The fiftieth anniversary of a pope’s first vernacular Mass in centuries has drawn a lot of comment around the blogosphere. I have seen cited a wish, cited by Pope Benedict XVI, I think, that the traditional Latin Mass and the modern Roman Rite would somehow cross-fertilize and meet in some fruitful middle.
If we were thinking of the Roman Rite in terms of a reconciliation among Catholics, this seems a nice enough idea. Will we get together for an ordinary time Friday fish fry, progressives bringing their cheese pizza and pasta aglio e olio, and conservatives doing it like it was 1899 in the deep-fryer?
Given the huge numbers of Catholics alienated by Humanae Vitae (and trust me, the numbers here are much bigger than the Agatha Christie Catholics), sex abuse cover-up, and the dearth of good preaching, music, and welcome–you name it–the cross-fertilization I would like to see not between Catholic camps, but between the churched and the unchurched. I haven’t quite given up on the unchurched.
I think places with good Catholic music ministry are already in a second generation of cross-fertilization. The thing is, they have been influenced not only by plainchant, but by music of other cultures and languages not white, American, and such.
The deeper we get into a Francis era, the more bitterness I read on the traditional music sites. And I think, this internet stuff is poison: one cross-fertilizes with poison and one kills the tree.
I think many parishes worship in fine old expressions of architecture. And the modern Roman Rite is based on what came before. And we have plainchant in lots of our parishes–in some cases more than what the people sang in, say, 1960.
My sense is that today’s traditionalists have nothing to share liturgically, and seem, to an internet commentator, unwilling to reform and renew as the Lord may be calling their internet behavior. I think we wish them well and move forward. The mainstream of Roman Catholicism has a lot more to look forward to than stillbirth with traditionalists.