Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shakespeare and Chant?

Over at 1Peter5 there is a piece entitled: Liturgy, Adaptation, and the Need for Context by Adam Michael Wood. The man is well versed and plays with the topic such that he would leave spinning the heads of liturgical aficionados straight across the spectrum. He brings up a lot of good questions and does so with a bright, sort of sprightly abruptness. 

Read the article and stay with him to the end. You may not agree, but I find him constructive throughout and seriously reassuring in his concluding sentences:

"If it is true, as Odo Casel observed, that modern people are unable to perform a true act of worship, then we must engage in a process that transforms people and guides them out of modernity, out of the abyss of secularism. This work includes both catechesis and community development outside the liturgy as well as careful adaptation of the liturgy itself and the elements that surround it.

"Whatever (valid) form of the liturgy you are celebrating, and in whatever language, it is not enough to simply “Say the Black, and Do the Red.” Nor is it enough to mean well and be sincere. Both literally and metaphorically, we must teach people how to sing, or else what we ask them to sing is of little consequence.

"The liturgy requires a context. We must provide it."

I think one can fairly draw the conclusion that Wood is calling for a new approach or metaphor for addressing the liturgical disarray which plagues us despite denials. Fair or not, he chooses an option which is neither a "reform of the reform" nor a "restoration as reset" for the sake of setting forth the organic development of the liturgy. 

He's written an article not the definitive monograph; he has played the devil's advocate and done so well. Such cannot be ignored, even if attention to our patrimony precisely because it is caught up into the worship we owe to God would seem to demand more respect for the Mass of all times and much more attentiveness to the discontinuity or rupture laying the Ordinary Form open to so much abuse.

The wise counsel of exposing the two forms to each other for the sake of the mutual enrichment must indeed be treasured.

 Adam Michael Wood, the blithe spirit notwithstanding, I renew my urgent plea for turning worship in the Ordinary Form to God, ad Orientem. This and more is due to Adam's un-quantifiable "Globe theatre" audience.

1 comment:

  1. Carl Wolk's response and more to Adam Wood is superb:
    "To return to where we began, could we have changed the liturgy to suit the needs of medieval man? Yes, and we did. But can we now change the liturgy to suit the needs of modern man? No, instead, we must change modern man to suit the liturgy. We must all learn how to make an act of fealty to kings, so that we can renew our covenant worthily at the altar rail. We must learn how light candles in honor of Our Lady in our own home, so that we will understand them when we see them on the altar. We must pray the psalms at sunrise in our bedroom, so that we understand them when the priest prays them at the altar. We must pray and work for the return of Christendom, so that we can regain our natural analogs for divine things."


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