|Gold, frankincense, myrrh|
Traddy, in this context, means the Traditional Latin Mass, the Traditional Calendar, Traditional Devotions, Traditional Catechesis, Traditional Food and any other Traditional Stuff that comes to mind. Just so you know, I go to an Fraternity of the Priests of Saint Peter (FSSP) mission, so I am all very obedient to the local Catholic ordinary. In fact, as faithful readers know, he invited me to his Christmas party.
That was on the strength of "Seraphic Singles", which his secretary assured him was world-famous, which it sort of was. My favourite moment of fame happened when I was in Toronto, hobnobbing with other Canadian Lonerganians, and after I introduced myself to a handsome foreigner, as one does, the Oratorian beside him blurted out "Seraphic Single!"
It turned out that my first Scotland blog "Seraphic Goes to Edinburgh" had helped in the conversion to Catholicism of one of his spiritual directees. Having been horrified by her local parish's Mass, she had looked online for information about the Traditional Latin Mass and found my description of it very appealing. So off she went to find it--and did.
At least one other convert has told me that he was converted by my blog--a great joy to me as hitherto I had not known I could convert my way out of a paper bag. For his Confirmation our priest asked if I would prepare something. I said, "You mean like a reflection?" And he said, "No, I mean like sandwiches."
Ah ha ha! I love that story. I have to tell it at least once every three months. Five years banging theology into my head, and at the end of the day, sandwiches. Still, I have to admit that everyone there enjoyed my sandwiches more than they would have enjoyed my reflection. And of course I can put my M.Div. to good use by scattering seeds onto my blog and hoping they bear more good fruit.
I wonder what the other journalists wrote about the Archbishop of Edinburgh's party. I wrote about an important priest saying that he liked the Traditional Latin Mass unless it bred exclusivity, and I was highly indignant later when I considered the diversity of Edinburgh's TLM community. We have babies, boys, girls, teens, university students, university grads, blue collar working men and women, people with developmental disabilities, people who are severely visually impaired (or blind), never-marrieds, at least one widower, married couples, married men whose wives won't attend, married women whose husbands won't attend, converts, cradles, Scots with Irish names, Scots with Scottish names, Englishmen and blinking foreigners including me. The grandchildren of earls pray beside the grandchildren of farmers and fishermen. Exclusivity, indeed!
In hindsight, I realize that he may have meant that he thought the TLM was okay unless people who love the TLM stop going to Mass celebrated in the Ordinary Form. That is, they go exclusively to the Extraordinary Form. But if that is what he meant, I still do not see his logic. Pastorally, of course, he might advise university students who have no hope of going to a TLM in their own home diocese not to start going to the TLM now: it will be just too terribly painful for them to go back to the OF and they might be tempted to go to the illicit Society of Saint Pius X instead.
But, to be frank, I was so fed up with the way the Ordinary Form was celebrated in my diocese that long before I met a Fraternity of the Priests of Saint Peter priest I was going to Sunday Mass in German. The congregation was mostly elderly and entirely reverent, and if the priest strayed from the liturgical path or uttered heresies or ancient snippets from Reader's Digest, I was left blissfully unaware. My German was good enough for the readings and the prayers, but not much else. Thus I could pray aloud (in German) with a happy heart and a satisfied head.
I once went to an indult TLM when I was a teenager, and I found it mystifying and deeply boring. I suspect it was a Low Mass, and I know there were no missals for anyone who didn't have his own. I didn't go to another TLM until I first came to Edinburgh to visit B.A. and other British readers. Again I found the TLM mystifying but, thanks to the plethora of missals, pieces of paper, handbooks, etc., I didn't find it boring. And what struck me most of all was the reverent silence.
Of course there was music, too, and very good music it was and is. The music serves to enhance the reverent silence, which--like the music--is deep, meditative and holy. And this is where I realize why musicians, at any rate, should not exclusively go to the EF. Most Catholics have to go to the OF, and good music can go far to turn an lip-bitingly irreverent Mass into something resembling the EF. By bringing other Catholics the liturgical--and therefore catechetical--treasures of the Church, musicians could become missionaries to the badly catechized.
When we were vacationing in Aberdeenshire, B.A. and I knew we would have to go to an OF that Sunday. Scotland is not what you would call a Catholic country, and finding any Catholic church in the Scottish countryside is a feat. But to his great satisfaction, B.A. discovered that he knew the nearest Catholic organist/choir director, a professional musician. Thus he announced that, despite the total lack of Sunday bus service, we would be going to a Sunday Mass, not the Vigil, at that village's Catholic church. And we were rewarded for our (Mum's) £15 cab fare, for this choir director announced to all before Mass that we would be singing the Missa de Angelis.
We also sang Christmas and Epiphany carols, which was a nice treat for me, as I was raised on the Novus Ordo, and rather liked the Three Hymn Sandwich when the hymns were old and good and not about dancing a New Church into being.
Because of the carols and the Missa de Angelis, it didn't really matter about the homily. (All I will say about the homily is that I spent it thinking about how this elderly priest had remained faithful to his priesthood while others had run away; how much he seemed to love his people; how Scotland now has so few priests, men who should rest now cannot; and how I once heard a Jesuit scholastic give a very good homily on the Epiphany.) There was no communion rail, so I didn't receive communion. B.A. boldly plunked himself on his knees and stuck out his tongue, but I was not as brave as he. I decided to wait until the real, traditional, January 6 Epiphany.
When Mass had ended, the priest referred to the customs of the liturgical year--in this case not singing Christmas carols after Epiphany--as "all that rubbish." His thoughts were wandering, and he seemed slightly confused, and although I wished very much priests would stop calling our traditions rubbish, I thought again that he was still there and, despite everything, the congregation was still there in that rare village Catholic church. But for how much longer?
Last night, January 6, I met B.A. in a train station and we walked the rest of the way to Mass together. Edinburgh was cold and dark but fine, thanks be. B.A. took his place in the choir pews at the back, and I took my place in the fifth row to the left. Behind me the pillars of the parish assembled. The man who always sits in front of me sat in front of me. The organist played a stately melody. A bell rang; we stood. Our priest appeared in gold vestments behind two acolytes. The schola--B.A.'s baritone, the Master's tenor, and the Bass's bass doubled by that of a visitor from London--began to sing:
"Ecce advénit Dominátor Dóminus: et regnum in manu ejus et potéstas et imperium..."
The two readings were two of the three read on Sunday in Scotland in English and that day in Poland in Polish. Our priest sang them in Latin as we read and/or listened along, the English (or Polish) before the eyes of those who wished it.
Gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Afterwards we greeted each other with "Happy New Year" and "Happy Epiphany." We said, "See you Sunday!"