Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Summorum Pontificum -- two responses

My son Nathan recently emailed me (September 9, 2007) from Gulfport, MS, where he currently serves in the U.S. Navy. He related two recent incidents in his personal experience that impressed me as offering in microcosm the two sorts of responses we're beginning to see to the Holy Father's recent motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum (July 7, 2007).

The first was his own initiative in starting a chapter of Una Voce in Mississippi, where there has so far been no organized advocacy for those who desire freedom to worship according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII as an alternative to the often slack-assed and liturgically irreverent Masses endured in too many suburban parishes. He also said that he has been successful in organizing and networking through both through the local diocesan newspaper and the Lumengentleman motu priprio contact website.

The second was the reaction Nathan received from a letter he sent to his pastor requesting the Traditional Latin Mass and referencing Summorum Pontificum. He relates that he went as usual to teach his CCD classes.  He writes:
We covered some great material -- Mary, the saints, priestly celibacy, The Da Vinci Code, etc.  After mass, they offered donuts and coffee.  I saw the older priest (not the pastor) in the sacristy and went to say hi, since he had just returned from vacation in Ireland.  I told him that my CCD classes were going well and that we were covering some important information.  He said at one point, "Don't be too conservative."  "WHAT???" I asked. "Father, I am simply teaching the tenets of the Catholic faith -- the Eucharist, Mary, saints, etc." He replied, "Father __________ (the pastor) showed me the letter you wrote him."  I said, "Oh yes, the Latin Mass. I am excited about the Holy Father's recent motu proprio."  He then went off on a very abrasive rant, declaring that the Mass is now in ENGLISH and will stay that way.  I had better forget about Latin, he said, going on to relate how he used to say Latin Masses long ago and they were poorly attended and that he often did not know what he was saying.
Nathan relates a good bit more detail than I will reproduce here. He said he was taken aback by the tone of this response, as well as by the uneasiness among those present in the sacristy, which included the priest and a deacon. Especially jarring was the response to Nathan's reference to the Holy Father's motu proprio. The priest retorted: "Never mind what the Holy Father said." Nathan says that they were interrupted at this point by the pastor who walked in unawares. Nathan let the matter drop, though he said he was extremely saddened by the response and attitude of the priest.

I expect we will see more of each of these types of responses in the weeks and months ahead -- constructive initiatives, as well as many instances of dismissive retrenchment.

Update 10/1/07
Una Voce -- Southern Mississippi

No comments: