Saskatchewan’s Catholic Prairie Messenger on the Motu Proprio

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

Tridentine Mass

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".

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25 Responses to Saskatchewan’s Catholic Prairie Messenger on the Motu Proprio

  1. RBrown says:

    “People have already made their choices, with the vast majority preferring” the newer mass, said Msgr. Kevin Irwin of the Catholic University in Washington.

    And of course, they’ve also chosen not to be priests or religious, to reject the sexual morality of the Church, to ignore the teaching on abortion. As I’ve said before, according to the Vat II definition of liturgy, it would be hard to argue that the Novus Ordo has not been a pastoral flop.

    Msgr Irwin seems to prefer the comfortability of the status quo to true reform of the Church.

  2. AM says:

    I wish the Canadian Bishops would speak collectively, and the mostly still silent Bishops of the Canadian dioceses, would speak severally, about the new state of affairs. Toronto (Collins) and Ottawa (Prendergast) have spoken, and that is all. All the CCCB has done is to link to the m.p. from their website.

  3. Larry says:

    OK… I’m confused. Every reference to the “perfidous” language proceeds from language that had been in use in the pre-1958 Missals, right? so, then, each of these references is *really* speaking to the liturgy that the SSPX uses, and not at all to the “Tridentine” liturgy currently in use (or continuing in use beyond 9/14) by the Catholic Church, right?

    In other words… no one is bothering to inform people that this whole “perfidy” red herring is a SSPX issue, not a Catholic one?!?!

  4. Vox Borealis says:

    Keep waiting AM–in my short experience here that Canadian bishops are even worse than the American crew. The basic plan will be to stay silent and ignore, and if necessary obfuscate. It’s the same with the “new” General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which is STILL not approved for use in Canada. Apparently it will be implemented only after the completed and approved translation of the new missal in English AND French. When do you suppose that will be? And I dare you to try to find any links to relevant documents about the GIRM on the CCCB website.

  5. Vox Borealis says:

    Father Z,

    Whenever I try to post a comment and the anti-spam word contains punctuation, I get an error message telling me that I enetered the word incorrectly. When there is no punctuation, no problem. Maybe it’s just my browser–does anyone else have this problem? Anyway, a humble request to take out the punctuation, if it’s not too much work.

  6. Romulus says:

    “the first to hear the word of God.”

    As opposed, one supposes, to the Word of God. Whatever.

  7. dcs says:

    In other words… no one is bothering to inform people that this whole “perfidy” red herring is a SSPX issue, not a Catholic one?

    It is not an SSPX issue either . . . the SSPX uses the 1962 Missal. Plus the SSPX is a Catholic issue so in a sense SSPX issues are Catholic issues.

    As far as dissenters from Vatican II are concerned, Msgr. Lefebvre signed every document of Vatican II, unlike some others.

  8. mike says:

    Hosers eh

    m

  9. Karen Russell says:

    Here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, our Archbishop was transferred to Ottawa only a few days before the Motu Proprio came out. So far (I checked the archdiocesan website two minutes ago), the Apostolic Administrator has not made any comment whatever. The most recent release from the Vatican to be posted is Sacramentum Caritatis.

    Now that may simply be that whoever looks after the website is on vacation, but the echoing silence is disheartening. I was glad to see that Archbishop Prendergast did make a statement on the Ottawa website. But we have not had a single Latin Novo Ordo Mass in about 6 years, and one using the Extraordinary Rite in well over 30.

    I came into the Church as a convert just as the changes were coming in. I managed to attend one traditional Christmas Midnight Mass (by special permission of my parents as at 16 they considered me too young to convert yet). I have stayed anyway–“Lord, where else should we go? You have the words of everlasting life.” But for 40 years I have been denied the mystery, majesty and beauty which, though I could not have expressed it then, played a large part in drawing me in. How much longer do I have to wait?

  10. Jordan Potter says:

    It is not an SSPX issue either . . . the SSPX uses the 1962 Missal.

    I have heard tell, though, that SSPX priests have been known to insert “perfidis” into the prayer.

    Anyway, it’s not just “perfidious” that Jews object to, but the very act of praying for their conversion to Christianity. Indeed, when it comes down to it, they object to Christians believing that Christianity is true.

  11. Xavier says:

    His Excellency, the Most Rev. J. Terry Steib says, “Pope Paul VI, decreed that the Mass could also be offered in the language of the people”

    He neglects to say that “could”, became “must”.

    Then from the Prairie Messenger:
    “People have already made their choices, with the vast majority preferring the newer mass,” said Msgr. Kevin Irwin of the Catholic University in Washington.

    As if we all had a choice in the matter!

    It seems another aspect of the party line is convincing younger Catholics that their grandparents chose the New Rite over the Traditional Rite.

  12. dcs says:

    I have heard tell, though, that SSPX priests have been known to insert “perfidis” into the prayer.

    It’s certainly possible.

    Thankfully, we know that no priest celebrating the ordinary use of the Roman Rite would ever insert anything into the Mass on his own authority.

  13. Xavier says:

    Father Z.,

    You are putting so must work in documenting these errors. What about compiling an SUMMORUM PONTIFCUM INDEX OF ERRORS?

  14. M Kr says:

    I wonder what the author means by “pre-conciliar attitudes” that attract many of the adherents of the extraordinary rite.

  15. Xavier says:

    I saw the “political correctness” necessity of removing perfidous from the prayer, but I never read it as insulting. I read it as a statement of the fact that there are Jews who are perfidious, that is, who know the Catholic Faith is true and still reject it. They are the Jews who are “in most need of our prayers”.

    What I find insulting is that those who composed this prayer in the spirit of charity are portrayed as bigots. It is not their fault that less-than-charitable Catholics made perfidious into an insult.

    To me this is like saying that the doctors who scientifically classified the mentally disabled as “imbeciles” and “morons” were insulting them because after the fact these words were used derogatorally by laymen.

  16. Xavier says:

    “I wonder what the author means by “pre-conciliar attitudes” that attract many of the adherents of the extraordinary rite.”

    Good catch!

  17. Brian says:

    I guess Xavier knows more then Pope John XXIII about the
    true meaning of the word “Perfidious” when with great love and chairuty
    the Pope removed this stain from the Good Friday Liturgy.

    What strikes me as horrible about this response is that the
    author is so blase about Catholics not attending Mass weekly.
    That is egregious.
    The other statements in it are the old hat obstructionism
    from many of the bishops over the MP.

  18. Matthias says:

    Xavier,

    I agree with your reasoning that the use of “perfidis” in the prayer is not intrinsically objectionable. I think you hit the nail on the head with your “imbecile” analogy. At the same time, it was Pope John’s prerogative to omit it.

    Fr. Z’s commentary: “I strenuously, but respectfully, object to the fact that they have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah.”

    If only we could all be so boldly charitable. I think this is more charitable than most of the inter-religious “dialogue” that one normally encounters. It’s needless to say, however, that such boldness must be accompanied by a great deal of tact.

    “Chimeric” is also one of the best descriptions of the post-Conciliar “spirit” that I’ve come across.

  19. Dan Hatchen says:

    Welcome to my Nightmare.

    I am from this diocese and regularly ignore the Prairie “Progressive” Messenger. The editor makes Fr. O’Brien, S.J. look more orthodox than His Holiness. I am surprised they got as much correct as they did.

    There has been nothing but silence here. This, from the place that has ignored all Liturgical correctives issued by the last two Popes (excuse: The CCCB has not issued a directive yet), or when confronting a priest about abuses (excuse: The bishop has given me permission to change the Mass), or asking my pastor to consider a phase in of the extraordinary usage (excuse: It is a personal order of the Pope, the next one will probably remove it. I can’t waste my time).

    The best excuse for anything is “If it doesn’t say CCCB on the bottom, it doesn’t exist!” This is the best because the CCCB rarely says anything, except say, inclusive language usage will be implemented everywhere. This last, bye the way, is why we do not have the new GIRM and an interrum lectionary, because they were rejected by Rome.

    But rejoice, we DO have regularly scheduled Polka Masses. We also are much more sensitive than the rest of the Catholic world because Holy Communion will be allowed to any who present themselves at weddings and funerals, regardless of their faith profession, so that there will be no “division” at “close” family times.

    Pray for us.

    In Christ
    Dan

  20. Jeremy says:

    Unfortunately, Msgr. Irwin is employed as an advisor to the US Bishops Committee on the Liturgy. Thank you, Bishop Trautperson!

    In the opinion of this ex-pat, ABBOT Novecosky — Yes, he is the head of one of Canada’s two men’s Benedictine houses –, and the Prairie Messenger have faithfully represented the heterodox viewpoint for a longtime. I wonder why his monks are getting older while those in the more faithful Mission, B.C. house are getting vocations!

  21. RBrown says:

    I wish the Canadian Bishops would speak collectively, and the mostly still silent Bishops of the Canadian dioceses, would speak severally, about the new state of affairs. Toronto (Collins) and Ottawa (Prendergast) have spoken, and that is all. All the CCCB has done is to link to the m.p. from their website.
    Comment by AM

    I wouldn’t want any collective comment. Once the conference of bishops takes it up, the matter is subject to manipulation by those who want to undercut BXVI anonymously.

  22. Xavier says:

    “I guess Xavier knows more then Pope John XXIII about the
    true meaning of the word “Perfidious” when with great love and chairuty
    the Pope removed this stain from the Good Friday Liturgy.

    I’m sorry that I didn’t make it clearer that I welcomed Good Pope John’s decision.

  23. TM says:

    Given this newspaper’s long association with left-wing ideology, I would have expected something much worse. The CCCB has yet to issue a statement with regard to the Motu Proprio. If you look at the CCCB website you would not even know that the MP happened.

    In the issue of The Catholic Register that followed release of the MP, the topic of that newspaper’s editorial was the all important topic of “how to reform the RCMP (mounted police).”

    There is really no Latin Mass association in this country that I know of, at least, not one that is active and functioning.

    I wonder if the timidity and isolation of traditionalists in this country might have something to do with the fact that Church officials here don’t seem to think the MP is important.

  24. Dr. Peter H. Wright says:

    I wonder what the author means by “pre-conciliar” attitudes”.

  25. Embattled Catholic says:

    This is the first thing that I have seen in our area of Canada regarding the MP. http://www.wcr.ab.ca/columns/editorials/2007/editorial071607.shtml

    The usual party line, I think. And of course the “far from overwhelming” response of the faithful in having the Tridentine Mass offered in Edmonton was not at all due to the fact that, up until January, it was only offered–at most–twice a month. Nor to the fact that it was/is offered in a Church in the city centre, not in the greatest part of town, or that has been moved and is currently offered in the Maronite Church. And finally, I have been told that the Tridentine Mass was not allowed to be publicly announced or made known.

    On the up side, since January, Edmonton is served every Sunday at 9 am, by an FSSP priest, as well as other feastdays. Even Holy Week Triduum was observed this year! The priest resides 3 hours south in the FSSP’s Alberta rectory, so God bless him for his untiring work. I certainly think the “far from overwhelming” response is beginning to pick up there. Too bad it isn’t my home diocese, but a 2 1/2 hr drive. My own more northerly diocese has no Tridentine Mass, and I can’t help but be pessimistic about our chances of having a regular one–or even intermittent–offered here. As others have previously said, the Cdn bishops seem to be almost uniformly mum on the subject.

    God Bless,

    E.C.