Sunday, April 06, 2008

On Reverent Celebration

Many people, too, concerned about these issues, will ask: Isn't it still possible to celebrate the new liturgy of Pope Paul VI worthily and reverently?. Naturally it is possible, but the very fact that "it is possible" is the weightiest argument against the new liturgy. It has been said that a monarchy's death knell sounds once it becomes necessary for a monarch to be competent: this is because the monarch, in the old sense, is legitimated by his birth, not his talent. This observation is even truer in the liturgy: liturgy's death knell is sounded once it requires a holy and good priest to perform it. The faithful must never regard the liturgy as something that the priest does by his own efforts. It is not something that happens by good fortune or as the result of a personal charism or merit. While the liturgy is going on, time is suspended: liturgical time is different from the time that elapses outside the church's walls. It is Golgotha time, the time of the hapax, the unique and sole Sacrifice; it is a time that contains all times and none. How can a man be made to see that he is leaving the present time behind if the space he enters is totally dominated by the presence of one particular individual? How wise the old liturgy was when it prescribed that the congregation should not see the priest's face - his distractedness or coldness or (even more importantly) his devotion and emotion.

- Martin Mosebach, The Heresy of Formlessness, Ignatius Press 2003

h/t to Daniel Mitsui

No comments: