Monday, July 5, 2010

A Joyful Threesome

I've just had a bit of a traddie 'intensive'. Normally I breathe the simple but musty air of the archive or library, probably my favoured habitat. However, for the last 48 hours, and with 48 other pilgrims, I've been breathing the clear rarified air of pilgrimage. Yes, the anticipation of this inspired the previous post. This pilgrimage reminded me just how diverse the traditional movement can be. Most of my favourite variety of birds were there (see here  and here). There was however, a new variety on the block or possibly hanging from the roof. Rather hard to identify but, for the time being and pending confirmation, I'll describe them as the plain breasted reluctant. It's a peculiar bird which whilst travelling with the rest of the traddie flock, neither likes Mass in Latin nor many of the finer points of tradition. Specialists are divided over over whether this is a sub species at all or rather a trans migratory, or perhaps even transitory, mutation caused by flying too close to certain peaks in the former Yugoslavia.

Anyhow, and casting coy simile to the wind, over supper on the first night the first signs of deviance from the norm appeared. 'Will Father be saying a Mass in English?' Several acidic responses came to  mind as my heckles began to rise. I settled on a potted rant on the educational failings of the last forty years. Day 2 arrived and I find myself tucked away in a pious corner but sufficiently within earshot to eavesdrop on the following; 'Well if it's not in English, I'm not going'.  By this stage I was beginning to wonder whether this trio had actually read the advance information sent by the organisers. I bit my tongue considering the vague possibility that some well meaning traddie friend had rail-roaded them into the pilgrimage whilst being sly with the actual details.

The Final Day. I'm relieved at how smoothly the final High Mass goes (I get to hide in choir) however I'm more than slightly bemused that how easy that all seemed in comparison to organising a Low Mass for myself earlier in the day. It seemed to take all the negotiating skills of a well oiled diplomat together with the time tabling savvy of a minor multi national CEO. I'm very grateful to those who smoothed the way.  Eventually it all worked out and up to the altar I went expecting, rather hoping, it would just be me and the angels. The trio were there, with a few friends. Now to have found me this required certain skills in negotiating unknown territory including a religious enclosure gate. Full points for tenacity. Some quick  'catechesis' was necessary. Thankfully, I think they just might have caught 'the bug'!


  1. What is the reason for your aversion to high mass (the actual norm of the church)?

  2. It's more of a personal incompetence than aversion. I don't have the voice or the memory to manage the ceremonial. I'll leave that to those who will not make a hash of it.

  3. 'Well if it's not in English, I'm not going'.

    Aaargh! Yes, I’ve heard that before and it really ticks me off! While I have always leaned more traditional than trendy (my Irish upbringing I suppose - back when there was a proper Irish upbringing…) and bewail the liturgical abuses and rubrical inattentions of the past 40+ years, the Mass remains the Mass.

    Assuming proper Matter and Form (which can’t always be assumed today unfortunately, cfr. Mahony and LA inter alia…) the sacrifice is complete and if it’s Sunday or a Holyday of Obligation (if any are till extant…) you have satisfied your obligation and with proper disposition received the graces of the Sacrifice and Sacrament.

    That anyone is so hung up on language, style or the other ‘accidents’ of the Sacrifice that they would rather miss Mass than attend, shows a lack of understanding of Basic Catholic Doctrine.

    Aside: Continuing on that line some might adduce a parable for other ‘prerequisites’ for EF attendance: dress. Now while Our Lord’s parable of the wedding guest being tossed out for lack of proper attire, I don’t think He meant dress per se but rather disposition – and anyway the wedding feast wasn’t cancelled on account of it.

    Aside to the aside: the parable could however be used to address the dress or lack thereof of some members of the NO congregations in our time. Just a thought!

    Where was I? Oh yes - we should not be so prejudiced one way or another that we miss the forest for the trees.


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