1 Corinthians 13
In the last few weeks I've become convinced that very few traddies, at least here in Britain, have been completely 'bred in captivity'. Rather, it would seem, that a considerable portion of our number have actually been brought in 'from the wild'. In other words a lot of people that I come across have started their pilgrimage to tradition either as converts or reverts. Don't get me wrong I don't think this is a negative thing but rather it does give the 'movement' as a whole a dynamism that is rare in main stream Catholicism. I find particularly encouraging the news of the Mass organised for Catholic school children in Birmingham (see here). I suspect the odds of their lapsing have just become reduced. I wish I'd had the gumption to organise such a Mass when I was involved in teaching. A couple of years after I'd left teaching a group of my old students presented me with a lovely missal hoping that I'd learn to use it. It turned out that there had been a secret nest of young traddies under my own nose for some years. I was saying a daily private Mass daily in the school chapel and they were, at the same time, bemoaning the lack of the traditional rite in the school chapel.
Anyhow back to today's Epistle. If I speak with tongues. St Paul addresses a situation in the Church at Corinth which can't be too far from what we experience now. As an understatement we could say that there was a variety of opinion amongst the faithful. I wonder if the young traddies at the time were trotting off to the Aramaic Mass Society, on the quiet, to the despair of their syncretistic parents. A particular problem seems to be a division between those who were demonstrating particular spiritual gifts many of which we would associate with the modern Charismatic movement. St Paul's advice, is of course, integrationist, that the various gifts given to all Christians have to be consumed into the whole body of the Church.
Twice during the past week I've been engaged in conversation with people who have come back to practicing their faith through the Charismatic movement. It's not the first time that this has happened indeed I seem to be discerning a trend that if Charismatics are likely to return to the Church from the various sects they have run off to join they are highly likely to gravitate towards the traditional rites. The reasons for this are complex but I suspect the spiritual pendulum that the 'swings and round abouts' in the lives of many Charismatics ultimately needs to be tempered by the strong guidance of tradition and dogma. Without such a balance faith can be reduced to what we feel rather than what we know.
So some of us have been 'bred in captivity' others have been 'caught from the wild'. In the true tradition of a Universal Church we are tempered and brought together. It's that balance that those children in Birmingham have now been exposed to. With any luck that single celebration of Mass will sow the seeds of a balanced faith which will lead them to seek out the fullness of the faith rather than the transitory attractions of a cafeteria approach which craves the greatest spiritual 'sugar fix' available at any one time.
Apologies for the dearth of postings over the last few weeks. I'm afraid I've been given some extra duties and it's taken a while to establish a new routine.