Ecclesiam res et talia sermocinamur -

We talk about the Church, stuff, and such

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Calendrical Thoughts

I will refrain, at least at the moment, from babbling about the Motu Proprio. Those who know better and speak better than I on such things are relatively easy to find. Huzzah, three cheers, Deo gratias, indeed. To break my long hiatus, I have, as Monty Python would say, something completely different.

Recently, my parents were in Nashville and had the singular misfortune of attending Mass at Holy Family in Brentwood. (I'm afraid the the tie-dye quilt over the sanctuary, twig crucifix, stadium seating, and do-it-yourself-share-your-faith-journey rite of acceptance combined to force this parish onto my black list after the last visit.) In the homily, Father apparently opined that the liturgical calendar does not make any sense to people in the southern hemisphere, since its cycle of death and rebirth does not coincide with the seasonal cycle of death and rebirth. i.e., Easter isn't in the Spring, thus, Christianity must somehow make much less sense. The inevitable result, then, as the number and percentage of Catholics living in the Southern hemisphere grows, is that the liturgical calendar will have to be revised so that feasts match up with seasons there.

This would make perfect sense -- if Catholicism -- or even mere Christianity for that matter -- were an animistic faith in which observances derived nature and meaning from the weather or the the seasons. Christmas may have been established on a day that facilitated its replacement of the winter solstice as a high holy day among the Germanic tribes. But this does not mean that Christmas derives any of its integral meaning from that association. The same is even more true of Easter, which, unlike some other feasts, is actually a calendrical anniversary, albeit on a different calendar. The meaningful calendrical relationship for Easter is that with Passover -- not (primarily) that with spring. The Church has been successfully spreading the Gospel in the Southern hemisphere for two millennia. The absence of a fully inculturated liturgical calendar hasn't seemed to stop her yet. Sure, the Petrine authority could erect an Australian Rite and publish a Missale Austrinus so that the poor people below the equator could have Easter during their spring. But this seems to cut against catholicity. Was there really nothing to say about the ninth chapter of Luke's gospel?



Anonymous Meredith said...

Paul, we have tried to switch to Holy Family after moving here, but we could never adjust to its casual style or Protestant-style musical variations.

I do like the handmade wall hanging, though. They have a beautiful somber hanging they display during Lent.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

I suppose the wall hanging has some artistic merit, and in another setting might not be so bad -- but I've never squirmed so much at Mass in my life as the time I went there.

10:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home