Some 7,000+ pilgrims, facing liturgical and actual East, were jammed into the eastern side of the Lower Basilica of Saint Pius X in the Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes in France on the National Feast Day of France, the great Solemnity of the Assumption of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God to heaven, soul and body, for a Solemn High Mass with yours truly being the “permanent chaplain” who, however unworthy, having once again kick-started after decades of dormition the official offering of the Traditional Mass starting in 2007, had the privilege of offering this Mass on this day in 2008, during the 150th anniversary jubilee of the apparitions in Lourdes.
Our dear Lord called me to be a priest during the offering of the Traditional Mass on the feast of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, 1962. I was born in February of 1960. So, just two and half years old. But I remember pretty much everything in my early years – always have – in fine detail, in color, with smells and bells, as it were. So, just to say, yes, I have a very deep seated, entrenched, and ever living “attachment” to the “Old Mass” (a misnomer on so very many levels). And it’s not just about entitlement of emotional attachment, you know, a weakness to be pitied. No. The Traditional Mass is who I am as a priest, who I am before God, quite literally and in every way, on every level.
The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it has been celebrated throughout the life history of Holy Mother Church has for a long time been and is still today denigrated, held to be criminal, opening a priest up to persecution, bullying, brow-beating, suspension, removal from ministry, so that his salary is stripped from him, and all that he has to live on, including a place to say, something to eat, and then his insurance is removed, then his faculties, so that he is then held to be a mere liability and is dismissed from the clerical state. Just like that. Yep. Not infrequently either. This is the history of so many priests of my own acquaintance through the decades and still today.
After some eight years of catechesis of the parish, I have started to offer Holy Mass ad orientem, with “the people”, toward the East, toward Jesus, toward the Holy Sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.
On Monday, I offered the Holy Sacrifice in what has been called the Extraordinary Form, the Old Rite, the Latin Mass, the Traditional Mass, the Gregorian Mass, etc. A crime? Surely, in the eyes of some. Pope Benedict ensured that priests could do this at their own discretion.
- “But Father George! Father George! You don’t understand! You’re divisory! You’re not pastórial or pastóral or however you say it! You’re not appreciative of the Novus Pontifex, the New Scriptures, the New Liturgy, the New Morality, the New Doctrine! We worship Pachamama! We’re clever and sophisticated and up to date! Follow us, not that outdated not-divine Jesus! There are no sacraments! Come with us, for friendship!”
Mind you, none of that straw-man rubbish above is reflective of my parish. Only positive to date, 100%.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis and many of his favorite cardinals and his favorite bishops and his favorite priests and his favorite laity have been pushing for a localization of pachamama style liturgies as he himself has wrought on the central altar of Saint Peter’s, meaning anything even demonic is all good. The Novus Ordo Misae? I’m about done. It’s the boiling the frog so slowly that it’s dead before it knows it. I’m wanting out.
And yes, it’s true, with the “Old Mass” comes all that is ever ancient, ever new, all the goodness and kindness of Jesus, and the Living Truth that He is, all the doctrine, all the morality, all the sacraments. I’m for Jesus. How about you?