Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tradition

"The difference between the liturgy according to the new books, how it is actually practiced and celebrated in different places, is often greater than the difference between an old Mass and a new Mass, when both these are celebrated according to the prescribed liturgical books."--Cardinal Ratzinger

I have always been drawn to the truth of this statement, namely that the celebration of the so called Novus Ordo is in direct continuity with the so called Old Rite. When I was in London, I was sure I had stumbled upon a Tridentine High Mass on Christmas Morning. However, I soon realized that it was not, but rather the Novus Ordo in Latin, ad orientem according to the rubrics. This was in the Brompton Oratory, founded by Bl. Cardinal Newman.

Thus, after seeing this reality and the reality of my home parish, I hesitate to associate myself with "traditionalism" and more specifically with many interpretations of traditionalism. My hope is that any problems that may have arisen in the implementation and abuse of the Novus Ordo may quickly be remedied partially through a more thorough examination of the continuity between the two forms of the Roman Rite. This is why there are currently two forms of the Roman Rite which are intended to mutually enrich one another.

It is my hope also, and I have reason to believe that Pope Benedict may intend this, that we eventually have a Definitive Roman Rite which shows explicitly the continuity and reform that was intended during the Vatical Council. After all, the Tridentine Mass came about not randomly but through a careful examination of the various rituals of the different Western Churches, such as the Sarum Usage. A multiplicity of forms is not necessarily a bad thing, unless it indicates a battle of spiritualities (referenced here). When the multiplicity is merely an expression of different distinct cultures, there is no problem, as long as a unity is maintained in the purpose and direction of the liturgy. Now, in our globalized world, distinct cultures are becoming rarer and rarer and the need for a Unified Rite is of utmost importance, as it was in the 17th C. when Christian Division was becoming more and more common.

I personally am a fan of the multiplicity of usages/rites/forms. I am a medieval man through and through. If the need however arises for a more unified Rite, I am behind it 100%. Rather than promote division and resentment, we must become once again one Church with a united purpose. Now many on both "sides" of the argument will probably hate this hypothetical Definitive Roman Rite, but at least they will not be camped in their separate tents spitting vitriol at each other indiscriminately.

Thus, I am calling for a new Vatican Council. Or maybe another Lateran Council. Not to re-establish the Tridentine Mass, nor to affirm the so called "Spirit of Vatican II." Rather, there are enough new cultural dilemmas that need addressing in a systematic way, and one of these the division over liturgy. Pope Benedict has made great strides in the direction of Unity, but there is very much the danger of the Camp mentality while on the path to this unity. Ultimately, this Unity is only accomplished in Heaven, but as the Liturgy is the foretaste of that Final Banquet, unity in the Mass is essential to our journey.

But all these things take time, and we must remember that 50 years is not a long time in terms of the Church. All is not lost. We must be patient and eventually, maybe, this period of the Church will be thought of not as "pre and post-Vatican II" but merely as "around the time of the Second Vatican Council" which is how we remember most other Conciliar eras.

Patience then, and Tradition always, for Tradition stops for no war of interpretations.

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