THE CHAIRMAN of the Latin Mass Society reports a steady increase in the membership of the Society. Personally, I have noticed many young people attending Masses of the old rite. I questioned a youth whom I met at an AGM gathering. He "discovered" so he informed me the old rite Mass by sheer chance, having accepted a friend's invitation to an old rite celebration. He deeply regretted his being so long in making the "discovery"! "At long last I found that for which I had searched — the reverence, the awe, the dignity, the quiet and solemnity, I had felt should surround the fearful and wonderful sacrifice." An eloquent comment indeed, and coming from a youth!
So we live not without hope, for the years lying ahead. The world will be saved by our young people. It is heartening indeed to see the numbers of people in their twenties at the "old" celebration. Seeing them and elderly people and observing their devout attention, should give us food for thought. How many of our young people would re-act, as did the young lad I speak of, if the old rite was readily available to them. Nobody knows of course, but I incline to believe that there would be a substantial response.
It is sorrowfully true "that the response to the old rite of Mass, by those formed entirely in the new appears at least to be largely ignored by many in high places and, indeed, incites bitter hostility among a few. Is liturgical theory rated higher than liturgical experience in practice? No honest person can deny that under the new Rite, one experiences a plethora of modes of celebration; nor that a frightening number of the young are to say the least, unimpressed by attempts to make the Mass 'interesting' or -meaningful". Just imagine, making the Holy Sacrifice "interesting and meaningful"!! What are we coming to? I ask you!
Recently a friend told me he happened to attend Mass away from home, where a small group of players received Holy Communion in one hand, whilst he played his instrument with the other! Presumably to make the Mass interesting and entertaining! Does this make one stop to think??
The Old Rite is not forbidden. Many people are led to believe that it is. It would almost seem that there is a conspiracy to deny to our young people, to keep from them at all costs, any knowledge of, or acquaintance with, the dignified and beautiful worship that obtained not so long ago.
No wonder that with the falling off of devotion and piety in the Mass, that devotion generally • has considerably and noticeably diminished. Even active Orders in the Church have not escaped the irreligious germ.
Prayer suffers at the behest of activity. The order so long familiar to us has been reversed. Activity first, prayer life?? I examine my conscience. The spirit of an Order is to be looked for in the saints of the Order. A Pope has said — I have forgotten whom — that any Dominican who keeps faithfully to his Rule and Constitutions is a saint. Any Dominican novice can take that as an unofficial but authoritative canonization in advance.
For Dominican sanctity is not achieved by being like somebody else externally; "it is attained by living on the same principles that made saints of Dominic Henry Suso, St Albert the Great, Peter of Verona, Catherine of Sienna, Rose of Lima, Hyacinth, Ceslaus, Raymund of Pennafort, Raymund of Capua, Catherine de Ricci, St Thomas, St Pius V, St Antoninus of Florence, St Vincent Ferrer (Margaret Halloran)" In this vein a contemporary and friend of mine spoke shortly before he died. God rest his saintly soul.
Fr Placid Croney OP Hawkes yard