A wide spot in my imagination.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

June 30: Blogging through Ecuador - The Modern Latin Mass

Colonel Sanders as God? (Great parody from the blog, Plunderbund.)

From maybe as early as the 4th century until the 17th century, a traveler in Europe could go almost anywhere and wander into a church on Sunday or a holy day and hear a priest reciting the Mass in Latin. It was the "universal" language of the "church" -- "universal" being at least in Europe, and "church" being at least the Roman Catholic version.)

A traveler from, say, modern Belgium, in 1347, who spoke Flemish at home, could go to England, France, Poland, Spain, or Italy and hear the creeds and hymns of the faith in the familiar language. Now, chances are good the traveler might not have understood much of what was said, and the presiding priest may not have even understood the words. But the recited rhythms gave comfort, no doubt. The traveler would have felt at home.

The Protestant Reformation of the 1600s and Vatican II of the 1960s changed that. Christian worship now takes a variety of forms and tongues.

However, there is a new "Latin Mass" in the world -- materialism, with its temples to the dollar, its communion of consumerism, and it incense of trans fat.

When Amy and I moved to Austin almost ten years ago, I had a hard time feeling at home at first. I missed Washington, DC for a while. Then, one day, we were wandering around The Arboretum (a shopping mall), and I looked around and saw all the same stores that we had known at Mazza Gallerie (a mall in northwest DC). It dawned on me: those stores are the new Latin Mass. They are the same in DC and Austin and Seattle and Chicago. Most anywhere I wander, I will see them.

I had the feeling again in Quito today. As I wandered around, I saw a Hilton hotel and a Kentucky Fried Chicken, of all things -- with a drive-through. And -- oddly, painfully, guiltily -- I felt at home.

Does our globalized, consumer-oriented new Latin Mass need a Reformation?

...et ne nos inducas in tentationem
Sed libera nos a molo. Amen.

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