Over at Pray Tell they are getting excited about Pope Francis' ambition to 'decentralise'. But what does this mean?
They give the example of the translations of the liturgy. In the good old days, before the bad old Pope John Paul II (they say), the Bishops Conferences of the English-speaking world could propose a translation and Rome could say 'no': which, of course, they did. Now, Rome proposes a translation and the Bishops' conference then votes on it (they said 'yes').
I'm afraid I can't summon up much outrage about this. The notion of some body theoretically answerable to the Bishops' Conferences of the entire Anglosphere being 'decentralised' is pretty ludicrous. And if a system doesn't work, that seems a good reason to try something else.
They are clearly a bit stuck for examples, so they turn to Summorum Pontificum.
'In another decision with implications for the relationship between Rome and bishops, the 2007 moto proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict gives every priest the right to celebrate Mass according to the books in use before the Second Vatican Council, taking this decision out of the hands of the local bishop who previously had to give his permission.'
Is this supposed to be an example of centralisation? To devolve authority from bishops to parish priests?
In fact of course Rome was heavily involved in the question of the Vetus Ordo before Summorum Pontificum - far too involved. We now know that the indults and celebrets coming from Rome pre-Summorum Pontificum were legally pointless as well as time-consuming and complicated.
Pray Tell's attitude is revealing. This is the blog above all which represents the lay and clerical apparatchiks of the Church's bureaucracy. These are the guys who advised the Bishops so brilliantly, over the decades, on how to cover up clerical abuse, how to wreck irreplaceable historic buildings, and how to give in to abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage. Some bishops resisted this better than others, but there is no mistaking the culture of the machine with which they had to deal.
Now they are complaining when power is taken away from them. It doesn't matter where it goes: to Rome, to parish priests, or to bishops who tell them to get lost. They say the first is 'centralisation', they say the last is 'clericalism', and they say the second is just bad.
Well, their time is drawing to an end.
Friday, December 06, 2013
|The Preparation of the Chalice by the Celebrant|
It is one of those issues where, for many years, I quite liked what happens in the Ordinary Form. I can't say I missed it when I started going to the EF, there are so many differences with the OF that it hardly seemed important, but as I've been thinking about this over the years, and especially after researching for this Position Paper, I have come to the conclusion not only that the EF practice shouldn't be changed, but that there is a problem with the practice of the OF.
The Position Paper goes into all the details, here is a little more on three salient points.
1. The current practice, familiar in England and Wales and throughout Europe and North America, is not the restoration of an ancient practice in any precise sense.
2. The current practice was not called for by Vatican II.
3. The current practice is incompatible with the traditional respect due to the Sacred Vessels.
|The Celebrant receives the Precious Blood|
2. The decree on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, in para 55 suggested the distribution of the Precious Blood in three possible cases. The list was not intended to be exhaustive, but illustrative. What does it illustrate? Remarkably, all three cases are once-in-a-lifetime events: a baptism, a religious profession, and an ordination. It wasn't for everyone to receive from the Chalice on these occasions, just the newly baptised, professed, or ordained. This looks like a late Medieval monarch having the privilege - as they sometimes did - of receiving from the Chalice at his Coronation. The current practice is something completely different: to repeat, it has completely different pastoral implications. (This point about Communion Under Both Kinds and the Council has also been made recently by Peter Kwasniewski on the New Liturgical Movement blog.)
|The celebrant presents the Host to the Faithful|
The EF has something to teach the whole Church here: we keep, as liturgical principles, rules which bound the whole Church for at least sixteen centuries. We are the guardians, if you like, of the Church's memory.
|At 'private' Masses it is the priest who carries the Chalice,|
under the burse and pall, to and from the Altar, while
the server carries the Missal.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
For the same meeting I mentioned in my post about St Dominic's Mysteries of the Rosary, we had Low Mass celebrated for us in the chapel of the Coronation of Our Lady, in the traditional Dominican Rite. The Celebrant was Fr Gregory Pearson OP.
The Dominican Rite is different in certain interesting ways from the Roman Rite, and preserves some of the features of ancient 'Gallican' rites, including the medieval rites of England, of which the chief was the Sarum Rite. I don't know enough about it to go into all the details, but one striking thing is the preparation of the Chalice (pouring wine and water into it) at the very beginning: Fr Pearson hasn't even taken down his hood yet, or said the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. (This is Low Mass; in High Mass the Chalice is prepared later, but still not when it is done in the Roman Rite.)
The prayers at the Foot of the Altar don't include the Psalm Judica, which makes them rather short. The Dominicans have their own version of the Confiteor as well.
This, below, is my favourite gesture, not found in the Roman Rite. You have to be quick, it is soon after the Consecration and doesn't last long.
Here is another gesture not found in the Roman Rite - at least, I don't think so. Palms forward, not towards each other. 'Dominus vobiscum': it happens more than once.
Compare Fr Edward van der Burgh, celebrating the Roman Rite. At the same point:
Something I can't even capture with a still camera is a distinct way of making the sign of the cross at the Gospel.
This is part of the wonderful liturgical pluralism of the Church's Tradition. At the even of the Council many parishes in England were run by Dominicans, all of which enjoyed this distinctive form of the Church's liturgy; the Norbertines also used their own Rite in their parishes, and the Carthusian Rite was used in their houses (and a reformed version still is). Again, there are English customs which differ from German, Italian, French or Spanish ones, sometimes these were significant enough to have special provision in liturgical law. For example, we have a distinct formula for the handing over of gold and silver by the groom to the bride at the Marriage Service. (What? you say. Yup, the whole thing has disappeared in the Ordinary Form.) The tradition is not about uniformity, but about, well, tradition. Those things handed on to us, which are good, which have been done by countless generations in organic continuity with us, they should be preserved and handed on to our children. That is fidelity to tradition, as opposed to fidelity to a centralised rule-book.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
|The Nativity of Our Lord|
On Saturday the annual meeting of the Latin Mass Society's Local Representatives took place. We've taken to having this at the impressive Dominican church, St Dominic's, Haverstock Hill, in North London. This year I took the opportunity of being early to photograph the reredos of the side chapels dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary. There are, in fact, 18 side chapels; 15 of them are dedicated to these mysteries.
|The Finding in the Temple|
I've put the Flickr set here. For some reason I've come away without the Annunciation, I will have to get that next time I'm there.
|The Resurrection: with the soldiers guarding the Tomb|
|The Coming of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost|
|The Coronation of Our Lady and the Glory of All the Saints|
Monday, December 02, 2013
|Archbishop Pozzo with those attending the FIUV 'Open Forum', when there are talks and questions|
open to the public. He celebrated Vespers for us.
|James Bogle, the new President, flanked by two speakers at the Open Forum:|
Cardinal Castrillon, left, and Prior Cassian Folsom of the Norcia Benedictine community
Here is the opening section:
'The biennial General Assembly of the International Federation Una Voce (FIUV),the international body representing lay groups attached to the traditional Roman Catholic liturgy, has elected a new President, Mr James Bogle, a barrister (trial attorney) and former Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain.
|Open Forum attendees with Cardinal Castrillon.|
|Another speaker, next to Mr Bogle: Fabio Barnabei of the Cultural Center Lepanto|
|Mr Fournier, in the middle|
|Mr Gola, in the middle|
|Left: Mr Ruckriegel, right: Mr Dhaussy|
It is a great privilege for me to be Treasurer to the FIUV, a truly international organisation with such a distinguished history. The Federation is an indispensible part of the Traditional Movement, and deserves more recognition. Although the members are national associations, individuals can support it by becoming 'friends', for a small annual donation.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
When Gerhard Müller was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Mgr Basil Loftus was on cloud nine. Archbishop Müller was criticised by some conservatives for things he had written in a work of speculative theology only available in German. Such criticisms were ambrosia to our good Monsignor.
Loftus doesn't burden his readers with the fact that this represents a complete turnaround. But there are a couple of things we can learn from this debacle.
I don't mean that Loftus is fallible. We knew that already.
On the 8 July 2012, he gave his assessment of where the critics were going wrong. ‘Quite simply, he [Archbishop Müller] is profoundly scholarly and spiritual, and they [his critics] are not.’
If only life were so simple. A year and a week later, after Archbishop Müller came out strongly against changing the Church's discipline to allow divorced and re-married Catholics (unrepentant ones, that is) to receive Holy Communion, Loftus changed his tune.
He wrote, on 14 July 2013: ‘Quite honestly, if the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, of which he is Prefect, sees its roles as setting limits to God’s Mercy, then it is not fit for purpose.’
I don't mean that Loftus is fallible. We knew that already.
Müller was never like Loftus. His views on the Virgin Birth may be controversial, but - as far as I know - they were contributions to a theological debate, not published in a newspaper available to the Faithful at the back of church. Part of the picture we had of Müller from the start was his opposition to radical dissident groups like 'We Are Church'. Loftus' euphoria blinded him to this.
Müller is now going to be tarred and feathered, like so many of his predecessors in his office, by extreme progressives, as a stick-in-the-mud. His nuanced view of the Virgin Birth is going to be irrelevant. With the burning of Pope Francis in effigy by feminists in Argentina, we are beginning to see the same thing happening to him.
Sadly for the likes of Mgr Loftus, Müller is, fundamentally, a Catholic. And so is Pope Francis. He shouldn't be surprised. But he will be.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Mgr Basil Loftus excels himself in last weekend's column: The Catholic Times, 24th November 2013.
'These excesses [French monarchism, the Order of St Lazarus] are fortunately peripheral in Britain, but we do see churches dedicated exclusively to the celebration of the Tridentine-rite liturgy which sometimes ignore strict prohibitions on the use of thrones and canopies, on the vesting of bishops in the sanctuary rather than in the sacristy, on the washing of a bishop's hands with Jeeves-like servants and on the continuing cult of non-existent saints such as Philomena, who has been banned from every calendar in the world, only to become a cult figure for the opponents of liturgical reform. The totems of opposition to post-conciliar Kingdom liturgy are erected in several places where Tridentine-rite liturgy is permitted, even here in Britain.
Now hang on a minute. Under certain conditions, according to the 1962 books specified by the legislation governing the Extraordinary Form, bishops can vest in the sanctuary. Those are the rules. It is not 'strictly forbidden': that is a fantasy. Anyway, I though Loftus hated it when people insisted on rubrical exactness? Oh, only selectively. When it suits him, he uses imaginary liturgical legislation to attack some of our English bishops: shown here are Bishop McMahon of Nottingham, and Bishop Drainey of Middlesbrough. Are they dangerous extremists, Mgr? (The places these Masses are taking place, incidentally, are not even regularly used for the EF, let alone exclusively: the chapel of Ratcliffe College, and St Wilfrid's in York.)
|Bishop McMahon vests in the Sanctuary: more photos|
(I've addressed Loftus' drivel about St Philomena here.)
|Bishop Drainey, presiding at High Mass for the LMS York Pilgrimage in 2012: more photos|
|Vesting in the sanctuary|
Here Loftus is presumably referring to the famous 'stable group' rule, which allows groups of those attached to the Traditional Mass to come together from different parishes, rather than ask for several Masses in several places. It seems quite sensible to me: and it is in the original legislation, Summorum Pontificum (Article 5); it's not something added later by the PCED.
|Listening to the Gospel, fully vested.|
Loftus goes on:
The Commission's sometimes sententious decisions which then followed also inhibit the free discussion among the People of God which helps to build a liturgy, old-rite or new, which is sensitive to the needs of time and place. It is simply arrogant and unjust for altar-girls to be forbidden the Tridentine-rite Masses. More and more there is an unjustified presumption that Communion at such Masses may only be received kneeling and on the tongue.'
Clearly, if you took the 1962 books and applied to them all the changes which happened afterwards you'd end up with the Ordinary Form. What would be the point of that?
As far as the PCED is concerned, what Loftus needs to get over is the final article of Summorum Pontificum:
Art. 12. The same Commission [sc. Ecclesia Dei], in addition to the faculties which it presently enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See in ensuring the observance and application of these norms.
Tough luck, mate. Oh, and here's more tough luck. If you think that Pope Francis is going to conduct some kind of fanatical campaign against canopies, you're in for a disappointment.