Saturday, 8 January 2011

If only...

For when you run out of Andrex...

I wish I were a Traditionalist Roman Catholic, so that I could wake up every morning and enjoy a fresh cup of Traditional Latin Rite Coffee and a delicious, Traditional, crunchy bowl of Tridentine Rite Cereal with added Papal bits, and an Infallible Croissant on the side. Alas, as a mere Anglican my breakfasts consist of a cold cup of Protestant Truth, and a dry crust of Double Predestination dipped in Schism...

This was on a friend of mine's Facebook a little while ago. I thought it was hilarious!

Unfortunately what is less hilarious is the fact that some Traddies, such as those who contribute to the Fisheaters forum (which attacks little old me sometimes), honestly think they experience the ''Tridentine Rite'' each time they go to their '62 Rite Low Mass on the second Saturday of the month at 4:00pm. I was once accused of hating the Tridentine Rite on the Fisheaters forum (I guess the ignoramus confused the liturgical books of 1962 with the Missal of Pius V). I can't say that I have ever truly experienced the ''Tridentine Rite'' (though it would be an experience) - that Rite having undergone countless revisions since 1604 (not to mention the Gregorian Kalendar). So we pity these deluded people, or rejoice in the inferiority of their understanding of Tradition? This blog rightly mocks the disposition of those Traddies who seek to revive 1950s Catholicism with all its evils, but what do we do about those invincibly ignorant and prejudiced Traddies, deluded by the lies of Una Voce and the $$PX? Since I only get links from Orthodox and Anglican blogs I cannot seriously hope that any of them read this blog, since Traddies only read TLM blogs...


  1. '1950s Catholicism with all its evils' Oh dear, Patricius. You just have no concept of what it was like.
    It was so very evil, we had parishes where all contributed to a social and spiritual life, there was an abundance of interest in the liturgy and it was awful going to confession on a Saturday and having to queue for an hour because there were so many sinners. Sunday Masses were so packed one had difficulty in getting a seat and then there was a delay whilst these vile souls knelt (yes, actually knelt) to receive Holy Communion)....every Sunday there was a sung Mass because almost every one of these wicked parishes had a choir and, of course, they just had to have their plainchant.
    For some reason we also had plenty of priests and plenty of seminarians, not like modern times when we benefit from merged parishes, empty rural churches on a Sunday and priests that are continually on the move.
    It was hideous. One had the feeling of being a proper Catholic all of the time.

  2. Patricius,
    as one who only recently found your weblog, and admire you for the standpoints which you take, some of which I too take (such as our common aversion towards the exception-become-norm called Low Mass), I cannot understand your virulent stride against lace cottas to which you dedicate so much energy. I prefer altar servers in plain cottas, even better in tunicles. The lace cotta is better reserved to a priest, and the alba is not supposed to be more than one thrid lace. But this is a non-essential detail. Here and now I wish to comment on what you have just written: ''I can't say that I have ever truly experienced the ''Tridentine Rite'' (though it would be an experience) - that Rite having undergone countless revisions since 1604 (not to mention the Gregorian Kalendar).''' Why do you think that there is a ''Tridentine Rite''? No such Rite exists. THere is the Roman Rite, and various uses (usus) of it. There is Missale Romanum and various redactions of it. The Missale Romanum first published under Pope Pius V was based upon the then current ''usus curialis'', the Roman Rite use of the Roman Curia, which was somewhat more compact in its expression than other local uses, being that it was the use of the Curia, not of a Diocese, and lacked, for example, the exhuberance of the parish processions. But I am sure that you know all of this, and why Pius V published his Missal, and that any local uses being demonstrabily at least 200 years old were allowed to remain in use. But note, that the Missale Romanum of Piux V differed hardly from prevous MIssals of the ROman Curia, and reflected conservative continuity. THe most notable difference was the streamlining of the Feast Days of Saints in the unversal Kalender, which later Popes gradually restored and augmented. Over the centuries only a very few modifications of the Ritus itself took (such as the singing of the Last Blessing being reserved to Bishops in succesive editions of MR), until the Reform of Holy Week by Pius XII. And, if a person living back in the time of Piux V should rise from the dead and witness a typical Solemn, Sung or Read Sunday Mass according to the Missale Romanum 1962, he would hardly notice any difference, excepting the ommision of the seasonal prayers, which do not constiutue an essential change! In spite of the Gregorian calender and the lack of seasonal prayers. For the Ritus and Usus are substantially same now as then: Ritus Romanus, Usus Curiae Romanae. En fin, I am sure that were you to go back in time and witness the Sunday Mass of a parish priest in Rome according to the first edition of Missale Romanum issued under Pius V, you would be disappointed, as it would ''look'' the same to you as the Mass celebrated by a Roman priest today using MR 1962. Of course, I am not taking into consideration here whether the mass servers would be wearing plain cottas, lace cottas or tunicles. (My personal preference is for the last, but de gustibus non disputandum). Having said all that, I do deplore may things in the 1962 edition of MR, but is is no new Rite opposed to a supposed 'Tridentine Rite''. They are both the same ‘’Roman Rite’’. The Holy Week ceremonies of Pius XII/Bugnini, like the Novus Ordo, do constitute a new Rite, but on that all are in agreement. Much further success to you! Albertus

  3. Not related to this post of yours, but I was wondering if you could make some recommendations for your readers in the area of reading material:

    I am sure many of your readers have works by Dom Alcuin Reid. How would you say his "The Organic Development of the Liturgy" stands?

    Clearly you have amassed some knowledge about liturgy. What would you consider invaluable writing on the topic?

    All the best,

  4. Richard Collins, thank you for your comment.

    I was born in 1988 so have no living memory of the 1950s, least of all Catholicism of the period, but have relatives who recall church-going, not with some starry-eyed sense of regret or nostalgia (which I am guessing is the motivation for your comment), but of loathing and boredom. My uncle turned 60 in October and said that his own experience of Liturgy in the late 1950s, early 1960s, was of looking bemused at a priest reading from a book with his back to the congregation - and even thought that he could have been doing a crossword for all he knew! My mother, younger by a decade, has similar memories.

    I'm afraid that this is how I view Low Mass. Trad apologists for 1950s Catholicism may like to romantically equate the silence of the 30 minute ordeal to the silent watches of the night when the Lord came down from on high and was born on Christmas Day or whatever, but I have always found Low Mass inordinately tedious. What is it but silently watching a lonely priest read from a book inaudibly? When I first experienced the ''Old Rite'' (though in hindsight it was most likely a hibrid '62 celebration with an added Confiteor before Holy Communion), a little over 6 years ago, it was a Low Mass at the London Oratory. You know what I thought when I came away? Let me just say that I hardly wept, so beautiful it was, never having felt so moved by Liturgy. I actually thought ''no wonder they desired reform!''

    By the 1950s Low Mass was largely the norm for most Catholics, a rite of the Mass clearly exhausted by 400 years of tampering at magisterial level and neglect - neglect in every corner of the West. I think that your observation that people had an abundant interest in the Liturgy is a red herring. I would say that the vast majority of parishes have sung Masses today (I use the term for convenience - a kind of ''low Mass'' hybrid, with a Deacon if you're lucky, with hymns). I would ask why you think that Mass fifty years ago on the Lord's Day was necessarily superior? The Missa de Angelis is hardly inspiring, neither (I would say) is constant Sung Mass rather than High Mass. Something had to be done to seriously renew and cultivate the Liturgy - I just think that it's such a shame that those who attempted this were idiots.

  5. Albertus, I'm glad you enjoy this blog and your contribution is most welcome.

    As I have said before, I prefer the Novus Ordo of Paul VI to the ''liturgical'' books of 1962. The New Rite may be made up Liturgy, but at least it's not a pathetic and shadowy hodgepodge of half-remembered traditions and mutilated ceremonies as the '62 books are. '62 looks like the Old Rite on the surface but just isn't. That said, I dislike the New Rite cordially, though given a choice I would pick the New Rite over '62. I agree with a good friend of mine when they say that you can indeed ''make up'' (or piece together) Liturgy - you just have to be exceptionally good at, and have a surpassing knowledge of Liturgy. Unfortunately I think that there is a pre-requisite for 99% of Catholics that they know sod all about Liturgy, hence the very existence of the liturgical books of 1962, which are a pernicious abberation. If I ever converted to Orthodoxy I would prefer Sarum (in Latin) Liturgy to the Roman Rite in any ''tridentine'' form. Sarum is very promising. It is an ''organically'' developed local Use of the Roman Rite, untampered with by Popes. Where the ''tampering'' on my part comes in would be in terms of the Kalendar, probably also the re-introduction of real liturgical books rather than merely being lazy and using a ''missal,'' etc.

    Tony, I know very little about Liturgy. The general thrust of this blog is asking questions, which Traddies simply can't answer. Reading material I would recommend would be Adrian Fortescue, Percy Dearmer, Battifol, Laurence Hemming, Gregory Dix, Robert Taft, etc.

    I have read Scott Reid's book and can honestly say that it was a tremendous waste of money. I can't imagine how he got a doctorate for it!

  6. Patricius - I just do not know where to begin in responding to what I will charitably describe as your ramble through the 50s.
    Of course, not everything was good in those days. There was error and the occasional priestly upset (more temperament based than sexual) but we, as with most other parishes, had a High Mass option on a Sunday, every Sunday. All servers were trained in the High Mass; it was an accepted part of our liturgy - nothing starry eyed about it or my memories of it.
    I do not think that all of the faithful are expected to "like" the Latin Mass and I do not wish to try to convince you of its beauty but please do not attack on issues that you only have a sketchy knowledge of.

  7. Richard,

    May we ask where your parish was that had High Mass every Sunday?

    Looking through Catholic Directories of the period High Mass is advertised very rarely - some, but by no means all, Monastic establishments, and then only in a few of the major churches of large towns. In London I understand there were only about ten High Masses in what is now the area encircled by the M25. Some parishes had sung Mass but many just read Masses.

  8. It differed from country to country before the Council. England and Ireland had a ''low-mass'' mentality, i have been told, because of the long persecution of the Catholic religion there. When again allowed to celebrate openly the Mass, the priests and people were no longer accustomed to Sung Mass or Solemn Mass. Alas, Low Mass was the Trojan Horse which allowed the Novus Ordo to enter into God's City and destroy it. In the Netherlands the Sung Mass never had died out or withered, and up till the end of the Second Vatican Council, the Sung Mass on sundays was the norm in Dutch parish churches. In the Netherlands the Sung Mass was handed down, it seems, much more faithfully than elsewhere. And the lay faithful chanted their parts of the Kyriale. Since the introduction of the Novus Ordo, there are only a handful of parish churches in the whole country where the Novus Ordo Mass is sung. And those few Masses are under the auspices of the Vereniging voor Latijnse Liturgie. In the handful of cities where the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated on Sundays, it is always a Sung Mass with incense, and on greater holy days, a Solemn Mass. Worldwide, because of the dire lack of priests, deacons and suubdeacons nowadays, it seems to me hardly possible to expect that in most churches where the Traditional Mass is celebrated, Solemn Mass would take place every Sunday. Though that would be the goal to strive for. I think that it was Cardinal Hume who said: When the faithful can no longer attend Mass and receive the Sacraments, then obligatory celibacy is a luxury which the Church can no longer permit itself.

  9. Albertus,

    Most interesting, as usual.

    In England there certainly were far more sung celebrations than was popularly understood during the post-Reformation period. J.D. Crichton gives examples in several of his books including a highly liturgical lady in Newcastle upon Tyne who organised sung Masses and Vespers on Sundays!

    One suspects that the 'Recusant' people were actually quite litugically focussed but the effect of nineteenth century immigration and very large parishes led to the need for multiple Masses. Certainly by the twentieth century there seems to have been a Low Mass mentality demonstrated by Cardinal Heenan's objection to the Missa Normativa celebration in the Sistine Chapel not on the basis of its theological content but that it was sung.

    In the Low Countries were the Solesmes books used or something like Mechlin?

  10. Rubricarius - alas I am going back quite a few years dammit! It was St Michael's and St Martin's in Hounslow, before that we had it at Heston and after that at Osterley. But it was the thick end of 45 + years ago!

  11. What is it but silently watching a lonely priest read from a book inaudibly?

    If the low Mass is celebrated correctly, it is largely said aloud. Abusus non tollit usum.

  12. Rubricarisu, in the Low Countries, the Solesmes books were used, I am told, as soon as these became available, and are still the norm, where the Mass is still sung. The older books were dropped by Roman Catholics, but used till the 1920's later by the Dutch Old Catholic Church, that is, till She introduced a vernacular Liturgy.

    As for Low Mass, indeed, according to the rubrics it is supposed to be recited audibly , that is, for all to hear. Secretly are to be recited only the Offeratory prayers (excluding the words Orate, Fratres), the Secret, the Canon (from Te igitur to the Per Ipsum, inclusive, but excluding the words Nobis quoque peccatoribus), The Embolisme, Haec commixtio, the three Communion Prayers of the Priest, the words following ''Domine, non sum dignus'' of the Priest, the 2 ablution prayers, and Suscipe Sancta Trinitas. THus, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Introitus, Kyrie, Gloria, Dominus vobiscum, Collect, Epistle, Graduale, Alleluja or Tractus, Gospel, Credo, Dominus vobisucm and Offertorium, Per omnia saecula saeculorum of the Secreta and Per Ipsum, Prefatio, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum, Agnus Dei, the Communio, Postcommunio, Ite Missa est or Benedicamus Domino, the Last Blessing, and the Last Gospela must be recited ''clara voce'', loud enough for all to hear. In ITaly this is always done. I have heard that in Germany and in the USA some priests actually recite the whole Low mass silently! But that is an abuse, and is not allowed by the rubrics. What sense is it to celebrate public worship totally silently? Then it is private worship, and not the Church's Liturgy.