Thursday, October 9, 2014

In the Name of Renewal and Organic Development

Recovery of the Sacred: Reforming The Reformed Liturgy
Hitchcock, James
2nd edition.  Kindle Edition.

For a book first published in 1974, even then, Hitchcock basically got it right in describing the pitfalls of post-conciliar liturgical change. In the preface to the 1995 edition he sums things up well in one sentence:

"The aim of post-conciliar liturgical change, whether or not fully conscious, has been to make liturgy quite obviously a human creation, a mere extension of the self." (Kindle Locations 56-57)

Simply expressed, a great wrong was done to Divine Worship in making it something less than that, something less than sublime, something less than sacred. What happened after the council, perhaps on the basis of conciliar premises, was for all practical purposes a series of acts of aggression against the source and summit of Christian life "...whether or not fully conscious".  

Now ten years later, I'd like to be able to sit with the author and explain to him and for all the reasons he stated in 1974 why today it is patently clear that the reformed liturgy cannot be reformed, the liturgy must be restored because "...a human creation, a mere extension of the self" cannot be simply rendered sacred.

This little book is a spine-chilling, almost not to be believed, record of the atrocities committed after the council in the name of reform. He recounts much sadness, which should simply be buried and forgotten. I suspect the reader would be better advised to pick from the new literature which indicates how much has really been achieved, especially since 2007 and Summorum Pontificum.

Much of what I read insists without rancor on the saving benefits for the Christian life which a recovery or restoration of the liturgy would have. Certainly, better catechesis and care for the life of the family, outreach to the poor and emarginated go with all that, but we need desperately to restore the temple. We hope and pray for leadership from the hierarchy for the sake of the flock entrusted to their care.


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