Though some of the Rorate folks have waged a bit of a war on me, I have tried occasionally to acknowledge their good contributions. I was sent a link to one contribution which I would like to endorse.
Fr. Richard Cipolla, pastor of St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT (a beautiful church and wonderful parish), delivered a “¡Hagan lío!” sermon for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost. The whole text is HERE. I’ll peel back the outer layers and…:
Last week we celebrated, with little fanfare, the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, the magna carta of the Catholic liturgy. [I like “Emancipation Proclamation”.] The document itself is flawed, with its artificial creation of two forms of the Roman Rite, [distinction: juridical creation. SP doesn’t solve the theological and historical debate of whether or not the newer and the tradition rites are really the same rite. I don’t think they are, btw.] with its talk of a coetus, a group of the faithful who go to the bishop or pastor and ask for the Traditional Roman rite. And the pastor, including the bishop, it presumes will respond to this request with alacrity and charity. This has not happened. [Alas, no. But did we expect them to?] But even though the document is flawed, what it did cannot be underestimated. It freed the Church from the terrible bonds of a deliberately modern liturgy imposed in a most un-Catholic way a liturgical form based on personal rationalizations that claimed to be based on scholarship. [One might point at the deliberate violation of the handful of mandates of the Council Fathers in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the cutting up and pasting together of prayers resulting a huge changes in their content, creations such as the 2nd Eucharistic Prayer, etc.] Let us be clear about this once and for all. Because I find out that the offertory prayers are Gallican and did not come into the Mass until after the first millennium has absolutely nothing to do with the reality and validity of the liturgical life of the Church and those particular prayers. Let us be clear about this. Scholarship is relative to time. [ANALOGY ALERT] And who would prefer a runty tomato plant about which we have a full DNA printout to a plant that is held up by stakes on which is hanging ripe tomatoes to be savored with basil and olive oil?
Dare we say that the Traditional Roman Mass that developed from the early Church through Gregory the Great, through what historians call the Dark Ages, through the flowering of what we call the Middle Ages, even to the eve of the discovery of the New World, is one of the bedrocks of Western civilization? [YES! We so dare.] The greatest composers, including the anonymous composers of the chant and the composers of polyphony like Byrd, Victoria and Palestrina, Bach, Mozart and even Stravinsky: all this music inspired by the Traditional Roman Rite and written to make the Rite sing for the praise of almighty God. The Traditional Roman Rite is certainly the bedrock of the Catholic Church, and its suppression in the 1960s will be written about in Church history in the same way as the Babylonian exile.
But there is more. The Orthodox believe that the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil are God-given. And I would dare to say that the same is true for the Traditional Roman Mass. It is God-given. [SIMILE ALERT] It developed in the womb of the Church like a pearl in an oyster. It has nothing to do with committees or consilia appointed to invent a new form of Mass that has relevance only to those who wrote the texts, whether on a napkin in Trastevere or in an office in the Vatican. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] The irrelevancy of the Catholic Church is this post-modern age is in great part due to the irrelevancy of a liturgy invented in the modern age and now already obsolete in the post-modern age of freedom defined by the naked self. [I’ve been writing this for years. How we worship God, in our sacred liturgical worship, is an essential element of our identity as Catholics. We are our rites. They form us and tell us who we are. Without properly ordered worship, we don’t know who we are. Couple that with ignorance of or the defiance of the content of the Faith, and we wind up with flocks who have no idea who they are as Catholics, who can’t explain themselves, what they believe. If that is what we have become, then why should anyone listen to us? We will be easily driven from the public square, and rightly so. This is yet another reason why Summorum Pontificum is so imporant.]
And yet. And yet. We cannot retreat from the sad situation in the liturgical life of the Church and therefore in the very life of the Church. [“Never give up! Never surrender!”] We must not hunker down and do our own traditional thing and consign everyone one else to some terrible boring and bland version of the Eucharistic liturgy and thank God that we celebrate the real thing. We must evangelize, my friends.[Do I hear an “Amen!”?] We start with ourselves and make sure we are in spiritual shape to do battle, spiritual shape, not personal shape or aesthetic shape. Spiritual shape And to get into spiritual shape requires hard work, work that demands painful spiritual pushups every day that causes some pain. [Spend time in review of the content of your Faith (quae and qua). Review your state in life. Examine your conscience. GO TO CONFESSION!]
You young men who serve at the altar, you young men who come to this Mass, dare you[do you dare?] come to the aid of not merely the Catholic Church, [the Catholic only] and I say “merely” in a purely grammatical and stylistic sense, but to civilization itself, a civilization that has been lobotomizied with no memory of its roots and its past? Will you buy into this self-centered culture that keeps everything at arm’s length except the truth about oneself and one’s relationship to the truth, a truth that is a person, Jesus Christ, and his Church founded to make all things new? [NB]Will you allow priests and bishops who have failed to take their faith seriously and so have scandalize you make you fall into a cynicism that will make your life devoid of real faith and prevent you from even considering a vocation to the priesthood or the monastic life?
And you young women here: dare you embrace the challenge of a religious life that was and should be the heart of the Church, dare you to be Mother Courage in the face of the spineless posturing of your generation? [That probably is not a reference to Brecht.] Dare you to have the zeal and faith of St. Birgitta, St. Catherine of Siena, both of whom who told off Popes when he was wrong. Dare you in whatever vocation you decide upon to be a source of faith and joy in this unbelieving world?
And you members of the Hispanic community: dare you give of your real gifts that include a love of celebration of our precious Catholic faith to the whole parish and to the whole Church? Dare you encourage our Hispanic community to come to this Mass and see where the basis of the traditions you love are founded, to come to understand the freedom that the Traditional Roman Rite gives to each of us, that frees us from the burden of language? Dare you become leaders of the recovery of Catholic Tradition?
And to all of you here, married with children, do you dare to take the next step, the step after coming to this Mass at St Mary’s in Norwalk because you see its power and reality, and take the next step in making this parish a powerhouse for the Lord that will overwhelm jaded Catholics and prideful secularists with the joy of knowing that God loves us so much that he died for us so that we may be saved from eternal death?
The answer to these questions for each of us here is the key to the future, not only the future of this parish but also the very future of the Church. Together we look forward to the time when the Traditional Roman Mass will once again be the Ordinary Form of the Mass. May this be the will of God.
Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Cipolla.
Could the Extraordinary Form become the Ordinary Form again?
I won’t see the answer to that question in my lifetime… probably.
Wellll….who knows, given the times are are in and the fact that in finem citius.
I have friends who argue that, as the identity-squishy mainstream Church collapses, the only thing left will be the traditional leaning Church. For example, I recently read that a large percentage of ordinations in France this year were for traditional groups, which puts the traditional form of our sacred worship and all that goes with it back firmly on the playing field there.
Way back when I had many an opportunity to converse with then-Cardinal Ratzinger. He thought there should be a restoration of the traditional Roman Rite to help kickstart the organic development of liturgy that had been interrupted with the artificial imposition of the Novus Ordo. At the time, I gleaned that he thought that a tertium quid would emerge from the dialogue of the rites, with the newer dominating, taking elements of the older and being thereby corrected. As time passed, however, I got the idea that he switched his position. The older, traditional form would be revitalized by elements of the newer.
One way or another, we need a wide-spread restoration of the older, traditional Roman Rite. Let it be side by side with the newer, Novus Ordo. What will happen? First, that organic development will start with the “mutual enrichment”. It is already happening. I think that many priests who celebrate the older form of Mass have brought some good insights to tradition and to their own ars celebrandi from our collective experience of the newer form for the last decades. I know any number of priests who, having learned how to say the older form, never after say the Novus Ordo in the same way as they did before.
Also, let “market forces” prevail. If people have a choice, let them choose. Why would that be bad? I suspect that a lot of people would, over time, choose the traditional Rite. That same suspicion terrifies liberals. Thus, libs can’t allow people to have a real choice. They will repress tradition whenever they can because they are afraid.
Fr. Cipolla is right to call people to action. I would add what I have written in rants on other occasions.
It’s ‘grind it out’ time.
I am getting some defeatist email.
Those of you who want the older form of the liturgy, and all that comes with it, should…
1) Work with sweat and money to make it happen. If you thought you worked hard before? Been at this a long time? HAH! Get to work! “Oooo! It’s tooo haaard!” BOO HOO!
2) Get involved with all the works of charity that your parishes or groups sponsor. Make a strong showing. Make your presence known. If Pope Francis wants a Church for the poor, then we respond, “OORAH!!” The “traditionalist” will be second-to-none in getting involved. “Dear Father… you can count on the ‘Stable Group of TLM Petitioners-For-By-Now-Several-Months” to help with the collection of clothing for the poor! Tell us what you need!”
3) Pray and fast and give alms. Think you have been doing that? HAH! Think again. If you love, you can do more.
4) Form up and get organized. You can do this. Find like minded people and get that request for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum together, how you will raise the money to help buy the stuff the parish will need and DO IT. Make a plan. Find people. Execute!
5) Get your ego and your own petty little personal interpretations and preferences of how Father ought to wiggle his pinky at the third word out of the way. It is team-work time. If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.
Do you want this? Do you? Or, when you don’t get what you want handed to you, are you going to whine about it and then blame others?
The legislation is in place. The young priests and seminarians are dying to get into this stuff. Give them something to do.
And to those of you will you blurt out “But Father! But Father!… I don’t like your militaristic imagery”… [LOL! Like this loopy attack HERE] in order to derail the entry, here’s a new image from your own back yard.
Pope Benedict gave you, boys and girls, over the course of his 8 years, a beautiful new bicycle! He gave you a direction, some encouragement, a snow cone, and a running push. Now, take off the training wheels and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE!