Why am I Vexed?

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski’s article, In Much Wisdom is Much Vexation, yields much insight on why I find the Novus Ordo Mass unacceptable:

The music [like the Mass] has its real existence in the performance, and one accesses it through the performance. In an odd way, the music has no real existence apart from the performance, and neither has the liturgy some objective or generic essence by which we are perfected, in abstraction from the subjective and specific experience of liturgy here and now, in this or that form. We are perfected by the thing as it actually exists and functions, not by its technical validity or licitness.

The reduction of liturgy to validity and licitness is truly one of the most subtle and pernicious reductionisms of the modern age…

What applies to the liturgy also applies to the edifice. When I am in a sterile, big-box, ugly, Catholic church, I am turned in on myself and reduced to a forlorn critic.

Saint Robert Bellarmine Church, Blue Springs, MO

Saint Robert Bellarmine Church, Blue Springs, MO

When I am in a beautiful Catholic church I can enter into a less self-conscious state; beauty brings me closer to God.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity - Architect: Duncan Stroik

Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, Santa Paula, CA, Architect: Duncan Stroik

Roger Scruton on the perils of messing with liturgy in An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture:

Although the purpose of an act of worship lies beyond the moment, in the form of a promised redemption from the original sin of solitude, it cannot really be separated from the liturgical means. Means and end are inextricable. Thought and experience are inseparable in the liturgy, as they are in art. Changes in the liturgy are of great significance to the believer, since they are changes in the experience of God. The question whether or not to use the Book of Common Prayer of the Tridentine Mass are not questions of ‘mere form’. To suppose that the rite is a matter of form is to imagine just the kind of separation of form and content, which is, the death by protestation, of a true common culture.

Oscar Wilde provides further insight:

It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.

2 thoughts on “Why am I Vexed?

  1. Is this any more complicated than saying that you personally prefer more traditional architecture to modern architecture? You do realize that there are people who disagree? I like the first church better than the second. I find it more spiritual. On what grounds do you say that I am wrong?

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