About this blogger:
A graduate of Thomas Aquinas College (B.A. in Liberal Arts) and The Catholic University of America (M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy), Dr. Peter Kwasniewski is currently Professor at Wyoming Catholic College. He is also a published and performed composer, especially of sacred music.
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That the Mass is the central feature of the Catholic religion hardly needs to be said. During the Reformation (and always) the Mass has been the test. The word of the Reformers—“It is the Mass that matters”—was true. The long persecution of Catholics in England took the practical form of laws chiefly against saying Mass; for centuries the occupant of the English throne was obliged to manifest his Protestantism, not by a general denial of the whole system of Catholic dogma, but by a formal repudiation of the doctrine of Transubstantiation and of the Mass.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

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A Sober Assessment of Liturgical Reform
published 14 November 2013 by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

181 Rom HILE the USCCB Liturgy Committee rhapsodizes about the success of the liturgical reform, it is always gratifying to read a sober analysis that reflects the real experience of countless “people in the pews,” the ones who were hardest hit by the chaos that began to ensue in Catholic worship in the mid-sixties, culminating in the unprecedented change of the rite of Mass in 1970 and its long afterglow of abuse and banality. Here is how Kenneth Woodward, religion editor of Newsweek from 1964 to 2002, puts it with refreshing candor:

ND THEN THERE WAS the new rite of the Mass. At its inception it was better described, as one forgotten wit put it, as “the participation of the laity in the confusion of the clergy.” Compared to the old Latin liturgy, I found the new version about as moving as a freight train. Silence was now a liturgical vice, conscripted congregational responses the new regimen of worship. In a pale imitation of the early Christians’ kiss of peace, there was now a scripted pause. …

In place of my much-loved Latin hymns and chants, the new liturgists bade us sing old Reformation anthems like Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” I could not bring myself to join in when the chosen hymn was “Amazing Grace”—in fact, I still refuse to do so. It’s a lovely piece, all about getting one’s self individually saved, Evangelical-style, but theologically it has no place in the corporate worship of the Catholic Church.

What the liturgists didn’t borrow from Protestant hymnals, they conjured up by themselves. Mostly, it was folk music sung to plucked guitars with relentlessly upbeat lyrics about how much a nice God loves us and aren’t we fortunate to be his chosen people. There was no awe, no hint of the biblical fear of the Lord in this music, only the mild diuretic of self-congratulation. … The Church’s failure to pass on the faith, through the liturgy or through the classroom, would eventually snip two generations of young Catholics from their own religious roots.

From Kenneth L. Woodward, “Reflections on the Revolution in Rome,” First Things, February 2013, 25–31 (here, 30).