Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nostalgia and the Latin Mass

Forty five years later I still remember some of my altar boy Latin:

Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae.

(May the Lord receive the Sacrifice from your hands to the praise and glory of His Name, for our good, and that of all His holy Church.)

We altar boys were responding in many places for a silent audience behind us. Then came the “The Secret”. The Priest said the day’s secret prayer etc.

I wore a black cassock and white surplus. To accent this were white gloves, a celluloid 1920's style collar with brass collar button and a white silk scarf tied into a bow. This description reminds me of some secular lyrics from a Sinead O’Connor song. Wow! Where’s the party?

There is this return to the Latin Mass thingy in the R.C. church. I don’t understand it on one level but then I tend to see things from some very odd angles.

I read the comments of a priest once about how a “Cardinal Ratzinger wanted fewer and only obedient Catholics in the church”. I cannot find the context or the argument on the Internet anymore. The concept remained in my mind and I had to wonder how you could support a leaner meaner R.C. machine.

I grew up in the Philadelphia experiment of Saint John Neumann whereby the immigrant Catholics built a separate but superior education system. That bygone formula consisted of many, many Catholics contributing a little here and there and on a regular basis.

Indeed, having moved to NYC some thirty years ago, they were restoring St Patrick’s cathedral for it’s centennial around 1979 and the concept of how this great Gothic structure had been built literally with the pennies, nickels and dimes of the faithful was a common concept mentioned in the press releases. ( I do not like the majority of the stained glass in St. Patrick’s but that is another story. )

At the basis of the Constantine Church from its beginnings around 325 C.E. is, if not money, then property and the generation of goods for trading. In the most basic European sense of anything, property is not shelter, property is land and crops and trade (income).

Where does this new leaner, meaner more obedient future R.C. church come from? It comes from the lonely dying boomers whose property and portable cash wealth, that was estimated a decade ago at about six trillion dollars.

No doubt most of that goes to children and grandchildren but hey, even Public Broadcasting System stations these days are begging for consideration in your last will and testament. They do that on pledge breaks in between snippets of The Lawrence Welk Show etc.

Oddly enough, the people clambering most for the nostalgia of their youth and the return of the Latin Mass are old farts such as myself from the boomer generation (but not me specifically).

Comments on many blogs and customized websites exclaim the joy of being able to go to a Latin Mass just like when they were young etc.

Hey, it’s all marketing (and The Golden Rule) these days and the reward is BMW’s for the clerks at the Vatican and Mercedes cars for the big shots. Funded in the near future by mom’s estate.

Have I ever mentioned before how cynical I can be? It is one of my cardinal sins and or virtues.

I don’t knock this craving for stability (nostalgia) or the comfort of the village of one’s youth when the village was real and not virtual. I did the same when I sought out the grace, that many times accompanies a group of the faithful in prayer, and in celebration of a common liturgical service in a mainstream Protestant church.

The fear of death is as motivating a thing as any, like the fear of God, to look for some concrete answer as to what happens passed death. Buy your tickets to eternity now and buy them early.

Vorrei prenotare un posto a sedere.