A yearning for something older

A yearning for something older

Earl at Tradition links to a book review in The Atlantic which notes how the post-Vatican II Church has become an unfortunately bland tapestry for novelists. It doesn’t have the same verve without widespread devotional piety, the smells and bells, the soaring music, and so on. Even Hollywood prefers the pre-Vatican II Church: whenever you see a Catholic church in a Hollywood production, it always has a giant altar with a Baroque or Rococo altarpiece, huge banks of votive candles, old-time confessionals, and a Gregorian choir performing somewhere unseen (evidently even between Masses).

To those of the faithful with long memories, the new Church, forty years into its age of reform, seems as blandly embracing as Unitarianism very interesting insight into the American middle class, by way of George Orwell’s thoughts on Parisian waiters.

We don’t question or complain about the rich, the owners of capital and investment, because we imagine that deep down, they are us, and that someday we will be them.  We ape their lifestyle, burdening ourselves with debt beyond our ability to repay, ogling a material banquet we can never really enjoy.  We think we’re better than the “working classes,” the men and women who live just as far from Palm Beach and Palm Springs as we do, because they don’t believe that hard work and playing by the rules are all you really need to get a mansion.  We are seldom Socialists, would think trade-union membership embarassing, and we work twelve, fifteen hours a day, seven days a week, in law firms, insurance companies, brokerages, and dentist’s offices across America.  Our careers, professions and degrees don’t create one dime of wealth, but they do serve the wealth of others.  And we find that rather congenial.

Read the whole thing, including the quote from Orwell.