Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Summorum Pontificum Celebration

Last night we had a Missa Cantata and a social afterwards to celebrate the first anniversary of the Motu Proprio. While the attendance was not great, I thought it important to mark the day and give thanks for this great initiative of Pope Benedict which is bearing fruit in so many places. Unfortunately there is still a long way to go before the wish expressed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos at Westminster that all Catholics know the EF as part of their liturgical experience is fulfilled. However I have no doubt that in time the apparent resistance to the EF will wither as Catholics come to see that the current Roman Rite has two forms, an ordinary and extraordinary, and they are here to stay. High profile events will help to bring acceptance. I hope that before the next anniversary we get to see Pope Benedict either celebrate the EF or have it celebrated in his presence. On a local level I`m looking forward to the Mass we are having at St Mary`s cathedral on September 13th, as that will be an important milestone in the life of the EF in this diocese. Courses of instruction for seminarians in their seminaries will also be a great boost: I hope Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos is getting those letters out to the seminaries as he said he would!

Also advocates of the EF have an important role in the way they act. I thought this piece by Fr Zuhlsdorf on Zenit today made a useful point:

For so long the ecclesiastical establishment looked down on and marginalized more traditional Catholics, shoving them to the back of the bus because of their attachment to our tradition. Some of the more benign saw them as being like our family’s nutty but harmless aunt up in the attic.

On the other hand, many traditionalists, perhaps out of the deep hurts and disillusionment they felt after all the changes in the Church, the silly season of illicit innovations, the ash-canning of our beautiful churches, music, vestments, statues, devotions, you name it, wound up with an enormous chip on their collective shoulder.

As time went by, many of them knew no other way to “negotiate” with bishops and priests but simply to get in their face, make pushy demands, and arrogantly tell them what to do. It got to a point where even clerics who were open and sympathetic started to wince and back away whenever traditionalists approached. And so the waters of good relations froze.

Now, because some of the pain and alienation is starting to melt away in the hearts of many traditionalists, now that they can simply have what they should have been able to have all along, now that a little warm sunshine is being beamed in their direction by the Holy Father and others who share his vision, pastors of souls are starting to unclench as well.

The ice is breaking up and the water is flowing again. This was not an unexpected development. I fully believed this would happen because traditionalists are mostly good people who love Holy Church and want the best for their families, priests and bishops.

Bishops and priests, even when they are not personally inclined to traditional things, are mostly good men who love their flocks and sincerely desire their good. They all share common ground in what really matters. What I am surprised by is that the breaking of the ice dam -- though there is a long way to go yet -- is happening so quickly.

I underestimated the warmth of the sunlight and the openness of hearts, especially on the part of some bishops who, as a body, have not shown themselves in the past to be very friendly to traditional liturgy. This has made me rethink my own attitudes.

Well said Fr Z.


Anonymous said...

As an Old Believer I have my two fingers up!

Fr Michael Brown said...

I presume this is to stress your allegiance to the Roman Rite now having two forms.

PeterHWright said...

I agree that it's uphill work in England & Wales, but it seems to me the liturgical landscape has already changed since the publication of Summorum Pontificum in 2007.

I don't expect the widespread reintroduction of the "old" Mass every Sunday, not just yet, anyway ! But then I never expected the pontifical Mass in Westminster Cathedral in June, nor that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos would say the things he said, nor the front page splash in the Catholic Herald that week, nor many other things that have happened in the past year.

And the "old" Mass is spreading, albeit slowly. Unfortunately, the old indult mentality is still alive in pockets, but it is dying. I wonder if what has happened has fully sunk in yet, or has been sufficiently publicised : namely, that every priest with faculties to celebrate in the Roman rite may now use either the 1962 Missal or the 1970 Missal, without the need for further permission. And that this was not just another gesture from Rome. It's for keeps. Yes, I know there are practical difficulties ! Nevertheless this was an astonishing, dramatic step. In time, it will bear fruit.

It seems to me Father has reason for a further celebration in September : the anniversary of the "entrata in vigore" of Summorum Pontificum on 14th.

I'm reprising my celebration cocktail (if I can find the recipe) on 14 September. There is much to celebrate, and, I think, much to look forward to.

Anonymous said...

Fr Michael Brown said...
'I presume this is to stress your allegiance to the Roman Rite now having two forms.'

Now that is clever and very humourous, Bravo! - it might even warrant a prize by post.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Glad you liked it Old Believer. I was somewhat taken aback by your post! Now to reply to your comment on the schism post.