Mother Winnie Varghese from S. Mark’s in the Bowery posted this wonderful letter from W. H. Auden about new liturgies. It is a treat and is below! S. Mark’s is also being considered for a Partners in Preservation grant and would benefit from your frequent votes. R+
“Father, have you gone stark raving mad?” A Letter from W. H. Auden
17 Thursday May 2012
Reblogged this on It either is or it isn’t. and commented:
This is really a wonderful letter. It made me really happy.
I cannot get over how wonderful this letter is. I think it made my day.
Sudduth Cummings said:
The loss of poetry as a commonly shared practice has led to a general deafness to beauty in language. I’m just surprised someone hasn’t come up with a Twitter version of the liturgy yet.
Regarding Partners in Preservation, I helped sponsor one of their national conferences when it was held in Baltimore in the 90’s. It is a splendid group that does many worthwhile things and I encourage support for it. My parish, St. Timothy’s, Catonsville, MD, was built in 1845 and still has its exquisite stone altar and reredos and a magnificent, large Tiffany window of St. Michael (the best I’ve ever seen) in the crossing, as well as a wonderful marble kneeling angel holding the baptismal font. Its a lovely church to visit if you are ever near it.
In what year was this letter written?
The letter was apparently written in 1968 – fitting, too, given all that 1968 symbolizes.
The major Anglican poets of the mid-late twentieth century all hated liturgical reform. R. S. Thomas has all sorts of nasty things to say about the new liturgies (see his letters to Raymond Garlick, as well as various poems in Collected Later Poems). Although not a poet but scholar of poetry, Cleanth Brooks also disliked the new liturgies and was one of the earliest members of the Prayer Book Society (originally named the Society for the Preservation of the Prayer Book; see Mark Royden Winchell, Cleanth Brooks and the Rise of Modern Criticism, p. 348ff.).
So we have Auden, Thomas, and Brooks in one corner, and the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in the other corner. Hmmm…
As for television, Mom dosent remember not having a set, but she does remember the first time she saw color tv. A family down the block sat down with the TV Guide and circled all the shows that had a little in color symbol next to them. When enough shows had that symbol, they decided it wasnt a fad, so they bought a color set. They invited Moms family over to watch the very first showing of The Wizard of Oz on NBC in color! Mom still remembers how disappointed she was when the movie started and it looked just like her tv at home. Grandma told her just to wait and then Dorothy opened that door into Oz and it was just magical!!!