This is all over the web now: famous actor Bill Murray, who comes from a Catholic family and has a sister who is a nun, told The Guardian that he prefers the old Latin Mass to the reformed one. You all remember him from SNL, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, What About Bob, Groundhog Day, and Lost in Translation, right? OK, I don’t, but I bet you all do. I have a few initial thoughts about this (see below), but first here’s The Guardian on Bill Murray on things Catholic:
One new saint he does approve of is Pope John XXIII (who died in 1963). “I’ll buy that one, he’s my guy; an extraordinary joyous Florentine who changed the order. I’m not sure all those changes were right. I tend to disagree with what they call the new mass. I think we lost something by losing the Latin. Now if you go to a Catholic mass even just in Harlem it can be in Spanish, it can be in Ethiopian, it can be in any number of languages. The shape of it, the pictures, are the same but the words aren’t the same.”
Isn’t it good for people to understand it? “I guess,” he says, shaking his head. “But there’s a vibration to those words. If you’ve been in the business long enough you know what they mean anyway. And I really miss the music – the power of it, y’know? Yikes! Sacred music has an affect on your brain.” Instead, he says, we get “folk songs … top 40 stuff … oh, brother….”
AWR: There is no doubt that the ancient rituals of the great world religions have a certain aesthetic and psychological appeal to the human spirit. We might as well admit it and face up to it, for it is the challenge we face in implementing the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The Council rightly sought to retrieve and reemphasize what is uniquely Christian, making the liturgy less like the other world religions, and that’s not necessarily appealing to everyone.
But on the other hand, the appeal of the pre-Christian and extra-Christian can’t be totally dismissed either, for it is an aspect of human nature as created by God, and his Son took on that nature. We have to attend to the anthropological aspects of ritual (and the appeal of Latin mass to people like Bill Murray), but we can’t let all that set the agenda. The Gospel does. The Kingdom of God does. That’s what drove the Second Vatican Council.
Or what do you make of this??
Read the whole piece here.