SUBMITTED BY BLOG READER
I am not a fan of Archbishop Roche, who will probably be made a cardinal by Pope Francis at the next consistory. As the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, when he gives a lecture about the liturgy, we should reflect and engage with what he has to say even if we vehemently disagree. When he was the Ordinary of the Diocese of Leeds, he displayed a sustained hostility to the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) that was unacceptable. As a diocesan bishop, Roche (who is very personable one-to-one) did not show pastoral solicitude; nor, did he exercise ecclesiastical discretion.
I take a pragmatic view about the TLM, if people wish to attend this form of the liturgy, let them, because, they are not doing any harm. However, they cannot be permitted to create a church within a church; their deficient ecclesiology cannot be given institutional credence. But, is also the case that people attend the TLM because they are in dismay at the state of the church, e.g., ex-Cardinal McCarrick and the never-ending tsunami of scandals involving sexual and financial misconduct.
A great number of (but not all) people who are diehard supporters of the TLM are driven by the misguided nostalgia to “recreate” a perfect church that has never existed. These people would do well to remember there has never been a golden age of the church. They seem to forget that Liturgy is a participation in the salvific work of Christ. The celebration of the Eucharist as per the pre-Vatican II Missal has become a spectacle for those who wish to fetishise liturgical vestments on websites such as:
It is also begetting the dangerous groupthink that priests who celebrate the TLM are beyond reproach and they can do no wrong. Church Militant, which is becoming increasingly Trumpian have eloquently shown that the evil of priests sexually abusing children is also an entrenched problem within the SSPX.
Increasingly, I have found this observation to be true where you have priests wearing lace in the church in the morning — you have the same priests wearing leather in the evening at chemsex parties.
The TLM will not “save” the church. It will not lead to an influx of vocations. Its supporters would do well to bear in mind that there are twenty-three Eastern Churches sui iuris in full communion with Rome that have distinct but equally legitimate liturgical traditions, ie, the Alexandrian, Armenian, Byzantine, East Syriac, and West Syriac Rites. Also, these churches have their own problems. And, they have corrupt and abusive clergy.
Those who take a traditional/conservative worldview about liturgy are rightly concerned with the unacceptable and erroneous view that Vatican II gave clerics a licence to recreate the church and by extension the liturgy in their own image and likeness. The unsympathetic modifications to churches and cathedrals were often misguided, ill-conceived, and driven by petty ecclesiastical politics. A point acknowledged by Cardinal Ratzinger when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
It is important that we differentiate between Tradition and Traditionalists when it comes to liturgy. The two bishops that are heroes for traditionalists are Cardinal Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The former seems to becoming a conspiracy theorist and the latter is concerned by what he considers of the evil of taking communion in the hand.
Liturgical disputes are as old as the church itself. Nothing ever changes, and the sooner we accept that and make peace with ecclesiastical reality the better.
When I was ordained in 1976 I started celebrating and loving the Paul VI Mass.
It is the Mass I still use and I have never used Benedict’s missal.
I like all 4 eucharistic prayers.
II and III are useful as not being too long.
I love IV as it lays out the history of God’s dealings with man.
I agree with our correspondent today that the Latin Mass on its own if fine. But it is not fine when it becomes a rallying point for the right-wingers.
I have NEVER celebrated Mass in Latin and would need a lot of tutoring to do so.