The Beauty That Attracts
Older readers might remember Georgi Markov, a dissident Bulgarian writer who defected in 1969.
Once inside, however, they discovered a mystical attraction offering refuge from the ugly noise of everyday life: semi-darkness, candles, faces of saints, choirs, chanting - all inviting meekness and introspection.
He was, of course, writing about beauty in the Orthodox liturgy.
There was a time, not so long ago, before the introduction of self-centred Novus Ordo banality and iconoclasm, when he might have been talking about the mystical attraction of our own liturgy. The good news, though, as the following interview happily reveals, is the slow but sure attraction of increasing numbers of the faithful to Catholic tradition wherever it is allowed freedom of liturgical expression - as called for by the Holy Father and fostered by the pastoral solicitude of obedient prelates like Fabian Bruskewitz and Álvaro Corrada, S.J. [CO, March 2006].
This, at least, is the case in the U.S.. Not so in the U.K..
In this country, far from embracing orthodoxy and traditional priestly orders to keep the Faith alive, entire Amazonian jungles are sacrificed in churning out endless glossy documents detailing plans to shut down parishes and Protestantise what little remains of genuine faith and worship. Treachery abounds.
Take the bishops’ poisonous “teaching document” on Holy Scripture, treated in our January issue. Guaranteed to imperil the eternal salvation of those unfortunates who take it at face value, it was universally condemned by Catholic scholars as dilettantish, slovenly and heretical and even lampooned by the secular press, causing international scandal and embarrassment.
Soon after followed the “condom classes” at Woldingham School, a leading independent Catholic girls’ school in Surrey, during which 15-year-olds “were made to put condoms on a replica phallus” [The Catholic Herald, 31/3/06]. Wrote the Anglican headmistress reassuringly to one complainant: “In this day and age, we would be neglecting our responsibility were we not to advise the girls about the range of contraceptives which are available. This is, however, handled in the context of a long term, committed relationship”!
Worse still, such “relationships” were recently ‘blessed’ by Father Kevin Kelly, who “shares” his Widnes church with Anglicans. “I cannot bring myself to tell them [cohabiters] that they are ‘living in sin’. I do not believe they are!” pontificates this Research Fellow in Moral Theology (?!) [“Cohabitation: Living in Sin or Occasion of Grace?”, The Furrow, Dec. 2005, pp. 652-658].
And so the local Church lies in ruins and on the brink.
Denied the compelling beauty of Catholic truth - transmitted by orthodox catechesis embodied and reaffirmed, in turn, by traditional Catholic worship - two generations have simply walked away.
The ageing remnant, meanwhile, conditioned by years of grotesque Modernist ‘liturgies’ and the sort of dirty dissent glimpsed above, are now at home in churches which reflect rather than contradict that ‘ugliness of everyday life’ from which Bulgarians once sought refuge in other-worldly surroundings.
Moreover, just as Georgi Markov was killed for eschewing Pravda propaganda and telling the truth, so our most faithful priests and teachers have been isolated or forced out for deviating from the Tablet party line of the Modernist Establishment.
None of this is to suggest that when the Berlin Wall of Novus Ordoism finally crumbles we can expect the chronically dumbed-down Catholic hordes to stampede towards the Old Mass and liturgical freedom. Not at all. Won’t happen.
But one thing is certain: unless and until Rome start providing Britain with its ‘American quota’ of bishops willing to promote the Truth-filled beauty of Catholic tradition, liturgically and catechetically, the local dissolution will continue, to vanishing point.
Last month, Cardinal Arinze made headlines for a hard hitting talk he gave in London, suggesting a return to various traditions such as the genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament during Mass and the ‘recentralisation’ of tabernacles as the focal point in our churches. But it’s all so much Vatican hot air to the Modernist prelates who welcome him to these shores with unctuous smiles that mask their own destructive liberal agenda. Without virile Catholic bishops in place to back up Roman exhortations with unapologetic action, His Eminence and the rest of the curia are wasting their collective breath, and their airfares to England.
So let us continue to work and pray for the miraculous appointment of at least one ‘British Bruskewitz’, while never failing to recognise the present treacherous and filthy state of the Church as the mutilated body of Our Blessed Lord Himself. And let us resolve to endure this agony with Him and His Blessed Mother, persevering in faith to the last, as Father de Caussade S.J. exhorts in this apposite Marian reflection for the month of May: