Monday, July 16, 2007

A Liturgical "Free Market"

The Pope has created one, an article claims. Via LRC.

Herein we glimpse the genius and the profound humility of Benedict XVI. Yes, he is deeply concerned about the crisis in the liturgical life of the Church (we saw this in Sacramentum Caritatis) and yes, he is convinced that it was wrong to ban the old liturgy after the Council. As Pope, he enjoys the authority to act as he judges best for the good of the Church. Having done so he imposes… nothing; he simply permits. He does not ban the newer liturgy or even recommend that there be at least one weekly celebration of Mass according to the older use in each parish or diocese. In his profound conviction that this form of the liturgy has much to offer the Church of today and of tomorrow, he humbly trusts that the pastoral judgment of priests of this and of coming generations will afford the older liturgical forms their appropriate place in the life of the Church. Share


Terry Nelson said...

I really miss you when you are not on-line.

Anonymous said...


Welcome back, Elena! (Or is this only temporary?)

I confess that I am bothered by the idea of a liturgical "free market." :( Having seen the effects of completely banning a beloved rite, I wouldn't advocate doing away with the Novus Ordo, for the sake of those whose spiritual lives do benefit from liturgy in the vernacular--or for whatever reason they prefer it, really. I hope I don't sound condescending. :(

I guess I'm more upset than your average reader because I've grown up in something very similar. My parish may not have a "free market" when it comes to liturgy, but it does have one for Mass schedules. For Sunday service alone, there are two Masses on Saturday evening, seven on Sunday morning, three on Sunday evening . . . and those are just the ones celebrated in the main church building!

Such scheduling is necessary because of the large number of people in the parish. (The church is packed during each service.) Now it is possible to hear Mass without having to stand in the parking lot, straining one's ears. However, it has also become possible for families to split up and fulfill their Sunday obligation at different times. There also isn't a sense of a vibrant parish community--unless it happens to be Advent or Lent and the same faces fill up the pews for the seasonal devotions.

The idea of a "free market" particularly distresses me because of the possibility of "niche marketing." I don't like how I've seen Latin Mass lovers become "cliquey" or "cultish"--almost unable to relate to others in the Church. In fairness, I've also seen it in those who like their liturgy enhanced by leotard-clad dancers. x( My experience has been that when people start preferring one liturgy to all others, even if they mean no malice to those who are also "exercising their right to choose," divisions form as a matter of course.

It's giving me a dystopian vision (hallucination?) of a large parish sharing little else but the church building, until it seems as if different small parishes take turns bringing their own character to it on Sundays. I've seen it in my own parish, so I don't like the idea of that happening to the Church. :(

Anonymous said...


Elena, I thought about it some more, and now have this to add:

What I wrote about mini-parishes has reminded me of something G.K. Chesterton wrote in The New Jerusalem. He said that while the sects and cultures of the rest of the world have the luxury of putting walls up in between themselves, those in Jerusalem cannot because they are one on top of the other. The Protestants built on top of the Orthodox, who had built on top of the Muslims, who had built on top of the Catholics, who had built on top of the Jews.

Jerusalem is probably not the best political model, but if the Catholics there have managed to stand fast for centuries (instead of degenerating into just another clique), then surely I can get over any similar divisions which may arise in my own parish. :)

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Terry, I miss you, too, and all my blogging buddies.

I understand exactly what you are saying, Marissa. It used to be you could walk into any Catholic Church in the world and know what to expect. But now you never know what to expect when walking into your own parish.

I will be back in full blogging form in a couple of days. It is hard to blog from someone else's computer.