Tuesday, April 02, 2013

More on the continuing Catholic civil war

Max wrote yesterday:
I’m sorry to hear about Lourdes. I went there occasionally when I lived in Philly and was impressed with what Fr James had accomplished. I was afraid that there would be a rollback with the new pastor, particularly after I heard that he doesn’t say the TLM personally, and it sounds like that might be happening.
Yeah. Thanks. Another factor might be the parish closings/merger earlier this year diluting the churchmanship to the modern(ist) American norm; St Donato’s (Italian national) and St Callistus (default Irish) are now merged with us but I think they’re still open once a week for Mass. Maybe for Easter, our pastor understandably decided to make the main Mass for everybody in what’s now the parish. (He didn’t celebrate that one; our usual celebrant, Fr Matthew, did.)

Sure, I feel bad for those parishes, especially the Italians. These were city Catholic communities that died. Because of past Irish heavy-handed leadership nationwide, the Italians don’t want to come on board here. (The reason Italian etc. parishes were started, to keep the non-Irish in the church. Even the few Italians and Poles who went into schism or Episcopalianism just wanted a church they could walk to where they could do their devotions in peace. Good grassroots traditionalism. Well-meant.) I’d think Italian(-American) churchmanship, more devotional and familial than liturgical and institutional, is a good fit with the high churchmanship Fr James started, with Our Lady of Lourdes run by a Spanish-founded and Italian-based order; lots of saints, relics and devotions. An easygoing, lived-in, very Mediterranean Catholicism. I’d like us to reinstate/continue St Donato’s old summer street festival! St Callistus can either have its weekly Novus Low Mass or come to one of ours.

(Wish: keep St Donato’s fine Italian Romanesque-style building, put a baldacchino over the high altar and have one of our Masses there regularly; the religion it was built for.)

Things happened to be so good here under Benedict that my territorial parish had a semi-trad priest administrator occasionally doing our Mass there (he filled in for us at Lourdes) but I think he’s been transferred out because their pastor’s back.

Yes, I jumped parishes. (Never registered locally.) Because of the council, the system’s broken; not the doctrine or moral teaching, the administrative stuff. Essentially the same reason the SSPX will tell you why it exists. A man’s gotta do, etc. Still, for a while, thanks to Benedict’s reform of English Novus and semi-trad Fr K being in town, in a pinch I could walk to Mass, just like people 50 years ago.

The territorial parish’s churchmanship: a few Benedict things Fr K put in but mostly conciliar crap/’80s-’90s business as usual, the continuation of longtime low church as Thomas Day describes: altar girls, and women in albs giving Communion. (It would take 20 years of a younger Benedict to start to really clean that out.) The liberals have been soft-selling women’s ordination like that for 40 years but it has nearly no following in the church, because the church can’t do it. The Holy Spirit at work.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not surprised that the parish mergers would have an effect as well - not just in diluting the churchmanship as you describe, but in stretching the clergy so that (regrettably) they have less time and energy for projects like high-churching basically low-church communities or introducing the TLM if it's not there already. Of course, it helps if the priests in question are committed to the cause. I'm reminded of a parish in the diocese where I grew up (I no longer live there but visit a few times a year) - one of the most beautiful churches around, perfect for the old Mass, with ethnic parishioners of a disposition like the Poles and Italians you describe. For a while, the parish had an energetic young pastor who introduced the TLM (only monthly, but with the intention of eventually doing it weekly) and tremendously improved the NO Masses (using the altar rail for communion, no altar girls, six candles and crucifix on the altar, some ad orientem Masses, better vestments, more traditional music, etc). That priest was an up-and-comer in the diocese, and he was eventually moved to a larger and in some sense more 'prestigious' parish; the pastor who replaced him is doctrinally sound but decidedly low church - no more TLM, no more ad orientem NO, no candles on the altar, back to ugly polyester chasubles, etc. Communion at the rail and boys-only servers are still in place there, but it's hard not to feel sorry for what was lost simply because they got a new pastor who, despite other fine qualities, simply isn't serious about the liturgy.

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