TO THE EDITOR:
Recently, your paper published an editorial commenting on increased attendance at the Traditional Latin Mass. The response was swift and predictable. Two letters from two priests of good conscience with two different opinions on the Mass (Extraordinary Form) and its role in propagating the Faith.
I say ‘predictable’ because the exchange reflects a debate repeated ad nauseam for the last 50 years. It asks whether modern man responds better to the familiar or to the mysterious. It therefore asks a question without an answer. The superiority of one rite over another in this regard is a matter of personal predisposition. Yet renewed interest in the Extraordinary Form is undeniable. What is to be done?
Catholicism makes two claims unique among Christian denominations: that the church in communion with Peter bears the definitive, immutable revelation of God; and that God Himself becomes truly and substantially present in the sacrifice of the Mass. The Extraordinary Form persists because it is consistent with these claims. The antiquity of the rite and the solemnity of its celebration reinforce the message in a way the Ordinary Form typically does not.
Where action fails to imitate belief, the result is a faith that appears arbitrary, hypocritical and false. I therefore propose the following. Celebrate the Extraordinary Form, if you feel so called. Or celebrate the Ordinary Form. But do so in a manner consistent with the sublimity of Church teaching. The harmony of medium and message is a beautiful thing. And beauty attracts.
Alexander Pease, Rumford