The Value of the Mass

The Value of the Mass
Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church - Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tradition: Theology not Novelty

In the last few weeks I have noticed a trend among certain traditionalist circles to love tradition for the "novelty" of it. That is, to dedicate themselves to tradition for the sake of dedicating themselves to something old. This is the wrong attitude to have when committing yourself to the traditional form of the Mass.

Our dedication to the tradition of the Church, especially the Mass, must be a theological one and not a nostalgic or for the sake of something old. These are merely novelties. It is no better, in my opinion, to go to the traditional Mass for this reason than for a priest or parish council to introduce folk, rap, or rock music into the Novus Ordo. The way I look at it there is no difference.

We have to remember that the traditional Mass is the foundation witness to our belief as Catholics. The elements of sacrifice and external reverence serve to remind us and to witness to the world our belief in the redemptive nature of the sacrifice of Calvary, the divinity of Christ and his real and substantial presence in the Eucharist. This is not merely a novelty and should not be treated as such.

Yes, it's easy to romanticize about medieval monks in a great monastery or a knight prostrating himself before a grand high altar and pretend that we still live in that age. This, however, is nothing but fantasy and to treat the Mass as such is a great farce. It is an easy trap that I'm finding more and more people falling into. I'm not saying that it's necessarily an evil to call to mind the pious images of the monk, or knight. It is a reality that at the traditional Mass we do worship with them in mind, body, and spirit. It is the same Mass. However, these images should bring to mind the reasons why these thought are pious. It is because these people believed in Christ, His Church, and the power of His sacrifice on the altar.

In short, it's important to remember why the tradition of the Church, especially in the Mass, is important. It's not because we love novelty, it's because we love our faith.

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