Sunday, June 5, 2011

Siren Songs?

I have to admit I was a bit taken aback by the "In Depth Analysis" of 16 May, offered by Dr. Jeffrey Mirus, president of, admonishing people not to be mean-spirited and quarrelsome over liturgy. His point is well taken, but not in the context or terms he chose to couch his plea. The fifth point was the corker for me: "5. Recognize that we are all unworthy of even the ugliest Mass." In principle it may be true but in context it sounds like not only a capitulation to liturgical abuse but an utter failure to take the Holy Father seriously when he speaks about a rupture with the tradition (not to mention what the Pope says about the role of beauty in worship and life).

In a sense, I would prefer most anything to an analysis like that of Dr. Mirus. You could say, that there is something less lethal about a brutal refusal to face other folk's concern about the present state of not only parish liturgy and the scandal it represents especially for young people in their search for the Lord of their life. The president of does not seem to understand the suffering of many over the last four decades, nor the role "ugly, uglier, and ugliest" has played in driving people away from the Church.

Too much of what we face in terms of opposition to the reform of the reformed liturgy might be compared to a "siren song". Even if you don't know the classics, Odysseus or Ulysses, you might have encountered the extraterrestrial counterpart of an ancient Greek or Roman siren in an old episode of Star Trek, where wicked aliens attempt to imprison Capt. K. masquerading as beautiful earth-women!

In my case, I have an otherwise fairly reasonable elderly woman who will not forgive me for going ad Orientem or as she lisps, turning my back on her. La La Land may be tempting for some, but I think we owe each other all sorts of encouragement for the task which is at hand of reconfiguring Catholic Culture (and not just the .org) such that worship is for the Lord and we really are about the business for which God created us and not just whiling away the hours to the strum of somebody's guitar or the beat of their drum.

Here's hoping that Dr. Mirus will have the time and the input to be able to appreciate what is really at stake and how urgent the business of reform is!


Anonymous said...

Hello Father!

I see you will soon be my neighbour (I'm one country to the west - before the war, depending on where you are going, we might have been in the same country). A former room-mate of mine is the wife of a parish priest in the westernmost diocese of the Ukraine.

I came to your blog through "Journey of a Young Priest". Reading what you wrote about St John of the Cross, I wondered if you'd come across Garrigou-Lagrange's "Three Ages of the Spiritual Life"? Some parts of it are taken up with a contemporary controversy that is not a hot-button topic these days, but it is a marvellously clear exposition of the spiritual life based on scripture and the works of St Thomas, St John of the Cross, ...

I came to read it by a most remarkable working of providence some years ago, and it explains so much so simply. Really, I cannot recommend it enough :)

Kent said...

Thank you for that post. You are right. I wish all realized just how "urgent the business of reform is". Its a matter of life or death; eternal life or eternal death, that is.

Thomas E. Gullickson said...

Thank you, Berenike! I found the book and have it on my reading list! God bless! My house is in Kyiv. I am looking forward to September.

Anonymous said...

Kyiv is a long way away! Do keep writing. (the G-L is online, I forgot to say).