Saturday, July 24, 2021

A Cry From the Heart

People have asked me what I think of the new Motu Proprio. Frankly, it does not impact me directly since I do not have access to the Traditional Latin Mass, anyway. I am glad to see that many bishops are continuing the Latin Mass in their dioceses. One result of the Motu Proprio is to draw attention to the "Extraordinary Form" of the Latin Mass, which is why I think it will ultimately backfire. Instead of killing the old mass it will make it more popular.
I have to be honest. Some of the meanest, most evil people I have ever met have been traditionalist Catholics, or at least, they saw themselves as traditionalists. There are some people who use the traditional liturgy as a club and a means of feeling superior. There are among them people who have caused me and my family a great deal of suffering. However, among the sincere prayerful friends who love tradition are some of the holiest people I have ever known.
By the way, Vatican II never said anything about getting rid of Latin, as is made clear by Sacrosanctum Concilium.

From Cardinal Mueller at The Catholic Thing:

In his “Letter to the Bishops of the Whole World,” which accompanies the motu proprio, Pope Francis tries to explain the motives that have caused him, as the bearer of the supreme authority of the Church, to limit the liturgy in the extraordinary form. Beyond the presentation of his subjective reactions, however, a stringent and logically comprehensible theological argumentation would also have been appropriate. For papal authority does not consist in superficially demanding from the faithful mere obedience, i.e., a formal submission of the will, but, much more essentially, in enabling the faithful also to be convinced with consent of the mind. As St. Paul, courteous towards his often quite unruly Corinthians, said, “in the church I would rather speak five words with my mind, so as to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in tongues.” (1 Cor 14:19)

This dichotomy between good intention and poor execution always arises where the objections of competent employees are perceived as an obstruction of their superiors’ intentions, and which are, therefore, not even offered. As welcome as the references to Vatican II may be, care must be taken to ensure that the Council’s statements are used precisely and in context. The quotation from St. Augustine about membership in the Church “according to the body” and “according to the heart” (Lumen Gentium 14) refers to the full Church membership of the Catholic faith. It consists in the visible incorporation into the body of Christ (creedal, sacramental, ecclesiastical-hierarchical communion) as well as in the union of the heart, i.e. in the Holy Spirit. What this means, however, is not obedience to the pope and the bishops in the discipline of the sacraments, but sanctifying grace, which fully involves us in the invisible Church as communion with the Triune God.

For the unity in the confession of the revealed faith and the celebration of the mysteries of grace in the seven sacraments by no means require sterile uniformity in the external liturgical form, as if the Church were like one of the international hotel chains with their homogenous design. The unity of believers with one another is rooted in unity in God through faith, hope, and love and has nothing to do with uniformity in appearance, the lockstep of a military formation, or the groupthink of the big-tech age.

Even after the Council of Trent, there always was a certain diversity (musical, celebratory, regional) in the liturgical organization of Masses. The intention of Pope Pius V was not to suppress the variety of rites, but rather to curb the abuses that had led to a devastating lack of understanding among the Protestant Reformers regarding the substance of the sacrifice of the Mass (its Sacrificial character and Real Presence). In the Missal of Paul VI, ritualistic (rubricist) homogenization is broken up, precisely in order to overcome a mechanical execution in favor of an inner and outer active participation of all believers in their respective languages and cultures. The unity of the Latin rite, however, should be preserved through the same basic liturgical structure and the precise orientation of the translations to the Latin original.

The Roman Church must not pass on its responsibility for unity in cult to the Bishops’ Conferences. Rome must oversee translation of the normative texts of the Missal of Paul VI, and even of the biblical texts, that might obscure the contents of the faith. Presumptions that one may “improve” the verba domini (e.g. pro multis – “for many” – at the consecration, the et ne nos inducas in tentationem – “and lead us not into temptation” – in the Our Father), contradict the truth of the faith and the unity of the Church much more than celebrating Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII.

The key to a Catholic understanding of the liturgy lies in the insight that the substance of the sacraments is given to the Church as a visible sign and means of the invisible grace by virtue of divine law, but that it is up to the Apostolic See and, in accordance with the law, to the bishops to order the external form of the liturgy (insofar as it has not already existed since apostolic times). (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22 § 1)

The provisions of Traditionis Custodes are of a disciplinary, not dogmatic nature and can be modified again by any future pope. Naturally, the pope, in his concern for the unity of the Church in the revealed faith, is to be fully supported when the celebration of Holy Mass according to the Missal of 1962 is an expression of resistance to the authority of Vatican II, which is to say, when the doctrine of the faith and the Church’s ethics are relativized or even denied in the liturgical and pastoral order. (Read more.)


 From Monsignor Charles Pope:

While people on both “sides” may have preferences, even strong preferences, there has been mutual respect and a willingness to make room for one another. Whatever tensions do exist, they are minor and not so different than the tensions that emerge from the diverse mosaic of ethnic communities.

In this diocese Mass is celebrated in dozens of languages. Some of our Eastern Rite liturgies are also celebrated in our Roman Rite parish churches. We also have one parish that hosts the Anglican liturgical tradition and nearly a dozen who host the Neocatechumenal Way liturgy with all its adaptations. Somehow, we all make room for one another and deal with the logistical challenges well enough. 

Apparently, Pope Francis does not see this rich and peaceful diversity when it comes to the Traditional Latin Mass. Instead, he writes to the world’s bishops in his cover letter that he sees something very different: 

“An opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity, by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.” (Read more.)


From The New Liturgical Movement:

People who take the time to sit down and study Sacrosanctum Concilium are often struck by how much of this document is unknown, ignored, or contradicted by contemporary Catholic practice. Often, there are phrases that are so rich, and yet the manner in which they have been turned into slogans has undermined their original nuance and depth.

The most notorious victim of this process of journalistic simplification has been the notion of “active participation” or participatio actuosa. The word actuosa itself is very interesting: it means fully or totally engaged in activity, like a dancer or an actor who is putting everything into the dancing or the acting; it might be considered "super-active." But what is the notion of activity here? It is actualizing one's full potential, entering into possession of a good rather than having an unrealized capacity for it. In contemporary English, "active" often means simply the contrary of passive or receptive, yet in a deeper perspective, we see that these are by no means contrary. I can be actively receptive to the Word of God; I can be fully actualizing my ability to be acted upon at Mass by the chants, prayers, and ceremonies, without my doing much of anything that would be styled “active” in contemporary English.[Note 1] As St. John Paul II explained in an address to U.S. bishops in 1998:

Active participation certainly means that, in gesture, word, song and service, all the members of the community take part in an act of worship, which is anything but inert or passive. Yet active participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy. These are experiences of silence and stillness, but they are in their own way profoundly active. In a culture which neither favors nor fosters meditative quiet, the art of interior listening is learned only with difficulty. Here we see how the liturgy, though it must always be properly inculturated, must also be counter-cultural. [link]
If your choir or schola sings Proper chants or motets at Mass, or if you’d like to see this happen someday, make sure you have this text from John Paul II ready for the person who objects: “But the people need to be singing everything!” Dom Alcuin Reid explained the Council’s intention very succinctly in an interview last December:
The Council called for participatio actuosa, which is primarily our internal connection with the liturgical action—with what Jesus Christ is doing in his Church in the liturgical rites. This participation is about where my mind and heart are. Our external actions in the liturgy serve and facilitate this. But participatio actuosa is not first and foremost external activity, or performing a particular liturgical ministry. That, unfortunately, has been a common misconception of the Council’s desire. [link]
Now, even with the common misunderstanding of “actual” cleared out of the way, it is an extremely curious fact that the full expression from Sacrosanctum Concilium 14 is rarely quoted: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy” (in the original: "Valde cupit Mater Ecclesia ut fideles universi ad plenam illam, consciam atque actuosam liturgicarum celebrationum participationem ducantur, quae ab ipsius Liturgiae natura postulatur"). Whatever happened to “full” and “conscious”? (Read more.)


From The Pillar:

Harder to measure is the number of diocesan priests who celebrate the Extraordinary Form. Eighty-eight percent of the Extraordinary Form Mass venues listed in the directory are churches not maintained by one of the fraternities or orders dedicated exclusively to it. It seems reasonable to conclude that most of the Masses offered in the Extraordinary Form in the U.S. are celebrated by diocesan clergy. 

The data suggests these are not mostly older priests who retain an attachment to the form of the Mass offered in their youth: A priest would need to be at least 76 to have offered the Extraordinary Form of the Mass before the promulgation of the Ordinary Form in 1970.

Some diocesan seminaries in the U.S. have received enough requests from their students to begin offering liturgical training in the Extraordinary Form.

The United Kingdom has around 2,400 active Catholic parish churches of which 157 (or 6.5%) offer the Extraordinary Form. France is harder to estimate, because it has around 45,000 church buildings which are legally owned by the state.

But given that it has only 7,000 priests under age 75, we might roughly estimate the 199 Extraordinary Form Masses listed in France in the directory as representing between 1.5% and 3% of Masses available. (Read more.)

From Dr. Janet Smith at The National Catholic Register:

In Traditionis Custodes (Guardians of the Tradition), the motu proprio that sets out provisions for curtailing the availability of the Mass based on the 1962 Missal promulgated by Pope St. John XXIII (here referred to as the traditional Latin Mass), Pope Francis states that his decisions are based on consultations with bishops worldwide (the results of which have never been made public). 

Thanks be to God, most of the U.S. bishops who have issued a statement about the motu proprio have granted permission for the status quo to continue as they study the issue. I hope their study primarily involves hearing from the priests who host a traditional Latin Mass at their parishes. What the bishops learn, I believe, will convince them that the traditional Latin Mass is making an enormous contribution to the faith of their flock and the strength of the parish and, thus, should continue.

Ever since Pope Benedict XVI announced in Summorum Pontificum that the traditional Latin Mass had never been abrogated and can never be abrogated and stated that priests who are approached by groups of the faithful who want it  may offer it without seeking permission from the bishop, there has been an amazing renaissance of the traditional Latin Mass. 

Orders such as the Institute of Christ the King the Sovereign Priest that exist to offer and promote it  have been burgeoning at the seams; the parish in Detroit keeps adding more Masses to accommodate those who wish to attend. Parishes that offer the traditional Latin Mass have found that young families flock to the Mass, contribute generously to the parish, and become powerful forces for spreading the Gospel. (Read more.)


More HERE, HERE, and HERE.


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