Posted by: Christine Johnson | July 11, 2006

Mark Shea on Trads and Novus Ordo

Mark Shea has some thoughts on those people who are SO down on the Novus Ordo that they cannot seem to find a single thing to say kindly about it (unless it’s done in Latin).

He said:

Perhaps such readers might try to find it in their hearts to imagine a musician who badly renders “On Eagle’s Wings”, not out of a malicious desire to mock God, but out of a desire to serve him with his meager talents. Perhaps they could consider the possibility that the little Filipino prayer group that made the ugly banners for the sanctuary was not deliberately setting out to spit in God’s eye and call attention to itself, but was just offering the best they could to God?

I have to say that I pretty much agree. My comments at his site were these:

I have to say that this is wonderful. I have been frustrated with a lot in my parish lately, but I pray all the time that I will focus on Christ, Who is the most important thing I am there for, not on the music (more Catholic hymns were sung at the Episcopal church I was at two weeks ago) or whatever the priest is doing wrong.

Honestly, it’s not good to sit there picking apart things, or to be putting down whatever you don’t like as unworthy of the Mass. I’m getting weary of Haas et al, but I have to say that when you complain about that music being completely unworthy of God, you are putting down the tastes of some pretty pious priests. (Father Pablo Straub sang a couple of Hagin songs during the two talks I was blessed to attend at the IHM conference in the DC area. Is Father Straub irreverant? Is he not orthodox enough? I’d like to see some of the trads who do all the putting down answer that.)

(and then)

Oh, and some of the constant attitudes are making me want to just up and quit reading some of the blogs out there. I mean, it’s just CONSTANT! I think there should be a four-post-per-day limit on complaining about Norvus Ordo.


Really. It gets tiresome after a while. And it’s hardly an example of Christian charity. Another thing I just read today that smacks of the same idea is this article. In it, John Mallon writes about SPPX, schism, and the reaction from Rad Trads over his previous article.

Thus, within what would otherwise be the orthodox camp, the spirit of Christian love can somtimes be hard to find. This is a tragedy, because there is nothing more orthodox than love, properly understood, and nothing discredits the Christian witness more than the lack of charity.

…Theological discussions can easily turn sinful when all-too-common Odium Theologicum sets in. For example, I received more “hate mail” for my column in January, “The Obedience Test,” than for anything I have written since I was in the diocesan press suggesting that Catholics should vote pro-life.
This ferocious hostility centered on what I thought was the rather innocuous observation that the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is in formal schism. I had never known the Society not to be in schism. Some who denounced me seemed to think I was gloating by making that observation, and accused me of defiantly contradicting Ecclesiae Dei Commission President Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who was quoted in an interview as saying the SSPX was not in formal schism. (The cardinal’s actual quote in the English edition was, “…the situation of separation came about, even if it was not a formal schism.” Emphasis added.) (30 Days, September 2005)

Others angrily accused me of deliberately lying and of committing the sin of calumny against the Society, without first ascertaining why I had written what I wrote. As I explained to one such correspondent, I simply had not seen the cardinal’s comment.

…It is well known that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is working very hard to regularize the Society’s status to bring it into full communion with the Church, and I can understand him not wanting to jeopardize that work. But what continues to puzzle me is this: If there is no formal schism, what is there to be regularized? To my knowledge none of the excommunications of the bishops consecrated by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 have been lifted. If this is not schism, what is? (I’m quite sure if I am mistaken I will be corrected.)

I pray for the success of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’s efforts, and hope others will join me in this prayer.

As I was repeatedly reminded by those who denounced me, members of the SSPX don’t need to be “lectured” by the likes of me, but in my modest opinion, one of the greatest liabilities of the SSPX is the well-documented nastiness of some (not all) of the members toward anyone who dares to disagree with them. As Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them.”

Legend tells us that St. John the Beloved Disciple, at the end of his life, would tell the young people wanting to hear stories of the Master, “Just love one another.” 1 Corinthians 13 plays hardball. It is not a sentimental first reading at a wedding where Kahlil Gibran takes the place of the Gospel reading. Love is not something “soft.” St. Teresa of Avila said, “Love is as hard and unbending as Hell.” It has to be.

The early Romans marveled at the outlawed Christians, saying, “See how they love one another.”

The pagans of our day are most certainly observing us. What do they see when they watch us?

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