James Carroll of The Boston Globe seeks to enlighten us about Pope Benedict’s Good Friday prayer for Jews.
My emphases and comments.
Reviving an old insult to the Jews
By James Carroll | February 18, 2008
AS THE priest began his sermon, he had trouble with the sound system, and muttered, "There’s something wrong with this microphone." To which the congregation automatically replied, "And also with you."
That joke, told to me by a priest, takes off from the ritual exchange between priest and Mass-goers: "The Lord be with you," answered by "And also with you." It assumes a certain level of communication between clergy and congregation – the use of a common language. [Use of a badly translation, you mean. "Et cvm spiritu tuo" does not mean in English "And also with you"… but the joke was good.]
The second most important change to take place in the Catholic Church in my lifetime was the substitution of vernacular tongues for Latin in the Mass. When it is the whole people saying, "And also with you," instead of a solitary altar boy reciting "Et cum spiritu tuo," nothing less than the democratic principle is being affirmed. [No. This has nothing to do with "democratic principles". The liturgy is about the worship of God.] The liturgy is not the private property of the clergy, with the laity mere observers. [This man does not have the slightest idea of what "active participation" really means.] Instead, this worship is an action of the entire community, one of whom is the priest, who serves as its facilitator. [Rubbish… the priest is NOT a "facilitator", the priest is a priest. A "facilitator" makes it sound a) as if he is not essential for Mass and b) might be sort of a protestant minister, whose presence is needful because of what he does rather than who he is.] From a seemingly incidental shift in language followed profound theological adjustments, as well as the start of a new structure of authority. [This is what P. Marini’s book exposes. The real reason why they fought for vernacular translations was really about getting power into the hands of local bishops conferences. So, it was ecclesiological.]
The Latin Mass is at issue again, with the Vatican having last week formally reauthorized [So… Mr. Carroll obvious failed to do any homework before indulging in this word-flux.] the so-called Tridentine Mass, a Latin ritual the rubrics of which were set by the Council of Trent in the 16th century. [Noo… the Tridentine reform of the liturgy occured after the Council was over.] Any open-minded person can affirm a diversity of practices in a worldwide organization [Umm… it is a little more than that. Again, you can see that this is at root an ecclesiological problem. Christ is not in this man’s view of the Church.] like the Catholic Church, and, as the classic musical compositions show, there was a stark beauty to the ancient liturgy. [For this guy, the Church’s liturgical tradition is rather like a show, or concert, or museum piece.] But more is at stake in this return of Latin than mere aesthetics. [True.] Those pushing for a reauthorization of the Tridentine Mass [EXcuse me, but that is already done now.] want to roll back the whole Catholic reform, from nascent democracy to the theological affirmation of Judaism. [This beggers belief. I wonder if this fellow has actually read the documents of the Second Vatican Council or ever spoken to someone who desires the older form of Mass.]
The first significant vote that the fathers of the reforming Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) took concerned the use of Latin. [What a laugh! The first significant vote the Council Fathers was to cut the Church’s moorings by rejecting the Schemata. The first mention of the Latin language by the Council was to say that the use of the Latin language was to be preserved in the Latin rites (SC 36,1).] The Council of Trent had emphasized Latin precisely because the Protestants had repudiated it, especially in biblical texts. [I seem to remember that the Bible is mainly in Hebrew and Greek. Also, the Council of Trent, in the acta not the decrees, foresaw the possibility of vernacular liturgy but knew the time wasn’t right.] The Reformation was defined by nothing so much as the capture of sacred texts and worship by the vernacular [Is there something wrong with that sentence?] – Luther’s German, Tyndale’s English. [I think the Reformation was nothing so much as the assertion of private judment (like Carroll?) over that of the Church.] So conservatives at Vatican II knew what was at stake in the proposal to abandon Latin. But when the document on the liturgy was put before the council, including approval of the use of the vernacular, the vote in favor was 1,922 to 11. [See above. Latin was to be preserved. That is what the Council Father’s voted for.] One theologian said, "This day will go down in history as the end of the Counter-Reformation." Pope John XXIII, watching the proceedings in his apartment on closed-circuit television, said simply, "Now begins my council." [IF that happened, if the Pope who wrote Veterum sapientiae said that, I believe he may have been happy that a document passed by a vote, rather than one detail of a document was passed.]
And so it did. The Eucharist was no longer understood only as a "sacrifice," enacted on an altar by the priest, with the laity present as mere spectators. [IT NEVER WAS UNDESTOOD ONLY AS THAT!] It was a meal, like the Last Supper, to be shared in by all. [Let’s consult St. Thomas Aquinas’s hymn on Holy Thursday in which Eucharist is described also as a meal, at which many of those who consume the Eucharist will be damned for lack of discernment. No doubt St. Thomas (+1274) was pleased to have the insights of the Mr. Carol’s version of the Council Fathers.] The altar was refashioned as a banquet table and moved away from the far wall of the church, into the center of the community – "facing the people." [Find that in the Second Vatican documents, please?]
Great questions were at stake. Could any thing in Catholic life or belief change, or was the Church changeless? Historical consciousness itself was at issue. It was as if Jesus were remembered by conservatives as speaking Latin, when, of course, he spoke Aramaic. [So?]
The most important change in Catholic belief involved recovering the memory that Jesus was a Jew, and that his preaching was an affirmation, not a repudiation, of Jewish belief. Vatican II’s high point was the declaration "Nostra Aetate," [Perhaps the most moronic thing he has written so far… a not inconsiderable accomplishment. Nostra aetate was merely a Decree, having really far less authority than an Apostolic Constitution. It is a side show.] which condemned the idea that Jews could be blamed for the murder of Jesus, and affirmed the permanence of God’s Covenant with Israel. The "replacement" theology by which the church was understood as "superseding" Judaism was no more. [B as in B, S as in S.] Corollary to this was a rejection of the traditional Christian goal of converting Jews to Jesus. The new liturgy of Vatican II dropped all such prayers. [Are we seriously to believe, because this man writes this in the Globe… owned, if I am not mistaken by the New York Times, that Jews are saved apart from Christ and that the mission Christ gave the Church no longer applies today? Let us not forget that the Good Friday prayer for the Jews (both the old and the new) come straight out of St. Paul to the Romans, which I think is still a part of the New Testament.]
But the Latin Mass published by the Vatican last year [last year… if this year is 1963…] resuscitated the conversion insult, praying on Good Friday that God "lift the veil" from "Jewish blindness." Catholics [very few] and Jews both objected. In last week’s formal promulgation of the Latin Mass, [Incredible.] the Vatican stepped back from that extreme language, but Catholics are still to pray that God "enlighten" the hearts of Jews "so that they recognize Jesus Christ, Savior of all mankind." This is a drastic retreat from the most important theological development of the modern era. [HA HA HA!] Something is wrong with that development, now say Vatican reactionaries. To which the people reply, "No. What’s wrong is you."
James Carroll’s column appears regularly in the Globe.
What a dreadful person.