Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Latest News About The Instruction Regarding Summorum Pontificum

By Brian Kopp

From Mundabor's Blog:

Latest News About The Instruction Regarding Summorum Pontificum

Messa in Latino has another post about the thorny question of the instruction. Once again, this beautiful site shows that it has pretty good feelers concerning Vatican affairs.

The process of the instruction is described as follows:

1) There was a first version, ready as soon as February 2008. A good version but with some questions left open. The then secretary of Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Perl, personally vouched with the Messa In Latino‘s blog post writer “Enrico” about this fact.

2) A second draft was prepared by the new Secretary of Ecclesia Dei and therefore called “Pozzo draft”. This was, we are assured, magnificent, as it was both exhaustive in its dealing with interpretation questions and able to greatly enhance the concrete possibility of use of the Tridentine Mass.What Summorum Pontificum freed in the juridical sense, this Instruction would have freed concerning its practical application.

3) The Pozzo draft was apparently “too good” and, well, not entirely popular among liberal Bishops. These then started to lobby to have it watered down. Messa in Latino mentions as helpers Cardinals Re, Kaspar, Arinze, Tauran. Together with Cardinal Levada, some (not all, see Kasper) of them are rather conservative chaps but alas, they’re no great friends of the Tridentine.

An added problem was that the merging of Ecclesia Dei within the CDF in the wake of the “Williamson affair” led to a deminutio of the latter, now merely a branch of the CDF and not in a position to vigorously defend the original document once pressure for change started to come from the CDF (Levada) himself.

The rest, as we will probably very soon say, is history.

What would seem to transpire (and at this point it seems to me that the people at Messa In Latino certainly know what they write) is that an original sincere intention to do things better and, most importantly, in an orthodox way goes through a process of internal “improvement” and comes out of the Vatican’s washer-dryer rather discolored in the best of cases, and gravely stained in the worst. One is reminded of Vatican II, really.

Let us hope that last-minute interventions will avoid great damage and that the bombing of Summorum Pontificum, so it should come, will prove not threatening for the edifice’s structure.

In the end and as I have written in the past, there is no way the resurgence of the desire for the Latin Mass can be stopped, though it can certainly be slowed down.

The real solution will come from the undertakers.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Will a New Papal Document Curtail Use of the Old Mass?

By Brian Kopp

As usual, Dr. Robert Moynihan has put together an excellent overview of the current discussions regarding the anticipated clarification of Summorum Pontificum:

Will a New Papal Document Curtail Use of the Old Mass?
On the internet, there are increasing worries among traditional Catholics that an upcoming Vatican Instruction on how to implement Summorum Pontificum will curtail use of the Old Mass

By Robert Moynihan

"Second-Class Catholics"?
Will the Vatican soon issue a document calling for some restrictions on the use of the old rite of the Mass?

The internet, especially in traditional Catholic circles, is abuzz with reports that this may be about to happen.

But for the moment, these reports are based only on rumors.

Officially, no one yet knows the content of the upcoming Vatican Instruction to give guidelines for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum -- the dramatic and controversial July 7, 2007 papal motu proprio in which Benedict XVI, after long hesitation, granted wider use of the old, pre-Vatican II liturgy, also known as the Tridentine liturgy or the Latin Mass.

The upcoming document is indeed being prepared; that much is certain. 

It is said to bear the date of February 22 -- just four days from now.

But it is not likely to be made public on February 22, but some days or weeks later, as often happens with Roman documents, and the document can even be rewritten during that time, after the date it is signed.

So we may be in for a considerable period of uncertainty on this question. And that will naturally allow room for fears based on uncertain or partial information to grow.

According to unconfirmed "leaks" of portions of the document's contents, the Instruction will, somewhat unexpectedly, contain two clauses which will restrict the celebration of the old rite.

I say "somewhat unexpectedly" because the expectation for this document was that it would concretize what Benedict said in 2007 was his desire for a  "generous" granting of permission to celebrate the old liturgy "widely."

It therefore seems strange to many that, if the reports are true, it may contain new restrictions, as if this would be out of keeping with Benedict's own expressed will.

First, according to these reports, the old Mass will not be able to be freely celebrated in places where "non-Roman" Western rites once flourished, especially in Milan, where the Ambrosian rite flourished. (This is of importance because Milan is one of the largest dioceses in the world.)

In an internet report on the Catholic website Rorate Coeli (http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/02/instruction-ii-ghettoization-must-start.html), we read:

"In its current draft, the Instruction definitely 'clarifies' that the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum is applied exclusively to the Roman Rite, in the strictest interpretation of the word. Therefore, not to the non-Roman Latin Rites: the clearly minoritarian or even forgotten Mozarabic, Braga, or Sarum rites. But the rule would apply also to the not few religious who have tried to rediscover their Traditional rites or uses: Dominicans and Carmelites, in particular, but also Carthusians, Norbertines... What is surprising is that the extension of the spirit of the motu proprio to other Western rites and uses had always been assumed...

"This restrictive rule," the web site continues, "would in particular (and would seem thus planned, considering the complications of the Italian Church) exclude the application of the motu proprio to the Traditional Liturgy of the largest diocese in the Old World, and third with most Catholics in the world: Milan. Excluding the enclaves of Roman Rite, the motu proprio would be void in the Archdiocese and in the Ambrosian zones of the Diocese of Lugano, Switzerland.

"For over five million Catholics in that area, and for religious priests dedicated to their rites or uses, the rules to be applied would not be those of Summorum (the Traditional Liturgy as a right of priests and groups of faithful), but only Ecclesia-Dei-like privileges and concessions, granted by the liturgical authorities of the Archdiocese (in the case of Milan) or the Superiors (in the case of the orders).

"Why such a restriction? In legal terms, nothing seems to demand it: the text of Summorum is sufficiently ambiguous that it can be interpreted in both ways...

"This first major point of the instruction has, thus, a clear repressive and punitive intention. Its sense would be extremely dangerous: that the Traditional liturgies of the West, rather than being encouraged (as the letter of the motu proprio makes clear), must be contained, regulated, oppressed. Not a clear declaration of rights, but a bureaucratic web of limited privileges and concessions: this small example seems to set the general new tone regarding the Traditional Liturgy.
"This may seem minor," the Rorate Coeli website concludes. "Yet it is quite significant in what it reveals: an interpretation of the rights recognized by Summorum as privileges or 'indults' that can be curtailed."

Second, and "much, much, more serious and insidious" says Rorate Coeli, is the report that "the Instruction, in its current draft, will explicitly prevent Bishops from using the Traditional Rite of Holy Orders."

In other words, bishops will not be able freely to ordain their seminarians using the old rite.

They will be able to celebrate all of the other sacraments -- baptism, confirmation, etc. -- according to the old rite, but not holy orders, unless they receive ask permission first from Rome.

There will be two exceptions, according to the leaked information, when bishops may use the old rite in priestly ordination ceremonies.

The first involves those institutes (the Ecclesia Dei institutes) and particular Churches dedicated exclusively to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

The other exception is that the Bishop that desires to ordain a certain seminarian in the ancient Rite will have to ask prior permission to Rome (to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei), which will then evaluate if said permission should be granted or not.

"What is to be achieved by this odious restrictive interpretation?" Rorate Coeli asks. "Why should bishops be forbidden to choose with which Rite to ordain their own deacons and priests? The intention is, among others, to ghettoize the Traditional Rite of this most pivotal of all Sacraments, Holy Orders; and, further, to identify 'problematic' bishops and future priests, with all consequences that could entail (including for their careers)."

The website concludes: "It is an alarming sign that the thrust of the Instruction is once again to make, even in law, all Catholics attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite or those who merely appreciate it (and, in this case, even Bishops and poor hopeful seminarians) second-class Catholics."

Some web bloggers argue that the leaks that have been leaked thus far are disinformation, that there is an effort being made to confuse people just before the Instruction's appearance.

"These documents go through many drafts, with many changes," one blogger wrote. "My guess is that such info is disinformation, intending to influence the document or – perhaps more importantly – its reception... It might have happened like this: A few powerful German or French bishops communicate with or visit Ecclesia Dei, recommending that certain restrictions be in the Instruction. Then word is put out through sources that such restrictions will be in the Instruction. A similar MO [modus operandi] was used before Humanae Vitae was promulgated."

Father John Zuhlsdorf, whose popular website "What Does the Prayer Really Say?" (http://wdtprs.com/blog) has reported on the leaks, has encouraged his readers to pray for the Holy Father.

"If you are concerned about what might happen to Summorum Pontificum," he writes, "pray and fast. Don’t whine. Don’t panic. Don’t fret. Don’t behave like a suddenly headless chicken.

"Do what a committed Catholic warrior would do for a cause that is dear," Zuhldsorf continues. "Go to church and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament every day until this resolves one way or another. Ask Jesus to either stop the Instruction or to make Summorum Pontificum even better. Pray the Rosary for the Holy Father. Ask our Blessed Mother to move the Holy Father to keep Summorum Pontificum strong, to make it even stronger. Pray to the Holy Father’s guardian angels constantly during the day asking them to strengthen him and to weaken his many enemies, some of them very close to him."

Zuhlsdorf and others desire to "keep Summorum Pontificum strong" because they see the revival of the old liturgy as positive not only for the Church's cultural identity, but also for the holiness of her faith and morals.

One blogger, noting that he had just read through the "shocking" Philadelphia Grand Jury report, just published, on the investigation into the priestly abuse of minors in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, expresses a feeling widely shared by traditional Catholics: that the loss of the sense of the sacred which followed the introduction of the new Mass in 1970 -- for whatever reason -- also contributed to a loss of moral discipline, of a moral compass, among many Catholics, especially among the clergy, and that the return to the faith and practice inculcated by the old Mass is the best way to restore the holiness of the life of the Church and end the scandals.

But, this blogger notes, after four decades, a return to that faith and practice is bitterly opposed by many in the Church, some of them very powerful and highly placed.

A Petition on this Matter
At the following web address, you can find a petition in several languages which asks the Holy Father to intervene, if necessary, to revise the wording of this draft document: http://www.motuproprioappeal.com/

Here is the text of that petition:

Appeal for the Preservation of the Integrity of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum

An Appeal to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, Pertaining to the Instruction/Clarification of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum

Most Holy Father, we the undersigned:

1. Express our profound gratitude to Your Holiness for your personal liturgical example to the Universal Church. You are a true homo liturgicus whose love for the sacred liturgy is an inspiration; it teaches more clearly than words the centrality of the liturgy in the life of the Church.

2. Thank Your Holiness for your gift to the Church of your 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Since 2007 it has brought forth many fruits, including greater unity in the Church of Christ and a widespread enrichment of the liturgical life of the Church.

3. Note with sadness the continuing and real opposition to the implementation of Summorum Pontificum in many dioceses and on the part of many members of the hierarchy, the suffering and distress this continues to cause many of Christ’s faithful and the obstacle this opposition is to an effective reconciliation within the Church.

4. Note with anxiety the apparent signs that a forthcoming Instruction on Summorum Pontificum will, in some way, take away from what you have legally established in that Motu Proprio and from its wide application in the generous spirit so eloquently explained by Your Holiness in the letter accompanying it: “Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.”

5. Express our grave concern that any restrictive measures would cause scandal, disunity and suffering in the Church and would frustrate the reconciliation you so earnestly desire, as well as impede further liturgical renewal and development in continuity with Tradition, which is already so great a fruit of your pontificate.

6. Express our hope, our desire and our urgent appeal that the good Your Holiness personally initiated through Summorum Pontificum not be allowed to be hindered by such restrictions.

7. Turn to you with filial trust and as obedient sons and daughters, Most Holy Father, and ask that you urgently consider our concerns and intervene if you judge it necessary.

8. Assure Your Holiness of our continuing prayers, of our deep affection and of our loyalty.

If you go to the web site, you can add your name to this petition.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fears that the clarification document will water down Summorum Pontificum

By Brian Kopp

Here are two good blog posts summarizing what is known to date regarding the "clarification" document:

Ars Orandi: Fears that the clarification document will water down Summorum Pontificum
English Catholic: Summorum Pontificum threatened – or is it?

And of course, level headed advice from Fr. Zuhlsdorf at WDTPRS:
An initial comment concerning the Instruction about Summorum Pontificum

... If you are concerned about what might happen to Summorum Pontificum, pray and fast.  Don’t whine.  Don’t panic.  Don’t fret.  Don’t behave like a suddenly headless chicken.
Do what a committed Catholic warrior would do for a cause that is dear.
  • Go to church and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament every day until this resolves one way or another.
  • Ask Jesus to either stop the Instruction or to make Summorum Pontificum even better.
  • Pray the Rosary for the Holy Father.
  • Ask our Blessed Mother to move the Holy Father to keep Summorum Pontificum strong, to make it even stronger.
  • Pray to the Holy Father’s guardian angels constantly during the day asking them to strengthen him and to weaken his many enemies, some of them very close to him.
  • Fast and offer your hunger – real hunger, don’t fool around if you are going to do this -  for the Holy Father’s well-being and firm resolve.
Be prudent about fasting, of course, especially if others rely on you and you have health concerns.  But if you are young and healthy, fast.

If Fr. Z. is strongly recommending prayer and fasting, then one could safely assume there is reason for concern, no?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Summorum Pontificum 'under threat', say Roman sources

By Brian Kopp

A month ago Fr. Zuhlsdorf at WDTPRS wrote about the imminent release of The Instruction concerning Summorum Pontificum.

Now the contents of that clarification are in doubt. See Damien Thompson's blog entry and the latest updates at Rorate Caeli blog:

Summorum Pontificum 'under threat', say Roman sources

By Damian Thompson Last updated: February 16th, 2011

A priest friend emails me to draw my attention to an extraordinary post on the Rorate Caeli blog suggesting that a forthcoming “clarification” to Summorum Pontificum will severely limit freedom to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. “It seems there is some truth in this awful rumour,” he says.
I do hope not. But here, anyway, is the blog post, written in somewhat melodramatic language (with my emphases):
Strange, violent, and dark forces wish to derail the application of Summorum Pontificum. Lawyers (and those who know lawyers…) and legislators are quite aware how this goes: a lower-ranking interpretive text so modifies the clear letter of the law that renders the latter ineffectual.
Reports from different sources suggest that ill-intentioned people within the highest ranks of the Holy See wish to use the clarification document on Summorum Pontificum as a Trojan Horse, emptying the motu proprio of all its content, especially regarding Parish Priests and other members of the diocesan clergy (see e.g. Messa in Latino). This is a dangerous, clear, and credible threat. We must pray, indeed, but all priests and lay faithful must act. All Catholic faithful must send urgent and respectful letters to the Holy Father, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Secretariat of State, the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’, and other authorities, asking the Holy Father and curial authorities to defend the clear letter of the motu proprio that gave us freedom and thanking once again the Holy Father for the gift that was Summorum Pontificum, including references to the personal improvement brought to one’s Catholic life and family by the wider availability of the Traditional liturgy.
This is also a time for open letters to the Pope, from all concerned Catholic intellectuals, in Italy, in France, in Germany, in Britain, in America, and elsewhere. We must make our voices heard BEFORE the storm hits, and it may hit us very soon.
RorateCaeli is standing behind its reports:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Let us defend Summorum Pontificum against the Trojan Horse

[Update: We will keep this up; all signs from different sources are aligning, and unexpected sources have confirmed our fears; the matter is too relevant to be kept in silence.]

Contacts (for anyone who wants to write in and plead for the correct implementation of Summorum Pontificum):

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
Palazzo Apostolico
Via del Pellegrino
00120 Città del Vaticano

His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Segretetia di Stato
Palazzo Apostolico
00120 Città del Vaticano

His Eminence Cardinal William J. Levada.
Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede
Piazza del S. Uffizio 11
00l20 Città del Vaticano

Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei"
Piazza del S. Uffizio 11
00l20 Città del Vaticano

His Excellency The Most Reverend Pietro Sambi
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
3339 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008-3687