Unflinching Witness: Peter Kwasniewski’s Tradition and Sanity (Review)

 

Kwasniewski - Tradition-Sanity

Tradition and Sanity: Conversations and Dialogues of a Postconciliar Exile by Peter A. Kwasniewski

Many good, decent Catholics are aware of the obvious evils of our time, including (though hardly limited to) abortion, pornography, euthanasia and the environments created by divorce and same-sex marriage that cannot help but scourge our children.

These are blatant. And many faithful Catholics, traditionalists, charismatics and others, take admirable, even heroic action to counter them.

But what of more subtle forms of evil? What to do when something is not a glaringly, flagrant contradiction of all the Church has taught for two thousand years, but rather works in a subtle, insidious fashion – drip-by-drip-by-drip – slowly carving out a great canyon of despair?

Truly, I look at the world and see evils scarcely spoken of: whether it is the way “harmless” television series champion mediocrity, drip-by-drip-by-drip, lowering our moral standards decade by decade or whether it is the “harmless” way poor liturgy likewise champions mediocrity, drip-by-drip-by-drip, decade by decade.

We are lulled to sleep by all these “harmless” hypnotic REPETITIONS in our lives, whether it is hearing lyrics like “Imagine there’s no heaven” again and again and again or whether it is attending the most sublime miracle this world has to offer – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – and hearing again and again and again banalities that obscure what truly happens at the altar.

In short: we need to be awake to every form of evil, whether flagrant or subtle.

The glory of Peter A. Kwasniewski’s Tradition and Sanity is that it not only reveals bracing, unflinching awareness of the tragedy of the liturgy, but also greatly serve to promote bracing, unflinching awareness.

Kwasniewski is very aware of all the subtle ways so many Catholics, well . . . FLINCH when confronted with this tragedy.

“Oh, it can’t really be that bad can it? Father Bob is a nice guy! Surely it’s not that big a deal, if he likes to crack jokes at the altar or the musak the choir sings is insipid or nobody really has the slightest idea His Body, His Blood have just become present at the Altar?”

Here Kwasniewski lays out – precisely and meticulously – why it is a big deal, no matter how “nice a guy” Father Bob is.

And he shows why the traditional Latin Mass makes up for the human failings of nice guys like Father Bob.

Because if Father Bob began to celebrate according to the traditional rite, everything about that rite would compensate for his human failings, just as it has compensated for priests’ human failings for nearly two thousand years . . .

Yes, a host of arguments is marshalled here on many fronts: historic, theological, philosophical, even poetic – all very revealing as to how modern liturgy has fallen into a rationalist, utilitarian, anthropocentric (about us rather than Him!) trap.

It is yet another impressive, erudite feat from Dr Kwasniewski, whose earlier books I praised at this site and who I pay further tribute to in a video at the bottom of this page.

This book, though, is different from the others. Much of its contents are either written in dialogue format or indeed are actual dialogues (interviews) with Kwasniewski. The result makes the book very readable indeed and some might possibly find it easier to absorb than his earlier efforts.

Occasionally, the tone is sharper, too, than the previous books, reflecting a heart in pain:

Everywhere the liturgy is in shambles. It is badly celebrated, with scandalous contempt for the sacred . . . The diseases of individualism, utilitarianism, and minimalism have settled into every part of the body like a wasting cancer. The liturgy is in an almost perpetual state of abuse.

That which is most precious, most pure, most holy, and most sanctifying has become an abomination of desolation.

This situation moves me to anguish, indignation, and zeal, as it does anyone who wishes to serve the Lord in the “beauty of holiness.”  I wish to do something about it . . .

Now, not so long ago, I was upbraided online for praising Kwasniewski – or at least I felt upbraided by a man I respect who, moreover, has done much to support the Latin Mass over many years.

What can I say? Perhaps Kwasniewski has a different, more passionate temperament than this man.

If so, God created passionate temperaments too, along with milder ones.

I know, right now, we need such passion.

I would also note Kwasniewski is a far more acute observer of Vatican politics and Catholic cultural attitudes than the vast majority of us. The book has much to offer in these terms, too.

And one may well find that the more one knows, the more one’s heart is in pain.

We need hearts in pain, rather than hearts asleep.

We need more people moved to “anguish, indignation and zeal” about the state of the liturgy.

What can I say?

I say: this book is filled with unflinching passion, erudite argumentation, poetic sensitivity, plus awareness of what is truly going on in today’s Catholic Church.

And I pray: may all these gifts that Kwasniewski has gathered here awaken us to the most serious, fundamental malady of our age: how the Church, which is the Heart of the World, has forgotten her way.

 

buy-at-amazon

 

 

Video on the Above.

Herewith a video on my YouTube channel regarding Kwasniewski’s wonderful efforts!

 

Click Banner to see my New Book on Amazon!

Return Gentle Traditionalist

This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

 
  • The Gentle Traditionalist Returns!

    New Book from Angelico Press!

    "The Gentle Traditionalist returns with a vengeance in this stand-alone sequel ... this book skewers the modern malaise with the kind of sanity we have come to expect from this author” — CHARLES A. COULOMBE

    ”Buck’s latest foray is a grand success ... The story features the same singular combination of whimsy and surprise, keen social commentary, and deft argumentation as the first [book]. The Gentle Traditionalist Returns appeals to what is best and deepest in us, so that we will reengage with that which ultimately matters while there is yet time.” — PETER KWASNIEWSKI

    ”A brilliant diagnosis of the spiritual malaise of modern society, written with gentleness, generosity, humour, pathos ... and, above all else, love”— MAOLSHEACHLANN Ó CEALLAIGH

    buy-at-amazon Video about New Book here:

  • Books from Roger Buck

     

    The Gentle Traditionalist

     

    ”Roger Buck ... in the spirit of Chesterton and Belloc ... takes on everything—from the reforms of Vatican II to the New Age ... a wonderful book.”— MICHAEL MARTIN

    ”A tale of whimsical fantasy, melancholy realism, and supernatural joy ... Buck’s deftly-reasoned post-modern apologetic for full-blooded Catholicism—a Syllabus of Errors in narrative form, a rousing hymn to ‘meaning, grace, beauty, life’.” — PETER KWASNIEWSKI

    "As brilliant a guide for the perplexed as this age is capable of producing” — CHARLES A. COULOMBE

    buy-at-amazon

    See Reviews in Full Here!

     

    Read First Chapter Online Here!

     

    Cor Jesu Sacratissimum

     

    cor-jesu-roger-buck

    ”Buck goes to the heart of the problem paralyzing our broken-hearted world ... moving beyond the spirit of the age to the Spirit who moves all ages.” — JOSEPH PEARCE

    ”In this elegant feast of a book, Roger Buck ... expertly skewers the modern world ... without a drop of malice in his compassionate soul ... to reveal the bright, shining love and truth at the center of the universe—symbolised by the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and incarnate in the Catholic Church.” — CHARLES A. COULOMBE

    ”A great service to the Church ... Buck shows that the New Age is an attempt, however flawed, to escape the materialism of modernity, and that it is Catholicism in its traditional forms that can best reveal the immense reality of the suffering and love for all mankind of Christ’s Sacred Heart.”— JOSEPH SHAW

    buy-at-amazon

    See Reviews in Full Here!

     

  • EWTN Interview with Roger Buck here!

    TWO-part “Celtic Connections” EWTN  Interview!

    Part One here.

    Part Two here.

  • YouTube Channel – Featured Video with Roger Buck

    Probably my favourite video. Shorter, more succinct, it captures the essence of so much I’m trying to say …

  • First Video from Kim Buck!