Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Latin, Motu Proprios, and the Spectre of the Vicious Traditionalists

I admit it; I'm not a big fan of the way the Novus Ordo Mass is celebrated in most parishes I've visited. The high decibel folky whole wheat hymns, the experimentation, the dissonance of kneelers, standers, and kneelers & standers, it all gets to me a bit. But no matter how awful I make the situation out to be, it's still the Mass and Christ is still present. Even though the sense of sanctity is often difficult to find, it is still Mass. So those times when I'm fed up with what I think is shoddy rubrics or whatever else I can nitpick out of the liturgy, I simply remind myself where I am and what I am witnessing, and thank God for it.

I admit this too: I am eagerly awaiting the Motu Proprio and, hopefully, a more traditional method of celebrating Mass in the Novus Ordo. And I admit that I am partially mystified by the Pope's apparent dallying on the release of the Motu Proprio. I've read Spirit of the Liturgy and assume I know how Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger felt about the state of the liturgy, so why is it taking so long?

I think it has to do with charity - specifically a lack thereof. In my blogosphere travels and in my conversations with Catholics of all persuasions, I've noticed that people who I consider 'serious about their faith' sometimes err on on the side of hyper-criticality. Nothing is acceptable to them other than what they consider the pure, unadulterated use of Latin, Liturgy, etc, etc. Priests who are otherwise good and orthodox men, are singled out for abuse and ridicule because of the inclusion of the classical guitar, bongo, flute, or trumpet instead of, or even along with, the pipe organ. Priests who administer the sacraments with reverence are criticized, by the very Catholics who actively receive these sacraments, because their pronunciation of 'agnus' wasn't correct. I understand that many Catholics simply want the liturgy to be conducted properly, it's just that often many Catholics, like me, go too far.

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