We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Restoration

The classical liturgical movement finds its greatest strength when it can critically look at the pre-conciliar state of affairs, neither demonizing it, nor canonizing it, giving an honest assessment of those areas where genuine renewal and restoration can occur. If Low Mass was too prevalent, then this we address. If the liturgy had become usurped by private devotions, this we address so as to restore the primacy of liturgical prayer and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If chant, that sung prayer par excellence, was still not yet being practiced with regularity and vigour, so too do we address this. This should not be understood as a critique of the classical liturgy. Far from it. What we are actually saying is that these other extraneous things have shrouded the full beauty and depth of the classical liturgy and we wish to remove that veil so that the fullness of its beauty and depth may shine through. Equally as reasonable should we look at the developments that had occurred in our liturgical vesture, just as we should examine the modern liturgical art and music present today, and critically assess whether it best represents the depth of our liturgical tradition, or whether instead it is more representative of the accidents, even excesses, of a particular era, be that the modern era, or the Enlightenment.

In the case of these styles, one must of course be careful to not dogmatize them. But one can suggest that perhaps this or that style is more representative of our tradition, and thus also a more dignified, solemn and fitting expression, in much the way we can speak of chant as being particularly suited to the character of the liturgy, iconography a particularly venerable form of liturgical art, or the gothic as well suited to our Catholic churches ...

I believe that such restorations, particularly of our most ancient and longstanding of vesture, put hand in hand with the restoration of our chant would manifestly increase the edification of the faithful, and help restore the depth of our liturgical tradition, spirituality and symbolism. Further it may even help regain for men a strong sense of their vocation in the Church, alongside that of women. These things represent amongst the finest periods of our tradition, including the patristic period and the great ages of Faith, the ages of the Cathedrals of Europe. Particularly in an era when many men feel that religion is the domain of women, it is a matter worthy our attention and consideration.

Pointless polemics and fruitless fetishizing are not required.

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