You might remember that recently His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos celebrated a Pontifical Mass in Westminster Cathedral, London, in the Extraordinary Form, or Gregorian Rite, as some call it.
During that press conference, Mr. Thompson slapped down the writer for The Tablet. So did Card. Castrillon, but rather gently.
Now The Tablet’s slapped-down Elena Curti has her say:
My emphases and comments.
21 June 2008
Ringing in the old
A Pontifical High Mass in the Tridentine Rite was said in Westminster Cathedral last weekend for the first time in four decades. Its celebrant, a close ally of the Pope and an ambassador for the old liturgy, promised that further changes will be afoot
Imagine for a moment a vibrant and confident Catholic church, the pews filled every Sunday with parishioners of all ages, eager to celebrate a distinctive liturgy that will impart a sense of reverence and awe and the mystery of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice.
That is the vision of the Church presented last weekend by a senior member of the Curia, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos. And the means of achieving it, he claims, is the revival of the Tridentine Rite. [We know the problems with this term "Tridentine", but let them pass.]
It was last July when Pope Benedict issued an instruction, or motu proprio, encouraging the rite’s much wider celebration if a "stable group" requests it from a parish priest. He designated the Tridentine Mass the "extraordinary form" and the new the "ordinary form" of the one Roman rite. But, Cardinal Castrillón, who is close to the Pope, has now gone much further, suggesting it should be made a far more frequent liturgical experience. [Indeed, a priest need not wait for a request. He can celebrate the older form publicly even without requests.]
The cardinal, who in his present role as president of the Pontifical Commission, Ecclesia Dei, has responsibility for ensuring that traditionalists have access to the old Mass as set out in Pope John XXIII’s 1962 missal, was in London last weekend where he celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the old rite at Westminster Cathedral – the first celebrated by a cardinal in England for nearly 40 years. Before the Mass, he gave a group interview to four journalists arranged by the Latin Mass Society at a hotel in Westminster. And during it, he made clear his vision, saying that it was his hope that eventually Catholics in every parish in England and Wales would have the opportunity to attend Sunday Mass in the Tridentine Rite.
Those unfamiliar with the pre-Conciliar Mass will be offered catechesis to help them understand and appreciate it. Men training for the priesthood will be taught not just Latin but the complex ritual and gestures they must learn in order to equip them to meet the expected demand [A touch of sarcasm, perhaps? Dunno.] for the old Mass. At the moment, bishops are required to facilitate Masses using the rite if appropriately trained priests are available.
Celebration of the Tridentine Rite was discouraged ["Discouraged"? People who wanted to have the pre-Conciliar form of Mass were actively and diligently PERSECUTED for decades! "Discouraged"?] after the introduction of Paul VI’s missal in 1970 following the Second Vatican Council. From that time Mass was to be celebrated in a new rite with the priest facing the congregation. [Notice how time and again writers simply slide into the mistake of connecting the Novus Ordo with versus populum celebration of Mass as if the versus populum was required with the Novus Ordo.] The new rite led to the widespread introduction of lay readers and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. For the first time women were permitted on to the sanctuary [I don’t know, but is "on to the sanctuary" a typically British way of saying "into the sanctuary"?] to fulfil these new roles and girls were also allowed to be altar servers. [Actually, this started as an abuse, which went purposely unchecked until the Holy See caved in and extended permission. So, what the writer is bringing up here was really the result of disobedience.] The biggest change in the new rite was that Mass was celebrated in the vernacular for the first time although Latin was still permitted. [Again, note the reversal of reality: "Latin was still permitted"? On the contrary, Latin was still required and the vernacular was permitted, at least according to the Church’s documents. But, again, disobendience brought about the wide-spread impression that the vernacular is the norm for the Novus Ordo. ]
Small numbers of traditionalists [Now I think we get a better glimpse of the writer’s real thoughts.] continued to celebrate Mass in the old rite down the years with some encouragement in the later part of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate. But it is under Pope Benedict that the old Mass has acquired new prominence following the motu proprio. There have been loud complaints from traditionalists that some bishops ["some"] in England and Wales have been uncooperative [That’s one way to put it.] in implementing the motu proprio but Cardinal Castrillón declared that he and the Pope felt the bishops’ response had been good, given the time needed to prepare for the change. [Yes, that is because curial Cardinals don’t go to dioceses and then beat up the bishops publicly. It’s called Romanità.]
Cardinal Castrillón, now 79, has spent a lifetime as a curial cardinal. [I think the implication is that he is not "pastoral".] He is a former prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy and currently heads negotiations to bring the ultra-traditionalist Society of St Pius X with its four excommunicated bishops back into the Catholic fold.
He was eager to explain why he considered the revival of the old rite – which he called the Gregorian Rite – so important. He had a forthright response to those who complain that its reintroduction violates the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, calling such a view "absolute ignorance". ["forthright", nice!] Pope Benedict, he added, was a theologian with deep understanding of Vatican II and was acting exactly in accordance with "the way of the council" that the freedom of different kinds of celebration is to be offered. Similarly, he judged complaints about the priest in the old rite celebrating Mass with his back to the congregation to be "ridiculous". [And he is right! I would also have added "adlepated", but I defer to the Cardinal.] The priest represented the person of Christ and in facing east – that is, towards God – he was reviving the sacrifice [?] of the Son to the Father.
Asked whether he hoped to see provision for the Tridentine Rite made in "many" parishes in England and Wales, the cardinal said he wanted "all" parishes to experience this "treasure". As for men training for the priesthood, he disclosed that the Vatican is writing to all seminaries, asking them to ensure they will be taught Latin not just for liturgical purposes but also to prepare them for their studies in theology and philosophy. [And this would merely repeat what Holy Church already requires.]
But what of the confusion felt by many Catholics who had seen the transition from the Tridentine to the new rite in 1970 and had welcomed it, seeing it as real progress? I suggested that for some this new emphasis on old rite might feel like a step backwards.
"Progress is important, but what does it mean?" said the cardinal. "Today, for me, progress is discovering the meaning of contemplation. This is progress. A person who has no time for silence is a poor person. A person who has no time for contemplation is poor also. The holy Mass is sacrifice. We have to look at Golgotha, at Calvary, the Cross of Christ. When we have sacrifice in Christ we feel free from sin, we are redeemed, then we are happy and when we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ we are happy to gather together and to celebrate, but first the sacrifice, second the community aspect of the meal."
Is it not possible to express all this in the new rite?
"Yes, but the experience of these 40 years is not always so good," said Cardinal Castrillón. "Many people abandon the sense of adoration of God. Yes, we are brothers but we are not saved as brothers. We are saved by the sacrifice. We need to be in front of the mystery. We sing because we are brothers. We sing because we are celebrating, but we keep silent because we are in front of the mystery. The new rite can express it but there have been brought out so many abuses all over the Church that many people abandon it [sic]. Many children do not know how to be in the presence of God, how they have to be adoring."
To a conservative journalist who insisted vehemently [Notice that "traditionalists" are those who "complain" and "conservatives" are "vehement"?] that some bishops in England were denying permission for the old Mass to be celebrated in their dioceses, the cardinal said such cases were few and he did not want to make the Eucharist a cause of confrontation for priests, lay people, bishops and the Holy See. He explained that the new rite was a response to a new era of world communication and conceded that it too contained riches. The Pope had decided that the time had come to celebrate the new rite alongside the old.
"It is not a matter of confrontation but of dialogue, fraternal dialogue, and making efforts to understand the precious things contained in the new and in the old rite," he said.
But what exactly were the abuses he had alluded to earlier that had crept in with the advent of the new rite? The answer was surprising.
He explained that he had received letters complaining that a priest had celebrated Mass made up as a clown: "The parish priest with the lips painted and the wig and mirrors here," he said, pointing to his temples. "A travesty." Other examples including that of a priest who had allegedly presided at Sunday Mass dressed in a miniskirt, and a priest who had invited his Protestant "brother" to celebrate the Eucharist. Yet another had introduced his wife and sons before celebrating Mass. [Those are extreme examples. However, I remind you all that for a very long time having altar girls and Communion in the hand were contrary to law and were abuses. And there are countless others we could all recite.]
"There is an atmosphere that makes possible those abuses [That’s the real point.] and that atmosphere must be changed, and in my poor opinion the new presence of the Gregorian Rite will help us to take seriously the identity of our faith, [Does that sound familiar? This is what WDTPRS has been hammering at all along: this is part of Pope Benedict’s Marshall Plan, his project to revitalize Catholic identity.] respecting all the other ways of thinking but keeping strongly our identity with Christ, with Christ in Calvary, with Christ in Golgotha, with Christ offering his blood for our salvation."
With that the cardinal was off to change into his red robes ["robes", it’s always "robes"… how tiresome.] in readiness for his address to the Latin Mass Society’s annual general meeting, followed by a private session with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. According to a statement issued by Archbishop’s House, Cardinal Castrillón expressed his gratitude to his fellow cardinal for the generous way which the bishops of England and Wales had responded to an indult from Pope Paul VI allowing traditionalists to celebrate the old rite and for their reception of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio. [Again, curial Cardinals don’t go to dioceses and then beat up the bishops publicly. It’s called Romanità].