Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Purebloods and Muggles

I am a Muggle.
I had a visitor the other day who was very concerned about a worrying trend amongst those who are attached to to the Traditional Latin Mass. His claim was that there is an increasing trend for certain leading traddies to make a point of never attending Masses in the Usus Antiquor of priests who celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Not only that but they even refuse to attend churches where it is celebrated. He described it terms of "Purebloods" and "Muggles", the "Purebloods" refusing to mix with a Usus Utroque "Muggle" like me.

If this is so, it seems a direct contradiction of the Holy Father's thinking that is put forward in Summorum Pontificum. The Roman Rite now has two Forms, which are supposed to be mutually enriching.

Personally, I just love The Mass, I am growing increasingly attached to the usus antiquor but it is The Mass that matters. I am quite ignorant of the politics that surround the TLM but I am interested in the opinions of those who are more familiar with the byzantine politicking that surrounds it.

To be truly Catholic, in the Roman Rite means to be at home and comfortable in both forms of the Roman Rite. We are now in the third year since the publication of Summorum Pontificum at the end of this year the bishops of the world are supposed to report on the effects of the Motu Proprio to Rome, it would be sad if the had to report that this work of the Pope for unity and continuity within the Church was divisive.

All that being, said the "Pureblood" and "Muggle" thing works both ways, how many Catholics including priests and bishops refuse to have anything to do with Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite? Of the French bishops 25% of them have celebrated or presided at the Usus Antiquior, I suspect elsewhere in the world the figure would be considerably less. No bishop or priest should categorically refuse to celebrate, let alone attend, Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Today in the Latin Church there is no room for "Purebloods" we are all "Muggles" now.


Ches said...

Well, Father, I have another experience, albeit comparable. On a point of principle, I have for a long time attended both rites, attempting in that way to keep in touch with either side of this divide. Consequently, traddies tend to think of me as a weird liberal and mainstreamers think of me as some oddball nostalgic. It's the Eucharist, I keep telling them, but very few people want to listen.

So there are pure bloods pretty much everywhere. It doesn't take much for humanity to gather in tribes.

Matthew said...


I only recently started attending the TLM here in Canada. Because it is so far from where I live, and I don't drive, I have only been to a handful. I do not belong to the SSPX, I am not a philosopher, nor a theologian, nor a vivacious Church historian. I usually attend the OF, because of the transit restrictions. I cringe in fear, and loathe with inner anger when I accidently attend the monthly "youth Mass", but it makes no sense to me, whatsoever, how the Church can spend nearly two thousand years organically growing the Mass from its origins, those being Christ and the Last Supper, then, historically speaking, out of no where, the Church decides to "create" a New Mass. How is that possible? Well it happened, and I know it to be valid because the Church proclaims it to be so, but that doesn't mean its right. Validity and correctness do not run hand in hand. Look at it from a wide historical context. Years and years of organic growth, minute details changed, additions and retractions, but nothing major. Then all of a sudden an, "ecumenical" Council is called, the first in the history of the Church. It suggests many changes to the Mass, the the Pope, Paul VI, takes those suggestions and creates a totally different rite. Rites are not created, they grow. St. Ambrose did not sit down one day and write a new Rite...it grew in context with the Milanese culture and traditions, over time, into what it is now. The Carthusian Rite grew on the basis of what fit the community. St Bruno took the Gallican Rite, adjusted it a tad to suite their life, and adjustments here and there were added. At a wide view, I do not see how the OF can possibly be good. It appeared out of thin air, and to thin air it will dissapear. The EF, on the other hand, grew from the Apostles, led by Christ, and within Christ it will culminate, at the end of time.

Amanda said...

Words of wisdom indeed Fr Ray & I love the analogy-thank you for putting it so eloquently.
We have one Rite with two forms, both full of Gods grace and both with our Lord fully present.
I have heard the Novus Ordo likened to an old banger, while the Usus Antiquior is a sleek sports car, I don't know about that and I'm glad I'm no mechanic....all I know is that my soul is on a very long journey that I simply cannot make on foot, give me any car at all and I'll sit in it as often as I possibly can!

Annie said...

Yes Father, the pureblood-muggle thing does work both ways.
I'm not 'bi-ritual', I'm Catholic, and I have found so far that those of my acquaintance who are urging more EFs are the very ones who have been faithful to the Church and faithfully gone to the NO throughout, and still do.

Ches is right, there are purebloods everywhere, on both 'sides'. I've know a few people who are so vehemently anti the EF I wonder where they get the energy to be so cross from.

On the EF side though, people have and do feel ignored and let down over the last thirty-odd years, and I think that can come across as 'pureblood' even when it's about as far from the truth as you can get. Is it 'pureblood' to prefer a Polish Mass if you're Polish? Is it 'pureblood' to prefer going to family Masses/said Masses?
In spite of the MP/SP, those attached to the EF are still being ignored. What are they supposed to do except make a noise, and if that means being a tad polemical, well, that's not completely unsurprising.
There is a policy of total resistance to the EF in some areas that I find absolutely incredible. What are some people afraid of?

Crux Fidelis said...

Although I love the old Mass (you know, Father, the one where we couldn't see your face) I sometimes feel there can be a lot of dewy eyed nostalgia about "the good old days". Just as with the Novus Ordo, the usus antiquior was no stranger to abuse. I remember one priest who used to rattle through it in twelve minutes flat. Very popular with some in the congregation but hardly reverential.

alban said...

Fr Ray, Your words are nicely framed, and well said. Thank you. It seems that some are promoting 2 opposing camps in the Latin Rite and this is damaging to the Body of Christ; it is certainly not what was intended by HH Benedict XVI.

The pope's intention remains that people feel equally at home in either expression of the Roman Rite. Of course, we all have personal liturgical inclinations and these are entirely acceptable so long as it does not mean branding those who prefer the 'other' form as irreverent or fuddy-duddy.

Personally, I am more of an OF than EF person and have profoundly experienced God's presence at vibrant Masses in Guadalupe and Malawi where people have danced and swayed and the Masses have lasted 2 hours; I have been moved to tears by the rythmic, gentle celebrations found within Benedictine monasteries; I have been uplifted by splendid OF Masses in such great buildings as St Peter's and Chartres and touched by God's hand in the quietness of an early morning Eucharist in a school chapel. My point is: when celebrated properly, the OF can be a true blessing.

Having said this, the EF most definitely has a place of honour within the Latin Rite, and HH has done the Church a great service by extending its permitted use. I support him completely and encourage anyone who has not attended and EF to do. Like the OF, the EF can be celebrated poorly or beautifully, so attendance should be more than once.

It is time for those who have practiced ecclesiatical politics in either camp to desist for the good of the Church. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, master or servant, Pureblood or Muggle. We are all children of His Father.

Draco said...

Actually, Father, (being the person with whom you were discussing this matter) I think you are in Potter terms a mudblood; you do both rites. Muggles would perhaps be those who only celebrate the OF.

Michael Petek said...

To be truly Catholic, in the Roman Rite or any other, means to be able to be at home with any liturgy capable of confecting a valid Eucharist, and to be able to move inter-ritually with equanimity.

The key to that is to appreciate the inestimable value of what we receive in the true Body and Blood of Christ. That's all that really matters.

GOR said...

Well put, Father! The Mass is the Mass – when celebrated validly - despite any untoward ‘add-ons’ or ‘innovations’ in the OF. It irks me when I hear of people not going to ‘that kind’ of Mass and being willing to neglect even their Sunday Obligation because of this. The impression one gets is that it is about them and not, as it should be, about Him.

Why do we go to Mass? Primarily, it is to give honor and glory to God. Whether we are comfortable, whether we come away with warm and fuzzy feelings, is not the point. We do it for Him, not for us. Attended worthily, we will receive the graces of the Sacrament. Whether that translates to ‘feeling good’ or being ‘uplifted’ is immaterial. Even suffering through a Mass celebrated inappropriately has its own reward if we offer up our ‘suffering’…

I often think of Penal Times when Mass was offered in secret – in barns, ditches and caves. Were the people attending concerned about rubrical niceties? No, they attended in peril of their lives, suffered and often died for it. And we are concerned about our comfort level…?

Perspective, people!

gemoftheocean said...

Well said. And would agree with Ches. This past year I have been attending Mass at a UA parish for the weekdays and attend my long term parish of 38+ years on Sunday. Each form has its appeal for me, the main, as you say being the Eucharist.

For me, I don't particularly care for the traddy woman form of dress, so I ignore the attendent mantillas and all the sack dress to the floor thing many of them seem to wear - but that's an external. I, persoanlly, want a little more give and take on a weekend Mass than the EF allows for (I think *overall* the Byzantine does best at that one!) and I can also assist at Mass, in a different way than the EF would allow me. But for the weekdays it suits my needs just fine, albeit I'm not terribly fond of the sound of trucks backing up or dogs barking during the allegedly "silent" canon. I'd prefer to HEAR the "silent canon" but "whatever." The prayers during the offertory and the canon, are I think better overall. So far, I haven't been aced out of the front right hand oblique seat on a weekday, or that might be an "issue." Curiously, like Fr. Tim, I like to SEE what's going on at Mass. [He's stated he felt uncomfortable not seeing the elements in a huge concelebrated Mass. :-D No duh!]

Oh, and let's not even GO into the outright hosility my pastor unwittingly showed to a fellow who was seeking a Latin Mass (he'd come into the sacristy and inquired if our church had an EF.) But the pastor is 64...which explains a lot.

But that's just me.

Ttony said...

Draco: I think Muggle is right. Think of Uncle Vernon. Hermione is a Mudblood: now, you could develop an analogy about converts, but we might just decide not to go there!

GOR: I think that what evidence I have seen about penal times shows that the rubrics were honoured. Unaccompanied four voice (not part) Masses ensured that the Liturgy was celebrated worthily (if quietly); and there is the example of the Irish Bishop who tore down the hovel in which a hedge priest was wont to say Mass as it was unworthy for the King of Kings.

But mainly, as usual, I'm with Ches: I normally go to Mass in my parish on Saturday evening and stay in Communion with Peter.

Amanda said...

Just to correct you Draco....I think you'll find that "Mudblood" is an insulting term that the "Purebloods" throw at the "Muggles" & I don't think thats what you intended?...one can take these analogies too far!

matthew archbold said...

Great post. I think "Mudblood" is the best description of us though. I agree with Draco. (That felt weird to even write that)

Peter Porter said...

This development does not surprise me in the least. Writing as a convert, it reminds me of the worst excesses of extreme Anglo-Catholicism and they are a passion for exclusiveness. This means wanting to be among the purest of the pure, the most extreme of the extreme. It is a pernicious mentality that represents the inevitable consequences of the fall of man which amounts to this desire for exclusiveness from which the majority are banished. It is founded on pride and uncharity.

But what makes it pathetic rather than sinful are the desperate characters that seek this moth-eaten position. Traditionalist circles have long been infested with oddballs and misfits who have no other life and they do serious damage to the traditional cause. In most ways for them Summorum Pontificum was unwelcome because it has the potential of opening the Extraordinary Form to the Church at large and that inevitably diminishes their exclusiveness as the sole keepers of the flame. Hence this sectarian mentality which divides the Body of Christ.

What exasperates me in the Catholic Church in this country is the emergence of a High, Broad and Low Church, rather than a Catholic, mentality within the Church. For those of us who sought reconciliation with the Church it is like being trapped in a system that we repudiated on leaving the Church of England. To my shame I notice that many converts have sought refuge in the mentality you identify which proves to me that they have not become Catholics but have maintained a fundamentualy unbalanced frame of mind. Let them stew in their own juice and remain miserable for ever. They are not even worth identifying.

Independent said...

During the time of Elizabeth I were the recusants worried as to whather the priest said the Sarum Mass or what to them was the new Mass, that of Pius V? They were glad to have either and were prepared to face the consequences in persecution.

Thomas said...

Really well put Father, I like the "purebloods and muggles" analogy it made a lot of sense. And I agree that there is no room for groups within the church these days we are all one.

God Bless,


MC Man said...

well said Fr Ray and alban it doesnt matter what form or Rite the mass is said in as long as it is celebrated with care and reverence,the OF form celebrated in this way can often be preferable to a rushed Low Mass or an over produced over the top Solemn High Mass with various clergy and servers over doing it on the sanctuary

Jeff said...

I have not seen the Harry Potter movies, never the less I think I get the idea.

I am a convert who attends the traditional mass exculsivley because I believe that the new rite reflects it's creators desire to remove the exclusivley Catholic elements.

If you make even cusory examination of the new rite. Concepts such as Hell, damnation, Sin,Purgatory,God's wrath, Pennace, etc.. you find them minimised or removed outright.

I don't claim to make any judgements about other Catholic's who don't have any issue with it.

But I find the facts undeniable.

Crux Fidelis said...

"the emergence of a High, Broad and Low Church, rather than a Catholic, mentality"

That worries me too. Unfortunately one can find tendencies towards this on other blogs. God forbid that we should end up like the CoE.

Ut unum sint.

Joseph Shaw said...

"His claim was that there is an increasing trend for certain leading traddies to make a point of never attending Masses in the Usus Antiquor of priests who celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Not only that but they even refuse to attend churches where it is celebrated."

I think this claim is bizarre. Clearly, we're not talking about the SSPX faithful, who don't have the choice your friend refers to, but to people who go to Masses with the permission of the bishops. But there is not a single one of these Masses in the British Isles which is said in a church where the OF is not regularly said.

So who are these 'pureblood' 'leading trads', and where do they go to church? Is this an American phenomenon? Let's start getting paranoid about something which doesn't exist in this country.

Joseph Shaw said...

Sorry I meant we should *not* get paranoid!

voldemort said...

I am glad Dr Shaw is here. Could Father's visitor have been referring to some of the leaders of the LMS under its new guise?
Does the LMS intend to have an influence on the new or to run away from it?
Will its new chaplain be a "pure blood" or a "muggle", how many of its committee attend the Novus Ordo regularly or even willingly?

Simon Platt said...

I think that's uncalled for, Voldemort. I should like strongly to support what Joseph Shaw has written here, which I think is incontrovertible.

You ask: "how many of [the LMS] committee attend the Novus Ordo regularly or even willingly?". That seems to imply heterodoxy or some sort of schismatic attitude, which is unjustified. If they are able to assist exclusively at traditional masses they would be quite within their rights to do so. I know none of them but I don't expect that many are so able. I shall let Dr. Shaw speak for himself, should he wish to.

For myself, I am in the fortunate position of being able to assist at traditional masses almost exclusively. It's a rare thing for me to hear a novus ordo mass but that makes me no less catholic and no less faithful and no less obedient.

On the other hand, there are many catholics around, apparently in good standing, who it seems would not be seen dead at a traditional mass. They are rarely called to task for this.

Simon Platt said...

And another thing ...

I don't know who the new LMS chaplain is or will be but hypothetically I can't see that there might be any justifiable objection to his celebrating the traditional mass exclusively.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...