Thursday, November 26, 2009


TTony, a regular reader here for some time, is taking a break:

...the LMS created a fortress of insularity because it needed to. I think that time has gone, but I sometimes sense a new insularity online, that seems to value an idea of ultratrad heteropraxis. "My praxy is better than your praxy" is less bad than "my doxy is better than your doxy", but it isn't good.

Some years ago, I abruptly stopped being interested in the Liturgical Issues and have more or less stopped blogging about them. Some of my friends here think this is odd, considering I came to Rome with the express purpose of being able to worship in the traditional rites of the Latin Church. But it just tires me, bores me, leaves me feeling ennervated and kind of like a doll with not enough stuffing. It sometimes makes the after-Mass luncheon a bit of a trial, being the only one there not interested in dissecting the minutiae of styles of candlesticks, numbers and depths of bows and genuflexions etc.

But I just can't help it. Every time they get going the same thing pops into my mind. I picture some billious cleric screeching in a panic in the sacristy, "I can't wear this biretta! It's got the wrong kind of pompom on it. This is a novus ordo pompom!"

I'll just take that away and burn it for you then, shall I?

Of course, this is not to say that I will be returning to the glad-handing and banal kindergarten Masses where Father acts like a gameshow host with his microphone (yes, I've seen a bishop at a confirmation walk up and down with his microphone interviewing the kids and making jokes with them...)

I have worked out a way to avoid the Gladhand 'o Peace in Roman churches which are usually extremely large, very old, full of art and don't really have pews. You see, in Roman churches, tourists are constantly wandering around looking at the walls and taking pictures of the statues while Mass is going on. One has to pay attention, but the trick is to wait until the build-up - you know, when they all stand up after the Pater Noster and start wiping their greasy palms on their coats - and just wander over to the side aisle and pretend you're looking at the frescoes. They'll think you're a tourist and leave you alone. Helps to bring a camera.

But it's a funny thing that in all this time of being a Mad, Rad and Bad Trad, I'm really just more or less fed up with the whole thing. It just seems silly to waste one's energies trying to explain that Bach is better than Duran Duran. If they can't see it, why are we bothering?


BillyHW said...

yes, I've seen a bishop at a confirmation walk up and down with his microphone interviewing the kids and making jokes with them..

You were at my confirmation?

Anonymous said...

I think it's a man thing, that obsessive interest in liturgical detail. Orthodox women aren't interested in it either. - Karen

Anonymous said...

Yes, I can't think of any woman who is obsessive about liturgy.

Concerned, yes, but not obsessive.

Father Thomas said...

Please don't burn that biretta ---you may send it on to me as I have a very clever tailor who can replace the pompom with the even more correct twisted tuft.

Mark S. Abeln said...

All the ritual and detail in Mass needs to appear to be completely effortless and graceful.

All that can come only after much theoretical understanding and lots of practice. There is a lot of learning involved beforehand, and that requires much discussion of minutiae. But it is the end result, the Mass which is important.

Its just like sports.

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

That's a good trick for avoiding that bloody grip-and-grin routine. I find having children about is also useful--suddenly they must be picked up and rushed to bathroom, etc.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...



good thing it's not my job then, isn't it?