Thursday, June 16, 2011

The limits of tolerance

Please sign the petition to Cardinal Schonborn against this 'Western Mass'; have a look at what Fr Tim Finigan has to say about it, and watch the GloriaTV clip he's got: all here.

Why are sane people like Fr Tim even thinking about what a Cardinal has permitted to take place on an island in the Danube? Because the liturgical abuses which are integral to this celebration are a scandal to all Catholics, and all Catholics have a duty to oppose them: if, that is, they know about them and can do something about them. The internet has fulfilled these two conditions for us.

Why do some liberal Catholics oppose celebrations of the Traditional Mass, even when they are not obliged to attend and the celebration of it in no way inconveniences them? The answer is given by the Holy Father, in his brilliant contribution to the Fontgombault liturgical conference in 2001. Speaking of the rejection of the language of 'sacrifice' in the context of the Mass, he explained:

"It is only against this background of the effective denial of the authority of Trent, that the bitterness of the struggle against allowing the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal, after the liturgical reform, can be understood. The possibility of so celebrating constitutes the strongest, and thus (for them) the most intolerable contradiction of the opinion of those who believe that the faith in the Eucharist formulated by Trent has lost its value." (Full article.)

The very toleration of the Traditional Mass is a scandal, a rebuke, to those who reject the Church's teaching on the essential nature of the Mass. Even to tolerate it is make too much of a concession, for the people referred to by the then Cardinal Ratzinger.

This gives the struggle for a restoration of the Church's liturgical traditions a greater significance than simply aesthetics, nostalgia, or even personal spiritual benefit. It is a service to the Church because to celebrate the 1962 Mass is ipso facto to re-emphasise the Church's teaching on the sacrificial nature of the Mass, a teaching which is sorely needed today.

But to return to the parallel, or lack of parallel, between traditionalists and liberals, which I have discussed before: what traditionalists can't tolerate is the negation of the Church's teachings; what the liberals can't tolerate is the re-affirmation of the Church's teachings. Make of that what you will.

1 comment:

  1. It's good for bishops to be reminded that the laity are every bit as much trustees of the sacred liturgy as the Church's prelates are, and that clergy simply cannot do as they want with it. This is what the 20th century liturgical movement completely forgot. A few months ago an Orthodox bishop in Greece tried to read the Old Testament readings at Great Vespers in modern Greek, rather than Koine, but was shouted down by the congregation: