A fitting celebration
It will be some time before the coronavirus in Britain is under effective control. But eventually it will come, and with it the ability at last to hear Mass and receive the sacraments.
To look forward to that day, I suggest that there should be a sung high mass at Westminster Cathedral with the object of a) thanking God for our deliverance, b) thanking all those vital workers which made deliverance possible, c) praying for those killed by the virus, and d) committing all of us to a greater appreciation of the Mass and the sacraments and to do much better.
Perhaps all the diocesan cathedrals could do the same, and every parish church.
It would also be appropriate for some of those who played a major part in the effort to control the virus to be invited as guests to the Mass. Perhaps even the Prime Minister to Westminster Cathedral.
Cistercians who broke the lockdown
What a fascinating article by Francis Young in Charterhouse concerning the interdict imposed on England by Pope Innocent III in 1208-14, especially the coincidence of 23 March being the anniversary of its execution and the date of the recent lockdown.
England was not alone in feeling Innocent’s wrath, for both Norway and France had endured interdicts a few years previously; and it may be worth mentioning that Hadrian IV, the English pope, had placed the City of Rome under interdict in 1155.
It has been suggested that the interdict may not have been total, for the third volume of the Oxford History of England mentions that the “Cistercians, claiming the privilege of exemption ‘rang their bells, shouted their chants and celebrated the divine offices with open doors’ . . . but they were severely rebuked by the pope.”
Fr Julian G Shurgold
St John’s Seminary, Wonersh
I do not see that “His presence is virtual” in live-streamed Masses (Letters, April 10). I see a real priest offering a real Mass in which Jesus Christ is made truly present on the altar. The only thing that is virtual is the means by which I receive the Mass.
Before the lockdown, after receiving Holy Communion, I would often ask Our Lord that the graces of my Communion would flow out through me to others, especially for Christians united with us in baptism but unable to believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. Now, “housebound”, I ask the Lord that as the priest receives Him in Holy Communion, so graces may flow out through him to me as a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. Surely this is one aspect of the Communion of Saints.
God is not bound by space or time.
My husband and I have streamed Mass every day from various places and it is a great joy and blessing. There is a great sense that we are a part of a worldwide, unseen family. Some say there is a possibility that, when the lockdown is lifted, some may continue to watch online rather than return to church; this is unlikely, I hope, for watching a streamed Mass implies the hunger to be able to attend Mass, which we express as we make a spiritual communion.
We now watch Mass streamed from the Bournemouth Oratory and now understand and are wholly won over to Mass said “ad orientem”!
Mrs Jennifer Moorcroft
I share Mary Kenny’s preference for addressing the Deity as “Thou” and “Thy”, but then I am a former Anglican, used to The King James Bible and The English Hymnal. To me, “you” and “your” smack of the decadent 1970s.
It is also annoying when the words of well-known hymns are altered, seemingly to render them “gender-neutral”, so that one can no longer sing them from memory. For example: “Dear Lord and Father of mankind” seems to have become “Dear Lord, Creator good and kind”. What the authors would make of such changes, one can only guess. The latest fad is to replace “Holy Ghost” with “Holy Spirit”, so that the line no longer scans and there is no note in the music to which the extra syllable can be sung!
There has been concern expressed in some quarters about the Holy See’s survey sent to bishops about the Use of the Extraordinary form of Mass. (Though others, including Dr Joseph Shaw of the Latin Mass Society, do not see this as a threat.)
I often attend an Extraordinary Form Mass locally. It is well attended by different age groups and families and it is fully integrated into the life of the parish, It needs to be emphasised that it is one form of the Roman Rite alongside the Ordinary Form and the Ordinariate Form. It is just a different form; the Faith is the same and the forms can co-exist side by side.
The survey also asks how far elements of the Extraordinary Form have been used in the OF. There has been little of this, but surely – as Fr Aidan Nichols OP has argued – mutual enrichment could easily be fostered.
For example, the Ordinary Form could incorporate the prayers before the altar, the Last Gospel to emphasise the Incarnation, and kneeling for communion for those who prefer this.
Also, there’s the possibility of using a richer form of the Offertory prayers. The Extraordinary Form could be enriched by making optionally available the prefaces for feasts and the additional Scripture readings from the lectionary.
This mutual enrichment would emphasise the Hermeneutic of Continuity of which Pope Benedict spoke: that Vatican II was not a rupture but a ressourcement. This means we can draw on new and old to deepen our spirituality. Of course, the integrity of the Extraordinary Form should be preserved intact for those drawn to that.
I hope the bishops’ responses will be positive and aid the spirituality of all Catholics who follow the various forms of the Roman Rite.
Robert P Tickle
Parents who stood up to sex ‘education’
We have nothing to thank coronavirus for, during its extended visit to our shores, except probably a delay in the implementation of what is clearly immoral in the RSE regulations due to be imposed on schools in September.
It is to be hoped, too, that many local authorities will follow the example of Warwick- shire, which withdrew the primary sexual “education” course “All About Me” – material which, according to news reports, parents said “encouraged masturbation” and promoted “experimental transgender ideas in school.”
For this we can surely thank Warwickshire parents for taking a stand. Among them, we must acknowledge the welcome role of Muslim families.
Steve De la Bedoyere
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