Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Western Civilisation exists for for the Mass

I was interested to read this piece by Liturgy Guy, Western Civilization exists for the Mass. It sounds a bit like Fr Z's refrain of "Save the Liturgy, Save the world" and references John Senior's book "The Restoration of Christian Culture". 

It can sound a little OTT to make these sweeping statements but further thought begins to make sense of the idea. The Christian era, with all its civilising advancements has as its icon the Mass itself. When anyone wants to attack the Church, it's the Mass they go for as the heart and symbol of what they want to bring down. In post-reformation England, it's the Mass that's outlawed as the touchstone of the new orthodoxy. In popular imaginings, it's the Black Mass that must be performed by Satan's servants as the direct antithesis of what is at the heart of the True Faith. 

The Christian society is all directed to the Mass. In a medieval city, the largest structure is the Cathedral which it is built at its centre. In the town or village, the parish church - the place where the Mass is celebrated.

The Second Vatican Council in Lumen Gentium (11) makes it clear that:
It is through the sacraments and the exercise of the virtues that the sacred nature and organic structure of the priestly community (the people of God) is brought into operation...  Taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life.
The "source and summit" of the Christian life. So, how well that is done, the manner of it's celebration, the place it has in the self-understanding of the community that celebrates it, the connections we make through it's form to its celebration throughout the world and down through the ages - the Tradition which in fact takes us back to the events it manifests - all these are of the utmost importance. 

In the present decline of the Faith in the Western world and the present controversies in many areas of ecclesial life, to grasp these realities once more must surely be necessary to save the world and ourselves, for the Mass is not our reality but Christ's.

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