Such is the name of the famous, long-awaited Instruction on Summorum Pontificum.
More on this on Friday, when the text is released.
“Universae Ecclesiae” is expected to be far from the original fears, but not entirely satisfactory, either.
EDIT: By following the comments on Father Z’s blog it would appear that Universae Ecclesiae is to be, contrarily to what I have written above, extremely satisfactory! And this, in the day of Fatima!
From the reader “Knight of Malta” on Rorate Caeli. Too beautiful to ignore…
At the moment of going to …. sleep, this news reaches me from Father Z’s blog. As it pertains to an important news (and very dangerous development) possibly in the making here in England regarding the Tridentine Mass, this is very pertinent.
As you can read here, the Latin Mass Society mentions an article from the New Liturgical Movement published last August. This is a commentary on Summorum Pontificum from a German canon lawyer, Mr. Weishaupt (incidentally: “wise head” in German….) carrying a preface from cardinal Burke himself. The commentary is, therefore, endorsed by official Vatican authority.
On the matter of the altar girls, the commentary states that (emphases mine):
[…..]To answer these questions , the commentary correctly applies two general canonical principles.
The first principle requires that liturgical norms, which were in force in 1962, are to be diligently observed for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, for these norms protect the integrity of the Roman rite as contained in the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. The second principle states that the subsequent liturgical discipline is only to be introduced in the Extraordinary Form, if this discipline affects a right of the faithful, which follows directly from the sacrament of baptism and serves the eternal salvation of their souls.
The application of these two principles to the cases mentioned leads to the conclusion that neither the service at the altar by persons of the female sex nor the exercise of the lay ministries of lector or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion belong to the basic rights of the baptized. Therefore, these recent developments, out of respect for the integrity of the liturgical discipline as contained in the Missale Romanum of 1962, are not to be introduced into the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite.
This is clear enough, very well argued and, as already said, already provided with Cardinal Burke’s seal of approval. It is simply unthinkable that Cardinal Burke would have even thought of endorsing the work, if in disagreement with such basic applications as this.
1) no altar girls.
2) no lay lectors, and
3) no extraordinary ministers
Everything as in the good old times, and no contamination with suspicious practices, or with practices having their origins in liturgical abuses successively tolerated like the said altar girls.
This should ensure that the old ladies of the feminist persuasion steer well clear of the Tridentine Mass.
That the Tridentine can tolerate no communion in the hand and no communion in standing, had already been said here.
Better days ahead.
I read from Father Z’s blog that a priest in England would be planning a TLM with…….. female servers. Why am I thinking “spare ribs with ice cream on top”……..?
I can think only of the following:
1) Priest is not as intelligent as he should. It happens in the best dioceses.
2) Priest is one of those who always want to make everyone happy, and ends up angering everyone.
3) Priest has recognised that the advance of the Tridentine cannot be stopped, and wants to apply a sort of “Bugnini treatment” to it. If I can’t stop it, I’ll ruin it.
4) Priest doesn’t understand what a Tridentine Mass is: a traditional mass. It is like wanting to celebrate a traditional Requiem mass, and asking Eminem to compose the music.
5) Priest loves publicity. And praise from the wymyn.
6) Priest is Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
I am curious to see how said priest imagines the rest: How about communion standing and on the hand (and Cardinal Burke be damned)? Will there be a launch of M&M’s among the pews after communion? How about liturgical dancers after the introductory rites? Or letting the faithful sing “We Are The Champions” in answer to “Ite, Missa est”?
I really can’t think what moves people to this kind of rather childish, kitsch, counterproductive initiative. The Tridentine Mass is a Weltanschauung, not a matter of regulations. You can’t have Eminem setting it in music just because, say, no one has expressly forbidden it. You celebrate the Tridentine Mass because you honour tradition, not because you want to demolish it.
These events always remind me of those old people dressing ridiculously in order not to appear “outdated” by the young generations; as a result they look even older than they are, stupid to boot, and get no respect from anyone.
Methinks, exactly what is going to happen to the above mentioned priest.
Know Your Mass (that you can also buy at amazon, but I wanted to break a lance for the “Angelus Press”) is a beautiful “cartoon” explaining the Traditional Mass to children of a certain age (probably nine or ten, I would say).
The reasons why its reading is, in my eyes, beneficial to everyone are as follows:
1) this is not a children’s book. This is a book explaining a complicated thing like the Tridentine Mass in a way that can be followed by an alert child.
2) The cartoon form is extremely well suited to the explanation of the gestures and the rhythm of the Mass.
3) The book was published in 1954, in times above every suspicion.
4) It is fully illustrated, not partially illustrated. It doesn’t stop here and then to explain with images, it translates the entire Mass in images.
5) It reports every word of the liturgy. Nothing is left out or jumped out of convenience.
6) It has useful explanations as to the structure of the Mass, e.g. why certain parts of the Mass recur twice.
7) It can be read a bit at a time, and through the fiction of the “cartoon” allows a better explanation of every gesture of the priest than even a DVD would allow.
I also have “The most beautiful thing this side of heaven”, the DVD about the Tridentine Mass with the attached explanatory booklet. Trust me, this is better.
Through its format, accessible to young people as well as adults, this book is perfectly suited to unite the entire family around the Tridentine Mass. If you are interested in the liturgy (and you are, otherwise you’d be singing silly song in church instead of reading this) you cannot do better than to buy this.
In the rather disconcerting matter of the Instruction on Summorum Pontificum, extremely clear signals are now being received a bit everywhere that the Instruction is going to be (largely) rather an improvement on the existing Motu Proprio than the sabotage attempted in the rather dangerous corridors of the Vatican.
That things are largely improving is now proven by the fact that a “trendy” magazine (whose name I do not want to make in case it should bring them two or three clicks) basically confirms the conservative content of the Instruction in its latest draft.
If this matter will end up with a lieto fine (that is: with only minor damage but with the official, if certainly ignored, clear indication that Summorum Pontificum is here to stay) I think that some lesson will have to be learned, like for example:
1) That whilst the corridors of the Curia are now certainly more conservative than they were 15 or 20 years ago, conservatism does not necessarily mean favour for the Tridentine.
2) That this Holy Father – good person as he is – has his own people so little under control, that they can dare to think to partially undo the most important provision of his papacy under his very nose. Think whether this could have ever happened to St. Pius X, or Pius XI, or Pius XII! A rather alarming lack of leadership is apparent here and if I were allowed to respectfully voice my opinion in the Holy Father’s presence I’d suggest that he might dedicate less time to writing and more time to selecting the right people, demanding that they work properly and controlling that they do as they are told. There’s a time to be a theologian and a time to be a Pope, methinks; particularly when episodes happen which, like this one, clearly point out to what can only be a diffused praxis instead of a single episode thought out by imaginative prelates.
3) That the leak has been providential and very well-timed, and that it pays to voice one’s dismay when things are attempted that are a shame to Catholicism. Leaks are, at times, good for one’s Church, and for one’s liver.
I will not translate the (as so often: how refreshing!) rather harsh word of Messa In Latino to those who say – as the weak and spineless are bound to say – that it is oh so unchristian to criticise a document before it is out. Rather let it go out, would their recipe be; after which they’ll invariably say that now ithat t is out it doesn’t make any sense to complain…..
The fearful will always have a reason why they don’t want to battle, but they’ll prefer to call it “love for peace” or even “obedience”. Bad Catholicism, if you ask me.
This battle has been (apparently) won because brave people (first of all Messa in Latino and Rorate Caeli) have had the gut to call a spade a spade and to do it out loud.
Nothing un-Catholic in that. On the contrary!
But we certainly need more commitment in the Curia, and a more decisive action from the very top.
Rumours become more numerous that the upcoming “Instruction” will not be as bad as previously feared.
I do not like to be cynical, but in my eyes one has the duty to look at reality with open eyes.
That things are not working as they should, I think everyone will agree. One should ask himself, then, what would allow things to work and whether the upcoming instructions will cause a movement in that direction.
Let us see the main positive points that are emerging.
1) There will be a clear reference to the fact that Summorum Pontificum is here to stay.
This seems, prima facie, positive. The only problem is that we knew that already. Words are, therefore, going to add themselves to other words. Not much here, methinks.
2) There will be a renewed encouragement to the bishops to give application to the motu proprio.
Fair enough, but: what’s the effect of this? It’s not that the bishops needed to be informed of the fact, and it is not that they gave a damn anyway. The question then is: what does this change?
3) There will a renewed explanation that the faithful have a right to the Tridentine whenever a “group of faithful” requests it.
This is almost a mockery as how many people make a group of faithful is – astonishingly, almost four years after Summorum Pontificum – still not said. Therefore, the bishops are going to ignore the Holy Father’s word in the future exactly as they have done in the past, positively encouraged from the fact that the Holy Father shows no inclination whatsoever to give some normative content to his now often-heard and little-enforced encouragements.
4) Seminarians should be trained not only in Latin, but in the Tridentine specifically.
This is also involuntarily funmy. Seminarians should have been trained in Latin all the time. They don’t, because those leading the seminaries don’t give a damn.
If they have not given a damn these last 45 years, what lets the Holy Father thinks that they are going to stop now?
Thie entire affair reminds me of the unruly school class with a weak teacher who continues to say: “Children, children! Behave!” and when the children do not behave, thinks that what is needed is to say: “Children, children! Behave!” once again…
From what has transpired up to now, this is what this instruction will be: in the best of cases a reiteration of weak encouragements, something the bishops will use as a check list of the things they are going to continue to ignore; in the worst of cases, a subtle but clear indication that as long as this Pope lives there’s going to be no fight for the Tridentine and when the next Pope is elected, the dices are going to be thrown again….
In both cases, you can imagine whether anything is going to change in the way the Tridentine is boycotted.
See here a very optimistic Michael Voris about the soon to be released Instruction regarding Summorum Pontificum, about which much has been written on these pages.
Voris’ message is that his sources indicate two powerful measures in favour of the scope of Summorum Pontificum:
1) the instruction that one part of the seminarians (in every seminary, I assume) is to be instructed in the celebration of the Tridentine, and
2) words aiming at appealing to the bishops to stop boycotting Summorum Pontificum.
Whilst this sounds good at first sight, i can’t avoid posing myself the following questions:
1) what is of the already leaked – and confirmed from several sources – restrictions to the celebration of the Tridentine in the Diocese of Milan (Ambrosian Rite)?
2) What is of the also leaked rumours of ban of celebration of the Tridentine for ordinations, and of the old version of the Masses of religious orders?
Voris doesn’t say anything on this. One hopes that the outcry has been the end of those provisions. They were most certainly there as confirmed even by those who disputed their devastating influence on the edifice of Summorum Pontificum. But it goes on:
3) Why should the rectors of the seminaries take heed of what Pope Benedict says, perhaps giving some lips service if they really can’t avoid it, and
4) why should the bishops stops ignoring the Pope’s wishes now, when ignoring him is exactly what they have been doing all these years, unpunished.
At the root of the problems are not the bishops – whose allergy to proper Catholicism was always obvious – but Pope Benedict himself, who doesn’t do anything concrete to care that his “reform of the reform” is not only proclaimed, but seriously put to work. What we have, on the contrary, noticed is that those very same bishops who drag their feet and undermine his work are not only not punished, but are often promoted. There is nothing in Pope Benedict’s work that says that he doesn’t want to be only an innovator, but an enforcer of his own innovations.
On the other hand, the day Pope Benedict decides to force his bishops to acquiescence – I doubt it very much, but would be extremely happy to be contradicted by facts – he will not need any new documents, the removal of a dozen of the hardest cases being a rather more effective and immediate mean to this end.
As it is today, the impression is that Pope Benedict is happy to be the one who paves the way for a recovery of traditional Catholicism, without being the one who actually takes care that this recovery also happens in the lives of Catholics the world over. He probably thinks that this gradualisms will – as the Italians would say – save the goat of the “reform of the reform” together with the cabbages of the internal peace.
We will see. For the moment, I allow myself not to share Voris’ optimism both on the content of the Instruction, and on its ultimate application.
Messa In Latino has the latest news about the improvident instruction on Summorum Pontificum and the news are a mixed bag.
All the bad elements of the instructions are confirmed and seem now rather definitive: the non-application of Summorum Pontificum to the Latin rites who are different from the Roman rite, unfortunately, stays. This means that the diocese of Milan and – if memory serves – part of those of Lugano (5,000,000 faithful, Ambrosian rite) will be destined to be a Tridentine desert unless, as it has been suggested, the next Archbishop doesn’t provide a small “Summorum Pontificum” ad hoc. This is very, very bad and one can’t avoid seeing in this decision a kind of frightful ammunition given to the Sixty-eighters. Same situation for the rites of the religious orders (like the Dominicans), where the blow is a bit softened by the rather easier way to get over the ban (consent of superior suffices if the Mass is cum populo; no bishop required and no authorisation whatsoever if the mass is not cum populo).
Also confirmed is the fact that the Tridentine will not be used for ordinations, not even if authorised by the Bishop. Ordinations with Tridentine Mass will – obviously – remain for traditionalist orders, but that’s that. Interestingly, Messa in Latino points out to the fact that in France one-quarter of seminarians describes themselves as traditionalists even if not members of one of the traditionalist orders. This will certainly bring further and well-deserved sympathies – and probably further vocations, also fully deserved – to the SSPX.
In the disappointment of this and other, so to speak, minor bad news (all of them already known), one or two elements of improvements seem to have paved their way into the instruction, no doubt in order to give some token satisfaction to the very dissatisfied, ehm, serious Catholics. The two improvements would appear as follows:
a) in case of controversy between priest and Bishop, Ecclesia Dei decides. This is not much of a consolation as a priest is required to start an open war with his bishop before Ecclesia Dei is required to intervene in the first place; this is very far away from the original hope that Ecclesia Dei could appoint churches within the diocese to the celebration of Tridentine masses whenever the bishop slept. Still, it might make some bishop a bit more prudent, when he has a priest who is clearly imprudent.
b) The teaching of Latin in the seminaries is to be reintroduced. This is a bit of a joke as officially the teaching of Latin has never been abolished (Veterum Sapientia, I have written about it here) and the entire matter sounds not entirely credible, but one registers at least the token consolation and point of principle.
Summa summarum, the instruction remains very bad; a disappointment and a mistake, and a weapon in the hands of the trendies, but with some small half improvement and symbolic concessions meant to sweeten the pill.
Mala tempora currunt.
I have often read harsh criticism about the disobedience of Archbishop Lefebvre in consecrating the four bishops after becoming fed up with JP II’s waiting games.
I will readily admit that this was an act of disobedience. But in the simple world in which I live there is disobedience and disobedience. A son may disobey to his father in rebellion at his father’s authority qua authority, or he may disobey to his father because the father himself insists in misbehaving. The first disobedience is out of rebellion, the second out of a higher form of respect for the father’s role and obedience to the God-given commandment. The first disobedience is aimed at making a father out of a son; the second is aimed at making of a bad father a good one. The first disobedience aims at destroying traditional, God-given rules; the second at preserving them.
If your father is drunk and you don’t obey to his damaging – or outright wicked – orders not because you don’t want him to be your father, but because you want him to stop being drunk you are still being disobedient, but you are certainly a good son.
I have therefore not many qualms with the Society of St. Pius X and the only reason why I never attended their mass (whose sacramental validity I do not doubt in the least, nor does the Vatican) is my subterranean terror of finding myself surrounded by a couple of dozens of bony, angry nutcases eager to recruit “the new one” to their poisonous cause with intemperate rants about the Antichrist in Rome and the like. I might be entirely wrong of course; but in these matters I am a rather sensitive, delicate flower who prefers to avoid unpleasant experiences.
In the same spirit, I look with a certain sympathy to those cheeky priests who realise that they have been tested with an uncommonly disgraceful bishop and decide to try to twist his arm on this or that matter (the recent episode or Thiberville having as disgraceful protagonist bishop Nourrichard comes to mind).
In all these cases, I see disobedience as a higher form of obedience. Obedience to the Church as an institution rather than obedience to (say) a liberal baboon; or obedience to what the Church commands rather than to what a bunch of naive (or faithless) bishops wanting to play “cool” and “popular” think is all right and very Catholic indeed.
But you see, all these disobedient priests and bishops still obey to that higher order that is the Church that has always been. They haven’t tailored their beliefs to what suits them; they haven’t come out with a new theology; they have just continued to believe what has been transmitted to them by countless generations of Catholics! “The Bishop’s – or Pope – good servant, but God’s first” could they say paraphrasing Thomas More. Whilst I agree that this behaviour is not advisable bar in the most extreme circumstances, I can’t see in it a menace to the Church, but rather a menace to the liberals and modernists within her. Never can the Church be damaged by those who, confronted with dramatic and sweeping changes, upheld what the Church has always been. To think so is, in my eyes, a contradiction in terms. These reactions should then be properly seen as a useful gauge of a malaise within the Church; a malaise which would then have to be scrutinised in the light of the strictest orthodoxy, not demonised as if the Church of the past had suddenly become wrong.
This is the reason why in my page about Catholic Quotes (see the upper bar) the place of honour is given to this beautiful quote from Robert DePiante:
What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.
I do hope that the rift (not schism) between the SSPX and Rome will be healed in my lifetime. Until then I will continue to give my allegiance to the latter, and my admiration to the former. I can’t avoid thinking that all that is happening now (from the slow resurgence of proper Catholicism to Summorum Pontificum to…. well, there’ s not much else for now and we might be slowing backpedaling) has been accelerated by the constant work of the SSPX, whose action – sometimes wrongly worded, sometimes a bit ego-driven, but in my eyes always conducted in a proper spirit of Catholic orthodoxy – has exposed the ridicule of NuChurch and helped to shape the resistance to the post-Vatican II drunkenness.
The threatened disobedience of the priest who says that he can’t accept what, in her essence, the Church has always been (find an example here) is not defending Church tradition, but starting his own one. The threatened disobedience of the priest (or archbishop) who says that he can’t accept that the Church may become different from what she has always been is on another plane altogether.
Messa in Latino has another post about the thorny question of the instruction. Once again, this beautiful site shows that it has pretty good feelers concerning Vatican affairs.
The process of the instruction is described as follows:
1) There was a first version, ready as soon as February 2008. A good version but with some questions left open. The then secretary of Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Perl, personally vouched with the Messa In Latino‘s blog post writer “Enrico” about this fact.
2) A second draft was prepared by the new Secretary of Ecclesia Dei and therefore called “Pozzo draft”. This was, we are assured, magnificent, as it was both exhaustive in its dealing with interpretation questions and able to greatly enhance the concrete possibility of use of the Tridentine Mass.What Summorum Pontificum freed in the juridical sense, this Instruction would have freed concerning its practical application.
3) The Pozzo draft was apparently “too good” and, well, not entirely popular among liberal Bishops. These then started to lobby to have it watered down. Messa in Latino mentions as helpers Cardinals Re, Kaspar, Arinze, Tauran. Together with Cardinal Levada, some (not all, see Kasper) of them are rather conservative chaps but alas, they’re no great friends of the Tridentine.
An added problem was that the merging of Ecclesia Dei within the CDF in the wake of the “Williamson affair” led to a deminutio of the latter, now merely a branch of the CDF and not in a position to vigorously defend the original document once pressure for change started to come from the CDF (Levada) himself.
The rest, as we will probably very soon say, is history.
What would seem to transpire (and at this point it seems to me that the people at Messa In Latino certainly know what they write) is that an original sincere intention to do things better and, most importantly, in an orthodox way goes through a process of internal “improvement” and comes out of the Vatican’s washer-dryer rather discolored in the best of cases, and gravely stained in the worst. One is reminded of Vatican II, really.
Let us hope that last-minute interventions will avoid great damage and that the bombing of Summorum Pontificum, so it should come, will prove not threatening for the edifice’s structure.
In the end and as I have written in the past, there is no way the resurgence of the desire for the Latin Mass can be stopped, though it can certainly be slowed down.
The real solution will come from the undertakers.
Beautiful initiative from Father Z, inviting the faithful to a Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict in the month leading to the feast of St. Joseph.
I gladly follow his invitation to other Catholic bloggers to direct my readers to his site and to give some contribution to this beautiful initiative.
I particularly like the fact that Father Z is obviously aware and obviously not pleased with the proposed structure of the Instruction about Summorum Pontificum. Still, his reaction is a prayerful one.
I have already written a blog post about Bishop Fellay’s intervention in favour of Summorum Pontificum.
In the same interview, he deals with Assisi III and this is probably worth of separate consideration.
Bishop Fellay points out to the following problems:
1) That Pope Benedict heavily criticises relativism in religious matters (and rightly so, of course) but indirectly promotes the same relativism by starting the Assisi 2011 initiative.
2) That Pope Benedict is now celebrating an initiative which he himself clearly boycotted in 1986.
3) That in his idea that it be impossible for Catholic and non-Catholics to pray together, but that it be possible for them to gather together as members of different religious affiliations he is “splitting hairs”.
I find his criticism perfectly right on all points and whilst we will have to wait to see how Pope Benedict organises and shapes this meeting (that is: how he limits the damage that he has already done, the bomb of “interreligious gathering” being one which always causes a powerful explosion however orthodox your intentions), it is interesting to note that Bishop Fellay makes a supreme effort of explicate the inexplicable and theorises a desire to counteract the recent spate of persecutions as the real motive of this initiative.
Personally, I cannot see this as a real motive. Christians have always been persecuted and they always will; to water down the Christian message and to try to appease the persecutors will in my eyes only have the effect of increasing their aggressiveness. You just don’t fight religious intolerance by watering down the Christian message.
If you ask me, I can only see one – or all – of these three motives:
1) Pope Benedict wants to re-make in the right way what Pope John Paul once made in the wrong way, thus erasing as far as possible the bad memory of Assisi I and II with a theologically impeccable Assisi III. This seems to me a bit like trying to make dung smell good but one can – with a stretch of the imagination – understand the logic.
2) Pope Benedict thinks that conservative Catholics are becoming too cocky (utter and complete dominance on the Internet; vast support among young clergy; resurgence of the popularity of old, once forgotten or ignored heroes like Pius XII and Fulton Sheen) and wants to help the “other side” a bit. The beatification of JP II before the beatification of Pius XII, the oh-so-liberal sounding convocation of Assisi III and, perhaps, a restrictive interpretation of the scope of Summorum Pontificum would all be parts of the same thinking.
3) Pope Benedict is simply trying (in the wrong way, if you ask me) to promote the JP II brand as he sees in it a powerful instrument of evangelisation. Again, one understands the logic. I just wonder why he would allow himself to be persuaded to pick the most controversial of JPII’s many controversial inititatives to do so. It seems to me a bit like promoting Bill Clinton’s presidency by remembering the Lewinsky affair.
We’ll have to wait and see how all this pans out. In the meantime, I allow myself the comment that Pope Pius XII would have never dreamt of an initiative like Assisi (whatever numeral you may put to it); that Fulton Sheen would have never dreamt of encouraging interreligious gatherings of any sort, but exclusively Catholic gatherings of every sort; and that Padre Pio would have never dreamt of the necessity of a Novus Ordo mass, however “reformed after the reform” it may be.
In recent months, Pope Benedict seems to have been skating on rather thin ice. More the reason to pray for him.
“Truly The Antidote To The Crisis”: Bishop Fellay On The Traditional Liturgy And Summorum Pontificum
Read here the part of an interview to Bishop Fellay of the SSPX more directly regarding the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.
In my eyes, in his commentary on Summorum Pontificum Bishop Fellay has all his bases covered. He expresses the following concepts:
1) Summorum Pontificum has great importance because it recognises that the Traditional Mass has never been abrogated. This is of obvious meaning for the SSPX.
2) This fact is not at all diminished by the fact that most Bishops actively boycott SP.
3) Summorum Pontificum is the obligatory starting point for every renewal of the Church liturgy.
4) As the liturgy is the real core of the Church’s life and activity, to repair the Liturgy would mean to repair the Church and every repair of the Church cannot be done without repairing the Liturgy. Bishop Fellay says about the Tridentine Mass;
it is truly the antidote to the crisis. It is really very powerful, at all levels. At the level of grace, at the level of faith…. I think that if the old Mass were allowed to be truly free, the Church could emerge rather quickly from this crisis, but it would still take several years!
(I’d rather say “one generation or two” but hey, I like his optimism.. ).
Bishop Fellay stressing the importance of Summorum Pontificum may simply be instrumental to his desire of showing that the SSPX is right in protecting the Old Mass, or might be the result of his having received some hints about the content of the proposed instructions and wanting to intervene in a discreet manner in its defence. He is very diplomatic on the point as whilst he clearly criticises both the incoming beatification of JP II and – with much more energy – the initiative of Assisi III, he refrains from saying a single word of criticism toward the instruction.
It appears to me that Fellay is well aware that every negative consequence for Summorum Pontificum as a result of the Instruction would greatly add to the SSPX’s popularity and prestige in the eyes of conservative Catholics the world over as millions of well-educated, liturgically savvy Catholics would understand that the SSPX is the only safe bastion against the smoke of satan famously (and insistently) entering the doors of the Church.
The rest of the interview is also interesting and possibly worthy of separate blog posts. As always, you can read here and there some rather unusual words ( on page one, talking about the current discussions with the Vatican, Bishop Fellay says: “it is really a matter of making the Catholic faith understood in Rome”, which is strong tobacco by any diplomatic and un-diplomatic standard), but on the whole by reading this contribution I have the impression that I always had in the past by reading SSPX documents: that they are a bit cantankerous and not always very diplomatic in presenting their point of view but boy, they are 100% Catholic and no mistake.
This is about a DOXA poll regarding Summorum Pontificum made in 2009, that is: more than 2 years after Summorum Pontificum.
Whilst not entirely new, it is relevant to us because the source is the most prestigious poll institute in Italy. The results of the poll are rather astonishing and are given here in short form:
1) Of those who go to mass at least once a month (rather high in Italy: 51% of the Catholic population), only 64% knew about the possibility of having a Latin Mass. This means that two years after SP, many priests had not considered necessary to even mention the existence of this historic motu proprio. Then they say, of course, that the faithful “don’t want the Mass in Latin”.
2) Asked whether they would have any objection to both the Novus Ordo and the latin Mass being celebrated in their own parish, 71% of the respondents says they would not have any objection at all.
3) Among the weekly churchgoers, 40% would go to the Latin Mass every Sunday. Please read it again, I have checked the numbers! By the way, this means 9 million people every Sunday.
This was a poll made among people who often didn’t even know about Summorum Pontificum and the possibility of having a Mass in Latin and therefore could not educate themselves about the differences of the two masses, let alone assist to the Tridentine Mass for some time to assimilate them. The numbers are therefore nothing less than astonishing and once again, they come from the best known and most reputed polling institution of the Country.It is very obvious that there is a strong appetite, a very vivid interest for the recovery of old Catholic traditions.
If the Pope had more courage to go against his liberal bishops, a generalised use of the Tridentine Mass with an extremely strong following among weekly churchgoers might become the reality in the country in just a few years as there can be no doubt that the enthusiasm for the Tridentine Mass among seminarians is very common.
I thought that in these troubled days, such information might be of some value.
When the most reputable Catholic weekly magazine reports about the growing worries of the Catholic world concerning a possible roll back of Summorum Pontificum, it is clear that we are not in front of the paranoia of some small group of traditionalists but of a serious concern spread among a multitude of serious (meaning: orthodox and churchgoing as opposed to “liberal” and “non-judgmental”) Catholics.
Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to define the Catholic Herald “traditionalist” in any way, it is clear that this fairly conservative magazine considers the appeal of Rorate Caeli and Messa in Latino highly relevant for conservative Catholics the world over. Tellingly, not only Rorate Caeli but the Catholic Herald also publish a link to an online petition. I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that serious Catholics participate to these initiatives in great numbers. The petition is the same for both internet pages, so you don’t need to send it twice.
I repeat below the list of addresses posted yesterday, in case you’d want to back up your petition with a personal email.
Pope Benedict: a) firstname.lastname@example.org or b) email@example.com
Cardinal Levada, CDF: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregation for the Clergy: email@example.com
Congregation for the Evangelisation of People: firstname.lastname@example.org
Osservatore Romano: email@example.com
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.
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) firstname.lastname@example.org or b) email@example.com
Cardinal Levada, CDF: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregation for the Clergy: email@example.com
Congregation for the Evangelisation of People: firstname.lastname@example.org
Osservatore Romano: email@example.com
The American Papist has an interesting article about the NYT’s prediction of the Catholic vote in the coming Mid-Term elections. It would appear that – among the electorate generically defining itself as “Catholic” – the swing from the Democrats to the Republican is a barely believable 34 percent.
Beside reading such forecasts cum grano salis (it’s only a forecast; Obama was an oh so fashionable candidate two years ago; Catholics have already rather liked Republicans in the past, with George W Bush being the most recent example), we must consider that such a swing is unprecedented. Might it well be that the decline in popularity of Obama has few precedents, too, the fact still remain that when it has become clear and it has been insistently repeated that this President is nothing to do with Christian values, Christians have begun abandoning him in drove. Which drives me nicely to my point.
It is undeniable that the American Bishops, as a body, do not do enough to protect Catholic values among their sheep. Still, there are a handful of courageous Bishops who are never afraid of an “unpopular” headline and the general climate is much, much more Catholic than in the UK.
Take Archbishop Chaput for example, or the future Cardinal Burke before he moved to Rome, or the sadly soon-to-retire Bruskewitz. They are/were all people who can make national headlines; people willing to stir the placid waters of political correctness and rampant secularism by throwing the one or other Catholic stone in the stinking pond of secularist anti-Christian values.
I cannot imagine that this hasn’t made a difference. Not a 34-point difference for sure, but a difference in the cultural climate in which Catholic are called to operate and, importantly, vote. In two words, people are starting to open their eyes and in time, even a handful of brave Bishops will not fail to awaken a growing number of up to now not properly informed or soundly asleep Catholics.
This is, clearly, not what is happening in England and Wales, where the Bishops are the best allies of the secular leftist society and they either actively helped Labour to push its secular agenda (say: “sex education” for children; so-called “homo marriages”; neglect of proper Catholic teaching in Catholic schools; nice jobs given to Labour MPs in need of a perk) or gave an opposition which was not strong enough and determined not to offend anyone (say: adoption agencies). All this whilst Summorum Pontificum is eagerly boycotted, and Anglicanorum Coetibus at best ignored.
The situation in the US shows us that when good shepherds start doing their job, sheep start following them. It must be so, then once the Catholic message is insistently repeated, there is no way Catholics can – giving them sufficient space to come to term with uneasy truths never told to them before – avoid being affected by it. The beauty of Catholicism is that by its very nature every sustained, repeated call to orthodoxy will always fall on attentive ears, then in Catholicism’s case there is no need to define what “orthodoxy” is, merely to know that it exists and that it demands observance. This is a much easier exercise than to, say, define “Tea Party ideals” or “Republican values”.
If our Bishops started doing their job instead of limiting themselves to be automatic distributors of platitudes and convenient soundbites, things would start changing in Blighty too. Not today and not tomorrow of course; but in time, the effect would be felt.
Today, Cameron is scared senseless from a couple of hundred thousand homosexuals who don’t even vote for him. Let him confront, say, one million angry Catholics and see how he’ll react. Methinks, he’ll become a fan of the Tridentine Mass and tell us that he has always felt that way.
The Hierarchy of E&W betrays his sheep every day. None of them, not one, is worthy of his office. What is happening in the US exposes once more all their inadequacy, incompetence, corruption or very simply loss of faith.
Let us hope that this disgraceful generation of bad shepherds will soon be reformed or, rather less unrealistically, removed. Up to that point, we can only look at the US and sigh.
“Pro Missa Tridentina” Website and the progress of Summorum Pontificum in the German speaking dioceses.
Curious to see how things are going with Summorum Pontificum outside of Blighty, I found the Pro Missa Tridentina website. This website has been established by Catholic laymen (I have already written here about the fact that the Catholic Renaissance on the Internet is nowadays driven by the laity, this is another beautiful example) and has the purpose of, inter alia, providing a listing of all regular Tridentine Masses being celebrated in and around the German speaking dioceses in Europe. You will find the list under the “Hl. Messen” (“Heilige Messen”, “Holy Masses”) link.
In the German speaking world the recovery of the Latin Mass seems to be more advanced than in the United Kingdom. Not only there are regions with a predictably high concentration of Tridentine Masses (Bavaria is a small paradise, it would seem that everyone with a car doesn’t even need to be much concerned about fuel costs….), but even the number of Masses available in Austria was – considering the liberal infestation of many of its dioceses – largely above my expectations. The small German speaking Belgian minority is also provided with Latin Masses and even in the once-schismatic Dutch Church the Tridentine Mass is slowly but surely coming back.
I have written in the past about the fact that Latin was meant to be, up to the beginning of V II (Veterum Sapientia), the basis of Catholic liturgy and that the subversion of its role is one of the poisoned fruits of the Bugnini-poisoned years which followed. I see in the resurgence of the Latin Mass (we are talking Tridentine here, not even Latin versions of the Novus Ordo) a continuation of the same mentality informing Veterum Sapientia, a brilliant document and probably one of the most neglected and most rapidly forgotten in the entire history of the Church.
The addresses and postcodes make it very easy to locate a Tridentine Mass for non-German speakers who are in the region for business or holiday. Even without any concrete need for a Tridentine Mass it might be useful to browse and get an idea of what is happening, I found it encouraging and a much needed bit of good news. This is, of course, only the beginning and the very existence of Internet websites allowing one to locate a Tridentine Mass shows how far we still are from an acceptable situation. Still, I couldn’t scroll down the list of the churches offering the Tridentine Mass and escape a feeling that we are now at the turning of the tide. The statistical section allows one to follow the progress of the reintroduction of the TLM.
My hat goes off to the laymen who had the initiative and courage to organise such an Internet presence (starting before Summorum Pontificum, mind) and make of it a useful instrument of the “reform of the reform” now slowly but surely underway.