Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fr Philip took exception to my comment: "So I'm led to the conclusion that the externals of worship: the Missal, the musical style, and just about everything else is irrelevant." ... and asked : Todd, how do you square this statement with the very basic notion that Catholicism is a sacramental faith, a faith rooted in outward signs, externals? If the externals of worship are irrelevant, then why worry with worship at all? Isn't worship--language, gesture, symbol--just a series of externals in motion? Your conclusion is pure Protestantism. I know, I used to be one. I can plead, "context," and also suggest that this post was intentionally undeveloped to invite further comment. And also quickly put together. I could have been more accurate in saying that most of the particulars of the externals of liturgy are irrelevant. As a liturgist, details are my business. I do need to have a psalm prepared for a sung Mass. I do firmly believe that given the professional expectation of having a psalm of quality, the particulars of who wrote it, what style it's performed in, or who sings it is not relevant. At least not nearly as much as the charity and love put into the planning and singing of that particular psalm. My thesis is actually that some of the liturgical reform of the 60's and 70's, as well as much of NLM's so-called reform of the reform contain substantial flaws in that caritas et amor are not placed at the forefront of ministry. A colleague of mine had a motto on display in her office. It read: The Heart of Ministry is Relationship. A bit touchy-feely in the context of an embroidered heart, but on target I think in terms of what liturgy people should bring to bear in their opera in the parish. So I don't think my approach is Protestantism (and the use of that term as a perjorative is perhaps fodder for another discussion) at all, but simply a practical reality grounded in a Catholic sensibility of concern for others. Does that clarify it?

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