Friday, February 03, 2006

Critical Mass: The "Buzz-of-the-Week" Club

One of my favorite priests was featured in the Washington Times recently. The man who confided in me twenty years ago that "I'm not a parish priest" leaves Catholics a claim to their heritage wherever he goes:

"More and more Catholics are longing for Latin, the language of scholars, Gregorian chant and the Mass... Some say it's all part of the general trend back to the classics of Western civilization. All the Rev Franklyn McAfee knows is that when he announced earlier this month he was starting up free Latin classes on Saturday mornings at St John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, more than 70 parishioners packed the first session."

You da man, Faddah. You da man.

Meanwhile, the sacred patrimony of music and chant and language and -- well, attitude -- isn't enough for some of us. Oh, no, we have to use that other set of books, or it's all for naught. That's one reason why, in traditionalist circles, there's quite a buzz lately over negotiations between the Holy See and the schismatic Society of Saint Pius X. And so, once more, the "universal-indult-is-imminent" rumors are back! I've been hearing this "any day now" schtick off and on since 1988. It seems the SSPX is gonna stop running off about Masonic-Zionist conspiracies long enough to cut a deal with the alleged infidels.

I'm on the mailing list for their publishing house, Angelus Press. (Hey, they're a little nuts, but they've got some really good stuff, okay?) Anyhow, you got a bunch of guys who, over the years, have painted themselves into a corner, and some of their principals want to go marching into Rome and start making demands. Oh yeah, like that'll work!

I've written on this subject twice already in this occasional series; first with When is an indult not an indult?, and in response to my devoted fan base crying for more, with Indult Revisited.

Sooooo... the Italian-lace-and-ermine-mozetta crowd anxiously awaits. While they're waiting, they might want to consider what they're asking for -- all Tridentine, all the time -- and how that would actually happen in the USA. Fortunately for them, two American bishops already have, and Brian Mershon recently sat down with them:

"I haven't given 'blanket permission' for the celebration for the Tridentine Mass in the diocese, it is, however, a permission that I give very readily... The reason I require a request is that, first of all, the priest has to assure me he knows the rubrics and knows how to celebrate the Mass in the Tridentine rite. And secondly, that he has some familiarity with the Latin language that would be adequate for celebrating in the Tridentine rite. And third, that there would be some pastoral need for it, either the people calling for it, or the priest's own personal devotion would be in that direction."

A copy of Fortescue wouldn't hurt either. Discuss.

(FOOTNOTE: I should add that I've been covering and researching liturgical issues for over twenty years. Most of what's written in the blogosphere about bringing back "the Old Mass," comes from people who want what they want, without regard as to how that's gonna happen, from a practical point of view. From my vantage point, which has involved serving priests at Mass as an adult, as well as organizing those who do, it's not hard to imagine a priest walking into the sacristy one morning, flipping a coin and saying, okay, we're gonna use this set of books in the next hour, and everybody scrambling to adapt. Especially since I've seen it happen.)

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