My nephew’s wife recently responded to my last post that included a section about the ExtraOrdinary Form of the Mass. I think she makes some valid and interesting points, and since I don’t allow for comments on my blog I’ve decided to repost her post. Visit her blog.
double standards in the churchAs you may or may not know, there was a document recently released by the Vatican which clarifies certain points of the Motu Proprio Pope Benedict XVI wrote a few years ago – the letter which liberated the celebration of the Latin Mass from the clutches of bishops, basically.
So yesterday I read a blog entry by a priest which comments, in part, on this new document. This priest happens to be my husband’s uncle, but expresses what I’ve heard elsewhere as well. It upset me. The priest doesn’t take comments on his entries, so I ranted to Tony, who encouraged me to blog about it.
So first let me say that I am replying simply to this way of thinking. I am discussing how it made me feel. I do not claim to know how this priest would actually deal with these situations in real life.
But getting right to it – the problems I have are the double-standard and the dismissive tone.
By double-standard I mean that the pro-NO crowd tend to be extremely nitpicky when it comes to “letting” people hear a TLM. In his own words: “It seems that basically anyone, anywhere can walk into any church with any priest and expect to be allowed to celebrate this form of the mass. The only condition is that they can’t be associated with any persons or groups that challenge the legitimacy or validity of the normative or ‘ordinary’ form of the Mass as most of us know it. In my mind, that would exclude a lot of people, including some cantankerous cantors, who I know are all about mocking the Mass and the way we celebrate the Eucharist in our parishes.”
In other words, if you think the NO is objectively inferior – less clear, less beautiful, less edifying, less correctly Catholic in its approach and spirituality, than is the TLM, not only are you wrong, but you lose the right to hear a TLM. You may only hear a TLM, in effect, if your preference is purely, professedly aesthetic. You might believe wholeheartedly in the Creed, the Catechism, you might tithe to the penny, pray, have a generous and prudent number of kids, lead Bible study, fast twice a week, and love God and neighbour, but if you fail on this point, too bad; you’re not Catholic enough to be accepted.
So, a thought experiment: A group of 30 Filipinos, mostly in their 20s through 40s, approaches a pastor to request a separate Mass in Tegalog. All of them either fornicate or contracept, save two of them. Do you think the pastor will object on these grounds? No. Will they be questioned in detail about their beliefs and practices in the hopes of finding something off, on the grounds of which the pastor can deny them their preference? No.
So why are trads being persecuted? Article 19 says “The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church” – not quite the same as this blogger’s paraphrase.
I guess I’m an outlaw to his mind. Gosh, I even has SSPX wedding missalettes! I financially supported the SSPX! The scandal! What a bad Catholic I obviously am!
Sarcasm aside – what bothers me is that I think those of us who have reservations about the NO, and who prefer the TLM, act in good faith – for love of the Catholic Faith. What we do, we do for love of our Faith. Can the same be said of the hypothetical fornicating Filopinos? Do they fornicate out of love for the Faith? Well, I’d have trouble buying that, personally. Does that mean they ought to be denied a Mass in their language? No. We’re all on the same road together, all sinners, all wrong and blind in some way, probably.
I know this priest can be incredibly gentle and inclusive with people who are not quite full-on in their practice of the faith – in this entry, for example – so really – why the double-standard? Where is the gentleness and inclusivity for Trads?
The other thing that bothered me was, as I mentioned, the dismissive tone. “Much ado about nothing”? Are the concerns of every minority so unimportant to you? This issue is very, VERY important to a particular group of people, minority though it may be.
St. Piux X, pray for us.