When inculturation is wrong: “whoring after ephemeral relevance, a prostitution to the present age”

Over at Corpus Christi Watershed there is a good piece by Prof. Peter Kwasniewski of Wyoming Catholic College about inculturation.

Inculturation is unavoidable.  Inculturation has given us magnificent benefits.  If you want a good example of great inculturation try: Baroque.

But inculturation has to be properly understand and approached.  There is a simultaneous exchange constantly going on between the world and the Church.  That’s just fine, so long as what the Church has to give always has logical priority over what the world gives to the Church.

But let’s see Kwasniewski’s piece with my emphases and comments:

Confusions about Inculturation

IN RECENT DECADES there has been a great and deep confusion about the concept of inculturation. It has been taken to mean [wrongly] that the Catholic faith and its practice should be changed to conform to an indigenous culture, and should assimilate that culture’s own religious beliefs and practices. In other words, [liberals, usually, think] Catholicism is seen as raw material and the alien culture as an agent of transformation. This is a false view. In reality, the culture to which the Catholic faith comes is in need of conversion and elevation, so whatever elements are taken from it, once duly purged of sin and error, stand as material to the “form” imparted by the life-giving Catholic faith. It is the Church that is the agent, form, and goal in any true inculturation, while the culture is the matter that receives the form from the agent for the sake of salvation in Christ.  [Dead on.]
Any culture would benefit from the insertion of the Roman Mass in its fullness. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] Either the culture would welcome it as a sublime expression of a divinely revealed religion, as the ceremonies and texts of the traditional Latin liturgy powerfully convey (it is in just this way that many of the Japanese are said to have reacted to the beauty and majesty of the liturgy as celebrated by the missionaries), [and today is an Ember Day, so get some tempura!] or a hostile culture would in time be overcome by it and thus purged of ignorance, error, and sin. In no case is it ever necessary to seek, as a goal, to take elements of a prevailing heathen culture and incorporate them into the sacred culture. [And yet that is what liturgical liberals do.] If there are elements that are worthy of elevation into the sacral domain, this will happen slowly, subtly, with fine discernment and discretion. Running after these elements in a kind of desperate hunt for relevancy is doomed to failure; it is a kind of whoring after ephemeral relevance, a prostitution to the present age and its malevolent prince. [OORAH!]

THINGS THAT ARE REALLY TRUE, good, and beautiful will, as it were, line up in front of the doors of the church and beg admission; they will sue for peace, and beg pardon, and offer themselves like lambs for the sacrifice. Then we may take them up in our arms and make of them vehicles of grace. But not in any other way. As St. Augustine says: “He that believes not, is truly demoniac, blind, and dumb; and he that has not understanding of the faith, nor confesses, nor gives praise to God, is subject to the devil.”  [qu. eu. 1, 4 – qui non credit subditus est diabolo] The Church does not go to the blind and dumb to ask for advice on how she should worship or what she should believe; she does not go to subjects of the devil, in desperate need of baptism, and beg them for a seat at their master’s table.
Inculturation as it has been understood and practiced by liturgical revolutionaries is one more ploy of Satan to destabilize and denature the Church of God, to water down her distinctiveness, to poison and pollute her divine cultus and human culture. This is not what the great Jesuit, Dominican, and Franciscan missionaries did; they brought forward the Catholic faith in all the splendor of its abiding truth, and by that light, they converted nations and baptized all that was noble and good in their people.

Please visit THIS PAGE to learn more about Dr. Kwasniewski’s Sacred Choral Works and the audio CDs that contain recordings of the pieces.

Fr. Z kudos to Prof. K.  Rem acu tetigit!

If our sacred liturgical worship is screwed up (and, by an large, it is) then everything else we undertake as a Church will be on a foundation of sand.  Our human relationships are ordered by the virtue justice.  We are to give people that which is due to them.  We also must give the Divine Persons their due.  But because the Divine Persons are qualitatively different, we give them their due by the virtue of religion.  And the first thing we owe to God is worship.  If our relationship with the Divine Persons is disordered, our other relationships will be out of joint.  Our liturgical worship of God keeps us in the right relationship with God so that we can be on a good footing in every other thing we pursue.

 

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29 Responses to When inculturation is wrong: “whoring after ephemeral relevance, a prostitution to the present age”

  1. fib09002 says:

    I really don’t know what to make of this. Obviously I wouldn’t deny that when a previously non-Catholic culture embraces Catholicism, that culture is going to change in some way. But ultimately as much of the indigenous culture that can be preserved, should be preserved. Otherwise, Catholicism starts to look like one horrid universalist ideology seeking political domination and bringing cultural displacement like any other (i.e. Communism, Americanism, etc.). If the people want the Latin Mass, let them have the Latin Mass, but I don’t expect for there ever to be a widespread demand for it in places like Malaysia or China or Nigeria. People are different, cultures are different, and it would be mistaken to expect all people to practice Catholicism in precisely the same way.

  2. pseudomodo says:

    A quote from Blessed John Henry Newman:

    “We are told in various ways by Eusebius, that Constantine, in order to recommend the new religion to the heathen, transferred to it the outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed in their own. It is not necessary to go into a subject which the diligence of Protestant writers has made familiar to most of us. The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holydays and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields: sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church.”

    A pagan who sacrafices a chicken to the god in the trees and rocks needs to be converted.

    Converting this pagan and teaching him to direct his honor to the one true God (Albeit sacrificing the USE of chicken on Fridays!) is a better goal.

    There are just some pagan practices (human sacrifice) that we may not adopt directly but explain that sacrifice in ouselves is a nobler offering to God.

  3. fib09002 says:

    One additional thought. If the Church were to adopt the position that the professor adopts, which is little to no accommodation with “heathen cultures”, than on what basis would the Church be able to complain when those upholders of the “heathen culture” begin to become annoyed at the presence of the Church, and thereafter persecute it? Look at China, for example. It seems to me that the reason why they persecute the Church there is because they think that the Catholic Church is simply a kind of trojan horse, which was sent to them to infiltrate their society, undermine their ways of life and basically to Westernize them. Now, I don’t want to say that they are right to persecute the Church. But, on the other hand, I have no problem with the Chinese saying that they want to continue to be Chinese. And, moreover, while I disagree with them I do understand why they might see the Catholic Church as a subversive influence in their society. What I think we need to do, then, is to find a way whereby people can be both Chinese or whatever other nationality and Catholic at the same time.

  4. Josemaria says:

    I commented on this article as “Nash Horne” at CCW, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around this issue. It seems to boil down to what is objective, and what is subjective. If I am reading him correctly, Dr. Kwasniewski points to elements of culture which are “good, true, and beautiful” as being acceptable for incorporation into Roman Rite worship. How do we determine what fits this criteria? Also, is there a danger in a Roman Rite Mass losing its’ Romanness? How do we properly balance preserving the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Roman Rite with allowing the transcendental elements of a native culture to be incorporated?

  5. TWF says:

    I agree with the general point of the post / article, but I’m not sure I can agree that ANY culture can benefit from the introduction of the traditional Roman Missal. The Roman Missal is the product of one particular Christian culture – Western Christian culture. Other Christian cultures also developed in ancient Christendom and their unique rites are just as dignified as the Roman. It would be contrary to the Church’s teaching and unnecessary to impose the Roman Missal in the ancient Syriac or Byzantine Christian cultures for example. Look what happened when Latin Catholic missionaries arrived along the Malabar Coast of India. Latinizations were imposed upon the existing East Syriac Christian culture and as a result schism occurred with many of the indigenous Christians seeking the protection of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch. Today we recognize that this was a mistake. The Roman Missal and anything else Roman had no place in the already thoroughly Christian, but East Syriac, culture of ancient Malabar Indian Christianity. When the Syro-Malabar Christians accepted papal primacy and declared themselves in full communion with Rome, that should have been the end of it – their own dignified East Syriac liturgy would have continued to be celebrated with due reverence and the fear of God.
    That being said, any non-Christian culture can certainly benefit from the introduction of any of the ancient Rites -the introduction of authentic Christian liturgy, whether it be Roman, Byzantine, Syriac, Coptic, or otherwise. Of course certain elements, such as “Ad Orientem” are universal to ALL of these ancient rites regardless of what some want us to believe…

  6. JesusFreak84 says:

    The Chinese persecute the Church because they see the Pope himself as competition for the allegiance of the people. You can “inculturate” another “new Mass” for them until you’re blue in the face and the Party in power there would still persecute Holy Mother Church and continue to shove it underground. Heck, to a great degree, I’m sure an above-ground Chinese church COULD have inculturated with Rome’s blessing and support, but *that’s not the problem,* and inculturation here is the wrong solution to the wrong problem, like trying to start your stopped car by yelling at it.

    I’ve also had friends study in Japan, and the “inculturated” Masses there are only ever attended by Americans and other tourists; the locals want the evil, mean, nasty normal Mass and all its culturally-insensitive glory =-p

  7. Gerard Plourde says:

    I have to agree with pseudo modo and fib09002. Further, according to Prof. Kwasniewski’s thesis:

    “Any culture would benefit from the insertion of the Roman Mass in its fullness…Either the culture would welcome it as a sublime expression of a divinely revealed religion, as the ceremonies and texts of the traditional Latin liturgy powerfully convey (it is in just this way that many of the Japanese are said to have reacted to the beauty and majesty of the liturgy as celebrated by the missionaries), or a hostile culture would in time be overcome by it and thus purged of ignorance, error, and sin. In no case is it ever necessary to seek, as a goal, to take elements of a prevailing heathen culture and incorporate them into the sacred culture.”,

    The perhaps unintended consequence of this premise means we would also have to require the Unitate Eastern Churches to forego the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and their use of their traditional languages and instead substitute the Extraordinary Form. I’m fairly certain that he doesn’t really advocate this, but his language implies that these venerable and ancient liturgies are somehow inferior to the Extraordinary Form, a position rejected by the Tridentine Fathers and St. Pius V.

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The point is not that all culture without Christ is all evil without any redeeming qualities. The point is that without Christ, all culture is not the good that it should be, and that it is enslaved by the Devil, subjected to the Devil. Basically, without Christ, culture is fallen and suffers from its own sort of original sin. It still has some things about it which are “very good,” but those things aren’t super-useful without using care to purify them.

    Culture that is, so to speak, baptized by Christianity – culture that undergoes a purification process and thus becomes Christian – is totally okay and is even blessed, the way God meant it to be.

    However, even the products of Christian culture need to be used correctly to avoid becoming evil or stupid. There’s often a need to draw the line between what is okay outside church, or outside the altar area, and what is okay in a more solemn context.

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    While it would be nice for everyone referring to their Mass as good to put a little asterisk next to it saying, “Of course this refers to every valid Rite and Use and Form approved by the Catholic Church,” I don’t see a lot of Eastern/other Catholics remembering to do that, either.

    However, neither do I see a lot of Byzantine or Maronite Rite folks descending upon the website of, say, Ambrosian or Braga Rite folks, complaining about their oversimplified use of the term “Mass.”

    Now, given the way history worked out, there’s no doubt that Italian Ambrosian Rite folks are not particularly noted for, say, unjust governance of the religious practices of US Byzantine Rite Catholics. But it’s also a fact that individual Latin Rite Catholic bloggers and pundits are also unlikely to have personally caused any injustice to Byzantine Rite Catholics. Nor is the Byzantine cause any more special and needful than all the other Rites who can either be construed as being left out or included, depending on one’s level of tolerance for figures of speech.

    So logically, if one is complaining about leaving one’s own Mass out, but not complaining about all the other Masses being left out, one must count oneself as being evil and oppressive to all the other people in all the other Rites and Uses and Forms.

    My suggestion is that one might usefully develop a boilerplate Catholic script and deploy it on any posts forgetting the status of other Masses, Rites, Forms, and Uses, thus saving oneself a great deal of effort. This will save time, effort, and flamewars, as well as being educational.

  10. Cordelio says:

    Fortunately, it is perfectly legitimate to assimilate the Roman Rite to the debased version of the very Western culture which it created. That’s not “whoring after ephemeral relevance” or “a prostitution to the present age.” It certainly would never justify disobedience to superiors who were trying to require it.

  11. RoyceReed says:

    The Tridentine Mass is beautiful, but it is a Western expression of the Divine. When the Jesuits attempted to insert “the Roman Missal in its fullness” in 18th Century South America, it didn’t go so well. If one wanted to introduce Christianity to the non-Christian East, one wouldn’t start with the Latin Mass, but rather the Divine Liturgy. There is an air of Latin superiority in the author’s writing, and, as a Byzantine Catholic, I find it annoying.

  12. RoyceReed says:

    The Tridentine Mass is beautiful, but it is a Western expression of the Divine. When the Jesuits attempted to insert “the Roman Missal in its fullness” in 18th Century South America, it didn’t go so well. If one wanted to introduce Christianity to the non-Christian East, one wouldn’t start with the Latin Mass, but rather the Divine Liturgy. There is an air of Latin superiority in the author’s writing, and, as a Byzantine Catholic, I find it annoying.

  13. St Donatus says:

    I see several here using telling us that the best way is to inculturate the Church so that it is relevant to those societies. Then they say that we are trying to shove our culture down their throats in a sense. Well, the traditional Latin liturgy is just that ‘LATIN’, it was the Church bringing a very Roman style of worship to Jews, Arabs, Germans, Spanish, English, French, Russian, Indian, and on and on. Each of these were individual cultures when the Church missionaries came in. Yes, there are certain things that were adapted from the culture and this can be seen in some of the sacramentals in use by various cultures, but the Mass has basically stayed the same and spread throughout the world. Yes, a church in Wisconsin does not look like a church in Mexico but when someone from Wisconsin sees that beautiful church in Mexico, he can be in awe of its beauty and yet worship there and feel close to God there.

    The problem is that this person from Wisconsin won’t recognize or understand the Mass because since it has adapted the language and more freedom has been given for inculturation, it is totally different in Mexico than in Wisconsin. One hundred years ago there would have been no difference. The person from Wisconsin could bring his missal and be a part of this divine worship rather than feeling like a foreigner. On weekdays I go to a parish that is half Spanish and half English. Many of the Masses are half in english and half in Spanish, so each feels like they don’t understand half the Mass and one or the other won’t understand the homily. This is creating a divide in the Church rather than unity.

    As far as the traditional latin mass goes, most everyone can understand and see the beauty in another culture. The problem we have is that beauty doesn’t seem to be the aim in most inculturation today. We can see this in the ‘modern’ art added to ancient churches in Germany and the US. We may somewhat understand the art in the US, but most likely we are totally lost by that in Germany. Yet, we all can see the beauty of the ancient church in both the US and Germany. It seems that all cultures are drawn to beauty. On weekends I to to a Latin Mass parish in a nearby city, there are Nigerian, Phillipino, Mexican, English, Jewish, French and several other nationalities that go there. Each understands the Mass and its beauty, each gets closer to God through it. No need for inculturation.

  14. fib09002 says:

    JesusFreak:

    The Chinese government may well be persecuting the Church partly because it sees the Pope as a source of competition for its power. That seems likely. But what I meant is that there is a general feeling among many Chinese nationalists that the Church is nothing more a Western institution, pushing a Western way of life and ideology, and will stop at nothing to eradicate whatever it can of traditional Chinese ways of living and thinking. And much of that is shared by the Chinese government, at least in so far as it acts from nationalist motivations. And quite frankly, I think they have a point. I believe that the Catholic Church really is universal in a certain sense, in that its beliefs and its worship are compatible with every society. I see no contradiction between being a Chinese or a Russian or an Arab nationalist and being a Catholic. The problem though is when the Church tries to turn the Chinese or the Russians or the Arabs into Europeans (yes, the Russians are not European). And in that case, I think that it is to be expected that there is going to be some backlash, i.e. persecution. And I’m sorry to have to say this, but that persecution will be justified, for the Church in that case will have overstepped its bounds and would rightly be seen as being a source of subversion. Obviously however if there are aspects of a culture which really do need to change, like for example if in a society it is not only permissible but also encouraged for men to marry other men or for women to marry other women, than the Church would rightly stand against that.

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    “A pagan who sacrafices a chicken to the god in the trees and rocks needs to be converted.”

    I’ll say…

    Prof. Kwasniewski, in my opinion, is basically correct. One has to be a bit more nuanced, in certain circumstances, however. When he writes, “It has been taken to mean [wrongly] that the Catholic faith and its practice should be changed to conform to an indigenous culture, and should assimilate that culture’s own religious beliefs and practices,” he is right as far as religion and theology goes, but he is far from correct where non-religious practices and even some religious practices go. Case in point for a Friday: when Mass is celebrated on the first rocket ship to Mars, it had better be done according to NASA specs, since there are currently, no guidelines for religious worship in weightless environments and such things as how the wine has to handled (differently than here on Earth) is a matter of the indigenous (if one can call it that) space culture. In this case, it is the prevailing space culture that should lead the way. Likewise, in times of plague, the Church might have had equal knowledge to the doctors of the Medieval period, but today, medical science should lead in whatever modifications need to be made to ensure a safe Mass.

    Granted, these are morally neutral examples, but still, it is an over-generalization to say that inculturation should never lead.

    The Chicken

  16. John of Chicago says:

    I wonder what Professor Kwosniewski thinks about Pope St. John Paul II’s reflections on the evangelical works of Cyril and Methodius in his Encyclical “Slavorum Apostoli” in which JPII wrote (with apologies for the length, but don’t want to do violence to the context):

    17. We can say without fear of contradiction that such a traditional and at the same time extremely up-to-date vision of the catholicity of the Church-like a symphony of the various liturgies in all the world’s languages united in one single liturgy, or a melodious chorus sustained by the voices of unnumbered multitudes, rising in countless modulations, tones and harmonies for the praise of God from every part of the globe, at every moment of history-this vision corresponds in a particular way to the theological and pastoral vision which inspired the apostolic and missionary work of Constantine the Philosopher and of Methodius, and which sustained their mission among the Slav nations.

    In Venice, before the representatives of the ecclesiastical world, who held a rather narrow idea of the Church and were opposed to this vision, Saint Cyril defended it with courage. He showed that many peoples had already in the past introduced and now possessed a liturgy written and celebrated in their own language, such as ” the Armenians, the Persians, the Abasgians, the Georgians, the Sogdians, the Goths, the Avars, the Tirsians, the Khazars, the Arabs, the Copts, the Syrians and many others”.29

    Reminding them that God causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall on all people without exception,30 he said: “Do not all breathe the air in the same way? And you are not ashamed to decree only three languages (Hebrew, Greek and Latin), deciding that all other peoples and races should remain blind and deaf! Tell me: do you hold this because you consider God is so weak that he cannot grant it, or so envious that he does not wish it?”.31 To the historical and logical arguments which they brought against him Cyril replied by referring to the inspired basis of Sacred Scripture: “Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”;32 “All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name”;33 “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!”.34

  17. msc says:

    I’m confused here: I thought the ember days were the Wed., Fri., and Sat. after the 14th… Did this change?

  18. Antonin says:

    Recent decades?
    The author seems to have neglected the Chinese Rites controversy which occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries surrounding the practice of ancestral worship (communion of saints anyone??). The then CDF condemned the practice arguing that it was incompatible with Catholicism. It was not until 1939 that the Church reversed itself. And finally, of course, with the Second Vatican Council inculturation once again became a prominent feature of the both doctrine and the liturgy.

    Second, any culture would benefit from the Roman mass in its fullness? Um…well how about the Coptics, the Ukrainian Catholics. A rather myopic and chauvinist view – and i would add un-Catholic.

  19. Gerard Plourde says:

    @ St. Donatus –

    Re: “One hundred years ago there would have been no difference. The person from Wisconsin could bring his missal and be a part of this divine worship rather than feeling like a foreigner.”

    There is only one difficulty for your hypothetical traveller from Wisconsin. If memory serves me correctly, Personal Missals were not generally available until the late 1940’s following the publication of Pope Pius XII’s encyclical “Mediator Dei” (1947) in which he urged “Place the missal in the hands of the faithful so that they may take part in the Mass; and that the faithful, united with the Priest may pray together in the very words and sacraments of the Church.”

  20. Antonin says:

    Thank you for posting that excerpt from St. John Paul’s encyclical, John. I would add that this teaching was reflected in his liturgical praxis and is therefore instructive for us today.

  21. gracie says:

    Gerard Plourde,

    Pocket missals were given out to American soldiers when they went off to World War II. Its exact title was “My Sunday Missal – Explained by Father Stedman”. The wiki entry for its illustrator – Ade Bethune – says that it was first published in 1937:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ade_Bethune

    I do not

  22. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Gerard Plourde,

    How readily available pocket Missals were, where and when, is something I would gladly know more about!

    I have seen an American one printed by Benziger in 1910, a Belgian one – also including the Vespers of many feasts – from the 1930s, and a Dutch one with an Imprimatur on a date (2 April 1944) and in a place where there was still fighting between the Germans and the newly-arrived Black Watch battalion!

  23. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I take it that “Any culture would benefit from the insertion of the Roman Mass in its fullness” looks in the first instance to non-Christian cultures without any indigenous Rite, and that it would be equally true to say this, as Suburbanbanshee suggests, with respect “to every valid Rite and Use and Form approved by the Catholic Church,” though in any concrete instance the immediate benefits of one might exceed those of others, without excluding the possibility of a new Rite in one or another local language properly exhibiting what has been called “the shape of the Liturgy” (which is more or less how all the ancient Rites came about, is it not?).

  24. stephen c says:

    To the commenter who said Russians are not Europeans, nothing could be less true. They live a few miles from the Swedes and the Poles and the Finns and nobody believes those peoples are not European – it is just that the Russians suffered more from Eastern invasions, and their bravery in resisting those invasions should preclude us from considering them “different” in any negative way. Their continued bravery in trying to stay Christian and European when so many wanted them not to be Christian and European should be celebrated, and the blood they shed and loved ones they lost defending Europe and Christianity kind of makes them more European than those who sacrificed less, to tell the truth. With respect to the lack of missals in the past – my take on this, possibly incorrect, is this. All four of my grandparents were what one would call farmers or peasants or proletarians. All four of them, in the course of a lifetime, would have had no problem whatsoever approximately understanding – or even “memorizing” much of ( to include the first few words of what can be seen as each printed “paragraph” in a missal, usually accompanied by a different action by the priest ) a mere 40 minutes or so worth of spoken liturgical prayers that they would have heard every week since childhood, had they all been raised Catholic (we are talking ten minutes or so, if you only count the first few phrases of each distinct “paragraph”). As to the three or four minutes of liturgical prayers that changed every week (the collect, the offertory, the post-communion prayer, and so on), if they were curious, they were capable of asking the local cleric or a friend with access to the local meaning of the words of those weekly changing prayers. If they were not curious as to what the special propers were for Christmas or the Assumption or for any other holiday people care about, well, that is their problem. It’s not like they had to spend exactly one hundred percent of their time and curiosity on matters that did not relate to prayer and communication with the Person who created them and their children. True, a certain percentage of people born in this world do not have the economic capacity (that would be the poorest of the poor, who are always with us) or the intellectual capacity or emotional capacity (once again, the poorest of the poor, who are always with us) to achieve in the course of a lifetime a familiarity with 40 minutes of prayer, or with the 10 or so most interesting minutes of those 40 minutes, set forth in unfamiliar words or not, repeated daily or weekly over the course of their long lifetimes. That will not change until the end of time, as Jesus prophesied; but he never encouraged Christians to neglect the liturgical happiness or the love of prayer of those who were not the poorest of the poor, either.

  25. MouseTemplar says:

    “Whoring after ephemeral relevance” What a fine turn of phrase! Totally stealing that for my next verbal repartee!

  26. Gerard Plourde says:

    @ Gracie,

    Thanks for the enlightening additional information. I wonder how widespread their distribution was. I know that I have a booklet titled “Devotions Under the Flag” that belonged to my uncle who served in the Army Air Corps stateside during W.W. II. The booklet was compiled by Rev. H.V. Colgan of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. and bears the Imprimatur of then-Archbishop (later Cardinal) Spellman of New York dated March 27, 1941. This particular copy has a stamp indicating that it was distributed by the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Omaha, NE. It contains an eight-page summary of the Mass and further on a brief outline of responses for a soldier called upon to serve Mass but neither of these is sufficient to be deserving of the title of “missal.” It does contain a useful compilation of prayers and litanies and it size (2 1/2 in. x 3 3/4 in.) is small enough to have fit easily in a shirt or trouser pocket.

  27. I find it interesting when we have *insert culture here* Mass, it’s more often than not a projected form of what we think these cultures should be.

  28. ProfKwasniewski says:

    Dear All,

    First and foremost, I did not intend any of my remarks to be anti-Byzantine or to suggest that the Roman liturgy should be imposed on everyone everywhere. I am referring to the priests (and missionaries) of the Roman rite itself, who SHOULD bring their rite in its fully traditional form where they go. But there have also been great Eastern Christian missions and they, too, have their equal and effective place.

    Second, my point was not to exclude cultural adaptations but to emphasize that the Christian and Catholic contribution is always stronger, determinative, and in the driver’s seat. The proponents of modern-day inculturation are generally disciples of Rahner and buy into his ideas about Christianity adapting itself away from its Greco-Roman roots (see the excellent Rorate Caeli post http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/08/rahners-un-roman-epoch-of-church.html).

    Lastly, those who say that people of non-Western cultures would not be interested in the traditional Roman Rite are simply historically incorrect. The underground Chinese Catholics to this day worship devoutly with the Tridentine Mass. See my reflections on this question here:
    http://www.ccwatershed.org/blog/2014/sep/4/mass-among-poor/

    Thank you all for your worthwhile objections!

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