Warning this post may contain irony
Just thinking of Cardinal Wuerl and the law, I say, "Hooray, for Wuerl, the Apostle of Freedom". All that legalism, we need a knife to cut through it. It is important not to listen to legalists like Ed Peters who criticises the Eminent Cardinal
I am a great fan of English in the liturgy, I don't mind all that Latin stuff: Orbis Factor, di Angelis, masses with numbers but I say, 'English music for English people'. Sunday morning we had Byrd for 4 Voices and very nicely sung it was, despite someone fainting in the gallery, we really do have the nicest music for miles around but we rarely have Sheparde, Tallis Tye, Tallis, Byrd and Phillips or any of those English Golden Age composers. I am no fanatic, I wouldn't mind going foreign and having Victoria's Requiem on Remembrance Sunday. The dreadful truth is that those monsters described by their colleague Louis Bouyer swept away the great tradition of Catholic music by demanding the 'Eucharistic Prayer' be said aloud, waiting for five or six minutes of Sanctus to finish before beginning the Canon become an unnecessary burden for the people. O for those pre-microphone days when only those only those standing around (circum - stantes) needed to hear! and the rest could get on an pray to a polyphonic Sanctus before the Consecration and its matching Benedictus afterwards. Do hearing the words of the Eucharistic Prayer actually help people to pray the Mass more intensely? I doubt it.
Now if I were in Cdl Wuerl's diocese, freed from the terrible burden of the law, or even in Archbishop Cupich's, able to follow the lights of my own conscience, I could do what is absolutely illicit in the Ordinary Form but perfectly licit in the Extraordinary Form and rather than wait for the Sanctus and Benedictus to be sung before beginning the Canon of the Mass I could just get on and say it quitely, trusting the faithful, either to multi-task or to choose between following the liturgical action, or pray, or just bask in glorious music. Choice, under these circumstances seem to be the mature option. The Sanctus would finish just in time for the epiclesis and the Benedictus could be sung after the consecration and leave a short space for quiet prayer before the Per ipsum, it would fit terribly well, and His Eminence and His Excellency (in England it would be His Grace) would be absolutely delighted. While we are about it I could also introduce the old offertory prayers, , I always say new ones quietly, as we are supposed to but no-one would be offended and HE would praise me for not being bound by rigid legalism. I could even move the penitential rite to a little service before Mass actually began, if the lights of conscience actually led me to do so.
Being free from legalism and following one's own conscience seem very tempting to me. The trouble is I suppose other 'unbound' priests might similarly make up their own rubrics and say Mass whilst skateboarding. Some might simply decide not to send the diocese any money at all, or to opt out of various diocesan initiatives, maybe refuse to move when asked, or set up satellite churches in neighbours territory. I am sure no priest would stoop to simony arranging They might also get in friendly bishops to ordain their parishioners, or even their friends, even their girlfriends, or worst. The problems is there always those priests who don't like their bishop and for fun will choose to do everything possible to annoy him.
But Cardinal Wuerl would respect my non-legalism, especially when I tell him the Gospel has set me free, and Archbishop Cupich will accept my conscientious decision. Other less enlightened bishops of course might not respect my personal freedom and give space to my conscience and rather than walk with me might send in his mafia storm troopers to break a leg or an arm. especially when my parish stopped sending in money to the diocese. What if I was in Cardinal Marx' diocese and denounced his nine million euro Roman palace or his even more expensive diocesan HQ, or his interests in the porn business.
The dreadful problem is when there is no law then one has to keep a close eye on the prince, when he smiles and when he frowns. On who are his friends and who he regards as his enemies. On who is in favour and who is not. Then one listens not so much to conscience of the words of the Gospel but to gossip and who is closest to to the Prince. Who has his ear and who enjoys his favour. Then we will live by rumour, then we will fear for we know that it is only by the whim of the Prince that we live or that we die.
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