The last three decades I have watched, commented and yes, complained about the state of affairs in the Church. Particularly, my area of focus was the Mass and sacred music for most of my complaints. Please, don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that was all that was awry in the Church that I love. Doctrine has been distorted , ignored and worst of all, denied as Truth. Those are things that sometimes felt very overwhelming to me as a Roman Catholic in the pew.
What wasn’t overwhelming to me was the Liturgy and how important it was to my Faith and to all of us as Roman Catholics. I was blessed to have the Mass remain under the 1962 Missale Romanum until mid 1969. The parish I had grown up in was run by a Religious order from Italy and lucky for us the priests were extremely resistant to a Mass they felt was “an experiment in Liturgy”.
These particular priests never said that the Mass was invalid or anything remotely like that. These were learned men, many of them had studied Liturgy along with their theological studies in Rome at the Gregorian University. Our sacred music program was organized and administered by extremely competent Religious Sisters that were also highly trained as both musicians and students of sacred music.
I was then extremely fortunate to be able to attend and participate in the choir of the “Mass of all Ages” until the young age of 15. Seems quite young now some forty years later, but in fact I was quite mature (perhaps only in that area) in that participation.
I was a student of piano, organ and violin since I was 6 and bred in the classics both sacred and secular. My paternal grandfather hailing from Puglia, Italy taught me everything anyone would want to know and love about opera. Mine was homeschooling to the max before it was fashionable. I still attended formal school of course, but that would also be considered homeschooling by today’s standards. Why? Well, we were taught with CATHOLIC texts and learned such out-of style subjects as history/geography/civics instead of “Socialist Studies”. I call it that for obvious reasons.
Well, this wonderful dream didn’t last long because we were about to enter the Seventies when all things look ugly now in retrospect. The Religious Orders were revolting within & the Seminaries were places of pure experimentation. My aunt was a higher up in her Religious Order and she suffered… she passed away several years ago, still a Religious, still an obedient daughter of the Church with habit intact. Another story for another day.
I go into this monologue about Liturgy, Sacred Music and Doctrine askew because finally, I now have hope. My favorite priest and homeschool teacher via texts, Joseph Ratzinger, became Pope (miracle of all miracles). Prior to that, the Latin Mass resurfaced when JPII proclaimed Ecclesia Dei Adflicta in response to the separation of the SSPX and gave birth to the FSSP much to my delight. There were years of disappointment when those who loved Sacred Liturgy were being treated as though we were as common criminals if we asked for an Indult Mass by our local Ordinaries (not all). Then came the coronation of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the Throne of Peter.
Pope Benedict does not disappoint. There will be naysayers, even if Our Lord was back on the Throne, sure enough. This loving, kind and brillant man is suffering for us in the “Imitation of Christ”. Should we do less?
The following video is perhaps the best piece on what our suffering and obedient Pope is doing for us. Watch, listen and then act. He sets an example for us; let us set the example for our fellow Roman Catholics in America and throughout the Universal Church. Sancta Ioseph, ora pro nobis.