Over at Over at Fr Hunwicke’s Liturgical Notes I noted this from a few days ago. A good read and with my own emphases and comments:
Universae ecclesiae, C S Lewis, and Bl John XXIII
I referred not long ago to the amusingly delicate way in which UE referred to the scandal that for more than a generation those being formed for the priesthood were – in flagrant disregard of CIC 249 – not made fluent in Latin (I am assured that things are better now). [Where?]
As long ago as 1933, C S (‘Patrimony’) Lewis advanced the suggestion that the attacks – even then – upon the position of Latin and Greek as the basis of education, might be part of a plot devised in Hell to subvert the Faith. In The Pilgrim’s Regress he reminds the reader that “till recently” members of our society “had been made to learn” these languages “and that meant that at least they started no further from the light than the old Pagans themselves and had therefore the chance to come at last” to saving Faith. “But now they are cutting themselves off even from that roundabout route … and suppressing every kind of knowledge except mechanical knowledge“. [Perhaps today we might say “knowledge of how to use electronic gadgets”.] He believed that this shift had much to do with the need of the educated classes to cope with the increasing disinclination of the lower orders to work in domestic service, and added “No doubt the great landowners in the background [scilicet devils] have their own reasons for encouraging this movement”.
You will not be surprised to be reminded that His Abysmal Sublimity Under Secretary Screwtape strongly advocated the policy of preventing each generation from learning from its predecessors: [Sounds like the results of a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture.] “Since we [devils] cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another.” That is why the demise of sacred languages among the clergy and the clerisy is such a triumph for our Enemy. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
Older readers may be reminded here of the teaching given to the Universal Church by Bl John XXIII in Veterum Sapientia. Here I have a problem. I would love to share all the important bits of this encyclical with you, but, after doing the two clicks necessary to bring it up on my screen, I realised that pretty well every word of this document is the purest gold. So … here are just a very few words in order to stimulate your resolution to do those two clicks yourselves. “No-one is to be admitted to the study of Philosophy or Theology except he be thoroughly grounded in [Latin] and capable of using it … wherever the study of Latin has suffered partial eclipse … the traditional method of teaching the language is to be completely restored. Such is Our will … the major sacred sciences shall be taught in Latin … if ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for some [seminary professors] to obey these instructions, they shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task …” What a good and holy old man he was!
‘Liberals’, of course, might point out that this document is not ex cathedra. I agree, because I think the word gradually is unnecessary. [ROFL!] As for sedevacantists who deny that the author of these wise words, Bl John XXIII, was truly pope, well, what I say is Burn the lot of them. It’s the only sort of language these people understand!*
*In case foreigners are distressed by the bloodthirstiness of my language, I should clarify the literary register, the genre, of the last paragraph. It is ‘humour’; and is in the spirit of the English satirical magazine Private Eye, which makes much comic use of the formula in my last sentence. (This is deemed, I believe, to be a phrase commonly used by London taxi-drivers in the course of their demotic exchanges of view with their ‘fares’.) I am not really in favour of burning anybody. Honest!
The document Fr. Hunwicke refers to, Veterum Sapientia, is not just any old document. It is an Apostolic Constitution. An Apostolic Constitution is the high form or level of a document the Church issues. It isn’t a message, or instruction, or exhortation, or even an encyclical.
On the Vatican website, Summorum Pontificum is available to read only in Latin and Hungarian.
What sort of silly game is this?