Those who know me know that I am not a traditionalist but I am a lover of tradition. I do not celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, but I have always been sympathetic to those who are devoted to it.

It cannot be denied that certain elements within the traditionalist movement have exacerbated the divisions in the Catholic Church. When traditionalists continued to despise everything about the Second Vatican Council they were not doing their cause any favors. When they mocked and dismissed not only Pope John XXIII and Paul VI but also John Paul II and Benedict XVI they promoted a sectarian mentality. When they made snide, self righteous attacks not only on the apparent abuses of the Novus Ordo, but also on those priests who celebrate the Novus Ordo reverently and traditionally, they made enemies of their allies.

Today’s restrictions on the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass were imposed by the Holy Father in an attempt to quash this sectarian attitude and foster unity in the church, but unity is not the same thing as uniformity. The advantage of the Novus Ordo Mass is that it recognizes the need for, and allows variations in the styles of celebration which are obvious in a universal church. I wish the pope and his allies had not seen fit to quash this particular alternative, but that he would have encouraged traditionalists–the vast number who are good, devout faithful Catholics. I wish he had seen fit as a good pastor to critique the sometimes sectarian aspects while recognizing the strengths of the traditionalist movement and encouraging it to expand in joyful unity with the whole church.

Praise the Lord

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