Monday, June 18, 2012

Scolding The Choir

This annoyed me a bit, from New Liturgical Movement, regarding the Solemn Pontifical Mass (Old Rite, of course) celebrated by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa at the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin:

Within the first section of his homily, the archbishop spoke of the matter of development in continuity and the reciprocal importance of not allowing one's own attachment to one or the other form to obscure the "truth, goodness and beauty of the other", nor to obscure the fact that both are the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
I'm really rolling my eyes here. It sounds like the guy was basically using his homily, at a traditional mass, to scold traditionalists regarding their attachment to the traditional liturgy. Like, "Okay, we'll let you have this here. But don't get used to it! Don't get on a high horse about it!"

Why does it seem like so many bishops, in agreeing to celebrate traditional Masses, invariable wind up heaping glowing praise on the Novus Ordo in their homily?? I doubt traditionalists come to traditional Masses to hear about how great the Novus Ordo is...

I mean, here were a bunch of Catholics attending a Mass at a modern-Vatican-approved Eucharistic Congress, with a modern prelate. And yet he apparently was concerned with addressing the spectre of denigrating the Novus Ordo or people not considering them both to be the Mass?? What sort of paranoia or strange ecclesiastical political correctness is this? As if the homily has to draw attention to the fact that something extraordinary is happening and therefore self-consciously reaffirm the validity of what ordinarily happens. Ugh!

Were I one of the traditionalist Catholics at something like this, it would make me feel so patronized. As if we all might be closet schismatics or sedevacantists who need to get our priorities straight and be kept in line on account of our rowdiness. 

In reality, few people consider the "Ordinary Form" and the "Extraordinary Form" to be "both great in their own way" even though that's the official party-line they're trying to push (with the help of the co-opted "reform of the reform" crowd.)

In reality, almost all people who make an effort to attend the traditional liturgy with any regularity do so not just because they have a personal preference or cultural attachment to it in itself (as if it were merely like belonging to an Eastern Rite)...but because we also correspondingly don't like (even "can't stand") the Novus Ordo, and find it seriously problematic in many respects. Likewise, all the people who don't bother to seek out the traditional liturgy are not simply satisfied with what they have, but probably would feel positively uncomfortable with the traditional liturgy (though much of that may just be the language barrier).

So, as much as they may pretend that it's all just about "legitimate diversity" and "mutual enrichment" and "complementarity"...the practical "political" reality on the ground is that offering two "Forms" is about appeasing two separate aesthetics that really are quite mutually exclusive and mutually opposed (even if both are compatible with the Faith). It takes a very strange (and, I would argue, shallow) sense of taste or personality to truly love both and think both are equally great ("if done correctly," I can just hear some sycophant neocon gushing.) In general, the more you love the ethos of one, the more distasteful you will find the other.

So I'd really rather just hear nothing about the question of Rite during the homily (and certainly not be reminded of the existence of that other one!) So that I can, you know, just pretend, for at least a little while, that the extraordinary is usual...


Edmund said...

This is standard Hegelianism. The old Latin Mass was the thesis, the new, English Mass was the antithesis (and then some!), so now we have to look forward to some sort of lovely, new synthesis of the two.

It's frightening that there are Catholic clerics who still think like this. As if Prussian militarism and Marx didn't demonstrate the folly of this sort of necessaritarian attitude to history!

My feeling is that Pope Paul VI was the Henrician reformer, Pope John Paul II was the Edwardian, and we're now experiencing at a short-lived Marian restoration of the old religion under Benedict XVI. As soon as he's dead, the Elizabethans will move in for the kill.

Robert said...

This post reminds me of a particularly egregious example of this. When the FSSP consecrated their seminary chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the homilist Card. Levada spends a solid 5 minutes talking along these lines this (see video ). He continues on to mention the requirement that the '62 books add more prefaces and how this will be beneficial for the rite. When I heard this, I remember shouting at the online feed I was watching, “O COME ON!! Let them have their day!!” This was the first traditional consecration of a chapel in communion with the Pope in quite a long time, but thankfully this occasion was used to make sure the traddies know their place. Sometimes when I read about relations between Rome and the non-Latin or non-N.O. Communities, I almost wonder if the Roman curia wants an exodus of these groups.

A Sinner said...

Yes! Exactly! Thank you for sharing that "egregious example." It perfectly demonstrates the pattern I'm talking about here.

Richard M. Sawicki said...

Edmund's comment that "as soon as Benedict XVI is dead, the Elizebethans will move in for the kill" demonstrates to me a lack of faith!

The enemy (in many disguises) tries to inflict harm on the church, and sometimes succeeds in wounding her, but he can't triumph over her, period.

God is still in control no matter what anybody thinks (that includes both liberal dissenters and doom-and-gloom trads). The gates of Hell will not triumph over her.

Our only job-duty-responsibility is to be faithful to our baptismal vows every day, and leave the rest in His hands.

Gaudete in Domino Semper!

A Sinner said...

I tend to agree, Richard.

dominic1955 said...

It is a weird form of ecclesiastical political correctness and only neo-cons could possibly try to hold on to the idea that the TLM and NO are totally equal and really only "two forms of the one Roman Rite." Just keep telling yourself that 2+2=5...

We got ourselves in this mess, though, when we replaced a true sense of liturgical orthopraxis with papal/curial office fiat.