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 and writer-in-residence at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. His many books include Sex in the Unreal City: The Demolition of the Western Mind, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a regular contributor to Chronicles, Crisis Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inside the Vatican Things, The Catholic Thing, and American Greatness. He has translated Dante's Divine Comedy. He is a Roman Catholic and lives with his wife in New Hampshire. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
David Mills has been editor of Touchstone and executive editor of First Things.
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