First, I should apologise for the offence I've caused; I did get a little carried away. I don't mean to impugn the good intentions of people like Fr Hugh who promote the Reform of the Reform, and indeed I did try to explain the reasoning behind their position in in a sympathetic way.
Second, I should say to Fr Hugh that I certainly didn't have his blog in my sights when I talked about the damage caused by the hype over Cardinal Sarah's words. His blog, like mine, is not, I fancy, primarily responsible for the way things are perceived in Rome, Washington DC, or Archbishop's House in Westminster. I had more in mind banner headlines in the Catholic Herald.
But to business. Fr Hugh makes a surprising assertion about my position. He writes:
Yet, if the full restoration of pre-conciliar worship is the goal, how to achieve it? By fiat, an imposition on the Church as violent as that in 1969 which made mandatory a Mass that few if any laity were really prepared for?
The answer to that rhetorical question is 'Obviously not', but Fr Hugh appears to imagine that I think the answer is 'Yes', and goes on to criticise me quite harshly for a proposal I have never made, never intend to make, and do not agree with. Indeed, I thought the tenor of my post was clear enough: that I envisage progress (at any rate for the foreseeable future) as nothing more than the organic growth of the celebration of the Traditional Mass, a continuation of the progress it has made particularly since 2007.
That is just a misunderstanding. More substantively, Fr Hugh reacts to my criticism of the tactical blunder of the Sacra Liturgia conference people in a somewhat confusing way. What I had said was that the volume of hype forced Cardinal Nichols, Fr Lombardi, and others to react publicly: that is, it made them feel they had to react. This seems undeniable, since they didn't react in this way on the previous occasions Cardinal Sarah has made his point about the desireability of celebration ad orientem, as he did in an interview back in May.
Fr Hugh wants to have this both ways. First, yes there was nothing in the Cardinal's remarks which justified the reaction, because there was nothing very new or startling about them; but at the same time they were worthy of the hype because they were new and startling after all.
Well, whatever you say Fr. The point remains that the reaction came because the remarks were being presented (hyped) as significant, and in the present situation in the Church the reaction was, if not completely predictable, at least very likely. The saddest thing in the whole sorry story is Fr Hugh's assertion, which I am sure is true:
'the organisers did not have any expectation of response'
Fr Hugh is here pleading guilty, on behalf of the organisers, of serious naivity.
My friends, this is not a good time to be naive.
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