Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I hate having to retract a position in favor of the one I had initially rejected. But I am here to tell you all, that, I have a retraction. I was wrong about my posture to the Extraordinary Form of the Sacred Liturgy.

Okay, everyone, calm down and stop getting all of your exercise jumping to conclusions. The issue in my mind was simple: if people wanted it, great. As for me and my house, we'll stick with the Novus Ordo. And I should have been aware of flaw in my position from that stance, but I didn't catch it. It made me nervous having to master this new (well, new to me) form of the liturgy. And I have dawdled and put it off but now I am going to get after it. Here's why.

First, I realized that my attitude toward the Extraordinary Form was akin to the attitude I see in many Protestant-polemic-influenced histories of Europe in which the early church was smashing and then a bunch of unimportant stuff happened and then the brave Reformers show up. They jump over the continuity between the ancient, medieval, and early Reneissance expressions of the Church. I was doing the same. I was content to understand the variety of rites and expressions which categorized the Church's liturgical life up to Trent, and then conveniently jump over the intervening five hundred years of practice and concentrate on the Vatican II world. To be consistent, I needed to know all aspects of the Church's liturgical life so that I can truly see the whole.

Second, I saw that I have to be able to serve all of the people of the Archdiocese. Granted, my Spanish is subpar, but I took a month away to learn it, so how is this different? It was a conversation with a friend who put my head on straight, although I don't think he intended to do so. In my conversation with him, he expressed his sadness over being stuck between two illicit Masses for Sunday. (A brief note: Invalid means that the sacrament is not brought about; illicit means the Church's liturgical law is broken.) While his preference was for the Extraordinary Form, the Ordinary Form was so shoddily celebrated that it would be, to his mind, a scandal to his children and wife. My affection for him made me see that no one should have to be caught in that pickle. I may not put it to much use in Prague, but who knows? Further, preparation now might serve well if other pastures are in my future, not that I am looking.

The plan is to be able to celebrate the Low Mass by January 1. We'll play it by ear for now.


Anthony Keiser said...

You never cease to amaze me. My familiarity and openness to the extraordinary form has been sparse in the past, but, as Fr. Eric Weldon always told me, "We need it."

Duffy said...

I've always thought of it this way:

Locally we have a Spanish Catholic mass, a Korean one, Ukranian etc. Sounds nice but it doesn't help with the universality. With the Roman rite anyone can go to any mass and mix and mingle with everyone. Likewise we can go to any Mass in any country and worship w/o missing a beat. I was born and raised in Novus Ordo but would like to see more of the Extraordinary form.

Joel L. said...

I just found out you were back to blogging and am pleased to see it! I don't know if anyone has already offered this or not, but a great resource for yourself and others in coming to the TLM or EF is a blog by another priest, Father "Z".
I can't recommend it enough!