Monday, November 26, 2012

Take and Read!

A Bitter Trial 
Evelyn Waugh and John Carmel Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes 
Expanded Edition Edited by Alcuin Reid 
Kindle Edition (2011-10-20). 

For some odd reason the conversion of St. Augustine and the prompting he received came to my mind as I was reading and choosing a title for my little review. Although this particular little book (Thank you, Ignatius Press!) does not rate being categorized as anywhere near sublime or sacred, it has its points and may just be what one or another not so hardened iconoclast needs to read in order to get the process of softening his or her heart started.

Evelyn Waugh is at his best here arguing in defense of tradition and doing so very humbly as if it were only for England, seemingly willing to let the Continent and America go their own way. Waugh makes graphic and historical what the Holy Father means by rupture. 

By the same token, in order to recover our roots and mend the rift, it is clear that fostering the "mutual enrichment" of the two forms of the Roman Rite becomes the only sane alternative to storming the castle or setting up battlements. Waugh bemoaned the loss of the pre-Pius XII Holy Week: whether we'll find our way there for kick-starting the organic development of the Liturgy or from some place else, the voice of Evelyn Waugh needs to play into the mix not as a minority report but as the voice of reason.

I take heart from the new English of the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal and even more so from what looks like a renaissance of sacred music and chant. The arbitrary and what Waugh called "rowdy" has to be set aside. 


1 comment:

  1. I read it a couple years ago - it's quite a book for something so short.


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