Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Caritas et Amor
The watchful hope for the liberation of the 1962/1570 Rite continues. Daily posts at the New Liturgical Movement continue after the rumored deadline has come and gone. Peter Nixon adds a thoughtful post on what's gone right in liturgical reform. I think Amy posted something the other day. It probably has about 4000 comments by now, so if you dare ... My readers are well aware of my opinions on the 1962 Missal. I won't bore you with a rehashing of them. But I will get on a familiar soapbox: On Holy Thursday evening it occurred to me the success of any liturgy hinges on two things. Pardon my Latin, but it's seems to be about caritas et amor. In today's distrustful church, it probably means a substantial track record of caritas et amor. And if one needs a track record, there's a corollary in effect: a good liturgy cannot be any single liturgy. You cannot capture a snapshot or sound byte and say with assuredness, "This is good liturgy." I think many liturgists of varied stripes have an ample amount of felicitas. They bring this "happiness" as well as a degree of self-confidence to liturgy. I suspect the early post-conciliar reformers brought a great deal of felicitas to the table. Lacking the temperance of charity and love, their liturgical efforts would be likely characterized as enthusiastic, but perhaps not well received. When I've arrived in a parish, I've always held to the dictum of "listen, listen, listen." And not just to the music. Forty-five months into my latest regnum terroris I still haven't changed much. I still listen, listen, listen. So I'm led to the conclusion that the externals of worship: the Missal, the musical style, and just about everything else is irrelevant. God remains the same: receptive (we hope) to our prayers. And lacking Paul's greatest virtues, just about any faith community: parish, school, monastery, or what-have-you will flounder.

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