Friday, 1 March 2013


The Tablet has an interesting collection of letters on all manner of things on their website. I thought Simon Perry's comment very apposite, part of which I reproduce here:

''Firstly, the proponents of the pre-conciliar form of the Mass seem mistakenly to believe that they have a monopoly on tradition; secondly, those who attend the old rite generally keep themselves apart from other Catholics, and quite often pride themselves on never attending the ordinary form of the liturgy except for funerals or weddings. And thirdly, emboldened by the Pope's support, the often very vocal supporters of the extraordinary form seem to be gradually propagandising in favour of the old rite by speaking of it so incessantly as the traditional Mass that they have actually succeeded in convincing themselves and many of the rest of us that this may be so.

''Most significantly, however, is the way in which many traditionalists, who are often at ecclesiological and theological variance with Pope Benedict, seem to be reaching and propagandising disaffected Catholics who tire of endless Shine, Jesus, shine, pseudo-folksy bubblegum music, and the rather annoying middleclass white busy-bodies (unfortunately many of them female, as a feminist Catholic friend pointed out to me recently) who dominate the parish scene.

''I find it difficult to believe that the Pope's liturgical efforts will bear much fruit, but in order for them to have a fighting chance I suggest that control of the old Mass be wrested from the hands of the 'trads' so that it become something for all without the un-Catholic ideology so often on display in traditionalist circles and secondly that priests and bishops genuinely attempt to re-enchant the contemporary liturgy which has an inherent dignity, nobility and a winning spaciousness and simplicity which the pre-conciliar incarnation somewhat lacks.''

I couldn't have put it better myself. Traditionalists do indeed pride themselves on their separatism, something decidedly unCatholic, and their refusal to concede any merit at all to the Novus Ordo of Paul VI or any post-Conciliar developments, whether in terms of ecclesiology, ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, episcopacy or biblical exegesis. I speak from personal experience. As a traditionalist I had nothing whatever to do with the Novus Ordo and thought ill of most Roman Catholics who didn't see liturgy through my own eyes. My eyes were opened by being receptive to acts of great charity and altruism from many mainstream Roman Catholics in my old parish, people who had very little to do with the Extraordinary Form (or whatever you call it) and whose faith and devotion were far greater than my own.

I agree wholeheartedly that the ''Latin Mass'' should be wrested from the hands of the Traddies, who seem to endue it with their own doctrinal standards and ill-informed pieties - far removed from the eminence and dignity of the practice of liturgy. The Bishop is the regulator of Liturgy in the diocese, let the Bishops look to it! "Oh, but Summorum Pontificum says..." Bother Summorum Pontificum! It's a complete load of rubbish and demonstrably false. Benedict XVI has put a spanner in the works by Summorum Pontificum. I would ask what authority the bishops have left in their own dioceses for it? Grossly unfair. You may not like or agree with your bishop, but he is your bishop nonetheless. I find it worrying that the traddies rejoice that the pope has removed episcopal authority over liturgy.

As for rather annoying middleclass white busy-bodies (unfortunately many of them female...) who dominate the parish scene, what can I say? We've all had run-ins with that sort!


  1. Dear Patricius:

    I would like to know where the "dignity, nobility snd spaciousness" are in the Novus Ordo to be discovered.

    They are not in its rupturist origins (the most refined quintaessence and prototipe of ultramontanism put in practice). Of course, they are neither in the Novus Ordo text in itself, which expresses something radically different to all other known liturgical traditions, nor in the daily practice of the Rite.

    Because of being a Spaniard and having been linving in Madrid since I was an adolescent, I am a sort of Novus-Ordo-only catholic with capabilities enough to recognice the absolute superiority of the preconciliary mass, in spite of my rejection of the roman invasion, that took place in Castille in the X century under king Alphonsus VI. Not only England has good reasons to complain about foreing invaders, endowed either with a sword or with a Missal; in the end, the result may well be identical.

    And to put it bluntly: in the justly called Traditional Mass there is place for the catholic Tradition of the Church (note that we both do know what "catholic" means), but in the Novus Ordo was designed (in vitro) to be valid but only in the context of the innovative "orthodoxy" of the postconciliar innovations.

  2. Sergio, I have to agree with you. I see no merit at all in the Mass of Paul VI, and I tried, for many years. Father Anthony Cekada argues (I believe persuasively) in The Work of Human Hands, that the Novus Ordo was deliberately intended by its architects to be a break with tradition, so calling it "traditional" in any sense sounds positively Orwellian to me.

  3. The Novus Ordo can be called traditional because it is valid and accomplishes the sacramental efficacy of the Eucharistic Sacrifice when it is celebrated in compliance with what the Church believes, ordains and desires.

  4. Forgive me, but for me tradition implies organic continuity with the church's heritage, a bringing alive of the past in the present, and by that standard the Novus Ordo is a total failure.

  5. So the argument is that each bishop should be free to develop his own brand of Catholicism, causing their own little schisms with the mainstream Church? Fascinating.

    Incidentally the phrase "annoying middleclass white busy-bodies" seems to be a little racist. Change it to "black" and you can see there would be a problem.

  6. Tawser:
    It is better to reject the Novus Ordo for being a compendium of ultramontane nonsense.

  7. Eccles, that's not the argument at all. Traditional ecclesiastical polity has nothing to do with creation of your own ''brand of Catholicism.'' Bishops celebrate the Liturgy assisted by their priests and deacons; they preach the Faith as expounded in the Creeds, they are an authority unto themselves alone under God.

    Racism? Well, I didn't write that. But you will look in vain here for any deference on my part to any modern notion of ''cultural equality.''

  8. Yes, the mood is an interesting one with, as I have commented before, the distinct smell of fear judging by reading the Traddieland blogs.

    So much of the propaganda against the Pauline Missal just doesn't stand up to serious criticism IMO. Has anyone ever bothered to read Edmund Bishop's 'The Genius of the Roman Rite' or the chapter in Abbot Cabrol on 'Mass in Third Century Rome'? Personally, I have never felt loathing for the Pauline Missal as I have for the appalling 1960's crap foisted on a wider world thanks to Benedict XVI.

  9. Father Cekada in his chapter on the editing of the traditional collects for inclusion in (or exclusion from) in the Pauline Missal argues that it was the deliberate intent of Pope Paul's traditional liturgists to eliminate a number of teachings and practices previously central to Catholicism, but now deemed inappropriate for "modern man," concepts like the need for personal asceticism and the Four Last Things, just to name two. It isn't propaganda. Simply compare the traditional collects to the Pauline versions. And in fact, those teachings have virtually disappeared. My best friend had an aunt who died in 1958. She used to go to confession every week because she had a real fear of purgatory. In my experience, most modern Catholics don't even know what purgatory is. That alone represents a dramatic break with the Catholic past, and one for which the Novus Ordo is largely (if not entirely) responsible.