Friday, December 30, 2005

Ottaviani Intervention Part VI

After a short hiatus for holiday travels (during which I suffered from a particularly bad Christmas liturgy, I'm afraid -- though the Lord blessed me in various other respects) I return to my reading of the Ottaviani Intervention (the entire text of which can be found here).


SUPPRESSION OF GREAT PRAYERS
In the preparation of the offering, a similar equivocation results from the suppression of two great prayers. The "Deus qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti et mirabilius reformasti" was a reference to man's former condition of innocence and to his present one of being ransomed by the Blood of Christ: a recapitulation of the whole economy of the Sacrifice, from Adam to the present moment. The final propitiatory offering of the chalice, that it might ascend "cum adore suavitatis", into the presence of the divine majesty, whose clemency was implored, admirably reaffirmed this plan. By suppressing the continual reference of the Eucharistic prayers to God, there is no longer any clear distinction between divine and human sacrifice.


The argument needs no commentary. The prayers referred to are these:


O God, + Who established the nature of man in wondrous dignity, and still more admirably restored it, grant that by the mystery signified in the mingling of this water and wine, may we come to share in His Divinity, who humbled himself to share in our humanity, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, humbly begging of Thy mercy that it may arise before Thy divine Majesty, with a pleasing fragrance, for our salvation and for that of the whole world.


"cum adore suavitatis" should be "cum odore suavitatis", "with a pleasing fragrance".


Having removed the keystone, the reformers have had to put up scaffolding; suppressing real ends, they had to substitute fictitious ends of their own; leading to gestures intended to stress the union of priest and faithful, and of the faithful among themselves; offerings for the poor and for the church superimposed upon the Offering of the Host to be immolated. There is a danger that the uniqueness of this offer will become blurred, so that participation in the immolation of the Victim comes to resemble a philanthropical meeting, or a charity banquet.


Some examples of what the Novus Ordo places in stead of these prayers:


Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.

By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.

Lord God, we ask you to receive us and be pleased with the sacrifice we offer you with humble and contrite hearts.

Lord, wash away my iniquity; cleanse me from my sin.


N.B. that the prayer "Lord God, we ask you to receive . . ." is simply a mistranslation of the Latin, which remains the same in both Masses:


In a humble spirit and with a contrite heart, may we be accepted by Thee, O Lord, and may our sacrifice so be offered in Thy sight this day as to please Thee, O Lord God.


Apparently some peple are aginst the solemn tone, as well as stressing the divine element in the economy of salvation.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Intervention Part V

The letter continues,


III PRESENTATION OF THE ENDS

We now come to the ends of the Mass.

1. Ultimate End. This is that of the Sacrifice of praise to the Most Holy Trinity according to the explicit declaration of Christ in the primary purpose of His very Incarnation: "Coming into the world he saith: 'sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not but a body thou hast fitted me' ". (Ps. XXXIX, 7-9 in Heb. X, 5).


The letter to the Hebrews continues:


10:9. Then said I: Behold, I come to do thy will, O God: He taketh away the first, that he may establish that which followeth.
Tunc dixit ecce venio ut faciam Deus voluntatem tuam aufert primum ut sequens statuat

10:10. In the which will, we are sanctified by the oblation of the body of Jesus Christ once.
In qua voluntate sanctificati sumus per oblationem corporis Christi Iesu in semel

10:11. And every priest indeed standeth daily ministering and often offering the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.
Et omnis quidem sacerdos praesto est cotidie ministrans et easdem saepe offerens hostias quae numquam possunt auferre peccata

10:12. But this man, offering one sacrifice for sins, for ever sitteth on the right hand of God,
Hic autem unam pro peccatis offerens hostiam in sempiternum sedit in dextera Dei

10:13. From henceforth expecting until his enemies be made his footstool.
De cetero expectans donec ponantur inimici eius scabillum pedum eius

10:14. For by one oblation he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Una enim oblatione consummavit in sempiternum sanctificatos


The point, if I understand it, is that Christ's one Sacrifice on the Cross was efficacious for the redemption of all sins. The Holy Sacrafice of the Mass is a re-presentation -- a making present -- of that one Sacrifice, not a new Sacrafice. And the letter authors tie this in to the essence of the Mass being 'a sacrifice of praise' on the part of us, the people, since we are brought through the Mass into communion with the one efficacious Sacrifice, through an act of will by which we offer our hearts to the Lord who died to save us. This could probably be stated much better, since it is something I have experienced more than analyzed in speech. Any suggestions?


This end has disappeared: from the Offertory, with the disappearance of the prayer "Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas", from the end of the Mass with the omission of the "Placet tibi Sancta Trinitas", and from the Preface, which on Sunday will no longer be that of the Most Holy Trinity, as this Preface will be reserved only to the Feast of the Trinity, and so in future will be heard but once a year.


I reproduce these prayers for you:


Accept, most Holy Trinity, this offering which we are making to Thee in remembrance of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, Our Lord; and in honor of blessed Mary, ever Virgin, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of (name of the Saints whose relics are in the Altar) and of all the Saints; that it may add to their honor and aid our salvation; and may they deign to intercede in heaven for us who honor their memory here on earth. Through the same Christ our Lord.

May the tribute of my worship be pleasing to Thee, most Holy Trinity, and grant that the sacrifice which I, all unworthy, have offered up in the presence of Thy Majesty, may be acceptable to Thee, and through Thy mercy obtain forgiveness for me and all for whom I have offered it. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

It is indeed fitting and right, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give thanks to Thee, Lord, Holy Father, almighty and eternal God, Who together with Thine only-begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God, one Lord: Not in the oneness of a single person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe from Thy revelation concerning Thy glory, that also we believe of Thy Son and of the Holy Ghost without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, Cherubim also and the Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.


The significance of dropping or de-emphasizing these prayers does seem clear.


2. Ordinary End. This is the propitiatory Sacrifice. It too has been deviated from; for instead of putting the stress on the remission of sins of the living and the dead, it lays emphasis on the nourishment and sanctification of those present (No. 54). Christ certainly instituted the Sacrament of the Last Supper putting Himself in the state of Victim in order that we might be united to Him in this state but his self- immolation precedes the eating of the Victim, and has an antecedent and full redemptive value (the application of the bloody immolation). This is borne out by the fact that the faithful present are not bound to communicate, sacramentally.


Try explaining this one at a typical Mass today, when everyone herd-like rushes to take Communion -- in the most irreverent manner -- from one of the near-dozen 'Eurcharistic ministers' who are strategically placed throughout the church. *Not going to Communion becomes a physical difficulty as the stream carries you forward, as well as an embarassment as no one grasps why one would refrain. The result is obivously unworthy reception on the part of millions and millions of souls, with the consequent dangers to their salvation (sacrilege). All for forgetting what the Mass is foremost for.


3. Immanent End. Whatever the nature of the Sacrifice, it is absolutely necessary that it be pleasing and acceptable to God. After the Fall no sacrifice can claim to be acceptable in its own right other than the Sacrifice of Christ. The Novus Ordo changes the nature of the offering turning it into a sort of exchange of gifts between man and God: man brings the bread, and God turns it into the "bread of life"; man brings the wine, and God turns it into a "spiritual drink".

"Thou are blessed Lord God of the Universe because from thy generosity we have received the bread (or wine) which we offer thee, the fruit of the earth (or vine) and of man's labour. May it become for us the bread of life (or spiritual drink)".

There is no need to comment on the utter indeterminateness of the formulae "bread of life" and "spiritual drink", which might mean anything. The same capital equivocation is repeated here, as in the definition of the Mass: there, Christ is present only spiritually among His own: here, bread and wine are only "spiritually" (not substantially) changed.


I also find these new prayers to be wimpy in the extreme. Compare what the traditional Mass has to say at this point:


Accept, O Holy Father, Almighty and eternal God, this spotless host, which I, Thine unworthy servant, offer to Thee, my living and true God, to atone for my numberless sins, offenses and negligences; on behalf of all here present and likewise for all faithful Christians living and dead, that it may profit me and them as a means of salvation to life everlasting. Amen.

O God, + Who established the nature of man in wondrous dignity, and still more admirably restored it, grant that by the mystery signified in the mingling of this water and wine, may we come to share in His Divinity, who humbled himself to share in our humanity, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, humbly begging of Thy mercy that it may arise before Thy divine Majesty, with a pleasing fragrance, for our salvation and for that of the whole world.

In a humble spirit and with a contrite heart, may we be accepted by Thee, O Lord, and may our sacrifice so be offered in Thy sight this day as to please Thee, who art our Lord and our God.

Come, O Sanctifier, Almighty and Eternal God, and bless, + this sacrifice prepared for the glory of Thy holy Name.

I wash my hands among the innocent, and I go around Thy altar, O Lord, that I may hear the voice of praise, and tell of all Thy wondrous works. O Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O God with the wicked: nor my life with men of blood. On their hands are crimes, and their right hands are full of bribes. But as for me I have walked in my innocence; redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot has stood in the right ways in the churches I will bless Thee, O Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


A slightly different emphasis, no?

Intervention Part IV

The letter continues . . .


II DEFINITION OF THE MASS

Let us begin with the definition of the Mass given in No. 7 of the "Institutio Generalis" at the beginning of the second chapter on the Novus Ordo: "De structura Missae":

"The Lord's Supper or Mass is a sacred meeting or assembly of the People of God, met together under the presidency of the priest, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord. Thus the promise of Christ, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them", is eminently true of the local community in the Church (Mt. XVIII, 20)".

The definition of the Mass is thus limited to that of the "supper", and this term is found constantly repeated (nos. 8, 48, 55d, 56). This supper is further characterised as an assembly presided over by the priest and held as a memorial of the Lord, recalling what He did on the first Maundy Thursday. None of this in the very least implies either the Real Presence, or the reality of sacrifice, or the Sacramental function of the consecrating priest, or the intrinsic value of the Eucharistic Sacrifice independently of the people's presence. It does not, in a word, imply any of the essential dogmatic values of the Mass which together provide its true definition. Here, the deliberate omission of these dogmatic values amounts to their having been superseded and therefore, at least in practice, to their denial.

In the second part of this paragraph 7 it is asserted, aggravating the already serious equivocation, that there holds good, "eminently", for this assembly Christ's promise that "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. XVIII, 20). This promise which refers only to the spiritual presence of Christ with His grace, is thus put on the same qualitative plane, save for the greater intensity, as the substantial and physical reality of the Sacramental Eucharistic Presence.


N.B. that, during the the delay this letter prompted, this paragraph was removed and replaced with an orthodox definition of the Mass. But at the same time the Mass to which it was originally affixed went forward. At least two things follow: 1) the actual, heterodox motives behind the redaction of the Roman rite Mass were simply obscured, rather than rejecting a Mass that had been designed for reasons contrary to the Catholic faith; 2) everyone who shared these heterodox views knew that they lay behind the actual changes in the Mass, whatever anyone said; these folks were therefore encouraged to believe they had only met a temporary setback and could confidently proceed with their revolution until the real 'spirit of Vatican II' was vindicated. They are still waiting; they are still imposing their heterodox practices on millions of Catholics everywhere; they are still justifying their sacrileges by saying 'We are the Church' and reducing the Mass to a 'supper' constituted by a Christ who is merely derivative of the gathering of the faithful, NOT (in their minds and in their practices) present in the person of the priest representing apostolic authority and making Christ physically present in the Blessed Sacrament. These latter, vital truths are still being ignored or drastically downplayed until the time when the Church 'evolves' beyond having to waste time on them, and those who, like Pope Benedict, are striving to renew the Church's belief in them are facing widespread and massive resistance on the part of the corrupt Church hierarchy . . .


In no. 8 a subdivision of the Mass into "liturgy of the word" and Eucharistic liturgy immediately follows, with the affirmation that in the Mass is made ready "the table of God's word" as well as "the Body of Christ", so that the faithful "may be built up and refreshed"; an altogether improper assimilation of the two parts of the liturgy, as though between two points of equal symbolic value. More will be said about this point later.


I await more detail on this point. A greater emphasis on Scripture reading and so forth in the first part of the liturgy is certainly a showpiece of the Novus Ordo. Its result has certainly not been any greater understanding of Scripture on the part of Catholics. As for any theological problems with the emphasis, I'll see what this letter has to say later on.


This Mass is designated by a great many different expressions, all acceptable relatively, all unacceptable if employed, as they are, separately in an absolute sense.

We cite a few: The Action of the People of God; The Lord's Supper or Mass, the Pascal Banquet; The Common Participation of the Lord's Table; The Eucharistic Prayer; The Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic Liturgy.

As is only too evident, the emphasis is obsessively placed upon the supper and the memorial instead of upon the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary. The formula "The Memorial of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord", besides, is inexact, the Mass being the memorial of the Sacrifice alone, in itself redemptive, while the Resurrection is the consequent fruit of it.


I was not aware of this point. Just after the consecration, the traditional Mass does have this prayer:


Wherefore, O Lord, we, Thy servants, as also Thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed passion of the same Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, His Resurrection from the grave, and His glorious Ascension into heaven, offer up to Thy most excellent Majesty, of Thine own gifts bestowed upon us, a Victim + which is pure, a Victim + which is holy, a Victim + which is stainless, the holy bread + of life eternal and the Chalice + of eternal salvation.


In this prayer one can see the emphasis on Christ as Victim, though His Victomhood gains its ultimate significance only from his Resurrection and Ascension in which we also share in the Blessed Sacrament. Surely it is essential to the Mass that it remembers all these things and that it looks forward to the second coming of Christ. All these things are better attested to in the prayers of the traditional Mass anyhow.


We shall later see how, in the very consecratory formula, and throughout the Novus Ordo, such equivocations are renewed and reiterated.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Intervention Part III

Our series continues -- though we will be interrupted as I travel for Christmas.

The letter goes on,


REJECTED BY SYNOD

Since the "normative" Mass (New Mass), now reintroduced and imposed as the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of the Mass), was in substance rejected by the Synod of Bishops, was never submitted to the collegial judgement of the Episcopal Conferences, nor have the people - least of all in mission lands - ever asked for any reform of Holy Mass whatsoever, one fails to comprehend the motives behind the new legislation which overthrows a tradition unchanged in the Church since the 4th and 5th centuries, as the Apostolic Constitution itself acknowledges. As no popular demand exists to support this reform, it appears devoid of any logical grounds to justify it and makes it acceptable to the Catholic people.


An interesting fact about Thomistic thought -- and the mind the Church in general -- is that custom can, under certain conditions, supercede or even alter the law. Most crucially, when human law is unjust -- when it contradicts natural and/or divine law -- disobedience becomes an option (weighing its consequences prudently). When this exception becomes the norm -- when a law is genuinely outdated but the authorities refuse to retract it -- custom becomes a way of repealing it from below, so to speak. This may sound revolutionary, and in certain cases it may justify something like revolution. But in this case consider the light it sheds on the theft of our liturgy, which was perpetrated by elites in whose minds the liturgy had to be dumbed down for the masses. Quite serious and devout people still raise this objection to the traditional rite: it is too complicated for folks to understand, hence the predominance of alternative prayers while Mass was being said, etc. Well, if editing out some of the Mass's most sublime prayers and translating away most of its reverence was supposed to make it clearer to the people, that seems to have failed dismally. The truths the Mass is meant to convey are if anything *less understood by the people today than ever before. The lengths to which the celebrants go to make the Mass accessible convince many attendees to conclude that nothing is being offered to them but what they already know and believe. There is nothing to aspire to, nothing to struggle with, nothing therefore to love outside of oneself.

Some see this as progress; I see it as a lie. Faith is a struggle for us, a spiritual combat, and Mass should fortify us for this combat, not convince us we're OK as we are. When Mass was profound it may have posed more of a difficulty for those attending; but it is wrong to conclude they therefore wanted to destroy it and make it easy. As a muscle-bound character in the GI Joe comics I used to read always said, "Who ever said life was supposed to be easy?" The Mass should convey hard as well as comforting truths: e.g., salvation is not a cakewalk. This is not elitism but just the opposite: it is tending the Lord's sheep as He commanded the Church to do.


The Vatican Council did indeed express a desire (para. 50 Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium) for the various parts of the Mass to be reordered "ut singularum partium propria ratio nec non mutua connexio clarius pateant." We shall see how the Ordo recently promulgated corresponds with this original intention.


Paragraph 50 reads:


50. The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.

For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.


What this really means is an interesting question. That the current radical redaction of the Mass goes far beyond simplification and clarification into downright tampering with the Mass as it was handed down organically from the holy Fathers to the Council Fathers, appears to be a theme of this letter.

For my part, I would also flag the problem that what tradition has passed on is clear and obvious; what the early Church Fathers did during Mass is more a matter of guesswork. It is imprudent to place too much stress on the latter element, regardless of whether it should even be a significant consideration. As for the word 'discarded', it does make me wince in this context . . .


An attentive examination of the Novus Ordo reveals changes of such magnitude as to justify in themselves the judgement already made with regard to the "normative" Mass. Both have in many points every possibility of satisfying the most Modernist of Protestants.


Looks like some interesting analysis ahead. Stay tuned . . .

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Intervention Part II

The next part of the letter begins the analysis of the Novus Ordo over against the Mass of the ages:


I HISTORY OF THE CHANGE

In October 1967, the Episcopal Synod called in Rome was required to pass judgement on the experimental celebration of a so-called "normative Mass" (New Mass), devised by the Consilium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia. This Mass aroused the most serious misgivings. The voting showed considerable opposition (43 non placet), very many substantial reservations (62 juxta modum), and 4 abstentions out of 187 voters. The international press spoke of a "refusal" of the proposed "normative Mass" (New Mass) on the part of the Synod. Progressively-inclined papers made no mention of it. In the Novus Ordo Missae lately promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, we once again find this "normative Mass" (New Mass), identical in substance, nor does it appear that in the intervening period the Episcopal Conference, at least as such, were ever asked to give their views about it.


What could have been driving the New Mass forward, if not consensus on the part of Church leaders? Perhaps the notion of 'progress', inevitable, unquestionable, unthinking progress?


In the Apostolic Constitution, it is stated that the ancient Missal promulgated by St. Pius V, 13th July 1570, but going back in great part to St. Gregory the Great and still remoter antiquity, was for four centuries the norm for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice for priests of the Latin rite, and that, taken to every part of the world, "it has moreover been an abundant source of spiritual nourishment to many holy people in their devotion to God".


I remember a recent convert to Catholicism complaining about a TLM he had been to, that was not using the same readings as the Novus Ordo, which he described as being the same everywhere he went -- hence more in line with the Catholic faith. Aside from only mentioning places w/in the US -- what universality! -- and glossing over all the permutations in the liturgy introduced by the new rubrics and the new 'spirit' that allows rubrics to be broken, he also missed another element of Catholicism that used to be obvious from the Mass itself, but no longer is now that we use an 'updated' version: the communion of saints. What is more Catholic, a Mass that sounds pretty much the same anywhere you go north of Mexico, or a Mass that is by and large identical to the one whose readings were arranged by St. Jerome 1600 years ago, whose language has not changed in 1800 years at least, and whose prayers were cherished and incorporated into the hearts of countless men and women we now know to be with God in Heaven? Looking at it in this light -- the light of faith -- the answer seems obvious.


Yet, the present reform, putting it definitely out of use, was claimed to be necessary since "from that time the study of the Sacred Liturgy has become more widespread and intensive among Christians".


This bit of snobbery is pretty rich, considering the opposition to the New Mass from the Church hierarchy itself. Of couse, it is the typical progressive intellectual claptrap: 'study' has 'shown' that formerly all the world was mad, and my crackpot ideas are the only logical option hereon in.


This assertion seems to us to embody a serious equivocation. For the desire of the people was expressed, if at all, when - thanks to Pius X - they began to discover the true and everlasting treasures of the liturgy. The people never on any account asked for the liturgy to be changed, or mutilated so as to understand it better. They asked for a better understanding of the changeless liturgy, and one which they would never have wanted changed.

The Roman Missal of St. Pius V was religiously venerated and most dear to Catholics, both priests and laity. One fails to see how its use, together with suitable catechesis, could have hindered a fuller participation in, and great knowledge of the Sacred Liturgy, nor why, when its many outstanding virtues are recognised, this should not have been considered worthy to continue to foster the liturgical piety of Christians.


Could not have said it better myself!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ottaviani Intervention

Thought I would try something new to get the blog going a bit. Sorry for my absence, by the way. These are busy times and I only blog when a) a bloggable thought occurs to me, b) I have a few mintues. For the time being, cutting and pasting is the high point for this tanless blogger.

Which gave me the idea of reproducing interesting documents here with commentary on a somewhat regular basis. We'll see if I rise to regularity. For starters, I just ran into this very interesting piece written in 1969. You can read the whole thing here.

The background is that Pope Paul VI was about ready to release the Novus Ordo Missae, the hacked-up rump of the Roman Rite that is currently the norm for Latin rite Catholics (often in poor translation to boot). Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci presented the pope with the following letter, including a detailed analysis and critique of the New Mass as a threat to the Catholic faith. The effect, sadly, was but to delay the issuance of the Mass by about two years, with revisions only to its rubrics (including the subtraction of blatantly heretical statements). Thus does the Holy Ghost prevent the Church from falling into absolute error. But, as an Advent prayer has it, God's people are "fallen indeed, but striving to rise" above the consequences of poor judgment.

I want to present this document a bit at a time and reflect a little on the credibility of its claims in light of 34 years of experience.


Rome, September 25th, 1969

Most Holy Father,

Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The "canons" of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.


Heresy is not a word we like to use much today. The Church used to place combating heresy among its chief duties. Man being what he is, he is in constant need of correction, restraint, reminding, etc. so as not to stray off the right path. The 'spirit of Vatican II', however, made this seem a thing of the past. The Church was now to be open, inclusive, positive in its relation to non-members, lapsed members, and bad members. A liturgy designed to reinforce Church teaching became an embarassment to some, who did not want to exclude those formerly known as heretics or schismatics from the sense of community with which they wanted to replace communion. So indeed, the new liturgy has caused some to remark that 'hey, there's really nothing that bad about Catholicism, looks just like my Baptist service', etc. As for its other effects, read on . . .


2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicions already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith.


Lex orandi, lex credendi. A drastic revision to our worship implies a drastic revision in our faith. To argue that the same faith needed a new mode of presentation (the presumption behind the 'pastoral concerns' shibboleth *still invoked by wayward bishops) is specious in the extreme. It implies the Church lacked all judgment and taste for century upon century, that what Catholics once did was the result of a faulty mentality that has now blissfully dissolved. If that is so, the Church is not the Church at all. A Church that only matured in the 1960s is a thing of naught.


Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonising crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come to our notice daily.


On this score, I have heard of priests who were told they were not permitted to offer the traditional Mass on pain of mortal sin. Turned out to be a lie, but it was part of the vilification of the 'old Mass' without which this novus ordo could never have become so unquestioningly accepted. Also here I think of the diminishment of the role of the priest that comes from a diminishment in focus on the Real Presence, transubstantiation, Eucharistic adoration, etc. A pastor whose flock wants to circle around itself rather than following the directions of its true Shepherd is in a sorry condition.


3. We are certain that these considerations, which can only reach Your Holiness by the living voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law.

Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the church, lamented by You our common Father, not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic world.


This appeal is still being made, and has not yet been answered in any adequate way. More from this document next time I can steal a few minutes . . .

Monday, December 12, 2005

Check this Out

The Democrats show their true colors . . .

Hat tip: James Taranto.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Understanding the Other Side

By James Taranto:


"Conservative columnist Ann Coulter gave up trying to finish a speech at the University of Connecticut on Wednesday night when boos and jeers from the audience became overwhelming," the Associated Press reports:

Coulter's appearance prompted protests from several groups, including Students Against Hate and the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center. They criticized her for spreading a message of hate and intolerance.

Nearly 100 students gathered inside the Student Union for a rally against Coulter. About a half-dozen people held protest signs outside the auditorium. . . .

Last April, the president of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota denounced a speech on the campus by Coulter, calling it hateful. In October 2004, University of Arizona police arrested two men who ran on stage and threw custard pies at Coulter; one of the pies glanced off her shoulder. . . .

Eric Knudsen, a 19-year-old sophomore journalism and social welfare major at UConn, didn't attend the speech.

"We encourage diverse opinion at UConn, but this is blatant hate speech," said Knudsen, head of Students Against Hate.


In case you don't speak Liberalese, here's Knudsen's comment translated into English: We encourage diverse opinion at UConn, as long as it is exactly the same as our own opinion. And by the way, what the heck is a "social welfare major"?


These people have gone over to the other side, i.e., to the Canadian side of things.
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