When it comes to reactions to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, here at WDTPRS we usually focus on major media and official statements of dioceses. Usually parish doings are of less interest. However, sometimes you find pieces exemplfying an attitude which must be exposed. Take a look at this, from the "Pastoral Life Coordinator" of Mary Queen of Heaven Church in Elmhurst, IL (USA)… or is it "Coordinatrix"? Yes, I think it must be.
My emphases and comments.
Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church
426 N. West Avenue
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126-2171
Parish Office: 630/279-5700
Are we going back to the old days with the Mass being said in Latin? I was asked to respond to recent news in the media that made things sound this way. I think it would be good to offer some explanation of what has transpired, along with some background.
On July 7, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a moto proprio, meaning an apostolic letter issued "on his own initiative," about a subject that is personally important to him. [While this is true, it also gives an impression that his personal interests may have been the main reason why he issued the Motu Proprio, which would be untrue.]
This apostolic letter makes it easier for the old Latin, or "Tridentine" Mass to be celebrated. The Tridentine Mass would be familiar to those of us born prior to or in the 1950’s. This would be the Latin Mass of our childhood.
The reforms of the Second Vatican Council led to renewed [take note of the vocabulary] liturgical books and the Mass as we know it today, [This is problematic. What you find in the book is not usually what you find in the parish.] spoken in the language of the people in every country around the world. Since the time of the renewal of the liturgy, parishes have had to get special permission from their bishop for a Tridentine Mass to be celebrated. In many respects, this was a very good thing. [Pope Benedict, however, understands that it was a very bad thing that a form of Mass in use for so long should suddenly be marginalized.] Emphasis on the value of having Mass in the language of the people was needed. This helped people to learn more about the Eucharistic liturgy – what was going on and how they are called to participate – since they could now understand all the parts of the Mass in their own language. [This is a string of cliches.]
In the time since the Second Vatican Council, there have been many changes in the church, not only involving liturgy. Change is always hard and these changes affected the lives of people all around the world! Especially when change is major, it shakes people up. Some people became angry; this is what happened with schismatic Catholics who broke away because they could not accept the changes of Vatican II. Even today, some practicing Catholics seem angry in their responses to teaching or church practices that seem new but are a legitimate part of Catholic Church tradition; their reactions are undoubtedly magnified by previous hurts. [Is it possible that the wounding is still going on? Is it possible that liturgical abuses and inadequate catechesis and preaching still hurt people? Could they have a good reason to be angry?]
While all of this is certainly true, it is also true that there is a real sense that something was lost when the liturgy seemed to change so radically and so quickly. The language of Mass changed, the music changed; we don’t have many "smells and bells" anymore. Should this matter? In some respects, it really does. The years following Vatican II produced a lot of experimentation. Some of this was good; some of it was not, as it led to there being less a sense of mystery when we celebrate the Eucharist, less a sense of reverence during the Mass, and less a sense of our Catholic identity. [At last some good points. The changes gave many the impression that anything, even doctrine, could change.] Some of the changes that have come about in recent years (and are coming about still) are meant as a corrective to these tendencies. [Okay, this is good.] The new emphasis in the GIRM (General Instruction on the Roman Missal) on making a gesture of reverence (a small bow of the head) before receiving the Eucharist is but one small example of this. [GRRR…. that is an entirely inadequate gesture for the purpose of reverence.] (This change is a reminder that Catholics believe that what we receive is the real Body of Christ and not merely a symbol, as in some other churches.) There is also work being done now by the Bishops to put together texts of especially appropriate sacred music for liturgies.
But we are not returning to a pre-Vatican II Church. There is no question that there is a strong pull of the reigns, [Hmmm… a nearly Freudian slip?] a return to older, popular devotions, and more attention being paid to church doctrine. And there are certainly some lay people, even some priests and bishops, who would love for everything to go back to the way it was. This engenders a legitimate fear for many people who appreciate all of the goodness and reforms that came from the Council. [QED] The truth is, however, that we are still far from fully achieving the full vision of the council and Pope Benedict has made it clear that he is a primary supporter of the reforms of Vatican II.
At the same time, in his pastoral care of the Church, he has determined that there is a need for "an interior reconciliation in the heart of the church." He wishes to build unity within the church by making it possible for those faithful who are attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition to celebrate the Mass this way. The Pope does not believe that allowing broader use of the Tridentine Mass will cause division in parishes as some people expect. Its use, says Pope Benedict (in his letter to bishops from around the world), "presupposes" a level of liturgical formation and knowledge of the Latin language, neither of which, he says, is found very often. So, it may be that in certain small religious communities or in very conservative parishes, Latin Mass may be celebrated more often. [Note how marginalizing this is.] Even then, however, there are limitations in how often this can be. For most of the parishes in the U.S., there will be no significant change [The Party Line] in liturgical practice as a result of this apostolic letter.
The desire of the Pope to build unity within the church comes from his heart and his mission as the successor of Peter. It is good that he is sensitive to division within the church. I hope that he, and all of us, will work to see that there is less acrimony between us, more forgiveness and acceptance, and more room for freedom in areas where differences can not only be allowed but can enrich the life of the church. [I do not see how this statement will help that goal in this parish. But I don’t know the parish, either. Perhaps it has been so far to the left for so long that this statement will seem very conservative. Dunno.]
Dr. Mary Foley, Pastoral Life Coordinator
It would appear that this woman is "in charge" at this parish. No priest is listed on the staff. The parish "mission statement" says:
We, the Faith Community of Mary Queen of Heaven in northwest Elmhurst, established as a parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet in 1956, come together to celebrate God’s Love and Providence. Strengthened with His Grace and Power, we go out to do the work of Jesus, by proclaiming the "Good News," and reaching out to those in our community who are hungry, thirsty, lonely, sick, or otherwise in need. Having thus gathered with our different needs and talents, with diverse experiences and images of God, we invite others to unite with us in our journey, as we return again to pray, and continue our celebration of God’s Goodness and Love. August 17, 1998
Draft by Parish Council
Suggestions welcome for next revision.