From a priest…
A brother priest, in a recent conversation, made an interesting
comment about our diocese. For context, he is one who offers both the Novus and Vetus Ordo forms of the Holy Mass in his parish. To paraphrase his observation, he said “In these past weeks it appears that the conservative priests have become more liberal and liberal priests have become more conservative“.
His point was that the more liberal priests have shuttered their
parishes up and even offered little in form of extra devotions live, on-line or pre-produced. In contrast the more traditional priests increased their virtual outreach. The more liberal priests have not re-opened when permission was granted to have public Holy Adoration, Holy Confession and Holy Mass whereas the traditional ones have with prudence.
I do not wish to offer a blanket judgement on all priests and styles, but it appears he has his finger on something. Well, at least he does in our diocese. It could be as simple as certain priests knowing the traditional devotions, and therefore have a cache of spiritual treasures to offer. Who, knows?
Now, understanding that opening up a parish with social distancing norms demands much preparation, I am inclined to give some leeway to all priests. However, looking at the responses over two months might show us the distinction between a parish who is serving a social mission verses a supernatural mission.
I see this same response in my area among the Protestants as well. The conservative ecclesial communities and the liberal ecclesial communities have followed somewhat the same pattern as the conservative/liberal priests.
Food for thought perhaps.
Food for thought.
I don’t think that conservatives are becoming more liberal or liberals more conservative.
Instead, this challenge has brought to the fore what is already there.
The conservatives or traditional priests believe that Masses are effective whether there are people there or not. They want people to be able to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and having their sins forgiven. They, therefore, look for creative ways to make those things happen, even using tools of social communication. They go out of their way.
The liberals, on the other hand, also show their colors. While this is a blanket statement as well, as my old pastor used to say, scratch a liberal and underneath you find a despot. It is not “conservative” to be despotic. It is the essence of the liberal, who can be defined as “one with whom you are free to agree”. Lib priests withdraw into their places and hunker down, because without a congregation focused on their faces at “liturgy”, well.. what’s the point? Modernism: the reduction of the supernatural to the natural.
Are such blanket statements fair? Are there exceptions? Sure. But it is indeed food for thought.