~~Tito Casini, Nel fumo di Satana
More and more, Millennial Catholics are flocking en massé to traditional practices and devotions, to the horror of many. But is such fear necessary?
Sing a “New” Church
“Once we have attained the truth in its fullness, integrity, and purity, unity should pervade our minds, hearts, and actions. For there is only one cause of discord, disagreement, and dissension: ignorance of the truth, or what is worse, rejection of the truth once it has been sought and found. It may be that the truth is rejected because of the practical advantages which are expected to result from false views; it may be that it is rejected as a result of that perverted blindness which seeks easy and indulgent excuses for vice and immoral behavior.”
Ad Petri Cathedram, #61 (emphasis mine)
Certainly, it’s not like the 1940s were a liturgical paradise — oftentimes, ‘Low Mass’ (that is, mass with little to no chant/music) was the norm on Sundays. Priests would come out of the sacristy while mass was being celebrated, giving Holy Communion to parishioners before their own priest was even done with the Eucharistic Prayer. From the late 19th century in Italy, it became commonplace for the mass to feature opera music instead of Gregorian chant. Liturgical reform was indeed necessary. And yet, if we are honest, that liturgical reform still has not been fully realized. Many scholars have pointed out time and time again that how the average Catholic parish in America celebrates the sacred liturgy is not the way Vatican II envisioned it to be celebrated.
Who are these terrifying young traditionalists? Step into a quiet chapel in New York and you will find an answer. There, early each Saturday morning, young worshippers gather in secret. They are divided by sex: women on the left, men on the right. Dressed in denim and Birkenstocks, with the occasional nose piercing, they could be a group of loiterers on any downtown sidewalk. But they have come here with a purpose. As a bell rings, they rise in unison. A hooded priest approaches the altar and begins to say Mass in Latin. During Communion, they kneel on the bare floor where an altar rail should be.
Rise of the “Trads”
“I ask myself about this. For example, I always try to understand what’s behind the people who are too young to have lived the pre-conciliar liturgy but who want it. Sometimes I’ve found myself in front of people who are too strict, who have a rigid attitude. And I wonder: How come such a rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something: insecurity, sometimes even more … Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.”
The Catholic Church will have to live with the incongruity of a small but fervent minority at odds with its own liturgical vision, probably for decades. But long term, it can’t last. The arguments don’t hold up. The principles of the Second Vatican Council will not go away and will ultimately prevail.
- Gregorian chant has “pride of place” (SC #116)
- It is forbidden for a “priest [to] add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (SC #22.3)
- “There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing” (SC #23)