While Church of England bishops recoil from the prospect of gay ‘weddings’ with no precedent in Christian history, their Catholic counterparts are wringing their hands at the growing popularity of services that are too traditional for their tastes.
On Saturday 14 June Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, one of the most senior figures in the Roman Curia and an ally of the Holy Father, celebrated a Pontifical High Mass at Westminster Cathedral. The bishop of the diocese, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, did not attend; nor did any of his four auxiliary bishops. Pope Benedict is rumoured to be furious at this display of bad manners.
What can explain such a breach of protocol? The answer lies in the content and style of the liturgy being celebrated. Cardinal Castrillón processed into the cathedral wearing the cappa magna, a scarlet cape with a 20ft train of watered silk. It is many years since this vestment has been seen in the cathedral — for, although it was never abolished, it is associated with the Tridentine Mass, the ancient Latin rite in which the celebrant faces east, reciting its main prayer in a voice so low that the church falls silent. And that was the Mass that His Eminence celebrated on 14 June, becoming the first cardinal to do so in Westminster Cathedral for 40 years.
Last summer — to the horror of the liberal English bishops — Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum, that granted universal permission for the old Mass, which had been effectively banned from normal parish life after the Second Vatican Council. England’s Latin Mass Society seized its chance. It invited Cardinal Castrillón, head of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which is responsible for the old liturgy worldwide, to celebrate the society’s annual traditional Mass at Westminster Cathedral, normally a low-key affair regarded with amused condescension by diocesan liberals.
He accepted, leaving liberal bishops with only one course of action: pleading pressing engagements elsewhere. Hence the absence of Westminster bishops at the Pontifical Mass, though diocesan spies were spotted craning their necks to see if any local clergy had sneaked in (thereby scuppering their chances of promotion). Walking down the nave, I was greeted by a young priest sitting at the back dressed as a layman. ‘I can’t really afford to be seen here, but I couldn’t resist,’ he whispered….(Source)
Personally, I attend the ordinary form of the Mass, the Novos Ordo liturgy, at my local parish, but I certainly do appreciate the beauty and splendour of the Latin Mass and I hope the movement keeps making advances.
The battle to restore civilization rests with who wins the war on the liturgy. Right now, Benedict is busting down the baracades erected by Liberal Bishops.