Pontifical High Mass at the Throne to be celebrated in Westminster Cathedral by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (President of the Ecclesia Dei Commision and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy) in Westminster Cathedral at 2.00pm on Saturday 14 June.
Sorry, this is a bit of ramble but...
I think it is very important, if you can, to go. There is a petition on the web calling on the bishops to comply with the Pope's request for more celebrations of the Traditional Mass, it seems to imply they are dragging their feet. I am not convinced. In my diocese there are no more than half a dozen priests who would consider themselves idoneus, competent, to celebrate it. Even they are not going to celebrate the ancient form, which would attract less than 50 in preference to the new form which will fill a Church, certainly not at prime time on a Sunday. My own bishop has been searching for priests to celebrate the older form, in order that he might respond positively to requests.
I think the Pope's Motu Proprio is more than just about about reconciliation with groups like the SSPX, or even offering the Mass to those who prefer it, whether they are are the old with a deep nostalgia for it or the young who have newly discovered it. It is reconciliation with the past that is important. The unity of the Church is central to Ratzingerian thelogy, a unity with legitimate diversity, a unity that is not just horizontal but vertical uniting us to Christ and his saints. For him the liturgy is central to this both the extraordinary form but also the bringing out from the treasure chests the things of the past. For re-union with the Orthodox diversity but also fidelity to the past is crucial.
I love the concept of Low Mass, the prayerful silence but I have difficulty with the reality, great if I was celebrating with just a server every day but with a congregation, I am unconvinced. Solemn High Mass, or even Sung Mass is different, I love both concept and reality, where everything leads Godward. I am sure VII's intention was to open up its treasures. I think that what the Pope is trying to do is get us to look where we have come from, the root of western Catholic liturgy is High Mass, in all its splendour, not the trivialising experimentalism that still passes for the Novus Ordo, owing more to Anglicanism or Protestant Evangelicalism than to Catholicism. Again and again Ratzinger has spoken of the "rootlessness" of the Novus Ordo. I think that is a metaphor for the rootless of western ecclesiology, theology in general but also of the rootlessness of western culture. Catholic music and liturgical prayer is based on the ancient chants, we have done people a serious disservice by substituting meringue rhythms, gospel choruses, folksongs or even Hymns Ancient and Modern, frankly they ain't Catholic.
I disagree strongly with bloggers like Damian Thompson in their suggestion that the bishops are dragging their feet in following the Pope, they are following their people. The problem is that for the last 40 years, our bishops in common with almost every other bishop throughout the world has encourage a fracture with past but they have done so in good faith, assuming it was the will of the Holy See. Here Eastern Orthodox see a great flaw in Catholicism and Benedict sees it too, it is that bishops have been forced to choose between between being faithful bearers of the Tradition and loyalty to Rome, see his sermon when taking possession of the Lateran, where he speaks of the Pope as being the servant of Tradition rather than its master.
Saturday's Mass at Westminster is a great sign of reconcilliation with our heritage, I hope there are going to be hundreds of priests in choir and a few bishops, would it not be wonderful if they had to open up the galleries just to get people in?