I couldn’t resist the temptation, since I have been offering reflections on drugs, addiction and prohibition. I can almost imaging the cops in some American village descending on a church and demanding to see what books are on the altar during Holy Week, tasing the priest or clobbering him over the head or even shooting him dead – and beating up the servants before carrying them off to jail!
A little closer to reality, Rorate Caeli put up an article about the use of the pre-Pius XII Holy Week rites in the Roman rite, and very quickly took it down. This article Maybe the Liturgical Extremists Have a Point? has given a link to a cached version: Holy Week notes – On the tiny (but growing) number of TLM locations celebrating the pre-1956 Holy Week.
This is embarrassing evidence that the older rites are favoured by some of those who are not ideologically motivated like the sedevacantists. Even for those who are theologically and politically “moderate”, objections to the modifications to the Roman liturgy under Pius XII and John XXIII are comparable with those criticising the Novus Ordo of 1969. This was a tendency I found at Gricigliano in the early 1990’s, and Fr Quoëx (our MC) managed to tweak things as best as possible within the limits of tolerance from the superiors and Rome.
Somebody got very cold feet over this article, probably after some nasty e-mail from a bully. Just imagine trying to revive Sarum in the Roman Catholic Church! The last one who tried it in the 1990’s got reported to Rome by some little prig with a gripe, and had to stop. It is not my intention to provoke polemics or attack personalities.
Perhaps the issue of the liturgy is of no importance and we could all be like the Quakers or American mega-church evangelists.
There are and always have been differences between rites and uses, and getting steamed up about the details of one of them can seem un-Christian. On the other hand, liturgical rites have their history and sometimes an obscure rationale, which is destroyed by rationally-based modifications and reforms. The Holy Week rites are witnesses of the oldest liturgical forms in the history of the church, predating much of the knowledge we have from books and other archaeological sources. Destroying them is like building a car park over an archaeological site. Car parks are useful for those who need to park cars, but man also needs his collective memory of the distant past and a sense of continuity in a tradition.
This seems to be a valid reason for conservatism in liturgy even if it celebrated in the language of the people as we Anglicans do.