Killing the plants in the garden.

I stumbled on something recently in the National Catholic register lately, an essay by Fr. John P. Cush about Bishop Robert Barron, entitled Bishop Robert Barron on the Priesthood. Here is the entire quote as Fr. Cush used it, from a book by Bishop Barron published in 2004 (but with my emphasis):

I came of age in the late sixties and seventies of the last century, in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II. What I witnessed during that period was a terrible war of attrition between two extreme camps (with, admittedly, numerous shades in between): progressives overly in love with the culture and pushing myriad reforming agendas and conservatives desperately trying to recover the form of Catholicism that predated the council. Some of these liberals were so enamored of growth, play, and free development that they allowed John XXIII’s flourishing garden to become overgrown and untamed; while some of these traditionalists were so attached to an outmoded cultural expression of the Church’s life that they effectively killed off the plants in the garden, pressing their dead leaves between the pages of a book. (xiv-xv).

This is a sad caricature of those of us who long for the reverence, solemnity and seriousness of the traditional form of the Mass. As I said here, a return to the traditional form of the liturgy will not magically fix the Church. After all, the Church had plenty of problems before Pope Paul VII’s Novus ordo Missae was mandated in 1969. I do, however, believe that the pewsitters in the Church (that would include me) have lost the sense of the mystery of God, and the mystery of the Mass, with the current liturgical form, and that a return to the traditional form will help return the sense of mystery that we all so very much need as a starting point.

Curate, ut valeatis.

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