I haven’t heard too much about the release of Summorum Pontificum from Canadian sources. However, here is an editorial from the Prairie Messenger, the weekly Catholic newspaper printed in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
My emphases and comments.
Peter Novecosky, OSB
The papal document loosening the restrictions on the use of the Latin Tridentine Mass has been anticipated for a long time. It was finally released July 7 and it has stirred up reactions from those who are interested in the real and symbolic meaning [Hmmm…. I wonder if there is a difference?] of the pope’s gesture to reach out to those who feel an attachment to the old mass.
However, for the vast majority of Catholics it won’t make much of a difference. [Aha! The Party Line right off the bat.] Many don’t participate regularly in Sunday services; [And are therefore sinning mortally.] others prefer mass in the vernacular; and in many dioceses the option for the Tridentine Mass is already available. [The second part of The Party Line: "We’ve already done enough for these people."] “People have already made their choices, with the vast majority preferring” the newer mass, said Msgr. Kevin Irwin of the Catholic University in Washington. [So, let’s recap… people either don’t go to Mass at all (therefore none of this makes a difference), people want the vernacular (so, none of this makes any difference) or they are already relegated to their little ghetto (so, none of this makes any difference).]
Some Catholics have the mistaken notion that the choice is between mass in Latin or mass in the vernacular. The Tridentine Mass cannot properly be called the “Latin Mass” [YES! Thank you thank you thank you!] since the mass Pope Paul VI approved after the Second Vatican Council is also in Latin, though few parishes or pastors have opted for that language. They prefer the vernacular.
After every ecumenical council there are some Catholics who find it hard to accept the renewal that the council calls for. The Old Catholic Churches, [I really don’l like the direction this is going. Making a comparison with the Old Catholics is truly unfair, since they hold to some very un-Catholic things. I don’t think you can claim that desiring the older form of Mass is un-Catholic.] for example, had their origin in Europe in the 1870s, after the First Vatican Council. They reject the authority of the pope and their priests are married. They claim 300,000 members, and their headquarters are in Utrecht, Netherlands. The Polish Church was established in the 1890s with headquarters in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It also took issue with the results of Vatican Council I.
The main dissenter from the teachings of the Second Vatican Council was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. [Hang on here. I don’t think this is right. I don’t think he was the "main" dissenter at all. I think we could make a strong argument that the "main" dissenters were on the other side, were the progressivists who, sometimes ignoring the documents of the Council completely, went off in their own directions chasing the chimeric post-Conciliar "spirit".] He eventually founded the Society of St. Pius X, centred in Switzerland. It has 600,000 members worldwide and more than 400 priests. Lefebvre was excommunicated in 1988 when he ordained four bishops in defiance of papal orders. Shortly after his election, Pope Benedict XVI met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, current head of the Lefebvrite society. With his recent document Pope Benedict wants to heal the 20-year-old rift, but first indications are not encouraging.
In a July 7 statement, Fellay thanked the pope for his openness to the Tridentine rites. However, he also wants the pope to withdraw the excommunication decrees against the four bishops. He still has issues with the church’s stand on ecumenism, religious liberty, interfaith dialogue and collegiality. The issues for the Lefebvrites are much deeper than language or liturgy; [This is very true.] they involve some of the central points of renewal [?] in the church brought about by the Second Vatican Council.
One of the changes in attitude brought about by the Second Vatican Council is illustrated by the prayer used in the Good Friday liturgy. [Not again…. will this never end?] The Jewish community worldwide has objected strenuously to the return to the former Tridentine prayer. [I strenuously, but respectfully, object to the fact that they have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah.] The memory of the Holocaust [So, let’s just cave into the the accusations of their wacky radicals that the Catholic Church was responsibile?] and centuries of persecution by Christians are still too real for them.
The Good Friday prayer in the present Roman Missal that Catholics have grown accustomed to calls the Jewish people “the first to hear the word of God.” It prays that “they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness of his covenant.”
This is quite a change in attitude from the prayer used for centuries, until 1970. The old Roman Missal prays “for the conversion of the Jews.” It asks God to “take the veil from their hearts” and free them from “blindness . . . so that they may acknowledge the light of your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from the darkness.” And before Pope John XXIII changed it in 1958, the prayer contained the phrase, “Oremus et pro perfidies Judaeis” (”Let us pray for the perfidious Jews.”)
Abraham H. Foxman, US director of the Anti-Defamation League, said permitting Catholics “to utter such hurtful and insulting words” represents “a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations.”
Speaking to the symbolism of the papal decree, Italian liturgical expert Bishop Luca Brandolini told La Repubblica, “I can’t hide my sadness for the shelving of one of the most important reforms of the Second Vatican Council.”
The Tridentine Mass is not the issue. The preconciliar attitudes that seem to attract its adherents are a real issue. There is no turning back here.
While the writer makes some good points about the flaw in calling the older form of Mass "the Latin Mass" and rightly points out that the problems with the SSPX go way beyond liturgy, he then descends into an extended whine about issues that are, franky, insignificant side shows.
He began with a promising idea that there is "symbolic" meaning in the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. Then he blew it.
I get the sense that this whole editorial can be summed up with the cliche phrase "We mustn’t turn the clock back".