The revolutionaries who sought to undermine the Traditional Latin Mass were quite clever. They claimed in the 1960s (as they continue to claim today) that they are actually recapturing the original sources of the liturgy, a myth exploded by Monsignor Gamber and others. This antiquarianism, which was condemned in no uncertain terms by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei in 1947, is founded on the premise that the "true" tradition of the Church has been so obscured by the accretions which developed in the Middle Ages that it is necessary to strip away those accretions to discover the simplicity of the ancient liturgy. The immediate past must be stripped away to discover the "richness" of the far distant past. However, the claims made about the far distant past are most speculative and gratuitous efforts to justify a Catholic imprimatur being given to the anti-incarnational liturgical innovations which began in the sixteenth century with Luther, Calvin, Cramner, et al. Quite conveniently, the revolutionaries (who refer to themselves alternately as "reformers" or "restorers of the sources of the liturgy" or "liturgical renewers") arrogate unto themselves the task of defining the sort of antiquarian liturgical developments which need to be recaptured and adapted to our modern times. Those on the cutting edge of the liturgical revolution (and those who have a vested interest in continuing to rationalize what has happened) decide arbitrarily which parts of the Church's liturgical tradition are acceptable and which are deemed to be in opposition to the spirit of their "liturgical renewal."
There is, you see, a direct connection between liturgical reverence and social order. The liturgy teaches the faithful. The Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated in an ambiance of sobriety, of reverence, of solemnity and therefore of true joy, not the giddiness and emotionalism which are at the core of the Novus Ordo. It signifies the transcendent, the eternal. Its fixed nature-and its celebration in a dead language-communicates to the faithful that the truths of the faith are fixed. They have been revealed by God Himself, entrusted by Him to the Church created by Our Lord upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. The unchanging nature of the essence of the liturgy (admitting that legitimate organic growth - such as the addition of feast days and the Mass propers for such feast days - can take place over time under the direction of the Church) tells the faithful that God Himself is unchanging. Their need for Him is unchanging. His Church is unchanging. People need that sense of stability in this fallen, fractured world, where the devil seeks to convince people that change for the sake of change is good-and that the "diversity" produced by chaos is merely an expression of individuality and inculturation.
The revolt against reverence in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has begotten all manner of confusion within the faithful. Belief in the Real Presence has waned. Reverence for our Lord's Real Presence is almost nonexistent. Banality of music is common, resulting in immodest and inappropriate attire being worn by the faithful when they attend Mass (why dress reverently and solemnly when one is attending a local hootenany?). A steady dose of this is actually harmful to souls. The Mass is no longer a refuge from the profane. Indeed, it is a glorification of the profane ("rock" Masses, "folk" Masses, "guitar" Masses, "Polka" Masses, "youth" Masses). Why should one conduct oneself with circumspection in the midst of the world when the spirit of the world is expressed in full throat each Sunday (and frequently during the week) at one's local parish? What's wrong with supporting abortion as a public official when the universality of certitude itself has been overthrown by a de facto congregational approach to worship?
The triumph of the liturgical revolution was absolutely essential to the triumph of the doctrinal revolutionaries within the Church. This doctrinal revolution (which has embraced almost all of the secular political ideologies outlined so far) has pervaded every element of the Church. Those who dissent from this revolution - whether they be priests or the lay faithful - must be subjected to the same sort of ostracism and browbeating that the social revolutionaries use against their dissenters. It is no accident that the social revolutionaries' kindred spirits control completely most chancery offices in most dioceses in the United States. It is no accident that there is a tacit alliance between the apparatchiks who populate the policy apparatus of the United States Catholic Conference and those who staff our governmental bureaucracy and educational elites. Most of Catholic education (from elementary school right on up the educational ladder to seminary and professional school) has been corrupted by the rot of sex instruction, which masks itself frequently under various guises but which is no less poisonous than the filth which characterizes public schools.
The net effect of this has been to make a Catholic in the United States culturally indistinguishable from abject barbarians. Even a lot of regular Mass - attending Catholics express amazement when they are told that sterilization and euthanasia are sins. They are aghast to discover that one cannot even date, no less remarry, without a decree of nullity. These people have been so catechized by the spirit of the world when they attend Mass that they do not understand that one confirmed to be a soldier in the army of Christ has the obligation to be counter-cultural in their defense of the true Faith. Every aspect of their lives is to be lived in the shadow of the Holy Cross, understanding that their eyes are the eyes of Christ, their ears are the ears of Christ, their lips are the lips of Christ, their minds are supposed to think with the mind of Christ, and they are to love with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Heart which wills for all people to live in accord with His Holy Truths for their own good and for the good of the societies in which they live. Alas, Catholics who come to be catechized by the spirit of this world within the Church come to reject the authority of the Church, following the shepherds of this world with the sort of faith they should be rendering unto Christ through His true Church.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, Sorrowful Mother, give us the wisdom to see through the 'Hosannas' - to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith.
Tomorrow: Part Four -
Our Liturgical Tradition as a Bulwark against Instability
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives