31 March 2007

More Confirmation of the Motu Proprio

[Taken from Rorate Caeli]
In an interview for the cover story (pages 56-60) of Le Figaro Magazine (weekly magazine of the French national daily Le Figaro), published today (not yet available on the newspaper's website); excerpt:

Is a Decree widening the possibility of celebrating the Latin Mass according to the rite from before Vatican II (the so-called Mass of Saint Pius V) still expected?

Cardinal Bertone: The merit of the conciliar liturgical reform is intact. But both [for reasons of] not losing the great liturgical heritage left by Saint Pius V and for granting the wish of those faithful who desire to attend Masses according to this rite, within the framework of the Missal published in 1962 by Pope John XXIII, with its own calendar, there is no valid reason not to grant to every priest in the world* the right to celebrate according to this form. The authorization of the Supreme Pontiff would evidently preserve the validity of the rite of Paul VI. The publication of the motu proprio which specifies this authorisation will take place, but it will be the pope himself who will explain his motivations and the framework of his decision. The Sovereign Pontiff will personally explain his vision for the use of the ancient Missal to the Christian people, and particularly to the Bishops.

*au prêtre du monde entier: literally, to the priest of the whole world
Source: Le Forum Catholique.

Comments of Fr Zuhlsdorff
So, several things can be gathered here.

1) It will be the 1962 Missale Romanum, and not another edition, such as the 1965.
2) It appears the calendar may be left unchanged.
3) It will concerned all priests, which means religious and not just diocesan.
4) It will happen, but no timeframe is given.

I note with interest the Cardinal’s statement that the Pope is going to explain this to the bishops in particular. Given that this is a French publication, and the French bishops were the major opponents to this move, this is like a shot over their bow.

A great deal is still left for the Pope to explain. I gather this means the M.P. must be entirely in his hands at this point. He is a) still revising or b) preparing his explanations. You can bet he will talk about his reasons for doing this with great clarity.

Many of us thought it might happen this week and that it is unlikely it would be during Holy Week… though I still won’t rule that out categorically.

Sloppy Indult Journalism

CNS Article - Tridentine Mass: Pope looks for bridge to tradition
"From the outside, allowing the old Mass has been seen primarily as a concession to the followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated in 1988 for his intransigence on liturgical and other reforms of Vatican II."

Umm, the excommunication was over the "unlawful episcopal ordination conferred on 30 June last by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre" (Ecclesia Dei, No 1) because it was an act "disobedience to the Roman Pontiff" (Ecclesia Dei, No 3) and constituted a schismatic act because of the "rejection of the Roman primacy" (Ecclesia Dei, No 3). Tsk, tsk.

Addendum: NLM Comments

Sacramentum Caritatis Translation Amendment?

When Sacramentum Caritatis was released, the official English translation of Paragraph 62 read, "... with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin..."

This was a poor translation from the Latin which actually read "exceptis lectionibus, homilia et oratione fidelium, aequum est ut huiusmodi celebrationes fiant lingua Latina." In Latin, the phrase 'aequum est' means 'it is reasonable, proper, right'. It can be translated as 'it is becoming'.

There has been an amendment made official English translation of Paragraph 62. It now reads "with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, it is fitting that such liturgies be celebrated in Latin."

Kudos to WDTPRS

29 March 2007

Full Translation of German Article related to the Motu Proprio

[Taken from CathCon]
Translation of original article on the universal indult for the Latin Mass.

Benedict XVI has achieved it. The Pope who came from Luther’s country will re-permit the Latin Mass. The re-permission of the old Latin Rite of 1570 by Benedict XVI is due. There is hardly a paradigm for such a reversal in the whole history of the Catholic world. This step will change the Church. The sovereign decision has been accomplished by the rather shy Pope, almost single-handedly, against enormous resistance. Many did not reckon on it, that he would not avoid such a conflict, but that he would unwaveringly decide with only a few Cardinals included in the decision, Cardinals who had thought they had wanted to electing a transitional Pope.

Furthermore, many Vatican staff and clerics of the Roman Curia have not reckoned that the German would plant such a dramatic sign. A catafalque on which the body of John Paul II was laid out in St Peters from 4th-8th April 2005, has not been removed even after two years. The bier was, instead, placed to the front on the right of the Basilica in a side aisle near the tomb of Clement X, behind the organ. Next to this bier, there are plastic chairs stacked up which can be used for placing in rows in the Cathedral if too many people have arrived. The catafalque has been covered with plastic sheeting, as if it is waiting behind the organ only to be taken out again to offer the German Pope his last resting place on earth. The bier behind the organ is, of course, not waiting, but what do those wait for who have hidden it in this baroque junk-room.

This is a question which perhaps irritates only a few of the initiated. There is much more concern on the observation that the Vatican has newly the Apostolic Camera last December. The latter had limited itself to activities in the period after the death of the Pope and the election of his successor. What should the new staff actually do, except to twiddle their thumbs and use the phones on which nobody calls, only for internal gossip?

The self-conscious culture of the Italian “menefregismo” (don’t give a jot!) can be evidenced with many examples of legendary activities, why the powers of insistence which do not wish to change anything are so extraordinarily strong in the Vatican, because what is more Italian than the Vatican. Ex-State Secretary Sodano refuses sternly to leave his service apartment. Tarcisio Bertone to whom this would be allocated as his successor must put up with an stand-by. And on Sunday, three Canons actually elevated quickly once more the Veil of Veronica in silver frame from the plinth of the Veronica column on Sunday at Vespers and everyone knows in the meantime in Rome that it cannot show the old true picture, because it is too large, is not transparent and in no way corresponds of the “Vera Ikon”.

Even Dante would not have dedicated a single line in his Divine Comedy to this piece of material. But what does it matter? Small pieces of evidence are seldom given a chance against age-old traditions in the Eternal City. One could have misconstrued such happenings as a sovereign contempt for reality but this is only conditionally true. There are apparently conditions, as in the old Rome. So it is lamented in the Cantus Firmus and this is in many ways true.

Because the power of the old Rome is in actual fact also in a tenuous and pure adherence. In this milieu, even Joseph Ratzinger had been a foreign body. He was always a preserver and mover, a true conservative and he has become this, even more so, as Benedict XVI. The Pope from Luther’s country resists passionately every firm adherence which in Rome today, as much as in the rest of the world church, is often and paradoxically not conservative, but instead an adherence to the liberal zeitgeist of the last 40 years. The power test was not on staffing decisions, which had been long overdue, but a passionate concern for the old Rite of the Tridentine Mass, which had been forbidden by the reformers and which has now emerged in a big ideological wing of the Church.

Benedict XVI frees the dignified, old Liturgy which Paul VI had abolished and replaced with the stroke of the pen (a Mass that had been developing over many centuries). Benedict has not allowed himself to be influenced by neither the objections of the French nor of the German Cardinals and Bishops, and especially not by the various debates in European newspapers.

He will free the use of the old Mass everywhere and it no longer needs the approval of the local Bishops, who had been the restricting hand, up to now and where a minimum of thirty faithful ask for the Mass, as stated in the Corierra del Siera. This is the sovereign revision of a cultural revolution which the Pope has unwaveringly carried out in the two years he has been in office. If nothing happens to him, his Motu Proprio on the Tridentine Mass will be published as certainly as the amen in the Church, probably in the Easter period.

An accompanying letter to all Bishops is already in preparation. It has been decided. This is not a systems reboot, as is due with a defunct computer. Benedict XVI returns to the Catholic Church her own standard with this liturgy, a standard which from now on can be compared to the 1969 Novus Ordo decisively. The decision has opened the way to a finger-wrestling full of surprises. After all finger wrestling is a Bavarian speciality.

28 March 2007

Cover Letter for Motu Proprio Ready?

[Taken from Closed Cafeteria]

The German newspaper Die Welt (The World) considers the motu proprio a given. Here my translation:

The Pope from the country of Luther is standing up passionately to that leaden insistance on the status quo, which paradoxically, in Rome and the rest of the Universal Church, is not conservative, but a clinging to the liberal zeitgeist of the past 40 years.

The test of power has boiled down not to personnel decisions but to a passionate dispute over the old rite that had been banned by reformers with him and a large ideological wing in the Church. Now Benedict XVI. is liberating the honorable old liturgy, which Pope Paul VI. had abolished and replaced with the stroke of a pen that has no parallel (after it had developed throughout centuries). In this decision he has not allowed German and French cardinals and bishops to sway him.

He is said to release the Old Mass from the until now necessary - and restrictively handled - consent of the local bishop, when at least 30 people ask for it. It is the sovereign revision of a cultural revolution that the Pope has undertaken, without being distracted, for two years.

An accompanying letter to all bishops has already been prepared. The matter has been decided. There will be no "system reboot" like with a crashed computer. Benedict XVI. gives back to the Catholic liturgy its original standard, by which the rite of 1969, which had frequently lost its orientation, can measure itself, new and decisively.

WDTPRS Comment: There is speculation about the date of the release. Right now the Pope and the new head of the Italian Bishop’s conference are heavily engaging certain moral issues being hotly debated in the public square in Italy. I am lead to wonder if, given the proximity to Holy Week and the hot debate, he might not wait for a more serene moment to release the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, the Pope has been accused of not wanting to still thing up too much after the famous Regensburg Address and then he makes strong statement about Europe’s continuing desire to kill itself.

24 March 2007

Motu Proprio News from French Magazine

(Taken from Rorate Caeli)
From the extremely-ultra-"Progressive" French magazine Golias:
The editorial of March 23

The Motu Proprio on the Latin Mass soon available
Our informations concerning the imminent publication of the motu proprio which would allow for a much wider use of the pre-Conciliar rite make us believe that it could take place before Easter.The document will be published before the end of Lent: [or, rather,] in any event, Pope Benedict would be determined [to have it published].
This "motu proprio" should have appeared at the end of January. The opposition of a certain number of prelates was what prompted Benedict XVI to be patient. Among the opponents to this "motu proprio", Cardinals Karl Lehmann, Jean-Pierre Ricard (forced by his brothers of the French episcopate, being himself [personally] quite favorable to it), Jean-Marie Lustiger, Godfreed Danneels, Giovanni Battista Re should be particularly mentioned... The opposition to this project does not follow the usual criteria of conservatism. The archbishop of Paris, André Vingt-Trois, is very hostile to the project itself, though he is counted among the conservatives. Other prelates, such as Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, are, on the contrary, favorable to it.

23 March 2007

Solemnity of St Joseph, Husband of the BVM (Latin Mass)

On 19 March 2007, Latin Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI was celebrated in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Singapore on the Solemnity of St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Schola Cantorum Sanctii Gregorii Magni chanted the Propers of the Mass. Here are some images that I took from my camera phone.

Before the Mass

Homily in Teochew

A view of the High Altar

19 March 2007

More Motu Proprio Rumblings in the Italian Press

(Taken from Rorate Caeli)
Vaticanist Luigi Accattoli joins the fray in today's Corriere della Sera:
Return to the Latin Mass. The Pontiff's text is ready.

Luigi Accattoli

[Rorate Caeli Disclaimer: As always, we wish to make clear our great skepticism regarding specific dates or date ranges. This translation is published here for the general record of events.]

CITTÀ DEL VATICANO — The "motu proprio" which will liberalize the use of the old Missal, that is, the "Latin Mass" from before the Council, could be published by Easter: the time "draws nigh", it is said in the Vatican, but there is still not a date. Some predict it for March 25, others for April 5, Holy Thursday, which does not seem to be an appropriate day for a legal text, destined as it is to great celebrations.

The use of the old Mass must today be authorized by the bishop, who evaluates its convenience, [but] after the reform it will not be denied when at least thirty faithful demand it. The use of the old Missal had been forbidden by Paul VI at the time of the promulgation of the new [one], in 1969, but this [gesture] has been constantly asked by the Traditionalist Catholic wing, in particular by the "Fraternity of Saint Pius X", founded by the French bishop Marcel Lefebvre. After the excommunication of Lefebvre and of the bishops ordained by him in 1988, John Paul II promulgated an "indult" which authorizes the old Mass by a request to the local bishop and at his discretion.

Benedict XVI now wishes to widen the access to the old rite, in view of the recovery of the Lefebvrists to "full communion" and for [his] personal conviction on the possibility that several rites may live together, mutually favoring pluralism and attachment to tradition.

18 marzo 2007
Tip: Gilbert (Cattolici Romani); Transcript: Papa Ratzinger.

Sacramentum Caritatis & the Use of Latin

(Taken from WDTPRS)

The Holy Father’s Post Synodal Exhortation has a great deal of food for thought when read through the the correct lens, a lens polished and cleaned with obedient openness. But we must be obediently open to text as it is and not as it is not. This means we must make sure that the translation adheres to the official Latin. Even though the document was not composed in Latin, Latin remains the official text.

The other day I pointed out what I consider to be a serious translation flaw in SacCar par. 62, concerning the Latin language itself and its use in liturgical celebrations. Through a subtle word choice, the English underplayed the importance of Latin. This begs the question if that was merely a mistake or was it purposeful. If there were only one such mistake in the English, it would be easier to say, "Well… they just got it wrong." If there were found more than one examples of downplaying the important of Latin through a subtle word choice, we might have a stronger suspicion that all was not as it should be.

Let’s return to SacCar par. 62. In the paragraph the Pope states in strong terms that he wants seminarians and future priests to both understand Latin texts and know how to use them in the liturgy. He wants them to know and to be able to use Gregorian chant.

The Pope would be asking for this if he didn’t want Mass said and sung in Latin. What’s the point of learning it otherwise?

Then the Pope moves to the other obvious point: lay people need to know Latin and Gregorian chant. They don’t need to know it like the priests do, but if there are going to be Masses in Latin, they need to be able to follow and speak or sing when it pertains to them to do so. The Council said that pastors of souls have the obligation to teach laypeople to speak and sing in both Latin and their mother tongue all those parts of Mass that pertain to them. So, this section of SacCar says nothing new in that regard. However, this was restated by the Synod and then picked up by the Pope who made the Synod’s proposition his own.

Let’s turn to this paragraph:

Lingua Latina

62. ..... In universum petimus ut futuri sacerdotes, inde a Seminarii tempore, ad Sanctam Missam Latine intellegendam et celebrandam nec non ad Latinos textus usurpandos et cantum Gregorianum adhibendum instituantur; neque neglegatur copia ipsis fidelibus facienda ut notiores in lingua Latina preces ac pariter quarundam liturgiae partium in cantu Gregoriano cantus cognoscant.

The verb peto can be simply “to beg, beseech, ask, request, desire, entreat” but it is the Vicar of Christ who is writing and he is laying out his vision and will. Thus, peto, to my mind, needs a stronger expression, such as “to demand, seek, require”. There is a phrase copia facere which has the impact of “to do one’s best” or “to do all in one’s power”. Copia refers to one’s resources or power but in a sense of abundance. So, we can say “make use of every possible means”. The verb cognosco is “to become thoroughly acquainted with (by the senses or mentally), to learn by inquiring, to examine, investigate, perceive, see, understand, learn”. There is a sense of exertion in cognosco.

Here is a side by side comparison of the English translation of the end of par. 62 with my own somewhat stricter rendering. I will underscore what I think are discrepencies between the Latin and the English.


62. ….. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant.


62. … In general, We require that future priests, from the time of Seminary onward, be trained to understand and celebrate Holy Mass in Latin as well as to employ Latin texts and use Gregorian chant; nor should great effort be neglected in regard to the faithful themselves, so that they learn thoroughly the commonly known prayers in the Latin language and in an equal degree that they should learn the Gregorian chant of those parts of the liturgy which are sung.

First, in documents like this, when the Pope invites, even using polite turns of phrase, he is not just inviting, he is commanding... nicely, of course, but commanding nonetheless. Pope’s don’t say "pretty please with sugar on top".

Second, the Latin clearly implies that the formation of priests in Latin and chant for liturgy be ongoing formation. This is "continuing education". The English does not exclude the ongoing aspect, but neither does it make it clear that that is what the Latin says. The key is inde, "from that time onward". Training is not to end with the end of seminary. The Pope says that future priests are to be trained from seminary onward, not that future seminarians be trained from seminary onwards (to the end of seminary). This implies that there ought to be workshops for priests to help them learn how to say Mass in Latin. In will add this: In my opinion, as long as were are at it, we can include how to say the "Tridentine" Mass. As a matter of fact, that would be good for understanding how to celebrate the Novus Ordo.

Third, the laity can and must learn well the Latin of the liturgy that pertains to them. There is no way this can happen unless they have the opportunity, and often. The official English version says the laity "can be taught", and that it so. But the Latin says that great effort must be used to teach them thoroughly, not just to teach them. To learn something thoroughly, we need repetition: repetita iuvant! ... repetitio est mater discendi! Moreover, the Latin says people must learn chant in "an equal degree" (pariter). That degree is inherent in the very cognosco which already carries the meaning of exertion.

This reminds me of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which says that seminarians are to be very well trained in Latin. The verb used is calleo, which means "to know by experience or practice". This is where we get the English word "callus" and "callous". You get a callus on your hand from repetitive action. But the Latin has the adverb bene with that calleo. This intensifies the concept of repetition and thoroughness. To know to do something in the sense of calleo already means to know it well and to be expert. Add a bene and you get "very well trained".

It seems to me that the official English translation has downplayed the impact of the Latin. Rather, the Latin text has emphasized what the vernacular has not. Even if we consider that the Latin text was not the original text of composition, the Latin is the official text.

Eventually the Latin, not the vernacular, will be polished and promulgated in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. What the Latin says is what counts.

18 March 2007

Motu Proprio Ready?

(Taken from Rorate Caeli)

[Disclaimer: Psalmus 42 maintains healthy skepticism on this matter. It would be prudent to pray for the Holy Father while waiting, though learning to sing the Te Deum is also a good idea. The Holy Father is the one who decides the 'when', 'if' and 'how'. Sancta Maria Ora Pro Nobis.]


It is the go-ahead of the Pope; the Latin Mass returns

A hard blow to the opposition to the Lefebvrians [arrives] with Easter


CITTÀ DEL VATICANO - Benedict XVI "frees" the Tridentine Mass, the so-called "Latin" Mass loved - though not exclusively - by the followers of monsignor Lefebvre and, for this [reason], opposed by the "Progressives" of the Church. The "motu proprio" of the Pope, which should be published between the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and Easter, is ready.

The text is fully armored [blindatissimo]; and, according to indiscretions by excellent sources, should overrule the current situation. Currently, the Bishops have the power, also thanks to an extenuating bureaucracy, to make the celebration of the old Mass extremely difficult. With the motu proprio, their role should change: not arbiters anymore, but supervisors [controllori]. And, as a matter of fact, a sly Curial fox remarks, Bishop, "episkopos", means in Greek exactly that: supervisor. That means that the faithful who wish the Latin Mass (a minimal of thirty) have the right to demand its celebration, in any church whatsoever, except for a few general conditions of opportunity.

The "liberalization" will have a remarkable effect on relations with the Lefebvrists. It deprives them of one of their most powerful weapons, that is, the denunciation of the liturgical "betrayal" effected after the Second Vatican Council, and - according to many - against the will of the Conciliar Fathers; it forces them to dialogue with Rome, making clear the danger of "emptying" the movement at its base. If I am a Traditionalist faithful, why should I follow schismatic bishops and priests now that the Mass of Saint Pius V is "free", celebrated by priests in communion with the Pope?

At the end of February, at a farewell dinner before his permanent return to Chile, the 81-year-old Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, member of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", charged with relations with the Lefebvrists, told his porporati [Cardinalatial] friends that the publication of the "motu proprio" was imminent. A matter of weeks, precise other sources of the Sacred Palaces.

[This] although the very feisty opposition party is always on guard. When, last Fall, the "motu proprio" began to take a concrete shape, some prelates met at a dinner in an abbey on the Aventine [Hill, Rome]: among others, an abbot and an extremely important character of the Papal entourage, notoriously inimical to the Tridentine Mass. It was discussed [at the meeting] how it was necessary to "help" the Pope, making him understand that the liberalization was a mistake; Bishop Le Gall, of Toulouse, was a point of reference in this work. And, in fact, Le Gall made very harsh declarations and, in a rapid succession, Cardinal Lustiger, his successor in Paris Vingt-Trois, and the Cardinal of Bordeaux, Ricard, arrived in Rome ("the invasion of the Gauls" [dei Galli], some remark in the Vatican) to campaign against the "motu proprio".

The detractors [of the opposition] hold that the French Church, which has seen the percentage of people who attend Sunday Mass drop from 14% to 4.5% in the 1978-2006 period, fears as a most dangerous poison the "clearance" of the lovers of the Traditional Mass. [This] also because, according to provisional data, in the current academical year, 120 young men have entered the seminaries in the 91 French dioceses; while four or five "Traditionalist" seminaries count some forty admissions.

The "invasion of the Gauls" truly froze the situation for a while, as the prelates of the Aventine, good connoisseurs of the character of Benedict XVI, prudent and almost shy, hoped [would happen], faced with an open and decided opposition. But now, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, president of the "Ecclesia Dei" commission, has confided to a friend, "the Pope is very decided".


Tip: reader; Transcript: Papa Ratzinger Blog.

17 March 2007

More on the Motu Proprio

(Taken from Rorate Caeli)

Interview of the President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" with Simone Ortolani -- published on the web by Nihil Obstat:

Eminence, indiscretions regarding the publication of a Motu Proprio which would liberalize the Latin Mass of Saint Pius V have spread widely for several months...

"The Holy Father has this situation under his eyes of universal Shepherd of the Church. Naturally, [the matter] being in his hands, we do not advance any particular note regarding it, out of holy respect. The personal interest of the Holy Father regarding the liturgy is, nonetheless, known to all, [as well as] his profound knowledge of the same, his veneration for tradition and, at the same time, his clear position to put in practice all that the Holy Spirit gave the Church in the Second Vatican Council. These are the parameters through which the historical difficulties regarding [this matter] are examined."

Cardinals Alfons Maria Stickler and Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, have declared that the Mass of Saint Pius V has never been abolished. What do you think of it?

"Cardinals Stickler and Medina are right, and their opinions are followed by the opinions of liturgy experts, other cardinals and bishops. We have ourselves studied the problem and we deem that the ancient Mass has never been forbidden. On the other hand, it is very important, to have a clear mind, to grasp the light which comes from the Successor of Peter. According to the thinking of the Holy Father, clearly expressed, there are two forms of the Roman Rite: the ordinary form, which is the Mass of Paul VI, and the extraordinary form, which is the Mass of Saint Pius V."

Many young people willingly attend the Latin Mass, in the institutes and dioceses in which (rarely, at the current stage) it is allowed. Why?

"I must be honest. The Novus Ordo Missae was a novelty in the Seventies, the Mass of Saint Pius V has returned [as] a novelty in the Two Thousands. Young people like new things: but this would not be a deep analysis.

"Rather, I have been able to personally attest that the young feel touched by the sense of sacredness and mystery which, in their view, is more perceptible in the ancient Mass.

"Besides this consideration, in general lines, the existence of not a few abuses in liturgical celebrations should not be forgotten. They are contrary to the holiness which should be proper to the great eucharistic mystery, which is the unbloody form of the Sacrifice of Calvary. These elements draw the attention -- I am sure of this -- of priests and laymen. Evidently, I will not place in mutual opposition the august sanctity of the eucharistic mystery celebrated in the two ritual forms of which we have spoken."

Will the historical figure of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X [SSPX / FSSPX], excommunicated by Pope John Paul II for the ordination of four bishops without a pontifical mandate in 1988, be "rehabilitated" by the Church?

"Retracing the complete life story of Archbishop Lefebvre, we are certain of the great esteem and appreciation of the Church for him. He was considered worthy of being an Archbishop, Apostolic Delegate, Superior-General of his religious congregation; by speaking to people who knew him during the exercise of his ministry, the fecundity of his life is discovered.

"Yet, with the same clarity, according to the most genuine tradition of the Church, it cannot be accepted that a bishop may consecrate another bishop without a pontifical mandate, or that the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Councils, and in particular for their importance, in ecumenical Councils, be disputed.

"Archbishop Lefebvre - it is important to stress this - signed the documents of the Second Vatican Council, even though he was critical towards them, either regarding the texts, or regarding their interpretation."

Is the Fraternity of Saint Pius X [SSPX / FSSPX], the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, a schism?

"The Fraternity of Saint Pius X is not a consolidated schism per se [di per sé], but its history has included schismatic actions, with the ordination of bishops not legitimately elected and not perfectly united to the Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ. Moreover, there is always the danger of a schism, either by the exercise, even if partial, of the authority founded in jurisdiction, or by the overtly critical attitudes of exponents of the Fraternity towards personalities of the Church, in which I view a wound to charity.

"I greatly fear the words of Saint Jerome, according to whom schism leads to heresy, and heresy to schism. I know that there are in the Fraternity people [who are] filled with good will. The Superior General, His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, has in the past years persevered in dialogue. I hope that the open arms of Pope Benedict XVI will be understood as a kairos, an opportune moment, and, pacifying the consciences of the faithful and of the lay people, a full effective and affective unity of the Fraternity with the Church and the Vicar of Christ will be reached."

Sacramentum Caritatis: Another Translation Issue

(Taken from WDTPRS)

The Exhortation has a paragraph concerning Catholic politicians, bishops, and the Eucharist. Here is the English "translation" of the paragraph (emphasis mine – I removed footnote numbers):

Eucharistic consistency

83. Here it is important to consider what the Synod Fathers described as eucharistic consistency, a quality which our lives are objectively called to embody. Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others: it demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms. These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them.

Now let’s look at the end of par. 83: "There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them."

Here is the Latin: Vinculum haec sententia habet verum cum Eucharistia (cfr 1 Cor 1,27-29). Obligantur Episcopi ut sine intermissione haec iterent praecepta; eorum pars enim est muneris erga sibi creditum gregem.

Here is my rendering: This determination [namely, that politicians are particularly bound] has a strict tie with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-19 – Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.). Bishops are under the obligation to repeat these precepts without ceasing; for this is part of their duty toward the flock entrusted to them.

There is language of "binding" in this paragraph: vinculum ... obligo, which in the first place is "to bind or tie around, to bind or fasten to any thing"). There is juridical/rhetorical language: sententia… praeceptum… pars… munus.

Here is the Italian: Ciò ha peraltro un nesso obiettivo con l’Eucaristia (cfr 1 Cor 11,27-29). I Vescovi sono tenuti a richiamare costantemente tali valori; ciò fa parte della loro responsabilità nei confronti del gregge loro affidato.

Here is the German: Darin liegt im übrigen eine objektive Verbindung zur Eucharistie (vgl. 1 Kor 11,27-29). Die Bischöfe sind gehalten, diese Werte ständig ins Gedächtnis zu rufen. Das gehört zu ihrer Verantwortung für die ihnen anvertraute Herde.

Remember: The Exhortation was not written in Latin, but Latin is now and will be the official text when published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

I have questions about (among others) the choice of the word "values". In the German we have Werte, in Italian valori, in English values, in French valeurs. Etc. Latin, on the other hand, has praecepta.

Latin praeceptum is stronger than "value". According to the noble Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary a praeceptum (from praecipio) is "a maxim, rule, precept; an order, direction, command, bidding; an injunction".

Those words are far more forceful than "values". Am I wrong?

The old incarnation of ICEL did this in the lame-duck prayers we are still using. They reduce God’s commands to "values". A perfect example is the Collect for the 21st Sunday of Ordinary time. The Latin reads: "grant unto Your people to love that thing which You command (id amare quod praecipis), while the ICEL said – and I am not making this up: "help us to seek the values".

In this post-Christian, post-modern world Catholics must use stronger terms to communicate what we mean.

I think “values” will indicate to most people little more than their own self-projection. That is precisely the opposite of what par. 83 is trying to communicate about the obligations of Catholic politicians and of Catholic bishops (and let’s include priests, the collaborators of bishops) in regard to the defense of human life in the public square!

This must apply also to people of other highly visible professions, such as journalists.
Catholic journalists and pundits must communicate the truth of things so as to promote the common good. When they are called on to speak about specifically "Catholic" teachings and practices they have the same obligation as other highly visible public figures: they must bear witness in a way that is coherent with the Eucharist they approach. They may not compromise on non-negotiable issues. If they do, bishops and priests are obliged to correct them. Concretely, I have in mind right now the recent sad exchange between Sean Hannity of Fox News and Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of HLI and then the dippy intervention of the priest of Legionaries of Christ, so liked by Mr. Hannity, who appears on Fox News from time to time.

The point of par. 83 is to indicate the solemn duty, the deeper responsibility these people have and how responsibility flows forth from the Eucharist itself. The paragraph takes pains to remind both politicians and bishops and all of us who are their constituency (in a deep sense of that term) that we are bound in conscience to conform our public and private lives to the reality of the EUCHARIST as presented by the CHURCH and we must do so under threat of everlasting HELL (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-19).

Bottom line: If Catholic politicians, journalists, educators, etc. compromise the non-negotiable and then approach the Eucharist improperly, they commit public scandal to others and risk eternal hell for themselves. If Catholic bishops and priests fail to attempt to correct others when they err they commit public scandal to others and risk eternal hell for themselves.

How’s that for a "value"?

So, here is a problem. All the vernacular versions seem consistent in speaking about "values". The Latin, which is at this point the "already but not yet" official text, has much stronger language. The Latin is, characteristically, less fuzzy.

I don’t know what is going on here. Did no one bother to read the Latin and coordinate it with the vernacular translations? Again, the document was NOT composed in Latin. Latin is just another "translation" in that sense, even though it is the official text. Weird, no?

QUAERITUR: When the final official version of the Latin is published, who will bother to consult it and then go back to CORRECT THE VERNACULAR VERSIONS??

14 March 2007

Sacramentum Caritatis Translation Issue

(Taken from WDTPRS)

For a long time I have warned people about bad English translations of papal documents.

There are methodological problems in that the documents are no longer composed in Latin.

The Latin text, which is the official text, is itself a translation.

However, since no on refers to the Latin text… few people know this. Thus, they are always working with compromised versions of documents.

Moreover, the texts they are working with were those released at the time of the presentation of the document, even though the LATIN is itself revised before publication in is final official form in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. But no one goes back to revise the vernacular versions in keeping with the changes in the Latin Lot’s of people are misquoting documents because the vernacular docs themselves were never updated.

That said, let us take a look at the Exhortation’s paragraph on Latin in the liturgy and see if there is a disconnect. I tip my biretta to "stefano" who was alert and caught this before I did.

Latin: exceptis lectionibus, homilia et oratione fidelium, aequum est ut huiusmodi celebrationes fiant lingua Latina.

In Latin, the phrase aequum est means "it is reasonable, proper, right". It can be rendered as "it is becoming", to use a somewhat archaic turn of phrase.

German: es ist gut, wenn außer den Lesungen, der Predigt und den Fürbitten der Gläubigen die Feier in lateinischer Sprache gehalten wird.

Italian: eccettuate le letture, l’omelia e la preghiera dei fedeli, è bene che tali celebrazioni siano in lingua latina.

French: excepté les lectures, l’homélie et la prière des fidèles, il est bon que ces célébrations soient en langue latine

Spanish: exceptuadas las lecturas, la homilía y la oración de los fieles, sería bueno que dichas celebraciones fueran en latín

Portuguese: exceptuando as leituras, a homilia e a oração dos fiéis, é bom que tais celebrações sejam em língua latina

Polish: z wyjątkiem czytań, homilii oraz modlitwy wiernych, dobrze będzie, jeśli takie celebracje będą odprawiane w języku łacińskim (Literally: "It will be good, if such celebration will be officiated in Latin language").

Are you sensing a pattern in the rendering of aequum est, or rather how aequum est in Latin is more than likely the accurate reading of the original language of composition of the Exortation?

Let’s see the English.

English: with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin.

WOAH…. wait a minute… "could be" celebrated? That changes the entire impact of what the Pope said. All the of the other languages reflect one concept and the English alone says another thing entirely. The English implies that the value of Latin is, at best, a neutral thing. The Latin and all the other languages imply that Latin is positive.

I think we must conclude that whoever did the translation into English chose not to stick to the original text which they were given to work from.

6 March 2007

Sacramentum Caritatis

(Taken from NLM)

Press Release

A news conference is being held on Tuesday, the 13th of March at 11:30am, where there will be a press conference on the presentation of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope Benedict, Sacramentum Caritatis -- on the Eucharist as the apex and source of the life and mission of the Church.

It sounds as though the actual document, Sacramentum Caritatis will be released at noon (Roman time -- 6:00am EST), one week from today, Tues. March 13th. It will be immediately available in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portugese.

Psalmus 42 Note: Sacramentum Caritatis should translate approximately to Sacrament of Charity (Love). This gives little indication of the actual contents of the Apostolic Exhortation. The Motu Proprio freeing the Classical Roman Rite may or may not be released at the same time.

4 March 2007

On the Motu Proprio (Again)

Looks like there's been quite a bit of rumbling on the Motu Proprio this week. Just to recap...
28 Feb 2007 - http://psalmus42.blogspot.com/2007/02/motu-proprio-update-unconfirmed.html
03 Mar 2007 - http://psalmus42.blogspot.com/2007/03/another-motu-proprio-update.html
03 Mar 2007 - http://psalmus42.blogspot.com/2007/03/commentary-on-motu-proprio-update-from.html

And now we have this...

(Background, Orginal Article, Translation)

Our Holy Father is holding fast to this [decision]. Another bit of excellent news, [concerning which] we had been mistaken!IN EFFECT, THE MOTU PROPRIO WILL HAVE THE FORCE OF LAW. Pope Benedict XVI considers it regrettable that [the Motu Proprio] of July 1988 did nothing but invite the bishops to accomodate the faithful attached to the Tridentine Rite. The Motu Proprio will not be satisfied by this simple invitation. It will be obligatory!What will we find in this text?

1. Any priest wishing to say the Tridentine Mass will be able to do so privately.

2. Any group of faithful attached to the Rite of Saint Pie V will be able to go to see the pastor of his parish or a priest of his town to request this Rite of him. The priest will be able to accept [the request to celebrate] without referring to his bishop about it.

3. If the priest and other diocesan priests, do not want to celebrate in "the old rite", they will be able to accomodate any priest from a [traditional] community [of religious, e.g., FSSP]wishing to do so.

4. If a group of faithful requests the Rite of rite known as of saint Pie V, but cannot find any priest, nor a place, nor a [member of a religious] community, being able to respond to their wishes; this group will be able to write to the Commission Ecclesia Dei which will work to find a solution, a priest, or a community [member].[The article ends by commenting that if their local bishop is ignoring them, at least the Holy Father is doing something about it].

[Psalmus 42 Note: The date when the Motu Proprio is released is still up to the Holy Father to decide. So let us please pray for him to have to strength to what is right before God.]

3 March 2007

Faith & Charity

Sermon for Quinquagesima Sunday by Fr Laurent Demets, FSSP

Unless you have the audacity of the Protestants to deny the teaching of Saint Paul, there is no way of compromising: Charity is absolutely necessary. Without it, even Faith is useless. It is clear and without equivocation.

Faith is a very necessary virtue, but in a certain way, it has a certain imperfection. As such, it cannot be an end in itself. Saint Paul says that we see now through a glass in a dark manner. In a dark manner! There is still a part of darkness in Faith in spite of the fact that it gives us the light of God. This darkness does not come from God but from our intellect which is limited and first of all, corrupted by sins. Faith gives us a true knowledge which excludes any doubts, but this knowledge is very little in comparison to its object: God Himself. What we know about God by Faith is true but it is still just a part of a greater and incommensurable truth. Faith is a virtue for pilgrims on the road. They want to see their goal but they have not reached it yet. They are motivated by pictures of it they have seen or by testimonies they have heard, but they haven’t seen it yet. They are still en route, but not yet at their destination. Faith is necessary but just a transitory virtue. As such, it cannot be the perfection of Christian life.

Charity is higher, according to Saint Paul, and I would say, according to very good common sense. It is the only theological virtue that will remain in Heaven. One can have Faith without charity but it is impossible to have charity without Faith, at least on earth, since in Heaven there will be no more Faith, but beatific vision. Faith makes us understand who God is. Charity makes us like God. As Pope Benedict XVI said at the very beginning of his encyclical letter, " God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. These words from the First Letter of Saint John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us."

Charity is the heart and the essence of our Faith and of our lives. It is good to hear this just before Lent, dear Brethren. Because our holy exercises of Lent, which are of necessity even though the Canon Law now orders almost nothing, have to be inspired by a true love of God. If it is not the case, they are nothing as Saint Paul reminds us. You can fast 40 days, sleep on the floor 40 nights and give up whatever you want, if you don’t do this for the love of God, it is absolutely useless and even stupid. We are disciples of Jesus Christ and not of Epictetus or Zeno. Well, I have to recognize that we are more inclined, by nature, to make ourselves disciples of Epicurus rather than of Epictetus, but we can also be proud enough to seek a certain satisfaction by mortifying our flesh for vain reasons. Anyway, we are neither stoical nor epicurean but Catholic. Our Master is Our Lord Jesus Christ and our rule of life, Charity. That is all we need.

And we have a beautiful example to imitate: Our Lord Jesus Christ during his Passion. In today’s gospel, He reminds us of the sufferings he would have to endure for us. Do you see other reasons for the fact that God decided to become a man to suffer and to die, than love? Without love, the Incarnation and the Redemption are absolutely incomprehensible. Why? Why did Jesus suffer and die? Because, God loves us. He could satisfy justice without the Redemption. But He wanted to satisfy it and to show more love.

So we are the disciples of a God of love. The essence of our religion is love. It is great and beautiful. But it is also terrible in a certain way, because every time we are not faithful to the demands of love, we are traitors and liars. We betray Jesus Christ by refusing his love and we lie to the world by acting against charity while we proclaim our belonging to the Catholic Church. And this lie is also a scandal when it is committed in front of witnesses.

So dear brethren, the consequences of our sins, especially against charity, are certainly greater than we can imagine. But the consequences of our acts of charity are also greater than we can imagine. Do you know the good you can do by doing even a little act with a pure love of God? Saint Therese of Lisieux became such a great saint just by doing every thing for the love of God. We can do it too! We just have to act at home, at work and everywhere with charity. By doing this, we show to the world that we are true disciples of Jesus and that we can really make the world better. And it is so easy to do it! But we have to give up first another love, which is not so good: our selfishness! Well, that’s good, because Lent is coming soon. What a good opportunity we have now!

Let us ask Our Lady to help us to increase our love for God. She cannot refuse such a demand.

Pope Answers Seminarians (Part 2)

(Taken from Zenit)

Koicio Dimov, Diocese of Nicopolis, Bulgaria (Second-Year Theology): Most Blessed Father, commenting on the Way of the Cross in 2005, you spoke of the dirt in the Church; and in the Homily for the ordination of the Roman priests last year, you warned us of the risk "of careerism, the attempt to get to the top, to obtain a position through the Church". How do we face these problems as serenely and responsibly as possible?

Benedict XVI: It is not an easy question, but it seems to me that I have already said, and it is an important point, that the Lord knows, knew from the beginning, that there is also sin in the Church, and for our humility it is important to recognize this and to see sin not only in others, in structures, in lofty hierarchical duties, but also in ourselves, to be in this way more humble and to learn that what counts before the Lord is not an ecclesial position, but what counts is to be in his love and to make his love shine forth.

Personally I consider St Ignatius' prayer on this point to be very important. It says: "Suscipe, Domine, universam meam libertatem; accipe memoriam, intellectum atque voluntatem omnem; quidquid habeo vel possideo mihi largitus es; id tibi totum restitoì ac tuae prorsus voluntati traoi gubernandum; amorem tuum cum gratia tua mihi dones ed dives sum satis, nec aliud quidquam ultra posco".

Precisely this last part seems to me to be very important: to understand that the true treasure of our life is living in the Lord's love and never losing this love. Then we are really rich. A man who has discovered a great love feels really rich and knows that this is the true pearl, that this is the treasure of his life and not all the other things he may possess.

We have found, indeed, we have been found by the love of the Lord, and the more we let ourselves be moved by his love in sacramental life, in prayer life, in the life of work, in our free time, the better we will understand that indeed, I have found the true pearl, all the rest is worthless, all the rest is important only to the extent that the Lord's love attributes these things to me. I am rich, I am truly rich and borne aloft if I am in this love. Here I find the centre of life, its riches. Then let us allow ourselves to be guided, let us allow Providence to decide what to do with us.

Here a little story springs to my mind about St Bakhita, the beautiful African Saint who was a slave in Sudan and then discovered the faith in Italy, who became a Sister. When she was old, the Bishop who was paying a visit to her religious house had not met her. He spotted this small, bent African Sister and said to Bakhita: "But what do you do, Sister?"; and Sr Bakhita replied: "I do the same as you, Your Excellency". Astonished, the Bishop asked her: "But what?", and Bakhita answered, "But Your Excellency, we both want to do the same thing: God's will".

This seems to me to be a most beautiful answer, the Bishop and the tiny Sister who was almost no longer capable of working, who were both doing the same thing in their different offices; they were seeking to do God's will and so were in the right place.

I also remember something St Augustine said: All of us are always only disciples of Christ, and his throne is loftier, for his throne is the Cross and only this height is the true height, communion with the Lord, also in his Passion. It seems to me, if we begin to understand this by a life of daily prayer, by a life of dedicated service to the Lord, we can free ourselves of these very human temptations.

Francesco Annesi, Diocese of Rome (Third-Year Theology): Your Holiness, John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris makes it clear that suffering is a source of spiritual wealth for all who accept it in union with the sufferings of Christ. How can the priest today witness to the Christian meaning of suffering in a world that resorts to every legal or illegal means to eliminate any form of pain, and how should he behave towards those who are suffering without running the risk of being rhetorical or pathetic?

Benedict XVI: Yes, what is he to do? Well, I think we should recognize that it is right to do our utmost to overcome the suffering of humanity and to help those suffering -- there are so many of them in the world -- to find a good life and to be relieved from the evils that we ourselves often cause: hunger, epidemics, etc.

However, at the same time, recognizing this duty to alleviate the suffering we ourselves have caused, we must also recognize and understand that suffering is an essential part of our human development.

I am thinking of the Lord's parable of the grain of wheat that fell to the ground and only in this way, by dying, could it bear fruit; and this falling to the ground and dying is not a momentary event but precisely a life process: to fall like a seed into the earth and thus to die, being transformed, being instruments of God so as to bear fruit.

It was not by chance that the Lord told his disciples: the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem to suffer; therefore, anyone who wants to be a disciple of mine must shoulder his cross so he can follow me. In fact, we are always somewhat similar to Peter, who said to the Lord: "No, Lord, this cannot happen to you, you must not suffer". We do not want to carry the Cross, we want to create a kingdom that is more human, more beautiful, on this earth.

This is totally mistaken: the Lord teaches it. However, Peter needed a lot of time, perhaps his entire life, in order to understand it; why is there this legend of the Quo Vadis? There is something true in it: learning that it is precisely in walking with the Lord's Cross that the journey will bear fruit. Thus, I would say that before talking to others, we ourselves must understand the mystery of the Cross.

Of course, Christianity gives us joy, for love gives joy. But love is also always a process of losing oneself, hence, a process of coming out of oneself; in this regard, it is also a painful process. Only in this way is it beautiful and helps us to mature and to attain true joy.

Anyone who seeks to affirm or to promise a life that is only happy and easy is a liar, because this is not the truth about man; the result is that one then has to flee to false paradises. And in this way one does not attain joy but self-destruction.

Christianity proclaims joy to us, indeed; this joy, however, only develops on the path of love, and this path of love has to do with the Cross, with communion with the Crucified Christ. And it is presented through the grain of wheat that fell to the ground. When we begin to understand and accept this -- every day, because every day brings some disappointment or other, some burden that may also cause pain --, when we accept this lesson of following Christ, just as the Apostles had to learn at this school, so we too will become capable of helping the suffering.

It is true that it is always difficult, if one who is more or less healthy and in good condition is obliged to comfort someone afflicted by a great evil, whether illness or the loss of love. In the face of these evils with which we are all familiar, everything appears almost inevitably rhetorical and pathetic.

Yet, I would say, if these people feel that we are "com-passionate", that we want to share in carrying the Cross with them in communion with Christ, above all by praying with them, helping them with a silence full of sympathy, love, helping them as best we can, then can we become credible.

We must accept this, as perhaps at first our words appear purely words. However, if we really live in this spirit of truly following Jesus, we also find the way to be close with our sympathy. Etymologically, sympathy means "com-passion" for the human being, helping him, praying, and thereby creating trust in the Lord's goodness that also exists in the darkest valley. Thus, we can open our hearts to the Gospel of Christ himself, who is the true Consoler; opening our hearts to the Holy Spirit, who is called the other Consoler, the other Paraclete, who is there, who is present.

We can open our hearts not because of our words, but because of the important teaching of Christ, his being with us, and thereby help make suffering and pain truly a grace of maturation, of communion with the Crucified and Risen Christ.

Marco Ceccarelli: Diocese of Rome, (Deacon): Your Holiness, in the coming months my companions and I will be ordained priests. We will move from a well-regulated seminary life to the broader context of parish life. What advice can you give us to enable us to adjust as well as possible at the beginning of our priestly ministry?

Benedict XVI: Well, here at the seminary you do have a very good routine. I would say as the first point that it is also important in the life of pastors of the Church, in the daily life of the priest, to preserve as far as possible a certain order. You should never skip Mass -- a day without the Eucharist is incomplete -- and thus already at the seminary we grow up with this daily liturgy. It seems to me very important that we feel the need to be with the Lord in the Eucharist, not as a professional obligation but truly as an interiorly-felt duty, so that the Eucharist should never be missed.

Another important point is to make time for the Liturgy of the Hours and therefore, for this inner freedom: with all the burdens that exist, it frees us and helps us to be more open, to be deeply in touch with the Lord.

Of course, we must do all that is required by pastoral life, by the life of a parochial vicar or of a parish priest or by another priestly office. However, I would say, never forget these fixed points, the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, so that you have a certain order in the daily routine. As I said at the outset, we learned not to have to plan the timetable ever anew; "Serva ordinem et ordo servabit te". These are true words.

Next, it is important not to neglect communion with other priests, with one's companions on the way, and not to lose one's personal contact with the Word of God, meditation. How should this be done? I have a fairly simple recipe for it: combine the preparation of the Sunday homily with personal meditation to ensure that these words are not only spoken to others but are really words said by the Lord to me myself, and developed in a personal conversation with the Lord.

For this to be possible, my advice is to begin early on Monday, for if one begins on Saturday it is too late, the preparation is hurried and perhaps inspiration is lacking, for one has other things on one's mind. Therefore, I would say, already on Monday, simply read the Readings for the coming Sunday which perhaps seem very difficult: a little like those rocks at Massah and Meribah, where Moses said: "But how can water come from these rocks?".

Then stop thinking about these Readings and allow the heart to digest them. Words are processed in the unconscious, and return a little more every day. Obviously, books should also be consulted, as far as possible. And with this interior process, day by day, one sees that a response gradually develops. These words gradually unfold, they become words for me. And since I am a contemporary, they also become words for others. I can then begin to express what I perhaps see in my own theological language in the language of others; the fundamental thought, however, remains the same for others and for myself.

Thus, it is possible to have a lasting and silent encounter with the Word that does not demand a lot of time, which perhaps we do not have. But save a little time: only in this way does a Sunday homily mature for others, but my own heart is also touched by the Lord's Word. I am also in touch with a situation when perhaps I have little time available.

I would not dare now to offer too much advice, because life in the large city of Rome is a little different to what I experienced 55 years ago in our Bavaria. But I think these things are essential: the Eucharist, the Office of Readings, prayer and a conversation every day, even a brief one, with the Lord on his words which I must proclaim. And never lose either your friendship with priests, listening to the voice of the living Church, or naturally, availability to the people entrusted to me, because from these very people, with their suffering, their faith experiences, their doubts and difficulties, we too can learn, seek and find God, find our Lord Jesus Christ.

Commentary on Motu Proprio Update from Envoy Magazine

(Taken from WDTPRS, Article in Question)

The source is Msgr. Michael Schmitz of the Institute of Christ the King during a 19 February talk held by Tradition, Family, Property in McLean, Virginia.

The article, "Traditional Liturgy Not Affected by ‘the Reform of the Reform’" seeks to put some traditionalists at ease about such dire things as the calendars of the old Missale and the new being coordinated.

There was a hint that the papal Master of Ceremonies, H.E. Piero Marini might be moving, but (and this is important) "Msgr. Schmitz did not give any details as to the nature of Archbishop Marini’s new assignment."

To my knowledge, Schmitz is well-placed to learn some things about these matters. Not only is he obviously one of the smartest and well-balanced clerics in the traditionalist movement, he has long-standing ties to the Holy Father, having been ordained priest by him years ago together with Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the Holy Father’s present personal secretary.

According to Mershon’s account of what Msgr. Schmitz communicated in the talk, the M.P. will allow every priest of the Latin Rite to say the older, "Tridentine" Mass not only privately (which he says priests can do now even without special permission) but also publicly. Many have wondered just how that would work, since seemingly it doesn’t allow much room for the rights of local bishops.

According to Mershon’s piece, if a bishop wants to block a priest from using the older Mass he would have to write to and get approval from the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei". On the other hand, priests would have recourse to the Commission in case of trouble. It remains to be seen if that is really the solution to the dilemma, but, while still problematic, it is not bad.

The piece reports that the Pope now has the text of the M.P. Apparently Msgr. Schmitz said: "The person who is responsible for it does not want to discuss it any longer." That is consistent with my experience here in Rome. A nearly complete wall of silence has dropped around the document (though not total!) which suggests that it is now in the Pope’s hands and is not longer subject to discussion in the dicasteries.

The recent interview in Inside the Vatican with Archbishop Ranjith, and what I have written about for years, presents the model that the side-by-side use of the newer and older Missals would result in the jump-start of an organic process of development of the Roman liturgy, each influencing the other. This was Joseph Ratzinger’s model. What Schmitz gave forth is largely consistent with that view. For the a "reform of the reform" to work, some things from the past need to be reclaimed, including greater use of Latin and ad orientem celebrations of Holy Mass, and maybe the recovery of elements such as the priest’s pre-Conciliar offertory prayers. It may be that these are elements in the Holy Father’s long-expected Post-Synodal Exhortation.

This might explain the long delays of both the Exhortation and the M.P.: they required coordination.

I urge you all once again to pray especially that the angel guardians work to soften the hearts of those who are obstinately opposing such a Motu Proprio so that its release will be irenic and fruitful.

The Mystery of Fasting and Lent

(Taken from Athanasius Contra Mundum)

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris. (Genesis III:19)

These words from the ceremonies by which we commence Lent is indicative of several things we necessarily must keep in mind.

The First is the Latin words address each of us individually. Memento homo, quia pulvis es, etc. Remember O Man, that thou art dust. Almighty God is speaking to us, to remind us that in the greater scheme of things we don't matter. We are but a speck of dust which He made out of nothing, something to keep in mind lest we get puffed up or full of ourselves, or think somehow we are great because we have money, or a Theology degree or something. And again we shall return to dust. We will die one day and make an account of ourselves, and there is nothing that can be done to escape it.

God addresses the individual, not some social group, he is not setting an action plan against poverty, or "injustice" or societal discontent. Neither are we hearing that we are perfect and must fight against society now. This is generally the message of today's Social Gospel or Social Justice Theologians. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said once "It used to be that only Catholics believed in the Immaculate Conception, now every man believes he is Immaculately Conceived." (Is Christendom dead?) This feature of society, the denial of original sin, the elements of that have sunk into Catholics on both the left and the right. On the left, they deny the doctrine of original sin. We don't have any sin, it is society, business, the government, those are the evils which we must fight. But we don't need to go to confession. Then on the right, there is a different evil. Unlike those apostates I have the Traditional Latin Mass, or the equivalent expression on the neo-conservative Catholic end. I am not like that man. I eat fish on Friday and I only go to Mass in Latin, and I pray a rosary and I don't get drunk and I don't act like the heathen, so I am better than them. Both of these attitudes suffer from the same problem: The problem isn't with me, it is with society, it is with someone else. It is the same reality following sin which began in the garden of Eden, Adam, when asked why he failed blamed his wife rather than himself, and Eve blamed the Serpent. No one could say, as King David in the 50th psalm: Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco, et peccatum meam contra me est semper. (Psalm L:4)

However, like any other man, each one of us is dust. We are as weak as dust. We are all equally capable of any crime, and often commit crimes that are as bad as others. I am quite capable of doing a whole host of evils that I can't even conceive of. I don't say that because I am likely to do them (God forbid), but because I can do them in light of my fallen human nature, just as any other man. I can lie, cheat, steal, murder, commit adultery, commit idolatry, take the holy name of God in vain, ignore the poor, hate my neighbor, be gluttonous, drunk, use obscene filthy language, just as any other man. There is nothing in my nature to stop that, because even though my will is oriented toward the good, due to my fallen nature it does not distinguish between an immediate good and an eternal good without the light of reason, and faith derived from supernatural grace.

Dom Gueranger says:
When the priest puts the holy emblem of penance [ash] upon you accept in a spirit of submission, the sentence of death, which God Himself pronounces against you: "Remember O Man, that thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return!" Humble yourself, and remember what it was that brought the punishment of death upon us: man wished to be as a god, and preferred his own will to that of his sovereign Master. Reflect too, on that long list of sins, which you have added to the sin of your first parents, and adore the mercy of your God, who asks only one death for all these transgressions. (Liturgical Year vol 4, Ash Wednesday)

It is with this in mind that the Church commences Lent, that we may consider our faults, our nothingness, rather than our pluses or net worth and move toward making ourselves one with Christ on the cross.

To accomplish this, the Church employs several things for this season. Purple, the liturgical color of penance in the liturgy. The organ is practically silenced, whereas normally (in the ideal situation of course) it is present in all the chants of the liturgy. The epistles transform into Old Testament lessons, and the breviary picks up all the ancient prophecies and types of Christ, to prepare us for the resurrection, the fulfillment of everything past, present and future. Outside of the liturgy, the Church exhorts us to fast. Traditionally, the Church ordered us to fast every day of Lent with the exception of Sunday, while abstaining from meat on Fridays. That in and of itself is a simplification of still ancient and stricter regulations, and is comparatively light by the standards of the Eastern Church, where no meat is eaten or dairy, eggs or oil consumed until Easter (except that on Saturday and Sunday all but abstention from meat and dairy is relaxed).

Since Vatican II, the ideal of fasting has been thrown out the window like the proverbial baby in the bath water. The Traditional Ember days, by which in each season the Church instituted days of fast and abstinence for her intentions were eliminated, all fasting in Lent was reduced to Good Friday and Ash Wednesday, and even abstinence is rolled back on those unfortunate Fridays where St. Patrick's feast day occurs. Fasting or abstinence on vigils of the great feasts has also been eliminated, and it is suggested that those who do so are too rigid, divisive or are engaged in an "unhealthy" spirituality. Much the same way that those who cling to the Traditional Mass are said to be engaging in an unhealthy spirituality or something of that sort, for merely doing what Catholics for over a thousand years did, but I digress......

The reality is fasting and penance are things totally unknown to the world of today, and less known to the Church of today. Even among Traditional Catholics, though not most by far yet enough to be of some concern, the concept of penance and fasting as the fathers understood it tends to be weak, and it is not necessarily their fault. Just as there is a crisis of fatherhood in society, so there is also in the Church, from the Pope down to the parish priest, no one wants to be a Father, just an adviser, (and if a priest dares to do otherwise he is sent off to receive mental help) that way they need not take responsibility and bear blame. Thus, who is there to lead the faithful? Not all the faithful will readily understand theology, or the reason for discipline. The reality is while the modern prelates in the hierarchy are concerned about modern man's disposition and how to lower the standards to meet his "needs" (which are really wants), the reality is that it is man who must raise his standards to meet God's.

Fasting in the greater scheme of things, is not as difficult as some would make it seem, yet it is an extremely valuable tool in disciplining our senses, in practicing due modesty, and in laying the foundation for sanctification in our daily lives. Modern man is no more unable to fast than his medieval or ancient predecessors. It is merely a question of priorities. People are always willing to sacrifice and make things happen in order to meet their priorities. For example, a parent that really loves their child will make the sacrifices of time, money, and many other things to make certain their children grow up safe, and are well fed and taken care of. A single mother will work 2 jobs sometimes so that she can afford to provide for her children, because her children are a priority. People are sure to be present loyally at the TV during a given time on a given night for a basketball game, because they make that their priority (poor schmucks). People put away money all year around so that they can spend a small fortune on Christmas presents, because they make that their priority.

It should come of no surprise that to accomplish the things of God takes nothing other than one making that their priority. What is important to you? If God is important to you, if Christ and His Church is important to you, than making the necessary sacrifices to conform to Church Law should be a simple matter of priorities, as is mammon. Making a regulated life, where fasting becomes a priority 40+ days of the year, is not an impossibility for moderns, it is just a matter of the will. Thus modern prelates err gravely when they focus on making it easier for the spirit of the age, rather than preaching the conforming of the spirit of the age to Jesus Christ.

Given the modern Church has no interest in calling us back, and that even in the monasteries of the Novus Ordo one can scarcely find days of fast, it is up to those of us who would say we are the remnant of the Church's discipline and her sacraments to lead by example. Not so that we might say I am better than that man, but so that we might say Lord have mercy on me, a sinner, remembering that we are but dust, just as our brothers in the Novus Ordo, and that we are no less accountable than they, just because we have been fortunate enough to retain the glory of Catholic Tradition.

Lent with Lacordaire: Catholic doctrine cannot speak "to man only of man"

(Taken from Rorate Caeli)

Assumpsit Iesus Petrum, et Iacobum, et Ioannem fratrem eius, et duxit illos in montem excelsum seorsum: et transfiguratus est ante eos. Et resplenduit facies eius sicut sol: vestimenta autem eius facta sunt alba sicut nix. (From the Gospel for Ember Saturday in Lent, Matthew xvii, 1-2: "Jesus took Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and He was transfigured before them. And His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became white as snow.")

It is easy for me... to show that Catholic doctrine enjoys a superhuman moral efficacy, even as a consequence of the interaction which it keeps between man and God. ... Now, in virtue of what does Catholic doctrine operate this superhuman transformation in the soul? Is it directly? Is it simply because it says to us, "Be humble, be chaste, be apostles, be brethren"?

Ah..., but everyone says this to us more or less earnestly: there is not a man steeped in pride who has not invoked the humility of others; not a man drowned in sensuality who was not invoked the purity of his victims; not a man who has not invoked apostleship to propagate his ideas, and fraternity to establish his empire! But the ear of man remains closed to those invitations of selfishness, or to those dreams of reason; it listens to them without hearing; it hears, without obeying.

Catholic doctrine would have succeeded no better, if it had spoken to man only of man; if it had proposed to him, as the spring of its action, only his interest, his duty even, and his dignity. To render man humble, chaste, apostle, brother, it has taken its basis outside of him: it has placed it in God.

It is in the name of God, by the power of the relationship which it has created between God and ourselves, by the efficacy of its dogmas, of its worship, and of its sacraments, that it changes within us that corpse which rebels against virtue; that it reanimates it, resuscitates it, purifies it, transforms it, clothes it with the glory of Tabor, and having thus armed it from head to toe, sends it forth into the distress of the world, as a new man, still feeble by nature, but strengthened by God, towards Whom his unceasing aspiration ascends.

It is thus ... that the miracle of our transfiguration is accomplished in Catholic doctrine: humility, chastity, charity, and all the interior elevations which result from these are but effects of a higher virtue giving the movement to all the rest. Without religion, without the interaction of soul and God, the whole Christian edifice crumbles -- consequently, that interaction, which is the keystone of the arch, is efficacious in a superhuman manner, since it bears man above humanity.

...humility, chastity, the charity of apostleship and of fraternity, obedience, penitence, voluntary poverty...are but branches of a single stream. ... There is ... a stream into which merge all those scattered virtues which I have named: and that stream is sanctity.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences de Notre-Dame de Paris (1844)

A Pleasant Surprise...

The 2007 Catholic Blog Awards have ended and I was surprised to find this blog being nominated for 'Best Insider News'.

The reason why I started this blog was primarily to archive various articles of interest that I came across on the Internet. It just happened to be that there have been many different developments with regards to the subject of the Liturgy. Most of the posts on this blogs are taken from other blogs and credited to them. At times however, I do add my own emphasis. Yet in terms of a local context, I guess this blog would be the most current on Liturgical Developments and Tradition.

Another Motu Proprio Update

Taken from Envoy Magazine, thanks to Rorate Caeli)

Monsignor Michael R. Schmitz, U.S. Provincial Superior for the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, said the popularly called “reform of the reform” of the Novus Ordo missal is distinct from, and “does not concern the old missal,” indicating that this fact has recently been affirmed by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED).

For the moment, at least, it also appears that fears in some Catholic quarters that the Traditional liturgical calendar would give way to the reformed liturgical calendar, as well as some possible modifications to the Traditional liturgy itself, will not in fact be part of the expected motu proprio easing restrictions on the Traditional Roman rite.

“The missal we use will be left unchanged,” Msgr. Schmitz said.

Msgr. Schmitz also reaffirmed that because the Traditional rite has never been abrogated, every Latin-rite priest currently has the right to offer it privately. In other words, there is no indult, or specific permission from any diocesan bishop necessary for a priest to offer the Traditional Latin rite privately, as many traditionalist Catholics have held for dozens of years.

He also said that the long-awaited and expected motu proprio, at least to his understanding of its most recent contents, allows for every Latin-rite priest to offer the Traditional liturgy publicly.

According to various news reports, the exception would be if a bishop who desired to forbid a particular priest from offering it, he would have to put the reasons in writing and gain approval through the PCED. Msgr. Schmitz added that priests who were forbidden from offering the Traditional rite by their diocesan ordinary could appeal to the PCED for recourse.

Motu Proprio is with the Pope
He also expressed a hopeful confidence that the Pope will issue the motu proprio easing restrictions for all priests to offer the Traditional Latin rite of Holy Mass, although without speculating on the timing. “I can tell you that the document is ready,” he said. “The person who is responsible for it does not want to discuss it any longer,” Schmitz added.

Msgr. Schmitz’s revelation corresponds with the February 7 Mexican daily Milenio article, although citing no sources, which reported the PCED had delivered the document to the Pope in January for his review, consideration and eventual promulgation.

During his nearly hour-long talk on the renewal of the Sacred Liturgy to members of Tradition, Family, Property and guests in McLean, Virginia Monday, February 19, Msgr. Schmitz said that any renewal of the sacred liturgy specifically for the Novus Ordo missal will probably include an encouragement to move it more into line with Sacrosanctum Concilium and the intentions of the Second Vatican Council Fathers.

These two main restorative aspects are also features of the so-called Missal of Pope St. Pius V (Traditional Roman rite), he said, and include the priest again facing the resurrecting Christ toward the East and an increase in the use of Latin, the language of the Church.

Post-Synod document surprises?
There have been some subtle signs that these two specific encouragements — offering Mass ad orientem and using a Latin canon and Gregorian chant during the ordinaries of the Novus Ordo liturgy — may indeed be part of the post-Synod on the Eucharist document, expected to be promulgated soon.

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, in a recently-published interview for Inside the Vatican, as well as in several previous newspaper interviews in late autumn 2006, alluded to these same themes, although he did not explicitly say that they would be part of the post-synod document on the Eucharist.

Msgr. Schmitz also indicated that there may possibly be an introduction of the offertory prayer from the Traditional Roman missal as an option for the Novus Ordo, as well as an encouragement of the use of Latin, especially for the canon of the Mass, although he did not indicate whether or not this would be part of the post-synod document.

This information corresponds with an interview with Cardinal Medina Estevez, member of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, who attempted to get this offertory added as an option to the Novus Ordo when he was prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, but reportedly was blocked by other curial forces at the time.

In an interview in autumn 2005, Cardinal Medina said, “For example, I find that the formulae for the offertory in the missal of St. Pius V are very educational for emphasizing the sacrificial character of the Mass, an essential aspect of the Eucharistic celebration.”

Pope’s liturgy MC replaced soon
Another notable newsworthy item that Msgr. Schmitz delivered at his February 19, hour-long presentation during the question-and-answer period was that Archbishop Piero Marini, whom many had speculated would have been removed long ago, has finally accepted another assignment.

“The Pope is before all else, a gentlemen,” Msgr. Schmitz said, clarifying for many Catholics in the room why this particular step has taken as long as it has. Vaticanists have expected this move ever since the beginning of Pope Benedict’s pontificate. Msgr. Schmitz did not give any details as to the nature of Archbishop Marini’s new assignment.

As Cardinal Ratzinger, the current pope was openly critical of the style of many of the public liturgies for large gatherings of people during Pope John Paul’s world travels throughout his pontificate. Archbishop Marini, a reported disciple of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the primary architect of the post-conciliar liturgical reform, was the mastermind behind these creative” liturgies.

Msgr. Schmitz said that those opponents to easing the restrictions on the celebration of the Traditional Roman rite, who say the Church would be taking a step backward or giving in to those who reject the Second Vatican Council, had forgotten something of utmost importance.

“The Traditional Latin Mass, from the beginning to the end, was the liturgy of the Second Vatican Council,” he said. “Not one of the Fathers celebrated any other Mass privately or publicly [during the Council], and the great liturgies during the Council were the pontifical High Masses, if the Pope was involved,” he said.

The Mass is not about us
Finally, one of the other key themes of Msgr. Schmitz’s talk, “The Classical Roman Rite and the Renewal of the Liturgy,” was that many good-willed, sincere Catholics believe that the liturgy is primarily “for us.” This is a serious theological mistake, according to Msgr. Schmitz. “But be assured that it is totally wrong to believe that the Mass is for us,” he said.

“The consequences of the Mass are for us because we are poor sinners and God knows it, and therefore sacrificed Himself on the cross knowing that the re-establishment of the glory of God would heal this sinful world,” Msgr. Schmitz said.

“But the first step, the first sense of the sacrifice of the cross is to re-establish the glory of the Father.”

Of course the validity of the reformed liturgy, if celebrated with the proper form and matter and with the intention of the Church, is a valid liturgy. The Holy Ghost protects that, and Msgr. Schmitz vigorously affirmed that.

“But if God in 2,000 years takes time and effort and grace to really instruct us in every detail how He wants to be glorified, how could I, because I have read one or two books, believe I could do it better than the Holy Ghost?” Msgr. Schmitz queried rhetorically.

“If I do it, I will be rewarded with my own stupidity.”