An interesting comment appeared in my combox related to the proper way to dress in church. The gist of the message was that at times people “dress so far out of the fashions that it draws attention to yourself and distracts others from prayer”. In contrast, simplicity should be preferred, then the well dressed person is also a simply dressed person.
I agree with what precedes, if we first agree about definitions.
I call elegance the way a person of both sexes, but particularly a man, dresses in order to enhance his appearance in a stylish but traditionally accepted way. Elegance changes only extremely slowly, and the well dressed man of 1913 did not dress – considering the time which elapsed – much differently than the well dressed man in 2013 does. In fact, even elements like morning suits and frock jackets are still seen, even today.
The matter is a bit different for women, as the Downton Abbey lady would dress much differently than her modern counterpart; but in every age, men and women were able to distinguish between a well-dressed woman and a gaudy, inappropriate one. Similarly, whilst fashion always played a role in female dress, there has always been an underlying standard of beautiful modesty and simplicity. A good girl of today might appear in church dressed not much differently than the girls in the “little house in the prairie”, and kudos to them.
It is generally said that elegance is for men, and fashion is for women and homosexuals. Fashion changes continuously, and has elements of flash that can easily be misplaced in a woman, and look outright disturbing in a man. The “faggot look” you see so often today among boys and young men (those strange faggoty trousers, the v-shirts, and the generally effeminate look and demeanour) is a prime example.
The elegant man never follows fashion, because fashion is not manly. The elegant woman always pays attention that she follows a conservative, decent, modest fashion, though her sex will be allowed some more leeway.
This, elegant men and women do because, having been properly raised, they know that proper appearance is a way we show respect to other people. Whilst the modern slob ideology puts comfort and the self before everything, the old mentality gives right of way to proper appearance as a way to show proper manners. This is, I was raised to believe, a matter of basic respect and decency. Decency fully forgotten in times in which people think they can walk around in flip-flops “because it's more comfortable”; and if one is not ashamed of the flip-flops on the road, it won't be long before the flip-flops visit the church.
At the same time, I do not believe much in the modern rhetoric of “overdressing”. In a world in which slob is the new elegant, no man should be cowed into uniforming himself to the general decay in appearance. A man should be always properly dressed according to his means, instead of following the modern fads of “leisure Fridays” which end up meaning jeans and t-shirt in the office, or worse. Least of all should a real man be persuaded to go around like a bum because “nowadays everyone does it. Don't be an “everyone”. Be a proper man.
Now, we live in times when the general flattening towards the worst of everything may let one appear “overdressed”, who simply cares about proper appearance. More power to him, say I, and may his clothes always fit him well.
This does not mean, though, that elegance should be confused with bad taste. The Earl of Grantham will always be appropriately dressed for church, exactly as Elton John will never be. Extravagance isn't elegance, and it indicates bad taste, if not outright faggotry.
My conclusions are therefore as follows:
1. The elegant man will always be appropriately dressed in church, and the more elegant, the better. No one would say one could be overdressed in the presence of the Queen; the more so in the presence of Jesus.
2. Elegance doesn't mean being unduly flashy, or outright vulgar.
3. If an elegantly dressed man is considered “overdressed” in church, this is more likely to say something about how underdressed the people around him are, and about the extent to which slobbish dressing has become mainstream.
Proper appearance is a matter of respect for our neighbour. Proper appearance in Church – according to one's means and basic common sense – should go without saying. I find it very good – and very natural – that such a beautifully conservative mentality should find expression among the supporters of the Mass of the Ages.
In the present situation, it is more than understandable that the fans of the Better Mass be worried about the effect this devastating, utterly disgraceful Pontificate will have on Summorum Pontificum.
Whilst I have forgotten my crystal ball at home again, I think a couple of reasonable assumptions can be made:
1) Bishop Francis will not dare to openly go against Summorum Pontificum: not whilst the Pontiff Emeritus is alive, not after he has died. A man clearly driven by vanity, the Bishop of Rome will not dare to take initiatives that would procure him a very vocal, very persistent and very painful opposition. Look at his actions, and realise the man accurately avoid every stance that would cause widespread opposition to the new born cult of Bishop Francis. Too many are the friends of the Tridentine Mass, for him to go and pick this particular fight. It must also be said that the Bishop lives in a liturgical and theological glasshouse, and certainly understands if he starts to throw stones at people who understand Liturgy and Theology he will be hurt, badly.
2) This does not mean the Bishop, being a 1a liturgical Philistine, will not do whatever he can to damage the cause of sound liturgy whilst avoiding the flak. I can well imagine that he will take care bishops of TLM dioceses are replaced, when the usual time comes, with other liturgical philistines, certain to provide an hostile environment for the TLM; with the obvious exception of those dioceses where a SSPX is within driving distance.
I cannot see the Bishop of Rome doing anything that makes him obviously unpopular, but I do believe he will do whatever he can to hush the effects of SP if he can do so without open confrontation.
The biggest safety for SP lies, if you ask me, in the robust presence of the SSPX. As long as they are strong and expanding, the enemies of the Tridentine Mass will have to be very careful, and Bishop Jorge's cult of Bishop Jorge will do the rest.
I might be wrong, of course. Time will tell.
We learn from the always excellent Rorate Caeli that of the 117 Cardinals who will participate to the Conclave only eleven have celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass after the introduction of the Novus Ordo. This is a one figure percentage, a bit like saying the “Traditional Mass Party” is less represented within the Church than the Monti coalition is in Italy.
Of course, it can be that many of them are, so to speak, secret admirers and did not want to stand out with something so unashamedly Catholic as a Traditional Mass (we live in such times…). Others may be too old to want to start the re-learning (though one would say a Cardinal who is now 79 was only 71 in 2005, and certainly celebrated the traditional Mass for several years before the Great Neo-Modernist Mess). In both cases, we are probably not talking of warriors for Christ.
Still, you never know and every Italian knows (or should know) the more or less legendary anecdotes about Sixtus V, er papa tosto (“the tough Pope” in the Roman dialect), a man who kept a very low profile and (says the legend) led the other Cardinals to believe his health was very bad, and he himself a harmless old man, to be elected as a “transition Pope”. One of the many stories about him goes that when he accepted the election he stood up strong, threw away his stick, and started singing the Te Deum with thundering voice.
Like you, I keep thinking all the time what the Cardinals will do. Like you, I am scared stiff a truly bad man could be the choice. Like you, I draw some comfort from the fact that hopefully a good majority of the Cardinals believe in God, and might do the right thing or at least avoiding doing the very wrong one.
But seriously, only eleven have celebrated again the Traditional Mass. I think one is justified in being afraid, but I will try to think of some possible Sixtus V hiding among the Cardinals’ ranks; one who has never celebrated the Traditional Mass to make himself acceptable to the Neomodernist majority, and is now silently biding his time.
O Lord, please, please give us a good, strong Pope.
Some time ago, I published a poll to know the opinion of my readership about the Latin mass. Now, my blog is certainly not the Catholic supertanker of the blogosphere, but the statistical numbers I receive lead me to believe it is not entirely stupid, either.
You can click directly on the poll scrolling down the page. As I write, it turns out 90% of the respondents either already have regular access to a Latin mass, or would regularly attend if they had one. Most tellingly, only 2% of the respondents say they would not regularly attend even if they had the possibility to do so, and something tells me they are not regular readers or, so to speak, friends of this blog.
What does this, then, tell us? Are at least 90% of my readers instructed in the Latin language? Or are they so intelligent they can manage to do what other people can’t? With all due respect, I think neither is the case. What I think is happening, is that the smartest part of the Catholic population (meaning: the one taking Catholicism seriously) has by now clearly understood you do not need to have been to a grammar school to attend – and fully appreciate, and fully enjoy – the Traditional Mass, and this Mass is the one which best incarnates and transmits traditional Catholics values. In Latin, the Catholic Mass is fully Catholic, but when you start contaminating it with vernacular influences Protestant errors start to creep in.
Granted, I have attended to perfectly orthodox Novus Ordo Masses; but crucially, only in places where the Tridentine Mass was also celebrated and I have no doubt in all of these places the celebrants would go back to an only-Latin regime without blinking. It is encouraging, though, that among the readership (apparently spread throughout the English-speaking world) some 40% already have access to a Tridentine Mass. This does not mean enough is being made (it clearly isn’t), but it means being seriously intentioned to attend to a Tridentine Mass and being able to put some time and fuel costs in the exercise already gives one a good probability of being reasonably able to attend to a decent Tridentine; which – allow me to say so – automatically guarantees a good priest, sensible homilies, and no blood-curdling ecumenical crap.
The latter alone would be worth the time and the hassle.
After the tragedy in Tuscany, you could have bet your pint that some alternative priest would have profited to put himself at the centre of the attention and at the same time show how little respect he has for the Mass.
The feat has been perfectly achieved in the Isola del Giglio (along whose coast the Costa Concordia ran aground). In order to make of the thing an exercise which would put the attention away from Christ to direct it on the usual “gandhism” of these occasions and, of course, on himself, the celebrant of Giglio’s main church thought it fitting to put on the altar the following offerings: a life vest, a rope, a rescue helmet, a plastic tarp and some bread.
This is not even Mass as a sacred ceremony. This is a macabre vaudeville without paying the ticket.
But if we reflect attentively, isn’t this what is wanted with the Novus Ordo? Is it not so, that the desire to entertain the poor souls rather than inspire and elevate them is very high in the priority of the new rite?
What else if the meaning – even when things do not degenerate to such level of parody – of the gifts to be brought to the altar? Were the prayers offered in the Tridentine not good enough? Do we really need the cheap piece of entertainment in 3D, with some (alas, it seems to me, rather often, sanctimonious) people feeling the lead actor for a minute? What is the aim of all these antics, if not distract or positively lead away from what the Mass is about in the first place?
But you see, the priest who had the brilliant idea of being the hero of the simple for one day probably understood the Novus Ordo better than we did. He understood, namely, what the Novus Ordo was introduced for: to entertain the people in the pews and let them feel they are “actively” participating.
The rest follows automatically. If “participation” is a value, then you can have the football during the World Championship, the engine on Formula One days, and whatever other idea lets the people feel they are “sharing in the Mass”. It follows from the premise like the day follows the night. How can, then, the commingling of sacred rite and unholy show be criticised? Isn’t it all meant to let people “share in the experience”?
The Novus Ordo is what would happen if you asked a bunch of children how to change the Tridentine Mass. They’d take away the “boring” bits, make all more “entertaining”, require active participation as they did with the merry-go-round, and mix it with elements of their everyday life so it doesn’t become too much of a bore. Clap your hands, everybody! Ah, and they’do it as similar as they can to what their friends from the other school do; so you can all meet together before the football match.
If I had been one of the unfortunate souls who lost their lives in the tragedy of the Costa Concordia, I’d feel as if they had drawned me for a second time.
At Rorate Caeli, they have defined the events in a beautiful way:
No shame. No rules. No sobriety. No propriety. No sense of ridicule. No respect for God, for the living, and for the dead. Novus Ordo.
In the last few days, two events have impacted the blogosphere:
1) The Birmingham Oratory announced the return to the Tridentine version for their sung Sunday Latin Mass. This must be, if London is any example, an old version of the Novus Ordo, very similar to the Tridentine already. I can easily imagine the other UK Oratories will follow suit in the near-ish future.
2) A high-profile blogger has announced a trial period of the Tridentine as the 9am Sunday Mass.
Both events are, in my eyes, clear indication of the following:
A) Even in the UK, the Tridentine’s march is now slowly becoming unstoppable. The more Tridentine masses there is, the more there will be, as imitation sets in and the faithful begin to know that the Tridentine mass exists in the first place.
B) The rediscovery of traditional Catholicism after the drunkenness of the post V-II years doesn’t go through a more pronounced use of the Novus Ordo in Latin (the Novus Ordo was, actually, meant to be mainly in Latin, with exceptions where allowed by the bishop), but through the rediscovery of the Mass of the Ages. This seems to be additional confirmation that within the Church there is a more and more pronounced feeling – expressed, or not – that there is no need to “integrate” Vatican II in the liturgy by rediscovering the Novus ordo as it should have been. What we had before V II was perfectly OK, and can be used exactly as it was. In particular, the decision of the Oratory seems very indicative to me, as the present Solemn Novus Ordo (Latin) very probably used is so similar to the Tridentine, that the decision to switch can in my eyes only have the ideological background I have just described.
In my eyes, this also takes care of all the waffle about the supposed liturgical enrichment brought about by Vatican II. Enrichment, my aunt. If you ask me, the fitting place for the liturgical innovations of V II is the rubbish bin. It seems to me that whilst others – particularly if religious – would not express themselves in the same way, this train of thoughts becomes more and more spread. At least I cannot detect any “renaissance” of the Novus Ordo in Latin, for sure. Not even as a by-product of Summorum Pontificum, or as an intermediate step.
In the next years, we will see an increasing number of Tridentine masses around. It will take some patience, but in time its beauty and reverence will be clearly perceived by the faithful. I can well imagine that those who will have the patience to persevere, and will make the small effort to absorb the Latin and follow the mass with a missal or bilingual booklet, will soon wonder how they could cope with the kindergarten version of the original for so long. Give them some more time, and they’ll be speechless when asked what were all those ladies doing in the sanctuary, and why exactly were people receiving from laymen.
We are not there yet, but already at this point I can’t see how the march of the Tridentine can be stopped, as its celebration is the best advertisement it can receive.
The future isn’t Vatican II. The future isn’t a desperate attempt to create some strangely concocted liturgical hybrid, either. The future also isn’t a mixture of elements of the Tridentine with elements of the post-V II era (a Tridentine with altar girls, say).
If you ask me, it is clear enough what the future will be: it will be our beautiful, solemn, reverent past.
Sancta Missa is a kind of “Tridentine Mass comprehensive guide and tutorial” for both laity and clergy, and is the brainchild of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
What may seem boring is in fact a fascinating journey of discovery of the Tridentine Mass, a journey you can start from the comfort of your sofa.
The graphic layout is extremely pleasant and very accurate (the image above gives you an idea of what awaits you), and guides the visitor through various aspects of the Mass. Several videos of the same high quality (many produced “in house”) integrate the texts available. You can click around at your heart’s content and discover more and more of the beautiful Mass of the Ages.
If you click on the, so to speak, ueber-Home page you will see that the site is available in several languages. Personally I find such sites not only useful to know more about the liturgy, but a valuable help to the learning of foreign languages, too. As stated, numerous videos allow the visitor to have a real, palpable idea of the sacredness of the Tridentine Mass even if he never had the privilege of attending to one.
But this site is about so much more than the Mass. There are separate sections dedicated, for example, to the spirituality of the Tridentine Mass, to the Sacred Music, or to the Liturgical year.
The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago also organise workshops and the sites gives useful information on the matter.
Summa summarum, a thoroughly well-made, high-quality work and an invaluable help to all those, clergy or laity, who want to improve their knowledge of what is clearly destined to be the future of the Church after the devastations of the last decades.
The news about the extraordinary interview given from the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Policarpo, has already gone around the internet for a couple of days. The news was, I must admit, too incredible to dedicate to it a blog post until further news from a reliable source are available.
Now Rorate Caeli publishes an ample excerpt of his interview. I allow myself to mention here some of the more enlightening parts.
It was not by fortune that Jesus chose men to be apostles and gave women another kind of attention… [sic]
“Another kind of attention”. This is, I have to say, more than vaguely creepy. It sounds as if the Cardinal had given the interview after a good meal, with good wine and a glass of port, or three. Very unfortunate choice of words, for sure.
Once I was here in the Diocese and, when we had a discussion, there was a young women who asked the question: why can’t women be priests? And I decided to risk it. I said: you are right, but, in order that others study this matter, it is necessary to know if there are candidates…[sic]
Besides the extreme lack of intelligence of the argumentation – “would you want to do it?” is certainly not a logical argument; I mean, in Kindergarten perhaps, followed by “nananananananaaa”, but not between adults; and yes, the deluded candidates for such “jobs” are not missing, for sure – the Cardinal dares to answer to the feminists: “you are right”.
This is a man whose tongue is not properly under control, or not well-connected with his brains.
All kept their heads down.
Good Lord. That’s the argument! The women kept their heads down! Even if he had just said that ….. they were right! What a formidable debater we have here. A true Prince of the Church.
Once, in the context of an international meeting on the new evangelization, in Vienna, this question was posed, and I said that there is not, at this moment, any Pope who has the power to do that.
This calls for a tranquilliser. Let us repeat this verbatim: “There is not, at the moment, any Pope who…..”. Is the good Cardinal looking for a suitable one? Has he already advertised to fill the vacancy? “Pope sought. Power to ordain women is an absolute requirement. Send your CV to Card. Policarpo, Lisbon.” Or should there, in fact, be one, but he has missed the train and couldn’t make it to the ordination of priestesses? Or is the good Cardinal waiting for a new Pope from Mars, who will be able to do it? Questions, questions……
You gotta love that Port wine, though.
It goes on.
This would create tensions, and it will happen only when God wants it to happen and, if it is in His plans, it will happen
Ah, now we know it! Male priesthood is not a matter of infallible (in-fal-li-ble; I-N-F-A-L-L-I-B-L-E) Ordinary and universal Magisterium. It is something that God might simply change! God changes His mind pretty regularly, didn’t you know? Just as the Twelve Commandment became Ten and the Sixteen Apostles (at least two of them, very probably, women; we don’t know for certain) were reduced to Twelve we might, one day, have women priests! Simples! Be patient though, will you?
Yes, you know what I’m thinking….
It goes on.
The Holy Father John Paul II, at one point, seemed to settle the matter. I believe that the matter is not settled like this; theologically, there is no fundamental obstacle; there is this tradition, let us say it this way… [sic] it was never different. (Emphases mine)
(Your humble correspondent stops here, because he feels unable to keep composure and write about the matter in a way acceptable for polite ears).
(Well, Wimbledon is good to calm yourself down. Now, where was I….)
Note the words. Pope John Paul “seemed to settle the matter”, but then he apparently forgot to. Or Cardinal Policarpo was just not there. Or he just can’t read. Apparently, then, according to our hero “there is no theological obstacle”. It’s not a theological matter, you know. It’s just that, hey, it just happened to never be otherwise. As they say, “shit happens”! But you never know, one day the Vatican might find a letter from Heaven saying to do it differently! It has happened already, don’t ya know? It’s called the “Ordinary, Universal and Disposable Magisterium”. Yes, a bit like Kleenex. We love that thing here in Lisbon! We use it all the time! No, not the Kleenex…
At this point, I do not even think that Port wine can do this. Not the one I know, at least, unless Portuguese Cardinals have access to some very, very strong stuff.
It goes on….
The problem is on another level, in a strong tradition, which comes from Jesus, and in the ease with which the reformed churches went that way. This did not make the solution of the problem any easier, if this problem has a solution.
So, you know what the Cardinal thinks it has happened? Jesus has created a problem! Instead of doing Cardinal Policarpo the favour of having a couple of token women as every serious, “equality sensitive” multinational would do, he just goes on stubbornly appointing an all-male, chauvinistic team; one where women can’t even find a place as reserves to be inserted in the last fifteen minutes, when you’re winning 3-0 and are playing 11 against 10. Oh well, it is what it is, we’ll have to live with the problem now…. And look, Jesus, we look even worse now, because the Protestant teams ( I’ll call them “churches”, of course; “reformed churches”. I know it sounds heretical, but hey, we can’t say “there’s only one Church”, right?) have inserted women in their teams with such… ease! Good Satan, this is embarrassing! What do we say to the customers now! This is going to give us a serious marketing problem! We need to change the product, Jesus; we truly do!
And now, dear readers, is the time for some serious, sad reflection.
The hypothesis that the Cardinal might have drunk too much, and might have lost control during the interview, is in my eyes not entirely unfounded. If you read the interview, he loses his thread several times, once at the very beginning; he sounds confused and creepy; he seems not to reflect on the huge heresies he goes on spitting. In short, he looks like one surprised at a very bad time, and who didn’t have the presence of spirit to call it a headache and leave the thing for another day. It happens more often than you think, Ken Livingstone is just the last example.
This would be the charitable explanation. Let me stress this: the charitable one; the one which considers human frailties; the one which tries to discount the open heresy and to find an explanation for his inexplicable words, a halfway understandable excuse for his inexcusable blabber.
On the other hand – and sad as it is to have to say so – Rorate Caeli informs us that this is the same man who has overseen the Portuguese church in a time of legalisation of abortion on demand and of same sex marriages without opposing more than some obligatory meowing; the one who has presided over a collapse of church attendance but is still the owner of the very telling privilege of presiding over the only capital in Europe still without a Tridentine Mass.
A coincidence is a coincidence, but….. you know the rest…
Once again, this shows that the Liturgy is so closely intertwined with the theology, that you can’t separate the two. Where you have bad liturgy, this will create bad theology. Where you have stubborn opposition to Catholic liturgical orthodoxy, you will have the ideal ground for the spreading of heresy.
The Liturgy is the Church. When you use violence to the Liturgy, you use violence to the Church. The rest follows automatically.
I truly hope that in the next days the Cardinal will offer to the press a strong refutation of his words. But as this has not yet been the case, I can’t imagine that there is a realistic chance for this and that we must face the reality of an openly heretical Cardinal. Nothing new under the sun of course, but sad nevertheless.
Therefore, unless this man was “tired and emotional” at the moment of giving the interview, the only possible conclusion is that the Patriarch of Lisbon is openly heretical, and has the gut to clearly and openly defy the Pope’s and the Church’s authority in matters clearly pertaining to the Ordinary and universal Magisterium.
When such a challenge to the Church’s teaching authority is moved, and from such an elevated position, it is the duty of the Pope to correct, admonish and if necessary punish the person responsible.
If the Pope lets this provocation pass without correction, his authority and prestige will be irrevocably damaged and after the Patriarch of Lisbon, other heretical senior churchmen will come out of the wood and start expressing their more or less veiled approval for heretical theories. This must be stopped now, as it has already gone far enough.
The days of the Popes who limit themselves to administer some nice words of guidance and counselling should have ended long ago. As Romano Amerio beautifully pointed out, the role of the Pope has traditionally been one of both direction and prescription. If the Holy Father only focuses on the first aspect and neglects the second, heresy, anarchy and schism will be the result. It will be Pope Paul VI all over again!
The Cardinal needs our prayer. But just as surely, he needs to be kicked out, sharpish. There can be no excuse, no reason of opportunity, no fear of schism that can justify the permanence of such openly heretical cardinal at his place. Souls are at stake. Those who have the duty to act will have to anwer for these souls.
The place where to address your righteous indignation are as follows:
Congregation for the Clergy: email@example.com
Congregation for Bishops: Palazzo della Congregazioni, Piazza Pio XII, 10, 00193 Roma, Italy (email address not found)
Holy Father: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please try to be much more moderate than I was here. There’s a time for the sword and a time for the floret. You’ll be addressing Princes of the Church or even – at least officially – the Holy Father himself. I’ll do it as soon as I can.
Frankly, at the moment I can’t.
Next time you hear someone complaining that in the Tridentine Mass the priests gives his back to the faithful, you may want to ask him the following questions:
1) Is he offended that the people sitting in front of them in the pews turn their back to him?
2) Shouldn’t the Mass, then, be held with the faithful in a nice half circle of one row only?
3) Does he know what a Tabernacle really is? You might have to explain this I’m afraid. When you have explained, you may ask:
4) Has he noticed how the priest is placed relative to the Tabernacle during the New Mass?
5) So who should the priest face: God or the faithful?
Of course you always run the chance of someone answering “the faithful, as God is not offended but the faithful are”.
But at least you’ll know whom you are talking to.
If you have any doubt about the astonishing acting qualities of the Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, you only need to see “The Downfall”, the oppressive and depressive but so utterly human film about the last days of Adolf Hitler and the people in the bunker. Ganz is absolutely breathtaking, leading you to suspect that he was, in a way, more Hitler than Hitler was himself (I had the same impression, it must be said to preserve par condicio, of the great Helen Mirren in “The Queen”).
Ganz conveys the desperation, the hoping against all hope, then the realisation of the approaching end and the atmosphere of Goetterdaemmerung with such clarity and beauty, with such fanatic identification with his character, with such complete realism as to lead you to think whether such a movie would have been possible at all with any other actor than himself. The man was, in fact, so good that a vast number of parodies have been created and put on youtube, all based on his stunning performance.
Why do I mention Bruno Ganz?
Simply because by reading of Archbishop Conti’s sortie against the Tridentine Mass I was instantly reminded of Hitler’s bunker, and of Ganz/Hitler ranting with all the rage of impotence.
This is, my dear readers, what it is all about: the rants of an old guard, of people who in the meantime hear, feel and smell defeat from every part of the front line, whilst the traddie front likes the smell of Universae Ecclesiae in the morning.
Granted, changes in the Church happen far more slowly than world wars, and it would be too optimistic to say that trendy bishops are already living their April 1945. They aren’t yet. But you can compare Summorum Pontificum with the D-Day and Universae Ecclesiae with the fall of St. Lo and the resulting opening of the Falaise Gap that allowed the Allied to start their march towards Berlin.
Fairly soon, then, Bruno Ganz could be asked to impersonate a trendy bishop desperately trying to save what has remained of liturgical dances, altar “girls” of, say, 67, clownish celebrants, and extraordinary ministers, whilst his adjutants tell him with faces of purest stone that one after the other all bastions of resistance are falling and the Tridentine Mass will soon – when his successor is appointed – conquer the Cathedral.
Bruno Ganz would be, of course, just the man for the job. But thinking of it, Archbishop Conti wouldn’t be a bad candidate, either.
He is rehearsing already.
If you wanted proof of how much must change within today’s Church, look no further than Glasgow, where Archbishop Conti is now approaching retirement.
Think of this: he is 77, preparing himself to go away, and still he can’t resist shooting at Summorum Pontificum. As far as I know, Archbishop Conti is a rather orthodox one, but I for myself won’t be sad when he retires.
The way Archbishop Conti chooses for his farewell gift to faithful Catholics who love the Tridentine Mass is the usual subtle distinguo that men of church use when they want to go against the will of the Holy Father, plus some random and totally gratuitous insult to the Mass they love.
Let us read his words:
even with the most recent instruction from Ecclesia Dei, there is no requirement or indeed encouragement for any of us to promote the so-called Extraordinary Form
I for one don’t like the use of the words “so-called” to define the Extraordinary Form. This might be literally true, but the words so-called are far more often used for something technically or legally true, but whose moral validity is devalued or mocked: the so-called homosexual marriages; the so-called Archbishop of Westminster, and the like. The impression is strong here that Archbishop Conti has a dose of contempt for the Tridentine Mass. If this is the case, shame on him.
Then there is the Jesuitical observation that there is no requirement to promote. Well no there isn’t. But there is no requirement to promote the Novus Ordo either, which doesn’t stop the Archbishop from defending it. This barely masked hostility, this hiding behind one’s finger to try to justify the boycott of the Tridentine, is something I hope will become more and more rare as the people of Conti’s generation go to a more or less deserved retirement.
A second controversial statement of the Archbishop is the following one:
I venture to suggest that there is no call for it, or pastoral reason to change what has become the settled practice of the Archdiocese
This is plain contradictory. You can’t declare that there should be no promotion, and then say that there is no demand. If you don’t say to your people that there is this possibility, or give them the alternative and the choice, well of course there won’t be any demand! It is well-known that the application of Summorum Pontificum all over Scotland has been dismal; to say that there is no demand after such a boycott is tantamount to a provocation.
It doesn’t end here, as the Archbishop wants to leave us in no doubt as to his profound dislike for the Tridentine Mass. He goes on – among other things – saying what follows:
The awesomeness of the holy exchange can be manifested in the way in which we celebrate the Mass, avoiding all that could trivialize the sacred, without any extravagant gestures, but on the contrary taking advantage of the rich potential within the rites themselves to enhance the significance of what we do by way of the dignity of our actions, the singing of those parts of the Mass which are marked for song and wearing vestments of noble simplicity.
This becomes now utter childish, and plain stupid.
The bishop implies (but doesn’t say explicitly) that the Tridentine:
1) trivialises the Mass,
2) leads to extravagant gestures, and
3) leads to extravagant vestments.
To 1), it is rather simple to answer that the Archbishop must be rather living on a different planet, if he thinks that it is the Tridentine that trivialises the sacred. It is the Novus Ordo that does that, Your Grace, and I hope you had a good sleep.
To 2), Archbishop Conti has evidently forgotten what a Tridentine Mass is, because if there is a rite in which every gesture of the Priest is slow, solemn and extremely dignified it is the Tridentine Mass.
To 3), it sounds to me as a mockery and gratuitous provocation that those who defend the Novus Ordo and the endless array of clownesque vestments it has originated think they have the right to complain about the solemnity and beauty of the traditional vestments. The priest is Alter Christus and during Mass the greatest miracle on Earth happens: that this shouldn’t be dealt with in a way, with a solemnity and with vestments that reflect this simple truth lets me doubt whether this truth is believed in the first place.
Once again: Archbishop Conti is going, but he is still shooting. He is obviously afraid that after him, the resistance to the Tridentine mass will crumble in his diocese, and that his successor will be chosen among those who are well disposed toward the Tridentine.
I wish Archbishop Conti a long and healthy retirement, during which he will have more and more opportunities to realise the error of his ways by assisting to numerous, reverently celebrated Masses in that form that should have been never abandoned in the first place. Thank God, Archbishops go and the Mass of the Ages stays.
The poet Horace famously wrote,
multa renascentur, quae iam cecidere, cadentque quae nunc sunt in honore.
(“Many things shall be revived which already have perished, and many things shall perish which are now held in honor”)
He was speaking, if I remember correctly, rather of words and usages in a language, but because of the beauty of the phrase his words assumed a universal meaning.
Archbishop Conti should reflect on these words: whether he likes it or not, the Tridentine is on its way to resurgence and the Novus Ordo, very clearly, on its way to oblivion.
Feast your eyes (and ears!) with this Catholic pearl.
Not only you find here a beautiful Tridentine Solemn Mass almost in its entirety, but you also have the commentary of no less than Fulton Sheen, both explaining details of the Mass and providing a short translation of the Latin text as it is sung. This is the Easter Mass of 1941 in the church of Our Lady Of Sorrows, Chicago.
The beauty and solemnity of this Easter Mass, the reverence, the accuracy of every detail (beautifully explained by Fulton Sheen) put to shame the very thought of getting rid of such breathtaking splendour.
Seriously, what the Conciliar Father were thinking – and in the years immediately after the Council, figuratively speaking, smoking – will always be beyond my simple understanding.
From the German site Summorum Pontificum, a communique’ of the German SSPX about Universae Ecclesiae:
Two points are particularly noteworthy:
1. Zur Frage des Papstamtes
Die Priesterbruderschaft St. Pius X. anerkennt Papst Benedikt XVI. als rechtmäßigen Papst und als Oberhaupt der katholischen Kirche. [...]
1. On the question of the Papal Office:
The Society of St. Pius X acknowledges Pope Benedict XVI as legitimately reigning Pope and as the Head of the Catholic Church. [...]
It follows a clear distinction between them and the Sedevacantists. We knew that already, but I think there is a lot of confusion around.
2. Zur Frage der neuen Messe
Die Bruderschaft bestreitet nicht die Gültigkeit der neuen Messform. Wenn sie korrekt gefeiert wird – was an vielen Orten allerdings nicht mehr selbstverständlich ist – ist sie eine gültige Messfeier. [...]
Again, my translation:
2. On the question of the New Mass
The Society doesn’t question the validity of the new form of Mass. When it is celebrated correctly – which in several places is not an automatic occurrence anymore – it is a valid Mass celebration [...].
It follows, again, a rather convoluted explanation that the Novus Ordo be valid, but the SSPX has doubt about its “legality” or “legitimacy” or “lawfulness” (Rechtsmaessigkeit), an expression that I can’t explain to you – in my simple world, if you recognise its validity it means that you recognise the right of the Church to celebrate it – and would make a clarification of the SSPX very welcome.
Still, I find it positive that the SSPX in Germany has explicitly intervened making clear that they recognise both the Pope’s legitimacy and authority, and the validity of the New Mass. It is sad to hear incorrect or outright mendacious information about the Society and this kind of intervention is just what is required to deal with it. I wish the SSPX would intervene more often on these points, as otherwise they offer the flank to misinformation or outright calumniation.
From Una Voce‘s press release, published on Rorate Caeli.
“what is perfectly clear is that the Holy Father has fully restored to the universal Church the traditional Roman rite as enshrined in the liturgical books of 1962, that the rubrics in force in 1962 must be strictly observed, and that Latin and the Usus Antiquior must be taught in seminaries where there is a pastoral need. And this pastoral need must be determined by those who wish to benefit from Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae, and not be decided by those many in authority whose natural desire is to prevent their implementation.
Am I the only one noticing a new attitude, a new confidence, and the smell of victory?