A priest on the staff of a U. S. seminary went on record recently telling young seminarians that the adjective “extraordinary” in reference to the Latin Mass should be taken to imply that it should be offered only “occasionally” or “ rarely” or “ only every so often"; or at least less regularly than the ordinary form Mass, which, as we all know, means that the Mass it describes is well, the more "ordinary" of the two, right?
One could surmise easily that this was
delivered in reaction to what for some is an unwanted spike of interest
in the classic liturgy — as well as various other aspects of the
Church’s life before the rupture predicated falsely upon the documents
of Vatican II — among young men seeking the priesthood.
those who are dismissive of Catholic life before the 1960s are in a
retreat and reaction mode bodes well for the life and health of the
Church, because it means that even those with their heads habitually
thrust deep in the sand of denial are beginning to wake up to the deep
influence of the John Paul II- Benedict XVI papal orthodoxy juggernaut.
That orthodoxy has been planting deep roots in the faith and life of Catholics for over two generations.
As an example of the irrationality of the prejudice that denies any
value to classic Catholic life, validated by the saints from the
beginning of the Church’s organic life of faith which grew into the
Gregorian liturgy, this irrational speech will fall on deaf ears. The
responsible, sensible, and wise voice of Benedict XVI still reverberates
clear and strong in the Church for the men who understand his efforts
to promote peace in the Body of Christ through promulgation of Summorum Pontificum.
Those who, contrary to the responsibility and trust the Church places
in them and their roles of leadership, continue a tendentious
invective against either liturgy of the Church, ordinary or
extraordinary, are violating both the spirit and letter of Summorum Pontificum
which Pope Francis has already stated was a prudent measure for the
benefit of the Church. Pretending that eradicating the Extraordinary
Form Mass plays any part in the agenda of Pope Francis is deeply
Let’s apply the rationale of the priest who spoke
out against an enthusiastic promotion and celebration of the
Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite by applying his “ logic” to another
area of Catholic life.
Many of us know that the Church has
sought to rein in a tendency to “ clericalize” the laity by calling for
the use of the term “ extraordinary” in reference to the use of lay
people in administering Holy Communion, particularly at Mass and in
other ordinary instances of Catholic sacramental life. As many of us
also know, this measure was taken in response to abuses of the role of
the laity in the distribution of the Eucharist, which in many places
continues apace. This abuse has been abetted by the obvious error of
priests sitting in the sanctuary or in the rectory while lay people
supplant their proper role as ordinary ministers of Holy Communion,
along with deacons and instituted seminarians.
The hypocrisy is
obvious: When it comes to abusing the term “ extraordinary” if it
promotes an alien agenda or because clerics are lacking the
constitutional fortitude to risk disappointing uneducated laity by
making a needed correction, then it goes unremarked. If, however, it is
the less favored Latin Mass that is involved, then the default mode can
fall anywhere between inaction and continued advancement of the deeply
destructive rupture agenda. Neither choice is acceptable.
Catholics can find the Ordinary Form Mass easily as it remains
abundantly available. Promotion of the antique liturgy is a matter of
pastoral care for every priest whether or not he chooses to celebrate
it himself. The point of Summorum Pontificum
is that both forms of the Mass should be as freely available as
resources and effort allow. Common sense dictates that any priest who
offers either Mass should know how to do so. Stating this truth only in
regard to the Extraordinary Form is petty and can be interpreted as
Benedict XVI’s papacy is a triumphant seal upon
his lifetime of work in aiding the Church at large in advancing the
arduous cause of a sane and reasonable application of the pastoral
documents of Vatican II. Benedict knows young people well, given his
long work as a professor. He knows well that you get no traction by
insisting that the Church began with Vatican II because young people are
too intelligent to fall for such a ruse. Those with a rigid agenda
which insists that the light of day fall only upon their personally
preferred sliver of 2,000 years of organic Catholic faith and life make
themselves only more ridiculous through their ossified denial and
(Follow Fr. Cusick on Twitter @MCITL or on Facebook at Reverendo Padre Kevin-Michael Cusick.)
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