I had decided that it was time to stop posting about matters liturgical or theological that I had thought about when I realised that whatever illumination I had just had was something Michael Davies had written about in 1986, and had expressed far better than I ever would. The other dawning realisation was that I was coming across what was wrong with the way the OF was being performed: all the negative reasons for believing that there are real problems with the way the OF is being celebrated.
And there was no alternative: I can read Fr Fortescue's "The Mass" and learn a lot, but he was writing in 1912 and a) our knowledge has moved on a lot since then, and b) it's not 1912 any more: it's 2010.
This b) is my beef not just with the SSPX but also with quite a few of the in-communion-trads one comes across: you can't turn the clock back and pretend it's 1962, or 1955, or 1911, or whenever. What has gone has gone for ever, and if you try to reconstitute it, you have to accept that what you have is something new, however much it looks like what was there before. (Pierre Menard, Autor del Quijote by Jorge Luis Borges says all of this much better in one of the best short stories of the twentieth century, by the way.)
So a subscription to Usus Antiquior was a bit of a gamble: would it have anything new to say, or would it be a rehash of the battles of the sixties and seventies? The answer, loud, triumphant, and clarion-like is"the former".
The articles are not for the faint-hearted: they take no prisoners. This is not "Noddy goes to Trent". They made me work hard to ensure that I understood what point they were trying to make. But what riches! Among the things I particularly valued were the slops that overflowed from the great depths of learning on display: things you all no doubt know, but that I didn't; why and how the binatarianism of the Roman Canon reflects its extreme antiquity, for example. But the depths are profound: learning what Octaves are for is a major piece of knowledge I now have which I never had before: a starting point for future journeys deeper into my Faith.
This journal will become an essential catechetical resource for anybody who wants to explore and learn about the traditional Roman Rite from a non-polemical 21st Century viewpoint. And, if you are like me, it will help you pray the Mass more, and better.