Unsigned editorial in The Tablet: craven prejudice against those who want the older Mass

In another entry I posted an article from the the ultra-lefty English weekly The Tablet.  In that same issue there was an unsigned editorial. 

What follows is an exercise in vindictive hatred for people who desire the traditional form of Mass. 

This is the stuff of cry babies.

Here it is with my emphases and comments

Editorial, 10 November 2007

Harsh words from Rome

Celebration of the Eucharist is at the heart of Catholic identity, to the extent that regular attendance at Mass usually defines who is and who is not entitled to call themselves by that name. This may be why liturgical controversy in the Church sometimes takes on a hard and bitter edge. The latest display of ill feeling has been triggered by the somewhat unenthusiastic welcome [How about "cold and defiant rejection"?] in some parts of the Church given to Pope Benedict’s motu proprio of last July, licensing the more general use of the Tridentine Rite. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship at the Vatican, this week accused bishops who were trying to limit use of the Tridentine Mass of being "in rebellion against the Pope" and guilty of "one of the gravest sins" – pride. Certain "theologians, liturgists, priests, bishops and even cardinals" had issued "interpretative documents that inexplicably try to limit the Pope’s motu proprio", he complained. [He properly observed.  It is all a matter of perspective, right?]

The substance of his charge is somewhat perplexing, as the motu proprio itself implied some limitations, such as its restriction of the use of the Old Rite to "stable groups" [There it is again!  Do you see how pernicious this bad translation is?] who had "adhered" to it. That seemed to refer to strongly traditionalist Catholics who already [You see?  There is the argument of some of those who are stonewalling.  The group desiring the older form of Mass had to already exist, which is clearly not what Summorum Pontificum implies.  This is the way those who object seek to limit the rights of the faithful, which were expanded generously by the Holy Father.] had special dispensation to celebrate Mass in that form, and such groups are by no means either numerous or evenly spread. Thus the judgement of Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, for instance, that no such groups existed in his diocese, seems a reasonable one and hardly an act of disobedience.  [B as in B.  S as in S.] If the Pope meant to give universal approval for the use of the Tridentine Rite without conditions, he would presumably have said so.  [He pretty much did.  It is only when you entirely ignore the Church's practice of interpretation of law and refuse to read the Latin that you are able to find restrictive "loopholes".]  And if Archbishop Ranjith’s words signal his lack of confidence in the loyalty of various bishops to the Pope, such intemperate language will hardly gain him the confidence of the wider Church.  [The writer is assuming that Archbp. Ranjith needs human respect in this matter.  And notice the slimey word "confidence" here.  What does that mean, exactly, from the pen of this writer?] He has made his own job immeasurably more difficult.  [Let me get this straight.  There are bishops and priests all over the world, for decades, violating the rubrics of the Novus Ordo, in sharp and conscious defiance of documents of the Holy See and repeated admonitions and yet Ranjith has made Ranjith's job harder?] Indeed one of those he appears to be criticising is Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, who is a key player in the drafting of a new English version of the Mass whose final promulgation may be only months away. He too has written to his priests offering an interpretation of the motu proprio.

Bishops have every right to have reservations about the return of the Tridentine Mass, [More on this below.] 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. The bishops have a duty not to let this disobedient and anti-conciliar spirit spread. [WHAT?  I submit that the writer must have his head in a very dark place indeed.  What the vast majority of the people who desire the older form of Mass objected to was the hideous irreverence and utter disdain for liturgical tradition imposed on them for decades.  Let's just ask ourselves these questions: Upon whom did the onus of obedience lie heavier?  Clergy or laity?  Bishops and priests, who let everything veer diabolically out of control, and even aided the chaos, or lay people who were still told to shut up and keep putting money in the collection?] 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. [I think we know what the implication is.] The Tridentine Rite reflected the Counter-Reformation theology that emerged from the Council of Trent, and the Second Vatican Council marked the moment when the Catholic Church decided, definitively,[Definitively?  Really?  In what document can that be cited?] that the Counter-Reformation era was over. It is because the motu proprio seemed to give comfort and support to those with a nostalgic and obsolete view of the faith [Note that "comfort and support" are usually given to the "enemy" by "traitors".] that many bishops worldwide felt the need to limit the damage it might otherwise have caused. It is a pity that some in Rome did not understand this. 

What I understand is that the writer thinks those bishops ought to have defied the Pope’s provisions and that they are doing well to place restrictions on Summorum Pontificum.

I want to follow up on that phrase "Bishops have every right to have reservations about the return of the Tridentine Mass".

I agree!

Bishops have the right to their opinions just like everyone else.  They can like the older Mass or not, fear it or embrace it, long for it or wish it would go away. 

They are perfectly within their rights.

What they do not have the right to do is violate the right of others to pray at Mass in this form.

They do not have the right restrict the provisions given by the Supreme Pontiff.

The writer is a coward for not signing this editorial.

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50 Responses to Unsigned editorial in The Tablet: craven prejudice against those who want the older Mass

  1. Bernard says:

    This editorial is a temper tantrum. Spite is directed towards Archbishop Ranjith and seminarians because they are young men, they represent the future. Summorum Pontificum has dealt a real body-blow. Hence the squeals.

  2. PMcGrath says:

    ” … nostalgic and obsolete view of the faith …”

    Say what? The faith that everyone had before 1963 is ‘nostalgic and obsolete’? My head spins at the arrogance of The Tablet‘s editorial writer.

  3. Jacob says:

    That editorial is quite bad.

    But to be honest, at this point I feel like the Holy See has really shot itself in the foot by waiting this long to clarify and correct the ‘stable group’ translation.

    Even if given the benefit of the doubt in saying the USCCB ran with a version of the MP that included Latin to the effect of ‘stable group’ before the official version came out, the Holy See in waiting this long and allowing the opposition to entrench its position shows at best a certain slowness to react that can’t be tolerated in this day and age of the instant communication Interweb.

  4. Simon Platt says:

    “The writer is a coward for not signing this editorial.”

    Perhaps things are different elsewhere, but in England editorial articles are usually unsigned, and the editor is held responsible whether he wrote it or not. There was one notorious case recently in which an editor was forced to issue a humiliating personal apology for an anonymous leading article which caused offence.

    The editor of the Tablet is Catherine Pepinster.

  5. Paul Cavendish says:

    Rather inaccurate as Evelyn Waugh was highly critical of the reforms that had already taken place to the liturgy by 1962. “It is surely a journalistic trick to write of ‘the Johannine era’. Pope John was a pious and attractive man. Many of the innovations, which many of us find so obnoxious, were introduced by Pius XII.” (vide: Reid, Scott, ‘A Bitter Trial’, London, 2000, p 40) Interestingly too Waugh comments on the decline in Church attendance when the changes came in.

  6. Kristian says:

    It HAS been unnecessarily long in coming, this clarification. Yet as someone pointed out after the “troubles” that broke out in the US some years back, the Holy See is a bit slow at reading the news. Many there seem still to be relying on nuncios and bishops for their information, and with the attitude they have…

    Could I maybe apply for the job as Blog watcher at the Vatican?

  7. Anon Seminarian says:

    What a joy to be compared to Evelyn Waugh!…Some among us would take that as a compliment.

  8. chironomo says:

    When editorials such as this come out, it is surely a sign that progress is being made! Why complain about something that is trivial and will have no effect? The “jab” at the young priests in seminaries who are being led to desire this “backward looking” form of the liturgy is almost laughable. The author has a very “Episcopal” view of the Catholic Church, assuming that the role of the bishop is to be like a “Regional Pope”. I do not agree that the Holy See has shot itself in the foot, however, as a previous comment laments: It has only been 2-3 months… hardly along time in terms of church documents, and a VAST majority of the Catholic population is still unaware that there IS a Motu Proprio and what it says… the bad translation will be resolved and remebered as an initial “glitch” long before most Catholics ever confront the text of the MP.

  9. BK says:

    Comment by Jacob: “Even if given the benefit of the doubt in saying the USCCB ran with a version of the MP that included Latin to the effect of ‘stable group’ before the official version came out, the Holy See in waiting this long and allowing the opposition to entrench its position shows at best a certain slowness to react that can’t be tolerated in this day and age of the instant communication Interweb.”

    If the Holy See delays any longer, or if the clarification is toothless, this whole “stable group” gambit will go down as the Land O’Lakes Statement of our present generation.

    Pope Paul VI undermined Humanae Vitae by permitting open dissent long before its publication, and by refusing to discipline open dissenters long after it.

    Unless the clarification comes soon, and is strong and bold, Summorum Pontificum will end up in the same category as Humanae Vitae. The vast majority of Catholic laity ignore Humanae Vitae 40 years later. I pray Summorum Pontificum will not be permitted to be ignored for the next several generations too.

  10. Bernard says:

    Benedict XVI is no Paul VI and we are not in 1968 (excepting the editor of The Tablet). This “delay” may well be part of our Holy Father’s strategy; give them time to show their hands. Rest assured he has thought this through, he has a game-plan. Judging by their reaction to his Motu Propio his enemies do not underestimate this Pope.

  11. Clavis says:

    The editor of the Tablet, Catherine Pepinster, writes the editorials. She’s an ex-Fleet Street hack. So it’s not surprising she takes this un-nuanced line about “disobedient and anti-conciliar” traditionalists. Not very sophisticated coverage is it?

  12. Francis Brennan says:

    Fr. Z.,

    I agree with Bernard’s comment: “Rest assured he has thought this through, he has a game-plan.”

    Summorum Pontificum is NOT just about restoring the liturgy and the traditional Latin Mass. It has a broader purpose in the context of the entire “Benedictine project.” One of its most important spin-offs is to provide Pope Benedict with a much better “opinion poll” of the world’s Catholic bishops than any feedback he currently receives from ad limina visits and briefings from nuncios and the Congregation of Bishops.

    The Holy Father is now able to compile a dossier on the liturgical and theological views of 5,000+ bishops internationally – based on their reactions to the Motu Proprio.

    It is the best vetting mechanism for future promotions and consistory selections that a Pope has ever had.

  13. Ottaviani says:

    Fr. Z

    A suitable picture to go with Tablet drivel can be found here

  14. Maureen says:

    Re: your question about the deceased up in the ecumenical funeral article –

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1Y1-111191558.html

    “….the diminutive woman with the black beehive, whose tenacious love of her Locust Point community and knack for grass-roots organizing changed the course of Interstate 95 during the 1970s.

    “Ann Shirley Doda, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at her Fort Avenue home, successfully stopped I-95 and a proposed bridge from being built over historic Fort McHenry.

    “The retired funeral home owner was 74.

    “In 1972, Mrs. Doda and her husband, Victor, organized the Locust Point Civic Association to fight an elevated highway that would have sliced through their community as the final inner-city link of I-95 between Washington and Delaware.”

    There’s a lot more.

  15. Maureen says:

    Btw, what does the article about Doda mean by “long-time communicant”? It seems an odd way to put it.

  16. Mark says:

    It seems that the issue here is the hermeneutic of continuity. The older form of Mass does represent (symbolically…it is a lot older than Trent) the old way of believing…which pope Benedict tells us is the same lex credendi as the new form of Mass.

    Some believe that the present confusion in the Church is really just a readjustment from an overly defensive and polemical post-tridentine approach. Any attempt to reconcile the present with the past is then seen as undermining the \\\”Vatican II project\\\”. In this view, there cannot be a hermeneutic of continuity and Vatican II is seen as a corrective for 500 years with a mistaken approach.

    Therefore, to reconcile with the past is to reconcile with a mistake and to disrupt progress for the future. Many hold this view with good intentions, believing that the new approach will lead to the salvation of souls and thinking that the older view simply pushes people away from the truth.

    However, subjectively, many of the young have found the new approach terribly confusing. How is it that what the Church said at Vatican II is a recent statement, and what was said by Pope Pius XII is an obsolete statement? How are the young to understand that things changed so much with Vatican II that what was the current and correct accidental expression of the substantially unchanging faith in 1962 is utterly obsolete in 1972? We aren\\\’t just talking about 50 years ago verses now.

    Whatever happened to theological diversity? Is it such a threat to the good of the Church if some want to explore how the council can be understood in a way that preserves the accidents (the substance being a given) of pre-conciliar Catholicism?

    I suppose better questions are: Is it disobedience to accept what the Church taught prior to the Second Vatican Council? Was this Council really aimed at undoing the last 500 years? Were the last 500 years really at odds with the previous 1,500 years?

    It seems that the current theological questions may be worth exploring. Maybe we can re-examine our approach and polemics. Fine; but maybe we can reaffirm our \”former\” views as well. These should not (dare I say cannot?) be a contradiction…and certainly not to such an extent as to constitute disobedience.

  17. moretben says:

    The remark

    ” … nostalgic and obsolete view of the faith …”

    reveals an abysmally positivistic view of the Faith, which makes it legitimate to wonder if the writer has really understood the Faith at all. It is this positivist mentality that also supposes a “Tridentine” rupture, isolating the Counter-Reformation period from everything that went before; isolating the Missal of Trent from whatever the Roman rite was before 1570. It reveals a deeply ignorant, ideological and (paradoxically) utterly authoritarian idea of the Church and of Holy Tradition.

  18. Jordan Potter says:

    the motu proprio itself implied some limitations, such as its restriction of the use of the Old Rite to “stable groups” who had “adhered” to it. That seemed to refer to strongly traditionalist Catholics who already had special dispensation to celebrate Mass in that form, and such groups are by no means either numerous or evenly spread. Thus the judgement of Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, for instance, that no such groups existed in his diocese, seems a reasonable one and hardly an act of disobedience.

    No, Abp. Conti’s judgment is not reasonable at all. If this interpretationof “stable group” is correct, then practically speaking that means the Holy Father’s motu proprio doesn’t change a single thing: only those who already attend indult Masses have a right to attend Tridentine Masses, and no new Tridentine Masses may be introduced — because those who aren’t already assisting at the traditional Latin Mass don’t have a right to petition for one. Why would the Holy father issue new laws of the Church that aren’t new laws at all, but just a fancy way of stating what is the status quo? That’s just stupid.

    It is because the motu proprio seemed to give comfort and support to those with a nostalgic and obsolete view of the faith that many bishops worldwide felt the need to limit the damage it might otherwise have caused. It is a pity that some in Rome did not understand this.

    These comments sound as if they are written by a non-Catholic outsider and observer. There’s a palpable sense of the editor holding himself aloof from, apart from, and above the Church and the Holy See.

  19. moretben says:

    Abp Conti also has a flourishing SSPX community a quarter of a mile from his Cathedral.

    Mr Potter is absolutely right: why would The Holy Father’s letter refer specifically to the appeal of the TLM to the young, if the intention was to exclude them from it? It’s sheer, willful misrepresentation: an unconscionable pack of lies.

  20. Athanasius says:

    Does the author realize that Jesus Christ was pre-Vatican II? Or did the rest of us miss something in a drug induced phase.

  21. ThomasMore1535 says:

    I think that it’s important to realize that prelates like this are a dying breed. Think about it–is there any influential bishop who is opposed to the Holy Father’s reforms who isn’t part of the baby boomer generation? Trautman, mahoney, the Bishop of Rochester (whose name escapes me at the moment), et. al., all came of age either right before or right after the Council. No bishop of, say, Bishop Finn’s generation, seems to be having a problem with this.

    Within five years all of these men will have retired. Cardinal Murphyy-O’Connor is about to retire, as I understand it. Bishop Trautman’s term as chair of BCL is about up, and his replacement is firmly committed to implementing the new translation of the mass.

    This all calls to mind, for me, Fr. Z’s earlier observation that John Paul II had to “advance” some liberals in order to avoid an all-out split in the Church. The present Holy Father, likewise, doesn’t want to provoke any kind of split. He knows that within five years most, if not all, of the bishops opposed to his reforms will be gone. He knows how to be patient, and I’m sure Ecclesia Dei will issue clarifications which thwart any attempt by these bishops to minimize the reforms. At the same time, the Holy Father will let these men continue out their terms, and they will, so-to-say, just “fade away,” as General MacArthur said.

  22. Malta says:

    “This all calls to mind, for me, Fr. Z’s earlier observation that John Paul II had to “advance” some liberals in order to avoid an all-out split in the Church.”

    This is like saying God had to advance Lucifer to avoid the fall of the angels. God can precipitate good from evil actions, but if we ever use that fallible justification for our actions, we are already lost. The idea that JPII made evil choices knowing good would come from them, is ludicrous…..

    Thankfully, BVI has said that he favors a smaller, more devout Church. This is good news. JPII fostered ever form of novelty in the name of collegiality and unity, and in the interim the faith was watered-down, and in many places even destroyed.

  23. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf says it all, so I needn’t add commentary here, only advice to traditionalist priests. We are getting tired now of playing ring around the rosie with ignoramuses from the liberal camp. Instead, priests need to proceed with their 1962 Masses in Latin without even informing their bishops of what they are doing. S.P. sets out rights of priests and nowhere mentions a duty of informing the bishop of anything.

    Let the priests proceed and let them stand on their rights. If the bishop wants to obstruct them, let him do so through the established legal means, through tribunals and appeals. Let us see what the judicial authorities in Rome will think about the rantings and ravings of these little paper mice in cope and mitre (well, more like Hindu robes and Protestant frockcoats these days). Those who desire promotion, however, might exercise more prudence. One by one, Benedict XVI is replacing their protectors in the Roman curia.

    As they once said in the sixties, “It’s inevitable, man, go with it”. Now we can throw that back in their faces.

    P.K.T.P.

  24. Stan Grove says:

    “Thankfully, BVI has said that he favors a smaller, more devout Church.”

    Malta, can you tell me more? In what context was this said? “Smaller” in what sense?

  25. Miles Copeland says:

    Please compare that editorial with this one, in the Catholic Herald last week:

    Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, is clearly furious at the response of certain bishops to Benedict XVI’s recent Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, which removed restrictions on the traditional Mass. He said that a number of shepherds of the Church had reacted to the Motu Proprio with “pride, one of the gravest sins” and displayed “prejudices of an ideological kind”.
    Archbishop Ranjith’s words may seem like an overreaction, yet there can be no doubt that in some quarters the Motu Proprio has been bluntly ignored or dismissed. In many parts of the world
    bishops have greeted the Pope’s instructions with a striking froideur.
    It is uncertain whether Benedict XVI shares Archbishop Ranjith’s sense of frustration at this lacklustre episcopal response to an
    important liturgical reform. Yet the Pope took great care to ensure that the document conveyed the pressing need to set free the traditional Mass while not upsetting bishops who are deeply – and rightly – attached to the liturgical heritage of Vatican II. He could be forgiven, therefore, for feeling disappointed that some have not responded to him with the same goodwill and generosity that he showed towards them.

  26. Jordan Potter says:

    Stan quoted and said: “Thankfully, BVI has said that he favors a smaller, more devout Church.”

    Malta, can you tell me more? In what context was this said? “Smaller” in what sense?

    I don’t recall when and where he said it, but I remember him saying something to that effect. Well, not that he favors a smaller and more devout Church, but that we are likely to see a smaller and more devout Church — that as the Church is renewed in devotion and the culture continues it’s progress toward damnation, the Church will inevitably become smaller. But he didn’t say he favors a shrunken Church with millions of souls falling away from the faith and losing their salvation. No Christian desires such a thing. We hope and pray from a larger and a more devout Church, not a smaller one.

  27. Malta:  This is like saying God had to advance Lucifer to avoid the fall of the angels.

    No.   It is not like that at all.

  28. Henry Edwards says:

    In what context was this said? “Smaller” in what sense?

    This alleged phrase of Cardinal Ratzinger was widely reported at the time of his papal election in a raft of “smaller church” articles at the time of his papal election. E.g. Business Week:

    “A Leaner, Smaller, Purer Church”?
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_18/b3931074_mz054.htm

    International Herald Tribune:

    ” In the name of orthodoxy, he is in favor of a smaller church, but one that is more ideologically pure.”

    Pope’s “smaller church” idea is debated
    http://popebenedict16.blogspot.com/2005/05/popes-smaller-church-idea-is-debated.html

    The question, in his own words: “Is the church really going to get smaller?”

    At another point, in an interview published in 1997 in “Salt of the Earth” (Ignatius Press), he explained it this way: “Maybe we are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the church’s history, where Christianity will again be characterized more by the mustard seed, where it will exist in small, seemingly insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intense struggle against evil and bring good into the world — that let God in.”

    The standard argument is that Benedict “wants a more fervent, orthodox, evangelical church — even if it drives people away,” as a New Yorker headline put it recently.

  29. I have read the objections to the term “stable group.” I agree with them. But if one were to read a more proper translation of the term half as much as the aforementioned objections, it would go a long way toward understanding on the part of all. If nothing else, I for my own part would know what to tell someone else.

    Either that, or spend hours going through back issues of The Wanderer trying to find it.

    Such assistance would be appreciated.

  30. Henry Edwards says:

    But if one were to read a more proper translation of the term half as much as the aforementioned objections, it would go a long way toward understanding on the part of all. If nothing else, I for my own part would know what to tell someone else.

    I’m not a Latinist like Father Z, just a guy with a copy of Leo Stelten’s handy Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin (backed up with a copy of Lewis and Short sitting on a reinforced shelf demonstrating Newton’s law of gravitation for massive objects). Now the operative official Latin sentence in Summorum Pontificum is

    Art. 5, § 1. In paroeciis, ubi coetus fidelium traditioni liturgicae antecedenti adhaerentium continenter exsistit, …

    The question is what those last two words mean. Now in the unofficial English translations we are seeing “coetus fidelium … continenter exsistit” translated as “stable group of the faithful”, as though the adverb “continenter” meant the adjective “stable” modifying the noun “group” (coetus).

    Here are the definitions I see in the afore-mentioned ecclesiastical dictionary:

    continens, -entis: adjacent, contiguous; continual, consecutive, uninterrupted; moderate; continent; continenter: adv.

    existo (exsisto) -ere, exstiti, exstitum: exist, be visible, emerge, appear

    Obviously, it would appear that “continenter exsistit” means in context something like “continuously existing”. It seems to me that a group that continuously exists from the moment of its emergence in response to SP would qualify.

    Of course, I have my own agenda, and naturally an honest and forthright approach . With the opposite agenda (and perhaps even a mendacious intent), I might ignore grammar — adverbs vs. adjectives and all that — and offer the translation “stable group”.

  31. Maynardus says:

    We are told above that the late Mrs. Doda (of the controversial funeral Mass) had a “knack for grass-roots organizing” and had with her husbabnd “organized the Locust Point Civic Association”…

    Wonder if they were one of the groups funded by the USCCB’s odious “Campaign for Human Development”?

    Given the circumstances it would be most fitting!

  32. RBrown says:

    “This all calls to mind, for me, Fr. Z’s earlier observation that John Paul II had to “advance” some liberals in order to avoid an all-out split in the Church.”

    This is like saying God had to advance Lucifer to avoid the fall of the angels. God can precipitate good from evil actions, but if we ever use that fallible justification for our actions, we are already lost. The idea that JPII made evil choices knowing good would come from them, is ludicrous…..
    Comment by Malta —

    Rome tends not to replace very liberal bishops with those who are very conservative: Don’t replace Abp Weakland with Abp Burke–the new man would be isolated and not get anything done. And so in very liberal dioceses, usually there will be a bishop who is more moderate and who prepares the soil for his successor.

  33. Thank you, Mr Edwards.

    So, it’s a group that is “continuously existing” as opposed to “stable.” Where they exist matters less than THAT they exist for a period of time. Sounds simple enough.

    As to the intent of mistranslators, I don’t give them credit for being that clever. I would contend that they simply don’t know their Latin. I know that’s been MY problem so far, and look where it’s getting me.

  34. RBrown says:

    Like Bp Trautman, Abp Conti is yet another whose adolescence, formation, and ordination was in the highly structured world of the 50′s and early 60′s. Then in the 60′s, the modern world, with its obsession with method, began to be replaced by the post-modern world, with its hostility toward method. And these men became by-the-numbers liberals, which is an oxymoron.

    Consequently, people like Bp Trautman adopt what JRatzinger has called a Gaudium et Spes hermeneutic of the Council. They go on and on about pastoral this and that, yet seem to be blinded to the fact that their view of the Church has proven a pastoral failure.

  35. W says:

    Jordan Potter: But he didn’t say he favors a shrunken Church with millions of souls falling away from the faith and losing their salvation.

    What grounds do we have to believe that those souls that would fall away if the Church steered a course of tradition and orthodoxy are going to be saved anyway? We probably all know “Catholics” who attend Mass regularly, but who would stop attending if the parish priest started to talk about sin, judgment and hell. In some parishes, such people may well be the overwhelming majority.

    Without conversion and repentance, such people will not be saved, no matter that they are “in the Church”.

  36. Beowulf says:

    It is anonymous but it seems to mirror exactly the fears and attitudes expressed by Bishop Kieron Conry a week before Summorum Pontifice was published.

  37. Celibatarian says:

    Three thoughts, or rhetorical question rather.

    First, why is it that all these liberal bishops make it sound like the church is supposed to be run as a big democracy rather than as a kingdom? It is not going to gain him the confidence of the wider church? Why should he care? He should be, and I suspect is, only concerned with the pleasing his boss, Card Arinze, his boss’s boss, Pope Benedict and their boss, Jesus.

    Second, is it just me or do they always go running off to the mythic “Spirit of Vatican 2″ when they get spooked? I see this with everyone from Cardinals and Bishops right down to whiney, aging, catechists like a few of the ones I am having to endure in RCIA. “Things were so awful before Vatican 2, trust me.”, “Vatican 2 fixed it all” “Rosary?, you don’t need to pray the rosary”, “Liturgy of the Hours?, that is just something for monks and Episcopalians.” I didn’t make those last two up. I have decided to start calling these kinds of people, both great and small, “spirit of Vatican 2 weenies”

    Third, why are these people so enamored by the protestant way of doing things? All I have been seeing is that Protestantism, more or less, changes with the society and now that western society is rapidly becoming a hedonistic, post-Christian society, those churches without an objective standard are changing with it. I really don’t expect, in the course of another 100 years, for American style evangelicalism to survive without an essentially Christian America to back it up. The big, successful, mega-churches are basically telling people what they want to hear, providing endless self-help programs, and giving them lots of activities to send their kids to. Truly conservative churches are having culturally insulate themselves from society. Thus the rise of home schooling. If they want their church to be flexible and change with the times but look catholic, they should leave and become Episcopalian, I hear they have room.

    I think I am ornery this morning. Too much coffee trying to make up for not enough sleep.

  38. Malta says:

    “We probably all know “Catholics” who attend Mass regularly, but who would stop attending if the parish priest started to talk about sin, judgment and hell. In some parishes, such people may well be the overwhelming majority.”

    Good point.

    90% of married novus ordo Catholics contracept; probably a majority of them committing a mortal sin (knowing the act is sinful and yet committing the sinful act anyway), a majority think abortion is ok. So, what’s to fear with a smaller, more traditional Church? The “Catholic” Church in so many parts of our country is so far removed from the Church of the past as to be unrecognizable. How many saints walking into this mass would have called it Catholic:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHi_VZLtcQ8

    Not to be judgmental, but I don’t think that’s a valid mass. That sort of nonsense is happening all over the country, including in the Dean where I live. It’s almost not Catholic anymore. Ironically, SSPX often holds the most Catholic mass in any given Dean:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enWiFcsBqIE

  39. Different says:

    Malta,

    So, you’re back to the old “They do really bad stuff, so it’s okay for us to violate Canon Law”? The fact that people abuse the Holy Mass is reprehensible and outrageous, but it doesn’t excuse those who should be the anchor of truth and orthodoxy from violating the law of the Church. The SSPX is not morally excused because the manner in which they celebrate Mass on the surface matches tradition. My kids try this all the time, “But, but Dad…he did such and such!” bad behavior on the part of others does not excuse one’s own bad behavior.

  40. Bernard says:

    In September 2003, Raymond Arroyo of the Eternal Word Television network asked then-Cardinal Ratzinger if his vision of the future meant “smaller numbers”. He replie

    “Smaller numbers, I think. but from these small numbers we will have a radiation of joy in the world. And so, its an attraction, as it was in the old Church. even when Constantine made Christianity the public religion, there was a small number at this time; but it was clear, this is the future….And so, I would say, if we have young people really with the joy of the faith, this will show to the world, ‘Even if I cannot share it, even if I cannot convert at this moment, here is the way to live for tomorrow.’ “.

  41. Malta says:

    Different,

    How do you know SSPX isn’t “morally excused” given the emergency the Church is in? Perhaps Lefebvre will be a Saint someday? Who knows. There have been Saints who were once excommunicated by Popes.

    You’re a father, so here’s an example for you. If you were to tell your son or daughter to go and kill the neighbors cat, without any justifiable reason, would they be excused in not doing it, or violating the First Commandment?

    After Vatican II the entire Church went on a mission to destroy tradition and the faith of our fathers. The only act that SSPX is guilty of is consecrating four Bishops without papal mandate, but they did this to uphold the faith. One is not subject to a law under Canon law where there is a necessity to break the law (1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1323, §4). I think the argument can be made that Lefebvre was morally bound to consecrate the four Bishops without mandate since the Church at that time, 1988, was in grave, moral danger from the heresy of modernism, and since Lefebvre was very old, there was no one else in all of the Christian world to maintain tradition.

    Be that as it may, I think Pope Benedict is on the verge of lifting the “excommunications” v. SSPX.

  42. Different says:

    Malta,

    You ask: “How do you know SSPX isn’t ‘morally excused’ given the emergency the Church is in?”

    You argue that Archbishop’s Lefebvre’s act was “necessary.” I know that it was not by the what the Church has authoritatively written on the matter. The Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts (they are the one’s who are charged with interpreting the document Ecclesia Dei) states:

    “However, doubt cannot reasonably be cast upon the validity of the excommunication of the Bishops declared in the Motu Proprio and the Decree. In particular it does not seem that one may be able to find, as far as the imputability of the penalty is concerned, any exempting or lessening circumstances. (cf CIC, can. 1323) As far as the state of necessity in which Mons. Lefebvre thought to find himself, one must keep before one that such a state must be verified objectively, and there is never a necessity to ordain Bishops contrary to the will of the Roman Pontiff, Head of the College of Bishops.” (4)

    The official Church teaching on this is clear; there was no necessity.

    Perhaps, Lefebvre may one day be declared a saint, but it will be in spite of his unfortunate choice and not because of it.

  43. pattif says:

    The more I think about this (the Tablet rant), the more I am reminded of the one about

    “…the great city of Boston,
    The home of the bean and the cod,
    Where the Lowells speak only to the Cabots,
    And the Cabots speak only to God.”

    I think the Tabletistas and the Worlockians have become accustomed over the years to listening only to each other, because they think the rest of us are ignorant peasants trapped in our primitive superstitions. They have talked themselves into a belief that the theology of the Mass changed fundamentally at V2, and that celebration of the Extraordinary Form is a return to liturgical practice that is no longer an expression of what the Church believes. While we see celebration ‘ad orientem’ as the priest leading his people to God, they genuinely see the priest with his back to the people. When V2 spoke of the ‘common priesthood of all the baptised’, it did away with the need for the priest to lead his people to God; we can all do it for ourselves now. It seems like Pelagianism to me, that ‘very British heresy’.

  44. RBrown says:

    You’re a father, so here’s an example for you. If you were to tell your son or daughter to go and kill the neighbors cat, without any justifiable reason, would they be excused in not doing it, or violating the First Commandment? After Vatican II the entire Church went on a mission to destroy tradition and the faith of our fathers. The only act that SSPX is guilty of is consecrating four Bishops without papal mandate, but they did this to uphold the faith.

    One is not subject to a law under Canon law where there is a necessity to break the law (1983 Code of Canon Law, canon 1323, §4). I think the argument can be made that Lefebvre was morally bound to consecrate the four Bishops without mandate since the Church at that time, 1988, was in grave, moral danger from the heresy of modernism, and since Lefebvre was very old, there was no one else in all of the Christian world to maintain tradition. Be that as it may, I think Pope Benedict is on the verge of lifting the “excommunications” v. SSPX.
    Comment by Malta

    In your zeal to justify the schismatic consecrations, you’ve advance a typically Proportionalist argument. Amazing–you are trying to “save tradition” by embracing Proportionalism, which is little else than Moral Theology’s version of Modernism.

    You remind me of Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Jim is a slave who is running away to freedom. The problem is that he’s headed the wrong way–down the Mississippi to the South.

  45. pattif says:

    “After Vatican II the entire Church went on a mission to destroy tradition and the faith of our fathers.”

    That is simply not true, and it is that kind of sweeping statement that enables those opposed to the MP to claim that all of us who welcome it repudiate all of V2. There may well have been some who were on such a mission, but to claim that all of the Council Fathers, far less “the entire Church” was on such a mission is outrageous.

  46. Dionysius says:

    In the English-speaking (as opposed to the American-speaking) world, any editorial is automatically attributed to the Editor. Whoever he/she is.

    I have a solution. Let each English-speaking parish soon (ie. in the next 12 months), offer one Tridentine Mass each Sunday at a reasonable time (eg. not at 6.00AM) and distance, and let us see the attendance (and financial results). The current situation since July 2007 in the English-speaking world is manifestly a result of the cowardice or recalcitrance of most bishops to accept this challenge. Most English-speaking Catholics are not even aware of the existence of the Tridentine Rite, let alone the opportunity to attend it. Hold it and they will come. The truth is consistently hard to suppress, as scripture testifies. If there is no genuine demand, let the bishops present their honest findings to the Holy Father. Or let them resign.

    What are these bishops more afraid of? Heaven, hell or a disturbance of the 1970s status quo?

  47. Malta says:

    Patiff,

    I was using hyperbole to make a point. Of course I don’t think every Catholic in the Church was on a mission to destroy the traditional faith after VII. There were certainly strong pockets of resistance; much like Athanasius resisted 80% of the Church (including Bishops and priests) who were Arians in the fourth century. But something negative did start to happen to the Church right after VII—you would have to be an imbecile to think otherwise.

    RB writes: “You remind me of Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Jim is a slave who is running away to freedom. The problem is that he’s headed the wrong way—down the Mississippi to the South.”

    LOL.

  48. Jordan Potter says:

    Malta said: I think the argument can be made that Lefebvre was morally bound to consecrate the four Bishops without mandate since the Church at that time, 1988, was in grave, moral danger from the heresy of modernism, and since Lefebvre was very old, there was no one else in all of the Christian world to maintain tradition.

    Msgr. Lefebvre was nowhere near as great as Elijah the Prophet, but even Elijah succumbed to the kind of self-pitying pride and despair that you suggest Msgr. Lefebvre suffered from. “They have slain the prophets of the Lord, and I, even I, alone am left!” God had to remind him, no, there were still 7,000 men who had not genuflected to Baal.

    So, yes, the argument can be made that Msgr. Lefebvre was morally bound to do something contrary to the laws and doctrines of the Church — just as the argument can be made that the sun rises every morning in the west, and the earth is flat. Any argument can be made, but only true and valid ones are worth our time.

  49. Different says:

    Jordan,

    And the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts considered the argument that there was a grave necessity in his actions and found that “there is never a necessity to ordain Bishops contrary to the will of the Roman Pontiff, Head of the College of Bishops.”

    The argument of necessity has been put forward to the competent authority and has been rejected. Of course, Lefebvre “thought” he had necessity, but, as it turns out, he didn’t.