This is the 'Reform of the Reform.'
This is how the new mass is supposed to be done,
according to the original vision of Vatican II.
Dear readers, many of you know about Cardinal Sarah's call for priests to return to ad orientem (facing liturgical east) come Advent of this year (2016). Undoubtedly, some will do just that. However, in response to Cardinal Sarah's call, some bishops throughout the world, and particularly here in the United States, are doubling-down; ordering their priests to continue celebrating versus populum (facing the people) at all times, and instructing the faithful to continue receiving communion on the hand while standing. While they cannot compel either under canon law, the later they are phrasing their public statements in such a way as to make it "appear" as if reception of communion on the tongue while kneeling is no longer allowed.
Because of this, I am going to come out and publicly make a suggestion. I have encountered many people complaining about such things on the Internet, and as of late, the complaints have been stronger than usual, even to the point of causing strife. My suggestion is to stop complaining about it, stop causing strife, and stop trying to change other people who don't want to change. Instead, take care of yourselves, your own families, and if you need to choose a legitimate alternative, then do so. In such dioceses where that is going on, and you probably know if you're in one, I am going to suggest you "vote with your feet." There are three licit options available to you as Roman Catholics under canon law. They are as follows, click a link below to find one near you...
1.) Extraordinary Form (Latin)
2.) Divine Worship (English)
3.) Divine Liturgy (English and other languages)
A Roman Catholic can licitly attend Sunday mass in any one of these options, without changing rites, canonical status, or even joining the parish/community. Likewise, a Roman Catholic can licitly volunteer and/or financially assist in any one of these parishes or communities, without having to change bishops, rites, or jurisdiction.
I know that many of you are frustrated by the slow progress of the "reform of the reform," and the way the Ordinary Form mass is still celebrated in many areas. I know that many of you feel like it's hopeless. I know that it seems like for every one step forward, we take two steps back. That's not true in every diocese, but it is true in some.
I'm here to tell you that Benedict XVI foresaw this while he was still pope, and he knew this would happen. That is why he set up "liturgical islands of refuge" for us. These are called the Extraordinary Form (est. 2007 via Summorum Pontificum), and Divine Worship (est. 2012 via Anglicanorum Coetibus), and of course the Eastern rites of the Church, which already existed in great number long before his pontificate. These "islands" can provide for us a safe place of liturgical refuge, in which we can place our families, while we wait for the current implosion within the Church to gradually unfold. Obviously, while we would like to prevent the decline with the "reform of the reform," some of our Church leaders (who shall remain nameless on this blog) will not allow this to happen easily. They are stubborn, and want to go the hard way. Very well. So be it. That is their choice, and they have the right to make it. It is not our place to contradict them. We, however, need not be part of it. We can "vote with our feet" as they say, and do so in a licit way, exercising our rights as Catholics.
In the short term, we can simply attend one of the alternative liturgies I mentioned above. We don't need to be part of these jurisdictions. Some of us can be, depending on the rules, but that all depends on individual circumstances. There is no rule, however, against attending a licit Catholic liturgy of another form or rite. Nor is there any rule against supporting such communities, either monetarily or with time and energy.
So I guess what I'm saying is this. If you're a Catholic who longs for a return to more traditional liturgy, and your efforts to attain it in your regular parish using the Ordinary Form have been thwarted or frustrated, there is no need to despair, complain or cause strife. Pope Benedict XVI saw this coming years in advance. All you need do is take advantage of one of the three liturgical "islands" available to you as a Catholic. If you're concerned about the liturgical formation of your family, and you're time is limited (because your children are growing up), then maybe its time to stop fighting a no-win battle, and plug into one of the three liturgical "islands of refuge." Get yourself, and your family, spiritually fed so that you can grow. Then you'll find all this other stuff, going on in other places, much less burdensome. All of this is licit, and it is your right as a Catholic. So rather than getting frustrated or discouraged, "vote with your feet," and do something about it.
Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books and a columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'CatholicInTheOzarks.com.' Your support is what makes essays like this possible. This essay and all of Shane's Internet resources come to you (ad-free) thanks to the generosity of benefactors. Please consider becoming a benefactor.
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