Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's Old Is New Again

It is true what Jeffrey Tucker says over at NLM, there has been amazing progress in the liturgy since the Holy Fathers Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. The mansion is surely open and being slowly but surely restored to its former glory. It is not only, as Jeffrey states, in parishes across the nation we are seeing the fruits of Pope Benedict but in individual catholic lives. Jeffrey writes;

"But the real implications here are more significant still. What Summorum has done is re-legitimate the whole of our Catholic heritage--in the broadest way with can think of that term--and free us from the deracination that had become common in the postconciliar years."

I could not agree more and for myself this has been very true. A year or so ago I had never heard of Tridentine Mass. Even if I had, coming from a Protestant tradition where things can, and have, changed based on not much more than the whims of the church’s pastor, I probably would have seen no problem in “changing the Mass” or throwing off old traditions. But also as a convert of only two years now so my exposure even with the Novus Ordo is limited, I never experienced many of the worst abuses of the 70 and 80’s and for the most part my parish priest is orthodox. I suppose in a way I was what some have called a "small t" Catholic.

Not much more than a year ago I began to hear, mostly on Catholic blogs, of this thing call a motu proprio that was coming from Pope Benedict regarding the Latin Mass. Curious, I some research and my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I experienced, via the internet, my first mass using the 1962 missal (a SSPX mass by the way), and I haven’t been able to go back to the old world since. I felt drawn to not only search out a local parish with the Extraordinary Form (amazingly I discovered one only a few blocks and less than a 10 minute walk away.) but it opened a flood gate of desire within me to learn more about the preconciliar Church and to discover its beauty and traditions. A beauty I knew was all too often lacking and a respect for tradition to often lost in our Catholic culture today.

Of course, there was a flip side to finding this new world as many things about the old one don't sit so well anymore. Now when I see an older church that has had its High Altar ripped out I am angered. I feel something is wrong when I hear "Wade in the Water" or "Amazing Grace" every other week while Gregorian Chant is neglected. Pagan inspired liturgical dance before the alter sickens me. But those things just make me want to get more involved in my parish and that is always a good thing. Who would have guessed that a year ago I would be participating in our Corpus Christi procession or walking the Stations of the Cross during Holy Week? Or prayng the Liturgy of the Hours? Or working to begin a "stable group" at my parish to bring the Extraordinary Form back to our glorious High Alter (luckily, it was never touched). And how this has helped me to embrace fully the teachings of the Church and throw off cafeteriaism would take another post to fully explain. Again, none of that is directly related to Benedict’s motu proprio but its discovering the Extraordinary Form that drew me to them.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not one of those who feels the Mass of Paul VI is "invalid". It is the form of the Mass that drew me into the Church and remnants of our 2000 year history are still there. I have used it to persuade others of the truth of the Catholic Church. But the Tridentine, or Extraordinary Form, is much like the Church and its moral teachings, there is something of the Beauty, Truth and right worship in it that grabs hold of those with open hearts. After experiencing it for the first time you are never the same.

So I pledge my gratitude to the Pope Benedict for providing the pastoral leadership that has led me to these green pastures. I would never have guessed that when I saw him standing at the Loggia in three years ago that he would have such a profound effect on my life.


Viator Catholicus said...

Inspiring comments for a cradle Catholic to read!

Anna said...

A beautiful post! Dieu te bénisse, Walter.