Like a dog with a rat, I keep returning to this.
Looking at someone else's blog, I'm not going to give a link, some commenter is complaining about a parish in my diocese where Ascension Day was barely observed, the prayers for feast were used but the readings were for a special Mass for first communicants. I suspect the truth of the matter was that they didn't realise it actually was the feast of the Ascension, when they planned the event or simply that there aren't now enough "ordinary" Sundays in the year, especially during First Communion/Confirmation season. I am being silly, but if we celebrated Ascension and Corpus Christi in the winter...
However, I had never thought of this parish as be the centre or even the fringe of Liberalism. On the contrary it is pretty middle of the road. I know the clergy, they are certainly not liturgical radicals and would certainly be shocked to be thought so.
But to me it seems as if we have lost contact with the very "idea" of Catholic liturgy, as being something we do in communion with the Universal Church, it happens everywhere in the UK, despite the fact that document after document reminds us that no bishop or priest can add, remove or change things in the liturgy. The more the Bishops "innovate", the more it will happen, their failure to pass on more than the vaguest whiff of the spirit of the Church's liturgical instruction the more the Catholic Church in this country will drift into its own very English little groove. It is amazing that we still do not have an English translation of the Enchirodon on Indulgences, or even the Book of Blessings, both the Roman Missal and the Book of the Gospels are apparently out of print, to say nothing of any approved set of hymn texts. I love our bishop's because they are successors of the Apostles but in matters liturgical they hardly have their finger on the button.
Yesterday I had to go up to Guildford on the train to see my father, I had the chance to start to read the Pope's book, there he talks, in the context of the temptations, of the biblical and patristic idea of "forty". Forty days in the wilderness representing the forty years of Israel wandering in the desert. Four, the idea of perfection multiplied by ten the number of commandments or words by which God reveals himself. I thought that the idea of forty days of fasting in Lent corresponding to the forty day of feasting from Easter until Ascension, sad we have lost this numerical stuff, it introduces us to "cosmic time"which the Pope talks a lot about in "Spirit of the Liturgy". It negates the idea of the Church, or the faithful if you will, actually be in the desert, the wilderness, in the upper room, as a Jew would understand their celebration of the feast especially Passover as being a real and actual "re-presentation", not "representation", of the biblical event, in which time and space are transcended.