Monday, August 02, 2021

Catholic Extension


 Last week, I was invited by Catholic Extension, one of the oldest charities in the US, on a "pastor immersion experience" to see what kinds of apostolates are supported by the funds they raise, in one of the 87 dioceses that they serve in the United States. It was a truly memorable event that took me and a handful of other pastors from around the country to the Diocese of Yakima in Washington State. 


The Diocese of Yakima partners with WAFLA (Washington Farm Laborers Association, a non-profit that serves as a liaison between workers and farm owners), as well as major fruit producers in the area, to provide a variety of spiritual and other services to the migrant farm workers, largely Mexican, that come every year to harvest the produce of the land. One of the highlights was meeting Bishop Joe Tyson, the Bishop of Yakima, whose pastoral zeal was so evident and inspiring. He started an initiative by which seminarians for the Diocese (and others) spend a summer working alongside farm workers (Covid has interrupted this and several other initiatives). Priests say Mass in the fields, or in the dormitories where the workers stay. Sisters and catechists provide religious education, spiritual support, and just a kind and loving face, to workers who are far from their families and loved ones. Occasionally, the Bishop himself will wake up early and join the men in the fields. 

We went out to one orchard and talked with several workers who were busy picking cherries. We offered Mass in the ballroom of an old Fairfield Inn, that is co-owned by WAFLA and some of the fruit producers, and houses some 1000 men. We visited a children's literacy camp in Monitor, WA, where migrant families stay in a state owned camping facility, in tents or trailers. The Diocese hosts the camp over the summer, where seminarians and others play games with the workers' children and reads to them. Most of the workers are in the country legally, through the H2A farmworker program

The Yakima valley was settled by French and German immigrants. After the war, through the Bracero program, Mexicans joined the mix. The Diocese itself is 85% Hispanic. Over the harvest months, the population swells by some 30%. 

Some of the highlights: celebrating First Communion and Confirmation with three of the men at the Mass at the hotel ballroom; catching up with one of my seminarian friends, who used to be in formation for Atlanta but, after spending a summer in Yakima, felt called to serve in that Diocese; and getting to know the humorous, generous, indefatigable Bishop Tyson -- a true shepherd after the heart of the Good Shepherd! 

The economic heart of migrant work: where remittances go back home

One of the rooms where 4 workers stay. Others have 6 bunk beds

Children's literacy camp in Monitor, WA

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Pariahs

[The Nuptial Mass according to the old Roman Rite, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Atlanta, 2017]

Pope Francis issued the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes today, issuing restrictions on celebrations of the Mass according to the Missal of 1962, and writing an accompanying letter to the world's Bishops explaining his reasons. 

It's Friday, a day that I normally don't follow social media, or post. However, while refraining from commentary, I did spend the day reading various reactions, pondering the new reality, and responding to a small flood of messages from a variety of folks who wanted my "take," or simply were hurt, bewildered, dismayed, and in anguish. Here's some preliminary thoughts.

I am a pastor with the cura animarum in a semi-rural corner of my diocese. I think folks know me as someone who loves Gregorian Chant and Latin (those who are familiar with my conversion story know of the impact these had on me). After Ordination, I taught myself the rubrics of the 1962 Missal, with some assistance from the priests at the local FSSP parish, and have celebrated Mass in this form privately, and occasionally, publicly. Some of the most beautiful and joyful occasions were weddings of former parishioners, students at the University of Georgia, in the beautiful Basilica in downtown Atlanta. In my last assignment, there was one evening where the schola from the FSSP parish came up to the mountains, to assist with a Missa Cantata, and a crowd of some 100 showed up on a weekday evening. In my current assignment, I know of no one who can serve the old Mass, and with a full complement of weekend Masses, there has been simply no way to offer it publicly.

Learning the old rubrics and offering the old Mass has deeply influenced the way I celebrate Mass in general, and my advice to seminarians and priests had always been -- even if you don't offer it, learn it. It will change the way you celebrate Mass. It is hard to describe the sense of the sacred, of the laser focus on the priest offering sacrifice, that is so clear when one offers the old Mass. Several others, who've experienced the Tridentine Mass, whether lay or clerical, say similar things

Well, it seems, that changes now. 

We got an email from the Chancery stating that the old Mass was not suppressed in the Archdiocese, and would continue to be offered at the FSSP parish. Any priest who is resident in Atlanta and not a member of the FSSP, should approach the Archbishop to apply for faculties to offer the Mass publicly. Meanwhile, the motu proprio and its provisions would be studied and we'd be informed about any new developments. 

As far as I know, only one parish in the Archdiocese offers Mass regularly in what, until today, would have been called the Extraordinary Form, in the language of Benedict XVI, that Pope Francis consciously avoids, and seems to repudiate. It's unclear as to what happens at this parish. No 3.3 of the new motu proprio suggests the old Mass should not be offered in parochial churches (but makes an exception for personal parishes dedicated to the old Mass, while insisting that no new ones be erected). However in many parts of the United States, the Tridentine Mass is simply one of the Masses offered on a weekend. If the Mass is not offered in a parish church then where would be offered? It's bewildering that the consultation that preceded the publication of the legislation didn't seem to be aware of the situation in many Dioceses in the one western country where the old Mass seems to have actually been integrated into parish life, in many places. 

Or maybe it did, and it didn't matter. 

It is hard to read the Pope's accompanying letter without being dismayed. The only fruit he sees of the experiment of Summorum Pontificum (as he describes it) is disunity and a questioning of the legitimacy of the Second Vatican Council. Nothing else. Then there's this

Whoever wishes to celebrate with devotion according to earlier forms of the liturgy can find in the reformed Roman Missal according to Vatican Council II all the elements of the Roman Rite, in particular the Roman Canon which constitutes one of its more distinctive elements. 

I heard the Roman Canon perhaps a dozen times in all my years as a layman. Even in one of the most faithful and orthodox seminaries in the country that I was blessed to attend, it could hardly be called common. But that apart, in my diocese alone, there is such a divergence in how Mass is celebrated between parishes, and between priests (without even touching on the neuralgic issue of music) that this assertion of the Pope seems, at best, naive. If one listens to those who are attached to the Traditional Mass -- they speak of beauty, of a sense of the sacred, of transcendence, mystery, and otherworldliness. One major part of that is the use of a sacred liturgical language. And yes, all of that is possible in the reformed Missal. But where does it actually exist? And it could all change, when the next Pastor rolls into town. With the old Mass, in our time celebrated with much care and affection than it perhaps was in earlier ages when it was just "the Mass," 21st century post Christian moderns can reliably experience the glory and beauty of the rite, unaffected by the personality and preferences of the priest celebrant. The rubrics and the orientation of the Mass (facing [liturgical] East, the constant tradition of all the Churches, until the innovations of the mid 20th century) ensure that. It is no wonder that parishes that are dedicated to the Traditional Mass, or offer it, are packed with young adults and young families. The young, at least in the West it seems, want tradition.

It is clear that the Pope sees in attachment to traditional liturgical forms only a dangerous source of disunity, dissent, and nothing else.  While this is true (perhaps more online than on the ground, frankly), there's so much more to this reality, if one has ears to hear. The response seems to be to treat it like hazardous waste, or a cancer to be contained and eliminated. The restrictive legislation aims to do just that:

Indications about how to proceed in your dioceses are chiefly dictated by two principles: on the one hand, to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II, and, on the other hand, to discontinue the erection of new personal parishes tied more to the desire and wishes of individual priests than to the real need of the “holy People of God.”

So, in a nutshell, may traditionalists ultimately disappear. 

This following bit is always nice to hear, especially when so many of our "elders" seem to throw the charge of rubricism and clericalism and what not at anything that doesn't conform to their vision of "Vatican II" which tends to involve ugliness, worldliness, iconoclasm, the sanctuary overrun by everyone and their grandmother (literally!) and, often, outright dissent from definitive moral teachings. 

At the same time, I ask you to be vigilant in ensuring that every liturgy be celebrated with decorum and fidelity to the liturgical books promulgated after Vatican Council II, without the eccentricities that can easily degenerate into abuses. Seminarians and new priests should be formed in the faithful observance of the prescriptions of the Missal and liturgical books.
The Pope desires through this motu proprio to foster unity. It would be an understatement to say that is likely not going to be the result. And it might just reignite the always simmering liturgy wars in a time of religious decline in the West, with other urgent and pressing needs -- evangelization, making disciples and retention of membership for one, and the fall out from the abuse crisis, the ongoing drama of financial scandals at high levels in the Church, residential school scandals in our neighbor to the north, and the seeming inability of the hierarchy in some places (Poland) to learn from the mistakes of Bishops elsewhere, among others. 

On the ground? The Bishop is back in charge after the fourteen year "experiment" of Summorum Pontificum. I expect those Bishops who are hostile to the old Mass to weed the cancer out from their dioceses. Most others will study the matter, but not really change much on the ground (speaking only of the United States). In fact, several Bishops today issued statements saying that nothing has changed on the ground so far, and that further study would be required (San Francisco, Detroit, New Orleans, Lafayette in Louisiana, Madison, are the statements I've seen). Some granted faculties right away to priests who have been offering the old Mass in their parishes. Others offered words of encouragement and hope to those who attend Mass (imagine that! Comforting the afflicted!). That's still a handful. And one can easily name those from who one won't be hearing any words of encouragement.  [Cardinal Gregory in Washington DC has also given temporary faculties for things to continue as they are, until the provisions of the law are clearer.]

In fact, that is the final take away from today's new legislation and explanatory letter: the seeming insensitivity to the pastoral needs of one group in the Church. I would go so far as to say that few groups are treated with such utter disdain as those attached to traditional forms of the liturgy. They are truly pariahs. The Church in Germany seems to be synodaling its way into schism, and vast swathes seem to be in open dissent without any negative consequences. The US hierarchy is sorely divided over the issue of whether politicians who support and work actively to expand the killing of children in the womb should receive Holy Communion. But the old Rite? Toxic! One can pray that the Pope of the peripheries might find a shred of compassion for this suffering portion of his flock. 

In the end, the Church is the Lord's, and we rely, as always, on Him. The Holy Father always asks for prayers, and we absolutely should pray for him, and for our Bishops, even -- especially -- when we don't understand what he does. 

---- 
As some commentators have pointed out, the legislation addresses only the celebration of Mass and the Missal. It doesn't say anything about the Roman Ritual (older sacraments, sacramentals) and the Divine Office (governed by the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae of 2011). Given the canonical principle of strict (i.e. narrow, not broad) interpretation of legislation that restricts rights (see canon 18 of the Code of Canon Law), the current legislation cannot be extrapolated to cover these other issues. I expect a clarification will be forthcoming, and I don't expect it to take a positive view of the permission granted for the use of the old ritual books in this regard. 

It is truly curious that the legislation was introduced without a vacatio legis, and went into effect immediately. Why the hurry? The need for clarity and correction, as well as need for time to study of how to implement the law, is already obvious and the traditional vacatio legis exists to facilitate just that 

Responses that I found worth while [a link is not an endorsement] 

Fr. Anthony Ruff OSB of the progressive blog Pray Tell, calls for peace and compassion
Chris Altieri, editor of The Catholic Herald (US edition), at Catholic World Report on the best, middle, and worst case scenarios going ahead 
Amy Welborn at Charlotte was Both doesn't mince words
The traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli, which seems to call for all out defiance 
Fr. Dwight Logenecker

J.D. Flynn and Ed Condon at The Pillar give a great summary of what actually changes now


And finally, finally, I couldn't resist: 

"The unique expression of the Roman Rite"

"Poolside" Mass at a Catholic high school in 2014. 
Photo from this post at the traditionalist blog 1 Peter 5







Sunday, July 19, 2020

Abusive obedience

As yet another disheartening story appears of mismanagement, at best, of a case of sexual abuse by a cleric (in this case, involving an adult woman. Kudos to my buddy Chris Altieri for his reporting on this story), I was reminded of an article that I had saved away for future reading when the McCarrick affair exploded upon us back in 2018, but never actually got around to. It showed up again this weekend in my Facebook feed. 

Tyranny and sexual abuse in the Catholic Church: A Jesuit tragedy  by "Adfero," appeared on the traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli in the aftermath of the McCarrick saga in 2018. It's central thesis is that the roots of the crisis lie, at least in part, of a tyrannical understanding of obedience, divorced from reason and law, that goes back to the 14th century nominalism of Ockham, but especially to a conception of obedience to one's religious superior that can only be called blind, in the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In its original setting, as a military-style training in obedience and discipline for the "shock troops" of the Counter Reformation, for priests who would be working in far flung mission fields, this helped keep a focus on the mission for which they were sent. Divorced from this context, however, this conception of obedience gave rise to a culture of tyrannical, unquestioning obedience to religious superiors, that lent itself to abuse, and spread throughout the Counter Reformation church, and was passed on in seminary formation. This led to an infantilization of clergy, and also of the laity. Other factors (canon law, the longer tradition of the Church, philosophy, customs of religious orders) kept this tyrannical tendency in check, which, while crippling the Church, didn't prove fatal ... 

Do note that this is a description from a traditionalist blog. Which, again, goes to show that facile stereotypes are just that ... facile, and misleading. 

I was reminded, while reading this piece, of the description of the dominant "morality of obligation" that arose in the post-Reformation Church, given by the great Dominican moral theologian, Servais Pinckaers. In his invaluable "The Sources of Christian Ethics," he writes, 
... in this view of morality, the question of obligation isn't one question among man. It is the question, even the only question. 
He continues that this conception of morality as having to do only with obligation spread over all of Catholic culture. 
Originating in manuals intended for the education of the clergy, this idea of morality spread to the people during recent centuries through homilies and catechisms. It created an image of the priest as one who taught what we should and should not do, with the accent on sins to be avoided. This was its outstanding feature. 
(Do also note, this isn't to say that the priest has no role in teaching his people about morals. However his rulings  do not determine what is good or evil! "Father says so" isn't a sufficient reason for things to be the way they are!) 

In fact, while this view of the priesthood seems to have largely vanished in English-speaking US Catholic culture, I do find strong vestiges of it still dominant in various Spanish-speaking and other immigrant Catholic cultures in the US.

And, in my own formation and training, I've encountered an attitude of submission towards one's spiritual director that isn't, at least in its form, very different from what "Adfredo" describes as tyrannical. While my own experience of this has been anything but ... one only needs to think of some of the cases now coming to light of the abuse of spiritual authority, such as the shocking revelations of the life of L'Arche founder Jean Vanier, which are rooted and abetted by this view. 

One can see how a view of morality reduced solely to obligation, combined with the thesis of a tyrannical view of obedience to religious superiors, was a potent mix, rife for all kinds of abuse. As both the author of the Rorate piece, as well as Pinckaers, note, what one saw in the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council was a massive backlash against this view, leading to the chaos of the post-Conciliar years, and a still entrenched antinomian mindset. The rise of a lax approach to sexual morality, combined with a still extant tyrannical view of authority, however, was a perfect storm for both the toleration of sexual abuse and its cover up. 
The chaos that engulfed the Church in the 1960s and 1970s was probably due in large part to rebellion against the tyrannical exercise of authority that had been inflicted on clergy and religious prior to the 1960s. Like other revolutions recorded by bistory, however, this revolt against tyranny did not lead to the triumph of freedom. Instead, it produced a more far-reaching and thorough tyranny, by destroying the elements of the ancien régime that had placed limits on the power of superiors. It did away with the factors listed above that had counteracted the influence of a tyrannical conception of authority in the Counter Reformation Church. 

The progressive faction that seized power in seminaries and religious orders had its own programme and ideology that demanded total adherence, and that justified the ruthless suppression of opposition. The tools of psychological control and oppression that had been learned by the progressives in their own formation were put to most effective use, and applied more sweepingly than they had ever been in the past -- the difference between the two regimes being rather like the difference between the Okhrana and the Cheka. 
(That last is a reference to the secret police of Tsarist Russia that morphed into its Soviet version after the Revolution. One often hears similar comparisons made between the KGB and the FSB)

Finally, both Pinckaers and "Adfredo" contrast counter-Reformation ideas with the teaching of St. Thomas ... showing just what a gift the Angelic Doctor continues to be in the life of the Church! 

"Adfredo's" counsel at the end of his piece is salutary ... a thoroughgoing reform ... 
Part of the progressive ideology was the falsity and harmfulness of traditional Catholic sexual teaching; the effect of this tenet on the sexual abuse crisis need not be laboured. But it would be a mistake to think that progressivism as such is responsible for this crisis, and that its defeat would solve the problem. The roots of the crisis go further back, and require a reform of attitudes to law and authority in every part of the Church.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

"From Ragas to Responsories"

[This is now a  very very very occasional blog. ] 

The latest episode of Square Notes: Sacred Music podcast is a conversation with yours truly. [YouTube link to episode] 

 George Sigalas from Athens (former parishioner of mine) had sent in my conversion story to Dr Jennifer Donelson (who teaches at Dunwoody Seminary) and Peter Carter, the hosts of the podcast, and they thought it worth their while to follow up. 

Hope it's of some use and interest. 

I can't recommend the other episodes strongly enough. (Lots of heavy hitters on there -- including Archbishop Sample of Oregon and the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Robert Cardinal Sarah). This one, and the Liturgy Guys podcast, do stellar work in providing solid liturgical formation in light of the magisterial teaching of the Church.

[A small, personal tidbit. We recorded this over Skype in late June of 2019, just a week or so after I had gotten back to India to take care of my mom in her last days. It's a sweet touch, that it was finally published today, on Mother's Day ... ]


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Small gestures

It's the last day of the year -- of the decade. I had dinner with a close friend of my parents, and the conversation turned to, a bit unexpectedly, a common (though, for me, long dormant) interest: Hindustani classical music. From the age of 8, till about 20, I had received regular vocal training in the Agra gharana (style of classical music). In Bombay, my guruji was the late Batukbhai Diwanji -- an erudite musicologist, music critic, and chronicler of Bombay's music scene; a tremendously fascinating character, a talented singer in his own right, and a very patient teacher. Recently, I had received a short article about Batukbhai and a mid-20th century Bombay musical event I had never heard of. He passed away in 2014, it seems, at the venerable age of 96. I had lost touch with him after moving to the US in the late1990s.

Hindustani classical music -- as beautiful as it is, and as much as I still enjoy listening to it -- never quite pierced my soul as the musical heritage of the Church, with life changing, and life shaping consequences. That's another story.

Lots of memories indeed -- all the baithaks in folks' homes, and concerts -- at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Chowpatty, and the huge "Aprachalit Raag" concert sponsored by The Times Group for their Sesquicentennial (1990), and of course JanFest, the annual 3-day festival put on by IMG (the student led Indian Music Group at St. Xavier's). What stands out in sharp relief is just how much the culture of Hindustani music -- and musicians -- was evidence of the cross-pollination of the main religious traditions of India. So, for instance, one would have a Muslim artist singing a bandish (composition) quite often expressing sakhi bhav (the love of the soul for God) manifested in the playful amorous dalliances of the Hindu deity Krishna with his gopis (cow-herding girls).



Ustad Faiyaz Khan, perhaps one of the greatest Hindustani vocalists of the 20th century, singing "Mathura na ja" in Raag Purvi. "Don't go to Mathura, o Kanha [Krishna]."

When we lived in Ahmedabad, in the 1980s, I received taleem (training) from Ustad Hamid Hussein Khan. I recall one evening, where after our riyaz (practice), Khansaheb stayed on for some tea and snacks. My father had just come back home from work. And somehow, Khansaheb waxed eloquent on the battle of Karbala, which is at the heart of the Shii' Muslim story and identity. I was about 10 years old. I wish I had paid more attention. What I do remember is that every time he referred to the Prophet -- for whom he used the Persian title peghumbar -- he piously touched his earlobes.

One bandish I had learned from Khansaheb starts "Bina hari kaun meri khabar layt," a fairly common bandish in raag Bhairav.  बिना हरी कौन मेरी खबर लेत "Other than God, who will look after me?" Almost as an aside Khansaheb stated, oh, it's actually "Allah bin kaun" using the Arabic (i.e., in India, Muslim) name for God, as opposed to the Hindi hari. "When we teach Hindus, we use these words, however."

A tiny gesture -- but one of many -- respecting different dietary customs, for instance, or greeting each other during major festivals;  rejoicing in each other's joys and mourning each other's griefs -- that remind us of the fact that in India we have a long and old tradition of living alongside each other.

I just spent a wonderful Christmas in the Holy Land, and had the amazing opportunity to concelebrate Midnight Mass in Bethlehem. A few days prior, I finally visited Yad Vashem, and felt again, viscerally, the horror of hatred that the Jewish people have endured. Yet, perhaps more than on other visits, the conflict between two peoples was really starkly visible, especially at the security check point crossing back into Jerusalem from the West Bank, as every Palestinian aboard the bus got off to be questioned individually. In India, the country is being convulsed by the cynically divisive politics of the ruling party, as manifested in the ongoing agitations against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

We need many more tiny gestures, that acknowledge the humanity of our neighbors. That respect their customs. That say, "you exist, and this is good." Yes we need a lot more too. But each of us can make small gestures of peace. Blessed are the peacemakers, a wandering Jew (the Savior!) once said.

This is the first time in my life I find myself at the end of a year with both my parents gone. They inculcated the love of music in me (which drew me, ultimately, to Christ ...). They were both committed to an India that cherished her traditions of diverse peoples living in peace and harmony. It is my hope that what they have taught me, which has served me so well so far, will continue to do so in the New Year and the rest of my earthly life.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Ex Voto


After the Spanish Mass, a young couple approached me at the back of the church and asked if I would accompany them to the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They held a tiny infant — “She’s three weeks old. We had made a promise (voto) to Our Lady that if she was born safely, we’d go to church and go to her image on our knees.” The grandparents and godmother of the mother were also present. The child was tiny — clearly she was premature, and this had been a difficult pregnancy.

So I prayed with them, and said I’d wait for them by the statue of Our Lady. Then all five of them started their crawl up the aisle on their knees, one holding the child, another a vase of flowers, and a third, a statue of the Divino Niño, the infant Jesus. Silently. When they reached their destination, I led them in praying an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, had them light a votive candle, and gave them a blessing. They laid the flowers at the foot of the statue, and stayed on in quiet prayer.

“¡Ahora, no olviden del bautismo!” Don’t forget about the baptism, I gently reminded them. “¡Claro que sí, Padre!” The grandparents and godmother are parishioners, The young couple lives in a different state, and were visiting — she is one of 10 siblings, scattered around the Southeast.

It was a very moving experience. It’s my first experience of this kind of votive offering being requested. I’ve done numerous “juramentos” (oaths, or promises made usually by young men, who swear off alcohol for a determined period, and want the Padre to lead them in a prayer in front of the statue of Our Lady, a very common practice in Mexico, and among Mexicans in the US.) But I hadn’t yet seen this.

To the rationalist, modern, secular mind, this is all so medieval. We’re oh-so enlightened, and beyond all this mumbo-jumbo. (But even the oh-so-secular person cannot help but conceive of the “universe” as a sentient actor with intentions and designs ... always for our good!) To the “Bible-believing” Protestant, this smacks of superstition and paganism ...

... and indeed, the idea of a “votive offering” (from the Latin “voto” - “promise”) is a universal phenomenon in the human religious landscape. I recall a visit to the shrine of the local Hindu deity Khandoba in Jejuri near Pune in south-central India, decades ago (accompanied by a Jesuit friend). Pilgrims ascend the hill on their knees, or with their legs tied to heavy metal chains or blocks of metal — a promise they had made to obtain the favor of the deity. At the tombs of any pir (Sufi saint) in India — whether Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi, Haji Ali in the middle of a bay in Mumbai, or Salim Chishti in Agra (I’ve not been to the most popular destination, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s tomb in Ajmer), pilgrims tie color strings to the grill near the tomb, making a “mannat” (promise), of some kind of hardship or penance, in order to receive a favor.

Authentic Catholic culture takes the nature desires of the human heart — including the desires that are manifest everywhere in folk religion — and purifies and transforms them in Christ, who revealed to us the face of the Father who loves His children. Indeed, the Bible too, knows this kind of offering — think of the Nazirite vow of Numbers 6, which early Christians, including St. Paul himself took  (Acts 18, and 21). And certainly Christian culture and tradition, both East and West, is no stranger to similar practices ... even down to our day — whether it be those who ascend the Scala Sancta on their knees in Rome, or a Mexican family in the mountains of North Georgia who fulfill their “voto” to the Virgin after a difficult childbirth.


(Ex Voto offerings — a painting from the early 20th century giving thanks for protection in war, and a wall of medals of thanksgiving, from the Shrine of Our Lady of Montenero in Tuscany. Jan. 2014.) 

Sunday, October 08, 2017

On the "Latin Mass" ...

St. Josemaría Escriva offering Holy Mass.

Two recent pieces by Matthew Schmitz of First Things that are worth a glance: One in the UK Catholic Herald, and another in the NYT, (what? In the NYT???) on what is colloquially called the "Latin Mass," more formally, the "Extraordinary Form" or the "usus antiquior" or less technically correct, the "Tridentine Mass."
What I find fascinating is the absolute horror, vehement opposition, and worse, that the ancient Mass elicits amongst the clergy, particularly older clergy. I've seen this first hand.