jul 302007
 

Det dramatiske skillet som steder fins mellom tradisjonalister og vanlige katolikker kan også bygges ned pga. pavens nye regler om messefeiring. (Det er få i Norge som (nesten) bare vil delta i den tradisjonelle latinske messen (TLM), men som prest har jeg møtt slike holdninger hos en del utenlandske katolikker.)

Jeg leste nylig en artikkel av en person som i mange år hadde kjempet for TLM, og i lang tid ikke hadde gått i den nye messen. Han opplevde nå messen på morsmålet i en ny sammenheng, og skriver: On 7 July I went to Mass in what we must now call the “Ordinary” rite, though it was not celebrated in ordinary circumstances. There were bars on the windows of the chapel, the congregation was searched before being allowed in, and the door was locked behind us. In the world outside, 7 July was a Saturday, but for the prisoners of the Young Offenders Institution in which I work it was a Sunday, the day on which our chaplain comes in to say weekly Mass.

They look forward to it, and so does he. The atmosphere is upliftingly prayerful. That Saturday, like every other Saturday, 15 young men slipped easily into the spirit of a simple, worshipful liturgy in which they participated with unaffected fervour and commitment. When the lad who read the first reading stumbled over a word, someone in the front row helped him out. At the sign of peace, they shook hands not only with each other, but also with the officer appointed to watch over them from the back. During the period of thanksgiving after Communion, there was a stillness that ran deeper than silence. Those young men were serving all kinds of sentences, but for that hour, every one of them was free.

It’s a real gift to be able to go to a Mass like that, though I never thought I’d find myself saying so. For most of my adult life, I attended the old Tridentine Mass whenever it was practically possible, going to the new rite only when I had no other choice. Three decades ago, I was chairman of the Latin Mass Society. Today, I am an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. If anyone had predicted that, even a couple of years ago, I’d have told them they were daft. But I haven’t abandoned my devotion to the old liturgy, and I would love to be able to teach the prisoners I serve how to appreciate it. I am sure they would rise to it. On Saturday 7 July, the time that might happen came significantly nearer with the publication of the Pope’s motu proprio on the use of the 1962 Missal. When I got home I immediately logged on to the internet. I wanted to find out what Benedict XVI had written.

What I read filled me with unqualified delight. For years, there has been a standoff between “traditional” and “progressive” elements within Roman Catholicism, though our Christian vocation (and the documents of the Second Vatican Council) requires us to embrace both. “Summorum Pontificum” points this out clearly. With one legislative act, the Pope has shown that to reject our liturgical inheritance is as unacceptable as to deny the possibility of liturgical development.

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