And now a short excursion into common sense.
“I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. Can such a community be trusted any more about anything else?”
Joseph Ratzinger in Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium- An Interview With Peter Seewald
Noi fummo i Gattopardi, i Leoni; quelli che ci sostituiranno saranno gli sciacalletti, le iene; e tutti quanti Gattopardi, sciacalli e pecore, continueremo a crederci il sale della terra.
We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who will take our places will be little jackals, hyenas; and every one of us Leopards, jackals, and sheep, will continue to think we are the salt of the earth.
It was the reference to “salt of the earth” that set me off, not that this quote fits perfectly with the one above. It still gives me a chance to let of some steam.
What a mix of the mediocre we have in the Church today, with the occasional lights in the cave we’ve sealed ourselves into by the abandonment of tradition. We destroyed our Catholic education and identity through compromise with secular aims of the academy and by the enervation of our liturgical worship.
Sticking to Il Gattopardo, that magnificent book, I’ll add this, which in a way crystalizes what I have been trying to get at over the years, what I’ve been trying to do… without – quod Deus avertat – becoming a “garibaldino”:
Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga come è, bisogna che tutto cambi. Mi sono spiegato?
If we want everything to remain as it is, then everything must change. Get it?
Tradition holds us in a tension. Speaking of movies, sometimes I use the image of the African Queen. Bogart and Hepburn have to fix that propeller shaft so that they can go faster than the current. The prop connects them with where they were, the past, so that they can steer the boat around the rocks, the future’s challenges.
And since my mind is now fully adrift and slipping like a Heraclitean cloud-puffball into the stream, I’ll only add that “ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω μία καὶ ὡυτή”.
Mr Eliot would agree.
UPDATE 19 July:
Peter Kwasniewski also agrees. He has a good post which uses this same quote HERE.