As a priest in my 83rd year I have to make a confession. I implemented the Pauline reforms without understanding or sensitivity. I did it relying on the advice and coercion of my bishop and diocesan authorities. As I did it I witnessed the hurt and pain of many of the devout, so many of the ardent became lukewarm, many lapsed. I thought I acted rightly but in my 59 years of priesthood I recognise that that which we hoped for has not come to pass.
I do welcome a careful reappraisal and assessment of what has been done since my ordination, especially by the younger clergy. In order to do that they must learn something of the spirituality that brought men of my generation in vast numbers to the seminary.
In short I welcome this Merton initiative.
Incidentally, in the solitude of my retirement, since last September, I have relearnt the Mass of my youth, it brings me great consolation. It is the Mass I have not celebrated out of obedience since 1970.
Fr P O’Rourke
I cannot say adequately how deeply impressed I am by this priest’s comment.