Bishops. Waiting to see what the other guys do. Then, boldly leaping into action!
And getting it wrong. Again.
The Bishop of Erie Pennsylvania is not to be confused with his predecessor, the Erie Bishop of Pennsylvania, Donald Trautman. Although, they both seem challenged by accurate translations. More on that, below.
The Bishop of Erie, has attempted to restrict ad orientem celebration of Holy Mass. It’s some kind of fever that they have, manifesting symptoms of profound confusion about Latin, the loss of the use of logic, and probable fear of “Rome”.
Here’s the “decree”.
Let’s look more closely.
BEFORE IT GETS BURIED… there is a concept in Canon Law called “obreption”. Obreption is a kind of fraud or allegation of what is false by which a dispensation or a favor is obtained. Depending on the reason for the falsehood being offered to obtain the desired effect, the decree or rescript could be null and void. If the motive of the cause is false, that can void a decree. If the fraud or falsehood has to do with something tangential, or it was based on ignorance, that might not render the decree void.
The three “whereas” points are the reasoning/justification/foundation for what follows. What does it mean, “therefore”, when one or more of those points is incoherent or simply false?
1 – In the first “whereas”, this Bishop did exactly what libs have done all along: make an exception to the rule into the norm and force the norm to become the exception. Watch this slight of hand while he points over yonder and shouts, “LOOK! A SQUIRREL!” He says that revision of norms allowed for the “restoration” (a historical canard in itself), while not prohibiting Mass ad orientem. What a hoot! The thing that was “allowed” is elevated to something that it isn’t, while the standard practice of centuries, still inscribed in the Novus Ordo rubrics, is “not prohibited”, making ad orientem seem like the exception! Communion in the hand is another example of this. Moreover, contrary to claims, Communion was not widely distributed in the hand in the ancient Church and the mechanics of it were considerably different from how it is done today. But, in the ancient Church, they still believed in things like sacrality and profanation, reverence and sacrilege. At the time of Paul VI, Communion in the hand was permitted as an exception to the norm of Communion on the tongue, ironically to help bring an end to the abuse of Communion in the hand! So, this bishop, or whoever wrote this slop for him, turned the whole things inside out. Typical and based on vapor. Fake vapor, to boot.
2 – In the second “whereas”, we learn that since the rubrics of the Missal apply to both arrangements, ad orientem and versus populum, therefore – without any consideration of context – the exception to the rule is to be privileged. That’s just plain dumb, because context does matter. Later, however, when considering parochial and non-parochial contexts, then context matters (“mutatis mutandis”, below)!
There’s a rigidity at the basis of this point, perhaps. I am reminded of a spectacular instance of forcing a rule to fit. If memory serves, Sulpicians had, as part of their Rule, a rule that the students were not to bathe in the fountain in the gardens. When the Rule was ported over to other places, other seminaries built by the Sulpicians, in order to be able to obey the “No bathing in the fountain!”, rule, they had to build fountains that were not to be bathed in. Otherwise, how would be able to obey that rule if is was not possible to disobey it? There is a twisted thought process in that second “whereas”
3 – In the third “whereas”, we once again have the FALSEHOOD that GIRM 299 says that versus populum “is desirable whenever possible”. NO. That is NOT what GIRM 299 says. But, hey! We are, today, dominated by graduates of the “Big Lie” School of Liturgy. No, let me retool that. Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence, not that they are necessarily mutually exclusive. It is entirely possible that the writer of this document has zero idea what he writing about. He simply, blithely, is going along with what he assumes to be true, that 299 says what is (wrongly) quoted in documents of the USCCB and other sources. He is unaware of what the real text of 299 says, because he has never looked at the Latin, or, having looked, has such poor Latin skills that he can’t figure it out. The CDW had already responded to a dubium about 299 before the USCCB issued their Built of Living Stones, with its false rendering of 299. The CDW also knew that the Latin grammar of 299 had to be explained, so they clarified that, too. No, we mustn’t attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. After all, were someone knowingly to offer this false premise to a bishop as a pretext for such a decree, he would be culpable before God and man for a serious lie about a very grave issue. Those schooled in the “Big Lie” theory of shifting opinion are willing to do that. For those who might be less than clear about the “Big Lie”, it is a way of changing people’s minds precisely by telling a lie, over and over and over, until incredulity is worn down. But the lie has to be big, so that eventually people reason, wrongly, that “Maybe, … could it be true? He wouldn’t keep saying something so far fetched with such conviction if it weren’t true.”
So, you ghost writers for bishops out there, go ahead! Just keep saying that 299 says that Mass versus populum is desirable wherever possible, even though THAT’S FALSE.
I will leave aside the individual points decreed on those foundations of sand.
The fact is, bishops get away with stuff because they are hardly ever challenged.
One could says, “Well, this is just about discipline and not about penal law, or judicial determinations, or morals, etc.” Just wait. What mere option of discipline will be the next to become obligatory?
This feverish campaign against ad orientem worship is just getting started. The implications are grave, especially about the characters of the bishops who succumb to this virus.
What’s good analogy? Will the war on ad orientem worship be, among bishops, like the mania about wearing masks? Masks are about as good at keeping out microscopic viruses as wire grocery carts are good at moving sand. But the CDC says (this week) “MASKS OR DEATH!” and people wind up wearing them alone in their cars. Will it get that weird?
Probably. I suspect that a large factor in this is that bishops are terrified of a few Karens calling or writing to whine about “Father turned his back to me during ‘liturgy’, and I didn’t get to see his face when he said the – the – you know – over the white things!”
Bishops! Just leave things alone. And don’t fear the Karens.