Saturday, April 01, 2006

On Beauty in the Catholic Liturgy

My constant complaint is that "aesthetic" has come to mean only one thing, "superficial." Fortunately I'm not the only one who has noticed this shift in connotation:

One commonly hears criticisms of those who prefer the classical Rite along the lines that such persons are "mere aesthetes", as if a love of beauty[Philokalia! -kjj] has nothing to do with being a Catholic. After 30 years of "accommodationist" practices, even Catholics who are loyal to the magisterium are starting to think like Calvinists. The general attitude is: form and substance are two different things, and we only care about substance. Anyone who cares about form is labelled an "aesthete" and "aesthetes" should be contained in places like Oxbridge common rooms and Anglican country vicarages. The logic of this position is that Catholics must be, by definition, tone deaf philistines whose levels of intellectual life are sufficiently low to exclude the ability to see a relationship between form and substance.
Tracey Rowland, "The Pastoral Relevance of Beauty"

No comments: