Guns don’t kill people, people do. People are the source of division, not the things they use to bring about violence. The voice is one of the most beautiful gifts given to men, and yet men use their voices all too frequently in sinful ways to divide and to hate. This is not the fault of the voice but of the man or woman who uses it for unholy purposes. So, intentions are key in uncovering in any situation what is the cause of division, if indeed there subsists such a lack of true charity. Just as with any weapon intended for self-defense, the things of God can be misused in a sinful way to exclude the truth or to deceive. Liturgy is not merely a defense against evil. In the Mass, the prayer of the Lord Himself and the highest form of prayer, is also brought about the greatest source of grace through our Lord Himself truly present in the Eucharist.
In recent weeks the Pope digressed on matters liturgical in an address at Rome to the pontifical liturgical institute St. Anselm on its sixtieth anniversary. He spoke of the new liturgy promulgated after Vatican II and also of the Traditional liturgy. He compared the two to the denigration of the latter.
The motives of those who attend and promote the Traditional Liturgy are of the very highest. They live with love for God and others through complete submission of intellect and will to all that the Church teaches in matters of faith and morals. This is the one necessary task of the Church for the salvation of souls. I know this is true because I have served them as pastor for nearly twelve years. Our parish has grown and flourished with new parishioners joining us nearly every week, as well as frequent Baptisms among our large and growing families. To his credit, the Pope in his address acknowledges “legitimate differences,” which I would say nearly perfectly describes the situation of those who find that the incarnation of the liturgy in the vast majority of cases looks nothing like what was described in the documents of Vatican II. Those conciliar documents called for the use of Latin, the music of the organ, and the rich tradition of Gregorian Chant. The liturgy in many places today has devolved to the point of resembling a badly disorganized Masonic meeting.
This is to say nothing of the open promotion of sodomy by the leading German cardinal with no known comment from the Pope in response. A frank “family discussion” on how the postconciliar Church went wrong in the matter of the Mass is all that the people are asking for. Parrhesia, an honest airing of differences, has been hailed by this Pope as a necessary element of ecclesial life. Alas, the track record is often a dysfunctional silence in response to any who question even the most bizarre aberrations contrary to Catholic faith and morals.
The love of and belief in the Eucharist, which the Pope rightly highlights as the source and summit of our lives as Christians, encapsulates the reason for the ceaseless unease among the people of God over many years in regard to the deplorable state of liturgical affairs in many parishes. This reality is the basis for the pastoral solicitude on the part of some postconciliar Popes to concede some basis in ecclesial life for those who find the Traditional liturgy a continued source of spiritual strength.
Charity is not “above all openness and attention to others” as the Pope said in his recent address to the liturgical institute. No, charity is above all love of God for His own sake and others in Him for the sake of their salvation.