Friday, April 20, 2012

The Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church

The Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church (T&T Clark Studies In Fundamental Liturgy)

Geoffrey Hull (Author)

This review is from:
Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church (T&T Clark Studies In Fundamental Liturgy) (Paperback)
Geoffrey Hull's The Banished Heart first appeared in 1995. Since then it has gained a reputation among thinking Roman Catholic traditionalists as perhaps the most remarkable piece of scholarship to have emerged in response to what it describes as the Pauline liturgical revolution (that is, the Novus Ordo Missae promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969). The work is remarkable not only because of its erudition and scholarship, but even more so because of its utterly convincing and highly original thesis (one that goes far beyond - without disparaging - the typical traditionalist polemic). In essence, the thesis maintains that "present-day mainstream Catholicism grew directly from the official conservatism of the Church as it was before the Council", and that this conservatism was, on the eve of the Second Vatican Council, the apotheosis of a legacy of ultramontanism, rationalism and legalism that had been subtly but surely distorting the heart of Catholicism for centuries.

This central argument is developed by a detailed exploration of the effects of nominalism and rationalism on Western Christendom, before and after the Reformation; by a comparison of Western and Eastern (both Catholic and Orthodox) attitudes to the place of the liturgy in the life of the Church; by an examination of distortions in the understanding of the role of the papacy and of the charism of infallibility in relation to the liturgy - and, as part of all this, by a passionate defence of the nature and role of Tradition in the Catholic faith, including a fascinating analysis of the etymological significance of the word/concept that ranges over Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Welsh, Aramaic and German variants, among others. Along the way, The Banished Heart sheds light on some dark corners of recent Catholic history - liturgical and political - including the shocking treatment of Eastern Catholic Christians and Eastern Catholic culture by both conservative and liberal Roman Catholic clergy.

Although Professor Hull does not draw on the scholarship of `Radical Orthodoxy' (this new edition is part of a series edited by Laurence Paul Hemming who has himself contributed to debates about and among the `radically orthodox'), his work will resonate with all those who are convinced by that movement's critique of `secular reason' (or `rationalism'), standardization (a key feature of modernity) and the preoccupation with `text' above `context', a phenomenon more or less peculiar to Western Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant.

This second, revised and expanded edition, published by Continuum as part of the T & T Clark imprint, responds to recent developments in relation to the ancient Roman Rite, including Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum and the lifting of the excommunications of the four bishops of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X.

The work opens by quoting from Bl. Andrew Sheptyckyi, the great Eastern Catholic bishop - "The main goal of my life is the unity of the Churches, the unity of people, of God's children", and Professor Hull makes this goal his own. As he writes: "Hence, far from being a petty domestic dispute within the modern Western Church, present-day traditionalist dissidence reveals its providential role in the history of Catholicism, since it has brought into clearer relief the real cause of the centuries-old division between the Eastern Churches and Rome".

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