Skip to comments.New Forms of Incense in LA Cathedral
Posted on 09/03/2002 5:05:37 PM PDT by petrusv2
Whatever one may think of Cardinal Mahony's new LA Cathedral---recall even Charles Ryder in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited was moaning the "deplorable" liturgical art work in Lady Marchmain's pre-Vatican II ornate chapel after his conversion ---one cannot help but notice that it is nuns here (above), recognizable nuns in modest habits, who are lifting huge newstyle censers which complement the transcendental sense of open space which surrounds the new altar which itself is surrounded by space for the People of God, all focused in on the altar of the Eucharist.
I have been amused to watch various extremists suggest the nuns look more like "wicca priestesses" than Catholic nuns. That is simply preposterous, even if I might prefer the old way of incensing the altar.
At any rate, the Church has always absorbed or assimilated aspects of ancient non-Catholic (read: pagan) worship into its liturgical celebration. Thus there can be no a priori objection to its assimilation of new style art today within dogmatically established parameters. One must understand the difference between the substance in the Mass and its accidents if one is to understand how His Holiness JPII could send congratulations to Cardinal Mahony on the opening of this temple in itself.
The New Advent on-line Catholic Encyclopedia notes the ancient origins of incense, common to both Christians and, much earlier, pagans.
"The use of incense was very common. It was employed for profane purposes as an antidote to the lassitude caused by very great heat, as perfumes are now used. Mention of its introduction into pagan worship is made by classical writers (cf. Ovid, "Metamorph.", VI, 14, Virgil, "AEneid", I, 146). Herodotus testifies to its use among the Assyrians and Babylonians, while on Egyptian monumental tablets kings are represented swinging censers. Into the Jewish ritual it entered very extensively, being used especially in connexion with the eucharistic offerings of oil, fruits, and wine, or the unbloody sacrifices (Leviticus, vi, 15). By the command of God Moses built an altar of incense (cf. Ex.. xxx), on which the sweetest spices and gums were burned, and to a special branch of the Levitical tribe was entrusted the office of daily renewal (I Par., ix, 29).
When, exactly, incense was introduced into the religious services of the Church it is not easy to say. During the first four centuries there is no evidence for its use "
Let the ultra-traditionalist critics prefer this or that kind of architecture, this or that age or style of song, but so long as the essential elements of the Catholic Mass remain in place, it is a matter of taste, not orthodoxy. Consider that in Psalm 150 the LORD even invites praise with "dancing, string and lute...with the clash of resounding cymbals". One may or may not prefer it---one may even despise it!---- but to argue it is some blasphemy, outside the bounds of orthodoxy per se would be news to the God of the Covenant---Jesus Christ---and is to show a dismal acquaintance with revelation. It is the Eucharist which makes the cathedral, not vice versa.
We are much more concerned as we wrote in our Letters / Musings section on the way the poor seemed to have been excluded from so much in the opening week's festivities of the Cathedral. We are also concerned with the state of catechesis in the LA Archdiocese. But that is another matter. We must make distinctions, otherwise we are just "fool"-ing around.
Hand reads Free Republic, and read your post, narses.
He's nailing YOU, as an extremist.
You did get quite a wedgie over this innocuous display.
Did you object to the native Indians dancing at the conclusion of the Holy Father's Mass in Mexico City last month?
Inculturation in liturgical non-essentials is an added personal expression of praise.
"In essentials, unity, in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things charity." Pope John XXIII, Ad Petri Cathedram and popularly attributed to St. Augustine
I think MTV would be more appropriate.
The author could not be more wrong.
Granted, the 'essential elements' are necessary. Taste, however, must be formed in orthodoxy and then deployed. This rather blase remark demonstrates a profound ignorance of the term 'culture,' and the individual should be returned to school for some genuine learning.
Mother suffered a major stroke last year. Half her head is paralyzed but she is still in charge. EWTN DID NOT cover the dedication ceremony. No surprise since Mother Angelica and Roger Mahony locked horns a while back.
Absolutely, and in my best impression of a Protestant minister, AMEN, BROTHER!
The author of this essay is in denial as he continues to defend the indefensible. He has written many worthwhile things in the past, but he loses credibility with this kind of BS and I doubt if even Joe pew warmer would buy it.