In the course of an exchange in the Catholic Herald about the demise of the Sacrament of Confession in the post-Conciliar Church, one Fr Julian Shurgold wrote angrily deprecating the practice of going to Confession during Mass and concluded, “What ever next? Will we see people babbling [SIC] the rosary … “ One must admire these poor Vat2 men; “surrender” is not in their vocabulary, and they must be expected to go down fighting. As a one final act of defiance, they will probably be buried in the awful polyester “dentist” smocks, daubed with banal faux sixties Christian art, that pass for vestments in such circles.
Whenever I read this type of letter, I’m reminded of those hilarious scenes of rapidly dwindling numbers of elderly comrades parading round Red Square on May Day waving red flags, some in wheelchairs, others with Zimmer frames; elderly men stuck in a time warp, their faces etched in grief at the death of their revolution. Whilst all around lesser men betray the revolution, they are resolved to die clutching its flag to their breast.
As a traditionalist, I’m reluctant to intrude upon the family grief and squabbles of my Novus Ordo brethren. Further, given the fact that the church that has embraced the post-Conciliar regime of novelties is imploding in this country (notwithstanding the influx of tens of thousands of Catholics from Eastern Europe and the Philippines) at a whopping 100,000 souls every three years, one wonders whether the kindest thing might be to turn off the life-support machine and quietly tiptoe out the room.
For traditionalists, praying the Rosary is spending precious time with our Blessed Mother looking prayerfully through the family album – not, it would seem, an entirely inappropriate preparation for the Holy Sacrifice. Therefore, as a bare minimum response to Father, I briefly toyed with the temptation to take issue with Fr Shurgold’s reference to “babbling” [sic] the Rosary, but decided not to - for I must reluctantly concede that he probably knows his congregation better than I do.
In addition, as traditionalists have an abundance of priests and penitents; it is difficult to feel deep empathy with the constant naval-gazing of the Novus Ordo establishment over its shortage of both. Indeed, where I attend Mass there is frequently not one but two priests hearing confessions, and a long line of penitents. As the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross was offered in redemption for my sins, it is not entirely clear to this old sinner why the Fr Shurgolds of this world should deem a layman humbly confessing his own sins to be an improper preparation for the re-presentation of that awesome Sacrifice.
Fr Shurgold is of course absolutely right to suggest, as he does, that listening to [or reading] the Word of God is a fitting way to prepare for the Holy Sacrifice, and I would happily concede that even his bowdlerized version of the Scriptures (from which all hard-saying have been erased in order to better serve the feel-good Catholicism preferred by the Novus Ordo church) still retains much value.
But as one (of many) who manages to listen to the Word of God, confess my sins and recite the Rosary, in preparation for Holy Communion, it is unclear why Fr Shurgold should judge these pious activities to be mutually exclusive. Perhaps false dichotomies are now so common place in modern argumentation (just listen to Obama or Cameron), people have ceased to notice when they are resorting to them.