Sir, Dwight Longenecker's waspish reflections on his first Tridentine Mass, "Gloom, Doom and Latin", (May 19) had me laughing out loud. He's right, of course. Certain "Latin Mass aillcionados" are as prone to indulging in ever-so-slightly-camp, rigoristic posturings as are Novus Ordo types in man-centred, trivialising sentimentality. Since it is the Holy Trinity who acts regardless of the rite, let us not, however, fall into the trap of confusing style with substance.
I, like Mr. Longenecker, am a convert. Unlike him, I have always gone out of my way whenever possible to assist at Mass in the classical Roman Rite, for the following very simple reason: at every single point on which the two rites differ, it is the classical rite which gives clearer expression to the Catholic Faith, as set forth in Scripture. Tradition, the Fathers. the Councils, the Catechism— take your pick. This is a proposition l'm happy to defend on any ground and against all corners, since it seems to me to be the plain and self evident truth. I don't much care whether the Epistle and Gospel are chanted in Latin or English. I do care greatly that faith and practice in prayer and worship should be as completely integrated — as Completely Catholic — as possible: lex orandi, lex credendi.
Mr Longenecker wishes to let us know that he "appreciates decent liturgy, good music and a certain amount of bells and smells". Good for him. I congrat
ulate him on his good taste. I'm afraid nevertheless, that such a subjective approach to the Sacred Liturgy betrays a tendency (characteristically High Anglican, dare suggest?) more troubling by far than Father Spike's embroidered maniple and stained glass accent.
Yours faithfully BEN DONALD [email protected]