Lace cottas are not essential to the Christian faith.

I wonder if some people are going too far in regressing (much as our friends at FUC would want us to do) the liturgy to some mythical past where the Old Obediences, as Manuel L Quezon III referred to the church, school, and social club of the past, held sway over people. (It is an argument in some of my circles, for instance, whether political conservatism and traditional liturgy go hand in hand. I have a feeling that in some circles, it does.)

I do find something rewarding and meaningful in hearing the liturgical chants of both East and West, and sometimes seeing them being used in their liturgical context. I also think that, as my recent comments suggest, there really is a place for restoring some former liturgical norms—but I have come to the conclusion that, as with Anglicans and confession, all may, some should, and none must. We can get away with bringing back some things of the past, but not all of them. Let me note an example here.

People can cite all the abuses they want about the celebration of the new rite, but a comment on the Ship of Fools message boards I read some months back put it in perspective. The commenter noted that sometimes those who advocate and use the so-called Extraordinary Form camp it up—with lace cottas and the like—and we can get bad singing and worse Latin too at times. If that is not liturgical abuse, I don’t know what is.

Because I think lace cottas are not essential to the faith. It is here that I express my joyful preference for untrimmed English surplices with wide sleeves. While not essential to the faith, either, it is a much better expression of it, in my opinion. Ultimately, what we celebrate in liturgy, and this is where I end my liturgics thread for now, is what we believe. Every choice we make, then, in celebrating the Mass and Office, reflects what we hold to be important.

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