A new translation of this important article about Archbishop Lefebvre has just been published in Rorate Caeli, revealing some background many will not be familiar with – Ed.
The popularity… which Archbishop Lefebvre stills enjoys in so-called “liberated” Africa is proof enough that one cannot be satisfied with sticking people into ready-made pigeon holes.
By Louis Boyer (1978), Rorate Caeli tr. John M Pepino (2015)
What has come to be called “the Lefebvre affair” deserves a close investigation. At first glance, one may think that it reveals only the somewhat strange mentality, a ghetto mentality, of Catholics who are incapable of coming out of their isolation, of their life within a closed community in a safeguarded dream. In reality, once one examines it seriously, it reveals a deep malaise in French Catholicism and, therefore, in French society as a whole. And it would be a mistake to believe that this malaise is a recent one: it goes back a long way and its symptoms will never be healed so long as we refuse to go back to its sources.
Martin Mosebach will be familiar to a number of readers as a trenchant traditionalist, and the author of The Heresy of Formlessness. The talk below is the best thing I’ve read on liturgy and tradition for a long time. Any traditionalist who can should read it – Ed.
It’s tricky with contemporaneity: when you try to grab and hold onto it, you end up holding the dead tail of a lizard in your hand. Arrested contemporaneity is necessarily always about to go out of date. The radical form of the liturgy, by contrast, cannot go out of date because it does not belong to time, but moves outside of time.
by Martin Mosebach, Roarate Caeli: address Given at Holy Innocents Parish, New York, May 12, 2015 – translation of a talk Mosebach was asked to give by the Bishop of Limburg/Lahn on Ash Wednesday 2013.
When it became apparent in the early 1950s that television sets would soon be in many households, German bishops deliberated about whether it would be wise to allow or even promote television broadcasts of the Holy Mass. Indeed, people thought about such questions sixty years ago and they asked the great philosopher Josef Pieper for an expert opinion. In his opinion, Pieper rejected such television broadcasts on principle, saying they were irreconcilable with the nature of the Holy Mass. In its origins, the Holy Mass is a discipline of the arcane, a sacred celebration of mysteries by the christened. He mentioned the lowest level in the order of priests – done away with following the Second Vatican Council – the ostiary, or doorkeeper, who once had to ensure that the non-baptized and those temporarily excluded leave the church and move to the narthex following the liturgy of the Word. The Orthodox still do so in some places; the call of the deacon, “Guard the doors” is heard in every Orthodox liturgy before the Eucharist. While in Georgia I once experienced this demand, often merely a ceremony of a recollected past, being taken literally. A monk approached me, fell to his knees and apologetically asked me to leave the church since I, as a Roman Catholic, was not in full agreement with the Orthodox Church. I gladly acquiesced as I think not everyone has to be permitted everywhere all the time. Sacred places and holy acts are first declared quite plainly by the drawing of boundaries and such boundaries must somehow be visible and palpable. Still, anyone who has not given any thought to the dubiousness of filming the Mass has perhaps on occasion felt uncomfortably moved when they saw believers receiving communion on television or as the camera rested on the face of a celebrant chewing the host. Are such feelings truly only atavistic, produced by ancient magical fears? Other cultures are also acquainted with an aversion to photography. It is as if it would disturb a spiritual sphere.
So it is all the more surprising that a photograph of a Mass has become very valuable to me.
Hundreds of Priests in the UK gather in the city of Bath to learn how to say the Traditional Latin Mass
By Christine Niles, Church Militant
A group of priests in the United Kingdom gathered in the city of Bath in England last week to learn how to say the Traditional Latin Mass. Hundreds have attended over the course of years since the conference was first organized eight years ago.
Eric J. Lyman , Special for USA TODAY March 2015
An unusual tribute from a very pop-culture source…
VATICAN CITY — Fifty years after the traditional Latin Mass was abandoned by the Roman Catholic Church, it is making a comeback.
The Second Vatican Council ruled a half-century ago this month that the Mass could be said in local languages while the priest faced the congregation. The longer Latin Mass involved elaborate choreography, and the priest’s back was toward the pews.
…since “the greatness of the liturgy depends . . . on its unspontaneity” (Ratzinger), one should, as a matter of principle, avoid variety amid the plethora of options.
PETER KWASNIEWSKI, New Liturgical Movement, April 2015.
It has been widely recognized that the Mass of the modern Roman Rite suffers in many respects from a sharp discontinuity with the preceding liturgical tradition, and that its many simplifications, innovations, and options have, to an alarming extent, deprived it of the intensely devotional atmosphere so characteristic of the traditional Roman Rite.
Recognizing this fact more clearly than most, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his desire for a “mutual enrichment,” with the result that people would be able to find in the new Mass the “sacrality” that they love in the old Mass. Nevertheless, as we know, such a rediscovery and recovery of sacrality in the Novus Ordo will not occur automatically; it will require the taking of definite steps, within the confines of existing liturgical law. We rightly rejoice in the ecclesial benefits of a mutual coexistence of forms, but “seeking reconciliation” also needs to find an internal expression, for otherwise the gap between the celebration of the two forms (assuming the typical parish celebration of the OF compared with a rubrically-correct celebration of the EF) will remain too vast.