Monday, 30 May 2011

"Get up" for Jesus!

An advertisement was posted on a "Catholic" blog... considered "our most important event" by the FSSP (Fraternity of SS Peter & Paul) concerning the "First Solemn High Mass in England" of a recently ordained priest of the Fraternity. An FSSP Parish was offering travel to the event being hosted at the Church of St James, Spanish Place and this was their itenerary...

9am: Departure from St William of York, Reading, in hired coach
10.15am: Arrival at
St James’ Church (‘Spanish Place’, 22 George Street, London W1U 3QY)
10.30am: optional art tour at the
Wallace Collection by Fr de Malleray (conveniently located across the street from St James’ Church) – or free time
12noon: prayer at the
Tyburn Tree near Marble Arch (12mn walk from St James’ Church) and visit of the Martyrs’ Crypt in nearby Tyburn Convent
12.30pm: community picnic lunch in Hyde Park (please bring packed lunch) and free time
2.30pm: Confessions at St James Church
3pm: Beginning of newly ordained English FSSP priest Rev Fr Matthew McCarthy’s First Solemn High Mass – ‘Mass for three voices’ by William Byrd
4.30pm: First Blessings and Refreshments offered in Basement

Many of those attending or who would support this event, which should be an occasion of joy naturally (and I do wish Father McCarthy all the very best in his ministry - ad multos annos), will also think themselves ardent "traditionalists" of a similar vein to the FSSPX except, of course, for being in regular canonical status with the Holy See. What they will fail to see is the irony of their claim to the maintenance of the "Tradition".

There are two particular clues highlighted in the above schedule that immediately alert a Traditionalist to the dangers of the "New Tradition"... Lunch preceding Mass at 3pm?!

Now I am fully aware that it was Pius XII who graciously acquiesced to the (then) Bishops to permit post-Midday Masses and a relaxation of the Eucharistic Fast [Motu Proprio, "Christus Dominus" 1953 extended in "Sacram Communionem" 1957] thus altering centuries of The Church's practice - but this can hardly be thought the behaviour of one supposed to be the "Guardian of Tradition"? Indeed, rather ironically, there are many so-called "Traditionalists" e.g. Sedevacantists, FSSPX etc, who look to this particular Pope as the last of the "true Popes"! But how can this be, since it is largely through his auspices that so much of holy Tradition has been tampered with ["Munificentissimus Deus" 1950 dogmatising the doctrine of the Assumption without Ecumenical Council and creating a new Mass for a feast that had long expressed the "lex orandi lex credendi" of the Church; the dramatic alteration of the rubrics and calendar of the Mass and Divine Office, "Cum hac nostra aetate" March 1955 losing nearly all of the Octaves (bar Christmass, Easter and Pentecost); and then drastically the Rites of Holy Week, "Maxima Redemptionis" November 1955]! Indeed, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the "arch-nemesis" of the "New Traditionalists" whom they accuse of hoodwinking poor Paul VI re the creation of the Novus Ordo Missae, in his book "The Reform of the Liturgy" makes it quite clear that his was a work begun under Pius XII, who in fact gave Bugnini his first appointment in the "Commission for Liturgical Reform" at its foundation in 1948! So, far from being simply adherers of that "New Tradition" of Roman Catholicism propounding the Ultramontanist dogma of Papal Infallibility, these "Novus Traddies" are supporters of one of the worst Liturgical anarchists since Thomas Cranmer fiddled about (rather artistically but with severe doctrinal consequences) with the old Use of Sarum. In all fairness, it wasn't Paul VI who began the process that has so severely distorted the understanding and practice of the Catholic Faith in our own time.

The Annexe, Brighton Congress Hall
at the junction of Union Road & Park Crescent Terrace
Buses to "The Level" or the "Open Market"

Fortunately here in Brighton & Hove (UK) the Traditional faithful are able to avail themselves of the Traditional Latin Mass everyday, offered at a traditional time of 8am Monday to Friday (9am on weekends), afterwhich they may "break-fast" and go about their usual business of work or recreation. Indeed, harnessing modern technology (but not the spirit of the age), those faithful unable to hear Mass in person will very soon be able to do so via the Internet (again, DV), either watching the live broadcast or a recording of the broadcast Mass at a time later in the day convenient to themselves. In fact, if they so wanted, they could even arrange with the priest to receive the Holy Communion later in the day... having duly fasted [a centuries old custom]. All of this, of course, requires a certain amount of sacrifice and self-discipline, but is that really so much to ask in return for the "new Manna from Heaven" and the "Bread of Life"?

The time of offering and liturgy can alter the essential elements and spirituality of the Mass - they can alter the spirit and intention, disposition and focus of the worshipper. What better way to consecrate the day - if... at all possible - with the offering of The Church's Prayer and of Christ Himself? To receive the "Bread of Life" [John vi] first, sustenance for our spiritual life both here and for the hereafter, before consuming that which is necessary only for our bodies but not our souls? Its about priorities. Not possible for all, true, but possible for many... "Where your treasure is, there is your heart also..." [Mtt vi:21] If God is not first in our life, than we do not love Him first as we are commanded to do [Mtt xxii:37-40]. It is possible for us to presume too much of His love and merciful disposition towards us, for it eventually breeds contempt and reduces our devotion to being cursory and perfunctory... "because I have to" rather than "because I want to". It should be the joy of the Christian to get up and praise God first... not an after-thought after wordly priorities and considerations... Similarly reception of the Eucharist, "our daily bread" [Mtt vi:11, Acts ii:46], if possible, should surely be enjoyed before any earthly repast? "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. ... So keep on watching, because you don't know the day or the hour." [Mtt xxv:13] Better then, having survived the night, to begin the day prepared for any eventuality... No?!

Often those devoted to Tradition bemoan the lack of available Masses. Yet, nothing can be achieved without some effort. In the States some traditionalists (admittedly Novus Traddies on the whole) will drive three hours each way to hear a "traditional" offering of the Mass. In our own Mission we have some attendees driving at least 40minutes to an hour on Sundays to hear Mass. Is it too much then to expect those faithful attached to Tradition to get up a little earlier to avail themselves of that "spiritual food" that gives Eternal Life?!

If you, reading this, are attached to true Tradition (i.e. that which has lasted 2'000 years, not 150), live locally and desire to assist in the offering of the most august and holy Sacrifice of the Mass... why not make a little sacrifice of your own time to come and hear Mass at 8am and begin your daily life having been united to God the Most High through His Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ, present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist of the Altar? "Get up" for Jesus!

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