Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Latin Mass Kerfluffle

 I have stayed (mostly) silent on the latest kerfluffle to come out of The Vatican.  I chose to do so because I accurately predicted the reactions and what would be said by the podcasters (one of which participated in the January 6th Insurrection Attempt so has zero credibility with me - I don't care HOW much he loves Aquinas, he is a nut), the so-called 'Real' Catholics (represented quite well on both sides, what I call the Altman/Martin Effect) and the every day, self-proclaimed and usually self-published experts who sit in the pews with the rest of us and (much like the rest of us) can spend their time their judging who needs to go home and change their clothes.  

I have had robust discussions with good friends - mostly younger Thomists - and newly emerging friends (women estranged from The Church, Catholics of color who have endured racism within the Body of Christ and stayed anyway) about the subject.  I loved it.  I love talking with SMART Catholics who are humble and patient and love The Church.  They are people I try to emulate because their humility, their sense of humor and their willingness to say the obvious rather than fly into a fit represents the best of us.  Us Catholics.  Us members of The Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself.  They challenge me.  They allow me to ask questions and make assertions.  They LISTEN.  Most of all?

They are not afraid.

That is the key to me.  I remember Pope St. John Paul II proclaiming to us from the balcony to 'be not afraid'.  These Catholics are living that with such gusto.  They are not afraid of liturgical changes or reforms, they are not afraid that the Freemasons have taken over The Church.  They don't yell about how horrible the Pope is, even when they respectfully disagree with him.  

More importantly, this absence of fear speaks volumes to me about the strength of our religion.  Christians have, since first celebrating the Mass, had to do so under stressful situations.  Sure, you can see our magnificent cathedrals and shrines and churches now but we also have Catholics in basements in China partaking of the Eucharist.  We have Catholics in Afghanistan with a cross tattooed inside their lower lips like they are really from Wakanda or something.  We have priests hiding in jungles and cities and farm lands all over the world, bringing the Truth and Sacramental Life to people at great expense to their own well being.

St. Justin Martyr wrote a letter back in the day (like around 50 years after the Resurrection) that outlined the way people like me worship.  He wrote it for his buddy, the Emperor of Rome, because there were outlandish rumors about cannibalism fueling persecutions and murder. (Interesting, as a kind of historical aside that give insight into the human condition - Christians later accused Jews of this same thing and the same accusation fueled persecution and murder again).  

The description offered by this great saint allows for anyone who wants to know how the First Christians worshiped the information they need to understand a very important aspect of my religion.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is how we have worshiped God since the Last Supper.  It is the way Christ wants us to worship. We did it before there was a Canon of Scripture.  We did it when our priests did not have robes to wear and there were no altar servers. His description is straight forward and simple and direct.

And no where in that description does it outline the liturgical form used by the Traditional Latin Mass.

Look, I get it.  People love their form and way to worship and, like those of us who love our football and baseball teams, they will become tribal about it. 

But it is that very thing - that tendency for us to become holier than thou about what form of the Mass is better and what form is perfect and what form will get us to heaven - that the Pope is trying to change.  If you are using either the TLM or the NO to sew divisions in the Body of Christ, you are the reason the Pope made the decision he made.  

So, what is my opinion?

I am going to listen to my Bishop and my Pastor.  I am going to trust the Holy Spirit to guide this Pontiff and I am going to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation.   Most of all, I am going to do my best to follow the words of Jesus Christ. 

Be not afraid.  

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