The contemplative Pope
Most, if not all, took Communion on the tongue. They have their hands at their sides, too.
I have just returned from a three night stay in Antwerp (you wouldn't believe how easy it is to get a car across the English Channel these days, thanks to the Tunnel). A magnificent cathedral which now houses superb Flemish altarpieces which were in the Royal Fine Arts Museum before the latter was closed for a seven-year refurbishment. Wonderful art galleries. Great restaurants. The best beer in the world. A performance of Don Giovanni at the Opera house which was equal to anything at the Met or Covent Garden. Yet Flanders, which had a Mass attendance of 95 per cent before Vatican II now is down to 5 per cent. Cardinals Suenens and Danneels, by following the directives of the Council destroyed Catholicism in one of its heartlands.When in Continental Europe I will seek out a Latin Mass; I speak French and German and could certainly join in singing in Italian or Spanish if required. But last night I needed the chants for Holy Thursday - and Mass in Flemish (not one of my languages) would not do. The only church in the entire city which offered a Latin Mass in either form was the SSPX church in Hemelstraat which used 1962 and included the foot-washing. It is the centre of a vibrant parish and has a school next door.The SSPX is not prominent in England where the TLM is now increasingly available at diocesan level. But thanks to the intransigence of bishops (particularly in France) it is important in Europe. Indeed, it is probably the start of the long-delayed re-Christianization of Europe.Let's face it, when people converted to Catholicism they did not do so because it was seen as the 'Church of Nice'. Quite the opposite in fact.
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