New Liturgical Movement interview with Archbishop Sample

Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Diocese of Portland, Oregon, was interviewed by Julian Kwasniewski for the New Liturgical Movement. You may recall that Archbishop Sample offered a Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception back in April, 2018: we discussed it here, here and here.

Anyway, I offer a few tidbits from the New Liturgical Movement piece (hat tip to Fr. Z, by the by, where I first saw reference to this piece):

JK: The first question I want to start with is very simple. What is a priest?

He is a man chosen by God, called to this order and through the sacrament of Holy Orders, through the laying on of hands and the prayer of the church; he is sacramentally configured to Christ the High Priest. There is that an ontological change that takes place in him, change on the very level of his being. He becomes something new, since his soul is forever marked with the character of the priesthood, so that he can minister in the Church in the person of Christ the head, in persona Christi capitis. So there is a close identification between the ordained priest and the High Priest, Jesus Christ; he is called to be an alter Christus, another Christ. All Christians are by our baptism called to be other Christs, but the priest in a particular way represents Christ in the Catholic Church.

He is to teach the doctrine of the Church, always according to the mind of the Church and in harmony with the magisterium. He is a sanctifier; he is the one who sanctifies God’s people, especially through the sacraments, and most especially through the celebration of Holy Mass and the hearing of Confession. He is a shepherd, the guide of the community, he points the way to eternal life.

***

JK: It seems that many young people these days are rediscovering contemplation and an ability to give themselves joyfully to Christ through loving the Latin Mass and the old liturgical prayer of the Church.

But more and more, the majority of the people in the church at these masses are people who never lived during the time when this was the ordinary liturgy, that is, before the Council. If you are under a certain age (and that age is getting higher and higher), you never experienced this liturgy growing up. And yet young people — which is something Pope Benedict XVI said in his letter to the world’s bishops when he issued Summorum Pontificum — have discovered this [form] too, and have found it very spiritually nourishing and satisfying. They have come to love and appreciate it.

That is amazing to me: young people who have never experienced this growing up in the postconciliar Church, with the Ordinary Form (sometimes celebrated well, sometimes very poorly with all kinds of aberrations and abuses), have still discovered the Latin Mass and are attracted to it.

JK: What, in your view, accounts for that attraction (of young people to the Extraordinary Form)?

AS: I would say its beauty, its solemnity, the sense of transcendence, of mystery. Not mystery in the sense of “Oh, we don’t know what’s going on,” but rather, that there is a mysterium tremendum celebrated here, a tremendous mystery. The liturgy in the old rite really conveys the essential nature and meaning of the Mass, which is to represent the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ which he offered on the Cross and now sacramentally, in an unbloody manner, in the Holy Mass.

I think young people are drawn to it because it feeds a spiritual need that they have…

Archbishop Sample goes on to discuss how he (when he was growing up), and others younger than he, have been deprived of Catholic tradition - doctrinal, liturgical, musical. Please go there for the details. But he ends with an important point. Please realize that he is talking about stereotypes, caricatures, if you will, but like most caricatures there may be an uncomfortable element of truth:

JK: Do you have any additional advice for young traditional Catholics trying to recover their tradition?

AS: I’d say there is a tendency sometimes to see these things — doctrine, liturgy, devotions — in opposition to things like works of charity, works of mercy. I would emphasize that we must not get to a place where all we are concerned about is being of right doctrine (orthodoxy), having right liturgy (orthopraxy), good sacred music, that we are doing all the right devotions. If we are not doing works of mercy, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, if we are not taking care of the poor and disadvantaged, then we are not living fully our Catholic faith. That’s part of our tradition too…

We’ve got to pull this together: it is not an either/or, it is a both/and in the Church. The works of mercy go back to the apostolic times, go back to the Acts of the Apostles; as St. Paul says, we must always take care of the poor. This is deeply traditional in our Church.

So, go there and read the whole thing.

Curate, ut valeatis!

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