The Mass Upended
Anthony Esolen & David Mills on Restoring Primitive Jocularity to the Liturgy
September 25, 2008 (Christian Liturgical Associates Press)—Last year’s discovery of an ancient formula governing the worship of the earliest Christians has spurred the Catholic bishops of the English-speaking world to revise the Mass, both in language and in ritual gesture. A scrap of paper reading Lex orandi, lex ridendi, found among kitchen refuse excavated on Crete, suggests to scholars that solemnity and reverence were hardly the sole aims of ancient Christian worship.
The discovery highlights the need “to chuck the old chicken bones” of Christian liturgy, the remnants of the gloom and pessimism of the Middle Ages, says Bishop Wilberthorpe Minnow of Lake Minnehaha. “We need to show that we are a Laughter People, a Happiness People, a Welcoming of All People People.”
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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius). He has also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House). He and his wife Debra publish a web magazine, Word and Song (anthonyesolen.substack.com), on poetry, hymnody, language, classic films, and music. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
David Mills has been editor of Touchstone and executive editor of First Things.
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