Friday, September 12, 2008

Pope Benedict speaks today about Summorum Pontificum

This story has appeared on Zenit today:

Pontiff Denies Claim 1962 Missal Is a Regression

Calls Liturgy a Living, Developing Reality

EN ROUTE TO PARIS, SEPT. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- An allowance for the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal is in no way a return to the past, but rather an expression of pastoral concern, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today en route to France; he gave a brief press conference on the plane, answering four questions previously submitted by the journalists selected to be in the press corps accompanying the Holy Father.

The Pontiff said it is "groundless" to fear that "Summorum Pontificum" -- which opened the way for a wider celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal -- is a regression.

"This 'motu proprio' is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral objective, for people who have been formed in this liturgy, who love it, know it and want to live with this liturgy," he said. "It is a small group, given that it presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. But it seems to me a normal demand of faith and pastoral concern for a bishop of our Church to have love and tolerance for these people and permit them to live with this liturgy."

"There is no opposition whatsoever between the liturgy renewed by the Second Vatican Council and this liturgy," Benedict XVI continued. "Each day, the Council fathers celebrated Mass according to this old rite and, at the same time, have conceived a natural development for the liturgy in all of this century, since the liturgy is a living reality that develops and that conserves its identity in its development."

"Therefore, there are certainly distinct accents, but a fundamental identity that excludes a contradiction, an opposition between the renewed liturgy and the preceding liturgy," the Pope affirmed. "I think that there is the possibility of mutual enrichment. It's clear that the renewed liturgy is the ordinary liturgy of our times."

11 comments:

Ma Tucker said...

Last paragraph in the light of previous post is very hard to reconcile.

Carol said...

Your article quoted the Pope: "The Pontiff said it is "groundless" to fear that "Summorum Pontificum" -- which opened the way for a wider celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal -- is a regression."

I love Gregorian Chant. But I know that this beautiful, prayerful, inspiring music needs to be sung well by a trained group in the right place. Perhaps Solesmes? Or any Benedictine Monastery. Not the Vatican. Definitely not each parish.

I love the Latin Mass. I also love the original Greek Mass. But is it fair to hold a whole congregation 'hostage' because I have a preference for one style or another?

This is what I see taking place in the latest decrees of Benedict XVI concerning the liturgy. Because the Holy Father and a handful (comparatively) of the faithful would like to return to the “good old days,” is no reason that a Latin Mass with badly sung chant should be held in every parish church. Gregorian Chant and the Tridentine Mass are not designed for every parish. There could be one location in each Archdiocese where chant and the Latin Mass are given the attention they deserve. One community of vowed members could make this their outreach ministry. One venue per diocese.

Anonymous said...

But what about the 'badly sung' hymns of dubious merit to which many of us are 'held hostage' on a regular basis? It is precisely because chant is 'prayerful' that it is suitable for Mass on a regular basis and I would dispute that it is difficult for any congregation to learn the Missa de Angelis, for example. Otherwise, does one not fall into the same error of treating the liturgy too much as a performance, in the way that so-called traditionalists are so often, unfairly, accused of doing?

PeterHWright said...

When I was a boy at school, we learned three or four plainsong settings of the Mass. It wasn't difficult.

The liturgy was the same from parish to the next, from one diocese to the next, from one country to the next. There were no choices. But I do not remember anyone complaining that they felt they were "held hostage" by it.

The Pope has no intention of returning to the past, but feels it was wrong in the wake of Vatican II to exclude the great liturgical heritage of the Church. It was so wrong, the Pope condemned it in a speech in 2005 as a rupture with tradition.

Carol is correct about what the Pope has just said. In reply to a question from a French journalist he has just issued the reassurance that the fear that Summorum Pontificum is a regression is groundless. Exactly. It's not a regression.

There is indeed nothing to fear in reconnecting with our liturgical and musical heritage. Nothing to fear at all !

At the same time, it is not in the spirit of the motu proprio to confine the "old" Mass to one specific parish per diocese, but that it be freely available to all Catholics everywhere so that they may benefit from its riches.

Adrienne said...

"But what about the 'badly sung' hymns of dubious merit to which many of us are 'held hostage' on a regular basis?"

Amen to that!! We have finally made a decision to move quite a distance so as to have better liturgy available.

English Pastor said...

I am left disapointed by the comments of His Holiness. The Bishops are asked to tolerate the TLM twice during the Pontiff's short statement. I do not want to be tolerated but welcomed. I also note that he says SP is "for those fromed in this liturgy", which Bishops can use to discourage the youth and those under fift from attending or celebrating the TLM. While SP has done great good, and while I am aware that the French Bishops are particualrly hostile to the TLM, an attitude which I would say stems back to the time of Archbishop Lefebvre's seminary attarcting more students than their own, I cannot help but be disapointed that the Pontiff has been, at the least, too conciliarty by speaking in this way. On occassion he rminds me of Pope Paul VI and the Archbishop of Canterbury who both tired to sit comfortably on the fence.
An English Pastor

Fr Michael Brown said...

Carol, your remarks remind me of a conversation I had not long ago with an older priest of the diocese who said that before the Council there were only three churches in this diocese where you could hear good music. Not even the cathedral was one of them.

However we have been told by the Coucil and by subsequent popes that all the faithful should be able to sing the parts of the Mass that belong to them in Latin.

Part of the problem is the will to promote chant and sacred polyphony is not often not there. Another is a reluctance to spend money on promoting good music.

I don`t think it should be a matter of policy that each diocese only has one location where chant can be found but I would be in favour of a diocese starting with one parish as a centre for teaching chant.

BTW where do you ever find `the original Greek Mass` being celebrated?

Fr Michael Brown said...

I agree that I feel somewhat held hostage when I hear `Bind us together` or `On eagle`s wings`. However I`ve heard all these so many times now I more or less immune. A `clapping Gloria` however can still make me lose the will to live.

Fr Michael Brown said...

English Pastor I agree with you. I wonder if these remarks have to be seen in the context of the French church whose episcopate has been famous for its opposition to the TLM? These reamrks do sit very well with Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos` interpretation of the Pope`s intentions.

Maybe the holy Father is just trying to keep the French calm while ll the time the expansion of the EF continues apace.

Nonetheless I hope we get more encouragement than this before too long.

Get Real, Man, said...

Have read the bit where the Pope says This 'motu proprio' is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral objective, for people who have been formed in this liturgy, who love it, know it and want to live with this liturgy," he said. "It is a small group, given that it presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. But it seems to me a normal demand of faith and pastoral concern for a bishop of our Church to have love and tolerance for these people and permit them to live with this liturgy." Can I ask what happens when we all, as we will, die out? Jus' askin'

Fr Michael Brown said...

GRM, I`m not sure who you mean when you say `what happens when we all, as we will, die out?` Do you mean the human race in general? Do you mean Catholics or just those who go to the EF. I don`t see much difference in the ratio of elderly to young in at the EF to what I see at the OF.

I`m reminded of the story of the commissar who pointed out to the Orthodox priest that, in 1930`s Russia,his congregation was mainly made up of old women and what would happen when they die? He replied `There will be more old women.`