Monday, June 5, 2006

Washington Post Covers Area Tridentine Masses

Gerald Augustinus, in his blog, The Cafeteria is Closed, brings us a nice piece in the Washington Post, with commentary. There is also a 360 view pic if you hit the link he has. For Grotto-goers on dialup, I'm not sure how this will download, but give it a try. If you get the picture up and hear the music, use your cursor and drag the window. You can rotate the picture 360 degrees.

Here are some excerpts:

Rare Latin Mass A Return to Ritual
By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff WriterSunday,
June 4, 2006; Page C11

But mostly there is a powerful silence, a seriousness created by the absence of contemporary church: no responsive readings, no guitars, no congregants walking to a microphone to read from Scripture or to make bingo announcements. There is just a centuries-old script, which dictates the near-constant, intricate movements of the altar servers -- circling the altar, kneeling, pressing hands together, bowing -- as well as the position of the priest, whose back is to parishioners. Together, everyone faces East, acknowledging that Jesus is the true dawn.

We understand that last sentence at Grotto.

This scene is rare in the United States, as only a small percentage of Catholic churches have permission from their bishops to celebrate a Mass that was essentially set aside in the 1960s. That's when the church council known as Vatican II decreed that Catholics pray in their local language rather than Latin. The decision opened the door to transforming a completely God-oriented rite that had been the standard since the mid-1500s to a modern service marked by audience participation and simpler choreography. To some, the shift symbolized the slide into liberalism and ambiguity.

Bingo. But, the Novus Ordo can be God-oriented too. Just view photos throughout this blog and you'll get some idea.

Saint Mary is one of only five parishes in the Washington area allowed to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, and its services are packed with traditionalists who come from an hour away or more. The line for the confessional wraps into the foyer, and the pews are filled with women wearing chapel veils, shockingly quiet small children and prominent conservatives; Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and commentator Pat Buchanan are among the regulars.
But in such a service, "there are no personalities," says Monsignor K. Bartholomew Smith, pastor at Saint Mary's. No chitchat, no spontaneity. The purpose is to be removed completely from the mundane. And indeed, when the service ends and you step outside, onto a run-down Chinatown street corner, it does seem that you have just been in another time and place.

No chit-chat - that was what I noticed when I came to Grotto was the deafening silence. Granted there are occassionally people who talk, but it is such a rarety in contrast to the loud noise of many parishes today. Most begin socializing before the priest has made it out the door. In fact, many socialize during Mass. It's a cultural thing and you won't find this kind of people-centered activity in a parish celebrating the Novus Ordo in more traditional form.

A January 2006 article in Washington Times covered the youth angle on this:

Be sure to read both pages when you get there. The best is on the second page.

Latin returning to Mass
By Julia Duin

January 31, 2006

...This Mass remained the normative rite until after the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s, which allowed the Mass to be translated into the language of each country. The Tridentine Mass, although never forbidden by the Vatican, was squelched by many bishops until 1988, when Pope John Paul II ordered the rite revived.

Pope Benedict has said "great harm" came out of the speed in which the Mass went from one language to another in less than a decade, along with other changes in the rite. "I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it," he said in his 1997 book "Salt of the Earth."

A newer Latin liturgy, the "Novus Ordo," also came out of the Vatican. That is the Mass St. John's parishioners are learning. Father McAfee says one parishioner sent him a $10,000 check and another contributed $5,000 upon hearing Latin Masses are starting up. "The younger people want to do it more than the older people," he says. "Converts are very open to it. Again, they want the whole thing. At St. Catherine's [his former parish in Great Falls], I converted two Jews because of that Mass."

Further down on the same page....

"The younger priests are more apt to say it," he says. "They feel they've been cheated, and someone's taken away their heritage. But they're not teaching Latin in seminaries these days as much as they should be."

And, I can attest that many of us lay people, not only those born before Vatican 2, but many who have been raised after Vatican 2. All of the emphasis from God, to others, along with the deep concern for self-esteem over salvation has done very great harm to the Church.

But, if you read this blog you will find I'm not against the Missa Normativa. I can take advantage of a God-centered Novus Ordo right in my own backyard - something everyone should have.