Monday, April 01, 2013

At Easter the liturgy war continues

Happy Easter Monday. Not much you can add about the resurrection. The ambiguity and mystery of it all. Jesus only appeared to his followers then so some have always said it didn’t happen. You have to take it on faith.

Had some culture shock like the hurt right after the council. Went to church but it wasn’t our Mass! No theological problem now thanks to Pope Benedict, but see John B. below. Relatively good and high at this place (trad Gothic chasuble, white-gloved altar boys, sanctus bell at the Hanc Igitur and the elevations, altar rail in use, Anglican hymns, and organ prelude and postlude), but not as high as the former Novus Ordo Sung Mass before ours moved up into that slot. (Right after Summorum Pontificum it was the early Sunday Low Mass.) ‘Facing the people’, no biretta and that dumbed-down chant for the preface and Our Father. Low-church Pope Francis plus a new pastor who, though sound on essentials, is low-church like most American Catholics. (Thomas Day explained why: the Irish always were like that.) Darn shame, I thought, because otherwise I like the place.

Afterwards Father told me our Mass will be back next week. Someone else told me that having Novus for Easter’s main Mass is a compromise Fr James made to keep the peace with the old liberal parishioners mad at him for high-churching the place a few years ago. The anger: Thomas Day factor plus Modernism, the American Catholic story for over 40 years. I’ve met liberal high-church Catholics but they’re very rare, unlike in Anglicanism where they’re pretty standard. The libs in the church, like its enemies outside, understandably think a liturgically low church is a pushover they can change. They don’t hate the Pope for having power or being like a king but because he’s Catholic (he can’t do what they want). High churchmanship normally reinforces that: Benedict the Great, interestingly a pre-conciliar liberal, a moderate, not ultramontane. That plus his natural high churchmanship are why I think a younger version of him with a long reign has a shot at persuading the Orthodox to come back, unlikely but possible.

But last year Fr James had our Mass for Easter.

The other day another parishioner gave a heads-up that the reliquaries were off the high altar’s gradines; I noticed that and the big six candlesticks were shuffled around.

If our Mass stays, I’ll stick around, but if this is the parish’s new direction I’ll switch to St Paul’s (the best of St Clement’s now in the church since Canon Reid logically Episcopalianized that place).

This is Cranmer in 1549. I won’t have it. ‘We will have the Mass.’ Novusordoism isn’t Catholicism. I felt what Waugh did in 1966 and probably what lots of Italian- and Polish-Americans did when they showed up one Sunday and got ‘Hootenanny’. (South Philly nonna at St Rita’s about the ‘sign of peace’: ‘I don’t believe in that sh*t!’ and back to praying her rosary.) Like John B. told me, when you know Bugnini’s Protestant-like intentions, you can’t stand that Mass even though it’s not heretical in English anymore.

Worse comes to worst, we know what to do. In the official church you can hunker down at your parish’s earliest, lowest Sunday Mass: better now thanks to Benedict. No attempt at music; just read it out of the book, Father, and get it over with. There’s the Greek Catholic option (they’re not Greek; they’re closely related to the Russians), doable in upstate Pennsylvania for example, either the usual kind with varying latinization or the rare high-church kind that does what Rome tells them so it’s a lot like the Orthodox. (Why not Orthodoxy: their idea of the true church is too small, denying the truth and holiness of Catholicism [a great thing about Catholicism is it doesn’t say that about them], and they sold out on contraception when the Protestants did last century.) Then there’s the tremendous good the SSPX still does, even though I don’t buy all of their opinions: religious liberty is A-OK. (I’ll say it again: let’s solve this with a younger Benedict or someone even more conservative making Fellay a cardinal.) Part of the freedom of being a layman; you can make your church life a continuation of the real pre-conciliar church, a big tent, not a cult. Don’t expect a lot from the official church; only doctrine, moral teaching and a few new interesting saints. Since Paul VI, chances are it’s not our friend.

At least St Paul’s has parking.

Anyway, after Mass, at Donna’s, pasta stuffed shells, salad and ham. Buona Pasqua.


  1. 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.

    1. Fr. Michael doesn't say the Tridentine Mass personally, but it's one of the most well-attended Masses every Sunday, so there's no indication at all that it will change, considering that Fr. Matthew says it well and Br. David, soon to be ordained to the priesthood, will be here saying it for the next couple years.

  2. "[W]hen you know Bugnini’s Protestant-like intentions, you can’t stand that Mass even though it’s not heretical in English anymore."

    I'm a de facto Novus Ordo attendee, by virtue of being an extremely lazy "traditionalist"- the nearest Tridentine mass involves waking up almost 2 hours earlier, so most of my Sundays involve hitting the snooze button repeatedly and shuffling into the least-awful local Novus Mass 5 minutes late (really bad days- fortunately rare- find me attending the afternoon Spanish Mass, at which South American folk singers seem to think that an inability to sing on key can be compensated for with EXTREMELY HIGH VOLUME). I ought to worry that my eyes are someday going to freeze into the rolling position, and I may damage my teeth by gritting them so ferociously. I know It's Not About Latin, but one of the chief virtues of having Mass in a foreign tongue is that one does not need to listen to the merciless butchering of one's native tongue. What deranged translator in the ICEL had such an irrational hatred for relative clauses? I was a C student in Latin, and even I can identify some of those translation errors. Still, the Latin Novus Masses I've attended have been marginally better, but not by much- even when I barely can follow the language, I can tell the difference between a traditional Mass that developed organically out of centuries of tradition, and a 1960s innovation that tries unsuccessfully to imitate it.

    1. Thus the wisdom of every nation gets its own Church instead of constantly stitching more panels on the tent. Rome was given the West, she wanted the world. The West departed, and Rome is left with Central and South America. They like their folk liturgies and social justice so that's what you're going to get. The Orthodox committed error from the other end, spending the last two centuries wallowing in diaspora instead of engaging in mission. Blame can be equally assigned to the superficial Masonic culture they found when they got here. Thin soil for the Seed.

      I am not optimistic.

  3. " I know It's Not About Latin, but one of the chief virtues of having Mass in a foreign tongue is that one does not need to listen to the merciless butchering of one's native tongue."


  4. I know whereof Dano speaks except in my case it is not distance that keeps me from the local (Archdiocesan authorized) TLM. Everything else he says is just about the same with me . . . just about. And for me, Herr Karl, it really IS about Latin! LOL . . . even poorly pronounced Latin!


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