Monday, 21 February 2011

here's where I lose friends....

The docs have stopped my medication. The reason seems to be so that I can be really ill for my next hospital appointment! This means the old brain isn’t functioning quite as lucidly as it ought to. However, I do feel, even in this state, I’d like to add something to the Liturgy & Tradition debate; especially in light of the petition that has been got up regarding impending “clarifications” to the Sumorum Pontificum. I don’t like gossip, I don’t like anything that smacks of fear or the spreading of distrust and some of the blog world does seem to be full of just that. Yes. I appreciate most of those who are grateful for the more widespread return of the older form of the Mass are like wounded hounds with long memories; they’ve been kicked once too often. I remain sympathetic to their cause and I am a first hand witness to the pain and suffering they have had.

My worry is that those who would call themselves Traditionalists with a capital T, are fast becoming Traditionalistas and are in danger of seeing themselves with a separate (and special) identity within the Body of Christ (a non-Catholic, revolutionary, disruptive thing and therefore not a good thing).

I have three propositions regarding Liturgy and Tradition, I list them below with the conclusions I draw from them. I challenge anyone to pick holes in my reasoning.

1. Paragraphs 80-83 of the Catechism suggests that the Liturgy is seen through the lens of the Living Tradition of the Church. Living Tradition sounds like a paradox but being Christological is able to hold this apparent contradiction together; being both eternal and temporal. My first proposition is that if the sacred liturgy exists to “make present and fruitful in the Church the Mystery of Christ”, changes to the liturgy will take place, have always taken place and will continue to take place, BUT essentially the sacred liturgy does not change. It is up to us to pray it and engage fully with it.

2. It is impossible to improve the Liturgy. No change to the liturgy has ever been an improvement. You cannot improve on something whose function and origin is Divine. Changes are simply changes.

3. Whilst I have more sympathy for the pontiffs who leave liturgy well alone; Benedict XIV springs to mind and my personal favourite Pius XI didn’t tinker extensively, I will argue that all liturgical changes instigated in Rome are essentially pastoral and exist for no other function than to increase the number of souls getting to heaven. Misinterpretations notwithstanding, we have to live with them and make sure their aim is kept in mind and heart.

Conclusions: don’t worry, keep praying and Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind.

5 comments:

Anagnostis said...

God bless you, Rita - you're in my prayers. I hope your "migration" is uneventful.

I wonder if there's anything I can usefully contribute to your thinking from an Orthodox point of view. Our understanding of the expression "living Tradition" is radically different from the familiar RC account. For us, the Tradition is alive because it is lived, Christianity being not an ideology nor a code, nor a set of propositions or instructions, but - precisely - a life; a life which must be lived. We enter into this life (which is the life of Christ in the Holy Spirit) through the Church which presents it to us in the totality of "that which we have received" from Christ through the apostles and the holy fathers. Thus, for us, there is never any question of dividing liturgy from sacrament, from dogma, from spirituality, from Scripture, so as to treat them as separate things; they constitute a single, seamless Whole, which we call Tradition - the Scriptures, the Services, the Sacraments, the Saints. All of us are responsible for living and communicating it.

In Roman Catholicism, responsibility for the tradition is ascribed principally to the Magisterium. Tradition is understood rather more in terms of a "power" and authority than of objective, tangible forms and realities. It is "living" because the representatives of the Magisterium are alive, communicating to us what they (he in particular) understand(s) from yesterday!

In the former conception there is growth, but it is entirely organic (i.e. nobody sets out to make it happen - on the contrary everyone strives mightily to pass on "that which (he) has received"). In the latter conception, "making things happen", albeit while insisting that the "core propositions" are thereby communicated intact, is inevitable, and "development" ensues, for better or worse...

Ttony said...

My prayers that this might be the start of the doctors' getting to the root of what's wrong.

But whatever, don’t worry, keep praying and love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. It's a good solution to all sort of things!

Rita said...

Thank your for your prayers...

Once again, the inspired good sense of the Orthodox Church shines out, while the Roman Church is fighting Protestantism (and worse)both from within and without.

berenike said...

Grass is always greener ... if you lived somewhere with any history of non-immigrant Orthodoxy, you'd see the brown, mouldering, mossy etc grass on their side too :D

Anagnostis said...

the Roman Church is fighting Protestantism

...or, rather, engendering it; or engendering and then fighting it and then engendering it again, through half a millenium; for so long, in fact, that the process has taken on the appearance of a kind of normality.