Sunday, August 17, 2008

Damien Thompson on the Latin Mass in England

He reports in the Times that instructors are teaching the TLM to priests across the pond and it looks like folks are interested. Sounds promising.

So these are tense times. But the 60 priests who have gathered at Merton college – to brush up their skills or to learn the Tridentine mass from scratch – are careful to avoid talk of civil war in the church. All are aware that this autumn, Pope Benedict is expected to announce a successor to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, who presides over a liberal “magic circle” of bishops unsympathetic to the Pope’s reforms. Will Benedict break the circle that has run the English church for 40 years?

People have been talking about this for a while, namely, the death knell of the "progressives" who have been such a scandal to the Church these last decades. The future seems to be slipping out of their hands.

Interestingly, the most traditionalist priests here are also the youngest – and I spot four in the choir stalls who are popular bloggers on the internet. Walking down the high street later, I encounter two clergy wearing the old-fashioned soup-plate hats beloved of Italian village padres. One of them has long knotted tassels dangling from the brim, “so I can tie them round my neck when I ride my horse through the parish”.

A priest who looks barely out of his teens explains what he does when unsolicited copies of The Tablet – a liberal Catholic magazine that opposes the Latin revival – arrive at his church: “I painstakingly remove the staples and feed it into the shredder. It’s time-consuming, but God’s work.”


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