"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Vocations: thoughts

I am a bit anxious about our parish's liturgical future, we are loosing our Master of Ceremonies, he believes God is calling him to the religious life, I do too, or at least to be more accurate I believe that he is called to offer himself, because ultimately the Church will do the calling. Vocation is ultimately the objective call of the Church not the subjective opinion of the individual. Another of our servers, a university student studying here has already gone to off to the continent to do the same thing along with his younger brother. Pray for all three.

I am not sure how much influence I have had, not much I suspect but maybe they were suddenly struck by the thought, as I was during a particularly dull and painful Good Friday Liturgy and sermon, "If God can call this man as a source of Grace, he might just be able to use me to do the same." Good priests attract vocations but so, thank God, do the mediocre.

In both cases the young men concerned have been attracted more by the old rite than the new. Both were more than capable of guiding me and our servers through a High Mass; unless God in his wonderous providence sends us a new Master of Ceremonies we are going to be a bit stuck but if he wants it, he will do something about it.

Talking to a lay friend involved in seminary selection in one of the Metropolitan dioceses, he said he estimated half those of those who now apply to a seminary have had some involvement with the Traditional Mass. It would perhaps not be too much to speculate that those diocese who have a policy antagonistic towards the Traditional Mass are missing out on possible vocations. I heard of one ordinand recently who had his ordination delayed because of his interest in the Traditional Rites. In many parishes in the not too distant future Bishops will be faced with the problem of finding any priest to say any Mass.

The interesting thing is that seminaries which are the most antagonistic to "Tradition" seem to produce priests who within a few years of ordination are celebrating the Traditional Mass. The situation is made a bit difficult for them in that few seminaries actually teach Latin, despite what comes from Rome. Someone recently suggested that diocese were the bishop is less likely even to attend a Traditional Mass is likely to have more celebrating it. This could just be a bit of clerical contra agere, but without evidence one can't merely dismiss it as such.

For young men serving the Traditional Mass there is a cost; it involves study and practice, it also involves taking on a particular spirituality and making sense of the theology of the Mass, it involves an enculturation and a sense of thinking with the Church, and ultimately, I hope, discipleship. It certainly provides the framework for discipleship; silence that leads either to boredom or to prayer. In similar way the uncompromising nature of the rubrics demands obedience, which either leads to a stunting rubricism or to liberating abandonment of one's own will to the will of God.

As a footnote: Fr de Malleray of the FSSP is offering a vocations discernment weekend in July.

Posted by Fr Ray Blake

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