Saturday, May 24, 2008

The 1962 Missal - Hazard warning...

Recently, there have been some word from Rome (via the person on Card. Castrillon Hoyos) that the Holy Father wants to see the Mass in the Extraordinary Form (MEF) celebrated at least weekly in every parish in the Roman Catholic World. Needless to say I think that this is a WONDERFUL Idea!!! How to effect that change is another matter entirely. The MEF is supposed to be part of the "fabric of the church" . It cannot be, and will never be, such if it is limited to a few masses in a few churches, attended by MEF "enthusiasts" who travel to these masses exclusively. I understand how important the MEF is, and why one would want to abandon everyday parish life to experience the beauty and reverence it offers, and so I do not mean to disrespect those who are doing this very thing already. But if the MEF is to be the key to the restoration of the church, it simply MUST NOT be allowed to fall (in reality or perception) into the realm of a liturgical Grateful Dead Tour, complete with a following of chanting, latin-loving "deadheads".

This potential was noted quite eloquently by Fr. George William Rutler in an interview with the New Liturgical Movement:

" Unless the usus antiquior is more widely available, it could end up being the exotic indulgence of few for whom it can function as a symbol of other problems they have with the Church and with life in general. Quite simply if it is not centric it will be eccentric and will give the impression that it is for people who do not want to face the challenges of our age. When the usus antiquior is rare, it attracts the rara avis type of person who discourages others..." .

The entire interview is on the NLM blog, and I recommend it highly.

But the point is well taken. If the MEF is able to be pigeonholed into a special category - for Latin mass speciallist only, we are doomed. The traditional mass MUST be gotten into as many parishes as possible and quickly. Every week, or month of delay allows the perception to sink in that those who appreciate the older mass are simply cranks who hold desperately to the past. The opponents - no enemies - of the 1962 missal, and Summorum Pontificum are already using this tactic as the main thrust of their opposition, so it must be cut off quickly, or else the vast majority of Catholics worldwide will see the 1962 missal - and reverence - and Latin - and Catholic identity, as something that doesn't apply to them. And never will.

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