I direct the readership’s attention to two brilliant posts by Shawn Tribe at Liturgical Arts Journal.
The first presents music from the 19th c. for the Requiem Mass – appropriate for November – in the Mohawk and Algonquin language. Jesuit missionaries devised a writing scheme the texts, which were set to the Gregorian chant melodies in modern notation. If you are musically inclined, you might take a moment and try to sing it. HERE
It is a fascinating glimpse into inculturation, which the Jesuit missionaries sometimes pushed too far (as in the East when they tried rice cakes instead of wheat for hosts and got seriously slapped down).
Authentic inculturation is both inevitable and desirable. The Word, Love, unflushed itself. We enflesh what we love in the context of our Holy Church. So long as what the Church has to give to the world is given logical priority over what the world has to give to the Church, in this ongoing and simultaneous interchange, inculturation flows in enriching veins. Once the logical priority is given to what the world has to give… game over. Everything will go wrong and the beautiful fruits God gives through the Church will wrinkle, wither and rot.
What can start as a well-meaning desire to make some liturgical rite “more relevant” or “easily understood” can, without great patience and many checks and guard rails, slip out of the lane and then careen into disaster. One can discern in certain efforts to conform the Church’s worship, law and doctrine (Cult, Code and Creed) to the world what Peter Kwasniewski described as “whoring after ephemeral relevance, a prostitution to the present age and its malevolent prince.”
Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Next, Shawn has a visual feast of information photos about the vestments used by the Roman Pontiff for the celebration of Solemn Papal Mass. There are special items, such as the fanon, which was worn by John Paul II and by Benedict XVI. I don’t think we will see one on Francis any time soon. Neither is he likely to use the subcinctorium. It might clash with whatever that usual thing is that he prefers to wear. HERE
Tribe makes a good point, not original by any means, but well expressed:
No doubt some will consider all of this overly complicated, even ‘fussy’, formed as they are by a certain contemporary mentality that we can find in certain subsets of modern Western thought (though these are thoughts that are generally neither universally applied, nor consistently so, let us make note). However the reality is that each of these carry a particular meaning and symbolism related to theology, ecclesiology and liturgiology. What’s more, they are not the sole prerogative of the Church for throughout the course of human history we find manifest the human need to denote tiers of leadership by means of symbolic ornamentation and decoration. This is manifest not only in the vestments and vesture of popes and prelates, but also civic, military and religious leaders generally, whether within the context of our modern Western societies or within the most remote tribal societies. In that sense, if we divorce ourselves from such symbols, we are essentially attempting to divorce ourselves from humanity and our human instincts.
When you love, you want to do more. You want to know more and understand what you know.
That’s how our theological methodology developed.
That’s why our doctrine organically developed from the Scriptures and Regula Fidei. That’s how our sacred liturgical worship developed… which is doctrine.
Over time, we enriched, each generation adding little touches to compliment rather than detract from what our forebears contributed. To put it another way, regarding development of Cult, Code and Creed, (worship, law, doctrine),
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; (1 Cor 13)
Our liturgical worship is the glorious and worthy distillation of the Christian experience across many cultures for many generations. Patiently and lovingly it grew and was tended and maintained. This is the Vetus Ordo of the Roman Church.
Then came the reformers who, with the power they usurped and weaponized within the Consilium, using the authority of the Council against the Sacred Congregation for Rites and manipulating in a double-pronged maneuver both Paul VI and the experts of the Consilium, they arrogantly, rudely, imposed their own will on the Church in the construction of a new Rite, the Novus Ordo, abruptly imposed.
And now, their ideological offspring “insist on their own way“.
Abrupt changes in Cult, Code and Creed are not the Catholic way.
Abrupt changes signal that something has gone very wrong.
In a book over the signature of Annibale Bugnini’s secretary, later papal MC and now Archbp. Piero Marini A Challenging Reform, we read of the machinations of the Consilium of its head Card. Lercaro and Bugnini. Here is a smoking gun quote about how the kingpins of the Consilium were trying to, not fulfil the wishes of the Council Fathers, but impose their own will on the Church’s worship and, therefore , her belief.
Context: The Consilium has just taken a major step in moving from an informally meeting group to an officially and formally established body. They have their first plenary session.
“They met in public to begin one of the greatest liturgical reforms in the history of the Western church. Unlike the reform after Trent, it was all the greater because it also dealt with doctrine.” (p. 46)
They succeeded. The work of the Consilium, in revising the Missale Romanum, did indeed change the Church’s doctrine. Change the way you pray and you change what you believe… and vice versa.
The Memorare in Latin