Whit Monday: Paul weeps.

Today is Whit Monday, the Monday in the Octave of Pentecost.  Or it was.  But still is.  Or…wait, let me explain.

How we worship as Catholics is central to expressing our identity as Catholics, and how we relate to one another and to the world as Catholics.  There can be different modes of expression, certainly, just go to an Melkite, Maronite, or Ukrainian Catholic Church.  Better yet, go to them all.  However, all of these rites grew up organically in different cultures as expressions of their particular culture.  They were not contrived by a committee to be forced on the whole world.

In the late 60s, rule by committee is exactly what resulted in what is termed the Novus Ordo Missae or the “Ordinary Form” of the Mass.  I am not opposed to the Novus Ordo; it is not inherently defective as many opine.  It is, however, inferior to the Extraordinary Form, or the “traditional Latin Mass.”  There are many reasons I say this, but the simplest is its origin.

Without getting into any conspiracy theories (there are plenty), let me summarize my issue in a clear, non-controversial (?) statement: the Novus Ordo was contrived by a select few men and was not an organic development of the expression of the faith of a community.  For this reason, it is culturally inauthentic and inferior to other liturgies, valid though it may be.

Why am I posting about this here?  As sex addicts, community is essential to recovery.  As Catholics, our community is principally expressed in how we worship.  But the form of worship that most Catholics participate in divided us from the centuries of tradition that proceeded it.  We have divided ourselves from our elders in the faith.  I remember struggling to understand many writings of the Saints on the Mass, until I came to understand that my Mass was not just theirs in English rather than Latin; it was radically different by design.

But do you mean I shouldn’t go to Mass at St. Lively’s Catholic Community? No, I’m not saying that at all.  If the Mass is reverent and it draws you closer to God, keep going, and by all means, be active in your parish! If you tried your local traditional parish (one that’s approved by the Archdiocese such as those run by the FSSP, Institute of Christ the King, or a diocesan priest; avoid SSPX if possible until they’re fully reconciled; do not enter the doors of an “independent” Catholic Church or a sedevecantist [“no-pope”] sect like the SSPV or CMRI), but they’re all bitter fogies who are negative about everything (it happens, but it’s not common), do not think you’re obligated to go there. Pray, follow the Church, and go to confession.  My comments are my experience, strength, and hope, not my commandments.

Back to Whit Monday.  Fr. Z has shared a story over the years that is an anecdote about Paul VI.  Take it for what it’s worth, but it illustrates well this concept of division.

Some years ago … gosh, it was decades now… I was told this story by a retired Papal Ceremoniere (Master of Ceremonies) who, according to him, was present at the event about to be recounted.

You probably know that in the traditional Roman liturgical calendar the mighty feast of Pentecost had its own Octave.  Pentecost was/is a grand affair indeed, liturgically speaking.  It has a proper Communicantes and Hanc igitur, an Octave, a Sequence, etc. In some places in the world such as Germany and Austria Pentecost Monday, Whit Monday as the English call it, was a reason to have a civil holiday, as well as a religious observance.

The Novus Ordo went into force with Advent in 1969.

The Monday after Pentecost in 1970, His Holiness Pope Paul VI went to the chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red vestments, for the Octave everyone knows follows Pentecost, there were laid out for him vestments of green.

Paul queried the MC assigned for that day, “What on earth are these for?  This is the Octave of Pentecost!  Where are the red vestments?”

Santità,” quoth the MC, “this is now Tempus ‘per annum’.  It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost was abolished.”

“Green? That cannot be!”, said the Pope, “Who did that?”

“Holiness, you did.”

And Paul VI wept.