|Dominican High Mass in Oxford with the Latin Mass Society|
It is helpful to put the two passages side by side. They have in common the Pope's puzzlement, and his coming up with an explanation which is unflattering. But the two descriptions are mutually exclusive.
What is rigidity? It means an attachment to principles; since this is derogatory, the attachment is excessive, or the principles themselves are mistaken. It implies stubborness, an inability to change, even when one should.
What is it to be 'addicted to a certain fashion'? To fall victim to fashion is to change from one thing to another; since this is derogatory, the implication is that the change is not a good one. Fashion victims are people without inner stability, without principles, when they should have them, such as would prevent one being blown every which way when fashions sweep in.
It is very interesting that the Pope should say, one day, that Tradition is a unhealthy fashion which has swept overly impressionable young people off their feet. And then, a few months later, after further reflection, that Tradition is a refusal to follow fashion, a refusal to adapt to the times, a refusal to receive impressions from outside.
Could it in some way be both? Young traddies fail to have the right principles, so they are swept up by a fashion, and they acquire the wrong principles, which they then stick to in an unreasonable way. This diagnosis is just about possible for one person, who undergoes a surprising change of personality halfway through the process, but it couldn't work for as an explanation of a whole movement. The idea, after all, is to explain traditionalism in terms of a particular character trait which traddies have. Is that trait the trait of being impervious to fashion, or being too open to it? It really can't be both.
When one meets this kind of incoherent account of a person't personality, it is an indication that the person giving the explanation hasn't grasped something. If your explanation of why Napoleon invaded Russia is psychologically incompatible with your explanation of why he signed a Concordat with the Church, then you need a new one.
What is it that Pope Francis can't understand? I am sure it would help him in his 'digging' if he actually met some young traditionalists, spent some time with them, and listened to them. As far as I know he has never done this. What might he discover?
He might discover that young Catholics who find out about the recent history of the Church, and of the liturgy, frequently have the impression that they have discovered something rather exciting, something rather glorious, which has been hitherto hidden from them. This is not about succumbing to a fashion, and it is still less about refusing to move with the times. It is an authentic, personal response to newly available information, and a newly discovered liturgical experience.
This response, of recognising the sacrality and spiritual value of the ancient liturgical tradition, is exactly the same response as that made by Catholics of previous generations, including all the saints of the past. They all loved the Mass, they all recognised Christ in it, and it was the ancient Mass which they were loving, if we go back beyond the mid-1960s. The only difference is that the yong trads of today often discover it only after a childhood of experiencing the Novus Ordo.
This phenomenon cannot be explained by reference to a personality disorder of a minority of young people. The realisation that the ancient Mass is something distinct and interesting is going to hit every young Catholic exposed to it from now on, and at least some of them will like it. It is as simple as that, and it isn't going to go away.
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