onsdag 1 november 2017

Tridentine Mass last night

I went to a Tridentine Mass last night at our local parish. It was the vigil Mass for All Saints and was everything a Mass should be - the Proper sung as in the Liber Usualis, the Ordinary in a polyphonic setting and Credo 1.

I then retired to a pub with a group of friends. The conversation turned, as always in these situations, to the state of the church, and how our local priest has been marginalised and even subjected to harassment for his "conservatism".

He celebrates the Tridentine Mass every Saturday evening, on most feast days and at least one other day a week. That is impressive. However, there is not a single other priest in the locality who will stand in for him when he is away. Requests to other priests meet with a flat refusal; one gave the feeble excuse, that it was "too complicated". Can he warm up a meal in his microwave?

There seems to be a reluctance within groups like my friends to accept that parishes where tradition is holding are tiny islands in the ocean. Movements like the Latin Mass Society have put up a brave and determined effort over many decades. New Oratory congregations have been established in England. Summorum Pontificum was an immensely valuable boost; things were looking good ten years ago.

It now looks like a swansong. If one looks at the composition of the College of Cardinals, it is clear that the islands are eventually going to be submerged by the rising ocean. With the disapproval of the diocesan authorities, Our local priest will, sooner or later, be squeezed out (probably promoted into a situation of toothlessness) and the valuable work he has done will be dismantled.

How are the signs of the times to be read? How should one respond?

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