Page 9, 12th September 2003

12th September 2003
Page 9
Page 9, 12th September 2003 — Busted flush

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People: Ronald Knox


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Busted flush

From Mr lam McIntyre Sir, Quentin dc la Bddoyere (Charterhouse Chronicle, August 29) makes the extraordinary suggestion that the Mass is a form of theatre.

Where? In the Liturgy of the Word the criterion is clarity and simplicity. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is prayer, thanksgiving, communion, memorial and, before all, the holy sacrifice offered by the priest for and with the people. The people are participants, not an audience.

Ronald Knox had hard words for those who confused mysteriousness — flickering tapers on a far-off altar, slow silences, sudden sound, enigmatic movements, long chants in an ancient language, tingling bells, incense smoke caught in shafts of light — with the mystery of Christ's Real Pres ence. He wrote: "Our crude forefathers had a name for all this: they called it hocus-pocus. Mystification, mummery for mummery's sake exasperates me ... In Catholic churches the ' effect is accidental. We do not deliberately mystify."

Yours faithfully, TOM Mc1NTYRE Frome, Somerset

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