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The Jerusalem grave is the image of the old liturgy. It looked toward the Risen One and so faced east. For the old liturgy, the rising sun was a sign of the creation of the world, of the Resurrection, and of the Second Coming of Christ. Priest and people faced in the same direction, united in prayer and expectation. In the wake of the liturgical reform, the priest turned around and now looks at the congregation while pretending to be speaking to God. The model for the new liturgy is the committee table at a party or club meeting, with microphone and documents; on the left an ikebana dish with dried flowers and a bizarre orange-colored exotic plant, and on the right a couple of TV candles in hand-thrown pottery holders. Serious and recollected, the committee members look at the public, just like priests at a concelebration. The club meeting with its democratic order of business is the phenotype of the new liturgy; this is utterly logical, for those who reject the supratemporal mystery are bound to end up in the socio-political reality. There is no third way.

Martin Mosebach, The Heresy of Formlessness (2003)

The extraordinary importance which attaches to gestures of informality in the postconciliar Church – priests appearing in sports clothes, public speakers ostentatiously removing their coats and ties, nuns in shorts, the compulsory use of first names even to people one scarcely knows, exaggeratedly warm greetings – reflect that same cultural style. They serve as rituals which, consciously or not, attempt to substitute for the Church’s now discarded sacramental rituals. The high point of their religious life is for many the “greeting of peace” at Mass, entered into with such gusto and for such ever-lengthening stretches of time that it becomes the emotional climax of their worship. There is a strong tendency to confuse these quintessentially American cultural excrescences…with genuine charity and to assume that those who engage in them are thereby revealed as more open, more loving, and more sensitive than those who do not.

Ironically, a Church so many of whose leaders strive to make it relevant to worldly concerns is probably, in many ways, less relevant now than it was twenty years ago, precisely because it has no distinctive voice with which it speaks, no special wisdom to contribute to the common fund.

James Hitchcock, Catholicism and Modernity (1979)

I am firmly convinced, in fact, that vernacular hymns have played perhaps a significant part in the collapse of the liturgy. Just consider what resulted in the flowering of hymns: Luther’s Reformation was a singing movement, and the hymn expressed the beliefs of the Reformers. Vernacular hymns replaced the liturgy, as they were designed to do; they were filled with the combative spirit of those dismal times and were meant to fortify the partisans. People singing a catchy melody together at the top of their voices created a sense of community, as all soldiers, clubs, and politicians know. The Catholic Counter-Reformation felt the demagogic power of these hymns. People so enjoyed singing; it was so easy to influence their emotions using pleasing tones with verse repetition.

In the liturgy of the Mass, however, there was no place for hymns. The liturgy has no gaps; it is one single great canticle; where it prescribes silence or the whisper, that is, where the mystery is covered with an acoustic veil, as it were, any hymn would be out of the question…In services that are governed by vernacular hymns, the believer is constantly being transported into new aesthetic worlds. He changes from one style to another and has to deal with highly subjective poetry of the most varied levels. He is moved and stirred – but not by the thing itself, liturgy: he is moved and stirred by the expressed sentiments of the commentary upon it. By contrast, the bond that Gregorian chant weaves between liturgical action and song is so close that it is impossible to separate from and content.

Martin Mosebach, The Heresy of Formlessness (2003)

One of the great untold stories of aggiornamento has been the virtual persecution of those who have proven insufficiently flexible in their attitudes to change – nuns in “updated’ communities subjected to harassment, theologians pressured into early retirement, parents made to appear benighted fools in the eyes of their children by aggressively avant-garde teachers. The postconciliar Church has been awash in talk about “compassion,” yet it is a highly selective kind of compassion, directed mainly to the deserving, that is, those who can be defined as on the “correct” side of ongoing historical battles. There has been much publicly expressed agony over the sufferings of racial minorities , women, homosexuals, and married priests but nothing beyond the most formal regrets about those who feel themselves tossed upon the scrap heap of history…A university professor and lay minister of communion writes,

One unlearns ancient idiocy quickly – I recall my real shock and slight trauma last year when, while distributing communion, I encountered an elderly lady who with tight-shut eyes and protruded tongue insisted on a gesture I had almost forgotten. The atavistic insistences are merely foolish, however, and are doomed.

James Hitchcock, Catholicism and Modernity (1979)

What I do not want to do, when participating in Holy Mass, is be “active”, since I have good reason to distrust the instincts of my mind and my senses. What “active” role, for instance, did the apostles play in the Last Supper? They let the astounding events enfold them, and when Peter started to resist, he was specifically instructed to be “passive”: If I do not wash you, you have no part in me!”

Martin Mosebach, The Heresy of Formlessness (2003)

Many people, too, concerned about these issues, will ask, “Isn’t it still possible to celebrate the new liturgy of Pope Paul VI worthily and reverently?” Naturally it is possible, but the very fact that it is possible is the weightiest argument against the new liturgy…[L]iturgy’s death knell is sounded once it requires a holy and good priest to perform it.

Martin Mosebach, The Heresy of Formlessness (2003)

The churches are without priests; priests no longer receive proper respect; Christians deny Christ, and their temples pass for synagogues. They belittle the holiness of the sanctuary of God, and the Sacraments are no longer regarded as sacred. Feast Days pass without any solemnity; men die in their sins, and their souls are borne before the awe-inspiring tribunal without having been reconciled with God through the Sacrament of Penance, and without being fortified by Holy Viaticum. Children of Christians no longer know Christ, and are not able anymore to walk in the way of salvation.

St. Bernard, Letter 221, Les Cathars: documents et articles. Editors: R. Nelli, F. Neil, D. Roche, and J. Duvernoy (Paris: Delphes, 1964)

Though a committed pacifist might object to the notion, there really is a terrible beauty to seeing and hearing a regiment of soldiers obeying the order “Fix bayonets” and seeing the gun glint off the steel of the long row of blades. It is a powerful beauty and, in the Church, is often deliberately ignored in the use of vestments, architecture, sacred vessels, and music. It is certainly weak in the imagination of modern man. There is a whole generation of clerics who have imagined sacred things as cheap, in the guise of affection for “noble simplicity.”

The Rev. James W. Jackson, FSSP, Nothing Superfluous (2016)

When it was decided to rebuild a cathedral, the bishop, the canons, rich townsfolk, and neighbouring landowners made the first offerings. The king was next approached, and usually gave a large sum. Collections were then made throughout the city and surrounding countryside, and no one, not even the poorest, dared shirk so high a duty. ‘The Cathedral of Paris,’ said the papal legate, Cardinal Eudes de Chateauroux, ‘was largely built with the farthings of old women.’…At Paris even the ‘guild of prostitutes asked the bishop to accept either a window or a chalice.

Henri Daniel-Rops, Cathedral and Crusade: Studies of the Medieval Church (1050-1350)