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Educated Roman Catholics embarrassed by the Church's trivial modern liturgy will be grateful to download a video clip of an entire Mass in Latin according to the Tridentine rite from the Catholic Traditionalist Movement (CTM) Web site.

The .avi file is a whopper, however, at nearly 24MB, so only broadband users need apply; 56K-ers will just have to keep looking for a local congregation with superior linguistic and literary taste. But even without the download, the CTM site remains entertaining and worth exploring. (Though an obstacle to one's surfing pleasure is the home-page .wav file: a scratchy, shrill Kyrie Eleison which sounds more like an exorcism than a humble plea for Our Lord's tender mercy.)

The quirky site is nearly as concerned with touting CTM's leader, Belgian-born US immigrant the Reverend Gommar de Pauw, JCD, as it is with promoting the gorgeous, voluptuous old liturgy. In addition to being a conservative Catholic, which we regard as a fine thing indeed, the good Father also appears to be something of an America-first Right-Wing fanatic, which our New York Irish Catholic indoctrination, regrettably, prevents us from admiring with similar zeal.

For example, in a letter to Republican US Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi (the helmet-haired guy who looks like he's auditioning for a spot on the Lawrence Welk Show) decrying a denial of the Latin liturgy to US military personnel with taste enough to demand it, Father de Pauw waxes nostalgic on his "fond memories of the 'good old times' of the Reagan-Weinberger Administration, when both of us would participate in the meetings of the American Security Council in Washington".

The "Weinberger Administration"? Hello?

Catholics for George "Dubya" Bush, unfazed by his string of serial executions down in Texas, will no doubt be attracted to the CTM Web site like moths to a lamp; though here we might confront the ironic likelihood of the Southern-Baptist Lott's perceiving Catholics - even solid, meat-eating Republican ones - as a dangerous mob of Ba'al-worshipping, knuckle-dragging idolaters led by a gaggle of spooky charlatan magicians.

Someone might mention discreetly to the good Father that insofar as one identifies himself with mindless, gung-ho Yankee boosterism, he identifies himself equally with a Calvinist mortify-their-flesh-O-Lord illiterate Protestantism as preferred by, say, the likes of Oliver Cromwell, Increase Mather and the Republican National Committee.

Political ironies aside, the CTM Web site does provide solid references to Canon Law justifying an active promotion of the Latin rite, the most authoritative of which is this delightfully unambiguous titbit from His Holiness Pius V in 1570:

"By this our decree, to be valid in perpetuity, we determine and order that never shall anything be added to, omitted from, or changed in this Missal... At no time in the future can a priest, whether secular or order priest, ever be forced to use any other way of saying Mass."

In spite of the sainted Pius' proclamation, things have since deteriorated considerably - and in terms of serious textual emasculation, not merely of an otherwise faithful translation of pure literary beauty into the vulgar hoots and coughs of the rude masses.

Anyone curious to learn just how severely bastardised the Novus Ordo is may consult a handy comparison consisting of an English translation of the Tridentine rite presented directly beside Vatican II's regrettable Sesame Street rendition posted here.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam. ®

Related Links

The Latin Mass Society
Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

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