[caption id="attachment_13521" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="A Cabbit"][/caption]Drawing upon the work of the anthropologist Mary Douglas, philosopher of religion Jeffrey Stout has written about how crossing conceptual and social boundaries, and the products of such crossing, make people deeply uncomfortable. He used the example of a "cabbit" --a cross between a cat and a rabbit--that he saw on a late night television show. It unsettled him, while his young daughter (who hadn't yet formed firm conceptions of the proper categories for small, warm, and furry things) wasn't bothered at all by the fuzzy monster.I thought of this when I saw an entry on Fr. Z's blog that I couldn't resist clicking on --on altar girls at the Tridentine Mass. Apparently, it's not prohibited--but it does seem deeply incongruous to me too, even though I attend Novus Ordo masses and am happy to see girls as well as boys serving Mass.But here's my question, drawing upon Stout's story: if TLM takes on a a larger role and place, will it be possible for it to evolve in ways that seem incongruous to us now, but which aren't liturgically prohibited--and which won't seem odd to the next generation, who might be attracted to some aspects of TLM but not to each and every aspect of the way things were done in 1962?Or is it the case that once a cabbit, always a cabbit--in the realm of liturgy, at least?BTW, I am asking this straightforwardly as a question: Liturgy isn't one of my special areas of expertise. I have no view on how TLM should be conducted.
Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.