In the last issue of The Tablet (aka "The Bitter Pill") the editors had a little hissy fit. I look at their piece here.
Subsequently, I have found comment by His Hermeneuticalness, Fr. Finigan as well as The Sensible Bond.
Here is an excerpt from the latter with my emphases and comments:
Indeed, I think The Tablet is right about the one thing which nobody seems to want to look at very carefully: Archbishop Nichols is less than enthusiastic about the Extraordinary Form. You only need to look at his priorities as expressed in the interview he gave a little time ago to The Catholic Herald. Instead of pointing out why it is that people might prefer the Extraordinary Form, [right] he instantly cites the dangers it poses to the Church:
One of the troubling things at the moment is that some people want to create too much of a tension between those two. And most troubling of all to my mind is the mindset that somebody might get caught into, because perhaps they don’t like some aspect of how the Mass is being celebrated or the music that’s been chosen or something, that they begin to turn their back on the Church’s ordinary pattern of prayer, the ordinary form of the Mass and say: "I can’t accept that." That’s really quite serious, because if they can’t accept that then they are inexorably distancing themselves from the Church. And as the Pope said in the documents which he issued at the time in which he opened up a wider use of the extraordinary form, this all depends on the person’s faithfulness to the Church. It’s our concentration on what’s essential. And what is essential is that I put myself there in the presence of the priest, whichever form the Mass is said in, and I recognise with wonder that this is the mystery of the Lord’s Body and Blood given for me.
What strikes me about this is that there is none of the wisdom which the pope has shown in his own writing on this subject. Pope Benedict understands perfectly why people flee the Ordinary Form and it is NOT, REPEAT, NOT SIMPLY because they ‘don’t like’ it. It is often because they have found something special in the EF which has come as a surprise to them: richly-worded prayers, inspiring music, awe and reverence, centuries-old beauty. [Exactly. It may be that people flee the foolishness they find in their regular parish, but then discover more than they bargained for in the TLM.] And it is generally because they feel driven away by irreverence, the lack of a sacred atmosphere, the tosh music, the casual, smugger-than-thou atmosphere that can sometimes, though by no means always, characterize celebrations of the Ordinary Form. I suggest it is also because of the utterly irrational, stupid, dimwhit, mischievous, brainless hostility to the Extraordinary Form the very mention of which instantly puts the backs up of 75% of the clergy. It is sometimes because the traddies are filled with disgust at how they have been treated by clergy who can behave more like bullies than shepherds. I still wince when I think of the priest who, to provoke me, sarcastically described his colleague coming out to celebrate the Old Mass with his amice pulled over his head, concluding his description by spitting out the word ‘Bollocks!’
So, everyone is firing arrows at The Tablet for being naughty. But, in reality, the real problem is not The Tablet – we’ve known about them for a long time; it is the lukewarm, tottering understanding of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio which is the real story.
From Fr. Fingan:
Essentially, the Tablet is attempting to use Archbishop Nichols in support of its opposition to the usus antiquior which it persists in calling the "Tridentine Rite" – a dated and inaccurate expression now quite properly abandoned by other commentators on the subject, whatever side of the debate they take.
The editorial rightly notes that the Archdiocese of Westminster has sponsored the training course offered by the Latin Mass Society but instead of drawing the obvious conclusion that the usus antiquior is therefore entering the mainstream of ecclesiastical life in England, it presents this as a "control" issue; a claim that the Archdiocese of Westminster might find mildly insulting.
There is a note of that insecurity often found in the shrill opponents of the usus antiquior whereby they accuse its supporters of considering themselves "more Catholic than thou". In the case of the Tablet, one does not need to try hard to be more Catholic [Amen.] – supporting Humanae Vitae and the papal magisterium generally would be enough to set you a good distance from it in that respect regardless of whether you like to attend the usus antiquior or not.
utterly irrational, stupid, dimwhit, mischievous, brainless hostility to the Extraordinary Form
This is proved when an anti-EF’er will dismiss the rite and declare that no one is interested in it, and then later predict utter destruction of the Church if the EF is allowed.
Archbishop Nichols, The Tablet, “by thier fruits you will know them”.
Tabula Delenda Est
Seriously Kudos to the sensible bond, that piece hit the nail right on the head. Even the most reverently celebrated OF Mass (I’ve seen a few) can’t match up to the TLM .
Scott W also got it right.
When I was feeling my way forward to submission to the Apostolic See it was the occasional experience of the EF that assured me I was headed in the right direction. I have no problem with the OF if obediently and prayerfully offered, the problem is that it is sometimes hard to recognise that it is part of the ‘Great Roman Tradition’ when the Mass is embellished with personal idiosyncrasies and a positive revelling in a sub-70s false folksiness of both music and ‘ars celebrandi’. We don’t want precious coteries any more than the Archbishop of Westminster, but we do want a recognisable Roman Rite of whatever form.
Very well put, Flabellum
The thought just occurred to me…What difference should it make what we prefer – EF or OF? We believe that this is a solemn re-enactment of the Sacrifice and Death of Our Lord on Calvary preceded as it were by a meal at which Our Lord proclaimed the Unbloody Sacrifice in the form of a meal to be repeated until the end of the world for the forgiveness of sins. But, my point is – How is this Unbloody Sacrifice received by the Person to whom it is directed – God the Father in Heaven?
Would God the Father in Heaven wish that such a ceremony be conducted in the most respectful and solemn tones, given the fact that it took the death of His Beloved Son to accomplish? Would God the Father want a hootennanny style celebration wherein the congregation seemed to be offering it to each other with smiles and joyous embraces the prevalent custom in use? I think you get my drift. Allow me to say that I dunno what God the Father would prefer but as a father myself, I think it would be the solemn, respectful liturgy.
Holy Mother Church for centuries had a solemn, respectful, God-centered liturgy. In the mid 20th century His ministers on earth made the decision, rightly or wrongly, to change that liturgy and replace it with, as one prelate put it, a banal product, a fabrication. Today, we are left with the results of that decision – one which has alienated many catholics and caused many to give up the faith completely. We have a Pope who is trying to bring back some semblance of reverence and devotion while, at the same time, avoiding the temptation to throw out the baby with the bath water, so-to-speak. Will he be successful? Only if his brother bishops support him in his efforts.
“In the case of the Tablet, one does not need to try hard to be more Catholic”
My sister is more Catholic than the Tablet… and she is a Baptist who was horrified at the news of her brother’s conversion to Catholicism over a year ago. :)
Though I find Archbishop Nichols’ sentiments disappointing, I don’t think he’s far wrong when he states that “some people want to create too much of a tension between those two” forms of Mass.
I’m an acolyte/thurifer/crucifer/MC for a local EF Mass, and I assist at the OF Mass in my local parish, the latter of which is celebrated with reverence and complete fidelity to the rubrics. Yes, the EF edges out the OF in the sublimity of its prayers and the rectitude of its theology, but both are valid and bring us into contact with the Real Presence.
I’ve been lurking in EF circles for years, and I can attest that there IS an element that tends to “create too much of a tension” between the two forms. It’s a danger that we must avoid.
Am not as disappointed in Ab. Nichol’s comments as the other commentators. He merely sees the problem, not of people wanting and finding something in the EF, but of rejecting the OF because of some aspect, such as bad music, that doesn’t belong THERE either. Neither do I find this out of step with His Holiness – the liberalization of the EF was not supposed to set up a separate Rite, but to enrich and influence the whole Church.
Arch Nichols: “..they begin to turn their back on the Church’s ordinary pattern of prayer, the ordinary form of the Mass and say: “I can’t accept that.” That’s really quite serious, because if they can’t accept that then they are inexorably distancing themselves from the Church.”
I take offence at His Grace’s conflation of of ‘ordinary pattern of prayer’ with the ‘ordinary form’, per se. If one accepts that – whilst legitimate – the Ordinary Form is, to use Then Cardinal Ratzinger’s term, a ‘fabrication’ – then how can you denounce even an exclusive preference to the ancient timeless custom of the TLM?
I agree with Sensible Bond’s analysis 100%. Fr Finigan, of course, needs must be tactful in his commentary – but I think it is delusional to think that Westminster is not trying to ‘control’ (even if in a limited way) celebration of the EF.
Archbishop Nichols would appear to acknowledge bad music and other abberancies in the OF – but will he do anything to restore dignity in worship in his preferred(OF)usage – borrowing from the EF? On the basis of the prejudice read between the lines of his statement, I doubt it. So…he admits deficiencies in the OF – but in practical terms is light on remedies!
Archbishop Nichols would appear to acknowledge bad music and other abberancies in the OF – but will he do anything to restore dignity in worship in his preferred(OF)usage
His own Mass of installation — which allegedly he influenced much, for instance, having the table altar removed from the sanctuary and celebrating it as the first Mass in years at Westminster Cathedral’s original high altar — was the most dignified and reverent OF Mass I have seen on television, with the sole exception of the Latin Novus Ordo Mass for the cause of Cardinal Newman that I was Ab. Nichols himself celebrate at Birmingham Oratory last year.
Henry – well that is heartening news. However, if that merely signifies his ‘personal preference’, and he is not prepared to enforce liturgical norms, where need be, elsewhere in his archdiocese – then, that will count for little.
I suppose you will all have to wait and see. Perhaps someone from the Birmingham diocese may care to comment on the toleration, or otherwise, of liturgical abuses by Nichols during his episcopate there. That would provide a fair-ish indicator, I should think.