Tuesday, 24 May 2011

"Extraordinarii" - a good label!

My learned and distinguished friend, Professor Robin Whatley has had a letter published in The Catholic Herald that has now been reproduced in Mass of Ages.

It is not a good letter - it is a fantastic letter! It is reproduced in full below:-

..For all those Catholics who may have become depressed that our bishops are so loath to grant wholesale support to Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio, when they thought that 'Summorum Pontificum' was the solution to all their yearnings, I offer the following.
There seems to be an interesting comparison between those who today attend Holy Mass in the sublime Tridentine Rite and special members of Roman armies. Given that the various priestly orders dedicated solely to that Rite enjoy almost an embarrassment of riches with respect to the large number of seminarians they attract, especially compared to those coming forward in what we might call 'ordinary' seminaries, the former will eventually, at least in Western cultures, become the vanguard of the priesthood.
Their ranks will be added to because many young priests are much more orthodox than their teachers and are volunteering to learn to celebrate Holy Mass in the Old Rite.
"Extraordinarii" - an elite fighting force!

We may, since the Tridentine Rite has come to be called the Extraordinary Form, refer to priest and congregation as the extraordinarii, which term was used in the Roman military system to describe those troops, usually a fifth of the infantry and a third of the cavalry,detached from the alae or wings that flanked the legions. The extraordinarii were under the direct command of the army commander and provided the vanguard to the column when advancing and the rearguard when retreating; dangerous tasks requiring particularly good soldiers.
My case is that, given time, it is the extraordinarii who will guide Holy Church back to her Traditional Catholic foundations, while leading us into the future and who will always safeguard her against further attempted subversion by the neo-Protestants.
Watched over by the Holy Spirit, supported by the Magisterium and commanded by our dear Holy Father, how can the extraordinarii not succeed?


Now I am aware that my fascination for 'labels' is irritating to some but we all live by the designations that surround us; English, African/American, Vegan, Carnivore, thinker, doer and so on. The Catholic Church has something in the region of 23 different rites (Armenian, Maronite, Syro-Malabar) and so on. All are distinctive in their own...um....rite - but all are Catholic! And some are extraordinarii!


  1. Sign me up.
    Um.. do I have to wear sandals & ride a horse to Mass?

  2. Well, a toga for decency's sake, Jason :)