Daily Archives: February 17, 2011

Summorum Pontificum: Denial Not Very Reassuring

They knew something about "leaks": The "Yes, Minister" team.

You have (hopefully) read here about the possible attempt to sanitize Summorum Pontificum. If you haven’t done it, I ask you to follow the link and make good use of the email addresses herein contained.

From Paolo Rodari’s Blog we are informed that these were all rumours without a basis in reality.

After reading both sides (one of the few times where it is an advantage to be able to read Italian) I must say that Rodari’s denial of the rumours is not very reassuring – better said: it is positively alarming – for the following reasons:

1) Rodari contacts his sources and these say to him: “don’t worry, no watering down is happening”. I wonder who would ever say to him “be worried, that’s exactly what is going to happen”. A denial is, in my eyes, credible if it gives new information; if, for example, an explicit commitment to the expansion of the celebration of Tridentine Masses had been conveyed to Rodari, this would have been a powerful reassurance. Nothing of the sort has happened.

2) As it transpires, Rodari’s sources confirm that Scicluni and Canizares are the two main actors. This was unknown to anyone until… the leak about the watering down. This confirms that the sources of the rumours are very well informed.

3) You don’t need to be a fan of “Yes, Prime Minister” to understand that such leaks always happen for a reason. In this case, it seems rather clear that the draft of the instructions has been found rather unpalatable by conservative men within the Curia, who are now acting to stop the mess before it becomes a bomb.

Summa summarum, I would say that Rodari’s affirmation do nothing to tranquillise conservative Catholics. On the contrary, they only show the precision and credibility of Messa In Latino‘s sources.

Please keep sending the emails.

Mundabor

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A prayer for the promoters of such a beautiful initiative is certainly in order.

Mundabor

“Dangerous, Clear And Credible Threat” To Summorum Pontificum?

Bombers over Summorum Pontificum?

Dramatic news from Rome.

It would appear that the long-awaited clarification document on the application of Summorum Pontificum would pose heavy limitations to its celebrations. Such limitations might, in fact, not go beyond the boycott of the Tridentine already witnessed among large part of the Catholic hierarchy, but would give the clear message that such a boycott is not unwelcome after all or, said in a slightly less polemic way, that the times are considered not ripe for a generalised diffusion of the Tridentine.

I generally choose not to write about rumours, but this is worrying. Rorate caeli is on the barricades and they are certainly not the types prone to alarmist and hysteric shouting. Messa in Latino (a delicious Italian blog written with all the violent energy of passionate Italians, I do pity those of you who can’t read Italian and will henceforward consider myself utterly soft and ruined by years of living in England) is firing from all cannons and also makes nomi e cognomi (Monsignor Scicluna and Cardinal Canizares), the rumours are confirmed from different sources and in short, the alarm bell is ringing.

From the details transpired until now, it would appear that the clarifications are in the sense of
a) rigidly restricting the old rite to the proper Roman Rite (for example: no usus antiquior of the Ambrosian Rite), and
b) pointing out to the concept that the Tridentine is, so to speak, a separate exercise for those with certain “sensitivities” but not meant to influence and penetrate the liturgical life of the Church.

Messa in Latino calls this exercise annacquamento, anzi annegamento (“watering down, nay: drowning”) of Summorum Pontificum and it is clear to see why they would get so emotional: if a signal goes out that the Tridentine is something rigidly limited to sensitive, rather than meant to help the sensible, the knives will be out to relegate the Tridentine in the attic of liturgical praxis.

This is very, very bad and if confirmed would, I am afraid, be in indelible stain on the entire pontificate of Benedict XVI and indicate, as the Italian say, that he has grown “afraid of his own courage” and doesn’t want to encourage the strong wind of renewal (that is: restoration of tradition and sanity) clearly noticed in these last years.

I would be inclined to dismiss such fears, if the behaviour of the Pontiff in the last months would give me confidence that this rumours are unlikely to have any ground in reality. Unfortunately, the Pontiff’s careless words about condoms on one side and the extraordinary initiative of Assisi III on the other side do appear to justify the fear that this Pope is, so to speak, not really like wine.

Let us hope that all this is a tempest in a water-glass. But at this point it is fitting that there be a tempest.

Find here a list of addresses to contact the Vatican. Several email addresses are included. Be short and respectful. Please write to all email addresses you can get your hands on. Please everyone send a message to me with other relevant email addresses if you find any and I will update this page asap.

Pope Benedict: a) benedictxvi@vatican.va or b) av@pccs.va

Cardinal Levada, CDF: cdf@cfaith.va

Congregation for the Clergy: clero@cclergy.va

Congregation for the Evangelisation of People: cepsegretaria@evangel.va

Osservatore Romano: ornet@ossrom.va

Mundabor

The Monsignor And The Arrested Development

I have already written about Msgr. Charles Pope (the “Monsignor with no uncertain trumpet” and the Monsignor dealing with “the lock and the key”). He has the rare gift of expressing himself in a highly imaginative and entertaining manner and is always a pleasure to read.

This time, Monsignor Pope (what a name, by the way…) deals with, so to speak, medical issues. In his experience (and in that of many of us, I am afraid), the spiritual development of many Catholics stops at age seven or eight and doesn’t progress much further as he goes through life; on the contrary, the risk of regression to first spiritual infancy and utter Catholic illiteracy is rather big and frequently observed.

Still, Monsignor Pope doesn’t fail to notice that whilst arrested development in every other aspect of life would not fail to greatly worry the parents, in the case of spiritual formation to remain at the level of a seven-year-old is considered nothing worrying at all. His example is in my eyes a bit extreme for a churchgoer, but it applies wonderfully to the army of lapsed Catholics out there whose theology is restricted to easy and convenient platitudes a’ la “God is Love” and “do not judge”; platitudes taken out of every context, uttered whenever convenient and generally very apt to persuade the spiritual child that there is no need to make any homework, let alone any penance, let alone any effort to be a better child.

I would give the main responsibility of this disastrous state of things to the Catholic clergy (yes, I do “judge” when I see a scandal, but he who criticises me is “judging” me too) who are, even more than the parents, those primarily in charge of the propagation of the Catholic message.

If here in the West we had courageous priests ready to risk their popularity instead of cuddling their audience with easy slogans and insipid common places, the message would get outside and reach, more or less indirectly, those who do not attend. You’d have an army of churchgoers properly instructed and ready to go out and spread the message with reasonable accuracy. Most of all, you’d have the end of the simplistic “celebration” mentality – utterly devoid of any obligation and only concerned with its own shallowness – now slowly infecting Catholic life. I was well in my Forties when I first heard people talking of “celebrating” instead of “mourning”, or before the astonishing meaning given to the words “do not judge” by the ignorants and the liberals became clear to me. I assure you these things didn’t happen in the Countries where I had been living up to then and I started to wonder what strange of Christianity this is, where people call themselves Christian but know more of Ghandi than Christ. Also here in Blighty was my first case of a person candidly reporting of being sure of being Christian, but not being sure of having ever been baptised. “I assume I was”, she said, “though my mother never mentioned it”. Church of England apparently, so a baptism should definitively have occurred. Words fail me.

Here in the West we have a massive epidemy of spiritual arrested developments and the problem continues to spread because many priests are (nothwithstanding the long years of theology studies, by which one wonders whether anything sensible has been learned at all) either astonishingly untrained or, more probably, predictably cowardly.

Proper Catholic instruction starts from the priest and the pulpit. If the priest does his job, more and more parents will send their children to be properly instructed; more and more adults will have intelligent answers to give to their friends; more and more of Catholic patrimony will start spreading around and become again, in time, part of the cultural patrimony of the country.

It must all start by the priest and the pulpit.

Mundabor

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