Friday, August 07, 2009

The English bishops` Ad Limina and Summorum Pontificum

An article on Fr Ray Blake`s blog has stirred me from my blogging inertia. He tells of a conversation with a ` leading Catholic layman` about the forthcoming visit of the English bishops to Rome in January and the likely discussions about the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. You can read about it here.
Also the Tablet today reveals that archbishop Vincent Nichols has written a letter to all participants in the August LMS training conference at London Colney which gives food for thought. Participants are not to `denigrate the ordinary form of Mass`. Fair enough, but I suppose their presence at a training conference for the Extraordinary Form would indicate that the Ordinary Form maybe does not satisfy them entirely. The article reports the archbishop as saying that anyone who does denigrate the ordinary form of the Mass ` is inexorably distancing themselves from the Church`. By the same logic, (as pointed out in the combox of WDTPRS blog) anyone who denigrates the extraordinary form could also be said to be inexorably distancing themselves from the Church.
Well, Summorum Pontificum gave to parish priests the ability to make the decision to celebrate the EF, either themselves privately or publicly at the request of a group. I don`t see that changing. Wouldn`t it be better if our authorities gave a bit of encouragement to those who seek to take advantage of the provisions of SP, who give up their time to learn how to say it and congratulate them on doing so rather than be seen to be dragging their feet and appearing rather nervous about the whole thing? It`s not going to go away.
UPDATE: As `motuproprio` points out in the combox this is only the Tablet`s take on the the forward by the archbishop. It will be useful to see the whole text rather than relying on the Tablet.

8 comments:

motuproprio said...

I think this is The Tablet putting the most unhelpful possible spin on Abp Nichols' foreward to the Training Conference booklet. What is accepted by all -except a very few extremists- is that the Mass of Pope Paul VI is no less valid than the traditional Latin Mass. The LMS is no longer a backwoods organisation, it is now part of the mainstream, and that is in fact a cause of rejoicing to all except extreme 'Tabletistas'.

1569 Rising said...

Father,
Please indulge me in what may be a longer than usual blog, but you have raised a serious matter that cannot be easily dismissed.

Archbishop Nichols has a point, which could be applied equally to the laity. He asks priests "not to denigrate the ordinary form of the Mass." The same could go for the laity, and I am as guilty as anyone of this. Summorum Pontificum states that the EF and OF forms of the Roman Rite are to be given equal status, thus reversing the de facto "banning" of the old rite in many diocese.

My own journey in Faith took me from a 30-year happy acceptance of the 1970 changes to almost lapsing from the church. A succession of parish priests who celebrated the new rite with due reverence and devotion, (yes, it can be done), was followed by a couple of do-it-yourself characters who obviously enjoyed the theatrical side of being the centre of attention. Increasingly I began, probably unfairly, to doubt the Real Presence, because of the way Mass was being said. If I was unsure of the level of belief in the celebrant, then that transferred over to me, and I am sure to other members of the congregation. There was a notable decline in the behaviour of the congregation, a slackening of respect, and a concomitant increase in chatter and inattention.

I was saved by my discovery of the Latin Mass some 5 years ago, for which I am extremely grateful.

However, there is an attitude among some of the laity that it has to be the EF or nothing. They are in effect denying the Pope's words calling for equal treatment. It is possible for the OF Mass to be celebrated with as much devotion and respect as the EF. The priests of my acqaintance who regularly celebrate both rites do so with equal reverence.

I had the great pleasure of watching a Mass celebrated last Sunday morning on Austrian Television. It came from a tiny village, but a village with a superb Baroque church, St Martin bei Lofer. It was Novus Ordo, in German, with a quite outstanding local choir and the village band. The devotion of celebrant, servers, musicians and congregation was palpable, as uplifting an experience as anyone would wish.

So, Archbishop Nichols has a point, and his message should be taken on board by the laity, especially those of us who love the EF. Some of us are in danger of becoming a sect, if we are not careful. Equal status for both rites is the Pope's plea, let's heed it.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks 1569. I think the problem which those of us who love the EF have is that it has been such a struggle to get where we are today (and it is till far from easy) that we fear any sign that what we have is going to be snatched from us again.

I celebrate the OF almost every day so I hope I can`t be accused of denigrating it. However I prefer the EF and there is no way I can deny that. I only wish those who prefer the OF would show similar tolerance to those who are more at home in the EF.

It will be sueful to see the ful text of the forward. However the very idea of Westminster ( or any other English diocese) lending its name to a training course for the EF shows us how far we have come.

Dorothy said...

I hope the bishops will be required to include in their 3-year reports:
1. Both scheduled parish Masses and Masses "sine populo";
2. Details of the publicity they and their clergy have given to both kinds of EF Mass, and to Summorum Pontificum itself;
3. Where publicity has not been given, the reasons why not.
This arises from my own experience, which may be echoed by the experiences of other readers. I have written to Mgr Pozzo, the new Secretary of Ecclesia Dei, to ask if the Commission could consider requesting this information from the bishops. Bearing in mind that many of the faithful may still be unaware of the existence of the Motu Proprio, I do not believe the Holy Father will receive an accurate picture unless this information is provided.

Thomas More said...

The bona fides of Archbishop Nichols in relation to this matter is easily ascertained.

Has he issued a similar exhortation (mutatis mutandis) to any event using exclusively the Novus Ordo?

BJR said...

My understanding is that 'The Tablet' is actually quite accurate on this. The LMS have been asked to pass on Archbishop Nichols' statement to all the delegates.

I understand too that some LMS people will not be prepared to assist at OF celebrations at the Conference. If that does indeed happen then the Archbishop will clearly have to take appropriate action.

FrankE said...

Thomas More said...

" The bona fides of Archbishop Nichols in relation to this matter is easily ascertained.

Has he issued a similar exhortation (mutatis mutandis) to any event using exclusively the Novus Ordo?"

I would hope so - such as seminaries, for example.

Sacerdos said...

I suspect the Archbishop's concerns are connected to the leadership changes in the LMS.
They are not unconnected with the Cardinal's refusal to rubberstamp the LMS's invitation to Abp Burke.
Unfortunately the LMS is making enemies, not friends, amongst the bishops and the more traditional clergy. Those not attending London Colney is significant, either because they or their friends feel they have been badly treated by the LMS.
Schism and denigration of the EF(rather than stating preferences or criticisms) seems to be more about the LMS's new leaders rather than any clergy I know.