[left]Following is a wonderful letter from taken from the July-August 2004 issue of Adoremus:[/left]
The Old Mass
"Stop! Take off the rose-colored glasses and face a reality of 20/20 hindsight. I began serving “the old Mass” in 1939. I am now 73 years old, 45 years a priest, having begun my seminary studies in 1950. As a kid knowing the perfect recitation of all the Latin Mass responses, we dealt with mumbled praying of many priests. In the old days there were parishes that were known as “whiz churches”: Sunday Mass, in and out in 20 minutes.
Young priests were told the motto: “Get them out fast”. In college I was too embarrassed to invite my dormitory roommates to Sunday Mass - the blatant lack of piety was a scandal. Rarely do I look back and remember edifying experiences as being the norm. But, yes, there were some.
In my experience today the gains outshine the losses. Yes, I know where craziness exists and horror stories are a fact. But the gains were tremendous. Yes, we are still growing/becoming what we should be. Change begets excesses – the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, yet eventually resting in the middle… The recent writings and promulgations of our Holy Father give us hope, e.g., the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (USCCB Website), Sacrosanctum Concilium, and Ecclesia de Eucharistia.
Don’t despair. If there is craziness in your parish, pray for your bishop, write lovingly to the offending priest and copy it to the diocesan liturgical committee. Don’t you be crazy too – document accurately the observation of misdirection.
Having been a pastor for 27 years, in a variety of multicultural parishes, I have witnessed, in these changing times, the evolution of a profoundly rich contemporary Mass that is celebrated within the rules.
Would I go back to pre-Vatican II days? No way. I reverence the past, but live and work in the richness of the present, championing orthodoxy and “working to beat hell!”
Be patient. Treat all with charity, pray unceasingly and know that truth will conquer. As the Adoremus Bulletin tells us: “The Holy Father asks bishops and liturgists to build on the ‘riches’ of the reform while also pruning ‘serious abuses’ with ‘prudent firmness’”. (“The Foundations of Liturgical Reform”, March 2004)
Father Andre J. Meluskey
Senior Priest, St. Patrick Church
It’s so refreshing to see a cleric with such a clear view of things… Ref. adoremus.org/0704ReadersForum.html