An article at CWR and a Twitter thread seek to uncover a serious concern

There is a convincing piece at Catholic World Report by James Baresel about what I think is the greatest conflict in the Church today: her conflict within herself over her sacred liturgical worship.

Why, “greatest”?  Because we are our rites!  And liturgy is doctrine.

The article is entitled: Liturgical double standards and the hermeneutic of rupture

On the face of it, you would think, “Okay, another article about Benedict XVI and recent attacks on his person and all that he stood for in life.” You wouldn’t be wrong.  But Baresel also goes back to the antics of Bugnini, et. al. Attacks on the Church’s continuity of worship go way back.

That said, the article really showcases the machinations of Arthur Roche, now Cardinal, now, incredibly, Prefect of the “Dicastery” for Divine Worship. It’s not pretty.

In 2007, Bishop Arthur Roche obstructed the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. Now, as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, is he misusing and even abusing Traditionis Custodes?

Was it Mark Twain who said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes?

Baresel touches the neuralgic point this way.

From any perspective, this is a serious problem. As past facts make clear, there are only two possibilities. Either Roche can in no way, shape, or form be relied upon to accurately understand a church legal document or the intentions of a pope—or he deliberately undermined the law of one pope in order to restrict the Tridentine Mass and now insists upon firm adherence to the law of another pope in order to accomplish that same purpose.

Roche seems to be operating on his own and in a way that “rhymes” with Bugnini.

In the 1950s, Annibale Bugnini was hiding liturgical abuses from Rome so they could be popularized and eventually sanctioned. Less than two decades later, he obtained sanction for them and was enforcing conformity. Readers may be familiar with Father Louis Bouyer’s account of how Pope Paul VI and the members of the commission charged with liturgical reform were united in opposition to some of Bugnini’s proposals. And how Bugnini pushed them through by telling the pope that they were what the commission wanted, while telling the commission members that they were what the pope wanted.

One is forced to ask: “Why would he do that?”

Baresel is not the only one to have taken notice of his behavior.

The Pillar has a post about Roche.  HERE  “Roche’s gamble — and the Vatican law of power”

In the implementation of ‘Traditionis custodes,’ Cardinal Arthur Roche has been criticized for an approach that seemed to arrogate authority to his office, beyond the motu proprio’s text.

In a Twitter thread Damian Thompson, a long-time observer of Roche, opines that Roche has gone off the reservation and is operating for his own ends.

The tweet thread begins:

In several tweets, Damian maps out what Roche appears to be up to.

Mind you, Damian Thompson – who has one of the best twitter handles eh-vur – is decidedly not a fan of Roche and has written about him in mordant terms.

That doesn’t mean that he isn’t dead on target.

Another tweet in Damian’s thread:

It seems a quixotic suggestion.  Then again, some of the things that Roche has come up over the years are also hard to fathom.

Cui bono?  Cui prodest?

Therein lies the answer.

Through his diktats, which verge on “will to power”, Roche is certainly making himself highly visible in a time when other formerly papabili are dropping to the wayside.

Our sacred liturgical worship is of such importance that it is worth defending even to the point of having a fight about it. Desirable? No, not if peaceful solutions – like what we had before with Summorum Pontificum and the gentle perspicacity of Benedict – can be sorted out.

No one enjoys the division and pain that is being inflicted from on high these days.

In order to heal the divide, the divide must first be accurately described and its causes laid bare.

It could be that Baresel and Thompson are onto something.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Save The Liturgy - Save The World, SESSIUNCULA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. BeatifyStickler says:

    My truck driver “wisdom” says that we should all keep an eye on Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith! A friend to the peripheries and third world, a theological conservative, a lover of the liturgy and a former Vatican insider.

    Malcolm Ranjith will be the gridlock between Erdo and Zuppi.

  2. Mike says:

    I had hopes for Malcolm Ranjith last conclave. He is, I’ve heard, also kind to the SSPX. Please, O Lord…

  3. Pingback: FRIDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

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