Monday, July 14, 2008

SP One Year Later
Last Monday, July 7th marked the on-year anniversary of the Holy Father's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. With that in mind, I thought I'd make a long over due post on some liturgical experiences I've had recently.

After a late afternoon school function a few weeks ago I was looking for a place to get my daily prayers said. I was on a bit of a deadline (I had a date with my girlfriend), so I couldn't leisurely take my time. I went to the chapel in the priests' residence at my Alma mater but couldn't get all my prayers said due to a funeral. The near-by church was locked, so I went to the student chapel on campus. What I found disturbed me. People were in the chapel talking and visiting very loudly--which immensely annoyed me due to the fact that we were in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament--a band complete with guitars and drums, and an overhead projector and screen with the "hymns" displayed so people could sing along, which they did complete with upraised arms and swinging bodies. But I made do because it was the only place I had to pray. So I proceeded to pray my breviary, which wasn't particularly easy in my surroundings. In the middle of my praying of Vespers a priest in the Roman collar and jeans walked up to me and asked "Who's this guy praying up a storm?" I introduced myself and said I was just looking for a place to pray. He responded that I had found the right place. He informed me when I asked what was going on that the monthly "charismatic Mass and fellowship" was going on. When I found out who he was (he was known to me as the charismatic renewal priest of the diocese who happens to reside in the next-diocese-over--the same next-diocese-over where I attend an FSSP chapel), I informed him that I attend the FSSP chapel. His demeanor changed when he found that out, but it's a bit hard to describe in words just how. He didn't treat me like a second class citizen as some Novus Ordo priests would but rather treated me in a more formal manner, like the fact that I was a Traditionalist demanded a greater sense of formality than the others present. He invited me to stay if I wished, but said that I "might be a bit frazzled" (i.e. by the way Mass would be celebrated). I thanked him, and went back to my prayers. He proceeded to great others present, complete with large hugs. It goes without saying that I did not stay.

The other weekend I was out of town and wasn't able to get to the near-by Latin Mass for personal reasons, so I had to go to the local NO Mass. I knew I would be in for a show, but prayed I could just concentrate on the sacrificial nature of the Mass, not the liturgical shenanigans I would shortly view. We were greeted by the band (which just happened to stand next to the raised sanctuary in a particularly ugly church--nothing particularly Catholic about it), and were asked to say good morning to those around us. I stood rigidly and tried to ignore those around me until I was forced to acknowledge them by outstretched hands. The Mass itself was uninspiring with an altar girl, a "feel good" sermon that lacked anything touching real spirituality, numerous lay extraordinary Eucharistic ministers, and a very annoying old woman who went to the tabernacle (which happened to be stuck in an alcove at the backside of the church) both before and during the Mass with no genuflections, just a slight head bow. When asked how Mass was I said "My mother taught me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all." I broke that admonition, and told all about my experience. I told the story of a parishioner at my chapel who's mother at one point had to work Sunday mornings and was not able to attend the TLM. She thus had to attend an NO Mass and said that she felt like she needed to go to confession after Mass because it made her so angry to see all the liturgical abuses. I felt much the same after my NO experience.

With these experiences in mind, might the Church need the TLM to mitigate all the liturgical chaos that happens nowadays? Just yesterday I was not able to attend my chapel for Mass due to personal reasons, but instead went to a much under-advertised TLM offered in an NO parish in my domiciled diocese. My diocese has for years been led by a bishop who resolutely refused permission for the indult Mass. It was so refreshing to have recourse to a beautifully celebrated TLM in the liturgical desert that is my home diocese, complete with cassock-wearing priest and transitional deacons! A portent of change perhaps?

One year later after SP much has been done, yet much has still to be done. Pray for our Holy Father Benedict XVI and for the success of Summorum Pontificum!


Anonymous said...

Hooray for SP!

Anonymous said...

Some of us Protestants have the same problem. I often attend my wife's Presbyterian church, which has a "praise" band, and only now and then plays traditional music accompanied by the organ, apparently as an afterthought. It seems "praise" music is intended for praising ones self; the words "I", "me", and "my" are used much more frequently than in traditional hymns. I think the arm raising is needed for better reception from God, kind of like a radio antenna (plus, it shows everyone that you are really moved by the HG).

Some time ago, the altar cloths disappeared, and now they drape any old color over the altar without reference to the church year. The bible texts likewise have no reference to the liturgical year, and, of course, the sermons follow the texts.

Every now and then, I have to flee to my old Lutheran church which has a traditional liturgy and music. What a refuge it is.

Sad to say, the Presbyterian church attracts congregants from all age groups and a diverse cultural mix; the Lutheran service is attended mostly by the elderly offspring of Nordic immigrants.


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