By now quite a few people will have picked up on the fact that the Italian publication of the Paolini, Jesus, has a fine long interview with His Eminence Darío Card. Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".
I’ve read it carefully and you should too. There are some important statements here.
The interview is very well done and good questions were asked, not many softballs, and the Cardinal did well in responding, not dodging to much. This is very useful.
There is another article in the same issue (9 May 2008) which I will get to, maybe tomorrow. But for now…
Here is the article, in my translation, with my emphases and comments.
Darío Castrillon Hoyos: Tradition Without Conflict
by Vittoria Prisciandaro
The Cardinal, head of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", explains why Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio is a great spiritual treasure for the whole Church. And, the way in which problems which have arisen to this point are being resolved.
His Eminence is satisfied. The telephone of the ground floor office in the palace of the former Holy Office is alive with new life. Correspondence from the whole world is piling up on the desks. [Like the old days!] After the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" has in fact become an key link in the Vatican organizational flowchart. "Now I have twice the work I had at the Congregation for the Clergy", confides Cardinal Darío Castrillon Hoyos, a 79 year old Colombian, and a fervent supporter of the return home of the Lefebvrites, and, since the year 2000, President of the Commission. Established to manage relations with the Society of St. Pius X and groups moving in the orbit of the traditionalist galaxy, "Ecclesia Dei" has become today an inevitable interlocutor with dioceses and parishes concerning controversies relative to the use extraordinary rite.
Q: Eminence, at this point of a few months after the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, how do you assess the situation?
"With the Motu Proprio the Pope wanted to give everyone a renewed opportunity to take advantage of the enormous spiritual, religious and cultural riches in the liturgy of the Gregorian Rite. [An interesting way to put it, "Gregorian Rite", a term you don’t usually see. Normally, you will see "Pian Rite", for St. Pius V.] The Motu Proprio originates as a treasure offered to all, not principally to meet part way with anyone’s complaints and requests. ["All", get it? Not just a few people in usual pigeon holes.] Not a few of those who at first were not involved in this Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite are showing great esteem for it. [It’s growing, brick by brick, friends.] Among the faithful I would distinguish three groups:  those who are bound up in an almost organic way with the Society of St. Pius X [For example the Transalpine Redemptorists, now moving closer to greater unity]; those of the  Fraternity of Saint Peter and, lastly, the most important and numerous group, [EXCELLENT! 3 – ] formed from people fond of the religious culture of all times, who today are discovering the spiritual intensity of the old rite, and among these people, many young people. In these last months new associations of persons belonging to this last group have been born." [For example… the young people attending WYD? ]
Q: Speaking of riches, some liturgists are underscoring the fact that the Extraordinary Rite does not offer the biblical riches introduced by the Novus Ordo… [A common complaint. However, aside from the extra readings in the Novus Ordo often being beyond the ability of priests to preach on, and aside from giving the Novus Ordo that Mass is a "didactic moment", the older form, with fewer readings, helped people to know those readings very well and actually integrate them into their awareness and lives.]
"Those people haven’t read the Motu Proprio, because the Pope affirms that the two forms must mutually enrich each other. [This statement is going to irritate a lot of people, but clearly this is part of Pope Benedict’s purpose. Still, I think it is more an influence more in one direction, than in the the other.] And it is clear that such a liturgical treasure should not be wasted. In the Novus Ordo, over years, practically the whole Bible is read, and this is a treasure which shouldn’t be opposed to, but ought to be integrated in the extraordinary rite." [Oooo… some people are not going to like that. But it really has to happen, eventually, in some way – who knows how.]
Q: Another objection is over the danger that separate and different celebrations can create separate communities…
"It is a diversity which enriches, it is a wider cultural freedom that the Pope is introducing in a daring way. [There is here an implicit admission that we are talking of different "cultures". Thus, the issue of identity is really on the table.] Moreover, in parishes there are many differences in the the manner of celebrations, and lets not even talk about the abuses, because abuses are not the principle reason for the Motu Proprio." [It goes far deeper… precisely to culture… identity.]
Q. Your secretary, [opps… Vice President, now] Msgr. Camille Perl, announced that soon there will be a clarifying document for the Motu Proprio. When will it come out?
"It was Cardinal Bertone who announced it, and he has the right to do that. But I, who am a servant of the Pope, will only announce it when the Pope will say so. [An indication that perhaps there is not smooth communication (harmony of vision?) between the Secretariate of State and the Commission. That would be consistent with the past! On the other hand…. there may be another reason. More on that below.] Our Commission has informed the Pontiff that from every part of the world there are coming so many questions, very many of them justified, others owing to lack of knowledge. The Holy Father, and he alone, will say whether it is suitable to issue such a document, and when."
Q. What sort of questions have arrived here and what would merit a response?
"The first kind regards Latin, because – as they say – to celebrate in a language you do not know is not suitable. Unfortunately, seminarians, but also some priests, have not studied it, and therefore it is difficult for them to celebrate in the Extraordinary Form. To do this they ought know the at least the Canon of the Mass, the section of the consecration. We in "Ecclesia Dei" are equipping ourselves and are preparing meetings, courses and electronic resources for a deep-rooted knowledge of the previous liturgy. [This is very good news. It signals that the resources of the Holy See will be put into implementing Summorum Pontificum.] Some courses are already going on in France, Germany, Brazil, Central America and the United States. In Toledo, Spain, for example, it is being studied if it is suitable to found a special seminar [It is hard to tell here if "seminario" here means "seminary" or "seminar". "Seminario" can mean both and the ideas are related. Either way, the idea here is whether they should integrate the training in the local seminary or set up something separate.] for training for the Extraordinary Rite or to give special courses in the seminary of the diocese. In general, we’ve seen an interest for the return of Latin in academic world. It was sad in these years past to watch the abandonment not only of the language, but also of certain theological arguments connected with the semantic precision of the Latin language. [Again… culture… identity. Latin and its practical use in reading and study brings with it a world view]
Q: Another problem is the priest shortage …
"If in a diocese priests are lacking and only three or four faithful request the extraordinary rite, it’s a matter of common sense to think that it is difficult to satisfy this request. [Now PAY CLOSE ATTENTION…] However, since it is the Pope’s intention, his mens, to grant this treasure for the good of the Church, in a place where there are no priests the best option would be to offer a celebration according to the extraordinary rite in one of the parish Sunday Masses. [That was really important.] It would be a Mass for everyone, and everyone, including younger generations, would benefit from the riches of the extraordinary rite, for example, those moments of contemplation that have disappeared in the Novus Ordo. [Remember that on the DVD prepared by the FSSP and EWTN, Card. Castrillon says that it is okay that priests establish a parish Mass even if there not requests. He seems to be saying something of the same thing here. Think about it: even if there are not a lot of people making the request, offer a Sunday Mass anyway! You can see where his mind is tending.]
Q: So you sustain that, even if there isn’t a consistent and stable group, in the future it is foreseen to offer one of the Sunday Masses in the extraordinary rite? [The journalist has adroitly picked up the key point!]
"I would say yes. On the other hand, this possibility had already been approved unanimously in 1986 by a Commission of Cardinals, in which there was also Cardinal Ratzinger, but back then it did not go into effect. Now I’m pretty be sure that it could carried out." [Times have changed. Also, I suspect that His Eminence has slightly pushed the border with the conclusion of the Commisione Cardinalizia, but, without question, Sunday Masses were foreseen back then. Times, indeed, have changed. And so those discussions back then have great chance of success now. Part of what has changed is that fewer and fewer people are lugging around the heavy baggage of the ’60’s.]
Q: Another point to clarify is the definition of a "stable and consistent group". What is meant by this exactly?
"This is a matter of common sense: why create problems if the people who ask for the rite come from different parishes? [Keep in mind that some bishops in the USA, lately the Bishop of Gaylord, MI, to name only one, has tried to impose on Summorum Pontificum‘s provisions, that people must be registered in the parish if they wish to attend Mass – get that? – attend MASS? – in the extraordinary Form.] If they get together and request a Mass, they become a stable group, [OKAY… whew… this is a fairly open interpretation of "stable group".] even if they did not know each other before. Also the number (of the group) is a question of good will. [In other words, if you have "ill will" you seek to restrict the use of the TLM by stating that there must be a minimum number.] In some parishes, especially in the countryside, on weekdays the people who come to the ordinary Mass are three or four, and the same occurs in not a few religious houses. Why, if those same three people request the old Mass, would it be pastorally necessary to refuse it?". [Remember our WDTPRS argument that Latin coetus, in the MP, meant as small as 3 people?]
Q: So the future document should be more welcoming to requests from just a few? [I like this journalist!]
"Yes, but it must be understood not as something that ought to be to the detriment of others, of the majority, but for their enrichment, and always avoiding any type of antagonism, even the smallest." [See the Rules of Engagement.]
Q. Then there is the problem of the sacraments: I have in mind the Rite of Ordination or of Confirmation, which refers to a different Code of Canon Law and uses different formulas... [This was clarifed years ago when I was at Ecclesia Dei. The French bishops, probably trying to pplace some sort of obstacle, asked if the old sacramental form for Confirmation was valid. The answer was, of course, yes, it is valid. The same stands for Holy Orders.]
"Certainly at first sight there are some problems with regard to the Holy Orders, with Confirmation and also concerning the difference of the calendar. Regarding Holy Orders, in the ancient form there were tonsure, the minor orders, and the subdiaconate. This form is still in use and will continue to be in the institutes permanently bound to the old rite, such as the Fraternity of Saint Peter, the Soceity of Saint Pius X [Holy cow! Card. Castrillon is either talking about the SSPX as if it is already in some way under the canonical umbrella or he is making a promise… an obvious promise, granted, but a promise.] and other institutes. Concerning Confirmation, even before the Motu Proprio, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had already clarified that there is no conflict between the two formulas, [What I was talking about above.] given that both the new formula, just as the the old, are valid and the same can be said for the other sacraments where the formula is different. With regard to the calendars, which do not always coincide, some problems are arising, as in the case of feasts of the patrons of a parish, of shrines, of congregations and religious institutes, etc. The necessary adaptions with be made with prudence and the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" will also deal with this." [Interesting. So, to resolve conflicts right now, perhaps it is best simply to write to the Commission? Pile their desks a little higher? Would bishops become a bit more involved at a local level, some problems could be resolved now. It seems to me that flexibility is the key, and not a rigid solution such as was suggested recently in the UK and Wales.]
Q. What timeframe do you foresee for the reconciliation with the Society of Saint Pius X?
"There are positive signs, there is an uninterrupted dialogue. A few days ago I again wrote a new letter to [Bishop] Fellay, Superior of the Society, as a response to one of his previously. In addition to meetings and correspondence, we also speak together by telephone. I consider reconciliation with the Society of Saint Pius X to be viable because, as we have often said at "Ecclesia Dei", this does not concern a true schism [!] but an anomalous situation which developed after the "schismatic action" of Msgr Lefebvre in conferring the episcopate without pontifical mandate, nay rather, against the expressed will of the Pope. [So, it was a "schismatic act, which echos John Paul II’s 1988 Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei adflcita, but one that did not result in a formal schism.] In my heart I have great faith that the Holy Father will be able to mend up the fabric of the Church with the arrival of these brothers in full communion. There still remain some differences, as we always had in the history of the Church".
Q. But with the Lefevbrites there is also a problem of the acceptance of ecumenical dialogue…
"Yes, as a matter of fact there are difficulties with the interpretation of texts of the Council in this regard and with some concrete ecumenical procedures, but no bishop of the Society of St. Pius X will say that we don’t have to seek the unity of Christians."
Q: After the Motu Proprio have some of the Society of St. Pius X returned to communion with the Church of Rome?
"Yes, and others have desire to do so. But I hope that the whole group comes, I don’t want them to split up. [Interesting… he is sending a strong message that the identity of the Society, with its aspirations and reasons for existing, will be respect as such. Interesting.] But if an single person comes and says he wants unity with the Pope right now, he must be accepted. The Motu Proprio also caused other people to approach us. For example, on 28 March, I received a letter from a bishop, not Catholic, who has decided to enter the Catholic Church with other bishops and priests who celebrate the Tridentine Mass".
Q. Don’t the new powers of "Ecclesia Dei" come into conflict with the ministry of bishops? [This is, I think, the main cause of fear about Summorum Pontificum for many bishops. It is about who has power.]
"The Pope, who has the authority over the whole Church, over every member of the the faithful and over bishops, has laid down new norms in the Motu Proprio, and the Pontifical Commission is only an instrument in service to the Vicar of Christ so that his decision can be implemented. "Ecclesia Dei" is attending to the implementation the Motu Proprio in fraternal harmony, understanding and collaboration with the bishops. Attitudes of conflict with shepherds on the part of people, groups or institutions, because of the Motu Proprio, must be avoided. Certainly the shepherds, in obedience to the Pope, will have some sympathy for those faithful who have a special love for the liturgical tradition. I’ve always found this sympathy in bishops who have gotten into contact with us."
Q. In the introduction to the reprint of the Compendio di Liturgia Pratica by Trimeloni [I looked at this book here. This is much like Fortesque/O’Connell. It is very thorough. Trimeloni’s edition is somewhat revised, to reflect legislation subsequent to 1962.], you write that the Pope avails himself of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" because in the diversity of forms of worship the riches of the treasures of faith and spirituality of the Bride of Christ can shine forth. What do the difference between the liturgy of John XXIII and the one reformed by Paul VI consist of?
"Pope John included the liturgy also in his desire for a dialogue of the Church with contemporary culture. Paul VI gave coherence to the reforms born of this desire. [Which statement doesn’t really explain why there are so many divergent practices today which don’t, in fact, show authentic diversity of worship… but I digress…] The Holy Spirit, Who always accompanies the Church, inspires necessary changes in every moment of history, without violent rupture in the process of perfecting which He Himself has inspired in the course of history. With this Motu Proprio, Benedict XVI sharing the riches of the two phases of the process, also healing in this way, the hardship of all those who believed that the liturgical sphere there had been an unacceptable rupture."
Q. After the reformulation of the Good Friday prayer it was said there was a set back of 40 years in JewishiChristian dialogue. Were these criticisms expected?
"Isn’t it a good thing to pray for our brothers, the sons of Abraham? Abraham is the father of the faith, but in a salvific chain in which the Messiah was expected. And the Messiah arrived. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that, in one day, five thousand Jews converted. I am not challenging the prayer in the Novus Ordo, but I consider perfect the present prayer in the Extraordinary Rite. And I gladly pray for the conversion of my close Jewish friends, because I truly believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of all".
I am especially mindful of the comments His Eminence made about having a TLMin a parish on Sunday even if a very small number of people request it. Really, this is hand in glove with having a TLM even if no one requested it. I think that is what His Eminence is aiming at. This is effectively what he said on the DVD made by the FSSP and EWTN, as I pointed out here:
The cardinal said that parishes and priests should make available the Extraordinary Form so that “everyone may have access to this treasure of the ancient liturgy of the Church.” He also stressed that, “even if it is not specifically asked for, or requested” it should be provided. Interestingly, he added that the Pope wants this Mass to become normal in parishes, so that “young communities can also become familiar with this rite.”
About the comment about Card. Bertone: This could be some subtle pressure to hurry the process of getting the document out. Some time ago during a visit to Ecclesia Dei, I asked about it and they told me that their part was done. I don’t know if there have to be other revisions. That is possible. But this seems like a way of turning the heat up under the back burner.