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We Cannot Unsee the Beauty

We cannot unsee the beauty. It’s important for the Church to realize this simple fact. Our bishops need to accept this; Rome too.

Thanks to an increased availability to the Traditional Roman Rite (or at least an increased awareness of it), more and more Catholics have seen the beauty of authenticity.

Thanks to Pope Benedict’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, more faithful attend the traditional Latin Mass than at any other time since 1970.

Thanks to the internet, social media, and Catholic bloggers, more of the faithful are seeing what Catholic liturgy looks like when offered in continuity with our tradition. When offered in love and truth. When offered with beauty.

A generation of bishops have done their best to hide the truth from the faithful. They have done their best to destroy that which is true, beautiful, and good. To this very day they still give their spiritual sons and daughters stones when we ask them for bread.

Repeatedly we see bishops asking the young what they want. Asking how can they reach the youth.

Repeatedly the answer has been: tradition. Beauty. Authenticity.

Obstinate ideologues in both Rome and in chanceries around the world refuse to listen. Instead we are told that the truth and beauty we seek is rigid. Is nostalgia. Is something which belongs in a museum, or in the past.

What our bishops refuse to see is that we cannot unsee the beauty. We refuse their nostalgia.

We reject their nostalgia for a return to the 1970’s.

We reject their form of worship, one which celebrates man instead of God and the profane over the sacred.

We reject their banal treatment of the Holy Eucharist and their contempt for the ministerial priesthood.

But most of all we reject their disdain for beauty.

Mind you, we aren’t simply referencing a beauty that is only skin deep. This isn’t just about ‘smells and bells’ and ad orientem Masses, despite what a few prominent Anglican converts to Catholicism try to argue. That is beauty built on sand and unable to withstand the strong winds of modernism.

The beauty we have seen is built upon a solid foundation. It is built upon the organic development of the liturgy over 2,000 years. It is the beauty of the Roman Rite as it has been known and practiced by the saints for centuries millennia. This beauty includes liturgical practices such as ad orientem worship and Sanctus bells, but it is so much more than just that.

We cannot go back because we have seen what Catholic worship can be. What it should be. Out of love for God, and from our need and ability to give Him our all, charity requires beauty. That which is good and true is also beautiful.

No, we cannot unsee the beauty. I imagine that deep down the most ideologically driven prelates are terrified by this. Those who seek to distort the faith always seek to distort worship first.

Speaking at a Wednesday general audience in 2009, Pope Benedict said that the “way of beauty is a privileged and fascinating path on which to approach the Mystery of God.”

Let us continue to see the beauty of tradition, of authenticity. Let us continue to restore the patrimony that was denied the faithful for far too long. This truth cannot be unlearned. This beauty cannot be unseen.

[Photo credit: Allison Girone]

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