Friday, January 29, 2010

The Cole Porter Catholics

There's no argument when it comes to the joy of listening to Cole Porter music. Especially for those in the prime of life, and who are doing well. Not many questions to answer, not many concerns to worry about, not many commitments to keep. One's heart may wander, but when all is said and done:
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
This wonderful lyric ought to be adopted as their anthem by all those who have very strong feelings about "the liturgy", without wanting to be too concerned about the "fine print". Works for me, and in the end that's what's important, right?

Many need to remember that the Church does not teach that the Sacraments are the be-all and end-all of life, human or Christian, but rather the principle means of salvation entrusted to Her by which mankind is to be saved.

There are those who comment on blogs, especially blogs dealing with the minutiae or aesthetics of the Liturgy, especially nowadays the Traditional Latin Mass, or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, of whom one should be able to expect more, that Pope John Paul II was not "great" because he had a liturgical tin-ear, or because he went too far in displays of what they think of as a "false ecumenism". But now, Pope Benedict XVI, who is great (in this I agree with them), is restoring things to the way they should be (liturgically, and hopefully everywhere else).

One young Catholic philosopher, who for professional reasons had to move from one location to another, and failing to find a "traditional Catholic community" had to fall in with a "Novus Ordo" parish, but one which was faithful the the Church's liturgical norms, discovered that he and his family had nothing to fear from the "New Mass" and those who worshipped according to it. He even mentioned that he learned a few things from those fellow Christians! What this man had discovered was "peace", and he wrote an article describing his personal discovery, and published it in a well known monthly Catholic journal.

As part of his analysis of his own experience, he suggested that his prior attitude had been more that of a Gnostic, rather than that of a Catholic. Because of the injustice created when large numbers of clergy abandoned the strict adherence to the Church's liturgical norms, it became a matter of concern for any conscientious Catholic to find out what was being taught in each parish, what was being preached in each homily, how Christ was being worshiped at each Mass. There were certain outward signs that might help -- altar arrangements, vestments, etc. -- but then depending on the allegiances of the priests saying Mass, those outward signs might or might not be authentic signs of true Catholic Faith. So even among the so-called "traditionalist" groups, one had to decide for himself. You know:
In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking
Now heaven knows, anything goes.
His use of the term "gnosticism" was justified; in many ways, it resembles a protestant attitude, where lacking the authority of a Church, one searches out and either finds, or founds, a Church that seems to address one's "issues".

The recent "revelations" of the great asceticism of Pope John Paul II (the "non-Great") recalled all this to my mind: Karol Woytyla's whole life was a testimony to fidelity to God, to authentic friendship between men, to reconciliation and reaching out to others, to authentic heroically lived human and supernatural virtues. If he wasn't a liturgical purist, who cares?

Pope John Paul II was truly Great, with the greatness that comes, not from critiquing the nits, and nats, of liturgical practice, but with the grace of God that is supposed to flow from the Sacraments, the great means of sanctification, to form us into other Christs.
I can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
Don't..... fence me in.

No comments:

Post a Comment