Daily Archives: November 19, 2011

The Irresistible March of the Tridentine Mass

Nothing wrong. No, really.

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.


The Tod Mahal, And How To Avoid It

Bishop Tod liked his new mausoleum.

In the wake of the announcement of the Diocese of Orange obtaining the green light for the purchase of the Crystal Cathedral, two elements appear that might, one way or the other, result in the building not becoming the next Cathedral of the Orange diocese.

The first element comes from a Rocco Palmo’s blog post, aptly entitled “Live from Orange: Bishop Tod’s “Hour of Power” “. Therein Palmo writes:

As Brown’s successor would inherit the move and its ramifications at the outset of his tenure, a successful offer by the diocese would likely receive considerable scrutiny in Rome, and could possibly even be scuttled by the Holy See should the acquisition be seen as unduly prejudicing the future of the diocese and the freedom of its next bishop to make his own calls.

Whilst it is not clear to me how to Diocese could persuade the sellers to wait for Rome’s green light and make of it a condition of the sale, the phrase seems to indicate that the purchase/building of a cathedral is seen as important enough to justify a direct intervention from Rome. I point out once again to the fact that the purchase is seen as economically advantageous, and the property has already been seen as eligible for alternative use. This basically means that, if the Diocese decides to backpedal – or the Vatican decides to force them to – the property could be sold probably without loss, and possibly at a profit.

The second element comes from another indication from the blog post:

To fund a prospective Crystal purchase, the diocese is understood to be laying the groundwork for a capital campaign. Further revenue would ostensibly come from the sale of a smaller plot long owned by the diocese for an earlier incarnation of its long-sought cathedral project.

Whilst the sale of the plot originally destined for the cathedral seems the natural solution, the new element here is that by explicitly asking for funding of the Cathedral purchase, the Diocese of Orange will in fact not be able to escape a “referendum” about the wisdom of the operation, a referendum in which the voters express their opinion by giving – or rather not giving – contributions towards the purchase. I do not doubt that it will always be possible to raise the funds in other ways if desired (this is a diocese with more than 1 million nominal faithful; a bank loan of, say, $50m with repayment in, say, 15 years would cost not more than 4-4.50 dollar a year per nominal faithful), the decision to ask the faithful for direct contributions would rapidly give a way to gauge the way the local Catholics see this purchase. I don’t need to say that, should such an appeal be done, I sugest that the faithful do not even think of donating even a penny toward the purchase of Tod Mahal.

We shall see, but the matter appears not so easily settled yet.


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