek terms like ousia, perichoresis, and prosopon.)

Have you, moreover, ever seriously consulted the people of God about liturgical reform? Or was it imposed from the top down by a papal fiat beholden to a commission of ideologues? ... Leitourgia is as much the ‘property’ of (and as much performed by) the untutored, semi-literate baba—who kept the faith in the Soviet gulag, or under Islamic domination, and taught her children and grandchildren how to pray—as it is of anyone else, especially the so-called experts. She (‘Mrs. Murphy’ as the Latin liturgist Aidan Kavanaugh famously nick-named her) has as much right to contribute here as anyone swanning about with a graduate degree from the Anselmo. ...

The West must therefore stop its psychologically destructive and perverse disdain for so-called useless repetitions. Repetition is the essence of liturgy and ritual. In this light, stop assuming a three-year lectionary is better than a one-year. It isn’t. One-year cycles mean more frequent repetition, which means a greater likelihood of people remembering the readings and calling them to mind later.

Hatred of repetition is invariably justified by self-congratulatory talk about ‘noble simplicity.’ It is neither. ‘Noble simplicity’ is just a sanctimonious display of bourgeois iconoclasm, ... ”

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