Utopians, Ivory Towers, and "Liturgical Experts"
I intended to post this some time ago but did not...but better late than never (though you may disagree
Over on York Forum, Ari made a connection that inspired this observation:
Academic "liberals," political Utopians, and would-be liturgical "reformers"/"experts" seem closely related.
For Utopians of whatever sort, especially secular "liberal academics," their ideology becomes their religion. By definition, utopianism rails not only against prevailing conditions but against the eternal verities of human nature. For the Utopians' regimented vision of mankind to come about, human nature itself must change (i.e., Marxism's "New Soviet Man"). The prerequisite for that change is inevitably the destruction of the current order.
Since any earthly Utopia is impossibile, that means all their efforts are merely destructive: they direct every waking moment toward destroying existing institutions and ultimately replacing them with...nothing. Utopians and Marxists destroyed Tsarist Russia by promising a "workers paradise," and they delivered an atheistic Hell marked only by its decimation of this proud Christian people (and its glut of "No Bread Today" signs). Marxist Russia then starved Orthodox Ukraine. The deeds are written in the blood of our Orthodox martyrs and thousands of saints forever unknown and uncanonized.
The gangsters running the Kremlin had few illusions they were making the world better, but they were given cover by thousands of adoring "liberal academics" in Western universities, who parroted the party line. They suppressed any private doubts about the way the "New Soviet Man" was being created. They had religious faith in the Marxist enterprise, that one day, after all the destruction, a new world would emerge. After all, "in order to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs."
Those who, in their wisdom and expertise, deem the current Church liturgies — whether Eastern or Western Rite — insufficient also have grand designs. But first they must show the world their need for deliverance (and, not coincidentally, a Deliverer [or Deliverers]). They have no trouble attempting to tear down the Western Rite as it exists to remake it in their own image. Thus, they must tear down existing practices. They have to make you sickened at the Church. They'd like to explain to you how the already approved services of the Western Rite are "Protestant," "Zwlinglian," "Cranmerian," a Tridentine "abrogation" and "deformation," or simply dull. They must induce you to see how worthless — and "substantially Byzantised" [sic.] — these liturgies are so you will accept their alternative. The Western Rite's prevailing fasting rules, private prayers, public ministry, administration, and members's faith/conversions must all be portrayed as insufficiently Orthodox, perhaps even spiritually dangerous and counterfeit.
The negative exposure will make their vision of the Western Rite appear the "ancient, non-Uniate" savior. Then somehow Western man will have a renaissance; he will flock to a homemade liturgy infinitely more foreign to his personal experience than the Byzantine Rite in English. Even though homemade WR liturgy has been rejected by those who celebrated it elsewhere, somehow thousands will flock to it. All of the West will be set on fire by this exotic, queer service. And demand Missals by the truckload.
New Western Rite Man will be born.
And he will love his monastic overseer (if you prefer, "Big Brother").
Fantasies (or delusions of grandeur) aside, the result is merely more destruction. It gives the Western Rite an undeserved bad name. It makes the walk of obedient Christians harder. It scandalizes decent Christian souls who naively came to Church to pray and worship God — and who believed what the Orthodox Church told them when She said the Western Rite is Orthodox.
And it frequently falls on the wrong side of that injunction, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
But then, in order to make an omelette....