Fr. Finigan, the author of the popular blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity, was attacked recently by Elena Curti. [I’ve already mentioned this briefly here.] Fr. Finigan’s initial response was charitable. Indeed, I think Fr. Finigan demonstrated more graciousness than Ms. Curti or the Tablet deserved.
Now Fr. Finigan, in at least two posts so far, is presenting another, equally reasoned and leveled-headed, equally charitable response, but in a different manner.. While thanking internet bloggers who have supported him and his parish, he is posting very poignant pictures with the simple caption, “This is not my Mass” [here and here]. The first picture is of a clown mass, with what we can horrifically assume is a bishop consorting (and contorting) with a female clown. The second picture is of a rock band in the sanctuary.
I might be wrong, but I assume Father’s meaning is, if these Masses are allowed far and wide, these Masses that are not found at Fr. Finigan's parish or attended by traditional Catholics, then why should traditional Catholics (and traditionally minded Catholics) be attacked for Masses according the ancient Tradition of our Church? Fr. Finigan is demonstrating the obvious double standard employed by hacks like Elena Curti and the rag for which she writes. The god of diversity, worshiped by liberals like Curti, doesn’t extend its magnanimity to the Mass of the One True God.
However, even more fundamental is the error that is revealed in the very title of Curti’s article: “That is not my Mass.” Curti puts this complaint front and center, and in doing so she reveals her own liturgical ignorance and probably the most pernicious error running amok in the Church today.
The circumstances in which the complaint was made was one of those heart wrenching victimization traps the liberals love to use. A poor girl's Mass intention for her dead aunt was given at a Latin Mass! How nasty of Fr. Finigan! Shouldn't he have known that that was not that poor girl's Mass! The monster!
The victimization canard reveals the whining false sensitivity of the left that is happy with hurt feelings that promote the liberal agenda, and not sad at all that neither Mrs. Gray or her daughter understands little or nothing about liturgy or grace. It doesn't matter if Mrs. Gray totally misses the point as to why a Mass would be offered for a deceased person. What matters to Ms. Curti is that Fr. Finigan, being the monster he is, trampled upon the poor feelings of Mrs. Gray's victimized daughter.
Mrs. Gray's daughter has been victimized, but not by Fr. Finigan. Her and her mother's poor understanding of the Mass and grace comes from being victimized by the liberal establishment peopled by the likes of Ms. Curti and her publication who have spent more than half a century shoving the filth of Modernism down the throats of unsuspecting Catholics.
No, Mrs. Gray, Ms. Curti and her ilk are dead wrong. It is not your daughter's Mass. It is not your daughter's dead aunt's Mass, even though it was offered up for her. It is not your Mass or your daughter's, no matter the situation, no matter how hurt your feelings might be. Nor is it mine, or Fr. Finigan’s, or even the pope’s.
It is God’s Mass!
It is something we received; it is not something that we created. The Mass isn’t about personal preference, tender Hallmark moments, or fleeting human emotions.
The Mass, either in the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form, ought to be about worshiping God the way God intends to be worshiped. In the Traditional Latin Mass, a Mass that has been received by the Holy Ghost, Who forged it through the agency of the Church over the course of two centuries, we can be sure of worshiping God as God intends. The new order of the Mass ought to be about the worship of God the way God intends as well, but can we be assured to the same degree? Much of the new order of the Mass was fabricated by so-called experts, on the spot, shortly after the Second Vatican Council. These fabricated elements changed an essential aspect of the Church's liturgical worship. The focus changed from a God received worship of God, to a human created worship. Is it any wonder that those brought up with the new order of the Mass look upon the Church’s liturgies as matters of human invention, and further this notion into making the new order of the Mass a fodder for personal preference, a pliable reality subject to the whims of the majority? Is it any wonder that Mrs. Gray sees the use of the Mass as an emotional laxative for her daughter?
Traditional Catholics are often accused of being liturgical aesthetes, which, if true, makes them no better than the architects of the new order of the Mass. But such a characterization is far from the mark. Traditional Catholics understand that the liturgy is not about their personal preferences. That is why traditional Catholics care so much about the rubrics. It is the Mass and the God Who is worshiped thereby that is important. No human person is performing, only God is acting through the words and motions of the priest that has been orchestrated by God through the agency of the Church.
The focus is different in the wake of the post-Vatican II liturgical changes; the focus changed from worshiping God, to worrying about the human. Instead of the “immortal Mass”, the Mass became, as Curti states quite clearly, “My Mass”. Not even the human community is the center any more. The error has reached its last stage of development. The Mass is now centered on the Self, and that is as far from biblical worship as anyone can get.
As J.B. O’Connell writes:
The Sacred Liturgy is the worship of God by the Church. By divine worship is meant the recognition and acceptance of the excellence and sovereign lordship of God and the manifestation of this recognition and acceptance. In other words, it is the exercise of the virtue of religion, by acts of adoration and praise, of thanksgiving, of propitiation and of petition.
Whether or not the new order of the Mass will ever adequately express this divine worship as does the Extraordinary Form is a contentious question, but admittedly it is still an open one. But that really isn't the question definitively answered and laid to rest by Curti's article. The question here is, is there any room for God in Curti’s (and in the rest of the progressive Catholic crowd’s) vision of the Mass? Curti's article definitively answers, no. He’s been pushed aside by preference, by the Self, not to mention clowns and rock stars. Unfortunately, under the round red noses, and behind the electric guitars there’s only human people, tragically flawed human people, consorting and contorting in the sanctuary. The realization, which will come sooner or later, will probably leave Ms. Curti a little disappointed.