Bishops all over the place have been suggesting that clergy, unable to offer Mass with their congregations, should celebrate privately (sine populo).
This is thoroughly, entirely, admirable. And in a most grave way, it reminds clergy, who may not all have remembered this, that each offering of the Adorable Sacrifice has its own impetrative power in the sight of the Divine Majesty. They should celebrate every possible day, with or without lay presence.
Latrunculi are using the Internet to suggest that this is Bad. They claim or imply that it is contrary to Vatican II.
That is a lie. Sacrosanctum Concilium, para 57 authorises Concelebration (in limited circumstances … we won’t go ino that now) but adds that every priest retains the facultas of offering a Missam singularem.
And readers might like to reflect upon the Patrimonial teaching of Canon Professor Eric Mascall to the effect that no Mass is really private, because a Mass said by a priest alone is “as corporate as High Mass sung in St Peter’s in Rome by the Pope in the presence of five hundred bishops and twenty thousand of the laity. For it is the act of Christ in the Corpus Mysticum, his Body, which is the Church”. As he says, “the unity and the corporateness of the Mass are made not by men but by God.”
The best construction I can put on current misrepresentatoions is that the people peddling these untruths read the Conciliar Decrees a very long time ago (if they read them at all); have by now forgotten what they actually contain; and are in subjective good faith when they claim that their own fads are part of the Conciliar mandate.
It is a good idea for lay people as well as clerics, who may be drawn into liturgical conversations, to have a translation handy of Sacrosanctum Concilium so that, when dishonest or ignorant claims are made about what the Council ordered, they can invite an interlocutor to show them where “the Decree actually says that”.
Mr President Routh of Magdalen College once advised people to verify their references. It is a very sound attitude. But, quite possibly, German ‘Liturgists’ have not even heard of Routh …
(1) The recent decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship etc. extends, just for this year, faculties to every priest to offer Mass privately on Maundy Thursday. It suppresses, for this year, the Foot-washing.
(2) In addition to all the good advice in many admirable places, I remind readers of the old Catholic custom of genuflecting, before one hops into bed, in the direction of the nearest Tabernacle. Unless, being German ‘liturgists’ you do not know where it is … or, indeed, what …