I posted the other day about a Mass celebrated by Fr. Gerald Carey at St. Paul’s Church in South Philadelphia.
This is in from a Philadelphia news source The Bulletin.
My emphases and comments.
Past Is Prologue At Latin Mass Event
By Mary Hall, The Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2009
If you are a Catholic born before Vatican II, you might recall the Latin Mass, [We must get away from this inaccurate term. The Novus Ordo is also to be celebrated in Latin.] or, as some think of it, the way Mass used to be. Now it is regularly referenced under several names, not limited to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite and the Tridentine Rite, but most openly as the Traditional Latin Mass, or TLM, due its dissimilarity from the modern Mass in the vernacular, otherwise known as the Novus Ordo, which superceded it. [See? The Novus Ordo is in Latin also… at least on paper.]
While the list of differences between the two rites continue, recent papal actions make it better to think of the differences as marks of distinction, rather than disparity. This is particularly true in light of two related actions that have come from Rome in recent years. These have included the issuance of Summorum Pontificum, a 2007 papal document clarifying that the older form of the Mass had never been forbidden, but simply had fallen into disuse [Ehem… noooo. It was actively supressed, and wrongly so. It didn’t just fall into disuse.] and Pope Benedict XVI’s decision last weekend to lift the excommunication of the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). The SSPX is a traditionalist group that disagrees with the changes made by the Second Vatican Council. [et al.]
Pope Benedict XVI has devoted a great deal of time and energy to making it possible for both forms of the Mass to peacefully coexist. Under the pope’s guidance, the Traditional Latin Mass has become both more accessible and more common than many imagined possible. His support for the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass has inspired many priests to study and celebrate it themselves.
Father Gerald Carey, former director of worship for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, celebrated his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form this past Sunday at St. Paul Church in South Philadelphia. It honored the conversion of the parish’s namesake, a feast day which falls on the same date in both the pre- and post-conciliar calendars.
An analysis of conversion supplied the thesis for Fr. Carey’s sermon. He gently stressed the importance of recognizing that, theologically, the term does not define a one-time event, but a continuous string of conscious decisions to prefer God in everything. As recorded in the Bible, God revealed himself to St. Paul in a second, but a lifetime of opportunities and choices followed, wherein he had to be repeatedly converted.
“Today does not mark the end of St. Paul’s conversion,” said Fr. Carey, “But the beginning.”
The revival of the Traditional Latin rite is likewise only in its earliest stages, despite support from Rome. [It hasn’t really been that long since Summorum Pontificum went into force.] Some have wondered, due to the pope’s affection for the older form of the Mass, why he has not applied more pressure to widen its use. His method has been paced slowly, but after so nearly four decades of the new Mass, more and more Catholics only remember the modern rite of Mass.
Education, in some cases re-education, is key for priests who have the desire to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass because they have an equally strong desire to celebrate it correctly, with care and reverence. It is this attention to detail that the pope hopes will gradually convert Catholics to a deepened appreciation of the Traditional Latin Mass, and a greater need for it will arise as requests increase. [This might overstate it a little. Attention to detail applies to the newer form too. The Holy Father wants a radically corrected ars celebrandi, as he explains in Sacramentum caritatis.]
Some distinctive features of the Traditional Latin Mass are easy to recognize, such has kneeling to receive communion, or women choosing to cover their heads in church. [UGH. That is not a feasture of the TLM.] Others, such as details in the vestments and setup on the altar, are more subtle. [Neither are these.] At St. Paul’s, a great deal of attention had been placed on the music. [Nor is this.]
“Beautiful and appropriate liturgical music should be part of any celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass, whether in the Novus Ordo or Extraordinary Form,” music director Dr. Robert Hall said. [Exactly.] “However, it is a more critical factor in the proper celebration of the Latin Mass. Except when celebrated as spoken or ‘Low Mass,’ the various parts of the Mass are truly meant to be sung and, indeed, must be sung. This would normally include not only the portions of the Mass assigned to the priest, but also other parts which are taken up by the choir or, in certain cases, the full congregation. Structurally, this plan creates an atmosphere of intensely active participation among all those involved in the liturgical action.” [Well done! This fellow has understood what is going on.]
The question remains as is whether the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated by Fr. Carey will be the first of many more like it in the Philadelphia area.
One young man, who had traveled from North Philadelphia for the Mass — his first, as well — called it the “most beautiful, most reverent thing [he] had ever seen.”
Many people traveled substantial distances to attend. A good number came from Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church in Berlin, N.J., where the traditional rite has been exclusively celebrated since 2000, with full approval from the bishop of Camden, under the pastoral guidance of Fr. Robert Pasley, who assisted Fr. Carey at certain points during the Mass.
“We’re here to show our support,” stated one Mater Ecclesiae parishioner. “We think it’s important to be here, today. We’re very proud of what Fr. Carey is doing.”
Mary Hall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good article, all in all. There are a few holes, but the piece got to the most important elements.