The conversations just get more profound in the Tridentine Mass versus Novus Ordo (NO) debate. Vatican II worked out quite well, because, although it was never intended — on paper, at least — to do away with the Latin Mass, in practice, Novus Ordo quickly became the de facto global replacement. Churchmouse Campanologist has a variety of posts on Vatican II, in particular, the Mass.
InsideCatholic.com featured an article recently by John Zmirak. ‘All Your Church Are Belong to Us‘ (as in ‘All Your Base Are Belong to Us’), explores the hijacking by reformer (as opposed to Reformed) Catholic bishops, eager to subvert orthodoxy in the Catholic Church. Thanks to their efforts to ‘modernise’, we have one, if not two, generations of Catholics who don’t understand orthodoxy or the focus of the Mass. Converts and young people who know only Novus Ordo (‘New Order’!) Mass are at loggerheads with the more traditionalist, Tridentine fans (like many of my Catholic readers). The NO types reduce their argument to one of ‘externals’, when that’s really only a tiny part of the story. (Emphases mine below.)
Both the article and subsequent comments are worthwhile reading. First, here are excerpts from the article:
– ‘Having come from churches that didn’t have the Eucharist, and remaining through God’s grace flush with gratitude for the sacraments, many converts really don’t understand what the rest of us are nattering on about … We owe these good people an explanation.’
– ‘While the universal language of the Church is still to be revered for all the reasons that Vatican II prescribed in Sacrosanctum Concilium, it isn’t Why We Fight.’
– ‘The liturgy is miraculous, but it doesn’t work like magic: Rev. Teilhard de Chardin had said the Tridentine Mass for decades even as he invented Catholic Scientology; conversely, his sometime housemate at New York’s St. Ignatius Loyola, the holy Rev. John Hardon, obediently switched missals with every tinkering that came to him from the bishops.’
– ‘The old Mass reminds me of what they used to say about the Catholic Church and the U.S. Navy: “It’s a machine built by geniuses so it can be operated safely by idiots” … The new rite was patched together by bureaucrats, and should only be safely celebrated by the saintly.’
– ‘Here’s what we Trads have realized, that the merely orthodox haven’t: Inessential things have power, which is why we bother with them in the first place. In every revolution, the first thing you change is the flag. Once that has been replaced, in the public mind all bets are off …’
– ‘The perception that the Church was in a constant state of doctrinal flux was confirmed by the reality that her most central, sacred mystery was being monkeyed with — almost every year.’
YES! I remember that ‘doctrinal flux’ well. How many different versions of Missals do I own? What about reception of Communion and the type of Host? Confession? Don’t get me started.
Then, two highly important passages. The first explains what happened next and what Catholics today experience in the pew. This gave us the CINO (Catholic in Name Only):
The campaign of dissenting priests, nuns, and (let’s be honest) bishops culminated, in America, with the Call to Action Conference, which its leading advocate John Francis Cardinal Dearden described in 1977 as “an assembly of the American Catholic community .” This gathering of 2,400 radical Catholic activists was composed of “people deeply involved with the life of the institutional Church and appointed by their bishops” (emphasis added). The Conference approved “progressive resolutions, ones calling for, among other things, the ordination of women and married men, female altar servers, and the right and responsibility of married couples to form their own consciences on the issue of artificial birth control.” This is the mess made by the bishops appointed by the author of Humanae Vitae, which his rightly beloved successor John Paul II spent much of his pontificate trying to clean up. What we Trads feel compelled to point out is that he couldn’t quite finish the job, and that the deformations of the Roman liturgy enacted by (you guessed it) appointees of Paul VI helped enable all these doctrinal abuses. They changed the flag.
And the second explains why traditionalists are upset:
… how it felt to be young and Catholic in the 1970s. Every sacred thing had to be changed, every old thing replaced with a new one, every complicated beauty plastered over by the cheap and the easy. The message was almost subliminal, but by that means all the more powerful: All Your Church Are Belong to Us.
The comments demonstrate the feuding between both sides. Those 45 and younger as well as recent converts side with the modernisers. I wonder if they realise what they are saying with statements such as these:
Dan the Dad: ‘Wow, that’s one seriously long, rambling article. I still can’t figure out why Trads are so crazy about the Tridentine Mass. I would suggest you use bullet points and write a shorter article that is clear … I’m a very orthodox Catholic. I like the Novus Ordo (thought I think it would be better if it were in Latin). I believe the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and kept free from error. Thus, the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo can not be mistakes.’
You can read the author’s reply in bullet points.
Mary Kay: ‘It’s more than being offended. They’re attacking their brothers and sisters in Christ and rationalizing their doing so.‘
Daria: ‘I feast upon the body and blood of Christ at either form of the mass.’
Croix: ‘Kneeling? Some people kneel before Communion, yes, but somehow it seems like showing off. I usually have an intense desire to prostrate myself but of course I will never to do it.’
Cephas: ‘I’ve attended enough TLM’s to know that for the most part people basically just sit there (or, kneel there: ouch!) for long stretches of time watching the priest and altar boys move around.
‘Actual participation like (gasp!) giving the responses is looked down upon in many Traddie parishes. And, the silence . . . O, the Silence! Silence is overrated. When I’m on retreat at a monastery, I want silence. When I attend a liturgical celebration I don’t want to kneel, sit, stand in silence.’
Marie: ‘… feel free to die in my parish in California (where I am the Liturgy planner). Although far away from an FSSP, I’ll make sure you get the Requiem chant for the Introit, “Dominus pascit me” for Responsorial, the Dies Irae as Sequence, the Jubilate Deo Ordinary with the “Dona eis” at the Agnus Dei, and “Lux aeterna” for Communion. I’ll get the priest to wear black (albeit with the deepest violet sheen) for your glorious send-off. Heck, I’ll even throw in “In Paradisum” at the gravesite, and even “Libera Me.”
‘But it will all be the Novus Ordo, ha-ha!‘
So, Catholic friends and reverent visitors who prefer the Tridentine Rite, you will need to deal with the therapeutic, pomo generation:
– NO (Novus Ordo) Catholics who believe TLM people are ‘attacking’ them and being ‘uncharitable’
– Catholics who are accepting of what ‘Holy Mother Church gives them’ — as if one could compare the solemn and reverent Tridentine Rite to the abomination of the NO
– Catholics who wish to feel comfortable (no kneeling!) and ‘celebrate’ the remembrance of Christ’s holy and living sacrifice
– Catholics who like having their ‘itching ears’ tickled with an easy, fun Mass — the horror!
Now, how is that to be transformed, particularly in light of bishops and priests who can’t be bothered?
This, for me, was the most poignant of comments. Prayers for Another Old Catholic — with whom many can empathise (my emphasis):
I was a child when the mass was changed, when the Blessed Mother’s statue was ‘disappeared’ from her little altar to the left of the main altar, this old and lovely altar later ripped out and replaced by a large dining room table. I was frightened when the priest, instead of facing East with the rest of us turned toward us got between us and God. It seemed to me that we had gone from the worship of God to the worship of the priest. I was a child but I cringed at the bad music with sometimes sacrilegious lyrics. I was robbed of my tradition, and so were the next two generations who never even had the experience of the Traditional Latin Mass..
Even now I often leave the Novus Ordo mass in tears over my loss. The closest TLM near me is an hour away over dangerous roads and my car is also old. All I want is the TLM restored to every parish so that those of us who love it have an equal chance to worship as those who want the Novus Ordo. I want the next generations to have a chance to see what they have been missing before those of us who remember it are gone.
How true. And that’s how I remembered it, too.