Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Term “Extraordinary” in Reference to the Mass Does Not Prescribe Restricted Access

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.

That 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 dishonest.

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 prejudicial.

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 repetitive prevarications.

(Follow Fr. Cusick on or on Facebook at Reveren­do Padre Kevin-Michael Cusick.)

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