Saturday, July 14, 2007

The 'Company Line' on the Motu Proprio--And Signs of the Times

Some themes emerge from this well-constructed but brief article in the Milwaukee JS regarding the Motu Proprio.

1) The "Middle Ages" canard. (Codification date is not the same as origination date.)

The Tridentine Mass, which reaches back to the Middle Ages and was last modified in 1962, is not easy to master.

2) The "hard to learn" thing--always accompanied by the "nobody knows Latin" thing.

Its rubrics, or instructions, are complex. [Frs.] Cunningham and Sherman [celebrants of the Old Rite Indult Mass] estimate that it can take six months for a priest to learn to do it properly, which is a requirement of the pope.

Once the high school seminaries had closed and a majority of men coming to the seminary had already completed college, it became difficult to squeeze Latin into the curriculum, said Father Michael Witczak, who is leaving as rector of St. Francis Seminary here to teach at Catholic University of America. Younger men study some Latin, but it's optional for post-college seminarians.

(Fr. Witczak evidently ignored Papal guidelines on teaching Latin in the seminary--but never mind.)

3) The "back-to-the-past" bodyslam.

...the pope's letter made some Catholics concerned that it might signal a broader reversal of the Second Vatican Council's reforms of the 1960s.

4) The "nobody wants it" pre-emptive spike:

...the Director of the archdiocese's office for prayer and worship, said late this week, "I haven't received a single inquiry from a priest yet" about the pope's letter.

5) The "Jewish Question" silliness:

Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan stated in an e-mail message to priests that the pope's letter "should not affect us too much here." His message also says that there should be no concern about Jewish-Catholic relations because the pope states that priests should not celebrate the Tridentine Mass during the Easter Triduum - the three-day period that includes Good Friday.

(Here, the reporter deserves a good deal of credit for reading the MP more carefully than the Archbishop or his 'advisers'--the reporter gets the facts straight):

However, that requirement comes in a paragraph that deals with priests saying the Mass alone, without other people. It is not repeated in a paragraph that says pastors should willingly accept requests to say the Mass if it comes from "a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical traditions."

(Which means that some Catholics will continue to pray for the conversion of the Jews.)

Perhaps the most interesting portion of the article, however, was this sign of the times:

Witczak noted that many of the young seminarians tend to be more attracted than the older priests to traditional devotional practices.

"There's actually been an increase in the number of college-age young men who are starting to pursue an interest in seminary, and all of those guys are taking Latin in college," he added.

The reporter did not interview the Holy Spirit for his article. Based on the remarks above, that might have been interesting copy.

(To keep track of the Company Line, go to "The Top 10 Things They'll Say" at this site.)


RAG said...

The Latin mass has a place in the Church and certainly stands as an artistic faith expression. Of course, it should be willingly offered for those who speak Latin.

Dave Pawlak said...

Fr. W. noted that seminarians study Spanish. If one studies Spanish, one will pick up Latin more easily.

Terrence Berres said...

The first sentence of the first document of Vatican II, the Constiution on the Sacred Liturgy, says "1. This sacred Council has several aims in view: ... to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church." Maybe the objection is that the older form focuses too much on converting the Jews, as opposed to converting everybody (including the Jews).

M.Z. Forrest said...

Maybe you can straighten me out on this one, b/c I've heard it both ways. I thought the petition regarding Jews had been striken from the '62 missal but had been in the prior missal.

In regards to the Triduum I've heard three variations. The two most likely are the one you posit and the one Father Z posits. He states that in a parish offering both masses only the NO would be offered on Good Friday etc.

Dad29 said...

Terry & MZ: The adjective "perfidious" was dropped from the prayer for the conversion of the Jews quite some time ago.

As to "concentrating" on them--nope. No more than in the Pauline Use's prayers, (which no longer call for conversion.)

Fr. Z is correct, I think. But that does not apply to groups which use ONLY the Joannine Use. Rather, that Joannine Use will prevail only in 'mixed-Use' parishes.

RAG: I don't know why you aren't the Pope, given your facile understanding of all this stuff. On the other hand, maybe I DO know why you're not--your understanding is horrifically stunted.