Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Déjà vu, sort of

The "traditionalist" and "reform of the reform" camps (or movements, if you prefer) are not, as some might suppose, hermetically sealed off from each other, each doggedly pursuing its agenda on separate tracks. On the contrary, there is much interaction and overlapping.

Two weeks ago, I attended the annual General Conference of the Society for Catholic Liturgy, held this year at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. There I had the pleasure of chatting several times with Shawn Tribe, whom I first met at the CIEL 2006 international colloquium at Oxford. (Shawn, as most readers know, is the founder of this increasingly renowned blog and head of CIEL Canada.) The keynote speaker was Dr. Alcuin Reid, whom I likewise first met at CIEL 2006. I also had the pleasure of (finally) meeting architect Matthew Alderman, a regular contributor to this blog. As we happily learned, the NLM is quite popular at the Josephinum, among the seminarians at least.

This past Sunday, I went to Sacred Heart Church in New Haven, Connecticut, where I assisted in choro at the Solemn High Mass (extraordinary form) sponsored by the Saint Gregory Society, whose schola sang Palestrina’s Missa Sacerdos et Pontifex. The deacon of the Mass was Fr. Richard Cippola (Fairfield, Conn.), whom I first met at the abovementioned SCL conference. Among the priests and seminarians in attendance were Fr. John Mary Gilbert of the Institute of St. Joseph, whom I first met at CIEL 2006, and two members of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, which community was represented at CIEL 2006 in the person of Brother (now Father) Scott Haynes. At the reception after Mass, a few of the members of the St. Gregory Society informed me of their daily visits to NLM.

It's interesting to connect the dots. These and other events publicized on NLM and attended by its readers, in addition to providing fine talks and exemplary liturgies, afford opportunities for networking within and between traditionalist and reformist circles. And that, I am convinced, bodes well for the Church's future.

In the current issue of Crisis magazine (the last print issue, by the way), Russell Shaw, in an article on the Modernist crisis of the early-20th century, writes of Loisy, Tyrrell, Blondel and other early Modernists: “… [T]hey exchanged ideas, encouraged one another in their work, and formed a network that over time came to have an influence beyond its numbers in seminary and clerical circles.”

My point exactly. What happened then, to the Church’s detriment, is happening again – only this time, one expects, with decidedly different results.

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