Sunday, August 5, 2012
IS AN ALL LATIN EXTRAORDINARY FORM MASS ITS WORST ENEMY THAT KEEPS IT FROM GROWING?
In the five years that Summorum Pontificum has been in effect, we have not seen a tremendous spread of the TLM like wildfire, although it certainly is better known today and celebrated regularly or not so regularly in many places.
Let's face it, there is not a huge number of people clamoring for it; usually they are a small minority in every parish.
For example, I placed in the bulletin prior to beginning the TLM here at St. Joseph a request that people fill out a form indicating if they would attend the TLM if offered here. I must have had only 130 forms filled out from a parish of about 1,400 families.
The first TLM we had was the very first day it was allowed, on the Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, 2007. It was a Friday night, it was storming, with Tornado watches. There was lightening and thunder! It was so liturgical! And the Church had a about 300 people!
However, after that time, our once a month 2:00 PM Sunday High Mass gets about 60 to 70 people and they come from all over, not just St. Joseph Church. Our Tuesday 5:00 PM Low Mass gets about 10 to 14 people regularly.
When we have special "concert style Mass settings sung by the choir" and in the evening for All Souls as in the photo above and for the Solemnity of St. Joseph and the Annunciation we might get 150 people.
I think the TLM fills a “niche” for those who are drawn to it, much like the charismatic movement and its spirituality and style of Masses. But we have to admit there is an antipathy amongst a rather large number of clergy who are not willing to allow this Mass in their parishes because they simply don’t like it and are fretful of pre-Vatican II things.
But I think, in addition to that, those of us in the clergy who are quite open to it are fearful of replacing one of our regular Ordinary Form Masses with the TLM as an imposition on those who for years have attended that particular Mass and have no desire for a Latin Mass. But these same people would be very upset if their English Ordinary Form Mass was made into a Spanish Ordinary Form Mass.
So I think the main problem with the TLM not advancing, apart from what I have described, is the language it is in, not its order, not its lectionary, not its ad orientem, not kneeling for Holy Communion, not its rubrics, not the quiet canon and certainly not its solemnity. If the TLM could be celebrated in English, save, lets say the Roman Canon,and perhaps a few other parts of the Mass, I think it would spread like wild-fire. Latin is the preventative.
But then again, perhaps having the EF Mass is a way to maintain our Latin heritage in all places, the Latin Rite, and the remnant who like it and celebrate it will do it for the rest of the Church. I’m conflicted as you can see.
But I have to tell everyone when I replaced the English greetings of the Mass about two years prior to the new English Translation, with the Latin Greetings, there was a huge number of people who took great offense at it, some of whom went to other churches in town (they were a small minority). However, over the course of that two year period, people were replying with the Latin Responses with quite a bit of gusto!
Finally, the Sunday Mass we had for the Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist which was thoroughly an Ordinary Form Mass with the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei chanted in Latin and everything else chanted in English and with the Introductory and Concluding Rites at the Chair and the Liturgy of the Eucharist Ad Orientem was very, very well received. I did not hear one bad thing about it.
That may be the way to go, to make our 12:10 PM Sunday Mass a hybrid or all English but celebrated as I described our Nativity of St. John the Baptist Mass.
Let's face it, the majority in this parish do not want the TLM at a regularly scheduled Mass. Those who want it, don't like it at 2:00 PM. I will not be in the parish the first Sunday of October when we have the additional Mass, so I have to cancel it or else Fr. Dawid would have five Masses on Sunday with is forbidden by canon law. Technically we can only say two a day, three by way of dispensation ,but I don't believe any of us have a dispensation for four masses and certainly not for five.
You have to keep in mind the nature of parishes and the resources of these parishes and that the pastor has to make pastoral decisions sometimes by fiat. It's good to be king and have canon law back you up!