Excellent contribution from the “Catholic Herald” (also reported from Father Z) regarding the Extraordinary Form in the imminence of the completion of the three years assessment period. The author is Father Gary Dickson, parish priest, Sacred Heart and English Martyrs, Thornley, County Durham.
The article contains many interesting points of discussion. Personally I would choose the following as particularly worthy of mention:
1) The “full, active and conscious” participation is “first and foremost internal”. No need to make a circus of everything. This is in line with V II documents on the matter.
2) On the opposition to the EF, the author says:
“Some say the obstruction comes from bishops, but this is unfair. The problem seems to lie within the Church as a whole, being an aversion to formal, God-directed worship in favour of a liturgy that entertains with cheerful hymns, is undemanding to follow and casual in celebration. This aversion harbours resistance not only to Summorum Pontificum but even to the new translation of the New Form”.
Not sure that the bishops are so innocent, but they certainly are not the only ones to be guilty of wilful neglect of the EF.
3) On the “readers”, please note this observation:
“Undoubtedly the lay ministry of Lector (Reader) was built into the New Form so as to facilitate lay activity in the rite itself (Extraordinary ministry is not built-in; it was established for use only in exceptional circumstances), but this seems to have created a sense that unless one has a ministry one does not participate”.
4) On the future of the EF, the author also has some impressive statements to make (emphases mine):
“I believe we can no longer refuse the Extraordinary Form and for two main reasons. First, because the Church declared it to be sacred, and while the Church has all authority to forbid what is evil she has no authority to forbid what is sacred; her authority is “to build up rather than destroy” (1 Cor 13:10). Second, this Form is the rightful heritage of future generations; one to which we have no moral right to deny them access. Use of the Extraordinary Form is then a matter of recognising and promoting the holy, and an act of justice towards future generations”.
Could one say it more beautifully than this, I wonder.
Several other interesting issues are discussed in this impressive article but I will stop here. I wish we had more priests as committed, perceptive and ready to defend Catholic tradition as Father Gary Dickson.