Monday, May 25, 2009

Why Summorum Pontificum was right...

Some now mostly older Catholics continue to complain that before Vatican II Catholic liturgies were oh so "wrong" and "bad" and "in the dark." We have all heard this rant...

But, don't be duped, Catholic youth. The Holy Ghost was not out to lunch and did not get it wrong until the sixties.

Remember what the Word says: "God does not repent of the gifts He makes" (Rom. 11:29).

God got it right. He always gets in right. What Mother Church has given, we take.

Even as a kid while attending Holy Mass with my parents I can still remember always feeling bad about the liturgical diminution that was so clear to me even as a kid. My constant question was: "Why do I see nobody in this church acting as if this is really Jesus Christ?"

The joy with the Extraordinary Form is that the rights of the laity are again guaranteed. No more, "Hi, I'm the priest and this is my Mass and I'll do whatever I want." Again we have rules and people who believe and act that Jesus Christ is really, truly and substantially present atop the altar of sacrifice.

The invisible attributes of God are clearly seen in the Extraordinary Form. This is His plan as His everlasting power and divinity are to be understood through the things that are made and lived in the liturgical rites. We all learn to know the hidden things from those things which are manifest and this holds true in the liturgical rites, too. The old rites teach our kids as they taught our ancestors to consider in spirit the greatness of the Maker from the greatness and majesty seen in the rites. Yes, by all means have High Mass, and a choir and much ceremony and allow the rites to teach!

"Majesty" is seen in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite. Since we cannot see Him with the sight of our eyes we learn to know Him from the greatness, power and majesty of this ancient ordo - a gift from the Son to the Father in the Holy Spirit. Learning to know the hidden things from those which are manifest is the name of the game with the Usus Antiquior and solemn splendor is the order of the day.

God has mercifully mitigated our punishment by cursing not so much man as our labors on earth. We toil and are poor. We suffer and are broken. But in the Extraordinary Form we find our beauty and solemnity and majesty and this is all protected for us by law and custom and this protects our rights as laity. Christ is both human, yes, but also divine and in the Extraordinary Form we see the divine and this is what we have been longing for again!

Catholics, welcome home and teach your kids the spirituality of the ancient Usus Antiquior of the Roman rite.

1 comment:

Roland de Chanson said...

Very well written, JP. Summorum Pontificum was indeed right.

I am praying for the day when the Bugnini-butchered liturgy is buried forever and the True Mass flourishes once again. But as a "mostly older" Catholic, I may not have enough time.

In the meantime, it would be a blessing to see the Bishop of Rome celebrate the True Mass openly and often in his own diocese. Words like "indult" and "extraordinary" are not comforting in their implication. We have seen him pray facing Mecca; we have seen him pray facing the Western Wall; when will we see him pray ad orientem in a traditional Catholic Church replete with a sanctuary, high altar, tabernacle and altar rail?

Christ taught not only by his words but by his deeds: the world was saved not by words but by one supreme Deed. Let the Bishop of Rome teach not only by his words but by example. As a "mostly older" Catholic, he may not have enough time either.