Tale of several popes. Unfolding drama unfolds further . . .

The first modern-day papal liturgical reformer, Pius X, 1903 to 1914, is claimed by later reformers as one of their own. But it’s truly an afterthought for them because his ideas and theirs were worlds apart. Or drifted that way, as we shall see.

Indeed, this Pius was more in the mold of Pius V (1566-1572), who wound down a council, of Trent, or Tridentum, 1545-1563, and followed through on its edicts and findings with the mass called Tridentine.

This 5th Pius curiously has this in common with his successor-reformer of four centuries later, Paul VI, who followed through on a council he also had not convened with a new mass, “Novus Ordo,” with radically new script and stage directions.

The two masses endure, the first as barely tolerated (by never-Tridentiners among higher clergy and arguably the pope) or lovingly cherished (by traditionalists, or “traddies” as some call themselves) — whereby hangs a dramatic tale.

To these latter this book is mainly aimed, they being a hard core (corps, you might say) of worshipers and increasing numbers of the religiously curious, a curiously growing bunch. (See Western Canada millennials in this 11/30/2018 Crisis Mag piece)

As for the the new mass, it has been offered for much of its life on pretty much a take it-or-leave-it basis, illegal at first — with an endearing exception — and restored in stages by two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It remains a minority experience, however.

Of which more later . . .

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