The standards at the National Catholic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) are devolving by the week.
This last week they accused Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI of sinning against the Holy Spirit.
Ron Schmit – no, you have never heard of this schlemiel so don’t strain your memory – a priest in Byron, California, penned an opinion piece against the use of the Usus Antiquior.
It is a silly piece, all in all, and I have been busy doing more important things, such as eating 酸辣湯 at slightly greasy noodle shops in Manhattan.
But one thing Schmit wrote was so spectacularly stupid that I must point it out.
Paul knew that permitting the old form would be not only divisive but would call the whole council into doubt, and that would be a sin against the Holy Spirit.
Wow. That’s pretty bad.
The first great sin against the Holy Spirit was in 1971 when Paul VI granted an “indult” for the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum in England and Wales. It was called an “indult” back then because it was considered “forbidden” to use the previous form. This was the so-called “Agatha Christie indult”. You may know the story: When Paul saw that the authoress had added her name to the long list of distinguish Brits who thought the older form should be preserved, he caved. I hope that story is true. Thus, Paul preferred Agatha Christie to the Holy Spirit. Baaad Paul!
Another sin against the Holy Spirit was committed in 1984 by Bl. John Paul II who revised and extended the 1971 “indult”. Diocesan bishops across the globe could, by this grant called Quatuor abhinc annos, sin against the Holy Spirit by permitting celebrations of the older Mass.
The defiance against the Third Person of the Trinity continued when when Bl. John Paul II revised and extended his permissions in 1988 with Ecclesia Dei adflicta. At that time the Roman Pontiff, after speaking about the “rightful aspirations” of people who desired the traditional forms, then decreed, by his apostolic authority (op. cit 6) that “respect must everywhere by shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued”. He actually had the temerity to invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary at the end of that document and then pray for unity in the Church! What a loser.
The present Vicar of Christ, Benedict XVI, sinned against the Holy Spirit by issuing Summorum Pontificum. Benedict – as the Legislator – explained that the older form of Mass had never been abrogated after all and that all priests of the Latin Church who had the faculty to say Mass automatically also had faculty to use the older book because there is one Roman Rite in two forms. That had to be against Vatican II!
In his explanatory letter to bishops, Benedict – who clearly hates the Holy Spirit and the Second Vatican Council a whole bunch – wrote:
There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church‘s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.
To make matters worse, he wrote to his brother bishops:
I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.
Benedict… pffft… what a sinner.
On a more serious note, however, who is it that has the open heart? Who is making room for everything the faith itself allows?