From Mr Bernard Tiley SIR – Stuart Reid in his Charterhouse column (July 30) posed the question: “Did anyone leave the Church because of the changes to the liturgy?” He then went on to say: “Perhaps, but I find it hard to believe that a serious person would leave the Church because of the Novus Ordo.” In a recent statement Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society, said, when referring to the celebration of Mass post-Vatican II, that “arbitrary deformations of the liturgy” (a phrase used by the Pope in his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum) “have driven most” (italics mine) of his contemporaries away from the practice of the faith; he was born in 1971.
When we unite ourselves with the priest in the Sacrifice of the Mass, we re-present Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross to God the Father, in the sure hope that God will be so moved by what Jesus has done for us that he will forgive us our sins, and furthermore we know from John’s Gospel that we have Jesus’s promise that “when we eat his flesh and drink his blood we will have eternal life”.
I much prefer the Ordinary Form of the Mass for a number of reasons; principally the vernacular and the logical way in which the Scripture readings during Mass relate to each other. However, if I were only able to attend the usus antiquior I would do so. To state the obvious, the Sacrifice of the Mass and the partaking of Jesus’s body and blood is the same irrespective of the Liturgy with which it is celebrated.
If people cease to practise the faith because of their liturgical preferences and I, like Stuart Reid, find this incredible, then the situation is truly alarming. It indicates an urgent need for effective catechesis in regard to the Mass. To cease to practise the faith on account of liturgical preference is to give the form of the Liturgy a higher priority than actually participating in the Eucharist.
Yours faithfully, BERNARD TILEY Ickenham, Middlesex