Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Usus Antiquior and the New Evangelisation: Tracey Rowland

Photo: Some highlights from Prof. Tracey Rowland’s address: “The Usus Antiquior and the New Evangelisation”, June 26th, 2013: -

“I want to argue that the usus antiquior is an antidote to the ruthless attacks on memory and tradition and high culture, typical of the culture of modernity, and that it satisfies the desire of the post-modern generations to be embedded within a coherent, non-fragmented tradition that is open to the transcendent.”

“The project of the 1960s generation was one of transposing a high sacral language into the vernacular of a low mundane culture, with the result that something sacred became more mundane, and when the sacred becomes mundane, it becomes boring.”

“In wrapping the faith in the forms of the contemporary culture and generally correlating the liturgy to the norms of the mass culture, the 1960s generation of pastoral strategists unwittingly fostered a crisis in liturgical theory and practice.”

“[The 1960s generation] dismantled a high Catholic culture by removing its cornerstone and they left subsequent generations of Catholics in a state of cultural poverty, confusion and boredom.”
“A Catholic who is ignorant of [the usus antiquior] is like a student who majors in English literature but is unfamiliar with Shakespeare.”

“It may be argued that [the] usus antiquior was the one thing that could bring the warring European tribes [of the 20th century] together.”

“[Benedict XVI] compared the pastoral strategy of bringing God down to the level of the people with the Hebrew’s worship of the golden calf and he described this practice as nothing less than a form of apostasy.”

“It would be a major advance if those responsible for liturgical decisions could at least get the message that modernity has not been fashionable since the 1960s.”

“Elements of Catholic culture which were suppressed by the 1960s generation of pastoral leaders are being rediscovered by younger Catholics who treat them like treasures found in their grandmother’s attic.”

“Catholics of the post-modern generations want to know how the Church looked, how the faith was practiced, when there was a coherent Catholic culture.”

“The whole structure of the usus antiquior engenders a deeper sense that there is a sacrifice, not a mere meal… There is really no greater antidote to secularism and what Pope Francis calls a ‘self-referential Christianity’ than a reflection on martyrdom and the sacrifice of Calvary and the Roman Canon sustains a person’s reflection on this reality.”

In an era when globalisation is regarded as a good thing and governments spend millions of dollars of tax-payers’ money to keep alive the memory of minority languages and pre-modern social practices like Morris dancing, the Church should not be ashamed of her own cultural treasures.”

“The usus antiquior should be a standard element of the cultural capital of all Latin Rite Catholics since is so effectively resists secularism and satisfies the post-modern hunger for coherent order, beauty and an experience of self-transcendence.”

“I believe that the proponents of the usus antiquior are often their own worst enemies and foster practices and attitudes which deter many Catholics from attending Masses according to this Form.”

“The obsession with dissecting every minute detail of the event is a symptom of what Joseph Ratzinger called the problem of aestheticism.”

“If pastoral pragmatism and its inherent philistinism is a problem at one end of the spectrum, aestheticism seems to be the problem at the other end of the spectrum.”

“Ordinary Catholics do not want to feel as though in attending the usus antiquior they are making a political stand against the Second Vatican Council.”

“The more [ordinary] people feel as though a whole raft of theo-political baggage comes with attendance at the usus antiquior Masses, the less likely they are to avail themselves of the opportunity to attend them.”

“To evangelise post-modern people [the Christian narrative] has to appear to be something starkly different from the secular culture they imbibe which is a culture parasitic upon the Christian tradition but completely decadent.”

I am told that one of the high points of the Sacra Liturgia Conference has been from the Australian academic Prof. Tracey Rowland’s address: “The Usus Antiquior and the New Evangelisation”. Below are just notes, I hope someone will make transcripts of the actual papers available.

“I want to argue that the usus antiquior is an antidote to the ruthless attacks on memory and tradition and high culture, typical of the culture of modernity, and that it satisfies the desire of the post-modern generations to be embedded within a coherent, non-fragmented tradition that is open to the transcendent.”
“The project of the 1960s generation was one of transposing a high sacral language into the vernacular of a low mundane culture, with the result that something sacred became more mundane, and when the sacred becomes mundane, it becomes boring.”
“In wrapping the faith in the forms of the contemporary culture and generally correlating the liturgy to the norms of the mass culture, the 1960s generation of pastoral strategists unwittingly fostered a crisis in liturgical theory and practice.”
“[The 1960s generation] dismantled a high Catholic culture by removing its cornerstone and they left subsequent generations of Catholics in a state of cultural poverty, confusion and boredom.”
“A Catholic who is ignorant of [the usus antiquior] is like a student who majors in English literature but is unfamiliar with Shakespeare.”
“It may be argued that [the] usus antiquior was the one thing that could bring the warring European tribes [of the 20th century] together.”
“[Benedict XVI] compared the pastoral strategy of bringing God down to the level of the people with the Hebrew’s worship of the golden calf and he described this practice as nothing less than a form of apostasy.”
“It would be a major advance if those responsible for liturgical decisions could at least get the message that modernity has not been fashionable since the 1960s.”
“Elements of Catholic culture which were suppressed by the 1960s generation of pastoral leaders are being rediscovered by younger Catholics who treat them like treasures found in their grandmother’s attic.”
“Catholics of the post-modern generations want to know how the Church looked, how the faith was practiced, when there was a coherent Catholic culture.”
“The whole structure of the usus antiquior engenders a deeper sense that there is a sacrifice, not a mere meal… There is really no greater antidote to secularism and what Pope Francis calls a ‘self-referential Christianity’ than a reflection on martyrdom and the sacrifice of Calvary and the Roman Canon sustains a person’s reflection on this reality.”
In an era when globalisation is regarded as a good thing and governments spend millions of dollars of tax-payers’ money to keep alive the memory of minority languages and pre-modern social practices like Morris dancing, the Church should not be ashamed of her own cultural treasures.”
“The usus antiquior should be a standard element of the cultural capital of all Latin Rite Catholics since is so effectively resists secularism and satisfies the post-modern hunger for coherent order, beauty and an experience of self-transcendence.”
“I believe that the proponents of the usus antiquior are often their own worst enemies and foster practices and attitudes which deter many Catholics from attending Masses according to this Form.”
“The obsession with dissecting every minute detail of the event is a symptom of what Joseph Ratzinger called the problem of aestheticism.”
“If pastoral pragmatism and its inherent philistinism is a problem at one end of the spectrum, aestheticism seems to be the problem at the other end of the spectrum.”
“Ordinary Catholics do not want to feel as though in attending the usus antiquior they are making a political stand against the Second Vatican Council.”
“The more [ordinary] people feel as though a whole raft of theo-political baggage comes with attendance at the usus antiquior Masses, the less likely they are to avail themselves of the opportunity to attend them.”
“To evangelise post-modern people [the Christian narrative] has to appear to be something starkly different from the secular culture they imbibe which is a culture parasitic upon the Christian tradition but completely decadent.”
source
I understand Cardinal Ranjith has made similar comments.

9 comments:

dbonneville said...

I'm embarrassed at the thought of bringing a guest to Mass - the whole things smacks of being irrelevant, sometimes worse than others, depending on what music is played, what lector shows up, if girls serve as "altar boys" with pink sneakers or sandals, how many EMs go up to serve communion, the chatty sign of peace, etc. If my parish was EF, I'd be begging my friends to check it out. If it was NO by the book, like a morning Mass with no music, I'd be asking friends to go. But the love-party on Sundays at it's worse discredits and obscures the faith. It is not what I want any guest to see, ever.

JARay said...

I agree whole heartedly both with Tracey Rowland and dbonneville.
The chatty "sign of peace" is something which I abhor and I really hate it when the priest starts Mass by telling everyone to turn around and welcome everyone around by introducing oneself. The last time I had that imposed, I told the ones around me that I did not like this nonsense. They got my message!

Physiocrat said...

We normally have two UA Masses locally, both relegated to unpopular times - then it is claimed that there is little demand, even though you would not give away a lot of champagne breakfasts at that time on a Sunday morning when there is still an hour to go before it gets light.

One of them has been stopped for the summer, whilst the other has been stopped whilst the priest who celebrates it has gone on his first holiday for many years to visit his family.

Now the curious thing is this. The community has a newly ordained priest, who flatly refused to stand in for the regular priest by celebrating the UA Mass while he is away, refuses to celebrate it as a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin, refuses to discuss the matter and is surprised that people are annoyed and disappointed.

What is going on here and what can be done about it? All suggestions welcome.

Angelo Cardinal Fratelli said...

Oh I agree, traditional Catholicism is a powerful means of evangelizing!

If I knew a parish that simply did a reverent and beautiful Novus Ordo (like the parish which first attracted me to Catholicism that did Novus Ordo with some Latin and chant), I would be inviting people. Now, with some of the cheesy hymns and good-feeling atmosphere at my current parish, I almost seem embarrassed to ask people to come.

Amfortas said...

This is great stuff. In part she's challenging TLM followers to break out of their ghetto, a ghetto of their own making, and make the treasure available to all. I'm not sure what this means in practice but she's spot on.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Amfortas,
I agree, I think she is suggesting that Trads should not be negative and mistrusting about everything, neurotically condemning VII, having a "them and us" mentality, being a Church within the Church.

Amfortas said...

You're spot on too Father, IMHO! Tracey Rowland is such a positive force in the Church.

Jackie Parkes said...

“I believe that the proponents of the usus antiquior are often their own worst enemies and foster practices and attitudes which deter many Catholics from attending Masses according to this Form.”
“The obsession with dissecting every minute detail of the event is a symptom of what Joseph Ratzinger called the problem of aestheticism.”

Isn't that the truth!!!

Lynne said...

I wish people would stop saying trads are their own worst enemy. That was true when the TLM was truly in a ghetto, pre-SP (2007). They were under seige then, trying to protect the TLM and it made them battle-weary and grumpy. They succeeded in protecting the TLM for us. I, a trad I guess, dislike Modernism, which was condemned as a heresy many years ago.