Each one of us is, at some level, aware of the uniqueness of being “the real thing”. You can buy whatever cola you want at the supermarket, but however its advantages it will never be “the real thing”. Similarly, all those products or brands which are perceived as to be “the original” have a very special place. Monsieur Lacoste certainly did not invent the polo shirt, but he reinvented its use, and made of it a brand now followed and imitated worldwide. The same can be said for many other products and brands, of which Apple is perhaps the most spectacular seen in recent times (but there are others; for us Italians, Della Valle’s “Tod’s” is another brilliant example). There is an element of truthfulness in the “original”, that cannot be denied. A shoes which tries to imitate another brand of shoe is, obviously, still a shoe, but it will ruthlessly branded “a fake” nevertheless. It is fake in that, whilst still a shoe, it fails to adhere to truthfulness, and people love truthfulness. The very adjective “authentic” is often used in the sense of “truthful, devoid of lies” rather than “original”.
All over the planet, people pay a premium for the original, because the original is “the real thing”, because it is – at some level – truthful. What comes later is merely a by-product, a me-too imitation, an attempt to ride a wave of success. Nowadays it seems pretty much everything must have an “i” as prefix, and even my freeview box is called “i-Can”; but all this, of course, only reminds us of the original.
People all over the world know this. They even feel this. They certainly pay for this.
Isn’t it strange, then, that such a tremendous force of attraction be struggling there, where it should be strongest? That it should be I do not say waning, but dozing along even if it concerns what is most important, what makes it absolutely vital to be right, and to choose “the right thing”? How can it be that it is so clear human nature longs for truthfulness, and the Catholic Church, the most granitic, self-evident example of Originality and Authenticity ever created, struggles to even persuade people they must show up on a Sunday?
The answer to this is, if you ask me, that no organisation is promoted in such an incompetent way as the Catholic Church.
Instead of promoting and propagating the Truth of the Catholic faith – and people need truth; they yearn for it; look at how well the Evangelicals fare – they do everything possible to water it down. Instead of stressing the unique nature of the Church, they drown in a sea of senseless ecumenism. Instead of asking that the world embrace Christ, they try to make Christ follow the world (Jesus the Ecumenical Chap; Jesus the Global Warmist; Jesus the Socialist; Jesus the Animal Rights Activist, and all the other “Jesuses” happily invented in the last decades, of whom blessedly I only miss Jesus the Vegetarian). People don’t show up on a Sunday, because most priests and bishops are too cowardly to tell them they must.
What is, without question, the most powerful “brand” on Earth – so powerful that no one can escape being fascinated and awed by it at some level; not even hardened atheists – is made ineffective by the most tragically ineffective body of deciders of the planet. It is a great testimony of the indefectibility of the Church that after five decades of systematic sabotage and ruthless work of destruction from within, the Church still stands strong – though not as strong as it should – and able to put a fight – not so deadly as it should – when she chooses.
The level of incompetence, cowardice, stupidity or sheer heresy we experience on a daily basis would have killed the Coca-Colas and Apples of the world many times over. It is, as I speak, killing the Anglicans and Presbyterians, whilst the Methodists are, at least in the UK, already a purely geriatric exercise.
The gates of hell will not prevail, and The Real Thing will never stop to attract and fascinate.
But for Heavens’ sake, dear Bishops, get a move on.
According to Anna Arco at the Catholic Herald, a poll conducted among Catholic churchgoers in several European countries reveals that 43% of them think they would attend the Latin Mass every week if it were available to them, and 66% once a month.
As those who attend to two masses every Sunday are rather rare and those who attend several times a week are also not terribly frequent, what emerges is that without even having access to the TLM, almost half of the interviewed say that if the Latin mass was available, they would ditch the Novus Ordo and proceed to excusively attend the Tridentine Mass.
This calls, I think, for the following considerations:
1) all those “trendy” bishops who do whatever they can to boycott the Tridentine in their diocese very well know why they do it. They may claim that there is no interest but they perfectly well know that the interest would be huge;
2) the survey was made among generic churchgoers; there’s no reason to assume a disproportionate amount of them has had any significant exposure to the Tridentine Mass. It is the tradition that moves them to say that they would attend the TLM, the clear conscience that this is what their forefathers did. This tells a lot about the attraction of the TLM even on those unaware of its intrinsic beauty and reverence.
3) If someone would inform a Coca-Cola drinker about a new type of Coca-Cola, would he say that if introduced he’d automatically switch to the new type? Though not. Why? Well, because he likes Coca-Cola as it is and would therefore not switch to something else just because it is different. What does this say to us about the popularity of the Novus Ordo?
I think that vast part of the churchgoers find the Novus Ordo rather childish, not reverent enough and, in general, superficial. They instinctively know, even without having assisted to a TLM, that the Church has much better to offer. Therefore when someone prospects to them a Mass they don’t know in a language they don’t know, almost half of those asked say they’d prefer the unknown product they wouldn’t be able to immediately understand to the known one whose shortcomings they understand all too well.
As things are, the TLM would sweep away the Novus ordo in no time, were it to be rolled in in every parish and celebrated reverently.
Unfortunately, it appear we’ll have to wait and do the Sixty-Eighters the favour of waiting that they die. A favour they didn’t grant to old people in the Sixties.