13 July 2007

Newsweel and Fr Resse

[Taken from Washington Post, coments mine]
As editor of the Catholic weekly magazine "America" (americamagazine.org) [Defcon Level 1], Rev. Thomas J. Reese promoted discussion on current issues facing the Catholic Church and the world. The "On Faith" panelist is author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church. He is frequently quoted as an expert [the above make one an expert?] on Catholic issues.

Ita Missa Est

Ignoring one's past is ignoring one's roots. [Bingo] But repeating old prayers and doctrinal formulas without understanding them is not the way to respect tradition.

Any religious community with roots in the past has traditions. The challenge is to discern what is at the core of this tradition and what is peripheral.

Latin is a classic case of a peripheral issue. [burn this heretic at the stake :p] The Last Supper was not in Latin. [And here we border on the heresy of reducing the liturgy to how it was first done] For the first four centuries the Eucharist was celebrated in Greek. Why did the church switch from Greek to Latin? [Organic development of the liturgy remember?] Because Latin was the language of the masses. [Err... the Latin adopted into the Liturgy was more stylised and not the colloquial kind.] This switch caused the first schism in Rome between the antipope traditionalist Hippolytus and the Latin modernizer Pope Calistus. [Err... but the Latinization did not begin from Rome, it began in North Africa and the whole process took centuries to teach Rome.] Thus the true tradition of the church was to have the Eucharist in the language of the people so that they could understand and participate. [Err... it still did not mean that street language was used.]

The real issue in Benedict XVI’s motu proprio is not Latin in the liturgy. Any priest can say the current Catholic liturgy in Latin. Nor is the issue the Tridentine or pre-Vatican II mass. Any priest, with the permission of his bishop, has been able to say the Tridentine Latin mass since 1984 when John Paul II issued his indult. [But now the Bishop is free from that burden]

The real issue is the power of local bishop to decide whether the Tridentine mass will be said in his diocese. [So the lens of politics to look at Ecclesial issues give a sharper image?] Under the indult of John Paul, the local bishop had the power to approve or not approve the use of the Tridentine mass in his diocese. Under that system, a priest or a group of people petitioned the bishop to allow them to use the Tridentine mass. [So empowering the grassroots is a bad thing?] He then investigated the situation and decided on pastoral grounds whether it was a good idea or not. [So the bottom up approach is bad and the top down is good?] He usually required the petitioners to state that they accepted the new liturgy and Vatican II as legitimate. Around 130 U.S. dioceses (about 70%), including most of the large ones, allowed the Tridentine mass under limited circumstances. [And the late Pope said generous application not limited application]

Some bishops, especially in France, said no because they judged that the petitioners rejected the reforms of Vatican II and were divisive in their dioceses. By allowing the use of the Tridentine mass without the local bishop’s permission, the pope is saying that he does not trust the pastoral judgment of the bishops. [No the Bishop still remain the moderator of the liturgy] Those who have been fighting the bishops over the Tridentine mass are celebrating this as a victory over the bishops. [Many of whom have been anything but pastoral]

Some in the Vatican [actually the Holy See rather], including Benedict, hope that allowing free use of the Tridentine mass will make possible reunion with Society of St. Pius X, the schismatic group started by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. [Still the reasons go far beyond this] The leaders of the group, however, have indicated that their rejection of Vatican II goes way beyond the vernacular liturgy.

Others in the Vatican hope that greater use of the Tridentine mass will undermine support for the Lefebvrite leaders and bring some of the society’s members back into union with the Catholic Church. Time will tell. [Speculation]

Benedict does not think allowing freer use to the Tridentine mass will be divisive. Let’s hope he is right, but pity the poor pastor who has a half dozen people in his parish requesting the old rite. [And being Pastoral means just attending to the needs of the majority?] Most priests are saying two or three masses on Sunday already, and only a few elderly priests know how to say the old mass properly. Luckily, the support for the new liturgy among the Catholic laity is overwhelming. [Oh so the Mass has to win the popularity contest?]

Some Catholics support the Tridentine mass [Now its Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite] because they say it heightens the mystery of the Mass. The mystery of the Eucharist is not that it's in Latin. The mystery is the death and resurrection of Jesus that is being celebrated. To have the mysteriousness of Latin blocking people from seeing the true mystery is one of the reasons we went to English. [Oh so Latin was a blockage to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta while she was growing up?]

Some stories in the media expressed concern that the expansion of the use of the Tridentine by Benedict XVI would include the phrase "perfidious Jews" in the Good Friday liturgy. This is not the case since the 1962 version does not include this phrase. [Yes] It is the 1962 missal that was approved for limited use by John Paul II in his 1984 indult and by Benedict in his motu proprio. [No problem here]

The treatment of the Jews in the 1962 missal is not ideal. It prayed for the "conversion of the Jews."

For the conversion of the Jews. Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, You do not refuse Your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of Your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness.

It also prays for "heretics and schismatics."

The 1970 missal of Paul VI, which is used today, says:

Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant.

Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The 1970 missal is far superior [superior is obscuring Catholic doctrine ;)] and in fact more traditional [but the prayer in the 1962 missal is expressed more traditionally] than the 1962 missal, which reflects the limited historical scholarship available in the time of Pius V. [And more recent scholarship demonstrates the opposite] It is not perfect and needs [a lot of actually] improvement, but the Vatican [Holy See] changes that are coming down the pike are going to make matters worse not better.

For example, the Vatican is insisting that the English translation be changed to make it more literal (word for word). [translating correctly is a bad thing?] In the not distant future, the people will be told to respond "And with your spirit" to "The Lord be with you" rather than "And also with you." This and other changes in the people's responses is going to cause chaos in parishes. [the sky is falling, the sky is falling :p] The English-speaking bishops fought this for a long time, but finally gave in. Pity the pastor who is going to have to explain this to his people, especially when he thinks it is a stupid idea. [Err... every single other language uses 'and with your spirit', English is the odd one out. 'And also with you' sounds plain stupid. Its a reference to St Paul's Epistles silly. Oh but the laity are just too stupid to read solid translations of Sacred Scripture.]

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