Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Dear Bishop...

Sorry, friends but as this is my blog, I do feel I have a right to say that I am very anti petitions. Petitions are all a bit "studenty", they seem to be the favoured means of engagement of aging, dubious German theologians and quite frankly, is going running to papa every time you feel the playground bullies are going to spoil your fun, really the best way of doing things?

I propose an alternative: write to your Bishop, I've even got the letter here ready for you to use...

Dear Bishop [ insert as appropriate]

I am writing as one of your faithful flock to tell you of the great joy I have experienced since the Holy Father issued his Sumorum Pontificum and clarified the use of the 1962 Roman Missal. I am writing to thank you for [actively supporting the Holy Father's wishes/ not overtly impeding the Holy Father's wishes/ being adjacent to a diocese where I can get to Mass in the Extraordinary Form]. I want to tell you of the marvelous fruits of this endeavour.

Firstly, I will tell you how it has enhanced my own relationship with Our Lord. I have become more aware of the sacred mystery inherent in the Mass. I have become more aware of the sacrificial nature of the Mass. I am able to more actively participate in the Mass due to my more fervent prayer. I am wanting to spend more time with the Blessed Sacrament, I have refound my love for Eucharistic devotion and have become a more frequent user of the sacrament of Penance. I am [not] old enough to remember this Mass first time round, and it has been a real joy to [re]discover its beauty.

Secondly, I want to tell you about some of the other fruits of Sumorum Pontificum. [insert as many of the following as you see relevant]. The sheer number of young people who are inspired and invigorated by the Extraordinary Form and interested in discovering more about the liturgy and the faith. The happiness of the priests who have taken on the challenge of learning the older form. The happiness of the elderly who have longed to hear and participate in the old rite again. The opportuntites for evangelising to members of the SSPX who furtively turn up to these Masses. Finding other like minded souls who want to learn more about plainchant/ the history of our faith/ Latin/ lace making. Not being embarrassed by our liturgy when talking to Anglo-Catholics.

I hope this gives you a flavour of how exciting and invigorating the integration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite into our worship has been for me [and my family]. I just had to write to give witness to green shoots now now sprouting from the vine as a result of this clever grafting by the Holy Father. I am hoping and praying for your [continued/growing] [intrerest/support/ lack of indifference].

Yours faithfully,

Monday, 21 February 2011

here's where I lose friends....

The docs have stopped my medication. The reason seems to be so that I can be really ill for my next hospital appointment! This means the old brain isn’t functioning quite as lucidly as it ought to. However, I do feel, even in this state, I’d like to add something to the Liturgy & Tradition debate; especially in light of the petition that has been got up regarding impending “clarifications” to the Sumorum Pontificum. I don’t like gossip, I don’t like anything that smacks of fear or the spreading of distrust and some of the blog world does seem to be full of just that. Yes. I appreciate most of those who are grateful for the more widespread return of the older form of the Mass are like wounded hounds with long memories; they’ve been kicked once too often. I remain sympathetic to their cause and I am a first hand witness to the pain and suffering they have had.

My worry is that those who would call themselves Traditionalists with a capital T, are fast becoming Traditionalistas and are in danger of seeing themselves with a separate (and special) identity within the Body of Christ (a non-Catholic, revolutionary, disruptive thing and therefore not a good thing).

I have three propositions regarding Liturgy and Tradition, I list them below with the conclusions I draw from them. I challenge anyone to pick holes in my reasoning.

1. Paragraphs 80-83 of the Catechism suggests that the Liturgy is seen through the lens of the Living Tradition of the Church. Living Tradition sounds like a paradox but being Christological is able to hold this apparent contradiction together; being both eternal and temporal. My first proposition is that if the sacred liturgy exists to “make present and fruitful in the Church the Mystery of Christ”, changes to the liturgy will take place, have always taken place and will continue to take place, BUT essentially the sacred liturgy does not change. It is up to us to pray it and engage fully with it.

2. It is impossible to improve the Liturgy. No change to the liturgy has ever been an improvement. You cannot improve on something whose function and origin is Divine. Changes are simply changes.

3. Whilst I have more sympathy for the pontiffs who leave liturgy well alone; Benedict XIV springs to mind and my personal favourite Pius XI didn’t tinker extensively, I will argue that all liturgical changes instigated in Rome are essentially pastoral and exist for no other function than to increase the number of souls getting to heaven. Misinterpretations notwithstanding, we have to live with them and make sure their aim is kept in mind and heart.

Conclusions: don’t worry, keep praying and Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Mummies and Daddies

I’ve just read in today’s paper the rather tragic tale of the couple that have gone to the courts to try to get their intellectually challenged daughter forcibly sterilised after the birth of her current child. They are already looking after the first child and say their daughter has absolutely no comprehension of parenting or responsibility towards her offspring. I’m not writing in response to this particular case, but I’d like to make a few observations about the vulnerable and their sexualisation.

Two things spring to mind. Firstly my memories of working with the special needs young adults at a college of Further Education. I was horrified by the woman in charge of the unit. She was one of these bosomy, matriarch types who unfortunately always manage to wind me up. Personality clashes aside however, what got to me was the way she both mothered and sexualised her students simultaneously. I can only imagine how confusing it was for them to hear things like “Aww, give him a love, Tommy looks like he needs a love”, “Are your going to be girlfriend and boyfriend now?”, “Sally, give him a kiss. There that’s better isn’t it?”. She was an advocate of the contraceptive patches for her female students.

Did the students really need to be treated like dolls playing at mummies and daddies? This was many years ago, I assume things now are more enlightened. I’m not saying the students had no sexual feeling of their own, but I do wonder about the wisdom of encouraging them.

Secondly, in such cases, who is the father? Is he a young man with similar learning difficulties? In which case, why should such a couple be allowed to spend so much time together, alone? Or is he someone who is taking advantage of a vulnerable young woman, knowing full well what he is doing, in which case surely his actions are criminal?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Picture this (2)

The eloquent, precocious and highly readable (if a little insane) young Patricius, has reproduced a photograph which I too find pretty dreadful.

How can four priests saying Mass be a horrific picture? Well, nobody would disagree that four priests saying Mass dressed as clowns or surrounded by oversized puppets does not do justice to Holy Mass and insults the dignity of the Mass more than usual. But why should a pre-VII photie with yards of good man-lace and altar boys in decent cottas with decent haircuts cause offence? (BTW: I wonder if God is offended? We like the brats that we are, feel righteous indignation for our Father, but it doesn’t mean the Father feels the same.)

To me the photograph does show something very wrong. The building itself, it is far too utilitarian. The picture looks like it could stretch on for miles, an aircraft hangar length room full of priests all saying Mass before a wall of white gloss paint and under the glare of tungsten filament bulbs in naff shades. This doesn’t mean Mass has to be said in a church, but Mass facing a blank wall in this fashion can not possibly make it easy for the angels to surround it with glory.

The question still remains; what does the picture show? Is it Mass in some pre-VII priestly penitentiary or asylum? Is it liturgical training school? Or is it actors learning how to portray priests? The picture is very wrong in many ways.

Monday, 7 February 2011

In the interests of continuity, this little blog (that no one reads)will be keeping its layout just as it is. Occasionally and imperceptibly, I make the colours slightly more grey, but that is about it. I find colours noisy and I'll leave Zurbaran's vessles to do all the shouting.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Once more unto the leech...

Blogging's light because I'm not feeling great. Whatever is wrong leads to long periods when reading and writing are very difficult, and thinking is out of the question.

I'm going to have to go to hospital for another 3 day fast in March; even more blood to be extracted....

I'm not happy about this, not sure I'm up to it, I'm sort of deteriorating gracefully....

My prayers are with you.