31 January 2007
The Holy Father exhorted the Rota members to work towards recovering the intrinsically juridical dimension of matrimony in harmony with the tradition of the Church and to avoid the seductions of relativistic mentalities.
In his speech the Holy Father reflected on the legal dimension of matrimony, reminding them that “in the cases of matrimonial nullity, the accuracy of the process presupposes the ‘truth of marriage,’” an expression which, “however, looses its essential relevance in a cultural context marked by relativism and juridical positivism and which considers marriage as a mere social formalization of emotional bonds.”
“As a consequence,” the Pontiff noted, matrimony “is not to only made contingent on the power of human sentiments, but becomes like an overarching legal structure which the human will can manipulate as it pleases, even depriving it of its heterosexual nature.”
The Pope also called attention to the way in which this mentality enters into the thinking of the faithful and which “to some it seems that the Conciliar doctrine on matrimony, which concretely describes the institution as ‘an intimate community of life and love,’ needs to change to deny the existence of an indissoluble conjugal bond, because it creates an ‘ideal’ which should not be ‘forced upon,’ so called ‘everyday Christians.’”
The Pontiff lamented that in many ecclesial circles there has spread a sentiment that out of a desire for pastoral sensitivity, there should be created a, “sort of canonical regularization, independent from the validity or nullity of marriage, that is to say, independent from the reality surrounding their personal conditions.”
Benedict XVI reaffirmed that, “matrimony has a truth, the discovery and deepening of which reason and faith harmonically work towards, that is to say human knowledge, illuminated by the Word of God, about the sexual differentiated reality of men and women, with their profound demands of complementarity, of total self-giving and exclusivity.
From this dual unity of the human couple it is possible to develop an authentic anthropologic law of marriage. Every marriage is certainly a fruit of the free consent of a man and a woman, but their liberty makes real the natural capacity inherent to their masculinity and femininity,” he said.
In this way His Holiness recalled that, “in the face of the subjectivist and libertarian relativization of the sexual experience, the tradition of the Church clearly affirms the naturally juridical nature of matrimony, that is to say its belonging by nature to the field of justice in interpersonal relations. According to this view, the law truly intertwines itself with life and with love, as their intrinsic being.
Finally the Pope made a call for a courageous and confident reaction to the “relativistic mentality…constantly applying the hermeneutic of renovation in continuity, avoiding the seduction of interpretive ways, which would imply a break with the tradition of the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI used this week's Angelus to return to one of his favorite topics: the relation of Faith and Reason. Citing the example of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day was Sunday, Benedict urged the faithful to remember that faith and reason are not exclusionary principles.
"When man limits his thoughts to only material objects . . . he closes himself to the great questions about life, himself and God," the Holy Father said. While modern science has granted mankind numerous benefits, he explained, it has also led many to believe that the only real things are those which can be experimented with.”
According to Benedict, man must "rediscover human rationality in a new way, open to the light of the divine Logos and His perfect revelation that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man."
Authentic Christian faith does not limit human liberty and reason, he said. Instead, "faith supports reason and perfection; and reason, illuminated by faith, finds strength to raise itself to the knowledge of God."
Calling to mind the Saint of the day the Holy Father remarked at St. Thomas Aquinas’s success in offering a valid model of the harmony between faith and reason, “dimensions of the human spirit, which can be fully realized in the encounter and dialogue between them.”
St. Thomas Aquinas was able to bring Arab and Jewish thought together in a very fruitful way, the Pope continued, and he presents us with a synthesis of faith and reason that serves as a model of inter-cultural dialogue between the East and the West.
The Pope concluded the Angelus with a prayer for all Christians, especially those "working in academic and cultural spheres," so that they may express the reasonableness of their faith and give witness to it in dialogue inspired by love.
Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia !
Ubi caritas, Deus ibi est !
We pray during this week for the unity of all Christians, this, being a most desirable goal of Holy Mother Church. From the very beginning, the Church of Jesus Christ has been weaken by the threat of division. The Apostles themselves had to face the first rebellions within the Church. We know from Saint John that Our Lord has a great concern for the unity of his disciples. During the Last Supper, he opened His Heart to His Father and His disciples: "Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou has given me; that they may be one, as we also are."
Unam Ecclesiam! One Church! There is only one Church founded by Jesus Christ according to the teaching of Saint Paul to the Ephesians: "One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism." This is from the epistle for the votive Mass for the unity of the Church.
We know and we confess, in our Creed, that the Church is one. But what is the unity of the Church? If we consider the word ‘unity’ in its concrete meaning, that there is only one Church, and if we consider the unity according to its abstract meaning, it signifies that the Church is an organic entity which makes an indivisible whole. Its nature would change if we could suppress one of the parts of which She is composed. In other words, Our Lord founded His Church 2000 years ago and He has endowed Her with substantial elements which cannot be removed by any human authority. They are essential parts of the Church which allow us to know precisely which Church is the One founded by Jesus. If one Church lacks of one or more of these elements, we can know with certitude that it is not the true Church.
You already know the four traditional marks which permit us to recognize the Church of Jesus Christ: Unity, Apostolicity, Sanctity and Catholicity. Many books do a very good job of explaining the four marks very well and you can study this in our Apologetic class.
Now, I would like to focus on another mark of the Church, which can be really a part of Her definition. We can take this mark from Saint Therese of Lisieux who is now a Doctor of the Church. Her teaching is certainly not a systematic one as it that of Saint Thomas Aquinas or Saint Bonaventure or any other great theologian, but there is, unmistakably, a deep penetrating gaze on the Church that we can share with her. With Saint Therese of Lisieux, we can include in the definition of the Church the element of charity. Charity would be the created soul of the Church and her interior spirit which invigorates her.
Taking the thought of Saint Therese, the theologians make it clear. It is the Charity of Our Lord Jesus Christ which focuses on the cult inaugurated by Him and continued by the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the dispensation of the Sacraments and enlightened by the voice of Jesus and of His Vicar on earth. With Charles Cardinal Journet, we can summarize and say that the soul of the Church is Charity as it is sacramental or in relation to the cult. If you like the Aristotelian vocabulary, we can say that Charity is the formal cause of the Church, the other causes being the community of the faithful for the material cause, the Holy Ghost for the efficient cause and eternal life for final cause.
Of course we can argue about this definition of the Church. As such, it is not perfect. Some would say that this definition doesn’t take into consideration Faith which is nevertheless an essential part of the reality of the Church. We can answer that Faith is implicitly included with the “community of the faithful”. And a definition is just the expression in human language of a reality. The same reality can have many definitions, each one shedding a light on a particular side of the matter.
If we accept this definition of Charity as the soul of the Church and if we accept the principle of unity given above, that means that there is no Church without Charity. In fact, we can also say that Charity is included in the theological mark of holiness.
At this point, there is another difficulty. What about the sinners who have lost Charity? We know that a mortal sin doesn’t exclude a sinner from the Church, except by sins against the unity of the Church: apostasy, heresy or schism. The fact is that it is not necessary to have Charity in order to be a member of the Church. Saint Robert Bellarmine is right when he says that “the Church is the community of the faithful united by the profession of the true Christian Faith and the communion of the same Sacraments, under the government of the legitimate pastors, especially the only Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff.” We must hold this definition in order to refute the Protestant theses of the invisible Church. The purpose of Saint Robert Bellarmine was to give a definition of the Church which makes her as visible as “the Kingdom of France or the Republic of Venice” are.
We have here the definition of the Church given by Robert Bellarmine the theologian. There would be another definition of the Church lived by Robert Bellarmine the Saint. Those two definitions don’t oppose each other, but the second one is more a matter of the heart. It is more crucial that we actually practice it in our lives than to be described in books. In fact you have to be a Saint to write it in a book. Saint Therese of Lisieux did it:
“Considering the mystical Body of the Church, I couldn’t recognize myself in any members described by Saint Paul, or rather I wanted to recognize myself in all. I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members, the most necessary, the noblest of all couldn’t miss her. I understood that the Church has a Heart and that this heart is burning of Love. I understood that only Love makes the members of the Church act. If this Love comes to die, the Apostles will not announce the Gospel, the Martyrs will refuse to shed their blood. I understood that Love includes all the vocations, that Love was everything and embraces all the times and all the places, in one word that Love is eternal. Then in the excess of my delirious joy I cried out: O Jesus, my Love: my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love! Yes I found my place in the Church, and you gave me this place, O my God; in the Heart of the Church my Mother, I will be Love. Then I will be all and my dream will be achieved."
Dear Brethren, we pray during this week – and I hope not only during this week – for the unity of the Church, so that the members of all the other Churches will return into the only Church of Jesus-Christ which is the Catholic Church. But don’t forget also the members of the Church who have lost Charity. They need it and they will regain Charity through the intercession of the Saints. They are still members of the Mystical Body and can benefit from the Charity of the members in state of grace. Let us pray for ourselves so that our Charity may be greatly improved and we can be signs of the Love of God in the world.
May Our Blessed Mother grant us the grace to share her love with all the Saints, united around Our Lord Jesus Christ principle and end of all Love.
30 January 2007
St. Francis de Sales, born in 1567, is a doctor of the Church and one of the most unecumenical saints on the calendar. Initially he began his training as a lawyer, but later after a brief struggle with his father, he entered the sacred priesthood for the diocese of Geneva, Switzerland, then located in Annecy because the Calvinists controlled Geneva. During his studies one day, the question of predestination, the chief Calvinist doctrine was brought up. St. Francis struggled bitterly with this question, and finally subordinated his reason to his Catholic faith and said "Even if I am damned before all eternity Lord, I will still love you." This allowed him to escape his Calvinist scruples. This event foreshadowed his lifelong work, converting people in Switzerland back to the true faith. He volunteered to preach in a region called Chablais, which by treaty was Catholic, however the Calvinist authorities refused to allow the true Church its civil administration, and even things like the celebration of the sacraments of Extreme Unction, Mass and many of the ceremonies of the Mass.
After working for eleven years, and suffering many attempts on his life for preaching the true faith, he began to see progress. He wrote, in a letter to St. Jane Frances de Chantal:
"For three years I was quite alone there, preaching the Catholic faith, and God has granted me on this journey the very fullest consolation, for whereas formerly I could only find a hundred Catholics in the whole of the Chablais, I was now not able to find a hundred Huguenots." (From the deposition of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, pg. 81; Quoted in 33 Doctors of the Church, pg. 582)What I particularly like about this story is that St. Francis preached the true faith in a region hostile enough to cause someone to take his life, and he brought success. Ecumenical dialogue which is all the rage in this day, hasn't produced a fraction of the results. For his efforts in that region he was called "The Apostle of the Chablais", while in our time he would have been sent to re-education counseling, or else denied entry to seminary in the first place for believing such antiquated notions of conversion and penance. One of the ways St. Francis managed to work conversion was through writing small tracts, and slipping them under doors and in windows, on account of this he is patron saint of the Catholic Press.
In 1602 he was consecrated Bishop of Geneva, which again in practice was Annecy since the Calvinists would not permit the true faith in Geneva. In fact he only visited the city twice.
According to the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia:
When visiting France, St. Francis became acquainted with the French royal family of King Louis XIII, and he made an impression with a certain Bishop in the royal entourage from Luçon known to history as Cardinal Richelieu. He also became good friends with prominent clergymen in Paris, and struck up a good friendship with St. Vincent de Paul. With St. Jane Frances de Chantal he founded the order of Visitation nuns for orphans and widows who did not possess the strength for the more austere orders. The obstacles to founding it were so great that St. Francis declared "God made it [the visitation order] out of nothing, as he made the world." St. Jane wrote concerning him "This new Institution brought down upon him much censure, contradiction and contempt. It was openly declared to be a folly, and many persons of high standing asserted this, some even telling him so to his face." However it was done, and the Visitation would endure and flourish (until after Vatican II anyway), and more than two centuries later the order would have St. Therese's aunt and her sister as members.
His first step [as Bishop] was to institute catechetical instructions for the faithful, both young and old. He made prudent regulations for the guidance of his clergy. He carefully visited the parishes scattered through the rugged mountains of his diocese. He reformed the religious communities. His goodness, patience and mildness became proverbial. He had an intense love for the poor, especially those who were of respectable family. His food was plain, his dress and his household simple. He completely dispensed with superfluities and lived with the greatest economy, in order to be able to provide more abundantly for the wants of the needy. He heard confessions, gave advice, and preached incessantly. He wrote innumerable letters (mainly letters of direction) and found time to publish the numerous works mentioned below.
In 1622 he died in Lyons, France, from a brain condition. The doctors of the time made his death far more painful than it needed to be, since most of their instruments and techniques were rather unadvanced to put it mildly. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VII in 1665, and was made a doctor of the Church by Bl. Pius IX.
Among his many writings and sermons which are in print, St. Francis' spiritual classic is his "Introduction to the Devout Life". It is a collection of directions addressed to "Philothea" (from Greek: lover of God), which were arranged and adapted in a way to make up a practical guide to Christian perfection. It is a detailed guide, or direction, for laity living in the world to attain spiritual perfection. Pope Pius XI said concerning this work:
One of the elements that characterizes not only this work, but St. Francis' entire approach to spiritual direction, was that he did not attempt to subordinate his directees toward a given school of thought, or to certain saints only, or to the latest pastoral initiative coming out of a committee. He never turned anything aside unless it were against the Gospel. His effort was bent upon the individual soul, and his kindly manner valued the liberty of each soul to choose for or against the true faith. This he turned to great effect in Switzerland, where he inspired many to enter the Church and at the same time instructed the soldiers to keep order, rather than forcing conversion which could be extremely damaging, and in truth is the proper expression of state authority.
And would that this book, which in its own day was considered unequaled by any in the same line, be used today by all as it once was in the hands of all, and then truly Christian piety would revive throughout the world, and the Church could rejoice in the widespread holiness of her children.
When declaring St. Francis de Sales a doctor of the Church, Bl. Pius IX declared in his bull Dives in Misericordia concerning St. Francis:
Acknowledging himself the debtor of the wise and the ignorant, being made all things to all, he strove to teach the simple and rude in simple language; among the wise, he spoke wisdom. He also gave forth the most prudent counsels regarding preaching and obtained that the vitiated eloquence of the times should be restored to the ancient splendor set forth in the example of the Holy Fathers; and from this school came forth most eloquent orators from whom the richest fruits have been redounded for the universal Church. Therefore, he has been held by all to be the restorer and master of sacred eloquence.
[From the British Isles]
In 1971 many leading British and international figures, among whose number were Yehudi Menuhin, Agatha Christie, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nancy Mitford, Graham Greene, Joan Sutherland, and Ralph Richardson, presented a petition to His Holiness Pope Paul VI asking for the survival of the traditional Roman Catholic Mass on the grounds that it would be a serious loss to western culture. The then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Heenan himself appealed to Pope Paul for the continued celebration of the traditional Mass. The full text of this appeal in 1971 was:
"If some senseless decree were to order the total or partial destruction of basilicas or cathedrals, then obviously it would be the educated - whatever their personal beliefs - who would rise up in horror to oppose such a possibility. Now the fact is that basilicas and cathedrals were built so as to celebrate a rite which, until a few months ago, constituted a living tradition. We are referring to the Roman Catholic Mass. Yet, according to the latest information in Rome, there is a plan to obliterate that Mass by the end of the current year. One of the axioms of contemporary publicity, religious as well as secular, is that modern man in general, and intellectuals in particular, have become intolerant of all forms of tradition and are anxious to suppress them and put something else in their place. But, like many other affirmations of our publicity machines, this axiom is false. Today, as in times gone by, educated people are in the vanguard where recognition of the value of tradition in concerned, and are the first to raise the alarm when it is threatened. We are not at this moment considering the religious or spiritual experience of millions of individuals. The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts - not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs.
Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians. In the materialistic and technocratic civilisation that is increasingly threatening the life of mind and spirit in its original creative expression - the word - it seems particularly inhuman to deprive man of word-forms in one of their most grandiose manifestations. The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and non-political, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical reforms."
This appeal in 1971 came at a crucial time in the history of civilisation when the future of the traditional Latin “Tridentine” Mass was in jeopardy. Pope Paul VI graciously acknowledged this appeal and the traditional Mass was saved, at least in England and Wales. Since this momentous appeal in 1971 the traditional Latin Mass has prospered once again among the faithful worldwide and is now celebrated in almost every country in the world. Now, in 2007, there is great hope and expectation that this treasure of civilisation will be freed from its current restrictions. We, the signatories of this petition, wish to associate ourselves to the sentiments expressed in the petition of 1971 which, perhaps, are even more valid today, and appeal to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 to allow the free celebration of the traditional Roman rite of Mass, the Mass of Ages, the Mass of Antiquity, on the altars of the Church.
Rt. Hon. Michael Ancram, QC MP.
Miss Madeleine Beard, M.Litt. (Cantab).
Dr. Mary Berry CBE, Founder of the Schola Gregoriana in Cambridge.
James Bogle, TD, MA, ACIarb, Barrister, Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain.
Count Neri Capponi, Judge of the Tuscan Ecclesiastical Matrimonial Court.
Fr. Antony F.M. Conlon, Chaplain to the Latin Mass Society.
Julian Chadwick, Chairman – The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.
Rev. Fr. Ronald Creighton-Jobe, The Oratory, London.
Fra’ Fredrik Crichton-Stuart, Chairman CIEL UK.
Leo Darroch, Secretary – International Federation Una Voce.
Adrian Davies, Barrister.
R.P. Davis, B.Phil., M.A., D.Phil (Oxon), retired senior lecturer in Ancient History, Queen’s University of Belfast; translator/commentator on the Liber Pontificalis of the Roman Church.
John Eidinow, Bodley Fellow and Dean, Merton College, Oxford.
Jonathan Evans MEP, Vice Chairman Catholic Union of Great Britain.
Fra’ Matthew Festing, OBE, TD, DL. Grand Prior of England – Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta.
The Right Honourable Lord Gill, Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland.
Dr. Sheridan Gilley, Emeritus Reader, University of Durham.
Dr. Christopher Gillibrand, MA (Oxon).
Rev. Dr. Laurence Paul Hemming, Heythrop College, University of London.
Stephen Hough, Concert Pianist and Composer.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director, Aid to the Church in Need UK
Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, President of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. KCSG.
James MacMillan, CBE, Composer and Conductor.
Anthony McCarthy, Research Fellow, Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics.
Mrs. Daphne McLeod, Chairman – Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
Anthony Ozimic, MA (bioethics).
Dr. Susan Frank Parsons, President, Society for the Study of Christian Ethics (UK) and Co-Founder of the Society of St. Catherine of Siena.
Dr. Catherine Pickstock, Lecturer in Philosophy and Religion; Fellow – Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Dr. Thomas Pink, Reader in Philosophy and Director of Philosophical Studies, Kings College, London.
Piers Paul Read, Novelist and Playwright; Vice-President of the Catholic Writers’ Guild of England and Wales.
The Rev’d. Dr. Alcuin Reid, Liturgical Scholar and Author.
Nicholas Richardson, Warden of Greyfriars Hall, Oxford.
Prof. Jonathan Riley-Smith, retired Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge University.
Fr. John Saward, Lisieux Senior Research Fellow in Theology, Greyfriars, Oxford University.
Dr. Joseph Shaw. Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University.
Damien Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, The Catholic Herald.
22 January 2007
"...above all bases its strong and durable foundations on the faith, on the Tradition of the Church and on the heritage enshrined in liturgical texts, gestures and postures."
"...the sacred liturgy is a gift we receive from Christ through the Church. It is not something that we invent. It has therefore unchangeable elements which come from our Savior Jesus Christ, as in the essential forms of the sacraments, and changeable elements which have been carefully handed on and guarded by the Church."
"Many abuses in matters liturgical are based, not on bad will but on ignorance, because they "involve a rejection of those elements whose deeper meaning is not understood and whose antiquity is not recognized" ('Redemptionis Sacramentum,' No. 9). Thus some abuses are due to an undue place given to spontaneity, or creativity, or to a wrong idea of freedom, or to the error of horizontalism which places man at the center of a liturgical celebration instead of vertically focusing on Christ and his mysteries."
"The common priesthood of all the baptized and the ministerial priesthood of the ordained priest come from Christ himself. Confusion of roles in the hierarchical constitution of the Church does damage. It does not promote witness to Christ nor holiness for clergy and laity. Neither attempts at the clericalization of the laity, nor efforts toward the laicization of the clergy, will bring down divine graces. 'In liturgical celebrations,' says Vatican II, 'whether as a minister or as one of the faithful, each person should perform his role by doing solely and totally what the nature of things and liturgical norms require of him' ('Sacrosanctum Concilium,' No. 28). It is false humility and an inadmissible idea of democracy or fraternity, for the priest to try to share his strictly priestly liturgical roles with the lay faithful."
"There is no place in the Catholic Church for the creation of a sort of parallel 'lay clergy' (cf. 'Redemptionis Sacramentum,' Nos. 149-153,165)."
20 January 2007
It's been reported that the some German writers and thinkers have released a document declaring their own support of the freeing of the classical Roman liturgy: Religion: Das Manifest im Wortlaut.
Apparently this includes such writers as Martin Mosebach, author of the book The Heresy of Formlessness recently released in English translation.
Here is an unofficial translation of the document in question. I have inquired about who the signatories are, but that doesn't yet seem known. This may be like the Italian declaration, which was rather more a statement by one or a few individuals. We shall see as more information comes.
The German Declaration:
To shape a right awareness in liturgical matters, it is important, that the proscription of that form of liturgy which was valid up to 1970 eventually end. Such a thing has never been the case during all of history; the whole past of the Church has never seen this. How could one trust in Her present, if this is the case?
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, interviewed by Peter Seewald (God and the World, Munich 2000)
The signees welcome that Pope Benedict, consequent to his frequently announced stance, wants to allow again generally the celebration of the traditional Latin mass. Already in 1971, internationally known personalities, such as the writers Graham Greene and Agatha Christie, the pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy and the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, have spoken for this case in a common appeal. They viewed the traditional Catholic mass as an excellent creation of world culture, comparable to the cathedrals which had been built for this liturgy and whose demolition no educated person must permit. From out of the old rite, Gregorian chant originated which is one of the greatest musical treasures of the world. Furthermore, the beauty and solemnity of the Latin mass inspired the greatest composers to musical pieces which are generally admired; without it, important creations of Palestrina, Charpentier, Bach, Beethoven, Bruckner, Haydn, or Mozart cannot be understood at all today.
The traditional "Divine Liturgy" of the West connects the present Church directly with the Latin culture of the Middle Ages and of the Antiquity, very like the "Divine Liturgy" of the East connects to the Greek culture. Therefore, from the readmission of the traditional mass can be expected an impetus for a wider occupation with the cultural root of the Occident. In the age of a unified Europe and of a global exchange between the peoples, the benefit should finally not be disregarded which during the years of the Second Vatican Council Pope John Paul II described with these words: "Of its very nature, Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favour any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all."
17 January 2007
The online California Catholic Daily caught up with Archbishop Donald Wuerl while he was in San Diego this past weekend, and asked him whether, in his capacity as Archbishop of Washington DC, he would take disciplinary action against the new Speaker of the House, the pro-abortion Rep. Nancy Pelosi:
“Will you make a statement to your priests and deacons to warn her not to allow her to receive if she presents herself for Communion?”
Wuerl: “You’re talking about a whole different style of pastoral ministry. No.”
In southeastern Nigeria, the faithful of the Nsukka diocese have been warned that if they don't register to vote by February, they can't receive Communion.
That's a whole different style of pastoral ministry, too.
16 January 2007
One of the biggest differences between the Traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo is the concept of participation. Those experiencing a Traditional mass for the first time (especially a low Mass) will be shocked by what is perceived to be the non-participation of the laity.
This is because, many of those at the Novus Ordo are told that they are given the "riches of full and active participation of the people at Mass, something generations of Catholics didn't get at that stuffy old Latin Mass." At this point I must put a disclaimer up: I recognize this is not true of everybody who attends to the Novus Ordo, or the thinking of any priest who says it. There certainly are souls who try to love our Lord in the Novus Ordo, and priests who wish to devote their life to Jesus Christ. I would suggest to them, that the Traditional Mass offers them a far better opportunity to do so.
Anyhow, the truth is generations of Catholics praying the rosary and singing Latin chants they didn't understand participated ten times more than Catholics who have everything put in front of them in the vernacular with folk music. The problem is there is a method of participation in which Catholics have engaged for centuries which is not described as active, but described as Vatican II summed it up "actuosa participatio", actual participation, not active as it is falsely translated. Some will recoil and say no, no Vatican II, I don't want to hear it! This is an instance when the Council was summing up Tradition and not giving the appearance of departing from it.
Actual Participation, is not when you say something you understand, engage in one of a billion Novus Ordo ministries, (liturgical dance ministry, clown mass ministry, trapeze ministry, inculturation ministry, bingo ministry, old ladies with crappy hair-do ministry, etc.) and if we limit ourselves to the Traditional Mass, it is not merely reading the words in the Missal. It is in the words of Pope St. Pius X "praying the Mass." The St. Andrew's Daily Missal lists 3 things we can do to take part in the Liturgy:
1) Reconstruct the historic setting in which took place the event in our Lord's life, or in that of one of His saints which is being commemorated on the appointed day. In doing this much help may be gained from the chant, the introit, epistle, Gospel, etc.
2) Offer to God, for his greater glory, the mystery of our Redeemer's life which is being commemorated, or the acts of virtue which have been practised by the saint whose feast it is. This is done in the Canon of the Mass; it is not fitting to communicate without having made this offering which appeases the most High and brings us divine grace.
3) Ask of God (this is done in the Pater noster) and receive from Him by the merits and intercession of our Lord and His saints, the graces which they themselves received when they were living on earth.
There are many ways in which this spirituality was traditionally accomplished. One of those ways was by meditating on the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary. Generally it is said that the faithful prayed the rosary because they didn't understand what was going on at Mass. This however is patently false for a number of reasons. First, the sheer volumes of hand-missals, devotional books and other guides published for the Holy Liturgy before Vatican II would suggest something different. The ubiquitousness of these books would indicate that large numbers of people before Vatican II were in fact praying and following these missals. But I digress.
Praying the rosary at Mass is still much maligned by Novus Ordo apologists as non-participation, something which should happen in a different place. Certainly this is true of public recitation of the rosary at low Mass, which was introduced by rosary guilds in the 1930's in some areas. This was not the way most people prayed the rosary at Mass. As a private devotion, asking our Blessed Lady to lead you in to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is one of the best ways to enter into the Holy Liturgy which makes that sacrifice represent on the holy altar.
Another manner of actual participation in the Holy Mass is reading meditations designed for each part of the Mass. I have a number of old prayer books from the 19th and early 20th centuries that provide meditations for different parts. For example, a Carmelite prayer book for the old Carmelite Missal of the Holy Sepulchre has the following:
At the Preface
We offer to the most Holy Trinity the merits of Jesus CHrist, in thanksgiving for the precious blood which Jesus shed in teh Garden for us; and by His merits we beseech the divine majesty to grant us the pardon of all our sins.
Lastly, and most prevalently we can pray the missal. The missal is a treasure trove of all the Church's prayers, her devotions, all the pious meditations, and her doctrine, to consider prayerfully, lovingly, and meditatively. Moreover the Mass is a form of contemplation, by which the Holy Sacrifice of Christ is not only made represent on the altar, but represent in our souls as well. The treasure of the missal is something we have that Catholics in former generations did not have, due to the lack of a printing press and literacy. When used we should not merely read the words of the missal, but meditate on their meaning whether it is in the Ordinary of the Mass or in the propers of the day. God does not need the prayers of the faithful in order to accomplish the Mass, He wants us to pray to Him with the Mass. Many people who switch over from the Novus Ordo are obsessed with being at the exact spot as the priest all the time. A particular advantage which developed in the West that did not develop in the east (in my opinion) is that the priest and the faithful are not on the same page all the time. There are in fact two different forms of prayer going on. The priest is offering up a prayer that he alone can offer, which the laity can not offer. Therefore it is not necessary for the laity to follow the priest at every turn. There are prayers which occur twice, one for the priest to say, and one for us to say in adoration. For example there is the fact that the priest says the confiteor, and then we say one for ourselves (silently however), the priest says his own Domine non sum dignus (Lord I am not worthy), and we say one as well. (I'll pause here to add that in many places an Irish-American custom that is in violation of the rubrics holds that the priest says the 2nd Domine non sum dignus. This should not be as the altar servers, not the priest, are to say this one, after the priest makes the invocation "Ecce agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi.") The priest has special prayers which he says before and after he receives communion, which he alone can say, all of which are form Psalm 115, and Psalm 17.
The purpose of following along in the Missal is not to follow each of these events. It is of little benefit to us to reason that the priest has just received communion, therefore he is saying "Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus que retribuit mihi" from Psalm 115. What is useful to us on the other hand is to read the Church's communion prayer and meditate on the action of the liturgy. The richness of the Missal, even of one Sunday's Mass is scarcely comprehensible in this life, therefore it is necessary to focus our attention on a few prayers. This doesn't mean by any stretch that one can not read all the prayers of the day in the Missal, I'm merely saying that you should not stress yourself out trying to figure out where the priest is, but make your participation in the Mass actual.
One will also remember, that in old books and in old lives of the saints, one is told that a given saint "heard Mass" or was "hearing Mass", not that he was "active in liturgical ministries." Hearing Mass is nothing different than following the second plan in this schema, attentively devoting oneself to the worship of Jesus Christ at Mass.
These ways of participating at Mass are not mutually exclusive, nor is one way better than the other in my opinion. Each person will find his own way to sanctification in the Holy Liturgy.
The importance of actual participation at Mass
There are worse things than getting bent out of shape over where the priest is. The capital sin at Mass is a lack of attention to the Sacred mysteries. There are many testimonies in Church history of Saints who had great grace from being attentive and devoted during Mass, and great punishments for those who were not. For example:
Blessed Veronica of Binasco relates of herself the following "One day, whilst at Mass, I cast a glance of curiosity at one of my sisters in in religion. Immediately after, my guardian angel gave me such a severe reprimand for this fault as made me almost die from fright. Ah! how severe was not the look he cast at me, and how sharp the words he spoke to me! 'Why did you give such unbecoming liberty to your eyes?' sad he; 'why did you cast the look of curiosity at your sister? Indeed this is not a little fault.' Then he gave me in the name of Jesus Christ a penance for my sin, over which I shed bitter tears for three days. Since that time I hardly ever again dared to make the least motion at Mass for fear of being punished by the Divine Majesty." (Bollandus in Vita ejusdem, quoted in "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" by Fr. Michael Muller)
On another occasion, the same book reports of a holy pastor who said Mass. During Mass he saw two women in the pew, faithful and devoted who had angels hovering over them. There was another one however, who was not paying attention at Mass, and the demons made gestures indicating their dominion over her. Lastly, and perhaps one of my favorite stores from this book
which is available from TAN, is the following:
It is related of Drahomira, the mother of St. Wenceslaus, a very impious Duchess of Bohemia, how she one day went in a carriage to Saes in order to take a solemn oath on her father's grave, to extirpate all the Christians in her dominions. Passing a chapel in which Mass was being said, the driver, on hearing the bell ring for the Elevation of the Host, stopped the carriage and knelt down on the bare ground to adore Our Lord Jesus Christ on the altar. At this the impious Duchess flew into a violent passion, cursing the driver and the Blessed Sacrament. In punishment for her horrible blasphemies, the earth opened and swallowed her and her whole escort. They cried for help, but in vain. In a moment they were gone forever. The driver was glad indeed for having stopped the carriage to adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; his faith and devotion saving him from destruction. (ibid, pg. 385).
In conclusion, you have everything to lose by not attentively hearing Mass, and everything to gain by doing so. The reason we must go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is because it is the Church's official, magisterial interpretation of the 3rd commandment. It is the best and only way to truly keep the day holy, as there is no act holier which we can do other than assisting at Mass, offering up our prayers and ourselves in union with the priest.
Protestants will always ask where does it say you must go to Church. For them, by the principle of private judgment which is introduced by the doctrine of Faith Alone, it is up to each man to determine if he will go to Church or not. Even a pastor of a protestant Church claiming that one must go to Church to fulfill the commandment, has no more authority than Adam to tell him what to do, because that would go against private judgment and be introducing...(gasp!) some time of Tradition and authority!
For us we have no such private judgment. We must go to Holy Mass on Sunday to keep the commandment, as the magisterial authority of the Catholic Church has always and everywhere believed this to be the case, and the graces to be attained there are beyond anything we can attain by any other act.
As you know, the family is in serious danger in modern society. Family is the cornerstone of the foundation of any society because of a predisposition in the natural order desired by the Creator. Destroying family is consequently destroying society. On a practical level, almost nobody would blatantly attack the idea of family. It is a value shared by the great majority of humanity. Openly attacking the concept of family would be a great strategic error because it is repugnant to our nature. And it would create a strong public reaction, which is not good if one wants to win the elections. So, the concept of family is certainly not directly attacked, but family in its concrete reality is seriously threatened. Beyond the family, it is in fact the natural order established by God which is locked on the crosshairs. Once again, we are in the middle of the great battle between God and His old enemy: Satan.
This battle began a long time ago with the first domestic scene, which probably issued immediately after the original sin. The reaction of Adam when he tried to justify himself, makes me certain on this point: The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree. I will let you imagine the rest of the scenario. Married people probably know better than I do what this is all about. Then, you know the story. Cain killed Abel and this was the first fratricide of History. Men are so ingenious at finding different ways to harm each other, even within the same family. The root is undeniably pride. God always asks us as He did Cain: “Where is your brother?” And most of the time we have no other answers than: “ I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper? ” We don’t know where our brother is because pride causes us to be concerned only for ourselves. Is not pride the preferred vice of Satan?
With the spread of sin throughout the world, the original beauty of the Creation dissolved. Even matrimony, one of the greatest institution desired by God from the very beginning for humanity had lost its primitive radiance. Moses gave a dispensation to the Jews that allowed them to repudiate their wives. Jesus would explain the reason later: “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” What a terrible statement, dear brethren! Because of the hardness of heart, God in a certain way had to change his plans. We can be glad that God is extremely patient towards us, but let it not be a pretext for us to leave our heart hardened and not try to make our hearts sweet. Hardness of heart can touch every one of us.
God’s patience and tenderness for us is now revealed by the Incarnation. We have had the occasion to meditate during the last two weeks on the love of God which shows itself in the person of the Baby Jesus.
And the Incarnation took place within a family. God has chosen a woman to be His mother. And since this woman was married to a man, this one was chosen to be the Father of Jesus. Saint Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, but he was a true father. Saint Joseph and his mission belong to the order of the Incarnation, which makes him different of any of the other saints, the same is true for Our lady, of course. God has a great concern for family. We should have the same concern.
I would say that in a certain way God Himself is a family. There is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, three distinct Persons. Since we have been created in the image of God, it is not surprising that our natural community of life is a family. Every family is a representation of the Holy Trinity on earth. For that reason, the attacks against family are attacks against God. The Catholic Church raises her voice in order to defend and protect family. For us, it is our duty and our honor to be Her knights in this battle.
Yes dear Brethren, we have to fight. We have to fight a battle for love, truth, beauty and purity. Our weapons are our intelligences and our wills. We must know what is good for families, which presupposes that we have read the teaching of the Church on the matter of familial politic and then apply this doctrine on a practical level. And we have to love. Love! It doesn’t need words but only requires actions. Acts like the Incarnation and the Passion. Love begins first in families, at home. If you are not able to love each other at home, then, I am afraid that all the rest is an illusion and in vain. I don’t need to remind you of the words of Saint Paul. You already know them. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envies not, deals not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeks not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinks no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth; Bears all things, believeth all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Charity never falls away!
May Our Lady help us to examine ourselves so that we may know the truth and find out if we are not patient or kind. May she help us to discover what truly are our thoughts and if there be any hint of anger or iniquity in them. May she help us to open the eyes of our souls and finally our hearts, so that we can be full of charity and full of God.
Domino servientes! Serving the Lord!
Saint Paul summarizes the entire gospel and Christian life in two words: Domino servientes! We serve the Lord! We serve the Lord and there is nothing less to do in this life, nor nothing more. It is our duty and it is our honor. It is our cross and it is our joy. The Saints have spent their lives serving Him with their whole heart. And they had great heart with the measure of love infused by God. Speaking to ‘Philothea’, who is every soul desiring to serve the Lord, Saint Francis de Sales says: “ Bear in mind, that it is certain that the heart of our dear Jesus saw yours from the tree of the Cross and loved it; and by this love obtained for it all the good things that you have ever had or will ever have.”
Here is the secret of our Christian life: a communication from heart to heart between ourselves and Jesus. In itself, it seems easy. It is a matter of love, which is something that comes natural to us. But the problem is that we don’t love as we should. Our love can fix on the wrong object or be in wrong proportion; it can be inordinate. A disorder can appear in our love, which prevents us from loving as Jesus Christ loves. Our love can be with dissimulation, which Saint Paul identifies in today’s epistle.
We need to be purified so that the perfect love can bloom in our souls. We have to go through the three conversions described by the spiritual authors. These conversions will lead us from the purgative way to the pure union with God. It will conduct us to the most perfect state of love. And purification is most necessary. It is necessary now or later in purgatory, because we have to be perfect in order to see God. Our love is still a “mercenary love” as Saint Catherine of Siena would say. “The imperfect soul, who still loves God of a mercenary love must do what Peter did after he denied Christ.”
Peter was still a mercenary when he denied Jesus. A mercenary works for himself but doesn’t serve a cause with his whole heart. He needed to be purified and that happened right after his fall: “And the Lord turning looked on Peter.” Peter was purified by the look of Jesus, which was his true conversion. “And Peter going out, wept bitterly.” As for Mary Magdelene, many sins are forgiven him, because he has loved much.
What should be the motive of our conversion? Father Garrigou-Lagrange answers that this motive is expressed by the supreme precept which has no limits: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbor as thyself.” And Father Garrigou-Lagrange adds: “This precept asks for the love of God itself. It is not for our interest or our personal satisfaction. It says that we must love with all our strength, when the time of trial comes to us, so that we can love Him with all our mind when we will be fixed above the variations of sensibility and when we will become worshipers in truth and spirit.”
The object and the principle of charity is God. And because of our human nature which requires signs in order to understand, God became a man, the greatest sign of his love for us. Now Jesus Christ looks at us, as he did with Peter. At Cana, He performed his first miracle. It was during a wedding, the sign of the union between the Divine and human natures. Our Lady was there. She is now here with us, praying for that we can face the look of Jesus and open our hearts to his love. Only when we do this, we will be true servants of the Lord. May our blessed Mother obtain this grace for us.
In 1969, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship issued the instruction Memoriale Domini on the manner of distributing Holy Communion. Speaking of the custom of receiving Holy Communion onto the tongue, it said:
This method of distributing holy communion must be retained, taking the present situation of the Church in the entire world into account, not merely because it has many centuries of-tradition behind it, but especially because it expresses the faithful's reverence for the Eucharist. The custom does not detract in any way from the personal dignity of those who approach this great sacrament: it is part of that preparation that is needed for the most fruitful reception of the Body of the Lord.At the same time, in many parts of the world, especially in "Masses for special groups", there was a more or less open defiance of this instruction. As a result, Pope Paul VI gradually gave permission to one Bishops' Conference after another for the introduction of the practice of Holy Communion in the hand. Permission was granted in England on 6 March 1976. One widely used justification of the permission was that it would take away the scandal of disobedience. This did not work - people continued to be disobedient to other liturgical norms, witness the series of condemnations of liturgical abuses that have been published since then.
Some time ago, I posted about early evidence for communion on the tongue. More recently, in response to the post Dancing, Football, and Communion in the Hand, a commenter asked me what my own views were on the subject.
I believe that the introduction of Communion in the hand was a mistake and that it has contributed to the lessening of belief in the real presence and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. I am also concerned that the risk of sacrilege is increased.
Toddlers give unerring signals of the way that Communion in the hand tends to lessen belief. Frequently, if a mother brings her toddler to the Communion rail for a blessing, the little one says "Mummy, can I have some?" Giving Communion into the hand appears to the toddler as though the priest is handing out sweeties. Putting Communion onto someone's tongue does not have the same appearance. Someone might say "Oh but the Eucharist is our food." The answer to that is found in St Justin's early description of the Mass where he said that we do not receive the Eucharist as "common food." The Last Supper was not a normal meal, it was a ritual meal and all the elements of it were special. Holy Communion is not common food and it is fitting that it is received in a special way. Communion on the tongue places that little bit more of an obstacle to the idea that we are going to "get the bread."
Communion in the hand can also lead to sacrilege. People can walk away from the altar rail (or the queue) with the sacred host in their hand and then put it in their pocket on the way back to the bench. This rarely happens in my parish now, but only because people know I take this sort of thing seriously. At school Masses, it is always a danger. Some schools post teachers on a kind of "sentry duty" to prevent it happening. Communion on the tongue would largely solve the problem. Not wholly, I know - those who are determined on sacrilege have always found ways to remove the host from their mouth secretly. But it would prevent casual sacrilege done out of ignorance or silliness.
I have also found that dropping the host is more frequent with Communion in the hand. People will put their hands into all sorts of strange formations to receive Holy Communion. If they swing their hands away, the protection of the communion-plate is circumvented.
Then there is the question of visible fragments. Just as a reminder in case anyone is unsure about this, Our Lord is present in any fragment of the host that has the appearance of bread - rule of thumb is that if it is visible to the naked eye, Our Lord is present.
Excursus: We know that there will be molecules of the Eucharistic host invisibly present all over the place - Catholic doctrine is that Christ is present under the appearances of bread and wine. If, for example, a negligent priest allowed hosts in the tabernacle to decay, Our Lord would cease to be present once the Eucharist no longer had the appearance of bread. Our Lord ceases to be present in his Eucharistic presence once the host is broken down in the digestive system - he continues to be present spiritually in the person's soul, of course.
Giving Communion on the tongue, using a communion-plate, I find that even with "sealed edge" wafers that are advertised as being crumb-free, there are usually some fragments visible on the communion-plate after giving Communion at a Sunday Mass. It is reasonable to expect that there will be fragments left behind in people's hands, then desecrated by being dropped randomly.
So what can a parish priest do? I try to reflect the canonical status of the two ways of receiving Communion. Communion on the tongue is allowed universally. Communion in the hand is permitted by indult. The two do not have equal status. So I talk to people about the care necessary when receiving Communion in the hand and then say that of course they can always receive Communion on the tongue.
In my parish, over the past two years, the children preparing for first Holy Communion are taught to receive Communion on the tongue. One girl who had been taught earlier, saw a film of Mother Teresa of Calcutta where she received Holy Communion on the tongue and then told her mother "That is how I want to receive Communion."
That lovely story gave me the courage to mention from time to time Blessed Teresa's famous statement when asked "What is the worst problem in the world today?" She could have picked any one of a number of answers. What she said was:
"Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand."Checking that quote, I found a very good article by Jude Huntz from the March 1997 issue of The Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Rethinking Communion in the Hand. (Instead of writing all the above, I could have just referred you to the article!)
8 January 2007
The Italians have signed a 'Tridentine Manifesto'
The Poles have signed a 'Tridentine Manifesto'
But what about English speakers? I guess we delayed to find an auspicious occasion like Epiphany. NLM has published a signed declaration expressing support for the freeing of the Classical Roman Rite. Its been coined the Epiphany Declaration.
You may express you support for the Epiphany Declaration on iPetititions. (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Epiphany_Declaration/)
6 January 2007
* 20 Dec 2006 marked the first ever Classical Roman Rite Mass that I have ever attended. Some people assume that to participate in a Mass one needs to know the language. Well the experience that I had was quite to the contrary really. I suddenly started while the Lessons of Isaiah for Ember Wednesday were chanted in Latin. This was at St Joseph Church, which is one of the best preserved Churches in Singapore.
* 21 Dec 2006 was the second time I attended a Classical Roman Rite Mass and it being the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, it was a grand celebration with polyphony. The sermon covered the subject of the interior life which was seamlessly linked to the doubt of St Thomas as to the occurrence of the resurrection and his subsequent faith in his belief of the Assumption. Prior to Mass, I also went for confession offered in the Classical Rite. Made some mistakes like signing myself too early and thanking Father too early, but the spiritual direction given was just wonderful. The significance of what penance I had was also explained to me.
* 22 & 23 Dec 2006 attended Mass at the Opus Dei centre. Somehow I just felt the huge contrast between the Missal of Paul VI and the Missal of Pius V. In Classical Roman Rite, the Mystery of Faith is just there. In the Novus Ordo, sometimes it takes a bit more effort to realise.
* 25 Dec 2006 was at the later Mass in Holy Cross. The choir sang 1 verse of the Adeste Fidelis in Latin before doing the English for the Communion Hymn. The Recessional Hymn was Angel we have Heard on High. My mind was buzzing with how to include Latin for my campus Opening Mass.
* 1 Jan 2007 being the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, the Carmelites were having their renewal of vows for their Novices. The Carmelite Fathers turned out in full force and the Roman Canon was used. Unfortunately some forgot their albs, and by rights they were not supposed to concelebrate.
* 5 Jan 2007 marked the Opening Term Mass as well as the Commissioning of the New Ex-Co. Its rather strange to be the author of the Commissioning Prayer and to be commissioned in it. Kneeling down and being led in an adapted ‘Litany of Humility’ was spiritually significant as is the putting of the cross around ones neck. Unfortunately, during the Mass glass chalices and patens were used.
As a result of being in Campus Ministry, posting on this blog would be much slower.
THE CATHOLIC HERALD 5 JANUARY 2007
“Pope picks up the phone in defense of the Old Rite”
BY MARK GREAVES
POPE BENEDICT XVI has spoken by telephone to a number of French bishops to persuade them to accept a wider use of the Tridentine Mass, it has been claimed.
The Pontiff brought French bishops who oppose the Tridentine Mass "to a reluctant but decisive change of view", according to the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), an organisation of Old Rite priests that the Pope strongly supports.
It is widely expected that a papal document will soon be released to allow priests to celebrate the Tridentine Mass – using the pre-Vatican II 1962 Latin Missal – without the explicit permission of the local bishop, though probably only in the low-key setting of a "private" celebration. The document, which will be released motu proprio, or on the Pope’s own initiative, has caused concern among bishops in France, where traditionalist groups are particularly active.
But efforts by the French episcopate to "torpedo" the initiative have failed, according to Videre Petrum, the FSSP’s British newsletter.
"It is said that the mild but persuasive words of Pope Benedict, who personally spoke by telephone to many of the most intransigent enemies of tradition among the bishops of France, worked a sort of miracle, and brought them to a reluctant but decisive change of view, or at least to a recognition of the limits of disobedience," the newsletter said. Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, a former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said last month that the Vatican’s Ecclesia Dei commission had discussed the document and would pass on its conclusions to the Pope.
The cardinal added that he did not expect the commission, set up in 1988 to oversee Vatican relations with traditionalists, to discuss the document any further.
Commentators say priests will be allowed to celebrate the Tridentine Rite without permission at "private Masses" that would be nevertheless be open to the public.
The proposed reform would put pressure on the bishops of England and Wales to adopt a more welcoming stance towards the FSSP, which currently has only two priests based in London.