The Remnant: a timely call to support Pope Benedict

There is an interesting article in the traditional bi-monthly The Remnant by Michael Matt about the change of the Good Friday prayers for Jews in the 1962 Missale Romanum.  

The thrust of the piece is that we need to defend Pope Benedict.

The article is very long, too long for this entry really.  But here is the conclusion with my emphases and comments.

Conclusion

Clearly, this controversy involves so much more than merely a prayer in the Mass of the Pre-sanctified on Good Friday. Benedict’s opponents (inside the Church and out) know very well that every day and throughout the whole world traditional Masses are being restored, and that if this trend continues there’s every possibility of the old Faith making a comeback. [As I have written many times, when Pope Benedict changed the Good Friday prayers for Jews he removed one of the possible points of objection some bishops might have against establishing "personal parishes" where the Sacred Triduum would be celebrated in its totality with the 1962 Missale Romanum.  In other words, Pope Benedict made the 1962 Missale a living liturgical book which he intends be used on the Church's most sacred days.] Would that we traditionalists could all develop a similar appreciation for the potential ramifications of the MP! Lex orandi, lex credendi, remember? Hundreds of priests and seminarians, thousands of families, tens of thousands in number – returning to their knees [yep!] in front of the altars of Tridentine sacrifice. If you think none of that matters then perhaps you haven’t been in this fight long enough to know what it’s all about. It is not now nor has it ever been merely about us or our liturgical "preferences"! [Well said.] For forty years, traditionalists stormed heaven with prayers that a pope would one day admit the old Mass had never been abrogated and needs to be restored to the life of the Church for the life of the Church, the moral and spiritual health of our nations, and souls of our children.  Only then could all Catholics begin to understand how it is that this sublime touchstone of the old Faith is the antidote to the errors of the modern world, the bedrock of Christendom and the key to the restoration of all things in Christ.  [It will help reinvigorate Catholic identity by exerting a gravitational pull on everything we do as Catholics.]

Please, let’s not be so imperceptive as to demand the Holy Father spell everything out for us. It’s the Mass that matters, and he knows it. This is what his MP is all about. This is what he told Michael Davies ten years ago and this is what he’s trying to tell us now. Msgr. Klaus Gamber contended in The Reform of the Roman Liturgy that the New Mass was a "disaster".  [And key to his criticisms was the disaster of the turned around altars!] Let’s not forget who wrote the foreword to that monumental work–one Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. We may disagree with him here and there; we may wish he’d say and do more to recall the Novus Ordo; [Brick by brick...] but consider the storm of hell and fury roaring against him right now for making one change to one prayer to be said at one liturgy offered once a year. [Gee... I made that same point once and got raked over the coals for it in some trad sites.  o{]:¬) ] Obviously, this is going to take some time. Benedict understands that about which precious few of us know anything at all—Vatican bureaucracy.  [More on this below.] It took forty years of revolution in the Eternal City to get to this point, and it may take another forty to get back. In the meantime traditional Masses are returning en masse—a dramatic turn of events that absolutely had to happen first if, in fact, the old Faith was ever to rise again. 

My counsel, for what it’s worth: Pray for the Pope and accept the prayer. Do not let them sabotage the Motu Proprio! Do not let this divide the Catholic counterrevolution. [Perhaps "counter-reformation" is a better image.] There is nothing in the revised prayer contrary to Faith.  In fact, the Holy Father is under attack for its inherent orthodoxy.  We must, therefore, be willing to take some risks of our own—even when it comes to our “status” in the little world of traditional Catholicism—to go out and meet him halfway… and perhaps even come to his defense when no one else will.

I applaud Michael Matt for his article, which you should go to look at in its entirety.  That was just the conclusion.

Regarding the point of  "Vatican bureaucracy"…

Many people are impatient with the Pope.  I admit, I am too… sometimes.  We know what he thinks and know the direction he so obviously wants to go.

Why doesn’t he just do it?

There are a few points to keep in mind.

First, the Pope is Pope of the whole Church, and not just Pope of the Church we prefer.

Second, the Pope can’t do everything himself: he must delegate in order to get anything done.

Third, the Pope must work with the big picture.  He cannot bog down in micromanaging local issues. 

Fourth, the Pope’s workdesk is covered with things from all over the world, not just your little corrner of St. Ipsidipsy in Tall Tree Circle where you live.  Think of how complex it is to issue universal law for a vastly diverse world.

Fifth, timing and support are everything.  If the Pope has a plan (and he does) but acts too soon or with too little support, he risks not only failure but crippling failure.  When the Pope does something, it has to work.  It cannot not work.  If something fails, the Pope’s authority and ability to get anything done is weakened.  Look how the liturgy continued to errode even when document after document came out.  Issuing something as huge as Summorum Pontificum was bold beyond the ability of most to understand.  Thus, calls for support are exactly what are needed.

Sixth, Benedict XVI might be Pope right now, but there are still a lot of curial officials who would rather have that old portrait of Paul VI on their office walls.  The Vatican Curia is an incredibly lean machine… a bureaucracy, yes, but a very spare one.  It is very firmly entrenched, difficult to pull in another direction. 

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45 Responses to The Remnant: a timely call to support Pope Benedict

  1. Fr. A says:

    Good for Michael! Well said!

  2. Too bad your former buddy at the Wanderer Tom D. does not understand this.

  3. RichR says:

    I read the Remnant, and I was edified to see Mr. Matt’s “call to arms” in defense of the Holy Father. Too often, criticisms of the Holy Father from multiple corners of Traditional Catholicism can erode respect for the Pope. It’s good to see public affirmations of the good that BXVI has accomplished.

  4. Ann Seeton says:

    I love it! I am so pleased with Pope Benedict XVI.

    We SHOULD be taking it very seriously to be praying for and supporting the leaders in the Church==especially our dear Pope!

  5. Habemus Papam says:

    If another cardinal had been elected three years ago Traditionalists would be storming heaven for a Benedict XVI. Pray for him, especially the Rosary and do all we can to support him and his great work for us.

  6. Gregor says:

    While there is much worth thinking about on this article, and I obviously applaud the author’s call to defend the Vicar of our Lord, I strongly object to the repeated use of the term “Old Faith”. I do not want to wrongly impute anything to anyone, but where there is an “Old Faith”, there must also be a “New Faith”. In reality, however, there is only the Fides Catholica, which is either held or not. If by the use of the term “Old Faith” it is being implied that the postconciliar Church does not hold the Catholic Faith, this would be exactly the sectarian outlook which the title “Remnant” suggests, and would deny the indefectibility of the Holy Catholic Church.

  7. Tom Ryan says:

    The Remnant site is well worth checking every day (there’s more news on this issue)

    And, I think there are a lot of people in the Curia who’d settle for the old picture of JP2
    on the wall.

    ;-)

  8. TNCath says:

    Thank you so much for your comments about those of us who get a bit “impatient with the Pope.” I must admit that I too get frustrated at times thinking that the Holy Father doesn’t go far enough in his efforts to eradicate abuses and correct errors. Nonetheless, I have to constantly remind myself that HE is the Holy Father, not me, and, from his perspective, knows vastly much more than I do. Once again, the “more Catholic than the Pope” mentality is a dangerous trap to fall into amongst those of us who want to preserve both “Tradition” and “tradition.”

  9. Habemus Papam says:

    Gregor: In the context of this article its the opponents of Pope Benedict who think in terms of a New Faith/Old Faith.

  10. BTC says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters: Can anyone tell me whether diocesan priests are now permitted to use the old Breviarium Romanum in addition to the Missale Romanum 1962, or are they still obliged to recite the new Liturgia Horarum?

    Fundamentally, does the Pope’s statement that the old rite was never really abrogated apply to the Divine Office, or only to Mass?

    Thank you for your help!

  11. BTC: This is really very much off topic, isn’t it…

    But, yes, diocesan priests can use the Breviarium Romanum if they choose, in addition to or instead of the Liturgia Horarum.

  12. Ron says:

    Excellent! Thanks for posting this Fr. Z. Any uproar, such as the SSPX gave, to the new Good Friday prayer is really detrimental to the traditional Catholic faith. It’s not about our preferences. It’s about Christ, about the Faith, about the Church. We should be very happy that the intent remained for Jews to convert! The essence was not changed. I agree with Michael Matt. If only all traditional Catholics thought this way, think of the progress!

    Pax Christi tecum.

  13. Carolina Geo says:

    On the one hand, I do mainly support the Holy Father in what he is doing. I appreciate his motu proprio, and I pray that we may return to some sort of liturgical normalcy in the Church.

    However, I do have one concern. One of the big problems that we face in the Church insofar as liturgy goes is that there is no consistency. This is one of the big drawbacks to the Novus Ordo; when you go to a Novus Ordo Mass, you have no idea what you will get. Now that the MP has been issued, there are all sorts of variations that are creeping into the Traditional Mass – Communion in the hand, readings read in the vernacular rather than in Latin, extraordinary ministers, etc. Further, even in the MP, the Holy Father indicated that changes would be forthcoming – new saints added to the calendar, etc. And now the new Good Friday prayer.

    My point is that it would be nice to have some stability. After 40 years of wandering in the liturgical desert, can’t we please just have some sort of status quo before talking about change? Now that the MP has been issued, let’s go back to the missal of ’62, let there be an established baseline reading for while, and THEN evaluate whether there should be changes made. The way things are now seems too haphazard.

  14. techno_aesthete says:

    Oremus pro Pontifice nostro, Benedicto
    Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum,
    et beatum faciat eum in terra,
    et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. [Ps 40:3]

  15. Michael says:

    For anyone who can read German, Zenit published a short history of the traditional prayer for the Jews. Ironically, it came out the day before it was replaced. Very interesting. It seems that there had been movements afoot to remove the word perfidious from the prayer as early as the 1920s, but the Holy Office, not the SCR, could not give the go ahead because of the antiquity of the Good Friday petitions.

    I think this gets at the root of the problem. We can’t treasure certain elements of our liturgy because they’re ancient and then tell people antiquity doesn’t matter once they’re removed. I can’t think of how many times I read or heard that the Good Friday prayers were one of the great treaures of the Roman Liturgy, a link with a distant past 1500 years closer to Christ, because our Rite contains so few prayers as old as them. But then when one of them is removed, we’re supposed to console ourselves by saying it’s only read once a year? That it doesn’t matter how old it is, all that matters is its intention? This change was a big deal for the same reasons the Holy Office stated in the 1920s. Maybe they were being too harsh. They were in fact only dealing with the removal of one word, but if the Holy Office were willing to go to those lengths to defend such a minor change in the prayer, how much farther would they have gone to save the entire prayer itself? If a 50 year old chapel were knocked down and replaced with something just as good, it wouldn’t be a big deal. There are lots of 50 year old chapels around. But if a 1500 year old chapel were demolished and replaced with something superior in every way, it would still be a tremendous loss for the whole world. The same principle applies here. In a religion founded on the teaching of a man who lived and died 2000 years ago, it only makes sense that we value the most those parts of our tradition that are the oldest and remain suspicious of novelty, no matter how pure and orthodox.

  16. Habemus Papam says:

    If it wasn’t for Benedict XVI freeing the Old Rite from unfair and illegal restrictions you wouldn’t have the luxury of quibbling over everything he does. HE is the Pope. He has the authority to make changes to the ’62 Missal Like it or lump it!

  17. Cathy Dawson says:

    Fr. Z,

    You mention “the disaster of the turned around altars.” I ran across
    something yesterday that surprised me regarding this. Apparently, turning the
    altars around was happening well before Vatican II. I was reading an old book
    for children to help them understand and pray the Mass. It’s called “My Little
    Missal” and was published in 1950. It shows pictures of a traditional Mass with
    the priest praying the Mass ad orientem. The Mass is described beautifully in
    terms of sacrifice and it refers to adoring Jesus after receiving Him in Holy
    Communion – two things I haven’t seen in post-Vatican II children’s books (or
    adult books for that matter). My point is that the book doesn’t seem to have
    a big “modernist” agenda. The interesting thing is after the Sanctus, it
    says “We join the priest in praying for everybody in God’s family, which is
    the Church. Its holy people are the pope, bishops, priests, and all of us
    who have been made one in Christ at Baptism. Priests are nowadays beginning
    to face the people at Mass. God wants us to come close to his holy altar.”
    The picture on one side shows the priest praying ad orientem and on the other
    side people of a variety of ages, races, and walks of life in front of a
    priest, bishop, cardinal, and pope who are facing them.

    It was news to me that this had been introduced prior to Vatican II.

  18. schoolman says:

    Matt’s article was excellent. But this follow-up article was just posted on the Remnant site by Chris Ferrara.

    Ferrara takes off the gloves on this one and really challenges certain segments of the traditionalist movement. This is also a must read.

    http://remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2008-0229-cardinal_kasper_and_the_good_fri.htm

  19. Michael says:

    Habemus Papam,

    It’s unlikely that any of the MP communities will be celebrating the Sacred Triduum in the EF this year or in the years to come. The only communties this change effects are those who have been celebrating the 1962 Missal since Ecclesia Dei, motly personal parishes staffed by the Institute or Fraternity. For those communities, the MP has brought changes to the Missal but not liberation.

    May I also remind you, this isn’t a question of authority but of prudence. Even the SSPX knows that.

  20. schoolman says:

    …sorry, I should have added that Ferrara’s article exposes the intellectual dishonesty of those traditionalists who have rashly rejected the revised Good Friday prayer. His analysis leaves certain folks (they know who they are) completely naked and exposed. Check this one out…

    http://remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-2008-0229-cardinal_kasper_and_the_good_fri.htm

  21. schoolman says:

    This is a good summary from Ferrara’s article:

    “In sum, when read with even minimal discernment Kasper’s letter turns out to be a lot of nothing. It is painful to watch certain traditionalists argue that Kasper’s private correspondence reveals a sinister papal plan to abandon Jewish conversion, even as they ignore the Pope’s public catechesis to the contrary, the authentic teaching of St. Paul and, to boot, the historic breakthrough of the Motu Proprio. *I fear that this sort of thing will create the perception that traditionalists in general, far from being too clever to be deceived, are so lacking in discernment that they are unable to recognize a good faith papal move in favor of Tradition unless it is accompanied by a blast of trumpets and a Vatican page unrolling a scroll that declares “the errors of Vatican II” are hereby repudiated.”*

  22. wayne ratzinger says:

    “Excellent! Thanks for posting this Fr. Z. Any uproar, such as the SSPX gave, to the new Good Friday prayer is really detrimental to the traditional Catholic faith”

    Ron, I thought that Mr Matt stated that Bishop Fellay had not made any statement on the SSPX position on the Good Friday prayer. I had words with an SSPX priest ( a nice guy ) but I told him and others that their particular objections were petty fogging and silly. As far as I know there has been no official SSPX “party line” on this issue, that is including Bishop Williamsons vapourings.

  23. Between this and Ferrara’s piece on the Good Friday prayer, I’ve been surprised by recent developments at The Remnant. Maybe we’ll see the day when the Matt family can mend fences after all these years, and the combined effort will be the powerful voice of Catholic tradition that is needed, in print and on the web. (Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he???) Until then, if this keeps up, I may end up actually subscribing to The Remnant.

    OMG, what am I saying???

  24. Habemus Papam says:

    Michael: the FFSP has accepted the new Good Friday prayers in allegiance to the authority of the Pope. Do you represent the Institute of Christ the King?

    May I remind you that it is prudent to obey lawful authority.

  25. Michael says:

    Habemus Papam,

    Look at my posts. No where do I say that disobedience is justified or that the Fraternity and Institute shouldn’t or won’t be accepting the new prayer.

    My point was that obeying lawful authority and thinking that everything the Pope does is fantastic are two different things. Thinking that changing this prayer was a bad idea does not make me disobedient. Thinking that Paul VI made a mistake with the Novus Ordo does not make me disobedient.

    Maybe this is why we see so many Catholics doing everything they can to make everyone think this new prayer was a great idea. They’re afraid that if people don’t like it, they won’t use it, and that no criticim whatsoever can be tolerated. I can’t speak for them, but most Catholics know that obedience requires doing things we might disagree with. This isn’t doctrine, folks. It’s a change in the liturgy. It doesn’t require assent of the heart and mind. The Pope only asks us to obey, not rejoice in his decision.

  26. Tom says:

    Father Z wrote: “In other words, Pope Benedict made the 1962 Missale a living liturgical book which he intends be used on the Church’s most sacred days.”

    Father, was the 1962 Missal a “living liturgical book” prior to the alteration in question?

  27. Tom says:

    Father Z wrote: “In other words, Pope Benedict made the 1962 Missale a living liturgical book which he intends be used on the Church’s most sacred days.”

    Father, was the 1962 Missal a “living liturgical book” prior to the alteration in question?

  28. “The problem is not the content of the prayer but the reason for changing it. Popes do not stoop down and alter the Sacred Liturgy, the Work of the Holy Ghost, at the behest or demand of the two chief infidels of Palestine—or of any infidels or heretics.”

    I would think that somewhere in the very long essays that you continually write on this, Mr Perkins, you could come up with a better show of proof than “post hoc ergo propter hoc.” These are serious accusations against the Holy Father. You can’t prove any of it. And for all the long-windedness, you never do.

    (Sorry, Father Z, but if someone’s going to attack the Vicar of Christ, he either accepts the burden of proof, or he deserves a good going over.)

  29. Abe says:

    I must agree with David Alexander. I’m not sure I have read a word in the Remnant since the death of Michael Davies that did not sound as though the author ought to be heavily sedated. Sanity–or grace–appear to have made an appearance. I am pleasantly surprised.

  30. Tom: Father, was the 1962 Missal a “living liturgical book” prior to the alteration in question?

    If it was it was hard to see how it was.

    Now, there is no doubt.

    That is the important point.

  31. PKTP: A friendly note: If you want to continue posting here, I suggest that you find a new tone. I won’t have continuous ad hominem attacks on people or, especially, invective directed toward the Vicar of Christ.  

  32. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Mr. Alexander:

    Hello, again. There is no onus probandi involved here. I am not accusing the Holy Father of having committed some indictable offence. Read a little Jone. Catch up on the differing degrees of certitude needed to hold a proposition.

    The Holy Father is not dense. He received the official joint letter of the two chief rabbis of Palestine, and he was no doubt told by his advisors what he himself would have discovered by reading any newspaper, which is that the plea of the rabbis was announced by those rabbis to the press. It would be incredible to think that he did not know it.

    Now the Holy Father is a learned man, and he must know the dictum that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done, and that scandal must be avoided. Hence, even the appearance of responding to the two chief rabbis by changing the Sacred Liturgy at their behest risked a scandal and a scandalous precedent. I have great respect for this Pope’s intelligence. Do you?

    The fact is the two chief rabbis, who have legal standing and have cordial relations with the Pope, issued a joint official letter asking the Supreme Pontiff to alter our Sacred Liturgy, and then they gave notice to the press so that the whole world would be watching to see if the Pope would cave in. A mere fortnight later, he did. It’s elementary, my dear chap.
    Now the explantion you are implying is that it was mere coincidence that the Pope changed the prayer a mere fortnight later. Hey, presto! Then you must also claim that the Pope was not informed about the announcements in the press and was too busy playing Mozart to notice them. Perhaps he wanted to change our Missal to make it ‘living Tradition’, so he thumbed through the pages and then suddenly stopped and, lo and behold!, he was on the Good Friday page. It’s a point of view.

    But we Catholics do not need a smoking gun to assert a reasonable explanation of the facts, unless we are accusing someone of having committed a criminal act to which physical penalties are attached. We Catholics do not need to travel to China in order to believe that China exists. I am perfectly at liberty to propose what is reasonable. Naturally, some people may disagree and that is also their right. Even a fool has the right to his folly, for that matter.

    And, by the way, I am not accusing the Pope of having acted immorally. On the contrary, I presume, in justice, that he made a prudential error, perhaps because he is too anxious to prove how opposed he is to anti-semitism. I have also made clear that I regard this Pope’s act as legally valid. What I am arguing is that we should refuse to use the new prayer, something we are perfectly entitled to do. Do you deny that? Are you trying to claim that I must use it? Are you proposing that a policeman be assigned to ensure that I do? I then explain why the change was a mistake and why we should not co-operate with this error by doing more than the law requires. A fortiori, we should denounce this alteration as a threat to Holy Church in the hope that a precedent will not be set and that the damage done to the Church’s honour be repaired. I urge people to pray for that.

    Of course, a papalator might say that a Pope is infallible in matters of law and is unable to make prudential errors. Perhaps he can’t even sin. I recall an incident when a certain lady told her children, as the Pope alighted from the aeroplane at Toronto, that when John Paul II appeared at the top of the staircase, it was exactly the same as if Christ Himself had appeared there. I guess I don’t go for that sort of thing. I hope that you don’t.

    P.K.T.P.

  33. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To answer Tom:

    The Holy Father himself answers this. According to S.P., the Traditional Liturgy was never abrogated and has, in principle, always been permitted. It has also always been offered over the years.

    The 1962 Liturgy, including the Good Friday prayers, has been used by the F.S.S.P. and some diocesan priests at least since 1988. In the case of the personal parish at Ottawa, Canada, the 1962 Good Friday prayers have been used continuously since 1984. There are other cases.

    There is also the case of Fr. Gomar De Pauw. But we must also include the case of priests who were unjustly thrown onto the street for using a liturgy to which they had a right. According to Cardinal Stickler, there were ten to fifteen such cases in which the Apostolic Signatura confirmed those preists’ rights. We simply don’t know how many other cases never went that far.

    “Summorum Pontificum” replaced norms of 1984 and 1988, which, in turn, replaced norms of 1965, 1967, and 1968. But under all of these, the Good Friday prayers were said in some places, and there has not elapsed in the Church Universal any period of thirty continuous years in which the 1962 Liturgy was not used licitly. At most, one could argue that it was not used licitly for the ten years between 1974 and 1984. Therefore, this act of 2008 is not necessary to make anything living.

    P.K.T.P.

  34. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Calls to Arms

    I repeat to listmembers that we are not required to agree with all the prudential decisons of popes, and that charity only requires us to go beyond the law when we do so for something we consider to be good.

    When I see some bloggers here referring to ‘calls to arms’, it reminds me of simliar calls to arms in the 1960s by well-meaning faithful who thought that even to disagree with the reforms was the blackest of sins. These supposed loyalists, many of whom knew nothing about the Church’s teaching on authority and abuses of power, encouraged prelates as they cast good traditional priests out onto the streets and into the outer darkness for the ‘crime’ of celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass.

    In “Missale Romanum”, 1970, the Pope mandates the use of the renewed texts exclusiviely, but without bothering to abrogate the Traditional Mass. In “De Missali Romano”, 1971, Paul VI forbids the old Mass except for ageing and retired priests to celebrate privately. Thirty-five years later, Benedict XVI issues an apostolic letter that clearly contradicts all of this. How is this possible? It is possible because no pope is infallible in matters of law–and they do not claim such infallibility.

    Let us rally around the Pope by all means. But only when he works to save souls and build up the Mystical Body of Christ. When he caves in to rabbis and changes the Sacred Liturgy at their public behest, we should express a respectful refusal to support this. Yes, we must obey a new law which makes this change. No, that law does not require us to use the new prayer, and we should decline to do so.

    P.K.T.P.

  35. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    I’d like to close by thanking Baronius Press for printing tens of thousands of 1962 Missals before the 2008 revision was added. In fact, they are still being printed and distributed. As a result of this and the continued existence of 1962 Missals from yesteryear, most faithful attached to traditional personal parishes will not even be aware of the 2008 revision as they follow along in their handmissals. Deo gratias! Thank you also, Baronius Press.

    P.K.T.P

  36. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To Fr. Z.

    There is no doubt whatever that the 1962 Missal was a “living liturgical book” before the 2008 revision, just as the 1637 Missal was a living liturgical book from 1637 to 1885, during which period not one single change was made to its Ordinary–not even in orthography or punctuation.

    I am sure that it was a living liturgial book from 7th of July, 2007 to Shrove Monday, 2008 too. If a liturgical book is used by the people licitly, it is a living liturgical book (or what it contains is). The 1962 Missal was never discontinued for any period of thirty continuous years; on the contrary, it has been used lawfully at least from 1984 and, according to S.P., since 1962.

    Of course, there can be too much life. Modernists would say that the liturgy is “a permanent workshop”. Hence, if it is not sprouting new branches evey day, it is as dead as a doornail.

    P.K.T.P.

  37. Jordan Potter says:

    Let Peter Karl T. Perkins, whoever he is, rant and fume to his hearts content. It’s not like he or any other layman actually has any say about whether or not a priest will use the mandated liturgy of the Church. If the priest follows the instructon of the Holy Father, then no amount of a layman’s fuming about alleged papal cave-ins to evil Jewish rabbis is going to change a thing. It’s the clergy, not the laity, who invite the congregation to pray on Good Friday — so yes, the law DOES require “us” (led by the clergy) to use the revised prayer. Peter can stay home on Good Friday if he likes, or find an illegal and non-Catholic church service where he can hide from the Big Bad Revised Prayer for the Jews. He can do as he likes, and the Church will do as she has said she will do. He’s welcome to his personal opinions and preferences, but I don’t see any reason why anybody else should look upon his tirades as guides.

    P.S. “The two chief infidels of Palestine”? Your anti-Judaistic invective aside, I didn’t know the chief rabbis of ISRAEL were Muslim Arabs.

  38. “The Holy Father is not dense. He received the official joint letter of the two chief rabbis of Palestine, and he was no doubt told by his advisors what he himself would have discovered by reading any newspaper…”

    None of this establishes a causal relationship, only that one event followed the other. And even if it were motivated by the rabbis, that in itself would not make it an ill-advised decision. We are still called upon to pray for the conversion of the Jews.

    “I have great respect for this Pope’s intelligence. Do you?”

    The last thing you’ve shown for His Holiness with regard to this subject, is anything approaching respect. Your attempts to claim you are not accusing the Holy Father of something is disingenuous. You most certainly are, and no one reading your remarks should have to pick nits with your level of “certitude” to see that.

  39. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To Jordan Potter:

    I don’t mind your rather negative tone in the least. Actually, much of what you write shows that you understand the situation. That’s a good thing. Let the truth always be known.

    I agree with you if you are asserting that the faithful must accept the law which mandates the new prayer. This means, first of all, that people who, with the greatest respect for the Pope, disagree with his action out of deep love for the Church, lose any right to insist that a priest use the 1962 formula rather than that of 2008. Secondly, because this law is indeed valid, those who reject this new prayer also lose any right to oppose those who insist that the 2008 prayer be used. If I have used any tone of disrespect to the Pope, this was not my aim. I feel a very deep hurt over this débâcle of the 2008 prayer and have prayed assiduously for reparation for the harm done to the Church. I feel that the Pope’s caving in (or, pace Mr. Alexander, appearing to cave in) to infidels to change the Sacred Liturgy of the Church, the Work of the Holy Ghost, has done great damage to the Church. Unlike Peace and Justice in the Psalms, Truth and Error should never meet and kiss. To me, it is unthinkable that the Pope should change the Sacred Liturgy at the behest of those who reject the Faith. This is a terrible betrayal; it is a wound to the heart.

    I also fear very greatly that this will be the beginning of a process of tearing up our Missal to be politically correct. I can imagine changes to the Passion Narrative on Palm Sunday, for instance, and to the propers for the Feast of Christ the King. In the case of the votive Mass for the heathens, it is less a fear (since we shan’t likely hear that one ever) than a question of a practice of revision. And will the Pope also go after our devotions as John Paul II tried to alter the Rosary and the Loreto Litany, and as Paul VI tried to add a fifteenth Station to the Way of the Cross? I use the Litany of the Holy Cross every Friday and absolutely will not stop using it despite its inclusion of petitions that would certainly be objectionable to some.

    While you do show understanding in your comments, you are quite wrong in saying that we are required to receive or use this prayer. Even on a holyday, which Good Friday is not, we are not required to follow the Missal and say every prayer with the priest; in fact, if we have the general intent of the priest and participate interiorly (actuosa, not activa), we can pray the rosary silently for the whole Mass. We are only bound to ‘hear Mass’ and to avoid causing a disruption or doing anything immoral, or saying prayers that are heretical. Saying the 1962 (or the pre-1955 formulation) silently to ourselves while the priest intones the 2008 words is perfectly within our rights.

    It is also within our rights to attend a S.S.P.X Good Friday Service. That is because, thanks to the 1983 Code, there are no longer any restrictions on praying at non-Catholic places (except those which directly militate against the faith, such as Satanic rituals). If we are allowed in law to pray at Protestant Good Friday Services, we are certainly allowed in law to pray at S.S.P.X Good Friday Services. The Pope shows us the way: he prays at Protestant churches, and even mosques and synagogues–another cause of scandal rightly rejected by the S.S.P.X. We can pray at S.S.P.X chapels on Good Friday exclusively since Good Friday is not a holyday of obligation. Q.E.D. (By the way, in case you are wondering, I am NOT an S.S.P.X supporter, although I do sympathise with the Society. But I have never attended any of its Masses or other liturgies. I would go there now, however, on Good Friday.)

    Moreover, we could repair to Eastern Divine Liturgies on Good Friday. I hope that you are not implying that that would be illegal and non-Catholic. Ukrainians and Maronites would be outraged!

    Thirdly, the Pope has no authority to dictate the content of private prayers except to forbid what is heretical, so we could organise private prayers for certain groups of people on Good Friday–and use the 1962 words. These prayers could even be led by a priest and said in a church privately (although he could not say the whole Good Friday Liturgy in private, obviously.)

    There is a way out for priests too, and it is perfectly legal. Good Friday is not among those days when even a parish priest must offer any public prayers. Therefore, a parish priest assigned to pastor traditionalists could simply not offer the Good Friday Service. He could say that, since some faithful have expressed concern over even the 2008 revision, as so many masoretes angrily denounce it, he has decided to cancel these Good Friday prayers altogether for ‘œcumenical’ reasons. (Ironic, eh?). However, faithful are invited to attend the N.O. Good Friday Service or an Eastern Catholic one. He could even go on and add that, in place of this ‘controversial’ Good Friday Service, he is having the Tenebræ Service instead. Of course, the Tenebræ service, in its Second Nocturne for Mattins, includes words which are even more objectionable to the Jews. But, then, that’s how it goes–until the Pope takes out his scissors and changes those prayers too, prayers written by St. Augustine.

    On your closing comment, I only wished to emphasise that they are infidels. I did not mean that they are the two chief infidels of Palestine (illogical, since all infidels are equally without the Faith) but only that they are two infidels who are the chief rabbis of Palestine. I use the term Palestine because I entirely reject the legitimacy of the Zionist state. I have every right, as a Catholic, to do so. To be anti-Zionist is not to be anti-semitic; it merely means to reject the claim that the masoretes have a right to return to the Holy Land. Frankly, I no more reject their errors than those of the Muslims or Hindoos or Jains, although I think the condition of the Jews to be more frightening because they rejected the Messias Who was sent to them–hence how appropriate it is to refer to their darkness and blindness. It makes me want to pray for them even harder. I cringe every time I reflect during the Sorrowful Mysteries on those passages, such as ‘May His blood be upon us and upon our children forever’. I pray for their salvation above all and think that God still has a very special place in His Sacred Heart for the masoretes.

    As for my views on the Zionist State, I think that, in principle, it is illegitimate. For me, there is no Zionist State, only a Palestine or the Holy Land or the Levant. This is not the place to explain why. Nevertheless, owing to the Catholic principle of proportionality, I support the two-state solution, provided that East Jerusalem goes to a Palestine. I hope that this meets with your approval. If not, that’s unfortunate, but we are not, as faithful, required to support any particular political causes. So let’s stick to the prayer. Thank goodness Baronius Press has printed so many thousands of handmissals before this revision was published.

    P.K.T.P.

  40. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    David Alexander writes:

    “The last thing you’ve shown for His Holiness with regard to this subject, is anything approaching respect. Your attempts to claim you are not accusing the Holy Father of something is disingenuous. You most certainly are, and no one reading your remarks should have to pick nits with your level of “certitude” to see that.”

    I see no causal relationship to prove this; therefore, it must be untrue. Post hoc ergo propter hoc. (Sarcasm)

    On the other hand, you are entitled to your opinion and, if its premises are reasonable, others might certainly come to agree with it.

    You seem to think the opposite of the post hoc fallacy, which is that, if one things follows another, the second cannot possibly be caused by the first. Everything must be coincidental.

    I needn’t assume any onus probandi in my argument for the simple reason that I am not claiming that the Pope did this with any ill intent. I have said that it was a prudential error time and time again. But you are clearly suggesting ill intent on my part; therefore, in justice, you do need to assume the burden of proof in your claim against me. Q.E.D.

    P.K.T.P.

  41. “You seem to think the opposite of the post hoc fallacy, which is that, if one things follows another, the second cannot possibly be caused by the first. Everything must be coincidental.”

    No, you are the one attempting to prove something here. I am not. In fact, I consider the possibility that there may be NO coincidence. Thank you for reminding me that I am entitled to my opinion. Neither of us is entitled to our own facts.

    Prove yours, or stand down.

  42. Jordan Potter says:

    Peter Karl T. Perkins said: I use the term Palestine because I entirely reject the legitimacy of the Zionist state.

    Why does your rejection of the legitimacy of the sovereign state require that you refuse to call that state by its proper name, instead using a name that was invented as an insult by Emperor Hadrian? And why does your rejection of the religion of Israel’s chief rabbis require that you speak of them in a derogatory fashion? Why not give the state of Israel and the chief rabbis the basic dignity of referring to them by their actual names? I suspect I’m not too far off the mark in wondering about the reasons for your inability to speak of the Jews without using anti-Jewish shibboleths and disrespectful codewords.

    Therefore, a parish priest assigned to pastor traditionalists could simply not offer the Good Friday Service.

    Not a particularly “traditional” thing to do, though it may be in keeping with a “traditionalist” attitude . . .

    It is also within our rights to attend a S.S.P.X Good Friday Service.

    Only for very good reason. Disdain for Jews and Judaism, and presumptuously passing judgment on the Holy See, don’t strike me as a particularly good reason to attend an illegal religious service.

    Of course, you are talking about canon law and liturgical law, and approaching it legalistically and minimalistically, seeking loopholes. But there’s much more to Christian conduct and Christian moral obligation than what is found in canon law.

    And will the Pope also go after our devotions as John Paul II tried to alter the Rosary and the Loreto Litany, and as Paul VI tried to add a fifteenth Station to the Way of the Cross?

    “Tried”? Perhaps in your circles the changes that those Popes introduced are unknown, but my own experience is that they are pretty commonly used throughout the Church, so it would appear that their “attempts” to change those devotions were successful. Perhaps in the Catholic Church of your imagination, there is no optional 15th Station and there are no optional Luminous Mysteries. Much as the world in which you live, quite unlike the world that actually exists, seems to have no state called “Israel,” only a geographical region called “Palestine” in which live two men who do not call themselves “chief rabbis,” but instead call themselves “chief infidels,” and where a people live who do not call themselves “Jews,” but instead go by the name of “masoretes.”

  43. Matt Q says:

    Dear Father Z:

    Thank you for this topic. Yes, it is most critical to pray for and support the Holy Father with our prayers. As always with any Pope but especially this Pope at this particular juncture in time. There really is a lot at stake. That said, can you clarify some of the points you made?

    ***

    “First, the Pope is Pope of the whole Church, and not just Pope of the Church we prefer.”

    — Not sure what you mean that by that? Is it in terms of the “type” of Church we would like?

    “Second, the Pope can’t do everything himself: he must delegate in order to get anything done.”

    — I understand the delegation, but you take to task those who are are performing less than adequately who are not accomplishing the task delegated.

    “Third, the Pope must work with the big picture. He cannot bog down in micromanaging local issues.”

    — No, but at the same time, how are matters handled when “local issues” get out of hand? Does this mean then, the farther afield one is or the problem, the greater the ability to carry on with impunity? What happens to those charged to handle the “issues” and are incompetent at it?

    “Fourth, the Pope’s workdesk is covered with things from all over the world, not just your little corner of St. Ipsidipsy in Tall Tree Circle where you live. Think of how complex it is to issue universal law for a vastly diverse world.”

    — I don’t see why the Church should have it any more complex in governing Herself any more than an international corporation would. Does a company like, say, Sony, General Electric, Trump Enterprises, etc., have governance issues? That is what district ( deanery ) and regional ( diocesan ) managers ( bishops ) are for. To resolve issues at the local level.

    “Fifth, timing and support are everything. If the Pope has a plan (and he does) but acts too soon or with too little support, he risks not only failure but crippling failure. When the Pope does something, it has to work. It cannot not work. If something fails, the Pope’s authority and ability to get anything done is weakened. Look how the liturgy continued to erode even when document after document came out. Issuing something as huge as Summorum Pontificum was bold beyond the ability of most to understand. Thus, calls for support are exactly what are needed.”

    — Yes, but either one has authority or one doesn’t. In other words, “Get it done, or else…”

    “Sixth, Benedict XVI might be Pope right now, but there are still a lot of Curial officials who would rather have that old portrait of Paul VI on their office walls. The Vatican Curia is an incredibly lean machine… a bureaucracy, yes, but a very spare one. It is very firmly entrenched, difficult to pull in another direction.”

    — Again, Father, this is where the same question raises its head. When the Pope says something is to be, it’s to be done. Period. When a president or CEO of a company says this is way it’s going to be, the managers and executives follow suit or are dismissed. Why is the Church any different? Everyone in such a position serves at the pleasure of the Pope.
    Where is the issue?

    I have yet to hear of a reasonable explanation from many circles why this is allowed to continue. I do hear excuses for the “difficulties,” but that means try harder to overcome the obstacle, not act like water and seek the path of least resistance.

    Thanks for helping to clear this up, Father.

  44. I don’t believe some people commenting here are sufficiently capable of self-editing for me to leave the combox open while I try to get a few hours of sleep.

    So… I am turning it off.