Editor's Note: It's time to catch up on our email correspondence.
[Last week's post] reminded me when I occasionally attended Mass at one of the SGG satellite chapels while on the road. Whenever Cekada celebrated "High Mass," after he finished saying the Creed he would go down to the steps to kneel for the choir's Et incarnatus est and then go sit at the bench. No other priests ever did this. They all headed straight to their seat after saying the Creed. Fortescue says that in a Sung Mass after the celebrant says the Creed "he goes, by the shorter way, to sit. The M.C. assists him as before. When the verse Et incarnatus est, etc. is sung, the M.C. and all the servers (if standing) kneel at their place. The celebrant uncovers and bows." So much for the so called "great liturgist." You are right: they just make it up as they go along.Our correspondent has a sharp eye. One of the Readers recalls the Blunderer's timing his recitation of the Credo so as to be able to kneel in front of the altar before going to sit. (There was always plenty of time, he noted, so it was never the case that the Bonehead was "caught" by the verse en route to the scamnum.) Our colleague reports he hadn't been able to understand Checkie's behavior either, especially since Laurence O'Connell in his The Book of Ceremonies, the much-cited U.S. authority, like Fortesue, teaches that, after the recitation, the celebrant goes by the shorter way to sit, removing his biretta and bowing, from Et incarnatus est until after Et homo factus est.*
The only way our co-worker could make sense of the deviant practice was to conjecture that Cheeseball Checkie had failed to read carefully John O'Connell's instruction in his The Celebration of Mass: "If the Celebrant does not go to sit, he should kneel on the edge of the footpace in the middle of the altar, with the M.C. kneeling beside him, while these words are sung." (Emphasis ours.) However, our fellow Reader insisted his explanation was only a desperate attempt to give a reasonable explanation to a behavior so at odds with approved authors and the standard practice of other, better-trained priests.
The cult masters, he observed, always did march to the maniacal beat of a different drummer. No one ever asked questions because they knew they wouldn't get a straight answer while in the cultic loony bin. Other priests who on occasion served the chapel, however, used to smile sardonically when they learned of Erroneous Antonius's novelty. One urbane Latin American, trained in Italy, archly observed in private to a few laymen, "I don't claim to be an expert on the liturgy, but I do know that's wrong."
Whatever the Blunderer's motives, the correspondent's recollection is another example proving our point that the cult masters don't care about getting the details right. The books of ceremonial instructions are easily obtainable, so anyone, including their numerous adversaries, can easily verify whether or not the cult masters are doing things right. Under such conditions, most self-respecting men would make sure they were letter perfect in order to escape withering criticism.
But not so the cult masters.
Inasmuch as they "minister" solely to the vilest dregs of Traddie scum, they don't bother about accuracy. Dannie only has to tell the mouth-breathing, head-twitching, saliva-gurgling cultlings that the sub-mediocre Checkmeister is a great liturgiologist, a profound theologian, and a distinguished writer, and the booger-encrusted, hilljack imbeciles take his word. All that blank-faced gullibility certainly makes it easy on the low-achieving clergy: they don't even have to appear to be competent. They merely announce it.
Of course, we had to ask ourselves whether the cult masters regretted not attracting intelligent, mentally well-adjusted chapel members drawn from a superior social class, whose critical eye and ready tongue might have inspired them to improve their game. After all, cutting-edge research in special education tells us that most human beings, even those with severe cognitive deficiencies, thrive under a challenge. However, after a few seconds of thought, we safely concluded that the answer must be a throaty naaahhhh!
Way down deep, they actually don't want to get any better; moreover, truth to tell, they probably lack the modest, natural gifts to realize such an ambition anyway. Besides, they know from years of rejection that normal, educated folks -- folks with symmetrical facial features -- never tolerate them for long. It's far better to stick with the grotesquely twisted asylum inmates.
The bar has been set very low, and it will remain at ground level -- or below -- so long as a monstrous cadre of slobbering, runny-nosed, cross-eyed cretins fund the cult madhouse.
At the three Masses of Christmas and on the Feast of the Annunciation, do not go to the sedilia immediately after you have finished saying the Creed, but remain standing at the center. Just before the choir sings Et incarnatus est, go down to the top step and kneel on the edge of the platform. Remain kneeling and bow until after Et homo factus est. Then go up again, genuflect, and go to the sedilia per breviorem.