Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The triumph of tradition

A good friend sends along a wonderful two part series on the monks of Clear Creek. The article discusses the reemergence of the Latin Mass in Catholic churches.

Part of the first generation born after the Second Vatican Council, Carpenter grew up hearing Mass in English instead of Latin. Since the council in the 1960s, most Catholic services have been in a country’s common language.

Whether the changes sparked a crisis or simply coincided with it, that’s a matter of debate. But church attendance has dropped, seminaries face shortages of new priests and millions of Catholics openly dissent from church teachings.

Now a growing movement is trying to “reform the reforms,” bringing back Latin in hopes of bringing back faithfulness in general. The pope himself recently changed church rules to encourage a broader use of Latin in services.


As a traditionalist, I applaud Pope Benedict's freeing of the Latin Mass. Another good friend pointed out that I should attend one before having an opinion about it. She pronounced herself unimpressed.

I merely note a few things. First, I pontificate upon all sorts of things, knowing as little--or less--concerning them than I do the Tridentine Mass. Bloviating not inelegantly is what I--attempt to--do.

Second, the Latin Mass would have to be paltry indeed to be more distracting than the Norvus Ordo Mass--though, of course, I should work harder at not being distracted.

Third, and most importantly, since the Latin Mass is optional--that is, one may choose instead to attend the Mass in English--it a welcome sign that our Holy Father reverences tradition. Of course, no Pope can really cut himself off from tradition, but whereas John Paul II was wont to experiment, albeit in the playground of tradition, Benedict seems more intent on restating and re-emphasizing the forgotten.

The more I read, the more I become convinced that the only way we will extricate ourselves from the messes we have created will be by returning to the Faith, that is, a belief in Jesus Christ and in all that His Church teaches. This is one reason I have no trouble abstaining from participation in the political process. Culture--religion being an intregal facet thereof--is always more important than politics, since the latter is informed by the former. We will continue to appoint and elect dullards and charlatans so long as the culture is corrupt. Only a return to tradition will save us.

George Carpenter, the blacksmith, arrives with only one son, while his wife and six other children — plus one more on the way — have stayed home.

Around here, that’s not a particularly large family. Some parents count children into double digits.

“If you understand that a child is the greatest blessing that God can give you,” Carpenter says, “well, why would you do anything to keep God from blessing you?”

Last year, Carpenter took an informal census of the Clear Creek community — counting 35 families with a total of 145 people, including 96 children.

Fortunately, tradition always triumphs.

After a couple of generations, 145 people can multiply into several hundreds, then a few thousand. In five or six generations, the descendants of Clear Creek might amount to a tribe of their own, taking conservative values and traditional morals with them.

“That’s the way the faith reaches into the future,” Carpenter says. “That’s how traditions survive.”

This pronouncement is made, not out of presumption, but out of faith. The Church has seen dark days before, and she will see darker ones yet before the crisis is through. But God will not forsake her because He promised that He will not. It is through people like these, insignificant and wretched in the eyes of the world, and the tradition, maligned as antiquated superstition, with which they arm themselves, that God will keep that promise.

4 comments:

Donny said...

Man, I'm sure glad you blogged again - I almost ran out of reading material!
The mass in Latin is not a scary thing at all, and shouldn't be even for the millions of Americans who are mono-lingual and have never uttered a word of Latin, except maybe "et tu, Brute?"
It was really cool to attend a mass in Latin while in Rome - and surprisingly easy to follow. The prayers of the faithful were in about 7 different languages for us visitors, but they could probably be said in English for us I suppose.
Also, I'm sure the homily would be in the common language as well, for our own good. I may never know, but kids may be more interested in a Latin Mass, and ask questions. That might be a little hopeful, but I know that the kids we sit next to would be more interested in a Differential Equations lecture than they are at Mass.

troutsky said...

tradition is fine,it keeps most cults alive, but this "multiply and destroy the earth" thing takes it to far. Mormons are all over that.So were the Chinese till they wisened up. Did Jesus really command it? Was he really a commander?Could God really want to see it?

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I may never know, but kids may be more interested in a Latin Mass, and ask questions.

Speaking of which, you'd better get on that soon. =)

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Did Jesus really command it?

Well, it's not a rape, pillage, and burn sort of thing, but we are to "be fruitful and multiply".

As the Creator, God wishes us to take part in His creation, which He pronounced "good". As a member of a large family, I know what blessings fifth, and sixth--and seventh--siblings can be.

The real key is to put faith, not in man, but in God to provide for that which we need. This doesn't mean we get to be reckless, but Jesus did warn us about not worrying about tomorrow. That's His job.