17 August 2021

Mascall on the Canon of the Mass

An age, every age, should be humble enough to perceive that its own preoccupations may not be ... almost certainly, will not be ... those of other, later ages. 

And, given this truth, it is best that liturgical formulae should not be constantly worked-over in the interests of what are (perceived as) the needs and certainties of today. It is better that imperfectly understood liturgical monuments should be left in place, so as to give another age the opportunity to tease out important truths the importance of which is not, at this moment, apparent to us.

As Eric Mascall wrote, in the course of discussing Counter-Reformation eucharistic theology, 

"at the heart of the Latin Mass there remained the great eucharistic prayer, unnoticed as its true significance might be, and with the liturgical revival of the [twentieth] century it is gradually recovering its rightful recognition."

 Mascall wrote in 1958. It is one of the saddest ironies of liturgical history that, only a decade later, the Roman Canon, despised by the Experts, was sinking, unused, beneath the water.

Whatever mistakes the New Traditionalism has made in these last two or three deades ... even if PF is right ...  it has not made the catastrophic, arrogant, error made by the Experts of the 1960s.

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