AP on the MP

The AP has a piece mentioning yours truly (my emphases and comments):

Pope Relaxes Restrictions for Latin Mass

By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI removed restrictions on celebrating the old form of the Latin Mass on Saturday in a concession to traditional Catholics, but he stressed that he was in no way rolling back the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Benedict issued a document authorizing parish priests to celebrate the Tridentine Mass if a "stable group of faithful" [Right! There is no minimum group.] request it. Currently, the local bishop must approve such requests – an obstacle that fans of the rite say has greatly limited its availability.

"What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful," Benedict wrote.

The Tridentine rite contains a prayer on Good Friday of Easter Week [Oops! Easter Week starts on Easter.] calling for the conversion of Jews, and the Anti-Defamation League criticized Benedict’s decision as "body blow to Catholic Jewish relations," [Oy! This is just their usual tsutcheppenish. Are we convinced they want relations with Catholics? Perhaps with watered-down Catholics but not the real thing. Vorden?] the Jewish news agency JTA reported.

In addition to Jewish concerns, some bishops in France and liberal-minded clergy and faithful elsewhere had expressed concerns that allowing freer use of the Tridentine liturgy would imply a negation of Vatican II, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the Roman Catholic Church. They also feared it could create divisions in parishes since two different liturgies would be celebrated.

"This fear is unfounded," Benedict wrote in a letter to bishops accompanying the Latin text.

He said the New Mass celebrated in the vernacular that emerged after Vatican II remained the "normal" form of Mass while the Tridentine version was an "extraordinary" one that would probably only be sought by relatively few Catholics.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Benedict was not refuting Vatican II. [But we can say this a zillion times, but will they hear.]

The document, he said, "doesn’t impose any return to the past, it doesn’t mean any weakening of the authority of the council nor the authority and responsibility of bishops."

The decision was an effort to reach out to the followers of an excommunicated ultratraditionalist, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, [If the writer thinks Archbp. Lefebvre was "ultraconservative", I could introduce her to some real doozies.] who split with the Vatican over the introduction of the New Mass and other Vatican II reforms.

The Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre in 1988 after he consecrated four bishops without Rome’s consent. The bishops were excommunicated as well.

Benedict has been eager to reconcile with Lefebvre’s group, the Society of St. Pius X, which has demanded freer use of the old Mass as a precondition for normalizing relations. The other precondition is the removal of the excommunication decrees.

The current head of the society, Bishop Bernard Fellay, welcomed the document. He said he hoped the "that the favorable climate established by the new dispositions of the Holy See" would eventually allow other doctrinal disputes to be discussed, [Correct.] including ecumenism, religious liberty and the sharing of power with bishops.

Benedict said his overall goal was to unify the church. In the past, he wrote, "at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the church’s leaders [Imagine what might have happened in the 16th c. had more been done in time.] to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity."

The document was sure to be welcomed by traditional Catholics, who remained in good standing with Rome but simply preferred the Tridentine liturgy and have long complained that bishops had been stingy [Excellent word.] in allowing it.

Some elements in the document may fall short of their demands: Benedict said the Biblical readings could be delivered in the vernacular, as opposed to Latin, and suggested that some amendments should be made to the old Mass.

"There will always be some people that will see this as a threat," said the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a columnist for the Catholic weekly The Wanderer, who celebrates the old rite as well as the New Mass. [The least substantive comment of those I made by phone, but waddyagonnado. I am happy to talk to the secular media, of course.  Always available. It would be nice to have been slightly better utilized as a resource. Alas, AP writers have editors to answer to. They have to write down rather than up.  Too bad, too, for the writer of the piece is sharp.]

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12 Responses to AP on the MP

  1. swmichigancatholic says:

    The spin begins. We’ll just have to show them how this really works.

  2. Jenny Z says:

    This was a beautiful thing to read first thing in the morning!

  3. James W says:

    Fr. Z- Outstanding early analysis! You have noted as have others that the unofficial USCCB English translation softens certain words and phrases. I noticed that they have a 20 questions about the MP on their site as well- seems to backpeddle just a tad. Can you elucidate on the difference in their English version and the actual Latin? Thanks again for the great work. What a wonderful day to be a Catholic ! James

  4. Kieron Wood says:

    The USCCB has a major error in article 1 where it says “These two expressions of the law of prayer (lex orandi) of the Church in no way lead to a division in the law of prayer (lex orandi) of the Church, for they are two uses of the one Roman Rite.” It should say “These two expressions of the law of prayer (lex orandi) of the Church in no way lead to a division in the law of BELIEF (lex CREDENDI) of the Church, for they are two uses of the one Roman Rite.”

  5. Publius says:

    I just e-mailed the following letter to His Holiness:

    [my name omitted]
    Benedicto XVI Pontifici Optimo Maximo
    Salutem dicit in Domino.

    Sanctissme Pater:

    Litteris Vestris Apostolicis motu proprio datis, sub nomine “Summorum Pontificum,” hodie promulgatis, breviter Vobis gratias maximas agere pro sollicitudine Vestra paterna volo. Hae enim decreta, longe et ferventer expecta, Ecclesiae sanctae multas benedictiones coelestas deferent. Totum per orbem terrarum hymnum “Te Deum” canitur pro liberatione “Missae Sanctorum” necnon aliorum librorum liturgicorum rituumque veteris usus Sancti Pii V, Beato Ioanne XXII emendati. Fas est, ut dixistis.

    Ideo reverecunditer Vobis propono et rogo ut Pontifex Romanus in Basilica Vaticana mox sanctam Missam iuxta ritum extraordinarium, Tridentinum vocatum, solemniter et pontificale, cum omnibus caerimoniis debitis, offeret, ad maiorem Dei gloriam, “ob memoriam passionis, resurrectionis, et ascensionis Iesu Christi, Domini nostri, et in honorem beátæ Maríæ semper Vírginis, et beati Ioannis Baptístæ, et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et omnium sanctorum,” et pro aedificatione magna totius Ecclesiae.

    Cum omne pietate filiali, Vobis salutem felicitatem pacem honorem precor, et pro intentionibus Vestris oro, et humiliter benedictionem Vestram peto.

    Scriptum Novi Eboraci, in Foederatis Civitatibus Americae, in nonibus Iuliis anno Domini MMVII.

    Comment by Publius — 7 July 2007 @ 12:11 pm

  6. Mila says:

    Father, I have read the Spanish version of both the MP and the Holy Father’s letter that I received from VIS this morning. It is my understanding that the “extraordinary” rite cannot be used during the Sacred Triduum: “todo sacerdote católico de rito latino, tanto secular como religioso, puede utilizar sea el Misal Romano…en cualquier día, exceptuado el Triduo Sacro”. So, what is there to object about the old prayer for the Jews, since it will not be used anyways? Did the writer read the same document I read? Needless to say, I don’t think anyone from the ADL read it either; but then again, that would not be a surprise.

  7. Kathy says:

    Imagine what might have happened in the 16th c. had more been done in time.

    Exactly.

  8. dcs says:

    It is my understanding that the “extraordinary” rite cannot be used during the Sacred Triduum

    No, it cannot be celebrated privately during the Triduum (but then, neither can the “ordinary” use of the Mass).

  9. SurlyJest says:

    Some local news stories are far more accurate than the big news outlets (no surprise, I guess).

    Latin Mass spoken here (Rhode Island News

  10. anonymous says:

    Rio de Janeiro’s “O Globo”, one of Brazil’s most important newspapers (according,
    to researchers, it is the most read newspaper among people in Rio de Janeiro of
    the classes A and B, that is, the rich and the middle class) affiliated to the Globo Organizations, the largest media empire in the country, that runs
    “Globo TV”, the most watched TV station in Brazil, has a three paragraph piece
    buryied in the inside pages of the newspaper announcing the Pope’s “polemic move
    of easying the restrictions for the celebration of ‘The Mass in Latin'” in a bid
    to appease “ultraconservative” groups that “separated from the Church”. The
    document is presented as a measure to “heal the schism” of those critical of
    “the reforms of Vatican II”.

    People here are already misinformed about the Liturgy; that piece only creates
    more confusion, and is just terrible in that many people who do not visit
    English-language blogs or access the Vatican website won’t even know what the
    Motu Proprio does, its true meaning, intent and purpose.

    The must be several people out there who admire the pre-conciliar liturgical use,
    who are not schismatics and never have been and who yet, don’t read the Vatican
    website or a reliable blog. Those will read this newspiece and will be left with
    absolutely no idea about what the Pope just did.

  11. RBrown says:

    The least substantive comment of those I made by phone, but waddyagonnado. I am happy to talk to the secular media, of course. Always available. It would be nice to have been slightly better utilized as a resource. Alas, AP writers have editors to answer to. They have to write down rather than up. Too bad, too, for the writer of the piece is sharp.

    If nothing else, it indicates a certain turning of the journalistic worm–they’re calling you instead of Rev Richard McBrien.

  12. RBrown: Now if they would only put me on the same program with him.