Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bouyer on the status of "the Bible and the liturgy" among cradle Catholics

     "At about this time an old Saint-Eustache father, a former dragoon who had kept a rather unecclesiastical frankness, told me, 'It's obvious you're a convert; you're far too interested in the Bible and the liturgy!  Real Catholics [he meant by that those who had had only to be born to be so], real Catholics don't attach such importance to them!'
     "How right dear Father [Jules] Lamblin was, and how I thank him for having kept me from any chimeric hope on that score!"

     Louis Bouyer, The memoirs of Louis Bouyer, trans. John Pepino (Kettering, OH:  Angelico Press, 2015 [2014]), chap. 8, p. 144.  Fr. Bouyer's love of the liturgy had been inculcated within Protestantism by a certain brand of French and Scandinavian Lutheranism (as well as Anglicanism).  I am happy to say that my experience of this hasn't been as pronounced as that of Fr. Bouyer.  Cf. The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 74:  "Had we not reached the point of defining (seriously!) mysteries as things that must be believed without our seeking to understand them?  In everything all one had to do was to do what one was told, repeat the correct formulas, and reproduce a rubber-stamp mode of behavior.  Since the authority, or tradition (that tradition about which the [ideally purely heteronomous] authority could now say:  Io son la tradizione!), was the source of everything, obedience was 'everything,' and it seemed that the ideal obedience was one that was most perfectly unintelligent and most completely uninterested.  As one of my old colleagues said to me soon after joining the Oratory:  'You can see that you were not always a Catholic.  You're much too interested in things like Holy Scripture or the liturgy.  Real Catholics don't attach such importance to those things.' . . . like Scripture, if one gave too much attention to the liturgy in a manner that was not exclusively rubrical, it betrayed only too clearly a notion, or rather an application of the Christian religion that had nothing in common with 'real Catholicism.'  Understand by this, naturally, the Catholicism of people who were Catholics simply because their parents were before them, and for whom the problem was to keep it intact; to do this they should have as little to do with it as possiblelive in it, yes, but subsist from it, certainly not!"

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