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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Which Mass is the Stronger Oar?

Written by  John Andra
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Which Mass is the Stronger Oar?

A sport might provide a metaphor for religion, which is good, as opposed to being a religion in itself, which is bad. St. Paul used metaphors from running and boxing, for example. Rowing provides a useful metaphor for the competition between the Traditional Mass and the New Mass, a competition which Traditionis custodes, the recent moto proprio from Pope Francis, has unfortunately raised to a fight for survival.

Terms vary, but in this writer's crew experience, "buckets" was the name given to a challenging training exercise. In an eight-man boat, six oarsmen would take a rest position with the oar's handle cradled in the lap and its blade flat on the water. The two remaining oarsmen, in adjoining seats, would sit in the ready position—slid forward, arms extended, the blade vertical in the water.

So, with the prior coach still living in the boathouse, Pope Francis decided to kick the better rower off the team.

At a signal from the coach, the men in ready position would start at maximum effort. The coxswain held the rudder straight. Unless the rowers were perfectly matched, each stroke progressively showed the stronger oar. The boat would be pushed in the direction opposite from the better rower, while the coach yelled, usually in vain, at the worse rower to match up.

It was really quite revealing. There was no hiding the facts. Everyone in the boat, everyone in the coach's launch, and everyone on shore knew which was stronger oar.

This metaphor illustrates Pope Francis' decision to abrogate Summorum Pontificum, the moto proprio of Pope Benedict XVI. The prior coach set up a bucket match between the Traditional Mass and the New Mass. Each year progressively shows everyone in the boat (priests and laity), everyone in the coach's launch (hierarchy), and everyone on shore (world), which mass is the stronger oar.

So, with the prior coach still living in the boathouse, Pope Francis decided to kick the better rower off the team. This is very confusing to the crew. They naturally wonder whose side the coach is on.       

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Last modified on Monday, August 2, 2021