One of my favourite quotes from Pope Benedict XVI is in The Ratzinger Report, published in 1985, pp. 129-30:
The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb. Better witness is borne to the Lord by the splendour of holiness and art . . . than by the clever excuses which apologetics has come up with to justify the dark sides which, sadly, are so frequent in the Church’s human history.
A couple of months ago, I sent a few articles to The Anglo-Catholic about the liturgy. I have been somewhat dismayed to find discussions on liturgy bogged down in discussions on how liturgical texts express this or that doctrine. I found some strings of comments on the epiclesis quite boring! I wrote the posting to invite discussion from a strictly liturgical and historical point of view – and much of it swung to apologetics and the usual single-issues.
I would love to see us moving away from “armchair apologetics” and to the contemplation of God through liturgy and beauty. Has anyone read any of Dom Odo Casel’s works? The most well-known has been translated into English under the title The Mystery of Christian Worship. Dom Casel was a German Benedictine monk and died in 1848 as he bore the triple candle on Holy Saturday to the chant of Lumen Christi. He wrote some of the most beautiful theology of the liturgy I have ever read along with Fr Alexander Schmemann.
Has anyone reading The Anglo-Catholic been converted through the beauty of the liturgy, and can you relate your experience?
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