Friday, August 03, 2007

From North Dakota, an Essay on the Motu Proprio

Hat tip to Fr. Z for this wonderful re-post:

In the past few weeks, two important documents were presented to the universal church by the Holy See.The first document, “Summorum Pontificum,” was released July 7 by Pope Benedict XVI as an apostolic letter in the form of a motu proprio. It relaxes the restrictions on the celebration of the Mass and other sacraments using the forms that were present before the Second Vatican Council.

...the faithful who read the document will see that, rather than positioning one version of the Roman Missal against another, the Holy Father declares, “They are, in fact, two usages of the one Roman Rite.” The document explains that there are two forms for celebrating the Holy Mass: the ordinary form of the Mass, currently celebrated in our parishes, according to the Roman Missal of Paul VI from 1970, and the extraordinary form of the Mass celebrated according to the Roman Missal from 1962, commonly known as the Tridentine Mass.

...The renewed attention to celebrating either form of the Mass with greater reverence will lead us to a deeper love for our Eucharistic Lord. One way in which our current missal will be improved in the coming years is with updated translations from the official Latin texts. Sadly, our current English translation is not as theologically rich or linguistically beautiful as comparable translations

The Holy Father’s desire, and my own, is that all of us develop a deeper love and reverence for the great treasure we receive from Christ, himself, in every Mass.

His Excellency Most Reverend Samuel Aquila, Fargo, ND.


Anonymous said...

In the Milwaukee Archdiocese (where not one "official" word has been said regarding the motu proprio—pro or con), forty years of non-existent catechesis and questionable liturgical practice have resulted in a spectacular non-reaction to the document. My guess would be that, other than what they read in the secular press, at least 80% of Milwaukee's Catholics have neither read it, nor do they intend to. Neither will their pastors make them aware of it. Officialdom has done its work well here; the sad status quo is so entrenched that the effort required to budge it is more than anyone can muster. Just "getting along" with the way things are now takes so much less work. And, besides, isn't this diocese just the very model of 21st century Catholicism? We think so! Besides, "that all of us develop a deeper love and reverence for the great treasure that we receive from Christ, himself, in every Mass [shouldn't that be liturgy?]" sounds so very dangerously reactionary.

Chironomo said...

In our weekly Diocesan Newspaper (The Florida Catholic) there was a "guest opinion" article from the Diocese of St Paul/ Minneapolis titled "Baseball and the Latin Mass" that was as irresponsible as the title suggests. There are the usual talking points (not much interest, language people can't understand, priest's back to the people, mumbling in Latin) as well as some new keywords that I hadn't seen before (Latin Mass aficionados, parroting in Latin)... the tone of the article was essentially "it won't really matter much to most real Catholics, but if those very few, vocal aficionados want it, then they can have it." Although I am well aware that such views are out there in great numbers, it troubles me that a Catholic Diocesan paper would publish this without some critical rebuttal of the many errors. Perhaps it's not so bad in Milwaukee that nothing has been said...

Dad29 said...

You mean "...said YET."

I'm not as reactionary over the "not many people want it" line as are others--in most cases, that's a statement of fact (albeit no scientific surveys exist to back it up.)

But in Milwaukee, there is a regularly-scheduled 10AM 1962 Rite Mass, convenient to metro residents by Interstate, plenty of parking, etc.

Draws about 400 people.

So maybe there IS 'not much interest.'

We'll see.

Anonymous said...


Agreed, that maybe there IS 'not much interest.' But, for me at least, that raises the larger question of education and exposure: it's pretty hard to love something (much less generate interest in something) you don't know.

If the liturgcal bar that has been set so low for so long is simply the de facto standard, then Catholics born post V II have nothing by which to measure the difference. I would think that those for whom Beauty and Truth are desireable virtues, particularly where the celebration of Mass in concerned, a very wide exposure to the Classic Rite would be necessary to every Catholic's cultural and spiritual development, a part of every Catholic's "stuff." It is, after all, an important part of our birthright. (Would you not allow your children to hear of their granparents? of their great-grandparents? of their family history?) Only after such exposure can an educated choice be made—Classic RIte vs. Novus Ordo.

I think this is the ideal toward which B XVI is headed; let the Classic Rite "inform" the N.O., and then let grace take its course. I believe he (rightly) sees the Extraordinary Form as eventually influencing and balancing the Ordinary Form toward greater reverence and maturity. But that can't be done unless the Classic Rite is common and available. And that won't happen if bishops and pastors neglect it on principal, which is what many seem now to be doing. What have they got to lose, ultimately, by generating some enthusiasm for the older form? Probably nothing (other than having to work at it a little, and losing some entrenched but irrational resentments). They might even be surprised at how much they have to gain, but stubborn 70s attitudes seem to be a huge hurdle in their seeing that. How sad.

Anonymous said...

sorry... that should've been

"...neglect it on principle,..."

I should post before 9:00pm, before the sleepies take over...