Reform av reformen – del 3: Aidan Nichols vurdering av reformbevegelsen

Fr. Aidan Nichols skriver også et kapittel i Thomas Kociks boks «The Reform of the Reorm». Han diskuterer om katolikker flest virkelig liker den nye liturgien bedre enn den gamle. Sannsynligvis ikke, konkluderer han (men her kan man ikke være sikker), og så fortsetter han (på en avansert og elegant måte, så man må konsentrere seg litt når man leser):

Even were it the case, however, that the Church public is by and large adequately satisfied with the form of worship customarily offered to them in the modern Poman rite, it is still possible to assert that they should not be. The Church is not a business, whose management can rest content if its customers express consumer satisfaction. To «feel comfortable with a worship situation» is an infallible sign that we have missed the real meaning of the liturgy in its sacrality, its difference, its supernatural power. If we are to use commercial analogies here, then we must say of the Church that she is in the business of making people realize they have needs they have barely dreamed of. Because we are made in the image of God, made to tend to our divine archetype when he appears to us in the suffering and glorified God-man Jesus Christ, we have a need precisely not to be confirmed in our ordinary everyday personas by the easy uplift of a worship that consists in quickly appropriated words and sounds. By an apparent paradox, we need the liturgy not to be intrusively relevant to the secular roles that the society of a fallen world constructs for us. We need the liturgy to estrange us from our ordinary workaday selves by enabling us to find a new identity in those voices that speak there of adoration, purification, and the endless transcendence of the peace beyond all understanding of the City of God.

These are the most important tasks that the historic liturgies of Christendom have performed, and from them flow their power to affect us at the deepest level of our being—to bring us not only consolation in the face of unnegotiable evils but also courage to change the world. The power of the Mass to unsettle us and to give us a vocation that takes us beyond our secular identity and the duties we share with others as fellow citizens derives from the identity of the Mass, at its heart, with the Sacrifice of Calvary, considered as the saving revelation of the Holy Trinity, with whom we commune in eucharistic reception, thus anticipating our share in that suffering turned to everlasting joy which is, please God, our destiny in heaven. At every Mass we are to see the Crucified in his glory; and when we communicate, we are to receive him in his own person as he gives us by anticipation a share in the life of blessed sacrifice that is the Holy Trinity, and which will be ours in fullness-if only we cooperate with it-at the end of time.

It follows that three doctrines of the Church about the Holy Eucharist constitute a series of indispensable litmus tests for the right functioning of the liturgical organism that is the Church. The liturgy must make us aware of the identity of the Mass with Calvary. It must make us appreciate the Real Presence of the Savior in his full Humanity and Divinity in the consecrated Gifts. And it must be for us, as Saint Thomas’ antiphon puts it, pignus futurae gloriae, a pledge of future glory, an anticipation of heaven. It is a matter of increasingly common knowledge among Protestants-whether they welcome it or regret it-that the present eucharistic practice of Western Catholics generally fails to pass the standards set by these doctrines. To cite but one example: a recent number of the journal Lutheran Forum, and here we must recall that classical Lutherans hold to the Real Presence as strongly as we do ourselves, records what it calls the «stunning results» of a recent and much-publicized poll about eucharistic beliefs among Catholics in America. In an essay entitled «Will the Real Catholics Please Kneel for Communion?», A. G. Roeber, who is professor of early modern history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University, writes:

If the survey is to be believed, American members of that communion are as Zwinglian as Protestants, regarding the Mass only as a «remembrance» of Christ and a vague celebration of «community». Despite a teaching magisterium and its claims for «apostolic succession», the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has its hands full demonstrating that a genuine community of belief, and not just nominal adherents, has received official church teaching on
the central mystery of the faith.

It would be comforting, but, I fear, wholly delusory, to suppose that all this is an American disease from which other parts of the Western patriarchate are shielded, its symptoms unknown. And here we must take candidly into account the way modern liturgical style has contributed to the weakening of the «sense of the faithful» in this realm over large areas of the Latin Church.

How did it happen? I can give a bald and unadorned explanation by summarizing in briefest possible form the argument of my small book, Looking at the Liturgy, which has three chapters.

In the first, I suggest how certain presuppositions of the Catholic Enlightenment of the eighteenth century; the age in which most of the liturgical reforms enacted by the Second Vatican Council were first presented as desiderata–survived to skew liturgical revision in the direction of an excessive emphasis on the liturgy as preaching, as moral stimulus, and as an exercise in community building-at the expense of its primarily latreutic or God-centered character, in which, in fact, its deepest instructive, ethical, and Church-upbuilding power actually consists. Then, secondly, I show how the liturgical reform came just too late to take advantage of the insights into the nature of ritual of an inherited and complex kind arrived at by social anthropologists-especially, as it happens, in England. Had their voices been heard, it would have been realized that such goals of the liturgical reformers as enhanced community sense and more engaged participation are not necessarily best achieved by thrusting them into people’s faces. Thirdly, the translation, adaptation, and pastoral application of the revised rites and their associated documents took place in a phase of Western culture that was profoundly inimical to the same project conceived by the Council Fathers. At a time when our culture was more «horizontal», less open to the transcendent, than at any previous time in its history, and when the gap between high culture and popular was singularly difficult to bridge, it is hardly surprising that we were landed with a liturgy that seems both anthropocentric and Philistine.’

And where do we go from here? I believe that the answer lies in the convergence of the two rites, the classical and the modern. The historic Roman rite can only be enriched by the incorporation of the best aspects of the reform-a fuller cycle of readings, the wonderful Prefaces of the new rite, and the possibility, where opportune, of concelebration and the administration of the chalice to the laity-and these are the only terms on which Rome will be able to convince the episcopate that general access to the classical rite and the training of ordinands in its celebration are desirable. … ….

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