Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Critical Mass: Before the Ides of March

It has been announced by the Vatican News Service: The post-Synodal Exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis (Sacrament of Love), will be released on week from today. You can read about it in either Italian or English.

For some, of course, the only thing that matters is whether the "motu proprio" will be far behind, the document that will allow the unfettered use of the 1962 Missale Romanum (the "Tridentine Mass") without prior approval of the local bishop. How the role of the bishop as chief liturgist of his diocese can possibly be circumvented is beyond Catholic sensibility. One can only imagine what has been mentioned here before; namely, that the onus will not be on the priest to show the presence of genuine pastoral need, but on the bishop to show the lack thereof. My discussions with priests, even those who favor broader use of the old Missal, concede to the needs of their parishes, over those of the faithful from outside who come solely for a specially scheduled Mass. Such consideration may or may not give way to the use of the pre-conciliar Missal.

It is fair to say that the way Mass is celebrated in the typical parish will change dramatically in the next five to ten years, regardless of which set of books are used. Having said that, do not look for such a paradigm shift with the mere stroke of Peter's pen. History is rarely that simple.

4 Comments:

At 3/10/2007 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Athanasius said...

How the role of the bishop as chief liturgist of his diocese can possibly be circumvented is beyond Catholic sensibility. One can only imagine what has been mentioned here before; namely, that the onus will not be on the priest to show the presence of genuine pastoral need, but on the bishop to show the lack thereof.

It isn't quite beyond Catholic sensibility. Rome has the authority under the old Canon Law and I believe the new as well to circumvent the Bishop's authority if there is a problem with public heresy and the Bishop is doing nothing to stop it, Rome has the power to forbid the celebration of any sacrament in the diocese for a period of time specified by the Holy See. It is not a preposterous leap to claim that the state of the liturgy necessitates Rome circumventing the Bishop's authority, because the Bishops collectively (obviously some individual Bishops are not the problem) are the source of liturgical abuse, not the safeguard against it. Therefore precedent is given for the Pope to suspend the Bishop's privilege in a given area. If anything, a Bishop's conference is against Catholic sense since the nature of its bureaucracy impedes the life of the Church with parliamentary like changes, decisions, and other absurd things.

 
At 3/10/2007 10:28:00 AM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

"Rome has the authority under the old Canon Law and I believe the new as well to circumvent the Bishop's authority if there is a problem with public heresy..."

Yes, Rome does have the authority to remove the reformed Roman rite from normative usage, and replace it with the classical. But she hasn't, and is unlikely to. In the meantime, the Missal of Paul VI remains the norm, the Missal of Pius V, as published in 1962, an indulgence. Given the totality of our tradition, it may not seem fair, but that is how it is.

Further, we're not talking about public heresy. And there is no more evidence that the "new Mass" causes it anymore than would have the "old Mass." There is no more evidence that bishops failed to stop heresy now, than in the years before the Council; that we hear more about it is another matter. In two millennia, we have seen plenty of heresy. Those who wish to promote it badly enough have never let a set of ancient books stop them.

"If anything, a Bishop's conference is against Catholic sense since the nature of its bureaucracy impedes the life of the Church..."

I was speaking about the diocesan Bishop, which does have juridical authority, as opposed to a territorial body of bishops, which -- except in very specifically defined circumstances -- does not. "The nature of its bureaucracy," as you descirbe it, could apply as easily to the Roman Curia, such have been the laments of clerics and laymen alike throughout its history. There are no calls to eliminate it of which I am aware.

To conclude, my dear Athanasius, there are situations where the ancient Rite could be implemented tomorrow; others where it could take several years. The reconciliation of various breakaway groups such as SSPX and the like, would accelerate its implementation -- a factor which has driven this endeavor from the beginning.

 
At 3/10/2007 10:38:00 PM, Blogger Athanasius said...

You're drawing all the wrong conclusions from what I said. I was not saying that the MP should remove the Novus Ordo and replace it with the Traditional Roman Liturgy, but that he circumvent the Bishop's authority as it has been used in the last 45 or so years to suppress it. You should check out my post: How do we reform the liturgy? to see what I think about that.

Also, I did not bring up the proposition of suspension for public heresy because modern Bishops are more the cause of heresy than pre-Vatican II Bishops (although I think if we examine the writings and sermons of modern Bishops we will find more heresy, even the Papal household preacher Fr. Cantalamessa has denied Vatican I's teaching on God's love for Himself, Trent's teaching on justification, Pius XI and XII's teaching on marriage, scriptural teaching on marriage and other things time and time again because he doesn't take the time to read what the Church has said on his way to preach some new nonsense). Things were rotten inside the Church prior to Vatican II and that is how we got in this mess.

However, when you say there is no evidence that the New Mass causes heresy, I would draw to your attention a few things. The New Mass removes many small t Traditions which for centuries protected and increased belief and understanding of Church doctrine. Multiple genuflections and signs of the cross in Christ's divinity, use of the numerous Trinitarian prayers, the three-fold Kyrie, constant reference to Christ reigning with God the Father and the Holy Ghost were all suppressed. The new lectionary leaves out incredibly important readings where our Blessed Lord speaks on doctrine, sin, conversion, denying ourselves and taking up the cross, or else these are "optional" so that liberal priests are following the rubric and yet do not need to read anything that speaks of sin and conversion!

For example, the Mass for Corpus Christi has an epistle reading from St. Paul, 1 Corinthians XI:23-26, but it stops short of one of the most important verses in the New Testament. In verses 27-30, we see the only time in the New Testament where God kills people for sin, and it is for profaning the Holy Eucharist. Conveniently this is left out in the Novus Ordo which says we can give communion to protestants who have not been to confession. It is not left out of the Tridentine Mass when this reading occurs, which is on Maundy Thursday. Although this does not constitute a denial, it constitutes an omission which is almost as bad. Again we see this on Laetare Sunday, the Traditional Gospel reading from John VI:1-15 on the multiplication of loves is cut out, because it speaks of a miracle. Instead it is replaced with the parable of the prodigal son (Luke XV:11-32), and the last verse, verse 32 which speaks of the son being dead in his sins is omitted. Don't you think that omission is telling of the whole process of readings in the Novus Ordo which eliminate references to repentance, sin, death, God's punishment, to the point that the current Pope called the whole thing a "Banal on the spot product" (preface to Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Monsignor Klaus Gamber, French Edition), and that he also said the crisis in the Church comes from the destruction of the liturgy? (Milestones). I think we could make a strong correlation between the drop in vocations and the implementation of the "reformed" rites, especially given the incredible vocations witnessed by the FSSP, and even the SSPX in spite of their, well, disobedience (without getting into that thorny question). You know me, you know I don't believe the New Mass is invalid, but I do think it is inefficient and is an excellent tool for modernists. The Traditional Mass, if brought back into the Church the right way (a way I have contended in the post I linked) perhaps it can not only help (not create overnight) a restoration of faith and Catholci culture, but bring some sanity back into the Novus Ordo as well.

 
At 3/11/2007 12:30:00 AM, Blogger David L Alexander said...

Athanasius, thou hast writ:

"You're drawing all the wrong conclusions from what I said."

Well, there may have been more than one way to take it, and I picked the wrong one, didn't I? It also doesn't help that I lose an hour when the clocks change tonight, 'cuz I'd spend more than that checking out your critique of the lectionary. I can hit on a couple of things offhand, though.

"Things were rotten inside the Church prior to Vatican II and that is how we got in this mess."

No argument there. My dad was in the seminary in the 40s, and heard some far out stuff from a priest-professor now and then (and that was at the high school level).

"Don't you think that omission is telling of the whole process of readings in the Novus Ordo which eliminate references to repentance, sin, death, God's punishment...?"

No. The prodigal son admits: "Father I have sinned against heaven and against you." This is mentioned twice. I think this substitution of a parable merely replaced one important lesson with another. I'm not sure why the architects did it, though. Nor has the loaves and fishes story been left out of the lectionary -- it's read on Corpus Christi -- or we wouldn't have bozo priests running around telling us it really wasn't a miracle.

"Conveniently this is left out in the Novus Ordo which says we can give communion to protestants who have not been to confession."

That would be a matter of some conjecture. If I had no knowledge of what was there before, but only read the notice in my pew missal that non-Catholics could not receive, I'd already be forewarned.

" I think we could make a strong correlation between the drop in vocations and the implementation of the "reformed" rites..."

I don't. When looking at pure numbers, and only in North America and western Europe, you would reach that conclusion. It has not been that way everywhere in the world. As to the West, when viewed in terms of numbers per capita, whatever priest shortage there is may have begun as early as the 1930s. In the last ten years, vocations have gone up in some dioceses of the USA, whether in pure numbers, or per capita. (There hasn't been a shortage in Arlington lately, for example, and we only got the Indult recently.) It's not dramatic, but it's a far cry from the downturn in the years following Vatican II (during which time a lot more than the Mass was changing).

"You know me, you know I don't believe the New Mass is invalid, but I do think it is inefficient and is an excellent tool for modernists. The Traditional Mass, if brought back into the Church the right way (a way I have contended in the post I linked) perhaps it can not only help (not create overnight) a restoration of faith and Catholic culture, but bring some sanity back into the Novus Ordo as well."

I think "imprecise" would be a better choice than "inefficient" given the deconstruction of symbolism as characteristic of the official reform. I'd have to read your post you referred to earlier, but as to the positive effects of implementing the old Missal, I've always maintained the same as you.

I suppose that's one reason I serve for the Old Mass, and hope one day to train young men to do the same.

Sorry I couldn't get to everything tonight. Also, when the paragraphs are long it's harder to read. So I probably missed something else -- again.

 

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