Thursday, June 01, 2006

CD/DVD Review: UVA 2005 Conference

Review: Una Voce 2005 N.E. Regional Conference; Audio CD set; Pontifical High Mass & Conference DVD.

I have the pleasure of doing a review of the 2005 Regional Conference held by Una Voce in Providence Rhode Island in November of 2005.

Now before I go too far in this review, let me note that I am speaking here of two separate products: a DVD and a CD set. These are two separate products related to the same conference.

Let me begin by addressing the Audio CD set, which is comprised of four CD's. Each CD is dedicated to a particular talk and the question and answer session which followed the talk. The four talks are as follows:

1.“Get Behind Me Satan”, Fr. Joseph Wilson
2.“The Place of the Old Rite in the New Pontificate”, Fr. Thomas Kocik
3.“New Papacy, New Direction, New Hope”, Fra Frederick Crichton-Stuart
4.“Tradition in the 21st Century: The Contribution of the Institute of Christ the King”, Msgr. R. Michael Schmitz

Each of the talks are interesting and engaging. Some may find aspects of these talks challenging. They may even find that they do not agree with each and every sentiment, but overall I can attest to the fact that these are good Catholic talks, and they will be of relevance to any Catholic who is concerned with the state of the Church and the state of the liturgy, whether or not they are particularly attached to the 1962 liturgical books and whether or not they agree with each and every point. Regardless, people will take something away from these presentations. As such, I encourage people to not think these are merely of interest to “traditionalists”. They are of interest to all faithful Catholics.

Perhaps the most controversial talk in this collection would be Fr. Joseph Wilson's very blunt look at the state of the Church following the Second Vatican Council. In Father Wilson's estimation, and he stresses this over and over, the hoped for renewal that was to follow the Council has not happened. In fact, he calls it a disaster. He challenges us to take a deep look at what has gone on since the Council and, like the child in the well known children's story, proclaims that the emperor has no clothes. This might sound unduly pessimistic or black and white, but before you jump to any conclusions, I can only say this talk is worth hearing. Indeed, we might make some qualifications here or there, however, overall I found Fr. Wilson's talk to be sensible and one which makes some good points.

The second talk is by Father Thomas Kocik. Fr. Kocik gives a delightful talk, which, as always, is squarely rooted in the bosom of the Church. His talk gave a chance for a bit of a rapproachment between traditionalists and reform of the reformers. He discusses his understanding of Pope Benedict's own liturgical school of thought, and why he believes there is great hope for the classical Roman liturgy under the new pontificate. Insightful, moderate, traditional, and faithful to the Magisterium are the keystones of Fr. Kocik's portion of this conference.

Fra Frederik Crichton-Stuart, current President of Una Voce, gives a brief talk speaking of his own order, the Order of Malta. What is perhaps more relevant and encouraging is his advice, given as Una Voce President, about unity and prudence within the Tridentine rite movement. He draws attention to the fact that there is a spectrum of opinion within the Tridentine movement and calls for unity and understanding amongst those various factions. He also gives a pertinent reminder that in our dealing with the bishops, we must always be respectful and tactful. Sage advice and encouraging to hear from the president of Una Voce.

The final talk in this conference was given by Msgr. Michael Schmitz, the Vicar General of the Institute of Christ the King. Msgr. Schmitz gives a profound meditation on an aspect of Catholic life that is far too forgotten: tradition. Msgr. Schmitz speaks about the place of tradition in everyone's day to day lives and then tradition in its most excellent manifestation: ecclesiastical tradition. This talk alone is worth the (meagre) price of the CD set.

As I have said, I believe there are a couple of statements that are over-statements about the Tridentine liturgy; as being that way which God would have us worship; as being the Mass of Catholics. Even the controversy of the modern Roman rite aside, there are of course numerous venerable rites within the Church, so these are obvious over-statements of the case. However, that being said, there are only a few such references in total, and rather than being formal theological arguments, they seem to rather be more just the language of love for the classical liturgy.

As regards the DVD, the DVD includes two things. One is the solemn high pontifical Mass offered by His Excellency, Bishop Rifan of the Apostolic Administration of St. John Marie Vianney. If I might say, typically in watching videos of pontifical masses these days, one is used to seeing the priests and servers give direction and prompting to the bishop – usually relatively unfamiliar with the ancient pontifical rites. It was delightful in this case to see the reverse. Bishop Rifan, with his evident familiarity and natural affinity to the classical rites, gives the occasional direction and guidance to those serving at his pontifical Mass. It is a pertinent and hopeful reminder of this, the first legitimate Tridentine rite Bishop who is in full communion with the Holy See. That being said, despite the occasional need for some direction, the liturgy is pulled off quite well.

Perhaps of greater interest on the DVD, however, is the talk given by Bishop Rifan at an evening dinner where he lays out his particular episcopal mission and gives a particularly interesting talk about what a traditionalist is and is not. Included in that is also an appeal to traditionalists in regards how they should act with regard the Church and her pastors. It is a highly worthwhile talk.

All said a very good CD set and DVD and something worthwhile for your library.

To order the product(s), click here

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