Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

That's What We're Talking About

In his letter to the bishops accompanying the motu proprio, Pope Benedict XVI says:
Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the pope and the bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I, too, lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the church.
Frankly, I'd much rather see the "deformations" cleaned up than wider use of the TLM, but then, there are only so many Vatican fingers, and a great many holes in the liturgical dike. One does what one can.

For whatever chaos there is in the Church these days, we can at least be glad it is absolutely nothing like at some periods -- as in Dante's time when there was question as to who was the legitimate pope, many bishops were appointed by local lobles and monarchs in direct opposition to the Holy See, and parish catechesis (aside from the good work being done by the preaching orders) was in a state of practical non existence. It's all too easy to feel at times like everything was great till the 1970 missal came out.

But getting back to the letter: Benedict also has some comments which seem to show a solid understanding of the arguments that have been inspired by the impending motu proprio and also by the traditionalist movement in general:
In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited "motu proprio," that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new missal will certainly remain the ordinary form of the Roman rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.

It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these.
And it looks like there is also some small motion in the direction of bringing the old rite back into organic development, rather than keeping it permanently in a state of suspended animation:
For that matter, the two forms of the usage of the Roman rite can be mutually enriching: new saints and some of the new prefaces can and should be inserted in the old missal. The "Ecclesia Dei" commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the "usus antiquior," will study the practical possibilities in this regard.

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