Liberal Cardinals (already the word is an oxymoron) keep talking about obedience to the Pope, as if obedience to the Pope were due even when the Pope tells one to disobey to Christ.
One would expect that they obey blindly to the Pope every time he instructs them to do something perfectly Catholic.
How is their implementation of Summorum Pontificum?
The blind are leading the blind. But as for talking, they have no problem at all.
The day after a shameless, open attack to Summorum Pontificum, and the scandal is now everywhere.
The obvious arrogance of a Bishop thinking he has something to say as to whether a priest can or cannot celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass is compounded by the arrogance – truly typical of Francis; his minions learn fast – with which the man clearly implies the TLM is bad for the attendants' soul. I am sure he would prefer a Pinocchio Mass to the Tridentine. At least when I look at the picture.
Bishop Olson is a beautiful example of the type of bishop Francis will give us. The rather stupid grin in the picture above is typical of the modern non-authoritarian bishop; one who will insist in being seen as a harmful uncle, but will not hesitate to bully those who are in the way of his destructive agenda without any sense of shame, and perfectly sure of impunity. A bully, and an enemy of Christ. These V II smiling uncles are all the same.
Will the bishop backpedal in front of the obvious recognition that he is going ultra vires?
Why would he? He is leading the charge of the sans Mozzetta, and unless a phone call from Rome praises him and tells him he was a good boy, but it is now time to reassure the neocons before the next assault, there is no need for him to admit any mistake, or fear any consequence from higher places.
It astonishes me how there are people who do not understand where this is going. Francis might not have the gut to officially abrogate Summorum Pontificum, but by now it should be obvious to a moron that he will not do anything against those bishops wanting to play sheriff on their own diocese, and SP be stuffed. Unless he should, every now and then, see the need to give some birds food to his neocon pigeons, in which case we will have some symbolic gesture that will fill the Pollyannas with delight. “Look, he has visited the tomb of St. Pius X! Must be orthodox, then!”
This is not about Dr King, or internal affairs within the College. The TLM is obviously nothing to do with internal squabbles. It's the Sacrifice of the Mass, not an internal appointment.
No. This is about an entire world. A world that is growing all over the West and is crying to heaven the failure, the arrogance, the irreligiousness, the stupidity, and the unspeakable arrogance of the V II apparatchiks who are ruining the Church whilst smiling like cretins.
Bishop Olson incarnates them perfectly. Not one month in the office, and he is already in an extremely good position to win the 2014 Francis' Helper Of The Year Award. He probably dreams of the cover of Vanity Fair. Hey, the Humble Francis did not have anything against it, either.
Pray for the soul of this confused man. And of the one who made him bishop.
The Bishop complains because when he was an altar boy “he could only keep his hands so far apart”.
A first parish priest tells him the Traditional Mass is invalid.
A second priest says it is prohibited. He seems to relent after being showed the documents, then tries to have the mass suppressed again.
The bishop says the people only understand Spanish, you see…
You may think this is a joke, and something like that could never happen in the Church after Summorum Pontificum.
You would be wrong.
May the Lord reward this good man of God.
After the latest alleged remarks of the Bishop of Rome to his Czech bishops concerning the latest fad of the young people – a Mass that has been in existence pretty much for the entire history of the Church – the observation was made that this remark does not change anything in Summorum Pontificum, and if and when Francis wants to abrogate it he will be able to do so in the open.
Very, very true.
True, in fact, in the same way in which Hitler's incendiary propaganda concerning Danzig did not change anything in the situation on the ground; or in which when you have the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe and even the Kriegsmarine at your disposal you can, without the shadow of a doubt, invade Poland any day you like.
The issue with most of what Francis says is not whether it introduces legal changes; he mostly doesn't. In fact, as far as I know even almost one year after his unprecedented Maundy Thursday Mass liturgical abuse he has not changed the canon law dispositions governing it. The huge issue with Francis is the mentality this endless string of off the cuff comments, liturgical abuses, beach balls on the altar, and general “who am I to judge” senselessness clearly indicate: a Pope managing the feat of being in almost complete disagreement with almost all his predecessors almost all of the times, and showing the understanding of Catholicism of a poorly instructed 15 years old boy in a hormone-induced delirium of omnipotence and world-changing zeal.
Exactly in the same way as the problem with Hitler was, in the first place, Hitler, and was very evident from Hitler's way of thinking and talking, the problem with Francis is, in the first place, Francis, as seen in the countless examples of his thinking and talking.
Furthermore, with both of them (Hitler and Francis) the problem is not whether they can, but whether they should. Hitler's ability to invade Poland says exactly zero about the righteousness of such an event; therefore, to say “Hitler can invade Poland” (or “Francis can abrogate Summorum Pontificum”) is not relevant in this context. Yes, he can. And yes, it would be outright evil if he should do it. May I be worried that Hitler might, one day, invade Poland? He waited six and a half years, by the way, and if you want an equivalent of the Ruhr occupation, I think the occupation of the FFI will do admirably.
My impression is that, should Francis one day… invade Summorum Pontificum – which I do not think he will ever have the guts to do, choosing the Jesuit way instead – there will be many voices simply pointing out that… he can; as if this would change the evaluation about the merit of such a decision one bit.
This is, be the way, the same trick used with stupid voters all the time:” why worry about same sex marriage, it has not been voted yet”; promptly followed by “it is a done thing now and there's nothing to do, so stop clamouring about it”.
Francis is the Bishop of Rome. He can, so to speak, certainly invade Poland. He will, I think, very probably never do it.
But I will not wait for him to do so in order to be scandalised by his incendiary talk.
As the weeks go by and the progressivist steamroller flattens the FFI to the ground, it might be useful to take some measurements and spend two words about what I think is happening on a broader perspective. I think the following observations can be made:
1. A very tiny number of dissenters (apparently around half a dozen in an order counting hundreds) was enough to start the most brutal crackdown in several decades. The same excuse can be now used everywhere. Woe to the FSSP if there are little dissensions, with a handful of Judas among them saying the Order has become “divisive”, or “crypto-lefebvrist”: an accusation very easy to fabricate, as the FSSP exist to celebrate – even if not exclusively – the same Mass of which Francis has said that it can be, exactly, divisive. Were this to happen, they would probably be doomed, and their only hope of survival would be in Francis' fear of the SSPX. In this case we would have a real paradox: an Order living only thanks to the other Order it was born to destroy. Still, the FSSP can be damaged and watered down in many ways without having recourse to the brutality of the full “FFI treatment”. Personally, I think this is exactly what will happen in the years to come.
2. It should be clear to even the least intelligence that Francis is fully behind all that is happening. Firstly, it is simply not conceivable that such brutality be adopted without the Pope's previous assent; secondly, Father Volpi – the FFI's torturer – has explicitly mentioned the Holy Father's support for his action and has not been contradicted, much less forced to backpedal. This is, ultimately, all Francis' doing, as plain as the sun.
3. The crackdown is not against people, but attitudes. The closure of the seminary shows in Francis' and Volpi's mind the problem lies not in single individuals, but in the traditionalist Weltanschauung of the order. They are targeted because they love Tradition, full stop.
The FFI is the most evident sign of Francis' reigning style we had up to now: as ruthless and brutal when he sees successful Catholicism at work as he is slyly active in promoting his own dying but very convenient brand of kindergarten Catholicism.
Please, Lord, let this punishment come to an end soon.
It has happened. Four conspirators, “hypocrites” and “cowards”, have launched an attack to the Holy Father, daring to “judge” and “criticise” him. They criticised him, in fact, rather strongly.
Seriously, these people should take example from Monsignor Ricca, the quiet sodomite who kept his own lover for all the world to see for years, and never, nevah evah dared to judge or criticise anyone! He was living such an un-judgemental and happy life, when the slanderous, cowardly, murderous “gossip” press exposed him, poor girl!
You see? Murder, again!
Back to today’s crime news. The four men who dared to move such an attack have, apparently, a big problem with the Vatican attitude towards the FFI, (this is, of course, because “they lack the strength and the courage to look to their own shortcomings”) about which I have reported. They have, in fact, such a “murderous” inclination to criticism that they consider the ban on TLM by the FFI – a ban which allow for individual authorisation, but is in principle a ban – an open attack not only to Summorum Pontificum, but even to Quo Primum. As the Pop Bishop of Rome clearly carries the responsibility for the measure, I cannot see how this – let us say it again: cowardly and judgmental – criticism may avoid being considered a true first-class act of hypocrisy and (let me look… oh, yes) cowardice.
Let us report, below, some of the most important passages of their intervention (which you find, as always, on Rorate Caeli) in its entirety. Emphases, as always, mine.
But first, let us mention the name of the four “cowards”:
Roberto de Mattei, Mario Palmaro, Andrea Sandri, Giovanni Turco
God bless them.
I read around the strange theory according to which if good Catholics complain out loud concerning real or supposed attacks to Summorum Pontificum, this will make a real attack on said SP more likely.
Allow me to explain why I disagree.
In my view, the Bishop of Rome is either an enemy of the Traditional Mass, or he isn't. If he isn't, widespread opposition to any changes will make it actually easier for him to leave things as they are; but if he is, the absence of widespread opposition will make it easier for him to get rid of Summorum Pontificum. “There is just no affection or desire for the old rite”, he will say. When he then cancels SP with a stroke of the pen, it will be rather too late for complaints, at least as long as Francis is the Bishop of Rome.
You can call this, if you will, the Poland's dilemma. If you don't do anything to protect yourself, you will be invaded because you have not done anything. If you do look for alliances to protect yourself, you will be invaded because you are being hostile.
I personally think that if we get invaded, we get invaded.
But not with our consent, or in our silence.
And so it came to pass an efficient, prosperous, growing semi-traditionalist Order, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (short: FFI), had its Tridentine Mass culled par ordre du mufti, the mufti in this case being none other than the gay-loving Bishop of Rome of ours.
The event is – or might be; or should be – rather massive, because impinges exactly on those freedoms that Summorum Pontificum freely gives to all religious: not only the Ecclesia Dei orders, but all of them.
One can, therefore, wonder whether the FFI isn’t the canary in the coal mine, whose death warns us of immediate danger for the Traditional Mass.
On the matter, I have read two opposed opinions, that you can read here and here. I add that there can be little doubt the FFI, in itself not a traditionalist order, has been factually overtaken by the Traditionalist; who, whilst obviously not “oppressing” their more progressive brother, have given a certain “tone” to the work of the order; order that, punctually, has started to expand robustly and gather friends everywhere. This is the kind of plague that generally befalls the traditionalists orders; which, in turn, lets the Bergoglios of this world look very, very bad.
In short, according to the two camps either the Bishop of Rome is merely intervening in internal squabbles, and the de facto silencing of the TLM mass is just a medicinal measure to bring harmony within the order again; or he is profiting from a convenient minority of “progressives” within the FFI to cull their Latin Mass activity and make of them a ballon d’essai or a dress rehearsal for the great attack to the Traditional Mass.
I invite you to click both links and read the arguments on both sides, arguments which would take too much time – and wasted time at that, because they are very well put – to rephrase here for you.
I wasn’t there, of course, and if I was there I must have been in the bathroom. Personally, though, I think that the Rorate argument wins hands down. Not only are the positions expressed by Rorate, in my humble opinion, more logical from the point of view of an outsider; but crucially, they match with the subversive character of Bishop Francis we could observe in these short months.
Often in the past I have written that I could not see Bishop Francis going head on against the traditionalists. On one hand I considered him if not smart, at least attentive; then I thought he would have other problems to deal with; finally, it wouldn’t be smart to give the SSPX so great a gift by showing to the entire Catholic world what a joke Bergoglio is.
I must, though, here frankly admit that when I wrote that I also did not imagine a man going to such excesses of egomaniacal conduct as to keep at his place a sodomite destroyed the world over by horrible revelations of rent boys & Co., just because he is his buddy – or, worse, because he needs Ricca’s many friends, friends as bent as Ricca is; or, worse still, because these are the friends who have allowed him to be chosen to be the Bishop of Rome, so that he now owes them -.
Every month, this man shows us that he can be even more shameless than we thought him capable of; and as a result, every month we must reassess his possible moves concerning this or that in light of the increasing more dangerous character emerging from his action.
Bishop Bergoglio has surpassed our worst fears with beautiful regularity since the beginning of his … new appointment. How can we say he will stop in front of the Tridentine Mass? Who can say he will even wait for Pope’s Benedict’s death before officially demolishing his heritage? This is a man whose lack of the most common sense of decency extends not only to almost daily insulting his predecessor in a very thinly veiled manner, but even to defying the most elementary sense of propriety in front of the entire Catholic world by keeping a sodomite at his place, and making stupid and arrogant jokes about the non-existence of the “gay lobby” he himself had publicly mentioned. What is such a man not capable of?
From their fruits you shall know them. Even in Collodi’s book, you never know in which problems Pinocchio can put himself into. But at least Pinocchio had the fee and the Wise Cricket. Bishop Bergoglio has Monsignor Ricca, the man (?) he absolutely clings to…
This being the situation, and with Screwtape clearly making himself very comfortable within the Vatican corridors, what could not happen? Could perhaps Francis decide – which I would think extremely stupid – that every advantage given to the SSPX is worth being suffered, if it allows him to silence all the others? Imagine his objective is simply to stop the Tridentine Mass for being celebrated, without any concern whatsoever of the huge boost in prestige and reputation – and money – this would give the SSPX?
Of course, this would be extremely stupid. Of course, this would continue the Pinocchio-isation of the Church and plunge her in a new crisis of vocation of heterosexual priests – faggots will, I am sure, run to be enrolled in the seminaries -; of course, Francis would lose the image of “great uncle” to acquire the one of “grumpy old sixty-eighter”, the vastly superior traditionalists shaming him at every occasion. But perhaps, he is not so intelligent? Perhaps, he is so full of himself that he thinks he can do nothing wrong, and does not need to follow prudent advice? Hitler and Napoleon, when they lost their head, thought they could conquer Russia. Bishop Humble, once he has seen a couple of million people in Copacabana, might well think he can conquer a small number of Traditionalists?
It is difficult to give an answer to these questions. This is like 1933. There is a new man in power, and this new man shows he is increasingly strange and unpredictable, and gives all signs to be a megalomaniac of “change”. I do not doubt he feels, like Hitler, called to be remembered in one thousand years.
On the other hand, when he was in Argentina he refused every open clash with the SSPX, who have a strong presence there. This is a powerful argument. But history teaches us that more often than not, the Pope is different from what the Cardinal used to be. This “bishop of Rome” must be the most different in a long time.
For example, there is this rumour of a great plan to be announced in Autumn, to make the Church, in a way, simpler. When I heard it I thought it had to do with the exterior appearance of the clergy (say: only Fiat or Ford cars; bishop must live in a three bedroom house; compulsory embracing of people in wheelchair whenever a camera is present; and the like), but in the light of the FFI measure the plans certainly assume a more sinister trait. Perhaps is the man trying to sweep away Summorum Pontificum in one fell swoop, counting on the choir of wannabe conservative who will suddenly discover the Holy Ghost hates Latin?
I wish I had an aswer, but this man eludes answers. He plunged himself into a grave liturgical abuse weeks into his pontificate; he aids and abets not only homosexual clergy, but sodomites at that – don’t insult your intelligence pretending to believe the likes of Ricca are “chaste” anyway – and even dares to make a mockery of the people’s worries about the very faggots he protects.
This is the kind of man we have at the top. Again, it’s like 1933. There’s no way to know more until the true scale of this man’s delusion emerges.
In the present situation, it is more than understandable that the fans of the Better Mass be worried about the effect this devastating, utterly disgraceful Pontificate will have on Summorum Pontificum.
Whilst I have forgotten my crystal ball at home again, I think a couple of reasonable assumptions can be made:
1) Bishop Francis will not dare to openly go against Summorum Pontificum: not whilst the Pontiff Emeritus is alive, not after he has died. A man clearly driven by vanity, the Bishop of Rome will not dare to take initiatives that would procure him a very vocal, very persistent and very painful opposition. Look at his actions, and realise the man accurately avoid every stance that would cause widespread opposition to the new born cult of Bishop Francis. Too many are the friends of the Tridentine Mass, for him to go and pick this particular fight. It must also be said that the Bishop lives in a liturgical and theological glasshouse, and certainly understands if he starts to throw stones at people who understand Liturgy and Theology he will be hurt, badly.
2) This does not mean the Bishop, being a 1a liturgical Philistine, will not do whatever he can to damage the cause of sound liturgy whilst avoiding the flak. I can well imagine that he will take care bishops of TLM dioceses are replaced, when the usual time comes, with other liturgical philistines, certain to provide an hostile environment for the TLM; with the obvious exception of those dioceses where a SSPX is within driving distance.
I cannot see the Bishop of Rome doing anything that makes him obviously unpopular, but I do believe he will do whatever he can to hush the effects of SP if he can do so without open confrontation.
The biggest safety for SP lies, if you ask me, in the robust presence of the SSPX. As long as they are strong and expanding, the enemies of the Tridentine Mass will have to be very careful, and Bishop Jorge's cult of Bishop Jorge will do the rest.
I might be wrong, of course. Time will tell.
If you click at Father Z’s blog, you will find a wonderful sermon from the Archbishop of Ferrara, Luigi Negri.
It is as blunt as an Italian Archbishop can ever be; the remark with the ecclesiastical tribunal is very telling.
We do not know whether the “Franciscan simplicity” will impact the Traditional Mass, but this is one Archbishop on the right side.
As an aside, you could do worse than considering Ferrara in your next Italian holiday. One of the most beautiful places on earth (think Siena without the hills), Ferrara with his huge historic centre (it was probably the biggest city in Europe at the beginning of the XVI Century) will leave you speechless and breathless.
A city blessed with so much beauty is now also blessed with a staunch and very blunt defender of the Traditional Mass.
Summorum Pontificum is, no doubt, the great accomplishment of this papacy (and will probably remain the only one). His reach is certainly of historical significance, and I would not be surprised if in 100 years the 7 July 2007 were to be still remember as the day the Church symbolically started to march towards sobriety.
The problem with Summorum Pontificum, though, is that for such a great theoretical accomplishment not much has been accomplished. The intention to “free” the Traditional Mass from the freeze in which it had been kept prisoner for more than 35 years was not accompanied by the desire to really use it. Rather, the Traditional Mass was moved more or less from the freezer to the fridge, and left there.
Following a typical mark of this pontificate, Summorum Pontificum is a good example of Pope Ratzinger’s way of thinking: continuation of progressive policies, whilst being perceived to be a friend of those of traditional inclinations.
In my eyes, with it the Pontiff had the following objective:
1. link his name with a policy which would ensure his name remains respected when the tide turns.
2. give the traddies some fodder, so they can think he is his friend.
3. avoid any enforcement in practice, and
4. continue undisturbed with more or less scandalous and very often mediocre appointments, once the reputation of “conservative Pope friend of the tradition” has been established.
Immediately after Summorum Pontificum, many bishops started to openly oppose it. Year after year, the Pope did nothing to allow a decent implementation of his great historic initiative, and one of those bishops who was most active in the opposition to traditional liturgy was now, by his own choice, moved to the Congregation for Divine Worship. You can’t have better evidence that Pope Benedict never wanted Summorum Pontificum to be implemented.
Summorum Pontificum will remain, I am afraid, a symbol of what this pontificate could have been, and at the same time a good example of the Pontiff’s rather duplicitous policy of giving conservative Catholics some cookies in theory, so that the thus won reputation coud allow him to continue to protect the liberal V-II old guard (of which he is integral part) in practice.
Look on the internet at the way the newly appointed head of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, Roche, arranged his own chapel/prayer room, and tell me whether ever Bugnini would have tolerated something like that.
Pope Benedict does not seem to have a problem with it.
It will soon be five years since the great day of the announcement of Summorum Pontificum, up to now the key moment of this Pontificate. These five years read like a mirror of the Pontificate itself: much better at great gestures than at day-to-day administration.
Summorum Pontificum was certainly historical in its value, and of vast significance in its implications: so vast in fact, that the Holy Father lacked the courage to enforce it.
Five years later, the implementation of Summorum Pontificum is left to the good will of the local bishop; which means, local bishops being what they are, that it has largely remained lettera morta. After “only” almost four years, Summorum Pontificum even had its own Instruction, Universae Ecclesiae, which made even clearer how the Pope wanted to see his reform implemented, and that nothing would happen to those who just refuse to do it. Basically, this is the history of this pontificate: not deprived of theological breadth, but clearly lacking in practical bite.
Five years have passed, and still very few have the privilege to smell the incense.
Thankfully, many more have woken up.
As one year of the Lord (or, as the BBC Solons would say, of the common era; but they are politically correct, atheist cretins, so we’ll stay by the Year of the Lord) comes to its end and a new one begins, it might be appropriate to stop a moment and look at the great picture, away from the one or other controversy of the day.
When one looks at things from a wider perspective, one becomes immediately aware that nothing is new under the sun. Corrupted priests, heretical or cowardly bishops, and halfway courageous Popes have been such a constant fixture of the Church that the times in which these features have not been so present are justly remembered as luminous parentheses in the often rather corrupted – if glorious in so many ways – prose of Church history. As to us, the laity, I can’t truly say that we as a class would score particularly well when compared with almost all the Christian generations before us, bar the most corrupted.
Still, the Church towers over a great part of the Western society today as it did for most of the past twentieth century, and her inability to do pretty much anything in a halfway decent manner is – if you ask me – far more the result of internal incompetence and cowardice than of external challenges.
I am in Rome as I write, and can’t avoid being stunned at seeing – even more so, because I see the contrast with England – how much of our Christian heritage has survived the systematic attempt of the clergy to bury it under a thick layer or senseless, but comfortable platitudes. I can report with pride that I have detected not one, but several priests going around in cassock as if this was the most normal thing on earth – and no, this was not the case when I lived in Italy -, the confession times are extremely long in all the churches I have cared to look at, the number of masses – always compared with England – rather scary and the masses I have attended to well frequented and reverently celebrated, at least if measured with the depressing standard of our times . Vespers (unknown during my youth), holy hours, processions & Co. are clearly on the increase.
What I notice in Rome is, I think and hope, a small part of a wider movement. Whilst some regions continue to be clearly deficient and some bishops continue to be barely recognisable as Catholics – I think of the Chief Scoundrel Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, or of the Oberfeigling Schoenborn, but there are many more – it seems to me the world is slowly waking up. In the United States the fight against abortion is taking momentum, and the war to legalised sodomy and other sexual perversions has at least started. More and more courageous bishops are being appointed or moved to key positions, and this will not fail to have an effect in the general tone of the discussion in 2012 and beyond. I can’t say the Church is leading the battle, but at least some of the clergy are willing to fight. The people of the tambourine are simply dying, whilst all conservative religious orders are full of seminarians, and the “worker priest” of the Seventies is now a pathetic object of well-deserved mockery.
Of course, much is still to be done. It pains me to see a papacy unable to show more than milk teeth in front of the many challenges coming from outside and – far more gravely – inside, but this is already an improvement compared with the absolute absence of any teeth in the last, say, five decades minus the thirty-tree days of Pope Luciani. It angers me to see that four and a half years after Summorum Pontificum it is still in the power of every bishop whether he wants to consider the latter a command, a suggestion, or a joke – without any fear of reproach, let alone punishment! -, but then I reflect that only five years ago we did not have Summorum Pontificum in the first place.
Not everything is fine, but then it never was. We have, I think, a clear deficit in leadership (I mean by that practical leadership: the ability to keep the shop tidy, and let the personnel behave correctly), but then we often had. We have heretics infiltrating the very core of the Church, but this wasn’t different many times in the past.
I am often accused of being a kind of Catholic Pollyanna, seeing everything through long-term pink spectacles. But you see, I am a Catholic, and cannot see any other way of seeing things and remaining orthodox. Victory is assured, as the Church will never be defeated. Victory is ours already, as we are on the side of the Almighty.
Let us start this 2012 thinking of these simple facts, enjoying the signs of Catholic awakening we see here and there and trying, in our own little way, to do our best to bring our contribution of foot soldiers – which, make no mistake, will bring us hatred, mockery, and social isolation – to this nasty, difficult, glorious but, in the end, victorious battle.
Best wishes to everyone
From Fr Ray Blake’s Blog (who in turn has it from another source) we read this interesting piece about the disgraceful “Tablet” censoring readers’ letters when they show that the people at the Tablet… write things insulting to women.
Now, I do understand that the Tablet has all the right to edit the letters it publishes. But in this case it is very interesting to read what has been edited, and why.
The letter is as follows: the part in red is the part that wasn’t published. The issue is the presence of altar “girls” (I only seem to come across old sanctimonious busybodies; it must be me) at the Tridentine Mass.
As a woman who acts as a local representative in Arundel and Brighton of the Latin Mass Society, I find your claim (Leader, 18 June) that not allowing female altar servers at the Extraordinary Form insults me is quite absurd.
I challenge you to provide your readers with evidence for this bizarre claim that the tradition of male altar service has anything to do with “ritual uncleanliness” (sic). On the contrary, this tradition is quite obviously a reflection of the fact that only men can be ordained as priests, and it is because male service at the altar emphasises the different roles of the sexes in relation to the sacrifice of the Mass that it has special value. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass represents the preservation for future generations of this and many other venerable traditions, and it is for this reason described by Pope Benedict as a “treasure” for the whole Church.
Before you reject these traditions as ‘insulting’ you should reflect on the fact that they formed the basis of the liturgical life of women, as well as men, for countless centuries. Is it not more insulting to women to picture us as helpless and passive oppressed victims of a misogynistic Church for nineteen centuries? Give us a little more credit than that.
Eastbourne, East Sussex
The lady poses the (rhetorical) question brilliantly. Now, these are professional journalists. They can’t say, like a blogger could, “I don’t have time to deal with this now”, or “I prefer to do my research to write about my agenda, not about the writers’ one”. It is, I would say, their very job to expand and say some words about such an interesting question. The answer might, then, be more or less brilliant, but at least it would be an answer.
In this case, it is clear that the “Tablet” has no answer.
It would appear that a new consistory is rather probable within the end of the year.
This is not entirely surprising as the vacancies are now numerous. By the end of the year there will be the possibility of appointing 15 Cardinals (if Pope Benedict wants to remain by the number of 120 elettori, that is). Now, this is at least one eighth of the next conclave, probably more – due to the system which sees Cardinals continuously losing electorate – and it is clear enough that every consistory can, in and of itself, radically change the situation at the next Conclave.
Pope Benedict is still in rather good health, but at 84 and with a past of heart problems I’m sure he is not planning for a reign of JP II’s duration. It is therefore rather important that this consistory injects the right energies into the next conclave.
Much is at stake, as both Summorum Pontificum and the relationship with the SSPX and the other traditionalist groups could be seriously compromised in case the next conclave results in a serious mistake. On the other hand, a careful but noticeable shifting of the centre of gravity towards the right wing would give everyone the serenity necessary for long-term hopes.
Ideally – if you ask me – Pope Benedict would appoint only one or two of the liberals to appease them (Nichols’ appointment is this time, alas, very probable) and choose for all other places men of undoubted liturgical and theological orthodoxy, possibly rather young so that they stay around for a long time.
I wish the Holy Father a long and healthy reign of course, but the demographic reality is what it is and it must be clear to us that this might be the last consistory of this pontificate.
Ad multos annos, Papa! But please, please conservative appointments!
Strange things happen these days at the FSSPX. I have already written about the potential offer of a worldwide ordinariate for Traditionalists, and of the subsequent clarification from Bishop Fellay that no formal offer has been made. On this second occasion, the Italian blog Messa In Latino insisted that the news (Ordinariate on its way of being offered; formal document not ready yet) are authentic and from credible source.
We now have, from the same blog, two pieces of news; the first rather, the second very interesting.
The first is that Bishop Williamson has criticised the offer of Ordinariate (which was clearly expected), at the same time confirming that he has a source of information directly inside of Ecclesia Dei. He adds the definition “Apostolic Ordinariate“, with the adjective not mentioned by Messa in Latino. This sounds like one with one ear inside Ecclesia Dei, and not particularly pleased at what he hears.
The second is that Bishop Fellay has been summoned to Rome, together with his two assistants, for the 14th September, 4th anniversary of the day Summorum Pontificum came into force.
Fellay is supposed to deposit the SSPX’s final relation about the doctrinal talks, but the date is a sensitive, directly relevant and historical one and it is not difficult to imagine that something might be in the making here. What day would be more apt for this second historical step, than the anniversary of when the first came into force…
Against this datum of 14th of September would, on the other hand, speak the fact that in October we will have the questionable “Assisi III” gathering, and it is easy to imagine that the spirits at the SSPX will be rather excited. If, therefore, a formal offer is presented mid-September, the discussion within the SSPX will develop in the weeks leading to the Assisi gathering. Not good for them, and not good for Rome. Good, actually, only for Williamson and the other opposers of full reconciliation.
We will see out this pans out. In the meantime, the clear nervousness of Bishop Williamson and the symbolic date for Bishop Fellay’s meeting with the Pope do give some reason to hope.
I have written two days ago about the interviews of Mgr Pozzo and Bishop Fellay.
As you can read here, my impression was that the distance between the two sides was greatly reduced and that particularly Fellay seemed to indicate that now only a decision from the Vatican was waited for, though I thought that the Vatican would prefer to wait for the funeral of the V-II generation before taking action.
If the generally very well informed Messa In Latino blog is right, this might not be the case.
First the text in Italian:
Il Papa sta per proporre a mons. Fellay la costituzione di un Ordinariato, per regolarizzare la situazione della FSSPX e delle sue comunità alleate, lasciandogli la piena (e indispensabile, visti certi epìscopi in circolazione) autonomia nei confronti dei vescovi diocesani. Alcuni membri di una comunità Ecclesia Dei hanno potuto precisare che questa proposta canonica sarà fatta nel corso del presente mese di giugno a mons. Fellay.
My unworthy translation:
The Pope is going to propose to Mons. Fellay the constitution of an Ordinariate to regolarise the situation of the FSSPX and of the communities allied to it, by leaving to the SPPX the full (and, given certain bishops going around, indispensable) autonomy towards the diocesan bishops. Some members of an Ecclesia Dei community were in a position to confirm that this canonical proposal will be made to Mons. Fellay during the present month of June.
If confirmed, this would be huge. It would mean that in one fell swoop not only the FSSPX would be given full communion again, but there would be a ready platform for all those desirous to attend Mass, and to live the Church, in the old way.
Again a commentary of Messa In Latino:
E’ una soluzione win-win, in cui tutti avrebbero moltissimo da guadagnare: da un lato Roma ricucirebbe una dolorosa rottura e troverebbe truppe fresche e determinate per condurre la battaglia del recupero di quanto gli ultimi decenni hanno dissipato; dall’altro la FSSPX si laverebbe dello stigma di ribellione e di ‘scisma’, potendo così svolgere un apostolato ben più efficace e senza subire i mille pregiudizi che l’accompagnano nella mente del cattolico medio, pur conservando appieno l’attuale libertà di movimento e di azione.
Again, my unworthy translation:
This is a win-win situation, by which everyone would have an awful lot to gain: on the one hand, Rome would heal a painful fracture and would find fresh and determined troops to carry the battle of the recovery of what the last decades have squandered; on the other hand, the FSSPX would wash itself from the stigma of rebellion and “scism”, thus being able to carry on a much more effective apostolate, without having to suffer the thousand prejudices associated to it in the mind of the average Catholic, but still keeping the actual freedom of movement and action in full.
If confirmed, this would be in my eyes as big as Summorum Pontificum.
Please, Please God make this come true…
If you don’t know what the American Catholic Council is, don’t worry: you are not alone.
In short, this is one of those ridiculous outfits which claim to be Catholic whilst clearly being Protestant. From thinking that everyone should be priest, to being in favour of wymmyn priest, to encouraging the usual pervert sexual behaviour, they serve you the whole enchilada of the “dissent” madness. You may ask why they don’t become Protestant as they clearly… already are, but intelligence and logical thinking are graces clearly not given to everyone.
It so happens that this mickey-mouse “catholic” organisation holds a conference in Detroit in the next few days, featuring some of the usual heretical muppets. The event will (would; was supposed to) also host an “ecumenical mass”, which considering the ideas of the organisers screams “liturgical abuses” from very, very far away.
Now the local Archbishop is a certain Vigneron; a man who might possibly not be a sword of Catholic orthodoxy (I seem to recall his diocese being pretty harshly criticised by Michael Voris in the past; I might be wrong) but has certainly the energy to avoid tolerating such a load of manure without reaction.
Therefore, Archbishop Vigneron has made the following:
1) he has not authorised the mass, and
2) he has written a letter to his priests and deacons stating that his questions about the mass have not been answered to his satisfaction, that the whole thing screams of liturgical abuse, and that therefore any deacon or priest who should entertain the unealthy thought of participating in this liturgy runs the risk of being dismissed from the clerical state.
I can picture the “dissident” Protestants-telling-themselves-Catholics now faced with the unpleasant reality of even a “moderate” archbishop throwing around threats of laicisation for deluded feminist/homosexual hotheads, and posed in front of the unpleasant task of having to find a priest in good standing but ready to risk the soutane (if he ever wore one) for them or show that the archbishop can well and truly block them.
Alternatively, they may ask some layman to celebrate a fake mass; or some wymmyn; and what about the dog……
I think of their situation and try to feel sorry for them in their quandary.
Thankfully, I can’t.
Next time you hear someone complaining that in the Tridentine Mass the priests gives his back to the faithful, you may want to ask him the following questions:
1) Is he offended that the people sitting in front of them in the pews turn their back to him?
2) Shouldn’t the Mass, then, be held with the faithful in a nice half circle of one row only?
3) Does he know what a Tabernacle really is? You might have to explain this I’m afraid. When you have explained, you may ask:
4) Has he noticed how the priest is placed relative to the Tabernacle during the New Mass?
5) So who should the priest face: God or the faithful?
Of course you always run the chance of someone answering “the faithful, as God is not offended but the faithful are”.
But at least you’ll know whom you are talking to.
If you have any doubt about the astonishing acting qualities of the Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, you only need to see “The Downfall”, the oppressive and depressive but so utterly human film about the last days of Adolf Hitler and the people in the bunker. Ganz is absolutely breathtaking, leading you to suspect that he was, in a way, more Hitler than Hitler was himself (I had the same impression, it must be said to preserve par condicio, of the great Helen Mirren in “The Queen”).
Ganz conveys the desperation, the hoping against all hope, then the realisation of the approaching end and the atmosphere of Goetterdaemmerung with such clarity and beauty, with such fanatic identification with his character, with such complete realism as to lead you to think whether such a movie would have been possible at all with any other actor than himself. The man was, in fact, so good that a vast number of parodies have been created and put on youtube, all based on his stunning performance.
Why do I mention Bruno Ganz?
Simply because by reading of Archbishop Conti’s sortie against the Tridentine Mass I was instantly reminded of Hitler’s bunker, and of Ganz/Hitler ranting with all the rage of impotence.
This is, my dear readers, what it is all about: the rants of an old guard, of people who in the meantime hear, feel and smell defeat from every part of the front line, whilst the traddie front likes the smell of Universae Ecclesiae in the morning.
Granted, changes in the Church happen far more slowly than world wars, and it would be too optimistic to say that trendy bishops are already living their April 1945. They aren’t yet. But you can compare Summorum Pontificum with the D-Day and Universae Ecclesiae with the fall of St. Lo and the resulting opening of the Falaise Gap that allowed the Allied to start their march towards Berlin.
Fairly soon, then, Bruno Ganz could be asked to impersonate a trendy bishop desperately trying to save what has remained of liturgical dances, altar “girls” of, say, 67, clownish celebrants, and extraordinary ministers, whilst his adjutants tell him with faces of purest stone that one after the other all bastions of resistance are falling and the Tridentine Mass will soon – when his successor is appointed – conquer the Cathedral.
Bruno Ganz would be, of course, just the man for the job. But thinking of it, Archbishop Conti wouldn’t be a bad candidate, either.
He is rehearsing already.
If you wanted proof of how much must change within today’s Church, look no further than Glasgow, where Archbishop Conti is now approaching retirement.
Think of this: he is 77, preparing himself to go away, and still he can’t resist shooting at Summorum Pontificum. As far as I know, Archbishop Conti is a rather orthodox one, but I for myself won’t be sad when he retires.
The way Archbishop Conti chooses for his farewell gift to faithful Catholics who love the Tridentine Mass is the usual subtle distinguo that men of church use when they want to go against the will of the Holy Father, plus some random and totally gratuitous insult to the Mass they love.
Let us read his words:
even with the most recent instruction from Ecclesia Dei, there is no requirement or indeed encouragement for any of us to promote the so-called Extraordinary Form
I for one don’t like the use of the words “so-called” to define the Extraordinary Form. This might be literally true, but the words so-called are far more often used for something technically or legally true, but whose moral validity is devalued or mocked: the so-called homosexual marriages; the so-called Archbishop of Westminster, and the like. The impression is strong here that Archbishop Conti has a dose of contempt for the Tridentine Mass. If this is the case, shame on him.
Then there is the Jesuitical observation that there is no requirement to promote. Well no there isn’t. But there is no requirement to promote the Novus Ordo either, which doesn’t stop the Archbishop from defending it. This barely masked hostility, this hiding behind one’s finger to try to justify the boycott of the Tridentine, is something I hope will become more and more rare as the people of Conti’s generation go to a more or less deserved retirement.
A second controversial statement of the Archbishop is the following one:
I venture to suggest that there is no call for it, or pastoral reason to change what has become the settled practice of the Archdiocese
This is plain contradictory. You can’t declare that there should be no promotion, and then say that there is no demand. If you don’t say to your people that there is this possibility, or give them the alternative and the choice, well of course there won’t be any demand! It is well-known that the application of Summorum Pontificum all over Scotland has been dismal; to say that there is no demand after such a boycott is tantamount to a provocation.
It doesn’t end here, as the Archbishop wants to leave us in no doubt as to his profound dislike for the Tridentine Mass. He goes on – among other things – saying what follows:
The awesomeness of the holy exchange can be manifested in the way in which we celebrate the Mass, avoiding all that could trivialize the sacred, without any extravagant gestures, but on the contrary taking advantage of the rich potential within the rites themselves to enhance the significance of what we do by way of the dignity of our actions, the singing of those parts of the Mass which are marked for song and wearing vestments of noble simplicity.
This becomes now utter childish, and plain stupid.
The bishop implies (but doesn’t say explicitly) that the Tridentine:
1) trivialises the Mass,
2) leads to extravagant gestures, and
3) leads to extravagant vestments.
To 1), it is rather simple to answer that the Archbishop must be rather living on a different planet, if he thinks that it is the Tridentine that trivialises the sacred. It is the Novus Ordo that does that, Your Grace, and I hope you had a good sleep.
To 2), Archbishop Conti has evidently forgotten what a Tridentine Mass is, because if there is a rite in which every gesture of the Priest is slow, solemn and extremely dignified it is the Tridentine Mass.
To 3), it sounds to me as a mockery and gratuitous provocation that those who defend the Novus Ordo and the endless array of clownesque vestments it has originated think they have the right to complain about the solemnity and beauty of the traditional vestments. The priest is Alter Christus and during Mass the greatest miracle on Earth happens: that this shouldn’t be dealt with in a way, with a solemnity and with vestments that reflect this simple truth lets me doubt whether this truth is believed in the first place.
Once again: Archbishop Conti is going, but he is still shooting. He is obviously afraid that after him, the resistance to the Tridentine mass will crumble in his diocese, and that his successor will be chosen among those who are well disposed toward the Tridentine.
I wish Archbishop Conti a long and healthy retirement, during which he will have more and more opportunities to realise the error of his ways by assisting to numerous, reverently celebrated Masses in that form that should have been never abandoned in the first place. Thank God, Archbishops go and the Mass of the Ages stays.
The poet Horace famously wrote,
multa renascentur, quae iam cecidere, cadentque quae nunc sunt in honore.
(“Many things shall be revived which already have perished, and many things shall perish which are now held in honor”)
He was speaking, if I remember correctly, rather of words and usages in a language, but because of the beauty of the phrase his words assumed a universal meaning.
Archbishop Conti should reflect on these words: whether he likes it or not, the Tridentine is on its way to resurgence and the Novus Ordo, very clearly, on its way to oblivion.
CNA has a beautiful Papal intervention, aimed at stressing the necessity of good evangelisation work.
One must say, this Pope is good at talking. Take for example these two phrases:
“It is important to make them understand that being Christian is not a type of outfit that one wears in private or on special occasions, but something living and totalizing, capable of taking all that is good in modernity.”
“proclaiming Jesus Christ, the sole Savior of the world, is more complex today than in the past, but our task continues to be the same as at the beginning of our history. The mission hasn’t changed, just as the enthusiasm and courage that motivated the apostles and first disciples should not change.”
I see a slight problem, though. To talk the talk is all good and fine, but from a Pope able to talk the talk with such clarity, one would expect the ability to walk the walk with far more energy and determination than this is the case now. It seems to me more and more that Pope Benedict sees himself not as an enforcer of orthodoxy, but as one whose task is to prepare the way for future orthodoxy. He often gives to me the impression that he is working so that his successors may act, but without acting directly with anywhere near the energy that would be required.
Summorum Pontificum was obviously huge, and Universae Ecclesiae provides the priests and faithful (after, if I may say so, too many years of inaction) with valid instruments to improve its implementation. What I miss, though, is the concrete action on the ground, the factual providing for robust evangelisation rather than the talking about it; in short, the walk.
We still are afflicted with bishops like Nourrichard (Benedict’s appointment to his present position) and Fonlupt (whose very recent appointment even sparked a reaction in form of a letter from French priests); we have an Archbishop of Westminster (also a Benedict’s appointment to his present position) openly boasting that he is nuanced about homosexual relationships and doesn’t know whether he will celebrate their “marriages”. If you read around this blog, you’ll find many more examples, but you get my drift: evangelisation is best made by first putting one’s house in order.
The Church is not in order. The number of bishops with either heterodox views or without the guts to defend orthodoxy is staggering. The situation is so bad, that when a bishop dares to do his job properly this makes huge waves, so unexpected it is. Many of these liberal, heterodox or cowardly bishops have been appointed, and continue to be appointed, by Pope Benedict and I am sorry to say so, but as long as this continues every beautiful talk about the need of a new evangelisation will sound little more than verbal decoration.
Make no mistake, I am a big fan of Pope Benedict’s reforms and I think that, as a Pope, he is a huge improvement on his saintly but catastrophic predecessor. Still, I think that he will be remembered rather as a Pope who prepared the ground for concrete action, than as one who acted decisively himself.
Summorum Pontificum is no concrete action if after four years we still have very few Latin Masses, and nice talks about the needs of evangelisation are no concrete action if the evangelisation is then left to the devices of the Nourrichards of this world, whom the Pontiff himself appoints. Concrete action is to take care that the sheep are provided with good shepherds, and that the shepherds take care that the priests are sound.
Evangelisation via television doesn’t work, much less evangelisation via “encouragement speech” to people whose theology and praxis is almost beyond repair. Evangelisation is done from the pulpit; with a reverent celebration at the altar; with a strong defiance of unChristian politicians; with an insisted, frontal assault on secular thinking.
Most of all, evangelisation is done by forcing the Nourrichards of the world to march allineati e coperti like as many soldiers, or by getting rid of them without delay.
I know, this is in Italian. But what would be the use of your humble correspondent, if he wasn’t able to give a little help when needed…
It turns out that twenty-one French priests have written to the Head of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Ouellet, to ask him for… better shepherds. This after the latest appointment, the one of the apparently notorious bishop Fonlupt (see above a photo of his in unmistakable clerical garments….) , left once again much to be desired.
The letter has been signed, though Messa In Latino doesn’t report the names. Also noticeable is the decision not to allow any seminarian to sign, after a similar appeal from Milan seminarians to have Summorum Pontificum applied in their own diocese led to inordinate thundering and unpleasant consequences.
Messa in Latino puts it, as always, in a refreshingly blunt way:
La media dei vescovi di Germania, Austria, Svizzera, Francia, è da asilo per lunatici; in Italia e Spagna, dove non siamo caduti così in basso, la media è comunque mediocre e di desolante immobilismo.
The average of the bishops in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France is at madhouse level; in Italy and Spain, where we haven’t sunk so low, the average is still mediocre and marked by a depressing total absence of action”
Personally, I must say that one begins to see something vaguely approaching a harder stance. It hadn’t happened for very long, surely, that two bishops were kicked out in a matter of months, and three in less than a year. Still, what – I think – must end is the mentality by which an appointment is the result of a compromise between the diverging desires of the Pontiff (for an orthodox man) and of the local clergy (for a lunatic, or a heretic). In the end, there is no way protests from liberals can be avoided and appointing liberal bishops will not appease them (as if appeasement were a working strategy, ever), but only make them more vocal.
Summorum Pontificum is, I think, a point in case. A very lax enforcement of the clear dispositions of that historic motu proprio didn’t facilitate at all a prompt reception of its clear message; on the contrary, it encouraged a huge number of Western bishops into thinking that SP could be boycotted as long as necessary, and destroyed as soon as practicable. Only Universae Ecclesiae will put an end to this; and again, only if seriously enforced.
“Messa in Latino” puts the importance of the matter in such a beautiful way, that I can’t resist reporting and translating the entire concept:
La prima preoccupazione di questo sito è sempre stata per la scelta di buoni vescovi e per questo abbiamo cercato di seguirne le nomine, prima ancora che parlare di liturgia. Perché è dalle risorse umane che dipendono le sorti di un’azienda; e certo, se la Chiesa fosse un’azienda, sarebbe già fallita da molto tempo. Il fatto che la barca vada avanti nonostante certi rematori, è la prova storica dell’assistenza divina. Nondimeno, cerchi un po’ la Congregazione per i vescovi di facilitare il compito alla Provvidenza.
The most pressing care of this site has always been the choice of good bishops and this is why we have tried to follow their appointments, even before talking about liturgy. This, because it is from the human resources that the furtunes of a company depend; and certainly, if the Church had been a company she would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. The fact that the barque continues to go on notwithstanding such rowers is the historical proof of the Divine assistance. Still, the Congregation For Bishops should try to make the task of Providence easier”.
I am confident that Cardinal Ouellet will make Providence’s task somewhat easier; though episodes like Fonlupt’s appointment show that the process will not be as speedy as we would wish.
From the German site Summorum Pontificum, a communique’ of the German SSPX about Universae Ecclesiae:
Two points are particularly noteworthy:
1. Zur Frage des Papstamtes
Die Priesterbruderschaft St. Pius X. anerkennt Papst Benedikt XVI. als rechtmäßigen Papst und als Oberhaupt der katholischen Kirche. […]
1. On the question of the Papal Office:
The Society of St. Pius X acknowledges Pope Benedict XVI as legitimately reigning Pope and as the Head of the Catholic Church. […]
It follows a clear distinction between them and the Sedevacantists. We knew that already, but I think there is a lot of confusion around.
2. Zur Frage der neuen Messe
Die Bruderschaft bestreitet nicht die Gültigkeit der neuen Messform. Wenn sie korrekt gefeiert wird – was an vielen Orten allerdings nicht mehr selbstverständlich ist – ist sie eine gültige Messfeier. […]
Again, my translation:
2. On the question of the New Mass
The Society doesn’t question the validity of the new form of Mass. When it is celebrated correctly – which in several places is not an automatic occurrence anymore – it is a valid Mass celebration […].
It follows, again, a rather convoluted explanation that the Novus Ordo be valid, but the SSPX has doubt about its “legality” or “legitimacy” or “lawfulness” (Rechtsmaessigkeit), an expression that I can’t explain to you – in my simple world, if you recognise its validity it means that you recognise the right of the Church to celebrate it – and would make a clarification of the SSPX very welcome.
Still, I find it positive that the SSPX in Germany has explicitly intervened making clear that they recognise both the Pope’s legitimacy and authority, and the validity of the New Mass. It is sad to hear incorrect or outright mendacious information about the Society and this kind of intervention is just what is required to deal with it. I wish the SSPX would intervene more often on these points, as otherwise they offer the flank to misinformation or outright calumniation.
From Una Voce‘s press release, published on Rorate Caeli.
“what is perfectly clear is that the Holy Father has fully restored to the universal Church the traditional Roman rite as enshrined in the liturgical books of 1962, that the rubrics in force in 1962 must be strictly observed, and that Latin and the Usus Antiquior must be taught in seminaries where there is a pastoral need. And this pastoral need must be determined by those who wish to benefit from Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae, and not be decided by those many in authority whose natural desire is to prevent their implementation.
Am I the only one noticing a new attitude, a new confidence, and the smell of victory?
A beautiful example of how the internet is changing the way faithful organise themselves from the always excellent Messa in Latino.
Just a couple of days after Universae Ecclesiae, a reader is published with a public invitation to those living in and near Palermo to write to him to organise a stable group for the Tridentine Mass.
Mind, though, that in Palermo the Tridentine Mass is already available (in Italy the situation is, whilst patchy, certainly better than in the UK) and the scope of the faithful is simply to have more of them.
The internet (blogs, meetup, twitter, facebook, and the like) now allows conservative minded Catholics to rapidly get in touch with each other and make their voices heard. Whilst the gathering together of like-minded people has always been possible, it is fair to say that it has never been as easy as today; similarly, exposing the boycott of a bishop has never been so easy, too.
Universae Ecclesiae is going to give another spallata, a powerful shoulder’s push to the resistance of liberal bishops and now that it is explicitly said that no minimum number is necessary for a stable group, the boycott of the Tridentine Mass will become more and more difficult. Young priests able and willing to celebrate will certainly be available and their number will, in the next years, certainly increase.
Better times ahead.
You would have imagined that the bishops would have been not slow in reacting to Universae Ecclesiae, but I’m sure the speed with which Archbishop Nichols has started to fire his Big Bertha against the Tridentine post is nothing less than remarkable.
Mere hours after the publication of the Instruction, Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols was already intent at the first trial shots. His analysis of Universae Ecclesiae doesn’t stress the huge importance of the work in terms of the obligations it puts on bishops, or the renewed statement of the importance given to the Tridentine Mass, or its being every bit the equal in rank to the Novus Ordo.
Instead, his analysis focuses on the (now reduced, though he doesn’t say) powers of the bishops and, most importantly, on the stressing of the only weak point of the Instruction: the absence of compulsory instruction in the celebration of the Tridentine in Seminaries.
It is really telling of the Archbishop’s forma mentis that he would immediately point out to the only point that is not overtly in favour of the mounting tide of Catholic conservatism. It is, at the same time, very telling about the spirit and attitude with which at least the bishops of England and Wales will react (react is here truly the right word) to Universae Ecclesiae.
Just a few hours after the release of the instruction, ++ Nichols’ trumpet has gathered his own around him and made clear to them that they may start preparing to battle. As so often in life, the why something is said tells you much more about an issue than what is, in the specific case, being said. This is clearly the case here, with the first distinguos clearly giving the start for the slow, silent, relentless work of sabotage now approaching. The Italians call this seemingly innocuous, but in fact very dangerous sabotage muro di gomma, or “rubber wall”. It is clear here that Archbishop Nichols’ message to his troops is “we may not be able to stop this, but we will certainly try”.
We will see whether he has any success. In my opinion, a prompt enforcement from the part of Ecclesia Dei will cause things to run smoothly from the start, whereas uncertainties in the enforcement will condemn this instruction to certain, if perhaps rather slow, death.
Let us hope the first will be the case.
Universae Ecclesiae is, then, finally out.
In the next days there will be plenty of time to review and examine in detail the aspects and the reactions to this Ecclesia Dei document. I will here only write some short observations about what I think are the main events.
1) The Tridentine Mass is here to stay. No ifs, no buts. Those Bishops who had hoped that the Tridentine would have been relegated to small group of traditionalists have been utterly defeated. The two rites exist alongside, a very powerful way to say what was meant from the beginning but was never understood from the professional deaf. In my eyes, the very expression “Extraordinary Form” should now slowly be abandoned to say things as they were said before the Great Madness: Tridentine Mass, and that’s that.
2) This document is directed to the Bishops. It basically says to them what they must now start to do to do things properly.
3) At the same time, the documents takes the control of the process – at least in theory – out of the Bishops’ hand and puts it in the hands of Ecclesia Dei. Ecclesia Dei will decide about controversies, and bishops can then (merely) escalate the conflict to the Signatura Apostolica. This is in my eyes the clearest sign of the punishment of the bishops for having failed to give honest application to Summorum Pontificum, and of the mistrust they have earned in this matter. How the liberals have fallen.
4) The “stable group” has explicitly no minimum number. This means in extreme cases……. three people? Or just two? No priest can say that the group is not big enough, or not stable enough. Similarly, no priest can say that the group can’t have the Tridentine because they are not traditionalists in SSPX-style. This will be fun.
5) The 1962 missal applies. No bollocking around. No altar girls, no communion in the hand, no communion in standing, no strange vestments, no strange innovations. The praxis of the 1962 missal rules. You can’t kneel? You can receive in standing rather than not receive (as in the past). You can kneel? Well, then….
6) Religious orders can have their own Tridentine as they used to have. The hunt is open for a good Tridentine Mass with the specificities of the orders (say: the Franciscan, or the Dominican one, etc). This will be good in order to see whether some vitality has remained in some of those orders (say: the Dominicans) or whether they are already doomed (say: the Jesuits, the Franciscans).
7) Unfortunately, no provision for the Ambrosian Rite. As Universae Ecclesiae strengthens the praxis of the Tridentine Mass, I’m sure extra provisions will come in due time.
8 ) Only weak point: no compulsory training in the Tridentine for seminarians. This is odd. In the very moment in which it is clearly said that the Tridentine exists alongside the Novus ordo, this “alongside” is not made compulsory. It sounds like a driving school training you in the use of the stick, but not of the clutch pedal.
Clearly, enforcement is where this document will stand or fail as a useful instrument to the practice of the Tridentine Mass. If Ecclesia Dei shows a robust hand in dealing with the unavoidable resistance of the bishops, things will progress smoothly. If not, this will only be added to the long list of documents made to be ignored (a beautiful example is Veterum Sapientia). Also, the silent threat to the priests of liberal dioceses will, at least initially, remain. It is only when the number of Tridentine masses spreads, that many priests will be able to introduce it without fear of retaliation.
I remember very well the alarm at the clearly attempted sabotage of these instructions. It is beautiful, in this day of Fatima, to remember those frantic days and celebrate today’s relief and hope.
This document is a knockout blow to liberal bishops. They will get up and continue the fight, no doubt; but after Universae Ecclesiae, they must feel rather groggy.
Tomorrow is the 13th May, the day of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin to the children of Fatima.
It migh tbe a coincidence that this be the day for the publication of Universae Ecclesiae, the new Ecclesia Dei document with the instructions about Summorum Pontificum. But I love to think that it isn’t.
The document would appear to be not good, but very good and if the legal part is followed by a robust enforcement (perhaps with the one or other exemplary punishment of some of the most reluctanct bishops, following a pattern that has started to take form in the last months), then this might be an important step forward toward a Church where everyone has reasonable access to a Tridentine Mass.
If I may allow myself the thought, I think it’s fair to say that on the day of John Paul II’s death – around only six years ago – no one would have imagined that things would have progressed so far, so fast. Again, we now need a healthy enforcement.
In all this there was, mind you, no schism. Schism is, I think, rather an excuse for inactivity than a real danger.