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Richard John Neuhaus on Something Completely Different

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From the magnificent First Things blog:

In Tulsa this weekend I spoke at an affair in support of the new Benedictine monastery, Our Lady of the Annunciation, in Clear Creek, Oklahoma. Clear Creek is a little over an hour’s drive from Tulsa, and the monastery is attracting a multitude of vocations'”far more than it can accommodate in its present buildings.

The affair was deemed a great success, with more than 500 people turning out for a gala (very un-monastic) dinner and evening of entertainment and edification. There is a remarkable story behind all this, going back to three professors at the University of Kansas who were instrumental in many young men discovering their vocations, including vocations to the monastic life.

Many of them found their way to the Benedictine monastery in Fontgambault in France, which, in turn, is a foundation of the Solesmes monastery. Solesmes, established in the fifteenth century, was the source of the monastic and liturgical renewal of the nineteenth century and had a powerful influence in the revival of, among other things, Gregorian chant. The Americans who went to Fontgambault have now returned to this country under the patronage of the wise and generous Bishop of Tulsa, Edward Slattery.

Mass at Clear Creek is in Latin and according to the 1962 Roman Missal. It is celebrated with a solemnity that is redolent with the numinous, and in sharp contrast to many current liturgical practices. Some view Clear Creek as an exercise in nostalgia, or as a protest against changes initiated after the Second Vatican Council. I suppose that is inevitable. It is more accurate, however, to view Clear Creek as a communal embodiment of an irreplaceable part of the Church’s liturgical heritage, and as a powerful witness to the attractiveness of a way of life that proposes to the Church and the world a more radical form of discipleship. Catholicism in Tulsa, and in America, is the richer for the presence of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Clear Creek, Oklahoma.

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