Saturday 23 July 2022

"We're here from the archdiocese and..."

Yesterday Cardinal Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington outraged Catholics who love the Traditional Latin Mass by sharply curtailing the number of churches where it might be offered in his See, banning the celebration of the sacraments according to their traditional form and celebrations according to the traditional form of the Triduum and other solemnities. 

One pastoral solution for integrating the "Trads" into ordinary parish life is to educate them about the wishes of the Second Vatican Council for the liturgy and the beauties of the Ordinary Form. Another is to make "pastoral visits" to the Trads. I think these are both fantastic opportunities for Catholics who love the Traditional Latin Mass. First, any serious research into Sacrosanctum Concilium and the construction of the Ordinary Form will lead any intellectually honest pastor to understand why a number of Catholics prefer what Benedict XVI calls the Extraordinary Form. Second, the pastoral visits will give Catholics who love the TLM a chance to say, "Sit down, Father/Sister/Susan! I'll bring you a drink, and we can watch Mass of Ages together." 

My greatest fear for Americans who love the Traditional Latin Mass--apart from despair and apostasy, of course--is that they will become angry and weird. Or, if they are already angry and weird, angrier and weirder. 

I have long held that one of the great gifts of Summorum Pontificum is that it led to the arrival of wave after wave of curious young people, as well as middle-aged refugees whose patience with their parishes' liturgical experiments or sacrilege had snapped. The curious young people came without baggage and with the confidence born of a marriage between pre-1962 Catholic books and the post-1962 pastoral obsession with the Youth. Cheerful, excited, wearing new-to-them jackets or mantillas, they eventually outnumbered (or outlived) the battle-scarred ranks of the  old and cranky Trads. It cannot be underscored enough, however, that the young must be kind to and patient with the Old Guard, partly because they are their mothers and fathers in faith, and partly because without them there would have been no TLM communities for them to flock to. 

It is my practice to pray for those among my TLM community Old Guard whom I met and have gone on to their reward. Only one of them was angry and weird, but goodness knows what suffering made her choose to be that way. Meanwhile, my TLM community is flourishing and happy, and it is so not-weird that a visiting American Protestant couple made it a habit to accompany their university friends to our Mass. I chatted with them over tea.

That reminds me to make another plug for after-TLM tea. Please, my fellow lovers of the TLM, have coffee and tea hour after Mass and go to it. Critics of the TLM keep saying and writing about how terribly formal and unfriendly it is, everyone so intent on the incomprehensible stuff up front, so give newcomers the attention and smiles they think normal at church when they turn up in the tea/coffee room. Look around for those sitting there with no-one but their spouses and/or minor children to talk to, and talk to them. 

It is true that bishops can do a ton of damage, but the choice to become angry and weird lies with us alone. Remember the Whos of Whoville and how their joy converted the Grinch. I can't see Wilton Gregory racing down a hill on a sled full of vestments and missals, but let me not place limits on the abilities of the Holy Spirit. 

Meanwhile, I am disappearing from the world of online English letters for some weeks, for I am going to Poland. When I was feeling particularly ground down in March, I basically put my head down on my desk and asked myself what I wanted. What I wanted was for it to be the last day of school and to have a glorious summer spread out before me, as if I were in Grade 5. 

So what I did was ask for some unpaid leave to take an intensive Polish course in Poland, given that I have been working for my employer for 5 years, which is about the length of a school year in grown-up years. It was granted, and thus my glorious summer began today. 

In case you are wondering, I will presumably go to a Polish-language Novus Ordo during the week and travel to the TLM across town for Sundays. Meanwhile, I am giving up social media cold turkey, and thus I will be even less angry and weird when I return. 

1 comment:

  1. We will miss you, but have a lovely summer!