The liturgical curmudgeon

The liturgical curmudgeon

Sounds like a great name for a blog. In fact, it’s what Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma, says he is not. In recent weeks, the bishop has written a series of letters on the proper form of worship to his people and Jeff Miller has the latest from the bishop. This is good stuff. I’d like to see other bishops emulating his example. Jeff has the whole thing, but here are some excerpts:

In this case, the placement of the choir, cantor or musicians in the most visible and prominent part of the sanctuary, not only proves to be a distraction to the congregation, but provides a kind of center stage for a concert of religious music.

... [T]hus the liturgy must never be used as an opportunity to teach, as the context for a history or an art lesson, as the background for a concert of sacred music, neither to build community nor to foster parish identity.

... Not only may these issues seem superficial, but I am also aware that some may perceive me as being overly concerned with rubrics and the details of the liturgy, even to the point of missing the larger picture, judging my pastoral concerns as the preoccupation of a liturgical curmudgeon. But if I must defend myself, let me say that I insist on these points for the simple but profound reason that I am concerned lest our people be denied what is their proper inheritance, their birthright as Catholics, that is, the complete and correct understanding of the Mass as a real sacrifice by which they are given access to share in the unique, unrepeatable and all sufficient historic sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.

... Whenever the People of God lose their sense of personal sin, their understanding of the nature of the Mass and its great importance is also largely lost.

... While it is true that the Mass is a sacred banquet, it must be clearly stated that this aspect of the Eucharistic sacrifice is available to us only because the Mass is primarily a sacrifice at which Christ Himself is the host, who invites us to feast on His Body and drink His Blood.

Those are just a few pullquotes. Read the whole thing. The funny thing is that this is just reiteration of what we already know and what the Vatican has given us in documents like Redemptionis Sacramentum and Liturgiam Authenticam. It’s sad that simply seeing the basic restated like this can get us so excited, but that’s the state of the Church in the US today.

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3 comments
  • Dom,

    The TRUE Faith IS exciting!  The Gospel is truly GOOD NEWS. 

    We have become so numb from the pseudo-catholic “improvements” to the Liturgy, “theology” and Catechesis, hearing someone speak the Truth actually SHOCKS us.

  • It sure is thrilling to see the truth spoken by a bishop once again.  I’ve been wishing for this for a long time.

    When I see something like this I tend to think that maybe—just maybe—I will live long enough to see the restoration.

  • If only Birmingham could be blessed with a bishop such as this.  I fear we are too small to warrant much attention though.

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