Sunday, July 8

Broadening the use of the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite (or how I learned to love the Roman Missal)

For the longest time, the goal of most traditionally-minded Catholics, at least liturgically, was to get approval for a "Latin Mass" in their diocese. Doing so, considering the poorly defined instructions of the Ecclesia Dei document of John Paul II, was usually a major achievement that involved a good deal of heart ache and compromise.

Personally speaking, my bishop, is gracious enough to allow one instance of what is now, thanks to Summorum Pontificum, the extraordinary form of the Roman rite — on a Monday night, approximately 50 miles from my home. I can hear him at the pearly gates, doing his best President Clinton imitation, under cross examination from St. Peter..."It depends on what your definition of generous is..." Oy. This being the case, I make a run for the border into the diocese just south of mine, which is thankfully only a 35 mile drive, for Sunday Mass.

Well, now that the cat is out of the bag about the old Mass never really being abrogated — and with the memory of an illicit denial of our birthright for the past 40-odd years still burned upon our psyches — what do we do?

The first thing to do is listen. Listen to what is being said in your local parish, even if you are not a member. Be attentive to what is being written in your diocesan newspaper and website.

Of course, for most of us, we will be lucky to hear the bongo tapping dreck that infests most chanceries whispering "My bad!" over the din of their Dixie Land liturgies. But note, that will be a step forward for most of them.

After listening, then what? Speak. And do so charitably.

Contact the pastor of the parish closest to your home and ask, "In light of the Holy Father's document regarding the liturgy (which is may be handy to have on hand, should he not have seen it yet) will you be adding the extraordinary form of the Mass to the weekly (or daily) Mass schedule?"

If he says yes or he'd like to or isn't sure, do anything you can to help him. Finance a trip to a "Latin Mass boot camp" put on by the Fraternity of St. Peter or get him training materials from another source, like the "Mass kit" from the Society of St. Pius X. Be charitable and encouraging under all circumstances.

If he reacts charitable and encouraging. Show him that this Mass isn't a bogey waiting to eat him alive. Move on to the next closest parish...rinse, repeat.

As Bruce Lee said:

"Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend."

So grasshopper, in conclusion...during the pre-motu proprio days, the goal was one Latin Mass per diocese.

Summorum Pontificum has leveled the playing in the short term, the goal should be one Latin Mass per deanery. If your bishop doesn't agree, appeal to his progressive side. Think of the reduction in green house gases if we only have drive 5 miles to Mass instead of 35?

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