Case in point: I got a short and sweet(?) comment on my blog yesterday, as concerns the "Rorate Caeli Can Kiss My Ass" post, which was:
"FYI: Google MISA DE NINOS 2011. 'nuff said"
So I did. Although I have to say, even before I did, I knew what I was going to find. I was going to find a "clown mass" being offered by our new pope, the Former Cardinal Bergoglio. And I was right. If you care, here it is:
Now, the subject of this blog post isn't necessarily to discuss "clown masses." (By the way, I put that term in quotations because Traditionalists like to label ANY mass they don't approve of as a clown mass.) Rather, this post is meant to discuss how priests, cardinals, and bishops end up presiding at "clown masses" in the first place.
So, I'm going to break it down here for the Blind and Unthinking Traditionalist. Here's how I think it works:
1. Office of [fill in the blank with whatever name you want] bishop gets a phone call or letter from a parish, group, or other Catholic organization, asking if the good bishop is able to preside over mass on a particular date.
2. Secretary or personal assistant to the bishop checks the very busy and often booked-up schedule of the bishop and pencils in the date, and then sends out a confirmation letter (or perhaps a phone call), indicating that the bishop will be at the requested event to offer mass.
3. On the appointed date, bishop is handed a daily schedule, which includes the confirmed mass at which he is the celebrant.
4. Bishop shows up to the event and presides over the mass.
Now, this is KEY - listen up all you would-be liturgy police! - guess what? THE BISHOP DID NOT PLAN THE MASS AT WHICH HE IS THE CELEBRANT! Isn't that amazing? He had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the mass at which he kindly came to preside over!
So, let's think this through, shall we? If the mass has lousy music, the bishop didn't plan that lousy music. If the mass is being held in the most abominable post-modern church ever built, he didn't build that church or plan that the mass would be said there. If the organ is broken and the musicians have to switch over to guitars? Nope, not his fault. If the readings selected don't correspond with the liturgical calendar - out of his control! If there are colorful flags and helium balloons festooning the church when he arrives? Not his problem, since he wasn't on the committee that planned how the mass would be celebrated.
Anyone not understanding this?
Now, let's enter the mind of a staunch Traditionalist. The kind of person who, say, leaves a comment on my blog implying that the above-highlighted "clown mass" is an absolute indication that our new Pope is indeed an advocate of killing the Latin mass. Here's how I imagine such a person would respond to my explanation of how bishops and the like end up presiding over "clown masses":
"Well, then, if the bishop saw that such a mass was even a possibility - if he walked in and saw colorful flags and electric guitars and liturgical dancers - well, then, he should have refused to say mass, rather than allow such liturgical abuse to continue on unchecked."
And that, my friends, is the problem. The problem is that the staunch Traditionalist would have the bishop respond to such a mass as if he were Christ in the temple, over-turning the money lenders tables. He would rather "truth" triumph over charity. He would rather deprive people of a mass, risking the disappointment of innocent Catholics, than allow a consecrated bishop allow such a mass to continue.
Here's the thing, though. Bishops don't do that. They don't show up to say mass and then decide once they get there to back out. Instead, if they sense something is "off" about the arrangement, they proceed with goodwill, love, charity, and respect for those attending, as well as those who hosted and planned the mass.
To imply that the mass in that You Tube video is the brainchild and preference of our new Pope Francis is ludicrous. Not only because no one really knows, but mostly because the chances are about 100% that he was invited to preside over that mass unaware of the stylings that were planned for that mass, as determined by whoever sponsored it.
Therefore, it is triple-ludicrous to imply that such a mass is "proof" that Pope Francis hates the TLM, is against it, wants to limit it, or is a big fan of watered-down, feel-good liturgy. Taking the most extreme example of a mass that he presided over as proof of anything shows desperation to prove a point that can't be proven via normal means.
This past week, the Catholic internet has featured many, many written pieces that wonder aloud at the near crazy responses the Traditionalists have had to Pope Francis. I add this blog post to the growing pile, wondering if Traditionalists of this bent realize what damage they are doing to their cause?
I'm no fan of "clown masses," but in this case, I have to defend one.