Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mot. Prop. "It won't make the slightest difference in the majority of parishes universally"

"Anonymous" put this statement in the comment box on the piece I put up earlier today on the release of the Motu Proprio. I thought it might be interesting to explore the effects. I began framing a reply as follows:


You are right, of course it won't change anything this year or next, for most people and in most places.

It will have an influence on what is considered mainstream in the Church.
It will have an influence on the formation of seminarians.
It will have an influence on who might be chosen as Bishops.
It will presumably have an influence on Church architecture and art.
It will have an influence on who a diocese employs as "director" of liturgy.

No-one should underestimate what the Holy Father has risked with this document, not a few Bishops in France, Germany, Austria, the USA, will publicly criticise him and do all they can to thwart his efforts.
We might even see Bishops acting in ways that are actually schismatic, at least informally, to stop the effects of this document.
For someone who considers the unity of the Church as being THE absolute priority this document is of incredible risk and therefore of incredible significance.


fr paul harrison said...

Very well put, if I may say so! I think there will be an initial, media led, frenzy then things will die down.

I actually think it may be several years before we see any effects of the MP

fr paul harrison

Physiocrat said...

Does that mean we can expect it at SMM by, say, by the First Sunday of Advent?

I should be back by then so that is something I can look forward to.

the owl of the remove said...

Absolutely right, Father! Unfortunately, the schismatic bishops are already here, as the great Father Rutler of New York City and EWTN fame has written, we are actually in the worst crisis in the Church since the time of Arius, but the MP will be THE great act of Benedict XVI because, as he has written, "how we attend to the liturgy will determine the future of the Faith." THAT'S why he's doing it!

Anonymous said...

Mr Owl in the removal van: Having read "Jesus of Nazereth" and his other works I can't help but feel this is a giant of a Pope. Great is too small a word for him. If any bishop or cardinal criticises this man's judgement, they risk becoming a laughing stock.

I think your analysis is quite right Father. However, existing priests are not a spent force either. Roll up the sleeves now and get cracking!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I agree, it is hard to see how MP can make a difference. The opposition from the EWBC is visceral.

The Church will continue its precipitous decline in Europe.

Ttony said...

All depends on what the words say, of course. But, in the end, it will depend on parishes, and on dioceses.

How far are the laity going to be allowed to request the Old Rite as of right, and how far are the Ordinaries going to allow priests to resist, and how far are Ordinaries going to encourage priests to encourage and say Yes?

How open will the Church in England and Wales be to this change?

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary, Father. Thanks you for your rational and measured comments.

I'm personally delighted that the MP is to be issued and, by choice, would be happy to have the Old Mass as my normal Sunday Mass. However, I am realistic enough to know that that is a minority view.

Its' availablity will, though, make possible all those things you have mentioned and, in time, may well bring us the Mass for which the Council Fathers asked. I'd have no problem whatever with that.

Another fruit may well be that the rest of Vatican Two's teachings will eventually be implemented. Again, no problem there.

On the down side, I do feel that we will see more schismatic acts, possibly involving bishops, priests and lay-folk of our own acquaintance. That prospect does not, of itself, mean that the MP should not be issued. Rather we must pray for them, if such things occur, and seek to return them to the fold, as the Holy Father is also trying to do with those who have left because of the liturgical and ecclesiological problems of the past 40 years.

In the longer term, we have so much to gain.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the main difference will be that it will silence the vocal proponents of the Tridentine Rite because they will no longer have any grounds for complaining that they are unable to celebrate it freely. Few parishes will take up the option and those that do will find thin congregations present. Rather like those, according to your own account, at St Mary Magdalene's, Brighton. Have you ever been to Toledo? The chapel where the Mozarabic Rite has been lawfully celebrated for centuries is invariably closed and, when open for worship, is sparsely attended. Effectively the Tridentine Rite is now an antiquarian curiosity and, as the forthcoming Motu Proprio will show, is to be seen as an extraordinary rite supplementary to the Novus Ordo. Thank God it's coming as it will shut the malcontents up for the foreseeable future. Until, that is, they find something else to grumble about. Nor will it placate the Society of St Pius X. Are you going to celebrate it? From what you have posted in the past you say that your Latin is not quite up to doing so.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think some people might actually have a genuine love for this particular Rite?

Physiocrat said...

One effect could be to encourage priests who want to celebrate the Novus Ordo mass in Latin and ad Orientem, for which there are now excellent pastoral reason for doing so.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why there is so much resentment towards the MP from some. If at the very least it means a real alternative to a tired sad and out dated folk Mass, by allowing more freely a quiet thoughtful and prayerful Traditional Mass, then everyone should be pleased, especially Cafeteria Catholics espousing choice. I'm more than happy for the TLM to be on the menu. Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder about those who seem to have a lot of emotion wrapped up in the return of the Latin if that will suddenly (or in the near future) solve a host of problems the whole world has been facing with regards to mankind's relation to God. Sin has been around since Adam and Eve, but I think it is a mistake to equate Mass in the vernacular as the cause of the world going to hell in a handbasket. Correlation is not causation - and there's a danger with that thinking.

I know that the Latin Mass has its promoters, and I think it was wrong for all those years to treat its supporters as if they had leprosy or some other horrid disease.

However, that said, it seems to be forgotten that just as Mass in the vernacular can be WAS Mass in the Latin abused. Some of us (myself included) are well old enough to remember the ARMIES of women (in particular) who simply said rosary after rosary DURING THE MASS. Not after. Not before. But DURING. And I say "caveat emptor" if you advocate a Latin mass...WITHOUT BOTHERING to have basic classes in Latin for those wishing to attend. It is no longer the case where Latin is routinely taught to all secondary students. yes, yes...I well know about "latin on this side/English on that side" missiles. Still have one myself.'s one thing for a GOOD student to learn some Latin. What about the duffers, for whom foreign language study is completely beyond them? Frankly, the post Vatican II lectionary is far better than what we used to have "back in the day."

And is it not better to have the mass understood "in real time?"
It's probably a good idea for all Roman Catholics to know some of the common prayers in Latin: Pater Noster, Agnus Dei...but those prefaces and collects that change...Ugh. And I bet Fr. Blake can remember serving at the altar where Fr. Speedy Gonzales would go through those prayers at the foot of the altar like nobody's business... " fast mumble and speed" ...and the altar boy had better have had his response done about the same time the priest did.

I can well remember my mother avoiding Fr. Fromholzer's masses "Back in the day" not that he wasn't a nice man...but mom being a little slow off the dime some days ...she was afraid if she was 5 minutes late to was too late...Fr. F. having literally gotten to the offeratory (on a SUNDAY mass, no less) his record, I have on good authority, was 17 minutes flat. If you look really hard there's probably a plaque in the church somewhere to commemorate the event, circa 1962.

Latin mass afficianatos sometimes seem to forget that there is more than one way to skin a cat.'s a "special occasion" to receive a host personally consecrated by the Holy Father...but the Host consecrated on a battle field at a Mass for the troops, or by a priest in an Alaskan igloo is every bit AS "special" it had better be, if we really believe the Eucharist is what we say it is. The "window dressing" is nice for aesthetic purposes...but if it's not accompanied by an INTERIOR experience, it's as useful as Maria von Trapp in her heathen days just going to church to listen to the Vienna Boy's Choir. [Check out her book entitled "Maria" for her life BEFORE she went in the convent.]

Of FAR bigger crisis to the church is what is in the culture at large. Pornography. the attitude that sex should have no consequences. The unwillingness to "commit." The "abortion is my right" issue. And on the flip side: the "I offered to pay for her abortion, what is she whining about" issue. The drug culture. The nihilistic attitude in many western societies. A big part of the problem was when people stopped "Falling in love" and started "having relationships."
No, that "starry eyed I'm instantly in love" business wasn't all there was to forming a marriage bond...but at least it was focused on "the other." Not "what's in it for me."

(I'm, picking on the west here, but the 3rd world countries have their bugaboos too, many of them the same - I don't buy "the west is all evil and the east is all wise" mindset.)

The laziness to do any intellectual work as an adult is rampant.

We would NEVER think a child equipped to face life with a 10 year old's education. But how many have an arrested state of mental development as regards to knowledge of the Catholic faith? I CRINGE when I run into Catholics who get picked off by holy roller protestants because they #1 aren't familiar enough with their own faith to defend it and in particular, it makes me want to scream if some Catholic wants to know "where is that in the bible" [meaning everything HAS to be in the bible...completely clueless that it should be scripture AND holy tradition] nor knowing why this is so....and also that "holy tradition" came before the New Testament. IT should be "obvious" but it isn't. To too many, I fear.
Adult learning is horrid, and when given too often it's has NOTHING to offer those more intellectually curious. How often can the intelligent and willing adult Catholic, with an interest in furthering his knowledge, be expected to sit through the "you know, not everything that happen in the bible should be taken literally....." So the intellectual Catholic is left to chart his/her own path too often. and you can't always be sure that he/she isn't going down blind allyways. The faithful, unfortunately, can no longer count on the priest to be well trained intellectually. They are too often taking guys who would NEVER be considered in the past. Watered down curriculum. Sometimes you get lucky and there are good ones. But you can't "expect" that to be the case now.

You can put a "bandaide" on HOW the Mass is done....but there will always be different stokes and more than one way to skin a cat. And in the end, that's not what really SOLVES anything.

But if the CULTURE at large isn't changed, don't expect things to radically improve.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Please keep comments to the point and relatively brief.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that too much water has gone under the bridge, and that times have changed too much in the Church, for ALL people to welcome back the Latin Mass? I was brought up with the Latin Mass and can still remember the many hours of boredom endured as a child.

The Church, I think, is big enough to encompass many forms of celebrating the Mass - the Latin Mass being only one 'flavour' and the Vernacular being another. I really can't see people coming in droves to Latin Masses at all in the future.

Anonymous said...

Rambling Karen of San Diego has some good points, not least the low intellectual calibre of many priests. Traditionally the Orders have mopped up vocations with brains and this remains so, with rare exceptions. But, even there, proficiency in Latin is not always to be found these days. This applies to the forthcoming Motu Proprio quite significantly. Fewer diocesan priests can read Latin and this will exclude those who are, in principle, open to celebrating the Tridentine Rite. The number of vocations is now so insignificant that, even if Latin is taught compulsorily in seminaries (which I doubt will be the case)scarcely any will be able to cope. For that reason alone the Motu Proprio will largely become a dead letter. There are few things worse than badly said Masses, whether in Latin or the vernacular. But, of the two, the first are worse. Genies can rarely be put back in bottles. You might as well dream of returning to pounds, shillings and pence.

Anonymous said...

" ... it will shut the malcontents up for the foreseeable future. Until, that is, they find something else to grumble about ..."

This is the type of aggressive attitude and language that has characterised the post-Vatican II Church. Behind the smiles and the hugs, there is a nastiness and intolerance that exasperates everybody.

Anonymous said...

Karen H

you call saying the rosary - an abuse? (!!!)

Physiocrat said...

Anyone who thinks vernacular masses are a good idea should try attending mass in countries where the Catholic church is flourishing for the first time since the Reformation, there are few priests familiar with the vernacular anyway and congregations are from all over the place. All of a sudden Latin sounds like a brilliant idea. And there is no need to become familiar with all the ins and outs of Latin grammar, syntax and vocabulary to be able to understand what is going on at mass, in so far as anyone can.

Anonymous said...

Lets just wait for the Motu Proprio to come out and see the results. Then you can whine and handbag about how you were all right that there was no demand for it in the first place, etc, etc.

Already seminarians in various countries are going to lengths to be able to say the old rite when they are ordained priests - taking private Latin lessons in their own time, practising the Tridentine rubrics when they assist at the Novus Ordo, etc. The majority of Orthodox seminarians will see the MP and take advantage of it - they will fulfil what Pope Benedict wants of them.

Its only the dying ageing 60 year olds who can't bear to see their beloved "Vatican II party" come to an end.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"Its only the dying ageing 60 year olds who can't bear to see their beloved "Vatican II party" come to an end."

I haven't quite reached 60 yet but one of the delights of the last five years is that we at last seem to be invited to the "Vatican II party" rather than the "Spirit of VII party".
Through my 20+ years of priesthood I have been crying out, "Read the texts, the texts, the texts". And now, at last, people are.
Come to the party, but read the invitation. One of the results of, and reasons for the MP, is that people will actually read Sacrosanctum Concillium, the Councils documet on the Sacred Liturgy.

Anonymous said...

Fr - that comment was not aimed at you but to the "anonymous" commentors who leave one liners on this blog saying there is no interest or need for the MP.

I know you are a faithful priest but there are those (priests and clergy among them) who even after the MP is released, will always have disdain for traditionalists and the traditional mass.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I like people to comment, but I tend to delete most anonymouses nowadays, they normally lack imagination even to making up a name.

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