Robert Mickens on Pope Benedict and Summorum Pontificum. It is to laugh.

Damian Thompson has rightly shared with us Robert Micken’s little trip to the zoo.  Mr. Mickens, Rome correspondent for The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill aka RU486), has taken exception to Pope Benedict and the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.

I’ll leave it to Damian to explain this.

VIDEO HERE.

Cardinal says Tridentine Mass at St Peter’s despite Robert Mickens’s doubts about legality of Pope’s decree

By Damian Thompson

How’s that for chutzpah? The video above shows Walter Cardinal Brandmüller celebrating Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome yesterday morning. Yes, that’s right – a Tridentine High Mass on a Sunday morning at the very heart of the Catholic Church, taking place DESPITE a ruling from the Tablet’s Rome correspondent Robert (Bobbie) Mickens that Summorum Pontificum is of “dubious validity”.

Bobbie has noted in the past that Pope Benedict XVI is not a trained liturgist. It may be this fatal lack of training that led Papa Ratzinger to issue Summorum Pontificum, subject of a major conference in Rome last week, and then to compound his error with Friday’s Universae Ecclesiae, which puts pressure on bishops to stop blocking access to the traditional liturgy.

Bobbie was, famously, moved to helpless tears when the cardinals – contrary to his advice – elected Joseph Ratzinger pope. This weekend, however, he was in rather more pugnacious mood, mercilessly exposing the Holy Father’s imperfect understanding of Vatican II on a thread for the Commonweal blog. Over to you, Bobbie:

Letting aside the dubious validity of Summorum Pontificum for a moment (I’m happy to debate that with anyone in another moment), par. 13 of the newly released Instruction says that diocesan bishops are to “monitor liturgical matters” in their sees “always in agreement with the MENS of the Holy Father clearly expressed by the Motu Proprio”.

The mentality/intention/spirit (you choose the best word) of the Holy Father? What of the “mens” of the Council?

The very fact that the Council Fathers, by overwhelming majority, voted to reform the Tridentine Rite certainly means that – regardless of how one today judges the final result of that reform – the bishops realized that the pre-conciliar liturgy (lex orandi) no longer responded to the ecclesiology (lex credendi) that had developed over the preceding century and came to fruition at Vatican Council II.

Thus, to return to the pre-reform Roman Rite does not correspond – indeed, it is a betrayal – of the “mens” of the Council.

Never in the history of the Church were there two forms of the one Roman Rite. There were various Latin and Western liturgies, which in the post-Trent reform were cobbled into the Tridentine Rite. The Mass of Gregory the Great? The Ancient Roman Rite? Not according to the historical facts. It was as post-Reformation or Counter Reformation liturgy. And it certainly has no place in an ecumenical post-Vatican II Church.

So there you have it. Presumably word of Mickens’s ex cathedra ruling failed to reach Cardinal Brandmüller in time, and he went ahead and celebrated the “cobbled-together” Tridentine Rite at the Altar of the Chair. Here’s a picture of the congregation (courtesy of the New Liturgical Movement):

The congregation: unaware of Mickens's doubtsThe congregation: unaware of Mickens’s doubts

How could this happen? Quick, send for a trained liturgist!

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29 Responses to Robert Mickens on Pope Benedict and Summorum Pontificum. It is to laugh.

  1. RMT says:

    Isn’t every priest, by the nature of their years in seminary, a “trained liturgist”?

  2. JPManning says:

    As regards ecumenism I would have thought that a more reverent liturgy would help us forge stronger links with the Orthodox churches.

  3. MarkJ says:

    Not being a trained liturgist myself, I took my family to an FSSP High Mass yesterday at St. Ann’s Church in San Diego. It was beautiful and moving and reverent and everything a Catholic Liturgy should be. And more! At least I thought so, until I read what the wise Robert Mickens had to say… my bad. Oh well, send in the clowns…

  4. Bryan Boyle says:

    Yawn. Isn’t Mickens’ leisure suit getting a little worn and scratchy? Guess that’s why he’s in such a foul mood…

    You would think that, after all these years, the selective reading (if, in fact, he’s actually read the documents) of V-II, along with the unbroken tradition of the Church, that he would acknowledge that the Holy Father, enjoying as he does, full, immediate, and universal authority to do what he does in concert with tradition, is on a lot firmer ground than those who would ‘change for the sake of change’ in the so-called ‘spirit’ of V-II. That canard is done…stick a fork in it.

    But, I guess, he will never let the ‘mens’ of the Holy Father get is the way of some amorphous ‘mens’ of this Council. I think one of the real sticking points here is that, as the supreme lawgiver of the Church, Benedict is pretty much ‘saying what he means and meaning what he says’ as opposed to the ‘interpret as you see fit’ dictates that came out of the ‘management by committee’ efforts of the late 60s. And that is really sticking in the craw of these types. Their time is over; the Church is moving back onto firmer and more solid grounding in line with tradition; what they were peddling was found to be wanting, and they can’t deal with the repudiation of their position.

    Sigh. These folks really need our prayers.

  5. Gregorius says:

    It’s just too ridiculous to be worth getting mad about. So I simply say ‘Tabula delenda est’.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    “Bobbie has noted in the past that Pope Benedict XVI is not a trained liturgist.”

    I needed an early-morning chuckle. You must be a liturgist when even Archbishop Piero Marini says that you are!

  7. James Joseph says:

    Fr. Zzzz

    Thanks for the laugh.

    I’ve often protested that those of you who weren’t raised in parochial schools aren’t trained caffa-binga-jimma-torium folding chair putter-away-ers. They simple have no business putting there grimey paws on the folding chairs. And, while I am at it… I’m roundly bothered at the recent regulations stipulating the washing cafeteria tables. They simply are just not up to date! Lately, thing have been a janitorial step-back into the dark ages.

  8. benedetta says:

    Regardless whether the Tablet correspondent thinks that we could all time travel together back in time after he has now satisfied himself by posting and broadcasting his various criticisms of the Holy Father on the Commonweal blog, the fact still remains, inescapably, that what we typically enjoy as the NO liturgy just because it is what we have now, does not necessarily always authentically reflect the mens of the Council. It seems that its form is often used to give voice to things which are not remotely of the Council at all. Now if he after long last would like to begin having that conversation perhaps it’s not too late. But it seems that since there was a refusal to listen to any of the concerns, which are longstanding and legitimate, and since the dialogue has been attempted and shouted down, in so many ways, and the form was still seized upon, insisted, as the vehicle to do more and more stranger and stranger and not related at all to the mens of the Council, then perhaps he should acknowledge to his readers the role that he and others of his mindset have in fact had in bringing about the occurrence of “two forms”. How more arbitrary the fact of now having “two forms” could be, in comparison to so many other things which have taken form, is beyond my powers of comprehension…

  9. Patti Day says:

    @James Joseph trained caffa-binga-jimma-torium folding chair putter-awayer

    As one who was raised in parochial school, who put away many, many folding chairs, may I use this… if I can remember it. I think the cafeteria tables in my school were replaced before they ever saw a wash rag. The table tops were linolium and the undersides were made of the cheapest wood, thereby ensuring splinters in your knee or snag in your uniform.

  10. Gee, that crowd didn’t know that Bongo Bunny was presiding at the very relevant Eucharist down the street. They sure missed the laugh of their lives. Oh well!

  11. Henry Edwards says:

    Mr. Mickens: The mentality/intention/spirit (you choose the best word) of the Holy Father? What of the “mens” of the Council? The very fact that the Council Fathers, by overwhelming majority, voted to reform the Tridentine Rite certainly means that – regardless of how one today judges the final result of that reform . . .

    But Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Christ contending with the result of that reform today, whereas the Council made its pastoral recommendations 50 years ago in a time far different. Of course, it is too much to expect people like the author to realize that much of what Vatican II said was dated within a decade and is outdated today. Hence the necessity for re-connection with the tradition preceding the Council, to reestablish the Church’s continuity of doctrine and liturgy.

  12. MaryW says:

    Heh. Thank you for the Monday morning laugh, Father Z.

  13. MarkJ says:

    Vatican II said to keep Latin in the Liturgy and to give Gregorian chant pride of place in the celebration of the Roman Rite. Was that implemented in the Liturgical Reforms that resulted? How many parishes have implemented THAT part of the “mens”? Like most of his “liturgical expert” pals, Bobbie has a notion of the “mens” of VII which is a fiction of his own creation, a selective memory of a wistful revolutionary past. He needs to come to grip with present reality. The winds of change they are a blowin’… TRADITION is once again on the march.

  14. chironomo says:

    “Isn’t every priest, by the nature of their years in seminary, a “trained liturgist”?”

    I think by this, he means that the Pope (and most priests) don’t belong to the FDLC, and didn’t graduate from with degrees in Pastoral Liturgy from one of the approved institutions.

    Besides, I believe that in this day and age, one must be a member of the Laity to be an actual “liturgist”…. and it helps if you are female and aspire to be a priest but are unable to do so because of the all-male oppressive regime.

  15. chironomo says:

    Truth be told, all that is required to be a “liturgist” is posession of a full set of the Liturgical Books and Documents of the Church, the ability to read and the willingness to follow directions.

    When Progressives talk about liturgists, they generally mean an individual who spends their time trying to figure out how to be “Church” without following the instructions given by the actual Church.

  16. Rich says:

    The problem with Mickens’ comparison of the mens of our Holy Father with the supposed mens of the Council is that the Holy Father’s is stated explicitly within Summorum Pontificum, Universae Ecclesiae, and especially in his letter to bishops which coincided with the motu propio. You can look through the Council documents frontwards and backwards and would be hard pressed to find anything spelling out the purported mens of the Council as some like Mickens would like to read it.

  17. jflare says:

    Wow!
    So now a lay man essentially proclaims himself to outrank the Pope regarding appropriate Catholic liturgy.
    I’ll give him credit for having the guts to make himself stand out.
    Is this guy even Catholic?

  18. Athelstan says:

    We owe some thanks to Robert Mickens for this latest demonstration that, thanks to the Council, clericalism is now out, but credentialism is in. Magisterial authority now derives from the letters after your name, rather then the ones in front of it.

    But in all seriousness, Mickens has a point of sorts. There is no precedent for the current situation where two forms of the Roman Rite are allowed to coexist, and that it is hard to think that the Council (or Paul VI) intended as much.

    But what about validity? if Paul VI had the juridical power to put in place a radically new missal and impose its usage on the entire Roman Rite church – an unprecedented move – surely his successor has the right to allow the usage of the previous missal for those that wish it, which is surely no more radical a move. It might seem a juridical fiction of convenience to insist, as Benedict XVI does, that these two missals really are just forms of the same rite, but then it seems equally fictional to assert, as Paul VI did, that the 1970 missal was the intended reform desired by the Council in 1963.

  19. SimonDodd says:

    Henry Edwards says: “[Mr. Mickens says that the Council Fathers, by overwhelming majority, voted to reform the Tridentine Rite, b]ut Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Christ contending with the result of that reform today, whereas the Council made its pastoral recommendations 50 years ago in a time far different.” For his position to make sense, one must assume that a Pope lacks authority to supersede a council’s disciplinary decisions, and so, unless we’re to think his piece incoherent, Mickens appears to lapse into a popular heresy: Conciliarism.

    @MarkJ It’s easy to think that the Vatican II people have any interest in what the council taught. They’re mostly interested in what the council would have taught had it not been restricted by the need to accommodate benighted conservatives and curialists whose influence prevented the council’s documents from reflecting its true spirit. Hence such otherwise inexplicable claims as “Vatican II represents a change in Roman Catholicism that transcends the documents
    themselves.” John Baldovin, Reforming the Liturgy 12 (2008); cf., e.g., Richard Gaillardetz, The Church in the Making xiv (2006) (“What happens at ecumenical councils is more than the writing, debate, revision, and approval of documents”); Rita Ferrone, Righting the Rites in COMMONWEAL, April 24, 2009 (dismissing as “naive [the] assumption that the liturgical reform can be limited to what is found in the pages of the Second Vatican Council’s liturgical constitution, Sacrosanctum concilium”). The first resort of the clueless is always to stand on credentials (“I’m a professional liturgist and the Pope isn’t!”), but remember, a flat earther with a PhD is just as stupid as a flat earther with a grade school education.

  20. anilwang says:

    > Bobbie has noted in the past that Pope Benedict XVI is not a trained liturgist.

    Pope Benedict XVI is not a trained is not trained by *whom*, and *why* is it important that this “elite” group by consulted?

    Let’s concede the implausible possibility that Pope Benedict XVI knows nothing about the liturgy. Fine. He doesn’t have to know anything about liturgy. There are 2000 years of people who *do* know about liturgy that he can draw upon and even a five year old can see that the N.O. as practiced in most North American churches radically different than *any* liturgy in *any* rite (I’m including the Coptic, Oriental, Orthodox, and traditional Anglican rites) in any time period before the 1960s..

    I personally see N.O. as adding real value to TLM, but most of the value already exists in a more refined form in either the Orthodox or traditional Anglican rites (e.g. the vernacular and increasing the importance on preaching without forgetting the essentials of the Eucharist) and I believe that this is what VII was attempting to achieve.

  21. Father K says:

    Benedict is not a trained liturgist…and Mr Mickens is?!

  22. Alan Aversa says:

    I wonder if they’ve even read Sacrasanctum Concilium. E.g., Sacrosanctum Concilium 54. says: “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” It also said that Gregorian chant “should be given pride of place in liturgical services” (116.) and that “the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem” (120.).

  23. Greg Smisek says:

    Those poor duped people in the picture, unable to participate in a rite of being-the-Church-of-what’s-happening-now.

    The story reminded me of a pamphlet that I saw yesterday after attending a beautiful Missa cantata of the older form in which people of today seemed to have no trouble participating (at the Church of St. Anthony in Wichita, Kansas). The pamphlet told the history of the church. The opening sentences explained that the Germans were given their own parish church because, without the readings and homily in German, they were unable to participate in the Mass.

  24. MarkJ says:

    @Alan: “the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem”

    You missed the footnote in Sacrasanctum Concilium:
    “taking second place only to guitars, tambourines, keyboards, fiddles, recorders, bongos and other folk-music enabling instruments. Kazoos, harmonicas and jaw-harps may also be used, but should be reserved for special occasions.”

  25. benedetta says:

    What special qualifications does it take these days in order to become a fully licensed and duly authorized liturgist anyway? You can just picture it…”step aside ma’am (or, you guys!) and leave this to a trained liturgist…” If you are just an unschooled liturgist, then, you may pray in the privacy of your own abode…However, if uncontrolled and completely unauthorized communal prayer does happen to occur or break out…then, step aside until a licensed, competently trained liturgist on duty may be located and paged to respond to your location…

    Maybe we could put together an xtranormal video…”Excuse me, I am a trained liturgist. What seems to be the problem?”

  26. Not all the pre-Trent Western forms and rites were folded into the Tridentine Mass. Not all, by a long liturgical chalk. Heck, they weren’t all folded into the post Vatican II Mass. There was a great deal of centrist pressure on both occasions, yes; but on both occasions, the laws of the Church and the protective power of the popes has kept the small diversities alive, wherever there was enough reason.

    But heck, this guy’s just sicced a bunch of Dominicans and such onto himself, by dissing their post-Tridentine-surviving rite. They won’t need our help at all.

  27. robtbrown says:

    RMT says:

    Isn’t every priest, by the nature of their years in seminary, a “trained liturgist”?

    No, not compared to someone who has studied it thoroughly.

    On the other hand, I do remember what a Dominican told me 30 years ago. “If they wanted to reform the liturgy, it should have been done by someone who knows something about worshipping God. Instead, they used people* who knew what rite was being used in what century, by really didn’t know anything about worshipping God.”

    When I was in Rome, I knew someone who completed a licentiate in liturgy at San Anselmo without taking one course on Gregorian Chant.

    * I will add that it was done as much by ideologues who confused the Community of Man with Ecumenism as by liturgists.

  28. Tony Layne says:

    “Letting aside the dubious validity of Summorum Pontificum for a moment (I’m happy to debate that with anyone in another moment) …”. I think at that point I would have just jumped down to the combox and wrote: “You just proved to me you don’t know what you’re talking about. Goodbye and go away.”

    @ benedetta: Your remarks reminded me of a Dilbert cartoon, featuring a man in a supherhero cape, shoving the engineer aside and intoning, “I SUMMON THE VAST POWERS OF CERTIFICATION!” … and when nothing happens, remarking, “That’s all I know how to do.”

    @ MarkJ: “taking second place only to guitars, tambourines, keyboards, fiddles, recorders, bongos and other folk-music enabling instruments. Kazoos, harmonicas and jaw-harps may also be used, but should be reserved for special occasions.” I suppose the kazoos, harmonicas and jews’-harps are saved for the Triduum and the Nativity Vigil?

  29. Alan Aversa says:

    And Bugnini was a trained liturgist, wasn’t he?