The Tablet on Archbp. Ranjith’s comments about bishops who resist Summorum Pontificum

The liberal Catholic weekly The Tablet has an article on … well… read it yourself.

My emphases and comments.

Church in the World
10 November 2007

Rebuke for bishops who resist Old Rite

Robert Mickens

A senior official at the Congregation for Divine Worship [and Discipline of the Sacraments] (CDW) this week said that bishops who were trying to curtail use of the Tridentine Mass were "in rebellion against the Pope" and guilty of pride, "one of the gravest sins".

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, who serves as the CDW secretary, levelled his criticism at "theologians, liturgists, priests, bishops and even cardinals" who have written "interpretative documents that inexplicably try to limit the Pope’s motu proprio" – the document that liberalised use of the pre-Second Vatican Council Mass. The CDW official told an Italian online news service that the bishops should especially "return to obedience" since they "have professed fidelity to the pontiff".

Pope Benedict issued his motu proprio last July despite concerns by many bishops that it could deepen divisions in the Church. Since the motu proprio came into force on 14 September, entire national episcopal conferences – including those in the Philippines and Germany – have released explanatory letters that could be seen as placing conditions on the celebration of the Tridentine Rite and therefore limiting the implementation of the papal document. A motion to issue such a letter by a group of Italian bishops was voted down by the conference’s permanent committee. Some bishops around the world – including Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, and Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, chairman of the US bishops’ liturgy office – have individually written explanatory letters directly to priests in their own dioceses, and at least two Italian bishops have publicly stated that they would not permit the pre-conciliar liturgy in their churches.

Those who favour the Tridentine Mass have complained that such restrictions contradict the clear stipulations contained in the Pope’s motu proprio. Archbishop Ranjith, who is close to the Pope and is expected by many to be the next prefect of the CDW, accused bishops who are limiting the Old Rite of being motivated by "prejudices of an ideological type or by pride".

Clergy who have voiced reserves about the motu proprio have been careful not to criticise the Pope directly and have sought subtle ways to justify their opposition to his decree. The most prominent among them has been Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini. The retired Archbishop of Milan made his point in a leading Italian paper last September by saying, that he would not celebrate the Tridentine Mass even if he counted himself among the most qualified to do so.

Others, such as Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, have downplayed the motu proprio by saying there was no interest in the Tridentine Mass in their countries, even though the head of the worldwide  pro-Tridentine Mass organisation Una Voce is from Belgium. Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi told priests in Milan that the document did not apply to the northern Italian archdiocese since it uses the Ambrosian Rite rather than the Roman one. [This, however, is sure to be clarified by the Pontifical Commission.  It is said that the document will state that the Motu Proprio applies to the other Latin rites.] In August Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow sent out a letter pointing out that the motu proprio required provision for "stable groups" who "adhered" to the earlier rite, and said he thought it unlikely there were such groups in his diocese (The Tablet, 25 August).

Archbishop Ranjith, a native of Sri Lanka, said the motu proprio was "an act of liberty and justice towards traditionalists". He then criticised celebrations of the New Rite Mass that are frequently "transformed into shows with dancing, singing and applause".

Meanwhile a small number of prominent bishops around the world have spoken in favour of the Tridentine Mass’s wider use. Cardinal George Pell became the first archbishop in four decades to celebrate the Old Rite in Sydney’s cathedral last Saturday morning.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to The Tablet on Archbp. Ranjith’s comments about bishops who resist Summorum Pontificum

  1. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    The article seems straightforward enough.
    If Archbishop Patenebidge is promoted to Prefect of CDW will we hear of and see changes in the way Holy Mass is offered throughout the world?
    In other words if His Excellency ascends to this position will liturgical abuses not be seen as often?
    Also why hasn’t Cardinal Arinze spoken out in favor of the Tridentine Mass?
    Thank you and God bless you.
    Dan

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    Dan: Also why hasn’t Cardinal Arinze spoken out in favor of the Tridentine Mass?

    Maybe because he’s not in favor of it?

  3. Malta says:

    You know what would be funny about all of this, if is wasn’t so ironically, devastatingly sad, is that Catholicism in the countries who seem to be the fiercest opponents of Summorum Pontificum: German, France, Belgium, and the U.K., to name a few, are on life support as far as the vitality of the Church goes. France, for instance, has a mass attendance rate of about 7%.

    In fact, in France, more attend SSPX Chapels than regular parish churches. Would that fact alone give the Bishops there a clue? The answer is inexplicably, no. I thought Bishops were supposed to be the best and brightest in their field? Apparently not always. It is widely known that groups such as FSSP are attracting young, vigorous, intelligent and devout future-priests in droves. Yet, many bishops want to fight against the traditional mass, tooth and nail. I guess these guys are so modernist in their entire world view, and are so entrenched in their “forward” (actually backward) thinking, that they would rather sacrifice the wellbeing of the Church to their encrusted ideologies.

  4. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Cardinal Arinze has spoken out before the motu proprio.He did so on EWTN.There he said the classical roman liturgy (his name for the 62 missal) should be celebrated whenever people want one.However he was not in favor of removing the requirment of the approval of the local bishop.When Benedict convened the meeting of the dicasteries it was reported that Cardinal Arinze called for an expansion of the present indult but not a general derestriction of the mass.The Pope chose to derestrict the Mass. It would be interesting to find out how the cardinal envisioned expanding on the indult .How could you expand it without the removal of the majotr obstacle to it-the local bishop? Maybe I will ask him when I see him.

  5. danphunter1 says:

    What are the requirements for an archbishop secretary of an dicastery to be promoted to Cardinal?
    I believe that all that is possible should be done to position Archbishop Patenebidge to become a voting member of the College of Cardinals and God willing, he take the Chair of Peter in the future.
    His Excellency reminds me of Cardinal Merry del Valle, in his obedient humility to and love of the Petrine Office.
    God bless you.

  6. chironomo says:

    This article is really pretty tame for The Tablet… I would expect more negative editorializing from them! It’s interesting that the article doesn’t address how obfuscating, blocking and speaking out against the actions of the Pope differs from being “in rebellion against the Pope.” I also have a problem with this statement: “Clergy who have voiced reserves about the motu proprio have been careful not to criticise the Pope directly and have sought subtle ways to justify their opposition to his decree” Subtle ways?? To begin with, maintaining that the MP is “divisive”, unnecessary, shortsighted, dictatorial” or any of the other terms that have been used, is a direct criticism of the Pope… this is after all a Motu Proprio (of his own initiative). And how subtle is it for a Bishop to put out an instrucion for implementing what is, in fact, a perfectly clear document, particularly when the only thing these instructions make clear is that the Pope wasn’t serious when he said that the Bishop’s permission is no longer needed… such subtlety explains their discriminating tastes in music I suppose!

  7. Boko says:

    I’m sorry, I’m lost. Who is Archbishop Patenebidge?

  8. moretben says:

    Watch out for relentless playing of the “division” card. The division has been there for forty years; what has changed is that they are now being forced to take notice of it – to take cognizance of the sheep they neglected or drove away from the fold by multiplying burdens “that were hard to bear”. They are being asked merely to lift a finger to ease those burdens by making room “for what the faith itself allows”; but they won’t do it, seeking justification for their pride and uncharity in every kind of pettifogging legalistic obfuscation and hypocritical hand-wringing.

    Is it possible to conceive of anything more utterly or essentially pharisaical?

  9. danphunter1 says:

    Sorry,
    It is Bishop Patabendige.
    Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don

  10. Paul, South Midlands says:

    Hi Fr Z,

    I heartily recommend that you Fisk the Tablets editorial about this, if you can stop laughing long enough to type, here’s the best bit:

    “Bishops have every right to have reservations about the return of the Tridentine Mass, as it has long been the symbolic flag carried by elements in the Church which most disliked the reforms promoted by the Second Vatican Council. [[Shurely "the reforms not mentioned anywhere in V2 that were promoted by disobedient clergy"??]]. The bishops have a duty not to let this disobedient and anti-conciliar spirit spread. [[ROTFL]]It is already present in some seminaries, where a proportion of young men studying for the priesthood seem particularly attracted to a backwards-looking style of Catholicism that was familiar in the novels of Evelyn Waugh” [[Translation: We are now so desperately short of priests they cant chuck young men out for being orthodox as (appears to me to have been) the case for 30 years after V2]]

    Whats worrying is that I fear this represents the view of the majority (ie the Worlockian magic circle) in the English and Wales Bishops Conference

  11. ThomasMore1535 says:

    So Ranjith is from Sri Lanka, and not India? That’s interesting, I didn’t know that.

  12. John Paul says:

    I guess in the end I still am not as optimistic as some that comment here.
    We all get excited about who may be selected for a particular Vatican post,
    or the latest attempt at reining in those who ignore Rome. In the end, after
    how many different “instructions” from Rome to stop this or that abuse, or
    different encyclicals from the Holy Father(s), those who ignore Rome will
    continue to do so unless there really is some consequence for disobedience.

    That would go a longer way towards creating a “gravitational pull” than
    waiting for the gradual un-doing of the loss of the sacred in the Mass.
    Then again, nobody ever claimed patience was one of my virtues!

  13. Athanasius says:

    I must say Father, I have a better feeling about things now than previously. Ten years ago His excellency’s comments would have been roundly ignored by the liberal Catholic media. The fact that the Tablet is picking them up and mocking them suggests to me that there is a force behind Archbishop Ranjith’s comments which will soon be made apparent to the Bishops, and that it will not be another dead letter.

  14. pattif says:

    I think there is much about which to have a proper sense of Christian hope (as opposed to secular optimism), for this reason:

    Imagine you have had a distinguished career as a theologian, professor and writer. Following a period as a metropolitan archbishop, you headed a Curial dicastry for nearly a quarter of a century, during which time your name was regularly used as a swear word in bien pensant circles. When you were long past the age when secular chief executives retire, and even past the age of retirement for a parish priest, just when you were looking forward to going home and writing books, you find yourself catapulted into a job for life. You know what needs to be done, and you set about doing it. At the first sign of opposition, are you really going to say, “All right then. Never mind.”?

    I don’t think so.

  15. Malta says:

    moretben: “but they won’t do it, seeking justification for their pride and uncharity in every kind of pettifogging legalistic obfuscation and hypocritical hand-wringing.”

    LOL!

    I can see them “wringing” their hands in their dark towers, with Igor to supplicate their every dark design to circumnavigate away from the thing of their dread: traditional Catholicism.

  16. Dob says:

    “A small number of prominent Bishops have spoken in favour” True.

    An even larger number of prominent Bishops and Cardinals have spoken against, unfortunately the circumstances that have catapulted not a few of these men to prominence, have not been the most edifying for Holy Mother Church.

  17. BK says:

    “Of all the English bishops, only Bishop John Fisher of Rochester publicly opposed Henry VIII’s mandatory Oath of Allegience, which unlawfully declared King Henry the head of the Church of England. The bishop’s stand ultimately cost him his life. May his example inspire all Catholics today, especially the bishops on whose courageous leadership the Church depends.”

  18. Al says:

    As the pastor of a mid-west parish, I would never let an associate assigned to me perform the unreformed latin mass. With all the problems with the gay priests, I don’t think it is wise to do “pretty mass,” since it just puts the homosexually oriented guys on center stage. It just is not good for vocations, especially for the straight kids who are considering a vocation. We have two churches in our diocese for the people who want the unreformed mass . . . and there are about 300 people in about a half dozen counties who are interested. There is no need for any more places. Also, we had great leadership, catechesis and formation in the 1970′s and 1980′s, and the fruit of that is there is precious little interest in the defunct mass. The dioceses where I see the old mass being showcased are the places that had poor leadership in the years right after the Council (Cody, Carberry, etc.) In the places with good catechesis before, during and after the council, I don’t see the interest in the unreformed latin mass.

  19. BK says:

    Comment by Al “As the pastor of a mid-west parish, I would never let an associate assigned to me perform the unreformed latin mass. With all the problems with the gay priests, I don’t think it is wise to do “pretty mass,” …We have two churches in our diocese for the people who want the unreformed mass . . .there is precious little interest in the defunct mass. The dioceses where I see the old mass being showcased are the places that had poor leadership … I don’t see the interest in the unreformed latin mass.”

    Sorry “Al,” but I call BS on your entire post. It ain’t the traditional Latin Mass that is unreformed and defunct, its your dissent from our present Pope’s desires.

  20. BK says:

    Comment by Al: “With all the problems with the gay priests, I don’t think it is wise to do “pretty mass,” since it just puts the homosexually oriented guys on center stage. It just is not good for vocations, especially for the straight kids who are considering a vocation.”

    Over the summer, one of the blogs had a running account of the most prominent writers who were ranting against Summorum Pontificum. Every single one was a known dissenter on either homosexuality, abortion, and/or contraception.

    That dog just won’t hunt, “Al.”

  21. Richard says:

    Those who did not click on pattif’s link are missing some great comments.

  22. Emilio says:

    Al, could you explain how the “unreformed” mass is supposed to put “the homosexually oriented guys on center stage”? I have always thought that the “reformed” mass was much more likely to provide a stage than the old one. I suggest that it would be more appropriate to provide counseling to your allegedly homosexual associates than to think you can hide them behind a Novus Ordo screen.

  23. Sean says:

    Yes, I’m sure everything is just great in Al’s neck of the woods.

  24. RBrown says:

    Having read Al’s comment, it has to be a satire: No one–not even a liberal priest–is that stupid.

  25. RBrown says:

    Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels (has) downplayed the motu proprio by saying there was no interest in the Tridentine Mass

    A great occasion to show there is also little interest in the priesthood in the archdiocese of Brussels, where Cardinal Danneels became ordinary in 1979.

    1980: 1500 diocesan priests, 2000 religious priests.

    After 20+ years of the pastoral genius of Cardinal Danneels:

    2004: 900 diocesan priests, 1100 religious priests.

  26. Malta says:

    Al is a red herring

  27. Kirk M. Rich says:

    Are you serious, “Al”? Give me a break. Words can’t even begin to describe the stupidity of your comment. In fact, people on this blog would do well not to dignify your comment with any response at all.

  28. JARay says:

    The tail end of the quote from “The Bitter Pill” is:-
    “Meanwhile a small number of prominent bishops around the world have spoken in favour of the Tridentine Mass’s wider use. Cardinal George Pell became the first archbishop in four decades to celebrate the Old Rite in Sydney’s cathedral last Saturday morning. ”

    If my memory is correct I read that when Cardinal Pell sang this Mass they printed out 1,000 booklets for the congregation. Unfortunately that number was not enough. The estimate of the number at that Mass was 1,800

  29. Matt Q says:

    Now that we have the Motu Proprio, we eagerly await the Clarification which is now anticipated from Rome “shortly.” It seems the Dense clergy can’t quite make out what the Motu Proprio actually says. That or they are really twisting and bending the words of the Pope to maintain their agenda. I refer all to the words of Archbishop Ranjith. Yes, pride. Peccata Maxima. Oh, indeed, instruments of the Devil.

  30. Malta says:

    “Motu Proprio” “Summorum Pontificum” “await the clarifications” yadiyadiyadi!

    That is all fine and well; ultimately, however, we are awaiting these things to express our souls more closely to Christ.

    I await the clarifications, as well, but in the interim, let’s not forget our heart-felt prayers to Christ. Saints were formed by prayer, not rubrics. Saints were nourished and formed by the traditional latin mass, but let’s not get too anal about Summorum….

  31. What are these hesitant Bishops and Priests so scared of with the return to uur churches of “the mass for all time” the Tridentine Mass
    These lefty liberals since V2 have watched the demise of church attendance,diminishing ordinations to the priesthood and the religious life,young people showing no interest in the faith or becoming lapsed,yet they stick their heads in the sand and pretend all is well,or even worse that “real Catholics” are the ones who love the the new liturgy,and all others would be best to stay away!

  32. Cosmos says:

    Al,
    I don’t think you get it. It is the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XIV, formerly Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, renowned theologian in religious and secular circles, and most trusted advisor and friend of Pope John Paul II who issued this document after decades of study, prayer, and reflection, and under his own counsel. This whole issue IS a matter of sound catechesis, but hardly any of us, including you, actually got it.

    Your hostility to the mass of so many saints highlights our faulty formation, which was directed by men who mysteriously refused to follow the directives of the Vatican Council in the name of the Spirit of the same council. Some of those ills were corrected under JPII, but many were not. Nonetheless, under the reign of JPII, for many of us, the entire tradition got reinterpreted in light of him. You were orthodox if you agreed and suppported all the initiatives and opinions of JPII, you were suspect if you did not, progressive or traditional: JPII = orthodoxy. Benedict is reclaiming our tradition, and if this is a threat to your diocese vocations, and to your theology, well then…

    The irony of the whole situation is that Vatican II claimed to be pastoral, and its changes in the form of the Roman right were prudential decisions by the Church Fathers to correct shortcomings and abuses. Not only were these reforms not followed, but the disobedient changes and abuses that have been implemented in the name of the Council have taken on an almost dogmatic importance in the eyes of many. If BXVI were merely using his papal authority to make a pastoral change that he thought necessary, that would be fine in itself, and we should respect that. However, he is using his authority to slowly return the Novus Ordo, and the Church, to the actual vision that the council Fathers had for it, and in the name of vocations and your own pudential judgments, you are standing in his way.

  33. Fr. Brian Stanley says:

    I think AI is a troll — not a priest. An associate doesn’t require the pastor’s permission to celebrate the extraordinary form. The associate pastor has the right to celebrate the extraordinary form privately.

    You draw a connection between preference for the extraordinary form and gender preference: I’m glad you’re not my spiritual director, as I’d walk away from someone with that kind of bigoted perspective. In logic, we studied fallacies, such as the Hasty Generalization. I think a refresher course is in order.

  34. Francis Brennan says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Al refers to “the places with good catechesis before, during and after the council.”

    Good catechesis AFTER the council? An oxymoron, surely?

  35. Jordan Potter says:

    Al said: It just is not good for vocations, especially for the straight kids who are considering a vocation.

    Why, then, was this Mass that you say is bad for vocations the one the Church had when seminaries were full, whereas most seminaries are empty or almost empty with the reformed Mass? Is it really as bad for vocations as you claim? Really, there’s far more evidence that the reformed Mass is bad for vocations than there is that the traditional Mass is bad for vocation.

  36. michigancatholic says:

    Al,
    \”With all the problems with the gay priests,\” as you say, the Extraordinary form is a blessing for laypeople. In that form, unlike the N.O., we don\’t have to put up with their cutesy pie additions which are often frankly pure camp anyway. Enough.

    The EF takes the priest off the stage and into prayer. The priest is not the star, not the prima donna, not the center of the action in the EF. He\’s only a part, an essential part, but still only a part. If in this role, his royal flamingness can\’t stand the seriousness and the prayer and the lack of personal acclaim, then I invite him to leave the job to someone who can.

    I\’m sick of \”movie star\” priests. We have a couple here who sing, facing us, for applause. Everything comes to a screeching halt for father to perform his little song. It\’s ridiculous.

  37. Andrew says:

    Things that were undiscussed for a long time are now discussed publicly and people in high places are now compelled to show whose side they’re on. Even if there is some continued resistance, the cat is out of the bag. Bravo!

  38. danphunter1 says:

    Al,
    Ya know where I can get some good ecstacy?

  39. Henry Edwards says:

    With all the problems with the gay priests …

    Among which are liturgical problems. Perhaps “Al” could have used his space better on an explanation of the connection between clerical abuse and liturgical abuse.

  40. Jim R of ADW says:

    Folks. Fr Stanley is correct. Al is a troll. No priest would speak of the holy mass in those term. It is best to ignore trolls.

    Jim R

  41. Bernard says:

    These guys have loathed Joseph Ratzinger for so many years, his being Pope is a tough sweat for them. How do they envisage the upcoming clarifications; they are going to have to issue public statements on that too! I almost have a sneaking sympathy for them.
    Not really though.

  42. Henry Edwards says:

    No priest would speak of the holy mass in those term.

    Well, maybe a priest to whom the Mass is not that holy. For instance, a product of that “great leadership, catechesis and formation we had in the 1970’s and 1980’s”

  43. Sue Sims says:

    Would any priest talk about ‘performing’ the Mass? (Though admittedly I’ve seen some for whom that verb would be fairly appropriate.) ‘Al’ sounds very trollish.

  44. Tomas Lopez says:

    Al

    If indeed you are a priest, what is your name? (cf. Mathew 5:9). And your affiliation?

    Tomas Lopez, Mayaguez, PR

  45. Al says:

    I agree that since the pre-reformed mass is indeed valid, it is due appropriate respect, and so for me to call it “pretty mass” could be construed as being inappropriate or rude. I would suggest that my term be understood along the same lines as those who referred to the sad “Barney Mass” or “Halloween Mass,” both of which are indeed abominations. I don’t think, though, that those who coined the terms “Barney Mass” or “Halloween Mass” intended to trivialize the fact that these were valid masses during which the actual confection of the Eucharistic elements took place. I know that the pre-reformed mass was the mass of our ancestors, and for that reason it is also due respect.

    Yet, we have had the reformed liturgy for two generations, and it has been well recieved and celebrated well almost everywhere. For the places where there have been serious difficulties (i.e., “Barney Masses,” “Halloween Masses,” “Polka Masses,” “Life Teen Masses,” etc.), it is better to address those problems directly with reference to the GIRM than to throw out the reforms intended by the Second Vatican Council.

    I saw the pictures of George Pell’s “Ponticical Mass,” and while admitting that the mass was indeed valid and presumably licit, its most conspicuous element was its prettiness, which to me does not serve to elevate the sacral nature of the Eucharist. It’s hard to imagine that a man wearing white gloves with an oversized gold ring to fit over them is not acting in an effete manner; and even more difficult to understand how such behavior is appropriate to the sacred liturgy.

  46. Seminarian from Canada says:

    I’m sorry that I have to ask this, but it’s important for me to know the answer, as a seminarian who loves the Extraordinary Form:

    What will happen to priests who offer Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form in a diocese where the bishop has explicitly refused to allow it? Can the bishop takes measures of “discipline” against the priest? Even if he could not do so formally, could he not make the priest’s life and ministry very difficult (if not impossible) within the diocese?

    Besides prayer and self-sacrifice (abnegation), what can the priest do in such a situation if the bishop is adamantly against the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite? Do seminarians today have any legitimate hope that one day, as priests, they will be able to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form without any restraints or hindrances on the part of the diocesan hierarchy?

    If anyone could shed some light on these questions, it would be much appreciated.