The dissenters of National Catholic Reporter have an analysis piece about the Pontifical Mass in Washington DC on 24 Saturday.
Included in the body of their piece are some splendid photos. A redeeming point.
Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments:
DC liturgy: cappa magna, glorious music, Latin glitches
Apr. 26, 2010
By Jerry Filteau
Die 24 Aprile, [Aprilis] A.D. MMX, Eduardus Jacobus Slattery, episcopus dioeceseos [diocesanus] Tulsensis in Oklahoma, Missam sacram in lingua Latina secundum formam extraordinariam – id est, secundum ordinem Ritus Romani Tridentinam [well… not really, but let that pass, and ordo is masculine, therefore Tridentinum…] – in Basilica Sanctuarii Nationalis Conceptionis Immaculatae celebravit. Sermonem suam in lingua Anglica praedicavit. Plus quam tres milia in liturgia sacra participavunt. [participaverunt… Also, I prefer Iacobus to Jacobus. And I think we should include the many people who watched on TV and over the internet.]
For the (I’m sure very few) NCR readers who have a little trouble with Latin – and with apologies to Latin experts who may find a minor error or two in the above [apology accepted] – “On April 24, 2010, Edward James Slattery, bishop of Tulsa, Okla., celebrated the Mass in Latin in the extraordinary form – that is, in the Tridentine Rite – in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He delivered his homily in English. More than 3,000 people attended the liturgy.”
More relevant to me in the April 24 event in Washington were several elements:
First, there were no demonstrations outside or inside the shrine by clergy sex abuse victims after retired Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos withdrew as principal celebrant of the Mass.
Castrillon, former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy and former president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” which oversees and promotes use of the Latin Tridentine rite [I think we need to move Mr. Filteau beyond this terminology, but let’s go on…] in the Roman Church, made major news just a week before the shrine Mass when a French newspaper revealed that in 2001 he had praised a French bishop for breaking the law [Is that really the best way to phrase that?] and refusing to turn over to civil authorities a priest engaged in sexual abuse of minors. Castrillon not only did not apologize for his letter; he reaffirmed it and said John Paul II had urged him to send it to bishops around the world.
Second, for the first time in my life – although as an altar boy in the 1950s into the late ’60s and as a seminarian for nearly 12 years I participated in numerous pontifical liturgies the Upper Midwest and in Washington – on April 24 this year I finally saw the grandiose display of the “cappa magna,” the 20-yard-long [actually close to 30 feet, 10 yards] brilliant red [actually closer to magenta, or techincally paonazza] train behind a bishop or cardinal that has come to be one of the symbols of the revival of the Tridentine Mass. [Is it?]
Fifteen minutes before the Mass, Slattery processed up the shrine’s main aisle wearing the extravagant cloak, held up in back by a young altar server; before the main altar, there was a magnificent turn to exit stage left, at which point the cappa magna stretched almost the entire width of the sanctuary in front of the main altar. [Yep. That was pretty flashy.]
In the actual liturgical procession starting the Mass 15 minutes later, Slattery was dressed not in the cappa magna but in normal liturgical robes, [normal for the older, traditional form of Mass, that is. What Mr. Filteau could not see while in the basilica was the bishop vesting. That was, however, seen on the telecast.] walking up the aisle in an alb and chasuble [and buskins, and dalmatic, and tunic, and gloves, etc.] and carrying a crosier.
Third, and to me most important, throughout more than half an hour of pre-Mass entertainment [?!? A little dismissive, no?] with beautiful Latin music by an a capella choir (including Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina’s Tu Es Petrus and Thomas Tallis’s O Sacrum Convivium) and into the full first half-hour of the Mass, the entire basilica congregation of more than 3,000 sat passively [NO! TOTAL FAIL!] as an audience to a musical concert, with nary a word to say in the liturgy. [This shows something of the writer’s lack of understanding what what authentic "active participation" is. I think were you to talk to the people he is describing, you would find that they were carefully following and praying during the entirely of the Mass. They were no "passive". They were actively engaging their minds and hearts to unite themselves with the sacred action. The writer’s analysis fails here. Big time.]
The shrine’s magnificent pipe organ played instrumental accompaniment to the nearly 20-minute processional as altar servers of all ages (but only males), knights of various Catholic organizations, deacons, priests and a variety of other ministers processed to the altar. [So, Mass hadn’t yet commenced.] Many of the priests and deacons bore pomped [Is that a word?] birettas, the stiff square black caps once [and still] worn by all priests and seminarians in choir.
As the procession ended, the choir began to sing the Introit as the ministers accompanying Slattery engaged in a slow, silent pageant [First, "entertainment" and now "pageant.] around the altar that included the old “Introibo ad altare Dei” antiphon from Psalm 42 (now 43) and extended to the Introit, Kyrie Eleison and Gloria, with some incense thrown in between. ["thrown in"? A little dismissive, no?]
It wasn’t until the Collect that any of the 3,000-plus Catholics filling the shrine’s pews and aisles actually heard a voice from somewhere near the altar.
By that point I had come to realize that this Tridentine liturgy was an elaborate ritual manifestation of ecclesiastical rank, not a Mass in conformity with the fundamental Vatican II mandate for full, active participation by the faithful. [TOTAL FAIL. He is simply poorly formed on this point. Too bad. Maybe someday he will get it.]
A minor complaint, but certainly relevant for the Paulus Institute, which is devoted to promoting the Tridentine Rite [That really isn’t what anyone who knows much about this calls this form of liturgy.] and sponsored the Shrine Mass: The pamphlet for the Mass had several egregious typos in the Latin versions of the Mass’s prayers and Scripture passages. [Given the egregious errors in the Latin at the top, I think the writer shouldn’t be tossing rocks, but… his comment is fair enough. My favorite glitch was the the greeting the writer of 1 Peter sent to "Galactic".]
In a quick reading before the Mass, I noticed that it had, in the prayer following the Confiteor, “Et plebs tea laetabitur in te” (obviously, “tua” was intended); [That looks like one of those spell-checker problems.] and in the Introit, “et omnis mansuetudinus eius” – obviously should have been “mansuetudinis” – and in Peter’s epistle “Galatic” instead of “Galatiae” and “varlis” instead of “variis.” Also obvious in the Alleluia before the Gospel was the misprint “flilis” instead of filiis for reference to “the children of men.” [Okay… is this really what he wanted to focus on?]
The Mass marked the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s formal inauguration into his ministry as pope.
Jerry Filteau is NCR Washington correspondent.
So, the writer doesn’t really understand what he attended. He is dwells on cliches (a false notion of "active participation") and is dismissive of the externals ("entertainment"). He doesn’t have a firm grasp of what the rite is called, and uses out-dated and inaccurate terms to describe it ("Tridentine"). Then he focuses on the errors in the program as if they somehow detracted from the Mass. That said, the program should have been proof-read ahead of time by someone who knew Latin.
He liked the music. What he didn’t understand is that the sacred music was prayer, not diversion or entertainment.
I suspect that he is so mired in the rubbish he – and he is not alone – has heard nearly exclusively for decades that he was nearly impervious to what was going on. Either that or he realized that this is going to catch on. Such a fear would lead to his approach in this "analysis".
We have to be patient with these folks and help them along.
The walls in their minds and hearts need to be dismantled… brick by brick, even as we slowly rebuild.
I think his "analysis" was very useful.
I am wondering if his description coincides with the experience of others who attended. That I why I asked for feedback, posted here.