Oh, those wacky sedevacantists.
Now, I have to admit, there was a time when I was highly sympathetic to the traditionalist cause. The liturgy of my childhood was certainly not the liturgy of my parents’ childhood, and for a deeply romantic lad steeped in a love of all things past, that was a painful reality. I gazed at pictures of old vestments and altars and longed to worship as my ancestors had done. I wondered what could possibly have gone wrong to change so much so fast, and talk of “the smoke of Satan entering the Church” was frequently heard in our social circles.
But much has changed in my life, and I have changed apace. That is a long story to go into, but suffice it to say for the moment that now, when I read a tweet like that above, I am just sad. Sad for people who would rather believe in a vast demonic conspiracy and a train of anti-popes than open themselves to the possibility of change. Sad that the Body of Christ is continually riven into such petulant warring factions. Sad that we cannot all be working together to worship and glorify the God we all love, and who died for all of us. Schism makes me sad, and most days I can only pray that God will help me find some shred of hope to hang onto in this regard, for it is so tempting to despair that the dream ut unam sint will ever become a reality.
This just caught my eye over at Rorate Cæli (thanks to a tweet by Luke Coppen of The Catholic Herald). It seems a brand new response to a submitted dubium has emerged from the Congregation of Divine Worship and he Discipline of the Sacraments regarding that most favorite liturgical whipping boy/spectre, liturgical dance. From the brief text of the response (and the blog post has a clear scan of what would appear to be the actual letter, in English), the Congregation keeps things very simple:
“The liturgical law of the Roman Rite does not foresee the use of dance or drama within the Sacred Liturgy, unless particular legislation has been enacted by the Bishops’ Conference and confirmed by the Holy See. Any other practice is to be considered an abuse.”
No surprise there, to this writer at least. Everyone who has ever read the liturgical instructions knows that, and always has.
But even though the response is very straightforward, there is also that nisi clause standing right in the middle of it, like a wicker man just catching fire: “unless particular legislation has been enacted…” I read that as a clear answer in the negative by the gatekeepers, while in the same breath they add, “but look, we’ve left the door wide open for any legitimate exceptions.”
The folks at Rorate Cæli, of course, desperately hope this is not the case. The post concludes with an invitation for a combox feeding-frenzy from their readership:
A firm and clear denunciation of the practice of liturgical dance, even in a non-Western country?
Or an opening for the bishops’ conferences to seek approval for this practice?
As much as I am sure the stalwart poster believes and/or wishes the answer to his question to be the former option, I cannot see how it can be read as precluding the latter.