Saturday, April 30, 2005
And justifiably so.
For the last year and half, I have been a pretty frequent worshipper at Boston's indult Latin Mass parish, Holy Trinity. And I have bumped into a few of these guys. One of these guys even told the guy I was sponsoring before he started RCIA that the "only" valid Catholic Bible was the Douai-Rheims. Never mind that the New American Bible was first done under Pius XII.
But I don't think they amount to very much. These guys, with their creeping anti-semitism, sedevacantist leanings, and odd conspiracy theories are the John Birch Society of the traditionalist part of the Church.
And I agree that these cranks (that is just what they are) will not be satisfied with more beautiful Catholic liturgy (of both types). The vehemence of their hatred (and that is what it is) for Pope Paul, and Pope John Paul the Great, is staggering. It is not unlike that of John Birch Society types for orthodox conservative Republicans.
There is a much broader community of people (fairly young people in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s) who grew up with the Novus Ordo Mass, and just find the Latin Mass far more beautiful, reverent, and enjoyable. They don't deny the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass, Vatican II, or the popes since Pius XII. They just dislike the way it is often celebrated.
I've been to "new" (hard to call it new when it is the Mass I grew up with, and has been around for 35 years) Masses that made me cringe and want to run to Holy Trinity to feel recover. I've had Paulist priests pretend they are Phil Donahue before, during, and after Mass. I've had parish priests in sandals and rainbow vestments lead the rock band at "youth" Masses. I've had my fill of liturgical texts butchered to remove all references to God as He or the use of the male gender as neuter in English. I've heard enough Haugen and Haas. I've been subjected to Power Point displays, liturgical dance, and baptismal fonts big enough for the inhabitants of the whole fist six pews to take a bath in.
Personally, I like things frozen at c. 1959. I like the fact that men wear suits to Mass, and women chapel veils. I like the exclusion of protestant hymns from the Mass. I much prefer to receive the Blessed Sacrament kneeling, on the tongue, and under one Species only (and given by a priest). I like that there are only altar boys (where else will we get a next generation of priests?). I like the priest facing the Tabernacle. I like the kneeling, the breast-beating, and the frequent making of the Sign of the Cross. I like the Aspereges and the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass. I like not seeing a single worshipper put his or her hands up in the Orens position, as if he or she were the priest, at the Pater Noster. I like seeing candles burning, statues and stained glass windows depicting the saints, ornate Stations of the Cross, a Communion rail, gothic vaulting, real confessionals, and, most importantly, the Tabernacle on the central axis of the church, as the focal point of the building and of the Mass.
Except not completely frozen. I like things like the new Luminous Mysteries, the Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet (only officially approved 3 years ago), and the scads of saints canonized by the popes the lidless eyes don't think ever were validly popes. And I do sort of wish to be able to say the Pater Noster out loud (in Latin, of course, along with the Kyrie (Greek) and Agnus Dei, Sanctus, and Gloria).
I will admit that the indult Mass I attend (and I would imagine it is the case for every other one, as well) is a "boutique" Mass. It is all the best of the Tridentine Mass, with none of the drawbacks. There are not other Masses being said at side altars while Mass is going on. People are attentive, since the people drawn to this Mass tend to be comfortable with Latin. The priests, and Father Higgins who says the High Mass every month (3rd Sunday of the month) in particular, are wonderfully skilled at saying the Mass, and are good preachers as well. But the fact that it is a "showcase" Mass should not detract from the fact that it is a magnificent liturgy that finds a warm reception in the hearts and minds of many Catholics.
I will admit that this form of Catholic worship will appeal to only a minority of Catholics (though I think if it were more available, it would appeal to far more than the 200-250 souls who are in the pews at Holy Trinity every Sunday). But on the whole, I think that minority incorporates a hugely disproportional share of the most devout, most knowledgeable, and most orthodox Catholics in the Archdiocese.
Even cranks, though, have their uses. And one of the biggest services these rad-Trads have been doing is pointing out the abuses in the Mass. They have a basic point that cannot be denied readily: that the way in which the "new" Mass is often celebrated at the parish and diocesan level, and even sometimes at the level of papal Masses, is undignified, irreverent, lacking in beauty and gravitas, and far from the roots of genuine Catholic liturgy. That, I think is true.
I hope that our Holy Father will be able to stive to make it less true in the future. But Dom's point that the lidless eye cranks will not be satisfied with that is accurate. Even if all Catholic liturgy was what it should be, they would still find something to be dissatisfied about.
Their presence is something you put up with, as they like the Latin Mass as well. Just as conservative Republicans have to put up with the John Birch Society types at the local level, traditionalist Catholics have to share a pew with rad-Trads.
Pointing out once in a while that they are, in fact, cranks, is wholesome and necessary, lest the unaware take their paranoid hang-ups to be the way things are.
Cranks, ultimately, will be cranks.
Friday, April 29, 2005
I'm going to add this to the permanent links on the right.
Either way, she was a mystic, stigmatist, and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
At a time when the Church will have to struggle for the next hundred years to restore the Faith in its European heartland, it is not a bad idea to invoke the patron of Europe, Benedict of Nursia, the founder of western monasticism as we know it.
But I have lived through several of these little boomlets for Latin. When I was one of a dozen kids in high school taking Latin, we were frequently treated to articles saying we were part of a Latin comeback.
If there was a Latin comeback in the 1980s, it is terribly well-disguised.
Link from The Papa Ratzi Post.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Better bishops. Less power for national bishops' conferences. Better liturgy. Traditional Latin Mass for whatever congregations/groups want it without hassle.
Pray for it. If this is what our Holy Father intends, if he is not talked out of it all by pressure from local bishops' conferences, he needs time to bring it about. Pray he has health and strength and support and above all time to get this agenda moving.
So, as in the Archbishop's refusal to make Communion for pro-abortion Senator John Kerry an absolute no-no unless he confessed that sin and took concrete steps to change his position (which he never has) the Archdiocese will help the cause of life, unless it inconveniences our Democrat pols. The Archdiocese of Boston: the Democrat Party at prayer, once again.
To be specific, the Church needs to:
A) Do a much better job educating Catholics, especially younger Catholics and most especially children in the Faith than she has been doing these last 50 years. Geographic aeas like Latin America and the Philippines are now getting a lot of protestant converts. This needs to be reversed. There is no reason why any Catholic in these places ought to become protestant. It is a disgrace that we are not holding our own in these places, and that the young everywhere are so woefully catechized.
B) Get much more aggressive and active in seeking submission to Rome of other Christians, especially in those main-line protestant denominations that seem to be fading away and becoming increasingly irrelevant (When was the last time you heard someone say they were going to take some positive course of action because it "is the Presbyterian thing to do?"). But the Eastern Orthodox, and particularly Russian Orthdox seem ripe for evangelization. If we don't evangelize the population of these places, I don't think we can rely on the Orthodox churches there to get the job done. I sense a vacuum of evangelization fervor there, a vacuum that only the Roman Catholic Church (and the evangelical protestants) can fill.
C) Win new souls to Christ in areas where evangelization has been limited to to political considerations. China. Russia, again. And the entire Islamic world. Lebanon used to have, if not a majority of Christians (think Danny
Thomas) at least a very healthy minority. The wars so the last 30 years have driven many Lebanese Christians into exile. Now it is time to re-evangelize this country and others (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan). We might see some martyrdoms, but that is how the Faith grows, when people love it so well that they would lay down their lives for it.
Don't worry whose toes are being stepped on. If the Russian patriarchs were leading a healthy church, they would not fear Catholic evangelization. If the Chinese communists even knew what truth meant, they would have nothing to fear. If Islam contributed to making its adherents more holy, its religious and secular leaders would not feel any need to persecute the Faith.
The Faith will triumph in all these places, with enough determination. Pray for that will to be manifest.
So it looks like he is solid for re-election. Wait. Pope's don't get re-elected. And they are not subject to popular election at all. So the level of "popular support" doesn't matter a tinker's damn.
So what is the point of the poll? Of course with all the publicity the Holy Father would have a high level of support.
Maybe I'll make another stab at The Spirit of the Liturgy, which longtime readers will recall that I started 2 years ago, but got bogged down on page 56 or so. There were too many concepts like "orthopraxis" for this humble history major to wade through. But recently I have been doing things that I never thought I would do, like medieval illumination and calligraphy and learning html(not well, but I'm doing it). So maybe I can get through that book this time.
But of course, the Syrians left their Hezbollah allies behind to do the dirty work for them. But this, too, shall be rooted out.
Monday, April 25, 2005
I attended the Novus Ordo Mass at St. Francis Chapel this weekend, and was tickled when the young OMV priest who runs the chapel, Father Tom Carzon, chanted the Mass and did the Agnus Dei in Latin. A surprising number of people knew it and joined in.
Also, this article notes that the Holy Father has reverted to the use of the royal "We" in his formal declarations. But Penitens makes a useful correction.
He also revived the pilgrimage to the Tomb of St. Paul that had recently been dropped from the schedule of new pontiffs.
Saint Mark from the Lindisfarne Gospels
He is believed to have been a resident of Jerusalem, and a boy at the time the Lord was present in human form on earth. It is thought that his family home was a gathering place for the Apostles, and may have provided the "Upper Room" in which the Last Supper was held (and where the Apostles were gathered on Easter Night, on the following Sunday night, and where they were when the Holy Ghost came to them on Whitsunday).
Mark is believed to have been baptized by Saint Peter, who probably was the source of information for Mark's Gospel. Mark became an associate of Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas in their missionary work. He may have become bishop of Alexandria, and may have been martyred during the reign of Trajan.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Link from The Inn At the End of the World.
Chris Blosser's, of course.
4/25: I updated the link as the cartoon in question is no longer the daily post, but has slipped into the Dilbert archives.
Despite that, I like it. However, I suspect that some browsers might kick Pope Pius XII into a second row below John Paul II
From The Drudge Report.