Saturday, August 25, 2007

If any more evidence was needed...

The Spirit of Vatican II folks have been telling us nonstop since Summorum Pontificum that having the Mass in vernacular languages is better for everyone, so any effort to have the Mass more often in Latin -- let alone in that horrid Tridentine form! -- will be a step back into the Dark Ages.

Many others have remarked that Latin has the advantage of being the same everywhere, which is a great thing for travelers -- and travel is a lot more common today than it was in the years just before Vatican II. We dumped Latin just at the historical moment when the world was being newly knit together by cheap travel, and having a universal language of the liturgy would have been a tremendously unifying thing.

But I hadn't experienced this much myself, mainly because I don't travel nearly as much as most people seem to.

Well, I recently returned from a photographic seminar in San Diego, where the all-day sessions included Saturday and Sunday. The only opportunity I had to attend Mass without cutting class was on Sunday afternoon at 5:00, at a little church a couple of blocks away from the studio, that I could get to quickly.

As soon as I walked in I knew I was in trouble: the Mass was in Spanish. "Active participation"? Sorry, not by me. Yes, there was an English-Spanish missalette. But how is it better for the non-Spanish speaker to be reading the Spanish-to-English translations on the fly, than to be reading Latin-to-English translations with which one might already be familiar? Now, if that Mass had been in Latin all along, and the Church hadn't been nearly stripped of its Latin traditions, we all could have concentrated on the liturgy that afternoon -- one liturgy, not one for every language under Babel.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A good letter

Talking to your pastor about having a Tridentine Mass in your parish is always better than sending a letter -- it's a lot friendlier and less threatening, and most of us have far better control of the tone of our conversation than the tone of our writing -- but if you need to write, there's a fine example here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Galileo's Mistake, pt. 1

From the introduction to Wade Rowland's Galileo's Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church:

I came to share a conviction that the roots of what is most disturbing in the modern world find their nourishment deeper in history [than 18th-century rationalism and 19th-century romanticism], in what is often called the Scientific Revolution. ... On the one hand, the Scientific Revolution endowed Western civilization with the ability to manipulate nature to an almost magical degree. On the other, it prompted a shift in the prevailing view of the acquisition of knowledge and of moral thought that deprived civilization of any effective means to manage the career of science and to ameliorate its unwanted impacts. It bequeathed unprecedented power and wealth while at the same time undermining the foundations of the wisdom necessary to their judicious and benevolent use. It expanded the creative horizons of humanity while reducing the mass of individual humans to the status of commodities and consumers. It improved health and longevity while promoting unprecedented spiritual and existential dis-ease.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Your PBS tax dollars at work

I was channel-surfing the other night, arrived at the local PBS affiliate, and came upon Jonathan Miller's Brief History of Disbelief. This BBC Four series gives the popular Mr. Miller three hours to deliver, with his trademark charm and urbanity, his personal testimony as a militant atheist. He makes no attempt to be objective; Miller thinks the case against religion (against the existence of God, really) is closed, and his side won. He sees no need to keep an open mind on the subject, present a decent summary of any opposing position, or admit any significant weaknesses in his own. Those tens of millions killed by militantly atheistic regimes in the 20th century? Not atheism's fault, according to Miller. Atheists have always been kind, wonderful people like him.

My point is this: when was the last time you saw PBS give hours of airtime to a committed Christian who tried to get listeners to give up atheism, with no opposing viewpoint?