FOR SOME time now two matters which constantly fill your correspondence columns have worried me considerably.
Firstly, Tridentine vs "new" Mass. I would like to make it perfectly clear to the post Vatican II Catholics that we who were born just after the First World War and thus were educated during the 20's and 30's were not ignorant morons who sat during Mass fumbling with our rosary beads, or gazing blankly at the back of the priest at the altar.
Every prayerbook or Missal had the English translation of the Latin (and I might add a far better translation than the one we have now!) so that it was perfectly possible to follow and understand every prayer. It was not necessary to have learnt Latin at school.
Of course, there were some priests who hurried through the Mass, but I have been to churches during the last few years where the priest not only rushed through the Mass, but indeed altered it considerably!
There was a dignity and a feeling of reverence in the "old" Mass which is seldom found today. I have been to Masses where there was dignity and reverence of course, but I have always maintained that it would have been far kinder if the Church had allowed both Masses to continue alongside each other.
The second is the question of unity. Like most people I pray and long for Christian unity, indeed Our Lord Himself asked us to pray for this. However, I am distressed to see how far the Catholic Church is willing to go to procure this so-called unity.
Surely, the facts are perfectly clear? The Catholic Church was founded by Our Lord Himself, over the centuries various groups have broken away for reasons which we need not discuss now. Church Unity, if it is to be feasible, must surely mean that we, as the One True Church, must open our arms in loving welcome to all the other denominations, welcoming them home?
Church unity is not sharing each others' services or churches, it is not trying to find a way round the rules concerning the Holy Eucharist, divorce, and so on. It is facing up to the truth, however unpalatable, that it is for our separated brethren to acknowledge past faults, and return to the Church founded by Our Lord Himself.
Otherwise we are playing with words, Church Unity simply means to most people Church Harmony — lets all be friends, but don't ask the Methodist. Anglicans, Baptists or anyone else to change.
M Hibbert Aires ford
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