Simultaneously with this post I publishing on Rorate Caeli a post consisting of nine questions, and the answers to these by Fr Anthony Ruff of the Pray Tell blog, and by me. It is also being published on the Pray Tell blog.
This was not a dialogue, but simply juxtaposes our answers to the same questions. I am grateful to Fr Ruff for the opportunity to take part in this exercise. Fr Ruff's answers, which are from a very different place from my own, are characterised by respect and charity, and give a coherent account of the reasoning of at least some of those who welcome Traditionis Custodes. This makes them interesting and useful to those who want to try to understand this position; I hope my answers will be useful to the readers of Pray Tell.
"The question of whether it’s appropriate for the Church to prohibit the previous rite is identical to the question of whether Vatican II’s statements on the liturgy are legitimate and correct – and I think they are."
"He [Pope Francis] did not say that the 1962 Missal has no lex orandi, or is opposed to the Church’s lex orandi. The 1962 Missal reflects the Roman rite’s lex orandi to the extent that it reflects the Church’s liturgy as found in the 1970 Missal.""the primary argument of TC is not a pragmatic one about whether or not traditionalist communities are guilty of the vices Pope Francis names. Even if traditionalist communities are coexisting in perfect peace with the rest of the church, Francis’s primary argument is that their liturgical practice is not in line with the Church’s intentions."
I think this expresses quite clearly a line of thought which explains Traditionis Custodes, and indeed the thinking of this document only makes sense in the context of this or something very like it.
First, the 'nasty trad on social media' is besides the point. I never bought the idea that this phenomenon, real as it is, has the influence that some have attributed to it. I seriously doubt anyone in Pope Francis' inner circle spends time reading sede vacantists on Twitter.
The view rather is that, in the context of Vatican II, the reformed liturgy has an exalted place in the Church's self understanding, and that what does not sit comfortably with this is for that reason theologically problematic.
My response to this would be to ask whether the Vatican II/Novus Ordo Missae marked a real change of doctrine. It would seem problematic to say so, since the Church's teachings are supposed to be unchanging. Pope John XXIII expressed the mandate of Vatican II in his opening speech, in this way:
The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.
If there has been no change of doctrine, then the lex orandi of the older liturgy would remain valid and useful, notwithstanding the insights brought forth by other rites, reformed or not.
I say more about the kind of view expressed by Fr Ruff in a podcast which will be released on Thursday.
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