Just as I finished it, I found these things.
First, I want to preface with this: When you are on a journey towards a goal, and you discover that you are heading in the wrong direction, you stop, turn around, and correct your course. Right?
Put that side by side with a) the fact that in the next few years, many dioceses will see a sharp decline in the number of active priests and b) some people are going to push viri probati really hard in the next months as we approach another (probably rigged) Synod.
Now, my friend Fr. Ray Blake, the PP of Brighton, reflects:
“Has it worked?” the question we dare not ask
In this centenary year of the Soviet Revolution, it is worth reflecting that after 70 years the Russian people actually asked the question, “Has it worked?” It is the question an efficient business asks regularly, I suspect parents in a healthy family ask that question. it should be the fundamental question of the spiritual life.
Fifty years after the implementation of the liturgical changes, it is the question the Church should be asking itself, any business would have product tested before a change of brand. I suppose that Summorum Pontificum was Benedict’s way of doing this retrospectively.
Fr. Blake continues:
There are two areas where, ‘has it worked?’ should be asked, the first is liturgical reform, the second is the modern use of the papal fiat that introduced them, it was an unprecedented use of papal power.
[… Go to Fr. Blake’s page for that part…]
Apparently a large number of French Seminaries are closing, [Do I remember correctly that, last year, 25% of ordinations in France were for traditional groups? How many seminarians does all of Ireland have?] as are a whole lot of ancient monasteries and practically every convent has become a retirement home. I am not sure what the number is this year, but last year, in our diocese [Arundel and Brighton] we had only 3 seminarians. Whilst I was at the seminary we had in this city of Brighton and Hove almost 30 priests, in 17 years time by the year 2030 we will be lucky to have 2 under 65, they will age prematurely out of exhaustion. [If they haven’t been martyred a la Lord of the World!]
The thing is that there isn’t an absence of vocations, [RIGHT! YES YES YES! See this HERE] from my little parish we have three men, two preparing for the priesthood and one in a rather rigorous contemplative monastery but they were very much involved in the Old Rite and have gone to communities outside of the diocese. It isn’t even that there is an absence of contemplative religious, there are new convents opening in the Channel Islands and in the Diocese of Lancaster but again the sisters will worship according to Old Rite. The only monastery flourishing, without scandal, in Italy (despite episcopal opposition) is Old Rite, at Norcia. The same in France, where a quarter of this years ordinations were of priests attached to the Old Rite, and where monastic life is retracting but Old Rite monasteries like Fontgombault are actually making new foundations. I am quite willing to accept that it is not necessarily the Rite itself but if it is not then it is the theology that goes with the Rite, or the ‘ecclesiological experience’ that goes with it. On a practical level the Old Rite seems to work. [Fr Blake, if I am right about this… and I am… we are our rites.]
Why are we incapable of asking, “Has it worked?”, presumably it is because of an ideological attachment, rather like the politburo of the Soviet Union that will not allow itself to question givens until long after they had collapsed.
I was told that there was recently a meeting in the Vatican of heads of dicasteries of the Curia. One of the topics discussed, though this was not published, was viri probati.
I wonder if anyone had the courage to bring up the obvious.
I’ll bet not.
The priesthood numbers crisis was an self-inflicted wound, I think intentionally. The continuing crisis of numbers is a continually self-inflicted wound by those who want to remake the Church to the world’s liking and by those who are too cowardly to stand up, say “NO!” and then do the right thing.
- The post Vatican II liturgical reform – imposed by fiat: has it worked?
- Approach to vocations to the priesthood while excluding tradition: has it worked?
- Where liturgy “works”, what is going on?
- Where there are vocations to the priesthood, what is going on?
We ARE our rites.
Change them and you change everything about who we are and what fruits we produce as Catholic, as the baptized.
For anything initiative in the Church to work, we MUST have a renewal of our sacred liturgical worship.