Monday, November 24, 2008

On Diversity

Diversity is only a fact of nature, not a virtue.  It's descriptive of God's creative work, but not a human material or spiritual good.  In other words, the Church isn't supposed to mimic nature, but transcend it.  If the diversity in God's universe meant we need diversity in His Church, then the fact that God created more bacteria and viruses than people in His universe would mean that we need more infectious churches.   ...Oh, wait:  that's why we've turned the passing of the peace into An Organized Exchange of Intimacy and Germs with as Many People as Possible.  The Creed makes a better illustration.  We don't profess a belief in "a diverse, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church" but in "One holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church".  It is unity, rather than diversity, which is a mark of the Church.  Worship is not made more sublime by combining as many dissonant elements as possible in one Mass.

An ethnically diverse parish shouldn't be striving to make the Mass a smorgasbord of cultural contributions; that's the purpose of the ubiquitous potluck.  The Mass ought instead  to reflect the supernatural oneness God desires: ut UNUM sint.  That's another reason for the Mass to be in Latin:  it is a universal language, the Church's own, and belongs as much to one culture as it does another.  It's the ultimate in "inclusive worship:"  armed with a missal in Latin and in his own language, everyone is able to understand the Mass.  Everyone.

The drive for diversity often proceeds from a misguided notion of inclusivity.  It ought to be obvious to people (but apparently isn't) that unfettered diversity does not lead to inclusivity.  There is no way to "include" the "diverse" preferences of ten people at a single Mass, let alone the preferences of hundreds.  Someone is going to be Left Out.  Inclusivity doesn't mean accomodating people's every twitchy whim, but accomodating people as people.  You are included in Mass because you're allowed to come.  

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