Monday, 25 October 2010

What is it with Catholics?

This Altar arrangement is ridiculous, yet, lamentably, Catholics of a rather misinformed liturgical disposition would admire this as representing a long-lost Tradition, cruelly done away with by the Second Vatican Council. Baroque liturgy (or whatever period this hideous monstrosity hails from) is not the liturgical ideal.

Much more impressive, and historically accurate. But one would ask, aptly, why does it take High Church Anglicans to get it right when the Roman Church gets it wrong? I don't mean to utter blasphemy here but if I were God I would sooner send down the Holy Ghost upon the Altar of the schismatic Anglicans who are doing their best to get Liturgy right than the stupid altar of a lot of ignorant Ultramontane types who seek only to make a farce of Liturgy. Why is it more important whom you're in communion with than what you do, and believe? If I have ''gone off'' the Papacy maybe it's because of 450 years of wanton tampering. Which means that I would rather attend Liturgy with High Church Anglicans than Roman Catholics who get it spectacularly wrong, and not just for aesthetic reasons, or because it is more to my personal ''taste.'' Either you get Liturgy right - in its entirety - or you get it wrong.


  1. Uhm, okay, then.
    Point taken.
    Will have "to chew on this" for awhile.

  2. While I'm not a big fan of the overzealous use of candles, the amount of wax has nothing to do with what the Holy Ghost is going to do. Honestly, why should the thought even be considered that too many candles might dissuade the Holy Ghost from coming down upon that altar while He might very well come down upon the "Lord's board" of heretical layman doing a bang up job with their "Sarum" historical play? Is liturgy magic now? If you do the right incantations in the right order with just the right rituals, the gods will do good things to you but woe to those who change it in any way?

    It has always been of utmost importance to maintain the proper bonds of communion. What did St. Ignatius have to say about liturgy and the bishop? Even if bishops and even popes aren't performing their ministries well these days, it gives no justification for going it alone.

    Do you think the apostles were doing something akin to Sarum? Are not appareled albs just as historically conditioned as lace surplices?

  3. In my Anglo-Catholic days, the oft-heard mantra was, "Catholics have Truth: Anglicans have taste".

    Make of that what you will.

  4. I don't mean to utter blasphemy here but if I were God...

    I don't know if you care to do this but it may be profitable to ponder the reasons why you are not God...

  5. What ever you do, don't let the senior MC at Blackfen see the top picture!


  6. I have a question about the term 'historically accurate' - is the liturgy historical or is it organic? Why is the frozen image of c.1500 better than the frozen image of c.1700?

    Maybe I'm a woolly liberal, but I see a place for Baroque exuberance and a place for more sober restraint.

    Also, as a current Anglo-Catholic - there's practically nowhere which now produces Mass as in the pseudo-Sarum picture you show, but there's still a fair few (Anglo-Catholic) places which are well on the way to the first picture.

  7. Jacobite, please! The word ''organic'' used in a liturgical sense conjurs up unwelcome thoughts of an appalling book about Liturgy I read several years ago...

    The point of this post is that Traditionalist Catholics, by and large, aren't interested in historical liturgical accuracy, and do not care much for remonstrance about their obvious error. And so their attempts at reviving the Old Roman Rite (when they do not sell out to '62ism that is) are full of glaring anachronisms and Trad cliches: the use of lace ornamentation, the ''big six'', or as in the above photo, the big Lord-knows-how-many, etc. The fact that these people find this all impressive, and conducive to good (even tasteful) Liturgy just indicates that they don't know their arses from their elbows.

    Your point about history, though, is noted. Liturgy is eternal, but co-operative, hence the vital importance of the Kalendar. By constant and faithful observance of the Kalendar we unite ourselves, through the cycle of the year by year, to Christ's Faithful throughout the ages and across the lands - it is Liturgy, moreso than doctrine of itself, that makes the Church catholic (and not uniform) - hence also the importance of NOT tampering with it (not only at magisterial level but by the overuse of Votive offices - they are out of harmony with the liturgical season). In this sense it doesn't do to be too concerned about ''periods.'' My own preference for Medieval Liturgy is that, contrary to the opinion of many Catholics, Liturgy in the Middle Ages was vibrant, popular and very much alive. Medieval liturgy also looks a lot better than Baroque liturgy. It only took Trent and the Counter Reformation to administer the Popish deathblow to true Liturgy - nothing to do with aggiornamento or Modernism I'm afraid!

  8. The one thing we catholics need is persecution. Then perhaps, in the darkness of catacombs, as we celebrate the office of the primitive martyrs (not politico-jesuit ones!) by candlelight, we shall rediscover the sobre yet sublime order of the Fathers and forsake all that degenerate baroque finery and frivolity. We shall then keep vigils till cockrow in expectation of the Risen Lord amid the unfolding cadences of chant and smoke of incense.

    Yes Lord grant us thy people a proper measure of trials, tribulations and persecution.amen veni domine iesu

  9. F.G.S.A, you speak very shrewdly. Persecution is exactly what the Church needs - were the Church driven into new catacombs Liturgy might well be done better (although He alone sees all ends).

    Quousque, Domine?

  10. I must agree with 'The Moderate Jacobite'. The 'pseudo Sarum', High Prayer Book, English rite or whatever one likes to call that school has virtually disappeared and the BCP celebration today is rarer than proverbial hens' teeth.

    A tragedy for Anglicanism was the school that rejected English praxis and instead adopted contemporary Roman practice in the late nineteenth century and followed every change that came from Rome after that. Not only was the BCP tradition lost but the A-Cs lost their own borrowed tradition as Rome changed and changed again. Hence one has lots of CofE churches using the Novus Ordo versus populum alas.

    An irony is that 'Traddieland' is always lambasting the Pauline Missal as 'Anglican' or 'Protestant' ignoring the fact that a large part of Anglicanism, in England at least, has become much more Roman over the last fifty years.

  11. Sigh! Of course it's important who you're in communion with. The Church is a visible body, after all. How long can one go on seeing one thing but believing another before it becomnes a deliberate selfdeceit?

    I'll leave it at that and say no more, except that you need to work this out.

  12. Paul, of course I realise that. My point about the importance of who you're in communion with was the attitude of the Catholic Church that a very decorous celebration of the Sacred Liturgy done by Anglicans is completely invalid...whereas go to any typical Catholic church at random on a Sunday and you're more than likely to leave half way through in complete disgust. Which, therefore, is the more catholic - in the sense of being more ''in communion'' with Tradition?

    Of course I am in communion with the See of Rome, and the Bishop thereof. But I don't really take him seriously anymore. I now just drink his health rather than listen to anything he says...