Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come!

Ritualism and activism: Newman’s balance
June 26, 2010, 8:23 am
Filed under: Opinion | Tags: , ,

There is an excellent article by Dominic Scarborough in the Catholic Herald this week.

You can link to it here, but I give you a short extract:

Perhaps the mistake in the post-conciliar era has been to attempt merely to replace one set of externals – that of devotions, catechism, the ancient liturgy and all the other associated practices – with another comprising activism in the social arena, lay ministries and other acts of “doing” or “being Church”, which still lack any significant development of what used to be called “the interior life” (often now called “the life of the spirit”).

The most vociferous critics of the revival of the Traditional Latin Mass and the apparent traditionalism of many young priests always point to the externals – the splendid vestments, the cassocks and Roman collars and the ritual – as though this is all they can themselves see is at stake and it tends to say more of their own activist agenda than accurately critique the return of tradition as a source of spiritual nourishment.

This is where the figure of Cardinal John Henry Newman is so important for the life of the Church not just in this country but throughout the world. Newman understood that religion can never be imposed on someone from without, nor can it ever truly consist only in externals of either variety.


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