Attempt to resurrect pre-Vatican II Mass leaves church at crossroads
Cardinal Walter Brandmuller elevates the Eucharist during a Tridentine-rite Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican May 15, 2011. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Ron Schmit | Dec. 8, 2012
It was curiosity and a sense of irony that moved me to open the Oct. 1 issue of our diocesan newspaper. On the cover was the headline "Moving Forward in Faith" next to a picture of our former bishop [Archbishop Cordileone - NcR is no fan] vested as would be a prelate from more than 50 years ago. This was a photo from a liturgy in the "extraordinary form" (pre-Vatican II 1962 Latin Mass), welcoming a group of very traditional Carmelite nuns to the diocese.
Lately, there seems to be an increasing interest in this "extraordinary form" in our diocesan paper and among some of our clergy [the young priests]. In the past my attitude has been "so what." If people are into antiquarianism, [liberal definition: anything between Constantine to Vatican II]] let them. Some people like to spend weekends reenacting the Civil War. They dress in period costume. They stage mock battles of Union and Confederate soldiers. It's a harmless hobby. I just figured that the people attached to this "extraordinary form" were the liturgical version of societies for anachronistic re-enactment. [such a nice and respectful fellow]
However, I have come to change my opinion. Those attached to the extraordinary form are not like Civil War re-enactment societies. At least those people know they are play-acting about a time that can never return. The people attached to the extraordinary form are seriously trying to enact a particular worldview and understanding of church.[yes, we are...the Catholic Church] And it is an understanding that we left behind at the Second Vatican Council. [no, you left it behind just like others in history] It is a worldview that is incompatible with the council. [well...the successor to St. Peter begs to differ]
The 1570 missal (the basis of the 1962 missal) was, and continues to be, a liturgy in which the baptized -- once subjects of the liturgy and co-celebrants of the eucharistic sacrifice -- were and are reduced to mere spectators. [like the spectators there that day at Calvary] They are there to watch the priest say "his" Mass. The emphasis is hierarchical and legalistic (who has the power and how are they lawfully exercising that power). Rather than the risen Christ working through the whole people of God (lay and ordained), we have a powerful clergy ministering to a passive people. [so passive we've caught your attention] Instead of church as sacrament, we have church as a juridical hierarchy. [liberals hate hierarchy]
The attempt to resurrect and popularize the 1962 pre-Vatican II Mass has serious ramifications. [yes, it does. Repent!] Will we be a church that looks narrowly inward -- where God is found only in piety and private devotion, or will we be a church as Vatican II defined it -- a Spirit-filled people on fire with an urgent sense of mission? We are at a crossroads. [no, you're at a crossroads...the one St. Maria Faustina saw] The extraordinary form is incapable of activating us as the priestly people of God -- the vision of Vatican II. Which path will we follow? [be prepared...we don't know the hour the thief will come]
Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross were great reformers of the Catholic Counter Reformation. [Finally! Irony. Sts Teresa & John were among those 'passive spectators' at the Latin Mass] As those at Vatican II, they tried to reform their community by returning to the sources and restoring religious practice (discalced) that had become obscured over time. They also had to struggle with those who fought the reforms they were initiating. We need their intercession to persevere in the aggiornamento (updating) that Pope John XXIII inaugurated by calling the council together.
jimmccrea Rest assured. This article will NOT ... repeat, NOT ... be published in his diocesan rag (the Oakland Catholic Voice) anytime in this millennium. The influence of Silly Sally Crocodileone remains in the person of the current editor.
rsammon Do those who wish to return to a church pre-Vatican II wish to return to a geopolitical world that is pre-Vatican II as well? Do they wish to return to, and I can understand why, some presidential contenders wanted an America of Ozzie and Harriet?
TomZelinski Fr. Schmit's article puts some words to some things I have been feeling, or intuiting: that there is some movement afoot to "go back" to some nostalgic time when "we were really Catholic," and didn't deal with all this messiness of equality and the holiness of everybody and when we could put people in nice, neat boxes. I keep asking "Why?" What is the attraction? I hear of young priests loving to wear cassocks and even birettas (spelling?), and of course insisting that they are "the priest" and somehow know more, even just out of the seminary, than all the experienced people in their parishes. Again, i ask why? People easily toss around the word "insecurity" as an explanation. Give us more structure and more rules and we won't feel so insecure.
Terri Hemker This is all strangely similar to the political movements that offer a 'return to REAL morality' ie. the morality that they would like to believe existed during the fifties but, of course, never really did except on shows like 'Leave it to Beaver.'
Alice Iaquinta RCWP [RCWP = Roman Catholic Woman Priests] At Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles, (an inclusive, Vatican II Catholic Church in Milwaukee WI), we claim and name the earliest liturgical tradition...
CarmanK Sad and pathetic. To see people of FAITH so afraid to move forward. With God all things are possible, except if you are "traditionalists" who grab hold of the past because they fear what is ahead.
Jordan_of_Saxony Those vestments on the front of the Diocesan newspaper will be very appropriate for the funeral of the Catholic Church and the celebration of the demise of influence of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in the US. Who would want to waste their time being part of that circus? When the bishops are not being fitted for new robes, they are investigating Catholic Sisters, Catholic Writers, Sisters and Priests in Pastoral Ministry and Catholic Theologians.
Nice legacy you fiddleback priests have left good and faithful people who would like to learn about Christ, not watch you modeling vestments. Oh yes, and, incidentally, none of this "reform of the reform" stuff has made us forget about priest pedophiles. Not one bit!
Terri Hemker By the way, I will also most definitely call several 'Vicars of Christ' murderers, torturers, whoremongers, perverts, and a few other names that are not so nice.
jimmccrea Do you actually sit there with a straight face and expect us to believe that THIS church will raise us up? A small clue: any raising up, i.e., resurrection, will come from Christ, and not this evermore pretend "church." Read 1 Cor 13:11 and become more than a child.
PaCatholic Not long ago, just before the new translation of the Roman Missal took effect, I watched a taped Tridentine Mass on EWTN... all of this done with a theatrical solemnity that made the ceremony resemble nothing more than a Monty Python drag sketch. I began to laugh.... What I was watching was an attempt to revivify a culture of privilege and humiliation by dressing it up in brocade, perfuming it with incense, and imbuing it with self righteous religiosity. In a word it was decadent. Rather than en-kindling a desire to return to the pre-Vatican II church, the experience filled me with revulsion. When I attended the first Mass using the new translation I could only see exactly the same process taking place in front me. I wanted Mass to be a celebration of our oneness in Christ. Instead I got an insult from the Vatican. I have not been able to attend Mass since.
Dunstan Harding The 1962 rite is like a child's box of toys. Beautiful and fun when you're a child, but as you mature and start to think, or acquire taste and a sense of balance with respect for past, but looking forward, then the Tridentine rite needs to be put aside. You will and you should outgrow it and move on.