I got a very interesting e-mail with a good question for discussion by you readers.
I wanted to ask you if you are aware of any work that has tried to examine the issue of liturgy and contemporary culture. I was in a wedding party this past weekend. I won’t go into the details, but it was painful. First, a 41 year old man shouldn’t have to be in wedding parties. [Amen to that, brother!] But none of the party really practices. And I sat their thinking about the recent assertions by Archb. Piero Marini that the Novus Ordo is more relevant to contemporary culture. Most liturgical (apologia) in the past 30-40 years have been either pro or con for certain ways of doing things, but I’m not aware of much work that attempts to see the liturgy from its relevancy to culture outside of the Church. Maybe the question is a non-starter. Certainly the liturgy is a gift. The early Christians received it and "did in remembrance". I get that. But then there is the unquestionable (?) influence of Latin/Roman prayer forms on the Christian liturgical practice (the way the priest holds his hands). So, non-Christian culture has influenced Christian orthopraxis, it would seem. Any thoughts on sources for my inquiries?
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Summorum Pontificum was so important?
For a beginning, I think liturgy speaks with logical priority first and foremost ad intra. When it is faithfully executed, it also speaks ad extra. We all know stories of people who began their conversion, both intellectual and affective to the Church because of a liturgical experience. As a matter of fact, I would hazzard that the more rooted in the Catholic liturgical tradition the experience is, the more it tends to spark conversions.
At the same time, contemporary worldviews make it harder to latch onto the starting points.
Perhaps we could have some discussion of this and perhaps indications of sources.
I would begin by noting the book by The Heresy of Formlessness by M. Mosebach