Mrs Morrison's Hotel

The 100% personal official blog for Patricia Kennealy Morrison, author, Celtic priestess, retired rock critic, wife of Jim

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I was, wait, sorry, that's "David Copperfield". Anyway, I was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, went to school in upstate NY and came straight back to Manhattan to live. Never lived anywhere else. Never wanted to. Got a job as a rock journalist, in the course of which I met and married a rock star (yeah, yeah, conflict of interest, who cares). Became a priestess in a Celtic Pagan tradition, and (based on sheer longevity) one of the most senior Witches around. Began writing my Keltiad series. Wrote a memoir of my time with my beloved consort (Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison). See Favorite Books below for a big announcement...The Rennie Stride Mysteries. "There is no trick or cunning, no art or recipe, by which you can have in your writing that which you do not possess in yourself." ---Walt Whitman (Also @ and

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Benny Hedges His Bets

I see where Pope Benedict XVI is seriously considering relaxing the restrictions on the Tridentine Mass---the 16th-century all-Latin ceremony that was effectively done away with in the 60s by Pope John XXIII and the reforms of the Church council known as Vatican II.

His reasons seem to be a longtime personal devotion to this version of the Mass and a recognition of the fact that younger Catholics are becoming attached to it: they never knew it, having grown up under the appalling modernizations that pass for Mass these days, and they are finding something in it that speaks to them.

No wonder. It was a beautiful thing, full of solemnity, mysticism and ritual. The priest had his back to the congregants, so he truly came off as a priest and not an emcee, and the Latin, as it had for thousands of years, made it possible for Catholics to go to Mass anywhere and understand what was going on. You became as familiar with the sound of the Latin as you were with the English, and you never forgot it: almost fifty years after I bolted, there are still big chunks of Latin Mass that I can rattle off at the drop of a paten.

I truly did get something spiritual out of it, until the rest of the freight became too unbearable and nonsensical for me to deal with and I was outta there like a bat out of, well, a place any reasonable think-for-herself bat wouldn't want to be, and until the mystic ritual was jettisoned in favor of guitars and folk songs. Which are fine in their place. Just not at a Mass.

I'm very interested to see how this plays out. Benedict is up against a lot of opposition amongst bishops and the lower ranks of clergy, but in recent years, interest in "traditional" Roman Catholicism has been growing in leaps and bounds, and it's not just Mel Gibson.

There may be more entrenched opposition among Catholics who see the Tridentine as containing prayers offensive to non-Catholics, though with the exception of the use of "men" when talking about both men and women, which is of course sexist and plenty of other words could fill in, I'm not sure I remember any off the top of my head.

Anyway, as a Pagan with no dog in this fight, I'd quite like to see the Tridentine back. Despite its dogmatic difficulties, it had great beauty, dignity and grace, and there's far, far too little of that sort of thing in the world these days.

Una voce dicente indeed...


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