Yes, I look at the “progressive” point of view as well as everyone else’s. The so-called Enlightened Catholicism blog has done a trashing job on the traditionalists by contrasting the way Benedict XVI hoped to deal with the Society of St Pius X and the “Sorry you feel that way, see ya’ bye” of Pope Francis. See Pope Francis Talks About The Church Of Living Stones; SSPX Throws Stones.
Before going any further, I am not casting any innuendos against the Roman Catholic church or its Pope, or even giving credit for a blogger who would see her Church go the way of the Anglican Communion and secular society. I have no interest in the Society of St Pius X one way or the other.
What is of significance to me is the reason why the traditionalists are being trashed in this way. Is it because of their anti-democratic politics and nostalgia for twentieth-century totalitarianism? No. It is about the liturgy –
I wish them well and hope if they ever figure out how to be living stones by espousing a 14th century Catholicism in a dead language they come back and let us know how they accomplished it. In the meantime, Francis has one less problem to deal with.
If you take the trouble to read the article, this blogger tars Pope Benedict XVI with the same brush as the SSPX. That the SSPX espouses nationalist and authoritarian politics is of no consequence to this blogger, since she would certainly advocate the imposition of absolute authority and “re-education” for dissidents if she ever found herself with the levers of power in her hands. I would only expect this kind of talk from this blogger, just as I would expect to see leaves on the trees in spring.
So the problem is the liturgy! Evidently not for the vast majority of western humanity to which the Church is no longer a known or trusted entity. In a way, this person is right – the old Latin liturgy will not bring the crowds back. Rather, it is the contrary: large numbers of people are drawn to “mega-church” liturgies. I have nothing against that for those who are drawn to God that way, but some of us are aliens to this type of religion. The common-sense answer would be diversity of “churchmanship” as in twentieth-century Anglicanism. But would it work? Perhaps the other common-sense answer is to get away from institutions and see the Church another way.
It will just bring us to reflect on the real reasons that keep most people away from church. They only ever went because they were forced to by civil authorities under the control of ecclesiastical authorities. How long ago did the Church die? Or rather, how is the Church still surviving far away from the rubble and waste?
As an afterthought, I keep an eye on Patricius‘ blog Liturgiae Causa, in which this young man from the greater London sprawl has written most insightfully. I find myself unable to comment on this blog for reasons of not having the right kind of connection to Google. The conclusion he has come to is sad but is understandable, as we see the dialectics between two totalitarian visions of Catholicism, one “nationalist” and one “socialist” and everything being blamed on styles of worship. Patricius and I sympathise probably more than he or I would care to think. At the same time, I have been around for long enough to know that intemperate writing alienates even one’s friends. I hope Patricius will have the courage to get out of his south-east English existence in a place as dull as Sidcup, to find new surroundings in which he can mature as a person and find fulfilment.
I am determined not to apostatise, but rather to hang on and remain faithful to those little pockets and remnants of Catholicism where they still exist and where they are still Christian as opposed to political. I have written at length on anarchism. Anarchism has always failed in political terms, because it is a-political. It concerns persons and the spiritual life, not yet another way to re-model society, in exactly the way Oscar Wilde claimed to have found freedom in prison. This is the freedom of the spirit – and it is there for each of us to discover.