The BBC twists the Tridentine issue

In an entry yesterday I opined that as the date for the Motu Proprio becomes more concrete (or at least seems to become concrete) some journalists would go start freaking out. 

Here is a piece from that bastion of conservative thought, the BBC.  Notice that they play the anti-Jewish card, so commonly used against the Church.  They play on fear rather than deal with the issues substantively.  At the end a tiny hand full of dirt is thrown in the direction of those who want the older form of Mass.  Emphases and comments are mine.

Concerns over Pope’s Latin Mass move
By Kathryn Westcott
BBC News

Pope Benedict’s plans to revive the Latin Mass, which includes prayers for the conversion of Jews, is causing concern among Catholic and Jewish groups about relations between their faiths.  [Look at the card she leads with.]

The old wording [of the Tridentine Mass] has none of the Vatican Council thinking that reversed long-standing anti-Jewish views in the Church.   [This is completely rubbish, of course.] Vatican II brought about a revolution in Catholic thinking, highlighting the ancient Jewish roots of Christianity and affirming God’s love for the Jews. 

Concern is now focused on traditional mass’s Good Friday liturgy which contains a prayer "For the conversion of the Jews". The prayer reads:

"Let us pray also for the Jews, that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ."

It refers to their "blindness" and prays for them to be "delivered from their darkness."  [Something which could be said about any of us, I’m afraid.]

John L Allen, a commentator for the influential US-based weekly magazine The National Catholic Reporter says this is the Pope’s "personal call". He has promised to reach out to Christians separated from Rome.

"His basic motive is pastoral. He is a classic doctrinal conservative and he feels there are people out there who are attached to this mass and there is nothing wrong with it, so why not let them have it."

The Vatican has said that the Pope wants to heal a rift with ultra-traditionalists who rebelled against Second Vatican Council changes towards an understanding of non-Christian religions. [And that’s bad?  Healing?]

Their leader, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, now dead, was excommunicated by the late Pope John Paul II and he and his followers broke away from Rome during the 1970s.

The followers of Archbishop Lefebvre – known as the Society of St Pius X – are said to have been seeking reconciliation with the new pope. The group claims to have roughly one million adherents worldwide.

‘Little uptake’

Many religious experts acknowledge that in real terms, the revival of the Mass may not be widespread. [Others say that it might be, but they don’t get interviewed by the BBC, do they.]

"We’re more than 40 years away from the Vatican Council and frankly most priests today don’t know how to do it," says Mr Allen. "Of course they can learn but they are stretched and won’t see it as a priority. I don’t really believe there is that much demand for it.

"Those Catholics who are already interested in the Latin Mass can usually find somewhere where it is celebrated."

But for some Catholic and Jewish groups this is not the point and they have approached the Vatican about their concerns.  [And now we turn back to a sideshow, no longer interested in the main issue…]

Rabbi David Rosen president of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee that represents World Jewry in its relations with other world religions, says: "Any liturgy that presents Jews as being doomed in their faith doesn’t present a very healthy attitude towards Judaism and the Jewish people."  [If the Church believes her claims about who She is, and if the Church accepts the great commission laid upon her by the Lord at His ascension, then the Church ought to be willing to speak clearly about how one is to be saved.  Say you go to a doctor because you know something is seriously wrong, but the doctor refuses either to tell you or present a clear diagnosis of the problem.  Has he done you a service or an injury?]

"Relations have undergone a profound transformation [since Vatican II]. I don’t think there is any danger of backsliding in terms of the Church indulging in anti-Semitism or anything like that," he told the BBC News website from Jerusalem. [Thus, David Rosen.]

But he says the move comes within the context of "a certain revival of what might be called conservative theology within the Church.[OOOOooooooo!]

"Conservative theology itself is not necessarily bad for relations with the Jewish people and even if Catholics believe their path is the absolute truth, that shouldn’t contradict the ability to respect the integrity of others’ identity and choice," he says.  [Right!]

‘Disturbing trend’

Christian groups argue that the issue has become all the more sensitive because the move comes against a backdrop of a perceived drift in Church policy.
"I remember the Latin Mass as a child, and very beautiful it was too – but I hadn’t a clue [about] the importance of what was being said "Teresa Adams BBC News website reader, Kenilworth, UK [That was not the fault of the Church or the Mass.  It might have been the fault of Teresa’s parents or teachers.  It might have been Teresa’s fault if she was a lazy child.  It might be that Teresa wasn’t very bright.  However, the fact that Teresa didn’t get it, doesn’t a) other people didn’t or b) it should be changed.  Do not miss, however, that she said it was "very beautiful".  I guess she understood something all along.]

"This is only part of what some of us see as a fairly disturbing trend within the Church," Professor John T Pawlikowski, president of the International Council of Christians and Jews told the BBC News Website. "It has been elevated to a higher level than it might otherwise have been."

He cited recent sermons by the main Vatican preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, which revived old charges about Jewish blame for the death of Christ without provoking a reaction from Benedict or his aides.

"And, certainly in America, you have certain voices in the Catholic Church, calling for the conversion of Jews on television," said Mr Pawlikowski, professor of Social Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union in Illinois. [Huh?]

There is also concern that in America bishops are cutting back on personnel who are involved in Catholic and Jewish dialogue. [This is a canard: they are cutting back every department.  They don’t have money like they did in the past.]

Professor Pawlikowski questions why the Pope needs to issue further authorisation for the Mass, given that there are priests who already have permission to celebrate it.

‘God-centred worship’

"It’s almost like some people in the Vatican want to give it greater validation – almost encourage it," he says.  [Well… dud!]

Traditionalists not aligned to the Lefebvre movement have welcomed the proposed moves.
"This will give a much-needed emphasis on the sacrificial character of the Mass" – Father Brian Harrison
"I think it will help to swing the balance in favour a return to more reverent, God-centred, dignified worship," says Father Brian Harrison, associate professor of theology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. [At the end, a few words from a well-informed person favorable toward the older Mass.  That’s balanced, right?  Diligent?]

Commentators say the change is unlikely to go far enough to win back the "hardcore" followers of Archbishop Lefebvre.

But they say the Pope is hoping that if the Church is seen to be meeting the Lefebvreites half way, more and more may choose to return to the Church over time. 



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