Given Professor Kwasniewski’s “victory dance,” as Charles describes it, can one use a long and time-honored means of grace, the Tridentine Mass, and twist it into a vehicle for escapism, for abandoning the bulk of the flock? I suppose one can presume to let people come to where we are. But is that what Pope Francis has in mind? I doubt it:
90. Genuine forms of popular religiosity are incarnate, since they are born of the incarnation of Christian faith in popular culture. For this reason they entail a personal relationship, not with vague spiritual energies or powers, but with God, with Christ, with Mary, with the saints. These devotions
are fleshy, they have a face. They are capable of fostering relationships and not just enabling escapism. In other parts of our society, we see the growing attraction to various forms of a “spirituality of well-being” divorced from any community life, or to a “theology of prosperity” detached from responsibility for our brothers and sisters, or to depersonalized experiences which are nothing more than a form of self-centeredness.
The key point for any of our indulgences: does it foster those relationships. And I assume the Holy Father means not just relationships of our own choosing, but of those who do not see as we see. Is there an incarnation to the spiritual thrusts of our age, the traditional Latin Mass, the prosperity gospel, the self-actualizations, the post-Christian explorations, and everything in between?
Zeroing in on the Catholic things: does liturgical traditionalism lead us to the boundaries of faith, and not just the beyond the borders of what is perceived to be the in-crowd? Do any of our “special” Catholic observances lead us to the far highways? Or just to the edge of the front porch? Are we looking for others to be edified? Or for our numbers to swell so as to give justification to our noble efforts?
And to be sure, those question are apt for absolutely any minister. For myself, perhaps liturgy has become a safe indulgence and the next real mission lies in previously unexplored missionary territory.