Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"In my mind I could not but think"

 Peter Schineller SJ celebrating Mass in his preferred style

That arresting observation regarding consciousness is tossed in along with some equally valuable insights into the Tridentine Mass by Peter Schineller SJ in a posting over at America.  Perhaps it is uncharitable to draw attention to solecism, but shouldn't Fr. Schineller or his editors have removed that sort of thing before submitting his ruminations to a candid world?  Fr. Schineller’s other observations, while not as muddled, are generally puerile.  Here's a sample:
"During the celebration I felt very uncomfortable. It was strange and foreign. Even though I was very familiar with the Tridentine Mass from my childhood, it seemed remote and distant. The Mass seemed to focus on the priest whose words for the most part could not be heard (they were in Latin anyway!) and who rarely faced the people. The choir performed well and their singing overrode the priest, who had to wait several times until they finished singing.

In my mind I could not but think back to the Second Vatican Council, and all that the Council and subsequent documents tried to bring about – active participation, emphasis on the important things, vernacular, elimination of accretions and repetitions, etc. It was sad and disheartening. What happened? Why would the Catholic faithful seek out and attend this older form of the Mass? Is the Tridentine Mass an aberration? What does it say about the reforms of Vatican II?

After the Mass, I was tempted to talk with some of those present. But I decided not to as I feared I would have been negative and perhaps controversial. My feelings were still very raw. One thing I know: I myself will never freely choose to celebrate the Tridentine Mass."

To sum up:  Fr. Schineller didn't like the Tridentine Mass because it was in Latin.  Plus, Father Schineller thought there was too much focus on the priest, even though he didn't face the people, couldn't be heard, and was even a bit buffaloed by the choir.  Evidently the Tridentine Mass is quite unlike the Novus Ordo, where nobody ever notices the priest.   Although Father Schineller had been to plenty of Tridentine Masses when he was a kid forty years or fifty years ago, now it all seemed kind of strange somehow.  Finally, disheartened, saddened, his mind reeling, Fr. Schineller ran home without saying a word to anybody.  That's how negative it made him feel!  If he ever goes back to a Tridentine Mass, it will be because somebody made him.  He would never, ever freely choose that himself.

Weren't the Jesuits founded by a soldier?  Not much evidence of a martial spirit among them these days.  The Jesuits also enjoy a reputation for intellectual rigor, though there is scant contemporary evidence for this, too.

St. Ignatius Loyola, pray for us.

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