Some priests were formed with the idea that being humble means dressing in rags, celebrating banal liturgies, and building ugly churches. With all respect, there is no one in this world more patronizing than someone who professes to love the poor but has never been poor themselves. The poor, by and large, don't want ugliness and banality. Their lives are hard and they want a glimpse of heaven. Think about it: the most beautiful churches in the United States were built with the money and hard work of poor or working class immigrants. Our great-grandfathers worshiped in ornate cathedrals and gorgeous parish churches with reredos and high altars adorned with exquisite wood working, stone altars, and lovely statuary. It was their comfortable, easy going, middle class descendants who tore it all down and replaced them with felt banners and picnic table altars. "Why was this expensive oil not sold and given to the poor?"Humans are made to appreciate beauty, and beauty on earth points to the beauty of heaven. Those who would do away with beauty at Mass are implicitly embracing a sort of Cartesian idea of a transcendent rational will that works best when it is not influenced by "worldly" things like aesthetics. This is utterly opposed to the traditional Christian understanding that we are not simply intellects inhabiting bodies but that each person is a unity of body and soul. Our neurochemistry and our immaterial intellect are both ordered to appreciate a beautiful liturgy and a beautiful church. We should not fight against our natural attraction to beauty but embrace it, especially in our churches.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Beauty and Worship
More greatness from one of my new favorite blogs, Lamentably Sane