A hat tip to the Reflections of a Paralytic blog for posting the Holy Father's condolences to those affected by the Joplin tornado:
A lovely and gracious message of love and concern, is it not? Do you know what it's missing? Look closely.
THE MOST REVEREND JAMES V. JOHNSTONTHE HOLY FATHER HAS FOLLOWED WITH DEEP CONCERN THE AFTERMATH OF THE CATASTROPHIC TORNADO WHICH STRUCK JOPLIN ON SUNDAY AND HE ASKS YOU TO CONVEY TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY THE ASSURANCE OF HIS CLOSENESS IN PRAYER. CONSCIOUS OF THE TRAGIC LOSS OF LIFE AND THE IMMENSITY OF THE WORK OF REBUILDING THAT LIES AHEAD, HE ASKS GOD THE FATHER OF MERCIES TO GRANT ETERNAL REST TO THE DEPARTED, CONSOLATION TO THE GRIEVING, AND STRENGTH AND HOPE TO THE HOMELESS AND THE INJURED. UPON THE LOCAL CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS, AND UPON ALL INVOLVED IN THE RELIEF EFFORTS, HIS HOLINESS INVOKES THE DIVINE GIFTS OF WISDOM, FORTITUDE, AND PERSEVERANCE IN EVERY GOOD.
BISHOP OF SPRINGFIELD-CAPE GIRARDEAU
CARDINAL TARCISIO BERTONE, SECRETARY OF STATE
It's missing this.
Perhaps it is wrong of me to see in that post of Fr. Z's a rather pointed hint that as the tornado has swept away one of those ugly modern buildings it's time to rebuild it, "brick by brick," into something that will be more aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps it's wrong of me to further see, in one admittedly cynical poster's comment that, no, they'll just make the new church bigger and uglier, and in some others' debate about whether or not the bishop of the area is a good guy deserving of donations and support, that side of RadTradism that I'm finding uglier and uglier--yes, even uglier than a 1970s Church of the Regrettable Notions.
People died in Joplin, some of them, quite likely, people who were parishioners of that parish. In the aftermath of terrible events people turn to the Church for support; Mass attendance often becomes quite crowded for a while. The people of that parish, many of whose homes were damaged or destroyed, don't even have their spiritual home to go to for solace or relief. The time for snarky comments about liturgical architecture which leaves something to be desired is not now.
I had a phone call yesterday with a friend who attends the E.F. Mass with her family; she wondered if she's somehow offended me, given that I've been writing so often about "trad" stuff lately. I assured her that it wasn't her. To be frank, it is Father Zuhlsdorf's blog and its commenters that has made me prickly about RadTradism in a way I really wasn't before. My default setting for the O.F./E.F. matter is: live and let live. I am happy to belong to an O.F. parish and to assist at O.F. Masses, and I respect those who choose E.F. parishes and E.F. Masses. The Church in her great generosity gives us both.
But when I started reading Fr. Z.'s blog on a regular basis lately, I felt disheartened. The sense I get from his comment boxes is that Universae Ecclesiae is supposed to be a club wielded against the many, the new English translation of the Mass is a poor substitute for the "real Mass," the Church's real desire is to wait another thirty or forty years and then get rid of the Novus Ordo (when the "biological solution" has had time to kill off all the troublemakers), and that the respect I have for those who attend the E.F. on a regular basis is not always returned by those who attend the E.F. in regard to the rest of us.
Is it Fr. Z.'s fault that his comment boxes are like this? As a blogger whose commenting policy is very open, I have to say no. I will say this, though: his blog has become an absolute stumbling-block to my strong desire to see those who love and attend the E.F. Mass on a regular basis or even exclusively in an open and positive light. In real life, the people I've met who are E.F. Mass attendees are quite nice people. Online--not so much.
The solution is clear: I have to stay away from Trad blogs, including Father Z.'s (perhaps, especially his). From where I am, the various liturgical storms and squabbles rarely pass directly overhead; sometimes there might be a little rain from the tail end of such a storm, and I'm glad to share my opinions when that happens. There's no need for me to be a liturgical storm chaser, and go looking for teapot-tempests in places where I know conditions are favorable for such things to arise.