Thursday, 14 September 2017

Ten years of Summorum Pontificum II

Read the first part here.

Today, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum’s entry into force.

La misa
Salvador Tuset Tuset, s.f.
Colección privada

At the end of the first part, we said that “Filipino Catholics—priests, religious, and lay—dedicated to Tradition oftentimes willingly cross four civil jurisdictions and five ecclesiastical circumscriptions every Sunday to celebrate or attend Mass in the Old Rite.” If we let the thought settle, we might feel that warm sensation descending upon us when we realise that our adherence to the Extraordinary Form is in some way a heroic deed. Disappointments and discouragements bombard us from all sides. And yet, that “raw longing for that ‘encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist’, for that communion with the Lord in the Mass, according to the Old Rite” continues to sustain us.

If this dedication is so riven with strife, what makes us labour in this journey? What impels us to walk this pilgrimage? More prosaically, what motivates us Filipinos to attend the TLM? Somehow, this is a rather broad question, so let us split it into two. First: What motivates Filipinos to attend the TLM for the first time? Second: What motivates them to stay? Let us briefly answer the first half. Some attend their first TLM as children of parents who already attend the EF. Quinquagenarians and above attended their first TLM prior to the Council, so they are excused here. We direct our concern to those who attend for the first time out of their own volition, assisted or otherwise. Most of them attend for the first time out of pure curiosity. For the sake of discussion, let us sweepingly reduce this curiosity into three: academic (Why is it different?); aesthetic (Is it really beautiful?); and recreational (How should I spend my Sunday afternoon?).

The outcome of that first experience with the TLM usually motivates people to stay. Which answers the second question. Let us then agree to construe stay not in terms of the number of subsequent attendances in the EF, but in terms of the conviction to attend the EF under normal circumstances. This way, we can envision the mechanisms by which the decision works. Normal circumstances refer to a situation without any meteorological anomaly or intervening emergency or conflicting commitment. Now, let us imagine how our personalities would react. All three of them are most likely to find the Latin jarring, unless they have had prior encounter with the language. The inability to immediately recognise the cues when to stand, kneel, or sit might be somewhat confusing to them; and the expectation from the part of the congregants that they behave in a certain way might be mildly disconcerting to them.