Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Loftus: another attack on the Ordinariate

Something 'cultic' going on at the St Catherine's Trust
Summer School. We even had an Ordinariate priest celebrating
Mass. Scary!
Just to keep up to date, here is the ever charming Mgr Basil Loftus in his Catholic Times column of 25th July.

Impressively, Francis' merciful discernment also extends to, and embraces, those whose main preoccupation in the Church seems to be the slave-like observance of the law in all its minute detail, the continuity rather than the reform of Church practice, and an inward-looking and cultic liturgy, rather than an outward thrusting service of others through evangelisation.

He has inherited an Anglican Ordinariate, for which he showed a distinct lack of enthusiasm when Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and a virtual liturgical 'sect' for those who, in pursuit of the celebration of Tridentine-rite Masses, are now allowed to function without either the permission or oversight of diocesan bishops. Deftly side-stepping any difficulties which may be seen to arise from his immediate predecessor's positive enthusiasm for these bodies, Francis seems to be following Winston Churchill's guidance in the 1920s with regard to the position of the Irish Republic in relation to the British Empire - he respects their decision 'to exclude themselves within' the Catholic Church.

Indeed, he positively sympathises with those whose special liturgical needs can only be served in these ways, ...

Unlike you, then, eh, Basil?

The inclusion of the Ordinariate within Loftus' predictable ranting about the Traditional Mass reveals a few things. For all that he pays lip-service to 'evangelisation', he clearly doesn't like the biggest evangelising initiative of the English-speaking world for a century: an opening to Anglicans. Is this 'inward looking'?

Again, it can't be that Loftus is really concerned about an excessive focus on 'continuity' at the expense of 'reform', because the Ordinariate liturgy is, for Catholics, new, the most thorough reform of the liturgy since 1970 - by a very long chalk.

What he really objects to is not that we, trads and Ordinariate Catholics, too conformist, too inward-looking, but that we aren't conforming, we aren't looking inward to the stagnant Catholic community which clings to the forms and structures of the 1970s.

Again and again, theologians writing about the problems of Mass 'facing the people' point out that it creates a community which is not open: not open to God, or to outsiders. Instead it is something cosy and safe and this-wordly.

Pope Benedict said it created a 'closed circle', the The Spirit of the Liturgy.

The theologian Max Thurien, writing in the official Vatican journal Notitiae, wrote:
The whole celebration is often conducted as if it were a conversation and dialogue in which there is no longer room for adoration, contemplation and silence. The fact that the celebrants and faithful constantly face each other closes the liturgy in on itself.

Loftus' own hero Cardinal Schonborn said, in a retreat preached to Pope John Paul II:
Yet how important such signs are for “incarnating” the faith. The common prayer of priest and faithful ad orientem connected this cosmic “orientation” with faith in the Resurrection of Christ, the sol invictus, and with His Parousia in glory.

(References in the Position Paper here.)

IMG_7513It is above all a fear of this opening to the Lord which, I am convinced, motivates Loftus and those who think like him. They talk endlessly of the traddy option, and now also of the Ordinariate, as the too-safe option, an option which fails to leave 'safe harbours' and the like, but clearly the problem is that it takes them right out of their comfort-zones. It is scary because, as Loftus writes, this worship is cultic: it has to do with God, that is to say it is really and truly something supernatural, it can't be presented just as a group of friends who all agree about everything meeting up for a meal.

Now this really is a bit frightening. If you get in touch with God, anything can happen.

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  1. Members of the LMS are deeply concerned by the remarks of Dr Shaw and are beginning to entertain the idea that he should resign from the Chairmanship of the Association.

    1. Ah, the "members" card is now being played. Oh dear, oh dear, how predictable when someone does not like a post and wishes to introduce petty politicking into the equation.

      Dicens, you can only speak about your opinion, and no other. Mine is that Dr Shaw is to be applauded for his forthright posts. For too long the wishy washy brigade mince about throwing dummies out the pram every time there cosy wee life is faced by truth.

      I too am an LMS member and he has my full support.

    2. Well, you want to remove a man for being honest and speaking out the truth?

      I am not part of the LMS. But I think the LMS stands to lose if they remove Dr. Shaw and install what you consider as acceptable i.e. a politically correct person who doesn't want to speak the truth. Don't you think we have enough of those running around already?

      The only thing that Dr. Shaw did in his article was state the truth and point out an erroneous foundation shared by both groups. If one is willing to depose him as Chairman of a Catholic association for stating the truth and offending a group that holds to heresy and is championing the watering down of Christianity, then I think that speaks more about the Catholicity of the association.

    3. I am not an LMS member and regard Dr Shaw as a stimulating and provocative thinker who should be read and heard more often and by more people.

  2. I too am an LMS member and Dr Shaw has my full support

    1. I am a member, and Dr Shaw has my full support too.

  3. Oh yes. The number of LMS members who are not happy with Dr Shaw is quite considerable.

    1. They have the right to vote at the AGM, when it will become plain just now numerous they are. In other words, not very.

  4. Oh yes. The number of LMS members who are not happy with Dr Shaw is quite considerable.

    1. Well you count for two Dicens.

      Dr Shaw is a dynamic and orthodox leader. He is a breath of fresh air in the Catholic Church in this country. He has the support of the vast majority of LMS members.

  5. Huh? What's all this about?

    1. The previous post about ISIS and 16th century reformers, I think. Not about being mean to sweet old Mgr L.

  6. Dr Shaw is an excellent Chairman, eho goes far beyond the remit of his post by investing huge time and energy into the LMS organisation.

    I am familiar to the sort of reasons he would be frowned upon in the direction the society has taken; simply that he does too much extra, over and above "Just the Mass" which many older members want to seperate from traditional doctrine, praxis, etc.

    What the above post concludes (which I've never seen this way) is that rather than retreating into a 'ghettoised' sub-sector of Catholicism, Traditionalists should be seen to push the envelope of how we approach our Faith. Bear in mind this incredible dynamism and energy may have not been possible or as productive had the crisis on faith not happened. We are all learning so much more about the Mass and its Doctrine as a result of being made aware we have been deprived of something for so long.

    The suggestion Dr Shaw should be deposed is certainly just politics, and the LMS Chairman blog certainly shouldn't have any bearing on his ability and suitability of being Chairman. I have been a member since before he was instated, and have to admit I didn't really know who was in charge. Joe is a natural leader, and the fact that he is in such a privaleged place to reinvigorate the society with youthful energy, is more testament to how little was being done centrally (although the beginning of the Priests Training Conference was obviously excellent!) and how much was left to reps to do, soldiering on without very much happening. Summorum Pontificum has changed everything, and rather than the Society becoming defunct (as many suggested at the time) it has evolved into something really exciting.

    Saying that, the Latin Mass will always be a fringe movement for the foreseeable futuret (it is the most poorly attended Mass out of all the Sunday Masses at the Birmingham Oratory, despite being High and Principal at 10:30am) but we are just passionate to share something which has helped us so much in enriching and helping our Faith: it is not that people who attend the Novus Ordo are all Liberal, as is evident from meeting so many holy people at my own church.

    Maybe if lots of Society members are upset, and if it is clear Joe is sewing discord and hatred / extremism (!) the blog could be renamed Shaw's Corner?

    1. Matthew, the 10.30am EF High Mass is NOT the most poorly attended Sunday Mass at the Birmingham Oratory. It is second only to the parish family 12 noon Mass and is better attended than when it was a Novus Ordo High Mass. I made a mistake in the last Birmingham and Black country LMS newsletter which I intend to correct in the next one.

  7. I notice that "Dicens" who claimed to speak on behalf of "members of the LMS" does not have a public profile so just who exactly is he/she indeed is he/she even a member of the LMS or just a troublemaker hiding behind anonymity ? In any event anonymous allegations do not deserve to be treated with respect.

    As for the role of Joseph as Chairman of the LMS I can only state that I feel any organisation would have to search long and hard to find anyone who even approaches a fraction of the effort and time that Joseph devotes to the LMS, attending its events, organising and being present at its Schools and above all thinking about issues.

    I don't always agree with him but by golly he makes me THINK and he does that through this Blog it is passionate but it is also learned and eloquent. This Blog isn't the Beano and that God (and Joseph) for that

  8. I meant to type "Thank God" NOT "that God" !! The curse of the sticky keyboard strikes again

  9. Anonymous9:31 am

    I am a member - life member, and Dr. Shaw has my support.....well 99% of the time!. Thank you Dr Joseph for your great work.

  10. Thank you all for your support! It is much appreciated.