Monday, March 18, 2024

The Cutting Edge: Priest Posts 1966 Video as Response to “Mass of the Ages”

Episode 3 of The Mass of the Ages, “Guardians of Tradition,” was premiered at the Pickwick Theater in Chicago on March 9, to immense acclaim. (You can read my initial thoughts about it here.) It is one of the finest films yet produced about the traditionalist movement, showing the diverse international appeal of the traditional rites across races, classes, cultures, countries. The film, professional to the nth degree, is catholic in the best sense: we hear from, and see footage of, communities on many continents. Every stereotype on which the opposition to the traditional rite relies has been exploded by this new film.

It is not my intention here to offer a full review of the episode, which will be released on YouTube tomorrow, March 19 (link), even as it continues to be shown on the big screen in select movie theaters. Rather, I simply wish to point out the poverty of the response to the Mass of the Ages episodes.

To my knowledge, there has not been a single film in recent years, even for the 50th anniversary of the Novus Ordo, intended to showcase its wonders, glories, conquests, and triumphs. Some Dominicans attempted a very sad critique of the Mass of the Ages Episode 2; NLM’s editor Gregory DiPippo capably eviscerated it (part 1; part 2). Otherwise... crickets.

A certain priest of the Vatican II generation did, however, share on YouTube a digitally remastered film on The History of The Catholic Mass produced in 1966 by Fr. Theodore Stone of the archdiocese of Chicago, to aid in the education of clergy and laity following Vatican ll. This video “traces the Mass from its beginning with the Passover meal and Jesus transforming it into the Eucharist followed by the 1st through the 3rd centuries, and from the 4th century to the present.”

All who watch the film will find it painfully amusing: a true “period piece,” with as much present-day relevance an eight-track cassette. A priest of the same generation as the pope stands at his unattractive Volksaltar and simply says, straight up, that the Mass was radically changed. Thank you!

This would appear to be, so far, the only quasi-official response to the Mass of the Ages: digging up a filmstrip originally released in 1966 (but digitally remastered!) To think that a priest today can believe that a video from the Sixties of such cringeworthy quality would somehow help educate (or “reeducate”) Catholics into the grandeurs of liturgical reform shows just what a radical generational disconnect there is, and how utterly empty is the defense of the reform. No counterarguments—only assertions from the Age of Aquarius.

This is why the turning of the tides will come, later than we might wish, but sooner than we may dare to believe possible.

The cutting edge... it’s what all the kids are into these days... (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Rich Harris, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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