It was interesting to see Fr. Charles-Roux in print again, although it would have been better if he did not begin his' letter of January 4 by requesting your charity to allow him to treat his critics with heavy sarcasm. The arguments Fr. Charles-Roux puts forward seem to return to the use of Latin in the Mass, and the Tridentine liturgy.
I think it would he relevant in this case to look at one of the "Five Wounds of the Church" written by Fr. Antonio Rosmini in 1833, which I quote from Fr. Leetham's biography:
"The second major cause of division is the use of Latin, which at one time was the universal language that in the designs of Providence enabled the Church to spread throughout the world. But wars and the mingling of peoples changed their speech.
"The language of the Church ceased and had long ceased to be the language of the nations, and the people by such great changes have been left in darkness, divided in understanding from that Church which continued to talk to it, of it, with it: and it could not answer any more than a pilgrim exiled in a foreign land — where he hears sounds he does not understand — they have for him no significance.
"Yet the people should be actors in the liturgy as well as hearers, while in fact they are mostly present at Mass like the columns and statues of the building. Only the Catholic clergy can bring a remedy to this wound."
It is of interest that the book was placed on the Index in 1849, but mainly as a result or strictures on the secular nomination of bishops. Nevertheless, as one does not need to say around the precincts of St. Etheldreda's, Rosmini still gets brilliantly to the central point — Latin is beautiful, the "old" liturgy is historical, it all must be preserved: but to those who need to hear the Word of God "thc sounds have no significance".
Nicholas Shields Moat End, 443 Leeds Road, Scholes.
Much as I dislike, and try to avoid, writing a second time on the same subject. I smell such a strong whiff of spiritual pride issuing from St. Etheldreda's that it needs dispersing.
What makes Fr. Jean Charles-Roux's Mass any different from any other priest's? The Sacrifice of the Mass. and fortunately its validity, is surely the same providing the wording is according to that decreed: but in his last paragraph of his letter of January 4 he appears to be claiming something extra for his Masses and even alluding to renown because of it.
This seems to be quite shocking, and a very wrong conception of Mass. I am reminded very much of St. Paul's trouble with the Corinthians when he complained about the divisions brought about by personalities. People were claiming Apollos, Paul, Cephus and Christ to be their various inspirations. (I have never understood why Christ was included here as He should be everyone's inspiration anyway.) Inspiration should, rather, come from the Holy Spirit reacting within each one present..to the sacrifice of love the Mass represents. It should not depend on any exhibition of holiness on the priest's part: otherwise when he has an "off' day, people will go away feeling the Mass lacked something on that occasion, and this would not be so. This seems to be a highly dangerous spiritual situation. A priest cult.
I will agree with Fr. CharlesRoux that there is nothing wrong in kneeling before the altar in contemplation providing it does produce St. Vincent de Pau's: but more often it would appear to provide people with a nice cosy feeling that they are being ultraspiritual and building up a glorious relationship with God, though no loving relationship or concern for their fellow men.
Christ said in no uncertain terms, echoed by St. John (I Jn. 4:21) and St. James (Jas. 2:14) that you can only have the right relationship with God if you first have the right relationship with your fellow men. In Our Lord's own words: "ft is dat _those who say to me Lord, Lord, who will enter the Kingdom of' heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven," etc. (You can even be pious and work miracles to no avail.) Rapturous contemplation of God is not confined to the kneeling posture in front of an altar, as I'm sure many can testify: it is having the right disposition of mind to rise above earthly conditions wherever you are, and this is more easily achieved when you are about God's work.
Changing the Liturgy should not also be essential, but apparently it was: perhaps too many liturgical embroideries in a foreign tongue were obscuring that vital command: "Love one another."
When we are all loving one another as Christ loved us. we shall he keeping God's commandments and doing His will and loving Him perfectly too, as Christ's Spiritual Body should.
Here again Vatican II has laid emphasis on lay participation in the Mass as being essential and necessary to the building up of the Spiritual Body of Christ.
Perhaps it is this that upsets Fr. Charles-Roux's solo performance and distracts him from his personal contemplation at Mass. Which of course leads to the questions — who and what is Mass really for? Is it the offering of the priest, or the offering ol the priest and the people? E. S. Preston 29 Eardley Road. Sevenoaks, Kent.
Fr.Charles-Roux (January 4) is quite right. In the presence of God we should be quiet. Worship is the intrinsic depth of man expressing itself.
One half-hour a day in Godcentred worship in union with our "brothers and sisters" would convert us all to God.
That worship has to come from each individual heart and be directed to God. This requires a mental ascesis which makes "presidents", "readers", "loud hymn singers" and "slappers-on-the-back" a little topic — as indeed they are.
Most of us are afraid to worship. We want clamour, cheerful din, reassurance — anything to avoid the mystery and the accusation underlying our egotistic selfishness.
Freedom of worship is to lift up the heart and mind to God, and of necessity we leave our dissipations and weakness behind.
The type of horizontal humanism forced on us now closes the way to God and the Way of God to us.
J. Monteath !den Manor.
Staplehurst, Tunbridge, Kent.
I think Fr. Charles-Roux will agree with my answer, "No," to the four questions in his letter of January 4. All were directed to one end — the abolition of the vernacular Mass and restoration of the Latin Rite.
Now, when a Pope dies his jurisdiction dies with him i.:nd his dead hand cannot restrict the freedom of the new Pope in any way. Each has the overriding duty to preserve the deposit of the Faith handed down from the Apostles, hut each is free to introduce new disciplines Which he considers good for the Church.
Such is the discipline directing how Mass shall be said. while the doctrine remains unchanged by these lesser matters of rules.
The Vatican Council provided for use of the vernacular under Sections 36 and 54 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. approved by Pope John. Then Pope Paul implemented the idea fully, and there is no higher authority to dispute it, while our obedience is owing to the reigning Pope, not to whichever former Pontifl takes our fancy.
Philip Turner Weld Bank, Chorlev.
In this Holy Year of 1974, whom shall we obey? In'these days of revolution shall we Catholics submit ourselves to rule and authority or shall we do only what we want to do and make obeisance to the mirror? Is this to be a year of obedience or a year of something else'? Michael Ashton 20 Mill Road.
This correspondence is now closed Editor