15 September 2007

Change, glorious change!

Yesterday the motu proprio went in effect, and I’m overjoyed for those who have been waiting so long for the vindication of their legitimate liturgical aspirations. I’m delighted that it’s exposed the out-and-out lies that have been crammed down the throats of faithful Catholics, with too many liturgists and/or bishops telling us with a straight face that the Second Vatican Council banned the use of Latin in public worship, that it made the eastward facing celebration illegal, and that traditional practices in celebrating the Mass had to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Lies, all of it.

Whether or not the use of the 1962 Missal becomes widespread is really immaterial. The point is that the truth about the Church’s liturgy has been revealed, and we now all know more clearly the mind of Christ when it comes to how Catholics should worship.

Not that most of us didn’t know it before. Did any serious Catholic ever think for a moment that clowns and balloons represented the consensus of the Council Fathers? Did anyone ever think that Fr. “Doing-my-own-thing” would act like that if he was celebrating Mass in the presence of the Pope? Are there any more than a handful of aging refugees from the 1970’s who think that Marty Haugen is the new Palestrina, or that the most memorable thing about St. Louis is the Jesuits?

We’re at the cusp of a change now, thanks be to God. And it doesn’t mean everyone suddenly needs to buy a reprint of the ’62 Missal. There are many parishes where the Extraordinary Form of the Mass will never be used. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be affected by the motu proprio. Gradually there may be more bishops and priests who will realize that facing east is an acceptable – and even normal – way of saying Mass. A better quality of music may find its way into more parishes. Kneeling to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament on the tongue may become a more frequent practice.

And maybe those of us in the Anglican Use parishes – who have always done these things – won’t be thought of as being quite so odd.