October 26, 2013
A World, Shattered
The spiritual crisis engulfing the West entails not only revisionist academics’ skepticism concerning the Resurrection as an historical fact, or of the doctrine of the Trinity. So decadent and thoroughgoing is the skepticism of modern man that a willful embrace of ugliness, a worship of personal power for its own sake, and an unrestrained exaltation of the self are the most obvious features of our culture and our public life. A rejection of form as such is implicated here. There is a calamitous discordancy in all our public rituals. Our national anthem is seldom performed with reverence and beauty, being reduced to wild and extravagant displays of “range” on the part of the performer. The confused Novus Ordo Catholic liturgy celebrated in virtually every contemporary parish lurches from the sudden, crashing onset of noise, to awkward silence, is afflicted by incessant contradiction in the movement of the unconsecrated to and from the altar, and suffers from a near-complete absence of coherent form that is the necessary picture frame of ritual. Disorientation is our preferred orientation.