Saturday, January 30, 2010

EF/TLM in the Herald - roundup

It all started, I think, with this article in the Glasgow Herald by Cate Devine. The article, surprisingly for the MSM, is balanced and in the end broadly sympathetic to the EF. The correspondence is quite telling:

20th January, inevitably Dr Macmillan is the torch bearer for a return to good liturgy:

Benedict’s desire to reform the Reform of Vatican II represents a huge step forward, especially in matters connected with our divine praise. The various attempts to hijack the reformed liturgy are now being seen in a cooler and clearer light. From the 1970s to the present day there have been people trying to convince themselves and everyone else that introducing touchy-feely-smiley-dancey ‘folk’ liturgies would keep the youth interested in going to church, when in fact they have been repulsed in droves. There has been a devaluing of our sacred liturgy. On one hand it has been treated as a mere aesthetic play-thing, an inessential ‘add-on’ to the serious business of Christian living, rather than its beating heart. On the other hand it has been treated as a political playground, where secular-led campaigns have taken pride of place in the ‘temple’.

Monsignor Smith, the Chancellor weighs in:

Aware, as I am, of the truth of the saying “Lies, damned lies and statistics …” nevertheless I believe statistics can assist us in gauging the truth of any contention, the contention being in this case, the “deep rift among Catholics over Church worship” (The Herald, January 18).

I have recently completed a major data-gathering operation on behalf of Archbishop Mario Conti so as to provide a statistical analysis of the Archdiocese of Glasgow for the Pope and the various Vatican dicasteries on the occasion of the visit to Rome next month of the Scottish hierarchy.

That analysis shows that despite generous provision of the Mass in Latin in the extraordinary form, precisely 0.05% of the Archdiocese of Glasgow’s practising Catholic population choose to avail themselves of such liturgies

21st January, the punters are having none of it:

I am not surprised at the statistics quoted by Monsignor Peter Smith (“Just a fraction of Catholics wants Latin Mass”, The Herald, January 20). We have produced a generation of Catholics for whom the Latin Mass is as alien as a Japanese tea ceremony.

Unlike James MacMillan, I write from the very lowest level of musical experience. Half a century ago, I was a chorister in Holy Cross parish in Glasgow, under the aegis of the redoubtable Henry Gray Graham, former Minister of the Church of Scotland, then (following his sensational conversion) titular Bishop of Tipasa. Uniquely, this was a sanctuary choir. We shared intimately in the liturgy.

The Latin Mass was, for me and many others, an ancient and beautiful ritual. We participated in a liturgy that went back a millennium and a half. We shared what had been an integral and defining part of European culture since Roman times.

22nd January, I imagine the Curial Offices were considering cancelling their subscription:

MONSIGNOR Peter Smith writes that 0.05% of the Catholic population of the Archdiocese of Glasgow avail themselves of the extraordinary form (EF) of Latin Mass.

On the surface, this would appear to be a vanishingly small demand. However, what he fails to consider is the fact that of the 291 Sunday Masses offered in the archdiocese, only one of these is according to the 1962 missal; then the figures are not so stark.

Indeed, given the provision in the diocese, there are the same number of Masses offered in the Syro-Malabar Rite and substantially more offered in Polish than are offered in the normative language of the Mass, namely Latin

and again:

Monsignor Peter Smith wrote about “generous provision of the Mass in Latin”. Archbishop Mario Conti allows only one Tridentine Mass on a Sunday in the Glasgow Archdiocese, not even in a central parish. Might this be a part of the reason for low numbers?

As has also sadly happened with the removal of the penny catechism, people “have lost the fundamentals of their faith”. Today’s children are denied these fundamentals in our schools, the Scottish bishops having removed the catechism from the Catholic school syllabus in the 1980s, replacing it with something of which Rome subsequently did not approve.

It's good to talk. Dialogue and the active seeking of the views of the faithful, isn't that what it's all about in the happy, smiley church of today?

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Blogger Mark M said...


I've come to the sad conclusion that no-one in Scotland actually wants the old Mass, and that we're a country of dour, backsliden grumpies...

...or am I taking it too personally!? ;-P

5:40 PM  
Blogger Simon Platt said...

Do I detect the sound of bitter experience in your final point?

5:40 PM  
Blogger Simon Platt said...

That point about Polish masses applies here, too - although I can't honestly say I'm aware of a Syro-Malabar Rite mass hereabouts.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous berenike said...

Isn't the EF Mass in Glasgow at 3:30 pm or some similarly unhelpful time?

10:07 PM  
Blogger Mark M said...

Berenike: No, it's in the morning.

There is an OF Latin Mass at 4pm, and that is the one that the Archbishop claims satisfies Summorum Pontificum (yes, I know SP is about the EF, but this is the problem).

8:11 AM  
Blogger Aumgn said...


how have you come to the view that +Mario thinks that the St Pat's Mass 'satisfies Summorum Pontificum'?

Do tell.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Mark M said...

it was probably apocryphal. I better not repeat it here.

Let's say whoever it comes from believes His Excellency believes that Mass in Latin (regardless of form) satisfies MP SP.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Aumgn said...


yes, probably apocryphal because likely made up (that's the best fit explanation for things apocryphal, from Gospels to Protocols ...)

This isn't to say that +Mario doesn't have some odd attitudes, of course not. Sadly, though, the people trying to convince him otherwise on these matters often have even odder attitudes themselves.

And so it goes ...

11:21 AM  

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