Seeking Glory, Cheer, and Vibrancy


What was it? A universal indult for the 1962 Missal was supposed to be forthcoming a year or two ago. What happened? The brash and loud schismatic leadership continues to stamp its foot and make demands of Rome. Traditionalism in all things, but we want to set terms to Peter. How generous. And classic.

Fr Jim Tucker, an otherwise sensible voice, stated this today:

Traditional Catholicism is glorious, it’s cheerful, it’s vibrant, it’s magnanimous, it’s uncompromising in matters of truth, but at the same time merciful toward weakness and understanding of human frailty. In other words, it expands the heart, rather than shrinking it.

Let’s ask people who were Catholics in the 1950’s and 60’s and see if they agree. You were fortunate indeed to have glorious liturgy before the Council. Catholics could be found to be cheerful in social gatherings. And the question I love to ask: if the Church were indeed so vibrant, why did the Holy Spirit convene a Council? Why was the curial agenda deep-sixed by the 2,000 bishops who actually knew what was going on in their dioceses? It was all replaced with a renewed and refurbished vision of Catholicism.

Traditional Catholicism does not have the reputation of mercy and understanding. In fact, the Vatican document most attuned to human weakness, Gaudium et Spes, had the most dissenting votes, and that after four sessions of Council.

I don’t care too much what the result of the talks between the SSPX schismatics and Rome would be. It wouldn’t affect liturgy in most parishes. It might serve as the death knell for the 1962 Rite to gain a wider use. A few decades of low Masses, muttering priests, and poor homiletics would bring the same breadth of liturgical expression as the Roman Rite now enjoys.

Let’s be serious: this isn’t about Latin. Nobody needs permission to celebrate a Roman Rite Mass in Latin. They never have. Nobody needs episcopal permission to find a well-decorated church or chapel with traditional architecture to enjoy the backdrop of a Latin Mass. Nobody needs permission to hire an outstanding music director to train singers and a congregation in chant. Celebrate the Mass the way the pope does in Rome. Do it at any time. Wouldn’t it seem there’s a reason why people don’t bother to have a Latin Mass they could have at any time?

The vapid criticism of the 1970 Rite as it’s celebrated in parishes: that’s the key to the heart of the leadership of the traditionalists. That’s where the treasure lies: not in a generous heart, but in a bile duct. Rather than join with other Catholics to actually reform the liturgy with their traditional sensibilities, they picked up their toys, left the playground and stomped home.

Traditionalism will appeal to the mainstream insofar as that generous vision wins out over bitterness.

You can say that about any virtuous person. A generous vision indeed wins out over bitterness. Look to Vatican II for the former. Listen to any of the SSPX leadership, read their web sites, and you can see soon enough where to find the latter.

So I take exception to the longer quote above. It should read:

Catholicism is glorious, it’s cheerful, it’s vibrant, it’s magnanimous, it’s uncompromising in matters of truth, but at the same time merciful toward weakness and understanding of human frailty. In other words, it expands the heart, rather than shrinking it.

So let’s not let the spin doctors of schism appropriate Catholicism for themselves. If they want to endorse the sixteen documents of Vatican II, let ’em come home from schism. They’re already forty years late to the party, but the door’s always open.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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