The Westminster TLM: sign of a “cultural revolution”

The Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos is still creating buzz.

I think we all know that Pope Benedict has weighed into the ongoing culture wars with his Pontifical Elbows clearing the fields.  His Marshall Plan for the Church has been set in motion. 

Take a look at an article by Sebastian Tong on Faithworld of Reuters.

My emphases and comments.

June 16th, 2008
Latin Mass “power of silence” raises UK Catholic decibels

Posted by: Sebastian Tong

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos was at Westminster Cathedral in London over the weekend to lead one of the highest profile celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church’s old Latin Mass here since the 1960s. The Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales has been lukewarm about the prospect of the old rite being celebrated alongside Mass in English, so the cardinal’s presence was a clear reminder of what the Vatican wants.  [NB: "alongside"… not "in place of".  What are they so afraid of?  In a way, we can say there are market forces at work here.  Some people, insecure about the value of what they are peddling or backing, simply interfere with people’s ability freely to choose between options.  If people prefered the older form of Mass, wouldn’t that be okay?  Don’t we want people to attend Mass more eagerly?  Participate more willingly?  If they decide the older Mass isn’t for them and stick to the new Mass (which will be changing under the influence of Summorum Pontificum anyway), wouldn’t that be alright?  Give them the choice, everywhere!  There is nothing to be afraid of.]

Before the Mass on Saturday, Castrillon Hoyos met four journalists (myself included) to explain why Pope Benedict decided last year to promote wider use of the old Latin Mass. He praised the traditional Tridentine rite for its “power of silence,” an element of contemplation he said had disappeared from worship since the liturgical reforms of the 1960s. If his pre-Mass briefing is anything to go by, however, the Latin Mass also has a power to raise the decibel level among Catholics in Britain.

The Colombian-born cardinal, who is head of the pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei for relations with traditionalists, said the new form of the Mass had led to “abuses” that had prompted many to abandon the Church. So, he said, the pope wanted the older form to be offered again in all parishes (not only where a group of parishioners requested it, as originally said).  [Yet another confirmation: 1) the Pope wants this form of Mass to be very wide-spread and 2) it can be initiated by the priest himself even if people don’t ask for it.]

“The experience of these 40 years has not always been so good. Many people abandoned the sense of adoration (of God)…There is (now) an atmosphere that makes it possible for these abuses and that atmosphere must be changed,” he said in English. “It is not a matter of confrontation but of dialogue — fraternal dialogue — making efforts to understand the precious things contained in the new and the old rites.”

The cardinal added that Pope Benedict would soon clarify his motu proprio — the decree allowing wider use of the old Mass — to clear up confusion over issues ranging from the differences between liturgical calendars of the old and new rites, the use of vestments, ordinations to the sub-diaconate and the Eucharistic fast.

How polarising this issue can be within the Church was apparent even in that small group during the 45-minute interview.

Elena Curti, deputy editor of the Catholic magazine The Tablet, said many Catholics like herself were confused at the new emphasis on the old rite. It seemed to diminish the role of the laity, she said, [piffle… instead, I think it allows them to be themselves without being yakked at all the time.] and she asked the cardinal if this was a regression from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965. The cardinal said no: “The Holy Father is not returning to the past but taking from the past a treasure to make it present today along side the richness of the new rite.”  ["alongside"]

Curti’s comments sparked a declaration from Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph religion reporter and editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald, that he “deplored” her comments.  [Perhaps that wasn’t the moment to make such a declaration, but you can sure understand why he did it.  I think we are all pretty tired of being talked down to.]

“I’d like to very strongly distance myself from what Elena has said and to say that there is tremendous enthusiasm among younger Catholics for the motu proprio, that many Catholics are deeply grateful to the Holy Father for making the change and many younger Catholics regard this as an extremely exciting development,” Thompson said to the cardinal.

John Medlin, General Manager of the Latin Mass Society that organised the Mass and the briefing, felt obliged to intervene and ask for “charity around the table.” Thompson (pictured at left) kept up the same tone in his two reports on the meeting — “Latin Mass to return to England and Wales” and “Victory against the sandalistas” — and on his blog Holy Smoke (with partial transcript of the briefing). Since The Tablet is a weekly, we’ll have to wait until Friday to see what Curti writes.

The revival of the Old Latin Mass has been compared to a cultural revolution [Let a 100 TLM’s blossom in each UK diocese!] within the Catholic Church. It looks like it’s off to a rousing start.

 

 

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

26 Responses to The Westminster TLM: sign of a “cultural revolution”

  1. Jim Dorchak says:

    Fr Z

    You asked what are they afraid of and the answer is that they are afraid that it will be loved by those who attend and will dwarf the NO in attendance. You see if no one is exposed to the EF then it is easier to hate the EF.

    Elena Curti is not confused, she knows exactly what is going on and exactly what she needs to do to slant her report.

    Qm2/ss

  2. Limbo says:

    Elena Curti would be right at home at our diocesan newspaper !

    Now, to get this news to our Bishop – he will think we are speaking about a totally different religion.

  3. Habemus Papam says:

    Jim Dorchak: Now take your argument to its logical conclusion. The old Rite will inevitably replace the new. The new Rite was only accepted in the first place because the old was effectively outlawed.

  4. I am not Spartacus says:

    Thank you for all of the recent great news, Fr. I am printing-out your recent posts about The Gregorian Mass (I love that title) and bringing them to my Pastor.

  5. John Enright says:

    “Elena Curti, deputy editor of the Catholic magazine The Tablet, said many Catholics like herself were confused at the new emphasis on the old rite. It seemed to diminish the role of the laity . . . Too bad she feels that way. Instead, the Extraordinary Form seeks to preserve the clearly defined roles of the clergy and the laity – each of which is noble and dignified – rather than confusing the two as so often happens in poorly executed NO Masses.

  6. Justin says:

    Habemus Papam – that’s not what the Cardinal said in his homily at all. The classical form is meant to enrich the new. It seems to me that the hope with SP, is rather than this division that exists today, something almost like bi-ritualism, the two forms of the Roman rite, will very slowly (organically even) converge together, into something like what the Council Fathers actually intended.

  7. Habemus Papam says:

    Justin: Of course thats not what the Cardinal said. Its what I think. With the best will in the world the plans of men are naught. The Holy Ghost is the Soul of the Church. By a miracle He has preserved the Old Mass (which was meant to die 40 years ago) The intention may still be to somehow morph the two Rites into a hybrid but I believe the Gregorian Rite will quickly eliminate the new rite and replace it. And whatever they may say I wonder if the Pope and his closest Cardinals know this.

  8. Emil Berbakov says:

    I don’t know…

    Neo Cat statutes approved…

    TLM in England and Wales…

    I think I have whiplash!

  9. jeanmarie says:

    In England one must understand that the Motu Proprio is dangerous. It took a long time for the novus ordo to settle in there. English Catholic identity is so bound up with the Traditional Mass after 300 years of persecution that any move in its direction will probably cause a landslide. This is greatly feared by progressive members of the hierarchy, since it will undo all that they have done to get the novus ordo accepted. Many Catholics in England find it hard to accept the novus ordo as a rite effecting transubstantiation. This is something difficult for Americans to conceive. But they live with Anglicans who make all sorts of claims. Their assurance that they were on the right path was their confidence that they had the true mass. The easy acceptance by Anglicans of the novus ordo did nothing to increase English Catholic confidence in its efficacy.
    I recall asking for a mass to be said at the London Oratory. I asked that it be in the old rite. The priest said he was a convert and didn’t know how to say the traditional mass. But he added that if I did not believe the novus ordo was valid he would get me a priest who knew how to say it. I declined his offer. But reading the bulletin of the Oratory I noticed how the pastor frequently urged his congregation to accept the Vatican Council II. This occurred in circa 1999. And let’s not forget that England never got total conformity with the novus ordo and the Cardinal Primate was pressed to ask for an indult for the old mass soon after the imposition of the new one.

  10. William Marshall says:

    I think I agree with Emil on the “whiplash” effect. It appears that Rome has the philosophy that
    “all things” are OK. Just do whatever and it’ll be alright.

    Things are getting rather “loosey goosey”. I’m going to be very cautious.
    I’ll stick with tradition.

  11. Thomasso says:

    I’m not sure I recognise entirely the situation jeanmarie expresses. However, what is abundantly clear to faithful Catholics in England and Wales is that, for the most part, our bishops tend to have more allegience to their conference organistaion in Ecclestion Square (paid for by the great British pew-fillers) than they do to the Holy Father and the Church’s magisterium in Rome.

    We live in dire times here in terms of authentic liturgy and it will take a seismic shift in episcopal leadership before the vast majority of that faithul are allowed to know what the Church truly teaches about her liturgy. The bishops, on the whole neither know nor care.

    This is why the visit of cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is so important for us here. I hope and pray that he is able to report back to the Holy Father and that from those discussions will emerge a new leader for the Church in these lands.

  12. John Enright says:

    What England and Wales needs is someone like Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos to ascend to the cathedra in Westminster. Come to think of it, we need that in many places in the USA.

  13. RichR says:

    If the Pope is making comments about a TLM being offered in every parish, it sounds to me like all these committees to “qualify” priests are going to be swamped. Maybe the easier thing is to wait for complaints of poorly-done TLM’s before diocesan authorities move in to control a situation. The assumption may have to be that a priest is allowed to say the TLM unless there is reason to suspect he is having difficulties with it. All the ones where the priest is fine with it, the people are fine with it, these diocesan committees can let alone.

    Just an observation.

  14. LCB says:

    “What England and Wales needs is someone like Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos the Cure d’Blackfen to ascend to the cathedra in Westminster. Come to think of it, we need that in many places in the USA.”

    John, I fixed it for you.

  15. Eckhart says:

    It’s not hard to see that, if people are looking for the restoration of a monolithic Roman Rite from Ireland to India, they will pretty disappointed. The excitement of many 20-somethings in Europe and the US is wonderful and will be influential, but not definitive.

    We’ll have a pretty healthy liturgical diversity in the Roman Rite, but it will be a diversity that is solidly grounded in that it will exist along with side the Extraordinary Form and the Anglican Use (which looks to grow substantially), and so the diversity will never again be able to wander too far from it in form.

  16. Thomasso says:

    John Enwright – you could be right, but I suspect that proportionately you have rather more clearly identifiable orthodox bishops than we have here. Sure you have far more Sees and bishops, but many of yours are demonstrably faithful to the Holy Father and the Magisterium; many of ours act is if neither exists. Oremus pro invicem – as our cardinal said to Cardinal Hoyos in his all-too-brief word of welcome read out on his behalf on Saturday.

  17. John Enright says:

    LCB,
    I guess you mean Fr. Tim Finnigan; sounds good to me!

  18. Habemus Papam says:

    jeanmarie: Cardinal Heenan who obtained that Indult would have been the last Cardinal to say the old Mass at Westminster Cathedral in 1969 before Cardinal Castrillon on Saturday? Maybe thats why he chose to make this announcement in London now.

  19. John Enright says:

    Thomasso,

    Many of our bishops here in the USA seek to follow the Holy Father’s lead in every manner possible, and I thank you for your recognition. Unfortunately, not all of them, though my Archbishop, Justin Cardinal Rigali, is one of the good guys. Oremus pro invicem is a great idea! I’ll pray for your bishops (and mine) and you pray for your bishops (and mine.)

  20. M. Parrot says:

    “The cardinal added that Pope Benedict would soon clarify his motu proprio — the decree allowing wider use of the old Mass — to clear up confusion over issues ranging from the differences between liturgical calendars of the old and new rites, the use of vestments, ordinations to the sub-diaconate and the Eucharistic fast.”

    This is the most exciting part of the article I think because it talks about the sub-diaconate and vestments. Maybe soon the sub-diaconate will be restored (I doubt that though) and at long last any issue involving the maniple will be laid to rest.

  21. Paul, South Midlands says:

    “Its not hard to see that, if people are looking for the restoration of a monolithic Roman Rite from Ireland to India, they will pretty disappointed.”

    Few expect that, but what would be nice is that you could attend a EF Mass in any sizeable town or city in the world on a Sunday. Once the penny drops I would expect to see good proportions of tourists at such masses on the grounds that (a) they have some knowledge of the language, (b) lack of “inculturation” means the prayers are not messed about with and there is no liturgical dancing with oversized puppets that have escaped from Its A Knockout. I once attended the NO in Hungary. It was done perfectly orthodoxly, but I would far rather attend a EF (or NO) in latin than a NO in Hungarian or any other language I don’t speak a word of.

    Would it not be nice one day to have a stipulation that, in any parish with more than one priest resident in the world, there will be an EF Mass at 8AM on a Sunday? How much easier travelling would become.

  22. John Enright says:

    Paul said “Would it not be nice one day to have a stipulation that, in any parish with more than one priest resident in the world, there will be an EF Mass at 8AM on a Sunday? How much easier travelling would become.” Absolutely!!!

  23. Londiniensis says:

    I had to miss the Westminster High Mass as I was unavoidably detained half-way across London (weep, weep, gnash, gnash) and I am now avidly gorging on all the feedback. The obvious discomfiture of the Tablet deputy-editor was to be expected. The snubbing of the event by the local hierarchy – at least to one who desperately wants to be able to respect his senior diocesan clergy – was not. In Damian Thompson’s words: “Saddest of all was that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was not present, but had a brief (and rather cool) message of welcome read out on his behalf. No Westminster bishop attended this great event.”

  24. I too pray for our Bishops.

    Here in the diocese of San Bernardino, California the silence concerning the EF is deafening, and the diocesan website, NOT A WORD about Summorum Pontificum. NONE.

  25. bOB says:

    Londiniensis: I noticed that in Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s letter he referred to the “Holy Eucharist” rather than “Holy Mass”. I know that it is obviously correct to say that, but the choice seemed one to deliberatly grate on traditionalist’s ears.

  26. jaykay says:

    “Since The Tablet is a weekly, we’ll have to wait until Friday to see what Curti writes.”

    No you won’t, ‘cos it’ll be the same old same old party line that that organ has been peddling for years.