Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Family Retreat: reply to 'Ora Pro Nobis'
Over on Fr Ray Blake's blog, some pseudonymous commenter suggests, not for the first time, that 'traditionalists' - presumably this means people attached to the traditional liturgy - don't do enough. This person's private apostolate is, apparently, to rid the Church of liberal Catholics by making them choke to death on their after-Mass biscuits by quoting the Catechism at them. Well, good for him (or her). There can be a place for that kind of thing, but it is not the only kind of activity pleasing in the sight of God. Far more productive, generally speaking, is the combination of the worthy worship of God and the Spiritual Works of Mercy, 'instructing the ignorant', 'comforting the afflicted', and 'giving counsel to the doubtful', where the recipients of our help actually want it. And this is what happens during a traditional retreat.
We've gone one further by making this experience available to the parents of families, and to their children, the lay people perhaps most under attack in our society, and most in need of support.
And we go a step further still by combining this with a Chant training weekend designed to improve the standard of liturgical music in parishes up and down the country, whether they sing for the Traditional Mass or the Novus Ordo. This year we had singers from the schola of St Bede's Clapham Park, the LMS Schola in Lancaster, the (lay) schola at Ealing Abbey, the Schola Abelis of Oxford, and the Juventutem Schola in Bristol.
How does this compare with forcing biscuit crumbs down liberal windpipes? Is this more productive, 'Ora Pro Nobis', or less? And how much effort, over how many years, and by how many people, does this work represent? Do you think it is easier, or harder, than learning a handful of proof texts from the Catechism?
It is a slightly depressing reality of the blogs that, looking at my statistics, far more people want to read me attacking Mgr Basil Loftus or Paul Inwood than want to read about the Masses, Pilgrimages, or other spiritual events with which I and the Latin Mass Society are involved.
Nevertheless, this is what we do: week after week, year after year. And I would suggest that far more hearts are softened to receive the fullness of the Faith by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Gregorian Chant, and the prayers of the Faithful at our holy places, than are by the combination of milky tea and fragments of chocolate digestive going down the wrong way during a spat with some self-appointed guardian of orthodoxy intent on making his parish social club into a war zone.