venerdì 17 luglio 2009

TRADITION AND RESPECT OF THE FATHERS


by Francesco Colafemmina

The reflections of Martin Mosebach in his last book “Heresy of the Formeless" introduce ourselves into a completely forgotten aspect of the postconciliar liturgical reform. I refer to the idea that the interruption of the tradition or its betrayal, if we consider as “tradition” the transmitted heritage of a good, have to be considered as tyrannical acts.
The transmission from generation to generation lands on the recognition of a supreme value to the “respect for the father”. From this respect automatically descends the sacredness of the transmission. To transmit the heritage of the fathers does not imply however not to enrich it or increase it, but certainly this passage from hand to hand imply the reverential fear of the transformation and the denial of what is transmitted. The break with the fathers, the denial of their action, the refusal of their “world”, the damnatio memoriae of their expressions: these are all synonyms of the rebellion to the fathers and of the hybris of the sons!
The ancient Greeks measured the maturity and the healthy of a society on the basis of the respect to the fathers, the ancestors and the old people in general. If, in fact, a society was healthy and solid, formed through the values (aretai), heroic and prospected towards the glory, this was to be due to the respect (sebasmos) that the sons (the living generation) had to had in relationship with the fathers (those that posed the premises of the actual splendor). If a son denies, refuses or destroys his father’s heritage, he denies in such a way himself and he makes it with disdain and arrogance.
This “hybris” was for the ancients a synonym of sacrilege, of violation of the pact between gods and men and a clear diversion from cosmos to chaos. The classical example is that of Oedipus epi Kolonos of Sophocles, where the respect for the fathers is exalted and is represented as primary value of the society.
In the same way the liturgical reform and the conciliar innovations were developed as attempts to not “increase” the heritage of the past, but to “depurate” it, to undermine it, to cancel it, to destroy it. And this is what happened spiritually in the sacred liturgy and materially in sacred art and architecture. The postconciliar iconoclasty of which Mosebach speaks, represent a unicum in the western history (since this iconoclasty arise in western civilization), exactly for its role of clear “rebellion” to the heritage of the fathers, not as an imposition of a new expression of the worship (as it was at byzantine times).
Mosebach say that “in the antiquity the interruption of a tradition decided by the King was defined as an act of tyranny. In this way we may affirm that also the modernizer and progressive Paul VI was a tyrant of the Church.” This evaluation simple and really strong doesn’t born only from the consciousness that the liturgical reform was proposed as a denial of the past. It comes also from the analysis of the effects that that reform had and continue to have on the “smalls”, on the faithful, on the Christian generations that of it were imbued.
Man has always naturally tried to adhere to his past, to the generations of the fathers, to the grandfathers, to the ancestors, since they represent his actuality. Without the ancestry our human nature will be without an important meaning. That’s because also those men that for the most sad cases of life grow up without parents or in the absolute ignorance of their birth, one day discover the febrile need to recover their past. We all know in fact that in the womb of who generated us is also enclosed the meaning of our life. And if this actual life is for us grave or light, anyway in the relationship with the past – not as the place of nothing , but as the place from which we come from – we can discover the meaning both of this grave or light existence.
Traditionalism considered as passatism, as ambition to come back to the past, is a simple logic game invented by the detractors of the “sebasmos” (respect) for the fathers and their heritage. In an ecclesiastic reality that fight against its past or try to work out it in a coward way on the light of the present, is really obvious that the people that respect the fathers should enclose themselves in this univocal veneration. But are they so contemptible, those lovers of the tradition? Which is their fundamental sin? Is an ecclesial sin? Or maybe is a human or humanistic sin? I personally tend to this second explanation. The sin of the defenders and of the lovers of the tradition, of those who are “venerators of the fathers” is that they didn’t yet agree on the idea of a man that is autonomous maker of his destiny and his proper reality.
They are still linked to an authentic ecclesial dimension, where for “Church” we don’t mean only the “actual” Mystic Body of Christ, but also Its extension in the past from which It comes, in the past starting from which He preceded us in Galilee…
And the Church beloved and defended by the traditionalists is the Church composed by “simple peoples”, not ever decided or pull by the autonomous intellectuals, but transmitted, extended in time and space by all the faithful driven by the quest of Our Lord. The gestures iterated by the simples were banned one day, prohibited, opposed for ever and anywhere in the world. And still today, also if they try to reconnect the tradition to the innovation of the Council and the Novus Ordo, it remains that hybris that is sharp and inexhaustible cut in the history. How the man of today can reconnect himself with a jump two generation back, to the innumerable generations that preceded him? We need to skip this act of independent vanity of mankind that trampled the roman rite, that jumped on the altars and destroyed their beauty, that climbed on the church and reduced them to empty yards, that introduce himself in the hearth of people and ousted from them the Real Presence of Christ? How and what we need to come back? Do we need also to deny the two generations that preceded ourselves, and unmask their inconsistent utopia, and so to condemn ourselves to the orphanage of a betrayed humanity?
Is difficult to answer to this question, but is however appropriate to ask this question. I believe in fact that here there is the center of both the “traditional” flowering of the last years and the diffused hostility of the progressives, that is mainly mechanical and unconscious.
The postconciliar reform need also to establish a “neotradition” in order to live, and the ignorance of what preceded it or the simple habituation to the new consuetude is the real basin of crop of the reactionary progressivism (the progressives are in fact the real modern reactionaries). But if the conformist progressivism is promoted by the veterans of the postonciliar uthopies and their zealous disciples, the tradition is today defended by relatively young people. They are the heirs of generations that lived in the utopia and that today, after the fall of that fantasies of freedom and progress, have to face the quest of their identity. So these young people, and I am between them, discover in that denied past, in the forgotten gestures of their grandparents, the meaning of that “tradere” that give sense and truth to this plastic and opaque present.

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