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)

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Time for another incomprehensible mashup.

First things first. I certainly agree with the bulk of the approach expounded here. My only reason for pause is the authoritarian tone of 'abolished' and 'destroyed'. This is the very attitude and approach which has wreaked such havoc over the last fifty years! I always prefer 'made optional', 'de-emphasized', and 're-appropriated as', for example. Thus, on my view, Benediction would be possible but invariably rare. In all events, the two utterly divergent streams of the Papal high courtesy, on the one hand, and of heart-felt Franciscan enthusiasm, on the other, must be kept under tight control.

On another side of things, beware iconoclasts of a completely other stripe: Rather, then, than temple, priest and sacrifice being abolished, it is invested with new meaning and expression. The continuity between the New Testament and the post-New Testament Church is a profound witness to this - something which traditional evangelical commentary has been unwilling to grasp. What we desire:

The priests are still and the deacons stand in silence, the whole people is quiet and still, subdued and calm. … the mysteries are set in order, the censers are smoking, the lamps are shining, and the deacons are hovering and brandishing (fans) in the likeness of the Watchers. Deep silence and peaceful calm settles on that place; it is filled and overflows with brightness and splendour, beauty and power.

The complexio oppositorum demands an ever-present, careful balance:

An audible voice need not be a loud voice. It is possible to obtain the full ‘mystical’ effect of silence by reciting the Canon in a very low and subdued voice, fully audible to every careful listener in the church, and yet expressive and suggestive of the deepest religious awe.

It must never be either/or but always both, simultaneously.

Hence, to return to the beginning. Reservation is not commanded by Christ: but, practically speaking, the diaconal ministers may need quick access to it, for communion of the sick. Also, old-fangled or new, GIRM has been more of a hindrance than a help. If we want a single altar, a free-standing altar, no gradines, etc., then something along these lines might fit the bill:

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