23 March 2011

Sustained, Stirred, Renewed

Sustained, Stirred, Renewed,
Sunday upon Sunday,

the Gathering,
the Entrance,
the Liturgy of the Word,
the Liturgy of the Eucharist,
Holy Communion 
to the Concluding Rites
Going Out to Give Christian Witness

Sunday's Eucharist....,
.... a Joyful, Festive Experience!

This vision, from the website of the Irish diocese of Cloyne's Commission for Liturgical Formation, is as striking as the cacophany of color that leaps off the pages of their site at unsuspecting browsers.

Their liturgical vision belongs to a certain period of history, not so long ago. Today it is oh-so-dated. It is hardly the vision of the Catholic Church of the twenty-first century, in the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, post-Sacramentum Caritatis and post-Summorum Pontificum. It looks backwards, not forwards.

There are lots of "coming soon's" on the site. The featured artist is yet to arrive (watch that space) and they seem to be having trouble finding explanations for what they call "Church vocabulary". Not much about the new English translation seems to have arrived, and the link to liturgical music seems to suggest that in Cloyne, that sort of thing is for the birds. Never mind, the Pimpernel is sure that the Cloyne Commission for Liturgical Formation could always manage a rousing rendition of "O Danny boy".

Truly sustained, stirred and renewed.
Perhaps the most telling feature of this site is the picture of Seattle's cathedral in its re-ordered form side by side with its vision. 

It's telling because it was Cloyne's former bishop and his liturgy director (who's still around peddling his tired ideas) who tried so long and hard to have much the same thing done to their own magnificient Pugin-style cathedral in Cobh a few years ago.

They achieved a spectacular and public failure thanks to the heroic efforts of the locals who organised themselves into the "Friends of Saint Colman's Cathedral". You can find all the details of the case here.

Saint Colman's Cathedral, Cobh, Co. Cork, stands tall today amongst the cathdrals of Ireland as the sole Irish survivor of the ideological iconnoclasm of the past forty years. 

Have a look at the pictures and compare them with the Seattle model promoted by Cloyne's Commission for Liturgical Formation. If that doesn't tell you more than enough about what they really hope is "coming soon" nothing will.


  1. How utterly grotesque! It looks like something that's already been eaten.

    Yes, the 're-ordering' of Irish Church sanctuaries since the 60s has been nothing short of (aesthetical) genocide.

    Saint Colman's Cathedral, Cobh, Co. Cork, stands tall today amongst the cathdrals of Ireland as the sole Irish survivor of the ideological iconnoclasm of the past forty years.

    St Eunan's Cathedral, no?


  2. Incidentally for those interested in 'where it all went wrong' read this (though not if you suffer from heart problems)

  3. Dear Pimpernel , thank you for this post. The Commission seems to exist in its own little bubble and has no idea that the liturgical mores of the Church have moved on since 1970.
    Pray for us who have to labour under its rule.

  4. The problem here is not the idea of being sustained and renewed and, hopefully from time to time stirred. It is that God and his Christ come first. We do not gather ofour own, We gather in response to a call from God to be his people at wership, not to seek the fruits of that worship. We hear the Word not to get but to obey. We pray not to feel good but to show that we rely solely of God, through Christ who promises us a hearing and challenges us to have faith. We enter into Eucharist not to feel sustained but to enter into the Mystery of Christ's cross and the hope in his rising. Finally we do not go out into the world to be effective. We go, under the immpetus of the Holy Spirit to obey God in all things.

    It strikes me that these folks are demanding fruits, which are gracious gifts of the Father, as their own work and their reasons to celebrate. Fu!
    The Rev. Michael P. Forbes
    Rochester, MN

  5. TIP: If you see the following or similar on a church sign while visiting the United States

    (e.g.) St. Happy Clappy Roman Catholic Community

    Be forewarned: Guitar strumming and Missal mangling ahead.