UPDATED AND CORRECTED
The Tablet continues in its attempts to intimidate priests in the UK from implementing Summorum Pontificum.
The attack on Fr. Fingan continues in The Tablet week through letters to the editor. Of course the editor chooses which letters to to print, and in that choice you see what position they want to promote. Without question they received missives in support of Fr. Finigan. The Tablet published negative letters instead.
This is an campaign of intimidation. This is bullying.
Fr. Finigan reports the bare bones of what the Bitter Pill did this week. Father doesn’t want to violate what he calls The Tablet‘s "Web 0.0" approach to the internet, he doesn’t present the letters in The Tablet.
Here are the relevant letters with my emphases and comments. I edited out the writers’ e-mail addresses, posted in the print version.
7 March 2009 | THE TABLET | 21
Whatever the rights or wrongs of reintroducing the Tridentine Rite, the example of Our Lady of the Rosary parish, Blackfen (“That was not my Mass”, 21 February) is clearly not the way to do it. It does no favours to the cause of those who advocate change of this kind that parishes also get saddled with a return to monarchical and autocratic styles of leadership, which are divisive and insensitive to others who do not share this preference. What training, if any, is given to priests either in the seminary or afterwards in leadership skills? A leadership that does not consult, listen or make every effort to bring everyone along with them is not deserving of our respect or support and will not get it in our day. The bishops made it clear in their excellent document “The Sign We Give” that collaborative styles of working were an essential feature of what it means to be the Church. By what right, then, do individual priests ignore this? [Lot's of buzz words here. I suppose he would be criticized also if he consulted all the time. He would be pegged as dithering.]
(Dr) Mervyn Davies
The hurt caused to many [I don't think that any of the accounts merit "many".] prayerful folk seems to be immense. [Really?] We shall never know how many people on the fringes of faith have been discouraged completely. [That's right. We won't. Be he brings it up anyway.] It is a hidden form of suffering, which does us no credit. [And might not even be happening. Even if it were, what is to be said about the suffering of so many for so long who desired the older forms of Mass and sacraments, and even a Mass without liturgical abuses?] A close friend, in similar circumstances, felt he could no longer attend his parish church. He said ruefully of the priest: “He has stolen our church.” In his case, it has come right for him again, though his family remain alienated. Secondly, your comment about abusive and angry letters does seem to indicate something else: more than a modicum of unhappiness in our great Catholic Church, a need for real unity, understanding, forgiveness and healing. It would seem that the old adage is verified: “The Devil divides and rules!” As one ordained 40 years on Easter Day, I am disappointed at this sort of damaging development in our Church, which has got worse in my time, and pray that my remaining years may bring about a greater flowering of faith and love. There are enough barriers to a committed Catholic life without our creation of more! [The hurt didn't start in 2007.]
(Fr) Sandy Brown
Consumerism on the march In the light of the negative reaction to the new order of the Mass in South Africa (“War of words”, 28 February) I wait with trepidation its introduction here. [Thanks to the monumental screw up in S. Africa?] I look on with uncertainty as parishes divide over the Tridentine Rite. Surely Pope Paul VI Mass societies will follow soon. [Old joke, this.] Then we shall have three Mass forms dividing our shrivelling parishes. How unlikely that Pope Benedict is the one to bring consumer culture into Catholic worship. We have taken a bold step towards individual choice, and away from unity.
The following is exemplary. I have written about Loftus before. He really dislikes Pope Benedict’s provisions in Summorum Pontificum.
According to the catechism of the Catholic Church, “the parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary [Watch how he now takes this term "ordinary" and equivocates with it down the line.] expression of the liturgical life” (n. 2179). By definition, the extraordinary rite of the Mass is not that [here it is!] “ordinary expression of the liturgical life”. [Nice slight of hand, right? If it might work once, maybe it'll work twice!] Nor can the use of Latin for the celebration of Mass in the ordinary rite be considered to be that “ordinary expression”. Consequently, neither has any place in the regular life of a parish, least of all during the Sunday Eucharistic Assembly. [He does not say "parish Mass", but "Assembly". Is there a touch of Schillebeeckx here?] The remit of a parish priest is spelled out in “Liturgiae Instaurationes”, 5 September 1970: “The pastors of the Church … in a spirit of faith which abandons all personal and individual preferences, are in an especial way the ministers of the common liturgy … They will listen to the needs of the present day in a way which is far (removed) from (an) arbitrary attitude which would seriously threaten the liturgical reform.” [Which is why Pope Benedict issued Summorum Pontificum.] The current concession favouring the Tridentine Rite is explicitly meant to be for the benefit of stable groups of people who wish to avail themselves of it. [When he says "explicitly" he wants to to read "exclusively". But that cannot be read into the Motu Proprio.] To make use of that concession to disturb the peace and tranquillity of a parish is a straightforward abuse of parishioners’ rightful expectations. [Any one who has ever been in a parish knows that any change "disturbs" someone or some group. That is simply the way it is in the course of human events.] The eccentric behaviour of priests who impose their own liturgical wishes [I think these are the Pope's wishes.] against the clearly expressed directions of their bishops has long been a problem in southern France. For many reasons, practical as well as canonical, it is not an easy problem for bishops to resolve. But the remedy is in the hands of the parishioners. The re-direction of financial contributions, [He is saying that people should stop giving to parishes where Summorum Pontificum is being implemented.] and their ancillary tax benefits, from the parish to other charities, would succeed here, just as similar measures have succeeded in Germany and Austria. It is, after all, merely an application of what the medieval theologians called redargutio or argumentum ad hominem. Namely, a pragmatic solution.
In his piece he reduces to role of the pastor and exalts the authority of the "assembly". He refers to the sacred Eucharistic action as the "Sunday Eucharistic Assembly". This is a "rupture" writer.