Unblanding the Mass

What came into the church, in the wake of the second Vatican Council, was an unthinking acceptance of certain tenets of secular modernism – one of the most fundamental and insidious being utilitarianism – or the barbaric belief that what works is good. When this frightening aphorism was unthinkingly stood on its head, not only “what works was good”, but “what is good is that which works”, and consequently the only “Good” became “whatever works”.

This unquestioned utilitarianism influenced not only church architecture, but every aspect of Catholic life. Suddenly there was no use for such “pointless people” as contemplative monks and nuns. They all had to develop “ministries”. Church became a kind of club for social activists and do-gooders, and the Mass became the “gathering time” when we all met to think about Jesus the noble martyr and how we could change the world, and so we sang the rousing anthem, “We can make a difference. Yes we can!”

The 1973 translation of the liturgy fit into this modern utilitarian-determined church. The theory of “dynamic equivalency” dictated that the noble Latin language should not be translated literally. The words were too difficult. The concepts too arcane. The grammar and syntax too complex. Like a bare, modern church; like the polyester vestments; like the pottery vessels and the felt banners and the padded pews and the glory and praise music, the liturgy was supposed to be useful and understandable and plain. It ended up being beige, boring and bland, and the suburban clergy facilitated it all with a kind of dull resignation-topped layer of Kool Whip enthusiasm. It was a case of the bland leading the bland.

Read the rest at Crisis.

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