Monday, 29 July 2013

The language of simplicity...or senility?

Via Crucis at WYD
Source: Vatican Radio

WYD has finally officially ended, with the closing Mass attracting over 3 million people.  The Pope's final sermon focused on the imperative of mission, to go out and make disciples of all nations.

In the last few days of WYD, the Pope had some interesting messages for the bishops.

Temptations in the Church

In a speech to the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, CELAM, he outlined what he sees as 'temptations against missionary discipleship'.  They included the temptation to functionalism, making the Church focus unduly on efficiency and look like nothing more than an NGO; clericalism, particularly the clericalizing of the laity; and making the Gospel message an ideology, such as indulging in sociological reductionism, psychologizing it, gnosticism and what he described as "the  Pelagian solution":

"This basically appears as a form of restorationism. In dealing with the Church’s problems, a purely disciplinary solution is sought, through the restoration of outdated manners and forms which, even on the cultural level, are no longer meaningful. In Latin America it is usually to be found in small groups, in some new religious congregations, in tendencies to doctrinal or disciplinary “safety”. Basically it is static, although it is capable of inversion, in a process of regression. It seeks to “recover” the lost past".

I'm guessing he'd be talking about the various attempts to recover that 60s and 70s thing and bully all those who dissent from it into submission?:

The grammar of senility?

And in a speech to the Brazilian bishops, he took a potshot at what he views as excessive intellectualism:

"Another lesson which the Church must constantly recall is that she cannot leave simplicity behind; otherwise she forgets how to speak the language of Mystery. Not only does she herself remain outside the door of the mystery, but she proves incapable of approaching those who look to the Church for something which they themselves cannot provide, namely, God himself. At times we lose people because they don’t understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people. Without the grammar of simplicity, the Church loses the very conditions which make it possible “to fish” for God in the deep waters of his Mystery."

The media, unsurprisingly, are interpreting this as yet another swipe at the approach of the Pope Emeritus.  Cardinal Burke, however, continues to try and assure us that Pope Francis' approach to the liturgy is entirely in continuity with those of his predecessor.  Really?  That's a position that is pretty hard to reconcile with the abuses we've seen perpetrated at his own masses, and the antics we've seen at WYD.

Indeed, on the face of it, the video above from WYD (which was the practice run, you can watch the final performance over at Fr Ray Blake's blog) seems to be what he is advocating our bishops do more of.But does this warm your heart, as the Pope urged his bishops to do? Is as as Fr Blake suggests suggests, just embarrassing?

Promoting this kind of 'liturgical dancing' is certainly simplicity of a kind, I guess...and I suppose for a generation that can make dressing up in baby clothes made to look like weird animals a fashion statement, anything is possible!

The Church is indeed marching on a Via Crucis at the moment.  Let's hope there is also a resurrection scheduled.

**Update: Predictably, the professional Catholic brigade are telling us to stop carping and get with the program.   The Anchoress, for example, describes the 'flash mob' dance at the papal mass, and this footage of the practice for it as 'whimsical'.  What was it Cardinal Burke said just a few ago about man-centred liturgy?!

But maybe I've just lost my sense of humour...


jeff said...

I find mainstream priests and bishops highly guilty of pseudo-intellectual waffle. It can be summed up in a word: turgid.

One thing I love about Traditionalists is the refreshingly direct and simple way with which they preach and teach the Gospel.

Anonymous said...

But it didn't seem that WYD Sydney was particularly in line with the liturgical thought of Pope Benedict, did it?

- Zac