Monday, April 30, 2007

Clowns to the Left of me, Kooks to the Right

It has been a while since I posted anything. Just been busy with work, and family, and just busy reading blogs. But now, thanks to the the numerous things that I have read regarding some people in the traditionalist Catholic camp, I am moved to write.

By definition, this is more about the aforesaid Kooks than about the Clowns. For the most part, by attending more conservative parishes (Novus Ordo), I can usually avoid the Clowns altogether. On the other hand, I try to be diligent in supporting the least little traditional bit at any church I attend, so as to provide positive reinforcement - be it a simple comment after Mass, a "thank you" email, or a "well done" voice mail left for the music director.

That having been said, I am amazed (though not really surprised) at the number of KOOKS there seem to be in this trad world I have ventured in to. Not that I see or meet them personally, but there seem to be an abundance of them in the blogosphere. (Note: Greensboro North Carolina USA appears to be far far off the beaten path of such things. No indult Tridentine Mass, no SSPX even) The bloggers themselves are reasonable and polite and sensible, but the commenters - wow! It seems like every blog entry is followd by some wag holding forth about the minutia of God-knows-what, almost always with the transparently obvious goal of proving to the world just how much more pious, knowledgable, and "traditional" they are than both the blogger and any other commenters.

Then... THEN... To make matters worse, on the priest's blogs that exist, these idiots presume to chastize the priests, or priest commenters, for not "caring for their flock". Guys, if you are out there and reading this, listen up. The priesthood is a profession. These men are professionals who have taken apon themselves the task of saving souls like yours, a lot of times when that isn't all that easy thing to do. To berate them for not having encyclopedic knowledge of the footnotes to some Papal document from the 18th century is patently absurd - you guys are KOOKS!!!

I saw this first, back in December on the New Liturgical Movement blog where a priest at a small parish tried his level best to have a beautiful, reverent Christmas Mass, here, and a whole tsunami of commenters raised hell because of the way he wore his biretta. How christian is that?? Since then the thing has snowballed, it seems, and I see these self-congratulatory idiotic comments coming up everywhere.

People..... If you want tradition, SUPPORT it!!! If a priest has made an error in rubrics, BE NICE about correcting him. And for God's sake, do it off-board and privately!!

I have said this in comments elsewhere, and I'll say it again. What we are confronting here is a sales job. We are selling Catholic Tradition. And IT CANNOT BE SOLD using the technique of "Say mass this way because the other way sucks". Try making a living in sales using that technique and you'll starve very quickly. If the good, forward-looking sensible supporters of tradition don't do everything in their power to build support for the cause - to "define" themseves as a positive force, they will become "defined" by the fringe - the kooks- and they are doomed.

On the other hand, I believe in the idea that all that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing. That means if the good, forward-looking people do make a concerted effort to plead their case, success can be theirs (ours). So, talk to your priest, send an email, shake hands, talk to others at church. And be pleasant and upbeat and appreciative - consistently. It works....

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter Weekend

Lest I appear to be something of a one-trick pony, based on my previous posts about the motu proprio, Rites (old-vs-new), etc., I thought it appropriate to add a post on just life in general, at least as far as the weekend goes.

Well, this being the first whole weekend in April, here in good ol' NC, one would have expected reasonably nice weather. Especially after a few weeks of being hot and sunny. That, however was not to be. I won't hold forth on the weather in this area, as Simon-Peter described the madness of it here far more eloquently than I ever could. Just suffice to say that it was cold and windy - far too cold to do anything outdoors of any consequence. That made for an extended weekend indoors.

As a result, by Sunday, we were all stir-crazy. So after my wife and daughter got home from mass, we ate a beautiful dinner, and piled all three children in the van, allegedly to go to a park somewhere to let them burn off some energy. It took all of 15 minutes until all three were blissfully asleep (a RARE occasion on a weekend day)!!! Cause for celebration!!! So our trip to the park involved a 3 hour, 120 mile triangular trip from home to home (with a stop at a Dairy Queen for an Easter treat for my wife and I). That meant for three straight ours of lucid (awake-daytime) uninterrupted conversation between my perfect wife and I. MORE cause for celebration!!! Our five year old daughter was a bit disoriented, when she awoke a few miles from home, but was easily placated by playing in the back yard with her sister.

All of this worked out beautifully, allowing me to go to mass at 7:00 Easter night. This procedure of going to Mass in shifts is the result of simply being unable to handle the three (actually, the middle) children at mass. It is a less than ideal arrangement, but works pretty well. Though I am looking forward to the time when we can go as a family again. The mass itself was beautiful. Our Lady of Grace is without a doubt the most impressive church I have ever been in (though I am prejudiced, since I was married there). The mass was beautifully done (no Latin, though) complete with organ accompaniment (unusual for the Sunday night Mass) and Father Starczewski sung (!) much of the mass!!!!! Wow... He has a wonderful voice, and I encouraged him to sing more as I was shaking his hand after mass. Though I don't know if he took me seriously or not. This is not to disparage my "home" church, St. Benedict's (yes, I still use the possessive - sue me) which is beautiful as well. Though not as striking, it is actually warmer and prettier in a less ostentatious way. And it has the advantage of having a choir that actually occupies the choir loft, and which, for such a small church, is pretty good.
Unfortunately, it does not have a school, so our children are going to be attending Our Lady of Grace, anyway!
All in all, and amazing weekend. I am so blessed. I don't know what I've done to deserve it all, but I am so blessed. Thank God for it all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

More Latin Mass news, from an unlikely source...

CNS is reporting on how there are people in Rome who appreciate the PreV2 Rite, even in the shadow of the Vatican...

Traditionalists find reverence, calm at pre-Vatican II Mass in Rome

This is just a fantastically well done article. I can't imagine it being more positive, teaching, and respectful.

But the question that comes to mind for me is... Why? Why this article, and why now? Well, I suppose my mind gets overly analytical, but, as in most things, particuarly important things, the Why's are important. The why's often tell you more about the background of a statement of any kind (or an article, or a press release), and more about the intent of the statement, than the statement itself.

So, why this article? Well, first consider the nature of the source (the USCCB via the CNS), and the audience of that source (mainstream, Post V2 background, generally liberal). These are probably people who know nothing about the coming Motu Proprio, and probably very little about the recent Apostolic Exhortation. I know from my experience, if it were not for me being "tuned in" on the internet, my only knowledge of the latter would be one brief article in my Dioscean newspaper, giving little detail (assuming I even looked at that paper, and didn't just trash it whan it came out of the mailbox) or a few blurbs in the mainstream media about married priests and remarried Catholics and communion. And I would have no knowledge at all of the former.

So, we have the vast majority of American Catholics humming along in their Novus Ordo world completely oblivious to the history of the Mass, or of the struggle that has been going on all these years. At best, all they know is that "the mass used to be in Latin, and the Priest had his back to the people" - if that! Now they are about to be confronted with something completely different and alien to their paradigm. That is going to be a shock, a BIG shock to many.

And that, I think, is the why behind this article. A gentle, but clear introduction to the masses that A) there IS another Mass out there B) Here is how it differs (generally): and C) It is a beautiful thing that is enjoyed by many because of those differences. The article also does a wonderful job of taking a POSITIVE (!) view of those who prefer the Old Rite. This would help calm some who may have the vague feeling that such people are some sort of lunatic fringe.

So, after years of trying relentlessly to convince the masses that Church history started with Vatican II, they are faced with having to explain otherwise, and make it look like something that is not to be feared, but appreciated. This article does that and more. And that is the other why behind it. The Bishops are going to have a bit of explaining to do, they know it, and I think that this is a first step in that process. And a good one, as well.