Sunday 12 August 2007

Lovers of the Roman rite have been shamefully abused these 40 years...

Until the arrival of our new Pope, Traditional Catholics were always being deliberately snubbed, insulted, misinterpreted and abused. I can testify from my own experience that this has been going on now for many years. I noticed it even when I was still attending the Novus Ordo regularly.

But now we have the motu proprio and so there is even less excuse for vilifying one's fellow Catholics for hearing the mass of their forefathers.

Things are liturgically better now than in the 1970s when traditional Catholics, many of whom in those days were old enough to have fought in the war bravely against Nazism and Fascism, were constantly being called Nazis and Fascists by all too many of their fellow Novus Ordo Catholics. Many such abusers knew better but just went along with the crowd rather as many Jews did when they cried "Crucify him" to our Lord in the courtyard of Pilate's palace. It was shameful. The Chairman of International Una Voce, Eric de Saventhem, had even been a German conspirator against Nazism and had had to escape from Nazi Germany in fear of his life. But that meant nothing to the calumniators. They still called him a Nazi merely for preferring the ancient Roman rite of his ancestors. And most of the calumniators had never been anywhere near persecution themselves but had always lived in comfort in the post-war West.

It was not a pretty sight to watch so many people calling themselves Christians engaging in this calumniatory abuse, especially those many of them who concurrently claimed to be eager exponents of "toleration" and "Ecumenism" to all and any form of religion - except, of course, the traditional version of their own. And the clergy and bishops were often as bad as any, persecuting those in their flocks who dared to show any kind of warmth toward the traditional rites. It was a kind of trahison des clercs.

Further back still, in the early days, in the years after the Council, there were even examples of priests ripping up rosaries and other devotional aids in the pulpit telling their congregations that they were things of the past. It was a deeply shameful time. And all the while the Faithful were constantly being told that this was "Renewal". Falsehoods were all too frequently on the lips of both clergy and laity alike in those days, alas.

I can also testify that it was during those times that so many Catholics left the Faith. The spiritual "glue" that had kept them attached to the Faith was atrophied by the prevailing chaos and so huge numbers simply came unstuck and drifted away.

The reality is that there are still clergy who do not feel the courage to seek out the truth. Some are actively afraid of finding out that what traditional Catholics say about the traditional Roman rite is true. They know that this might make demands upon their consciences which they are afraid to admit. Actually the demands are not so great but they do not feel the courage to attempt even the minimal. To be fair there are so many other issues to fight on that they do not want to have a fight on the issue of liturgy as well. What they do not realise is that the liturgy issue can often precede others simply because how we pray determines how we believe - lex orandi statuit legem credendi.

All that is needed is for them to act as the better sort of modern PP does who usually celebrates the Novus Ordo but allows and gives favour and toleration to the traditional mass, having harmoniously negotiated the arrangement with the bishop. After all, the Holy Father himself is a devotee of the traditional rites and strongly supports their availability to the faithful, as evidenced by his very extensive motu proprio. It is curious to hear from the anti-traditional refuseniks who will not tolerate the traditional rites but yet claim to be loyal to the Holy Father. They are too often loyal to their own prejudices. The real truth is that they are not loyal to the Holy Father.

But there are clergy who do not even feel the courage to attempt this reasonable compromise. So they bury their heads in the sand, hoping that the issue will not affect them or will go away. But God does not reward such lack of courage. And so the crisis continues - and will continue.

We must pray for better understanding and better times, for our clergy and for charity to heal the wounds of deep division and strife that the Church has suffered over these past 40 years, through sin, ignorance, folly, obstinacy, vainglory and uncharity.

Our Holy Father has led the way and we should follow him.

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