Monday, 28 February 2011

An old friend...

I have three other posts in embryonic form at the moment, but I seriously cannot be bothered to finish them. So an account of a Rome-less day out seems apposite.

This afternoon I met up with a very old friend of mine, an atheist in fact who described me as a ''freelance Christian'' (after I told him about going to different churches to experience different Liturgy - but keeping very distant from '62, naturally). We had lunch at Garfunkel's on the Strand, a few pints of passable ale in a nearby pub, went into a dingy church (which I warned him about), wandered around Covent Garden and the National Gallery (discussing Art history - we discussed politics before the Wilton Diptych), and then concluded the day with Choral Evensong at Westminster Abbey - not at their best I must say, the Anthem (by Bach) was pretty crap actually, though the plainsong psalmody was rather good. We had planned on returning to that dingy church, but I had left my No Popery placard at home. All in all a decent way to have spent an otherwise miserable day. Funnily enough, I was telling him about Traditionalists over lunch and dropped my knife, to which he said: ''They must really piss you off Patrick, you're throwing knives!''

He has read this blog occasionally, and found it interesting, noting that my interest in Liturgy was ''purely'' intellectual. He asked about that photo, you know the one with the row of private Masses? Was it the way they were standing? he asked. I explained my objections, and he aptly said that it seemed an awful ''waste of ecclesiastical resources'', or words to that effect (how strange that I agree more with an atheist about matters liturgical than I ever could with a Trad Catholic!). I objected to his saying that my interest was ''purely'' intellectual. I explained that the study of authentic Liturgy is indeed intellectually stimulating, but there were moral dimensions also. Moral and liturgical purity interpenetrate, in my opinion - that the study, celebration and safeguarding of authentic Traditional Liturgy is not only a worthy intellectual endeavour, but a moral activity, veritably conduct of the highest order. The study of authentic Liturgy is study of Tradition, God's writ for our lives and sanctification. The celebration of authentic Liturgy is the celebration of Tradition. The safeguarding of authentic Christian Liturgy is to safeguard the Divine deposit of Faith, and is therefore the duty of all Christian men - regardless of one's mixed loyalties to magisterial ruling. I wonder if Traditionalists who celebrate the '62 liturgy come away feeling that they've actually done something worthwhile, or measurable in the safeguarding of Tradition? In all honesty, when I came to realize what '62 was (and is not), I had quite the opposite feeling; almost that feeling one gets when one has let somebody down.

In case any of my Facebook friends are reading this, I wore a navy twill suit, black semi-brogues, navy overcoat and pink cashmere scarf. Someone said that it is always best to meet someone after a long sundering in clothing which gives off the impression that you are more successful than you are in reality. I hope I didn't overdo it...

Saturday, 26 February 2011


Can someone explain to me how the Pope can single-handedly bring the entire Roman Church into demonstrable aliturgical heterodoxy, and how this is somehow distinct from his ''infallible'' magisterium? It just seems to me that apologists for the infallibism of the Papacy among ''traditionalist'' Catholics seem to consider the Sacred Liturgy among the mutable ''disciplines'' of the Church rather than something so fundamental as to be above tampering. A Trad priest once told me that Pius XII had the authority to do what he did, but what he did was wrong. Personally I fail to see the logic in this...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Good and Bad parish...

Bad parish Sunday timetable of services:

Saturday evening

6:00pm Vigil Mass


7:00am Low Mass
8:00am Low Mass
9:00am Low Mass with hymns, devotions and novena prayers.
10:30am Sung Mass with lace cottas and the Missa de Angelis
12:00pm Low Mass
5:00pm Another Mass, this time with added Benediction

Good parish Sunday timetable of services:

Saturday evening

6:00pm Dominical Mattins and Lauds


10:00am Terce, Asperges, High Mass and Sermon, followed by Sext.
3:30pm Solemn Vespers and Compline

In the interests of practicalities, the fact that people have lives etc, I have left stuff out, annexed two of the Hours to High Mass, and brought forward Vespers a few hours. I could well have included ''first'' Vespers of the Lord's Day the night before, had Prime etc, but this is quite reasonable for an average parish. At any rate, having Prime at 6:00am, Terce at 9:00am, and None at 3:00pm etc simply doesn't work outside a Monastery. In case Traddies haven't heard of Terce and Sext (understandable since their liturgical ''diet'' consists only of Mass), they are the Horae Minores of the Divine Office, and would take a mere 10 minutes (if even that) to sing before and after Mass (which should, on Sundays and Feasts, have at least a Deacon). Of course this is all too much, and it's far better to have a string of Low Masses than to take the time and make the effort to provide actual Liturgy. I fail to see how anyone could possibly dispute with my view, and not betray their own lack of tradition. If you respond with ''it doesn't work'' or ''people won't turn up,'' why does it work in the Orthodox Church then? And what does it matter if people don't turn up?

A good start would be to have Terce and Sext before and after Mass - the Greater Hours (which require more effort) can wait. If you're afraid that people won't turn up, simply say that Mass comes after Terce and before Sext, but don't tell them when Terce starts...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The cats of Queen Berúthiel...

When Gandalf led the company of the Ring into the long dark of Moria, Aragorn reassured the Hobbits with these words:

''He is surer of finding the way home in a blind night than the cats of Queen Berúthiel.'' (The Lord of the Rings, Book II, Chapter IV).

What an odd thing to say! Berúthiel was the queen consort, loveless, solitary and nefarious, of Tarannon, the twelfth King of Gondor (T.A 830-913), the first of the ''Ship-kings'', who took the crown in the name of Falastur, Lord of Coasts, and was the first childless king. Berúthiel hated everything, as all men hated her, all colours and the Sea, and preferred to wear black only, to live in bare chambers, and the king's palace in Osgiliath was filled with sculptures, beautiful of shape and yet hideous, beneath cypresses and yew trees. She had nine black cats, and one white (her slaves), with whom she conversed (or read their minds), setting them to discover all the secrets in the realm, so that she knew all manner of things men were wont to keep hidden, setting her cats to spy upon men, and tormenting them. No man in Gondor dared touch them, and if they saw the cats pass, they cursed. Her name was erased from the Book of the Kings, and it is said that Tarannon had her set in a ship alone with her cats and set adrift in the sea before a wind from the North.

Probably before coming up with this idea, Tolkien told Daphne Castell in an interview in November of 1966:

''Berúthiel...I don't really know anything about her...She just popped up, and obviously called for attention, but I don't really know anything certain about her; though oddly enough I have a notion that she was the wife of one of the ship-kings of Pelargir. She loathed the smell of the sea, and fish, and the gulls. Rather like Skadi the giantess who came to the gods in Valhalla, demanding a recompense for the accidental death of her father. She wanted a husband. The gods all lined up behind a curtain, and she selected the pair of feet that appealed to her most. She thought she'd got Baldur, the beautiful god, but it turned out to be Njord the sea-god, and after she'd married him she got absolutely fed up with the sea-side life, and the gulls kept her awake, and finally she went back to live in Jötunheim.

''Well, Berúthiel went back to live in the inland city, and went to bad (or returned to it - she was a black Númenórean in origin, I guess). She was one of these people who loathe cats, but cats will jump on them and follow them about - you know how sometimes they pursue people who hate them?...I'm afraid she took to tormenting them for amusement, but she kept some and used them - trained them to go on evil errands by night, to spy on her enemies or terrify them.''

Unfortunately there are many foul sorceresses about, and I expect that a lot of these...oh no, that's too evil...! There's a passage in Tolkien for everyone!

Saturday, 19 February 2011


It just proves my point doesn't it? I have been reading some of the comments on Rorate Caeli, and they honest to God are shit scared that their world is going to collapse because of one simple ruling (or ''clarification'' - it is really quite simple and only touches upon the Pontifical) from Mother Rome, who is super-infallible and never wrong about anything, ever. If ''traditional'' Liturgy in the Roman Church depends upon the lottery of who is and who isn't in charge, then I would in all sobriety and seriousness counsel Roman Catholics of the ''TLM'' persuasion to take stock of what is important in the Tradition of the Church - actual Tradition, understood as an august entity independent of the reigning Pope and curia, or decree after decree from the reigning Popes and congregations in charge of it. If Tradition is important, then you can stick two fingers up at Rome as a meddling nuisance and just get on with Liturgy in spite of anything they might throw at you - the Inquisition won't come knocking at your door in the small hours! If magisterial meddling is all it boils down to, well then Tradition has ceased, hasn't it?

I'm not saying this to rub anybody's nose in it, but because I am genuinely distressed by this whole affair - the lamentable never-ending-story of Roman abuse. I must say I was disappointed (though not surprised) that some people went ahead and supported that petition, in spite of my telling them not to, but they're people - they're people, and one or two of them are quite respectable, and Lord knows, they may get well...

Friday, 18 February 2011


Please, if you care one iota for liturgical tradition and the dignity of a Bishop in his diocese, I impore you NOT to sign this petition. It can only lead to more scandal, centralization and ultimately to the death of Liturgy in the Roman Church.

Throwing in the towel...

What is it with other bloggers and not publishing my comments? Are they offensive? Or do they fear that I threaten to destroy their Traddieland fantasy by offering clear proofs that it's a load of rubbish? Maybe only other Trad robots who spout the same nonsense are allowed to comment - ''Benedictine altar arrangement mitigates a liturgical abuse,'' ''Summorum Pontificum saved the Liturgy,'' ''most holy father, what a lovely backside you have,'' etc. I'm sorry but since when did we have to be satisfied and grateful with mediocrity provided by the ecclesiastical hierarchy?

On Liturgical Pustule's predictable ''call to arms'' post, a reader left this rather silly comment:

Okay. If we get kicked back to the Ecclesia Dei days, this is what we do.

SACRAMENTAL REVOLT! Organize massive outdoor Solemn Masses with the most in-your-face lace and orchestral choirs. EF loving priests should go on a "Novus Ordo strike" and only say the EF until the sanctions are lifted.

If the bang-your-tambourine, Peter, Paul, and Mary wannabes got us "Eucharistic ministers", communion in the hand, and altar girls through manifest liturgical disobedience, we traddies can use their tactics to protect our Mass!

Honestly, I don't think the doomsday scenario is going to happen. Still, we have to tear a page from the liberal playbook if we want to play tough.

Awwww, Patricius usque ad lacrimas risit! There's nothing more pathetic than an irate Trad!

Don't you people understand? Tradition is stone dead in the Roman Church, stifled by legal positivism and the '62 books themselves. If you want Tradition I'm afraid the only thing you can do in reason is look beyond the visible confines of Roman jurisdiction.

My unpublished comment read thus:

sortacatholic, aren't you traddies supposed to be the obedient sons of Holy Mother Church though? What happened to reasoning with Rome, putting one's case forward honourably etc, which our esteemed '62ist blog host writes of?

I personally would welcome a return to the days of Ecclesia Dei, when bishops had a semblance of authority over liturgical rites in their own dioceses - this seems more traditional to me than this rank Ultramontanism, a by-product of 19th century infallibism.

When these rumours are proved true, and pray God they are swiftly, then you will realise that any revival of Tradition in the Roman Church is doomed to failure - because of a sorry mix of Ultramontanism, legal positivism, episcopal ineptitude, and the '62 books themselves.

As for me, I'll be sitting on the edge of the confines of Romanism with my Anglican friends laughing at you all with a gin and tonic, and thinking that even the Church of England is a better environment for the Sacred Liturgy than the Roman Church ever was, or ever will be.

The above painting is by the Tolkien illustrator Alan Lee, and depicts the bleak view of the Ashen Mountains over the Dead Marshes. What was it that Tolkien said about the hideous wasteland that lay about Mordor? I don't have my copy of The Lord of the Rings to hand so I put the sense into my own words: that it would be the lasting monument to the dark labour of Sauron, when all his purposes would be made void. I often think of this apt description, and sometimes of Wren's tomb in St Paul's, whenever I write about Liturgy.

You want my counsel? Put zero trust in the Roman authorities. They know nothing about Liturgy and seek only the suppression of Tradition. If you want the real thing, look rather to your own good sense....I can just imagine the Traddies reading this now, ''oh dear, he's become Protestant...''

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Lord grant...

...that the rumours are true! I have a bottle of Bollinger at home, and an ice bucket which hasn't been used since Christmas. O beauteous death of '62 and all the hopes of Traddieland!

The task of regulating, safeguarding and promoting the decorous celebration of the Sacred Liturgy belongs to the diocesan Bishop in each diocese, not the Pope who lives hundreds of miles away. What on earth does the Pope know about Liturgy? Enough to re-write the hymns of the Breviary? Enough to supplant the traditional propers for the feast of St Mary's Assumption with irrelevant and inferior ones with no ancient liturgical witness? Enough that on Ash Wednesday last year the Pope had the Cardinals Deacon in dalmatics rather than folded chasubles? I could go on, but you know the story. I just never cease to be amazed at the liturgical ineptitude of Rome, and disgusted at the sycophancy of Traddies who see Rome as the liturgical sun of the Universe.

You know I wouldn't be so bitter about Summorum Pontificum if Traddies actually implemented it to the letter like good Ultramontanes. Instead you get the hypocrisy of supposed obedience as they quietly get on with their own initiatives about what is for the good of the Church, which in reality is a pick 'n' mix variety of 1950s Liturgy and devotionalism.

Now, I'm off to practice my victory dance before I go to visit my secular friend. It's her turn to entertain me this time...

What is the ''Old Rite''?

A reader posed this cogent question in my last post. It seems apposite, though I sometimes wonder whether I should start bashing my head against the wall when trying to remonstrate with adherents of the '62 books; that what they take for Tradition is in fact a lie made up by a team of scholars who mistook innovation for pastoral expediency - that is if you put that much faith in them in the first place. I tend to view anyone who mercilessly pulls down the Tradition of the Church as an Orc in the service of the Dark Tower, but that's just me.

The short answer is that the term ''Old Rite'' is generic and rather arbitrary. I don't imagine for a second that there was a ''golden year'' for the Roman Rite, where what came before was not ''developed'' enough in the organic sense, and what came after was innovation and ruin. There is no such year, nor is going back to a fixed year expedient in the pastoral or liturgical sense. It is actually Protestant, and serves merely to place Tradition in permanent regression or stasis. I tend to view the Council of Trent and subsequent Papal dealings with Liturgy in a similar sort of ''protestant'' sense. Trent froze the Tradition of the Church, where before there was imagination and variegation at local level. What came after was sterility and centralization. The idea, propounded by the encyclical (heralded by Traddies as a perfect synthesis of Liturgy) Mediator Dei, that one man, however exalted his office, has the sole right of regulating, approving, ratifying, even abolishing the liturgical texts, is very alien to the Tradition of the Church, set apart as an entity independent of the Papacy. Yes ancient popes such as St Leo composed Collects, and these are praiseworthy, but ancient popes didn't take it upon themselves to radically change the liturgical rites. This is the yardstick of Tradition. The question posed by some adherents of the '62 books: ''If the liturgical books of 1962 aren't the 'Old Rite,' what is?'' is altogether stupid. Do they imagine that there is a single Old Rite and a single New Rite? If so, then the 1970 Missal is an ''old rite'' just as much as the '62 books; taking into account the manifold changes to the Novus Ordo since 1970 (the abolition of the Subdiaconate being noteworthy). There is no dichotomy between old and new, and I rather think that people who seek to make such a dichotomy know little about Liturgy or Tradition. There is Tradition, understood as received orthopraxis faithfully passed on from one generation in the Church to the next under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and innovation; and just because something has the semblance of tradition does not make it so - to paraphrase the Lord Himself; a whited sepulchre, all clean and fair without, but within full of dead men's bones and all corruption.

To me the ''Old Rite'' would be, as Waugh suggested, the liturgical rites as they existed during the reign of Pius IX (and at that, certainly before the 1850s) - or at least the ''ethos'' of the Old Rite; for authenticity I would also take into account the Urban VIII hymnody and the Gregorian Kalendar. What Pius X and Pius XII did to the Liturgy were the greatest reforms of the Roman Rite in the history of the Church up to the 20th century. Therefore the '62 books are not the Old Rite by any stretch of the imagination.

As I said in the previous post: How can you accustom people to Tradition if what you provide them with is little older than (and in many cases is inferior to anyway!) the stuff you're trying to extricate them from?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A go-between year...

I am still waiting for a Traditionalist to furnish me with actual empirical proof that the claim of Summorum Pontificum, that the liturgical books of 1962 were never juridically abrogated and therefore in principle were always permitted, holds water in the face of vast evidence to the contrary. Therefore I venture to investigate somewhat of the history of '62, the question of abrogation, and why Traditionalists view the '62 books as in some way more traditionally acceptable than the Novus Ordo of Paul VI. This is by no means an exhaustive account, and such a telling of the in-organic development of Liturgy immediately prior to the Council and afterward would be long as years of torment. Suffice to say that on account of my own inexperience and want of knowledge I shall let others fill the gaps where it is needed. Comments are welcome, as ever.

Traditionalists often view the year 1962, with its deplorable liturgy, as some sort of go-between year, not quite the Old Rite, but almost - in a similar way to how the Arians of old viewed the person of Christ as a go-between god; not quite deity, but almost. Such a view can only distort Liturgy, or is at least a distortion of liturgical perception, rendering custom, tradition, ceremony and proper superfluous to concern, and somehow ''less important'' compared with other things, such as the use of Latin, or the cut of the vestments. Indeed, I would question the Trad judgement of what is measurable in liturgical abuse and what isn't precisely because of 1962. For example, how is the reduction of Mattins on the Lord's Day from three nocturns (or vigils) consisting of a total of eighteen Psalms in the Old Rite (pre-1911) to what we now have in the 1961 Breviary and Liturgia Horarum (although neither Mattins in the 1961 Breviary nor the ''office of readings'' can claim any resemblance to the traditional Night Office as sung in the Cathedrals and Monasteries for 1500 years), in reality the only two legitimate office books for secular clergy and laity in the Roman Church, ''acceptable'' (probably only because the pre-1911 Office has passed out of living memory and doesn't touch upon the Mass in any noticeable way to ordinary Catholics, in the same way that pre-Tridentine praxis has passed out of living memory), whereas such things as the use of vernacular tongues or the revival of permanent deacons are seen as aberrations?

I think it boils down to the fact that Trad perception of Liturgy is entirely Eucharistic-centred, and that just because the rubrics of an average 1962 Mass look like the Old Rite (superficially, mind you), other changes (to the Ordinary, to the Psalter, to Holy Week etc) are perceived as secondary. Who decides this? What Traditionalist in the deeps of time set as a precedent that vast mutilation of the Office pales into insignificance compared with, say, the new Eucharistic prayers? To Traditionalists like Fr Zed, 1962 is some sort of ''focal point,'' upon which one can build up an edifice of tradition - you know the ''brick by brick'' nonsense - a means of making people long accustomed to the Novus Ordo familiar with ''the more ancient use.'' One wonders whether ancientry, to Traditionalists, is reckoned to be in terms of fidelity to received orthopraxis or to the encyclical letter Mediator Dei - which is effectively the very opposite of Tradition - the idea that the past must be judged by the standard of things present; compare the so-called ''development of doctrine,'' for example. I mean if I translated Colours of Day into Latin, and had it as an Offertory motet in a Mass according to the ''Extraordinary Form'' (1962), would Traditionalists consider this more traditional than having the Acolytes in tunicles on great feasts? To come back to the brick-by-brick nonsense, I had this exact same experience several years ago when I first converted to the Traditionalist cause. In the days before Summorum Pontificum I relied heavily upon material on the Fisheaters website, the SSPX and even some Sedevacantist sites (I was one...for about a week). They all pretty much said the same thing - the evils of Vatican II, a Protestantized liturgy, new Popes aren't like the heroes of old (e.g.: Pius X and Pius XII!) etc. And so my perception of Tradition was moulded by Traditionalists who didn't care much for Liturgy; preferring instead a return to the social kingship of Christ, and the days when elderly peasant women told their beads as their parish priest mumbled from a Missal - in hindsight a dislocated and imperfect vision. Then I acquired a working knowledge of Liturgy by making frequent visits to the Heythrop Theology Library, where I spent hours perusing old missals and breviaries, and gradually I came to realise what a load of rubbish it was. I couldn't then, nor can I now, understand why traditionalist groups make recourse to the liturgical books of 1962. If on a day like the feast of the Circumcision the differences between the Old Rite and '62 are comparatively trivial, then why not simply do the Old Rite? Similarly on days like Palm Sunday, why on earth, if you claim the seal of Christ, would you put on post-'56 rubbish? How can you accustom people to Tradition if what you provide them with is little older than (and in many cases is inferior to anyway!) the stuff you're trying to extricate them from?

It is a fact that the liturgical books of 1962 were only transient, a half-way stage in a well-planned, very thorough and intelligent reform of the Roman Rite; and just a convenient way of incorporating the changes of Cum Nostra (1955), Maxima Redemptionis (1955) and Rubricarum Instructum (1960). The Trad idea that the later changes of Paul VI came as a sudden lightning stroke from the Curia in 1969 upon an unsuspecting Church (which is what I genuinely believed until a few years ago!) is a fond fancy (to be polite) - far be it from me to accuse them of historical revisionism and downright falsehood though! Long before the Missal of 1962 preparations for some of the worst of the later reforms were underway at a series of liturgical conferences held at Maria-Laach (1951), Mont Sainte Odile (1952), Lugano (1953) Mont César (1954) and Assisi (1956). According to Worship, at Maria-Laach discussion about the recent revision of the rite of Holy Saturday (comparatively trivial to what came after) took place in relation to Maundy Thursday and Good Friday; Jungman drafted a ''penitential rite'' for pastoral expediency, and such things as the silent Canon, prayers at the foot of the Altar and the Last Gospel, considered inferior because they were no older than the Carolingian reform, had to be abolished. At Mont Saint Odile, similarly, ''Liturgy and contemporary man'' was on the agenda, among later reforms such as the simplification of the rubrics in the Anaphora, a sung Doxology at a High Mass and an audible Doxology at a Low Mass, the Confiteor and absolution before Holy Communion were asked to be abolished, and even a new formula for the distribution of Holy Communion - Corpus Christi - was proposed! At Lugano in 1953 ''active participation'' was on the agenda, and such things as vernacular readings in the Mass were proposed; the scholars praised Pius XII and his reform of Holy Saturday, asking that the rest of Holy Week be subject to similar reform, and (to me) most interesting of all, Cardinal Ottaviani, the hero of Tradworld and advocate for traditional Liturgy, was present at the conference and celebrated Mass facing the people(!), and Archbishop Montini (later Paul VI) attended in persona papae. Bugnini, the scapegoat of people like Michael Davies, praised not the Second Vatican Council, but the Assisi Liturgical Conference in 1956 as paving the way for his later conquest of the Roman Rite. And Traditionalists would have us look to 1962 as a foundation stone to build up Tradition again? Surely this idea is fraught with peril, for the reasons I have just given? The liturgical books of 1962 are a pathetic and shallow hodgepodge of half-remembered traditions and mutilated texts; the Old Rite having been brought down and shattered by a team of reprobate scholars and pieced together according to their aliturgical ideas. As Rubricarius has said, the so-called ''Mass of Ages'' is little more than the Mass of the Age.

But according to ''the'' motu proprio, and contemporary Traditionalists, you can line them all up in fact, the liturgical books of 1962 were never juridically abrogated - how strange that no evidence is given to support this claim. Yet Paul VI issued his own motu proprio in January of 1964, which established the Consilium, and partly reformed the 1962 books. In the Autumn of the same year the S.R.C issued the decree Inter Œcumenici, which among other things abolished all choir ceremonies, the solita oscula, Psalm 42 and the Preparatory Prayers, prescribed that the Subdeacon no longer held the paten aloft during Mass, parts of the Canon were to be sung or said audibly, vernacular tongues were authorised for parts of the Liturgy, the Scriptures were now to be read facing the congregation, etc - my gosh how this is reminiscent of those conferences from the early 1950s! This new order of Mass came into effect in the Spring of 1965. Ecclesiae Semper regulated the customs of Sacramental concelebration and Communion under both kinds. In 1967 the S.R.C issued another decree, Tres Abhinc Annos, which ordered that in the Mass only one Prayer was to be said, abolished most genuflexions and Signs of the Cross, the use of the Maniple became optional etc. In 1968 three new Eucharistic Prayers were authorized, EPII (the worst in my opinion) being based on pseudo-Hippolytus. And finally in 1969 Paul VI promulgated the New Mass with the bull Missale Romanum, the abrogatory clause reading:

''The effective date for what we have prescribed in this Constitution shall be the First Sunday of Advent of this year, 30 November. We decree that these laws and prescriptions be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by our predecessors and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and amendment.''

Even if you still cling to the numquam abrogatam delusion, you can at least see that the texts and rubrics of the 1962 books at least underwent significant derogation between 1964 and 1969. But the question of abrogation, so important for canonical and pastoral reasons, still remains. Upon what does Summorum Pontificum base its claim that the '62 books were never juridically abrogated, and therefore in principle always permitted? I have studied this matter earnestly, and having perused all this liturgical legislation from the 1960s I have found no paragraph, no footnote, no citation, nothing which indicates that 1962 was allowed as an option, an ''extraordinary form'' of the ecclesial lex orandi. Indeed, numquam abrogatam makes no sense whatever in relation to the term ''abrogation'' as understood in Canon Law - it is a strange innovation with no warrant in the liturgical history of the Church. When Paul VI and John Paul II issued indults for permission to use previous rites (the 1971 Indult was for the rite of Mass as it was in 1967 by the way) they were precisely that - indults - extraordinary departures from the law for pastoral concern. Summorum Pontificum seems to say that two mutually contradictory and inferior liturgies amount to a single Roman Rite, within two usages. I fail to see how this corresponds to what was, at the time of the promulgation of the 1970 Missal, a given - namely that the New Rite replaced the ''more ancient use'' definitively. Indeed it was a given until John Paul II made his own Indult for use of the 1962 Missal in 1984, Quattuor Abhinc Annos, which served merely to play into the hands of the Lefebvrists - who only until recently (that is, the early 1980s) had anything to do with the '62 books (in most cases - the man himself celebrated Mass according to the 1967 rite). By 1984, of course, Traditionalism had changed.

A study of how Catholic Traditionalism has changed since the 1960s would be too exhaustive for this post, although since it seems relevant to all that I have said it is advantageous that I devote some time to it. In the 1960s, the proto-Traditionalists of the Church, men like Evelyn Waugh (who significantly did not experience the Novus Ordo of Paul VI, having died in 1966 - what he objected to was the 1962 books, and subsequent editions of them) devoted their time to the defence of Tradition in clear defiance of vast ecclesial reform. If you look at Waugh's A Bitter Trial he complains about such things as the reformed rites of Holy Week (the Pacelli versions), the dialogue Mass (in the sense of a kind of imposed, forceful ''participation'' which detracts somewhat from one's spiritual union with the Ministers at the Altar), how the Church in Rome was destroying all that he held dear. One interesting letter to The Tablet from 1963 reads:

''Will you promote an appeal to the Holy See for the establishment of a Uniate Latin Church which shall observe all the rites as they existed in the reign of Pius IX?'' (Evelyn Waugh, A Bitter Trial, p.34).

Pius IX? He was a 19th century pope! Nothing here about the glories of '62, how the 1962 Missal enshrines all that is integral to the Mass etc, which is the rubbish spouted by modern Traditionalists. No, quite the opposite. Waugh saw through the obvious defects of the '62 books, which left him unedified and cold (being a temptation against faith, he said), and by no means viewed 1962 as a go-between year, upon which the Church could reconstruct the Tradition she so deliberately pulled down. I find it hard to see the distinction between how the Pope brought the entire Roman Church into demonstrable heterodox aliturgical innovation, and how this was somehow distinct from his office as teacher of all Christians - I wonder if Waugh thought this? Waugh was a founding member of The Latin Mass Society (curiously no obvious mention of this is made on the new LMS website, which seems to pass over the pre-Conciliar changes in the ''About Us'' section), which until recently promoted, almost in defiance of the Church, what could be described as the ''pre-Pius XII rite.'' Indeed the mainstream Traditionalist position had nothing to do with 1962 until the mid-1980s, when the movement splintered (thanks to Marcel Lefebvre). Old Traditionalists, such as Waugh, argued for the Old Rite from immemorial custom, and appealed to Pius V's Quo Primum to support this. Personally I find this hard to understand - how can you seriously appeal to ''custom'' by recourse to a Papal bull which practically abolished local custom? But it seems a far worthier argument for Tradition than the argument propounded by modern Traditionalists (that is, roughly between 1984 and 2007 - considerably less so since 2007), that the liturgical books of 1962 could be reckoned as an immemorial custom, unjustly derogated by monstrous Conciliar reform. The only reason these ''traditionalists'', most notably the Lefebvrists and Sedevacantists, appealed to the '62 books was because they were promulgated before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965); and the underlying agendas behind this are doctrinal, disciplinary and pastoral reservations about the said Council. But, especially since 2006-2007, there has arisen a more repugnant kind of ''traditionalist,'' for whom I have neither time nor patience. Some post-Summorum Pontificum Trads appeal to neither Tradition nor immemorial custom in their promotion of the ''extraordinary form.'' These people simply argue that the Church permits the 1962 books alongside the 1970-2002 books; and that both can complement each other liturgically in a wonderful relativistic fudge. These ''traditionalists'' have re-invented themselves. No longer is Catholic Traditionalism a movement in long defiance of the Church, fighting a long defeat and promoting august Tradition in the face of modernism and a Protestant liturgy. No, Catholic Traditionalists are the most obedient servants of the Holy See (and always were) fighting a war against liberals who subvert ecclesial doctrine. No longer is Tradition a venerable entity of itself worthy of defence, but the reigning Pope regulates it. The liturgical books of 1962, to them, are just another legitimate rite approved by the Church, as venerable as (and equal to) the Sarum Use, for example. In my opinion, such ''traditionalists'' are not really traditional in any meaningful sense at all; just Ultramontane types conveniently subject to a Pope who thinks the same as them.

Summorum Pontificum, by making its claim that the '62 books were never abrogated, merely plays into the hands of the Lefebvrists with their anti-Conciliar agenda. I think it is dangerous, its ecumenical dimensions are fraught with problems, and it will only cause more damage to the Sacred Liturgy. All it does is creates a false liturgical, canonical and pastoral dichotomy. Perhaps some Traditionalists agree that Summorum Pontificum is not as great as the euphoria made it out to be four years ago, but that because of the rife legal positivism in the Church it was a necessity in order to clarify the ''traditional'' position. If so, does this not exemplify an already existing underlying problem in Church law? And if not then why did Benedict XVI not simply abolish Quattuor Abhinc Annos and the Ecclesia Dei commission and instead promote something traditional by his own example? What did he do then? Did Benedict XVI abrogate all the liturgical legislation from the 1960s? If so, and the 1962 books are legitimate, then why did he not abrogate the Novus Ordo of Paul VI? If not then what is the positive use of all that legislation? Which legislation is constant in the Roman Church, and which can simply be swept under the carpet by the next Pope when it becomes inconvenient? There are very serious unanswered canonical issues with Summorum Pontificum, which Traditionalists (stuck in a series of hopeless contradictions and chasing the Rabbit deeper and deeper into Wonderland) are yet to own up to. Of course, when Tradition is finally driven into new catacombs, and liturgical people such as myself are forgotten as we ourselves slowly forget, I wonder what state the Church will be in then? Will Liturgy even exist, or will devotionalism finally take over by Papal decree? Pius XII canonized Pius X, and Benedict XVI has made Pius XII ''venerable.'' It just seems to me that the Roman Church, over the centuries, has consistently consigned Tradition to oblivion, by the very act of making saints out of the men who do so (and thereby placing their actions above reproach); so much so that the words of Treebeard are called to mind: Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.

Please do not litter my comment box with silly statements about ''preferring'' a legitimate rite approved by the Church. There is no such preference; you might as well say that you prefer falsehood to the God's honest truth. There is merely Liturgy and made up pseudo-liturgy which departs from ancient norms in a very serious way, and '62 is no different to the New Rite in this respect. It is my sincere belief that traditionalist organisations such as the Latin Mass Society betray the liturgical principles of their founding members and that were such men as Evelyn Waugh alive today they would be horrified at Summorum Pontificum, precisely because it undermines everything they defended.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Before I submit to Rome, or even take her seriously as a church, she must first do a few small favours for me.

I. Correct her gross alterations of the liturgical texts in the last 100 years and bring them back into line with the liturgical Tradition of the Church. And excommunicate anyone who dissents.
II. Reverse her anti-Evangelical and anti-Traditional teachings since the Council of Trent.
III. Convene an Ecumenical Council of all the world's bishops to discuss the true nature, and authoritative limits, of the Papacy, vis the last 100 years of liturgical reform, and the liturgical issues of Munificentissimus Deus and Ineffabilis Deus.
IV. Abolish the new translation of the Missal as offensive to the very principles of translation.
V. Abolish Summorum Pontificum as offensive to the very principles of Liturgy, and which belies the true course of liturgical reform in the 1960s when the liturgical books of 1962 were never allowed as an option.

I wonder if people think that I want the Roman Church to conform to my own view of things? I would counter that view with this question: do you seriously think that any of these five points, even if you don't agree with all of them, are unreasonable?

Thursday, 10 February 2011

High Mass video...

The Latin Mass Society have rearranged their website and I can't find the old High Mass video. Does anyone know what has become of it? It is interesting from a liturgical perspective. It was filmed at Bayswater in 1988, on a ''Green Sunday'' afternoon, using the rubrics of the Old Rite but without commemorations. I know many people in that video; the Deacon and Subdeacon, the MC and his assistant, at least one member of the ''liturgical choir'' etc. It heralds from a time when the LMS promoted something which had at least the semblance of Tradition.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Just one lonely guy...

If Morgoth were wearing white instead of black he could make a convincing Pope...well he did say that he was the first and mightiest of all the bishops, who was before the world, and made it...

I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,
nor cast my own small golden sceptre down.
(from the poem Mythopoeia by J.R.R Tolkien).

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Oh it is so on...

See here for updates at the Fisheaters forum. I am a ''raving loon'' on one blog, and a notorious sodomite waving a pink flag on Fisheaters. Or perhaps I am just a simple unassuming Christian who lives life to the full, and wants the real thing when I go to church on Sunday? I think I am very misunderstood. I venture to add that perhaps all this bickering detracts from the raison d'être of this blog - which is to raise awareness about the loss of liturgical sense in the West by taking a critical look at where things have perhaps gone wrong in the Roman Church (and not just since the Council!), or some devotions/traditions have got ''out of hand,'' to the detriment of Liturgy.

It doesn't do to just assume that everything was hunky dorey 50 years ago, and that the great enemies of Tradition are Bugnini and trendy nuns casting aside their habits. There were huge problems in the Church in the 1950s - the photo I criticized in the last post is evidence enough of this (though I do not pretend to know exactly when it was taken); it may well have been the ''Old Rite,'' but it was a state of Liturgy clearly exhausted by tampering at magisterial level, and degraded by the spectacle of bad clergy and disinclined laity. As a friend of mine said over lunch on Sunday - in Ireland 60 years ago, the attitude to Liturgy was pretty much the same as it is now - the only difference being that now the Celebrant begins (if you're lucky): ''in the name o' the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost;'' rather than Introibo ad altare Dei. What difference does it make if the Mass is in banal English or garbled Latin when you just can't be bothered? It's this aliturgical attitude, and not just prevalent in Ireland, that is an underlying problem in the Church, and which quite frankly I think is irredeemable. The problem lies largely in the imbalanced view of the Roman Church that the Eucharistic Liturgy eclipses all other Liturgy in the sense of the prime importance of the Blessed Sacrament, and reducing the Sacred Liturgy to bare sacramental validity - that however the Eucharist is procured is irrelevant, so long as it's there. This is, to borrow a phrase aptly coined by an Orthodox friend, the ''Low Mass mentality.'' The result of this is the relegation of the Divine Office to the private prayerbook, and obligation, of the priest alone rather than the public prayer of the Church, and the duty of all the People of God; the aliturgical abuse we now have, namely, evening Mass; a series of garbled Low (or ''private'') Masses celebrated at side Altars, to the clear detriment of High Mass; and ultimately a peasant religion of cults, miraculous medals and beads, where Liturgy is just incidental to the ecclesial life of the parish, and something one puts oneself through of necessity on Sunday for an hour. I do not seriously think that humble parishes with the scantiest resources can provide Liturgy to match that of a Cathedral or Monastery. What I do think, however, is that it behoves them to do all that they can within their means to emulate Cathedral Liturgy; and I do not mean add a million candles and more lace on solemnities but trying to procure something authentic and traditional; to be catholic in the all encompassing sense of that term.

I'm sorry but this is an impossible ideal in the Roman Church. The damage wrought by the Pope and his sycophants in the Curia to the Sacred Liturgy has been too great, and neglected for too long. The Church has done literally nothing to correct her gross alterations of the liturgical texts in the last 100 years, or anything ''pastoral'' in the sense of trying to get Catholics to understand their own importance in matters liturgical. The Traditionalist ''response'' to the crisis has been predictable and misguided - they seek only to emulate the errors of the pre-Conciliar Church by assuming that Low Mass and Benediction are acceptable, and remedies to a deep-seated problem. They are not interested in historical liturgical accuracy any more than the liberals, and are afflicted with exactly the same attitude - they are just a different side to the same coin; they scoff at ''active participation'' as though it is a bad thing, when in fact the Roman attitude to the presence of laity at Mass is one of several bad ''developments'' in the Liturgy. Why have sung Office and High Mass as the liturgical norm when you can have a million Low Masses instead? I don't see that the ancestral forms of Liturgy are in any way simple. I think it is precisely because they are so complex, and require that much more effort, that these people simply can't be bothered.

As for Fisheaters; carentium caritatis pro zelo accipiunt, et ignorantiam pro orthodoxia.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Doing my rounds...

I see that the highly intelligent Fr Zed (who clearly knows as much about Liturgy as a sorry, knows so much about Liturgy that yours truly, someone more than half his age and probably a ''heretic'' by his Traddie standards, can point out errors in his podcasts of Vespers - which seem to magically disappear whenever I point them out on Facebook!) has posted about concelebration. It seems that he is completely ignorant that concelebration is older and more praiseworthy than Low Mass, and has even posted that photo which I find so utterly repugnant to Liturgy it literally made me sick to my stomach when I first saw it - you know the one where all those priests are saying their private Masses when they could quite easily have High Mass instead...oh but wait, they won't get their fifty bob for having one High Mass, and so they have cheapened the Grace of God to reading a few prayers from a book inaudibly...ding-a-ling-ling, Mexican wave of the Sacrament, and Bob's your uncle - God's Grace procured at low low effort at Low Low Mass.

Hmmmm but the great conceited Fr Zed isn't interested in the views of mere lay people like me. With all due respect though, padre, in my experience lay people know a lot more about Liturgy than the fact, the clergy are so woefully ignorant of Liturgy that I wonder that the seven years they spent in seminary did them any good at all!

Dear readers, Fr Zed is a Traddie and therefore knows nothing whatsoever about Liturgy. But then what do mere heretics like me know? I just sit at home reading the decrees of Popes and pointing out the obvious shortcomings of Traddieland logic, their hypocrisy and of course the want of consistency in podcasts of 1962 Vespers. I don't suck up to the clergy simply because they are clergy, unlike some - I don't suck up to anyone. Of course, insignificant bloggers like me are beneath the notice of the eminent Fr Zed, rather like the the confrontation of the Hobbit Merry and the Lord of the Ringwraiths - the Wraith-king heeded him no more than a worm in the mud.

Let it be known that when Traddieland finally collapses, unable to sustain the fantasy and pretence of obedience to Rome and their own ''initiative'' vis Summorum Pontificum, I'll be the first to gloat and proclaim that my views were right in the first place. May this conceited chap fall low with his American opinions, and so low that none can foresee his getting up again.

My weekend...

My parents spent the weekend in Eastbourne (they have an apartment on the seafront), so on Saturday I invited my friend Nina round for tea. She brought round her Paris edition of Vogue and we both agreed that Hubert de Givenchy's standards are slipping vis his choice of models. It was too cold and windy to enjoy our tea on the terrace so we watched Mermaids indoors instead, and ordered Chinese food. Mermaids is my favourite non-Audrey Hepburn film of all time! I first saw it when I was a boy of about 11 or 12 years, and Charlotte Flax and I were so similar it's spooky! At one point she says ''Please God don't make me fall in love and want to do disgusting things;'' I remember uttering a similar petition when I first became aware of...the way I am. Nina doesn't care for organised religion. She has seen this blog before, and thinks it's ''cute'' that I am so passionate about religion, but doesn't really go in for any of it herself. I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to have spent my Saturday with someone I love so much, and with whom I can be myself - in a way which is more ''myself'' than mere common assent to a set of doctrines, or opinions about Liturgy. We're going to see Black Swan next week - not the first time I've seen it, but I thought that Natalie Portman was so beautiful that I can't see it again without her.

On the Lord's Day I went to a leading Anglo-Catholic church for Mass and had lunch with a good friend of mine. Again refreshing, but in a different sense. It was nice not to have to put up with such topics as how the new translation is a great boon for the Church; how the Ordinariate is so wonderful, and crying out ''Most Holy Father, what a wonderful backside you have,'' etc. We spoke about our liturgical principles, and I recalled the story of Aldarion and Erendis in Tolkien's legendarium. Aldarion was the King of Númenor in the days of its glory, and Erendis was his wife. Aldarion was a mariner, but Erendis hated the sea, and their love turned to bitter hatred, so much so that in the bearing of their daugher Ancalimë Erendis said to her in her youth:

''Therefore do not bend, Ancalimë. Once bend a little, and they will bend you further until you are bowed down. Sink your roots into the rock, and face the wind, though it blow away all your leaves.'' (J.R.R Tolkien, Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth).

Bit like being an actual ''traditionalist'' in Traddieland...

The above painting is a ''sketch'' by the Tolkien illustrator Ted Nasmith and depicts the Gates of Morning in the far east, which the mariners of Aldarion must have seen at some point in their travels - Middle-earth was still ''flat'' in those days you see...

Friday, 4 February 2011

Moral failure...

''The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.'' (The Lord of the Rings, Book I, Chapter II).

How very haunting and resonant, and one of few quotes to survive into the film trilogy. So spoke Gandalf the Wise to Frodo in the peace of the Shire when he recounted the sad story of the creature Gollum. Bilbo, lonely and afraid in the tunnels of the Misty Mountains playing the cruel riddle game with the unseen creature of the lake, must scarce have thought that his choice not to kill Gollum would ultimately, astoundingly, lead to the downfall of Sauron. Yet it is an interesting concept and measurable in the theology of Salvation - how the downfall of Sauron was brought about not by battles and contest of wizardry, but by the most unlikely, even ordinary, people, and by the mere exercise of virtue - pity, mercy, forgiveness and forbearance; just as the heart of the Law is mercy. The Lord of the Rings is a fundamentally religious and Catholic work, and this is seen most clearly (at least to me) in the relationship between Frodo (and of course Bilbo before him) and Gollum; two very different characters and yet akin. Their common ''experience'' (let's say) of the Ring is the most important bridge over the gulf of their years and personalities. The Ring, while altogether evil, was an instrument that brought them together. Ultimately Frodo and Gollum had to meet, in order to redress their own peculiar ''prejudices,'' if you will - Frodo had to see Gollum to feel pity for him; Gollum had to meet ''Baggins'' in order to finally render him his ultimate service, whom he long pursued with evil purpose. Gollum, that wretched, miserable and wicked creature, is Frodo's salvation - the very anti-hero of the Tale. Because Frodo found it in his heart to put up with Gollum's wickedness, and ultimately to forgive him his treachery, Frodo's failure at Mount Doom (often overlooked) was redressed.

Tolkien wrote once that he had that famous petition in the Lord's Prayer in mind when he composed the final events of Mount Doom - ''and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'' In fact the events of Mount Doom almost exemplify these immortal liturgical words - in the sense of the ''moral failure'' of Frodo. Frodo did not fail the Quest of Mount Doom simply because he ''gave up'' at the finish line, renounced the Quest and named the Ring unto himself, any more than he would have failed if he had been strangled by Gollum, or captured by the Orcs. Frodo, at the cracks of Doom, was emaciated by long hunger, wounded with tooth, knife and a long journey, exhausted, and under immense demonic pressure and temptation - far beyond the native strength of his will. But, though he admitted his own inadequacy to the task, Frodo was the perfect man in spite of his ''failure'' - because the way of the Ring to his heart was pity, and Gollum was his salvation.

Tolkien wrote of this to a certain Michael Straight in February of 1956:

''To 'pity' him, to forbear to kill him, was a piece of folly, or a mystical belief in the ultimate value-in-itself of pity and generosity even if disastrous in the world of time. He did rob him and injure him in the end - but by a 'grace', that last betrayal was at a precise juncture when the final evil deed was the most beneficial thing any one cd. [sic] have done for Frodo! By a situation created by his 'forgiveness,' he was saved himself, and relieved of his burden. He was very justly accorded the highest honours - since it is clear that he & Sam never concealed the precise course of events. Into the ultimate judgement upon Gollum I would not care to enquire. This would be to investigate 'Goddes privitee,' as the Medievals said. Gollum was pitiable, but he ended in persistent wickedness, and the fact that this worked good was no credit to him. His marvellous courage and endurance, as great as Frodo and Sam's or greater, being devoted to evil was portentous, but not honourable. I am afraid, whatever our beliefs, we have to face the fact that there are persons who yield to temptation, reject their chances of nobility or salvation, and appear to be 'damnable.' Their 'damnability' is not measurable in the terms of macrocosm (where it may work good). But we who are all 'in the same boat' must not usurp the Judge. The domination of the Ring was much too strong for the mean soul of Sméagol.'' (The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, no.181).

I like to think that Gollum became acutely aware of all these things upon the brink of the cracks of Doom, even for a split second. The good corner of his native mind, a tiny slither, or a dark window left adjar in his mind opening upon an enclosed space filled with the unstained memories of trees, grass and windblown rain may have been given a special Grace by God in that final hour, the knowledge that his greatest service to Frodo, and to himself and mankind, would be to sacrifice himself. Of course Gollum tripped and fell, gloating over his Precious, so perhaps this is nonsense, but Gollum was not irredeemable, and certainly his time with Frodo, who was merciful and forgiving of his ways (even rewarding at times), would not have been for naught in the ''great scheme of things.'' Who knows, maybe Gollum's salvation was a glimpse of humanity from Frodo, where everywhere else he was shunned - and dying horribly perhaps his thoughts were set free, for a second, from the overmastering lust of the Ring.

The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece, whatever you may rank it in terms of literature or genre. Tolkien never ceases to amaze me, and I have been reading his work for fifteen years. He can be at once familiar and heartwarming as Bilbo's birthday party, the musings of Sam on Caradhras etc, but also as profound as Gollum, and noble as Gandalf - a work that inspires tears and laughter. Not one of the 150,000 or so words in The Lord of the Rings went unconsidered, and I expect that the full study of the legendarium would outlive the lives of many men. There are so many unexplored facets of the legendarium that every word seems alive with nuance and meaning beyond the bald dictionary description of words. If only I could look back in time and observe the unimaginable heart and mind of that great man at work in the mid-20th century, when everything else good and wholesome was being brought down.

Well there we are, my lunchtime musing about Tolkien. My Tolkien posts seldom get comments, which is a shame really, since I put more effort into them than my liturgical ones...

Art by Ted Nasmith, a famous Tolkien illustrator. Not as I imagined the Sammath Naur of course...

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Evening Mass...

Part of my ''oath against '62'' was that evening Mass is an abomination which wrecks the order of the liturgical day - an innovation of Pius XII (though Bugnini says that there were private indults for evening Mass going back as far as the 18th century), and a sin crying to Heaven for vengeance. Yesterday was Candlemas, that most dear twofold festival of Our Lord and Lady, and I boycotted evening Mass on this day - the first time I had missed Candlemas in three years - out of principle. Indeed my only contact with Liturgy that day was my translation of a few Lessons and Responsaries from Mattins. Some may think this is my loss and not their error, but who cares?

I work Monday to Friday mornings, which means that I cannot go to Mass on weekdays. I am sure that this is the same for most people who read this blog; or if they do not work they have other cares and commitments. The reason for having evening Mass is at least intelligible in this respect. But, fundamentally, it is aliturgical and an innovation repugnant to the Tradition of the Church. If you cannot get to Mass in the morning, too bad. Were I Pius XII I would have simply removed the ''obligation'' to attend Mass on Holydays rather than invented something alien to the Sacred Liturgy. In fact, given the choice of two evils, I prefer the transference of feasts to the concept of evening Mass. If people want evening liturgy, then why not anticipate Mattins or have first Vespers instead?

It just makes my accusation against Traddies, that they simply endeavour to resurrect 1950s Catholicism, that much more substantial. Signum Magnum, Joe the Communist, evening Mass, a liturgically and Scripturally inappropriate Mandatum after the Gospel on Maundy Thursday etc...all innovations from the Golden Age of the Church before the wicked Council ruined everything and invented such awful, untraditional, things as permanent Deacons and reversed the Tridentine abuse of forbidding the Chalice to the laity!

It's not about all or nothing. I appreciate that some things are transient, serve as means to the ultimate end, but where innovation becomes the end in itself, and immutable (lace cottas, evening Mass, three Fathers for Ministers of the lovely evening Mass on the feast of the Sacred Heart etc), this is where I get rather angry...

Of course some bloggers may accuse me of hauteur and separatism; turning my back on my fellow Traddies, and therefore the Ark of Salvation, over trivial things. Well that is ''a point of view,'' as a friend of mine said to a Sedevacantist who believed that Paul VI is still living, in Brazil actually, and will return in time to consecrate new Cardinals...