The Liturgical Scholar: Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

Photos by OC-Travel
After a long winter the Catholic Church is again producing a new generation of intellectuals.  It has been an enjoyable experience to watch the emergence of these great minds and loyal sons of the Church such as Dr. Roberto de Mattei, Gregory di Pippo, Fr. Z and Dr. Peter Kwasniewski.  I have a particular appreciation for Dr. Kwasniewski because he is, properly speaking, a lay liturgical scholar and the finest, I believe in the realm of university professors.  In addition he is a gifted composer and choirmaster, a tribute to his alma mater, Thomas Aquinas College.  Thankfully the good professor is devoting more and more of his time to lecturing and writing.  His daily Facebook posts alone are an immense treasure trove of wisdom, discussion points and keen insight, indeed the talk of the town.  Until now many of our recent liturgical "scholars" (= dilettantes) of the past generation can best be described as having "more opinions about everything and the truth of nothing."    

This week Dr. Kwasniewski visited All Saint FSSP parish in Minneapolis as a guest lecturer giving a talk on the subject of beyond "smells and bells," why we need the objective content of the Usus Antiquior.  He made fascinating points related to laws of organic liturgical development and corollaries that follow from them.  He pointed out that the unquestionable attachment to tradition is to be looked upon not as a thing inimical to the present, but as a genuine source of life. This belief is not only dogmatically correct but also universally true.  It is more practical than ever to harken attentively to the voice of tradition.  His talk was well attended and well received.  It led to a fascinating Q & A session that everyone found profitable.  Afterwords his books were on display for perusal and purchase.  I highly recommend these fine books to everyone I meet - they make excellent Christmas gifts and can be purchased online from Angelico Press.  Might I suggest everyone purchase one for a seminarian you may know?

A common sentiment felt among many of the attendees of the lecture is the concern that fifty years ago the Church's liturgy was in some ways hijacked by ideology, put at the service of revolution, the victim of a trap.  An old sophism reappeared in the 1960s, the false notion that perfection is becoming, that liturgy is in a constant state of radical flux and change and that it must be at the mercy of the perpetual urge for new, all things new for the sake of new.

Many attendees were serious Catholic parents and grandparents who are shocked at the disorientation, inexcusable puerility and false liturgical praxis that has become all too often the accepted norm in average parish liturgies.  At the same time many of these concerned Catholics are finding their children and grandchildren are lacking religious motivations, not willing to attend Sunday Mass, lost without a clear sense of liturgical and Catholic identity.  Meanwhile, sacred liturgy has always been the soil from which Catholics grow.  Let us hope and pray that Dr. Kwasniewski will continue to teach and influence, proposing clear explanations and solutions as a guiding light for the future, lecturing and writing many fine new books, inspired by God and the Act of Faith that we were taught once upon a time as children in Catholic schools: "We believe these truths because Thou has revealed them Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived."

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