Thursday, November 10, 2005

To Tridentine or Not To Tridentine?

The preceding post mentions the manipulations afoot during the Elizabethan/Jamesian reigns. Intrigue abounded.

In some quarters, intrigue STILL abounds, viz., this report from Dom Capisco:

...Don Capisco hears that in August 2005 a document was prepared in the Roman Curia aimed at preventing a more widespread use of the "old" Roman Missal.The text is said to have been prepared last August by the Congregation for Divine Worship, and to bear the signatures of the Cardinal Prefect Francis Arinze and his right hand man, Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, according to a report published at the end of October in the respected Milanese newspaper "Il Giornale," which belongs to the Berlusconi group and seldom hesitates at reporting Catholic topics.

The report stresses that the Congregation's text is not to be taken as an official statement of the dicastery, but is rather intended as a mere expression of opinion. Cardinal Arinze, according to "Il Giornale," believes that it would not be possible to liberalise the use of the "old" Missal because it has been done away with. The text was obviously presented to the Pope.

That is why it was probably not by accident that a few weeks ago, at a press conference on 12 October during the bishops' Synod on the Eucharist, Cardinal Arinze declared that "not a single Synod Father" had made any special effort on behalf of the "old" Mass.

As a matter of fact, however, only three days earlier the subject had indeed been broached by a Curia Cardinal, Dario Castrillon Hoyos. He is of course Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to which is entrusted the pastoral care of the faithful who follow the "old" rite.

His Eminence expressed the hope that the "old" Mass find mention in the final document of the Synod, and be recognised as one of the various rites in the Catholic Church.

The August opinion of Cardinal Arinze and Archbishop Sorrentino is plainly a very clear counterpoint to the hopes and desires of the Ecclesia Dei President.... But then, too, the opinion expressed by the leaders of the Congregation for Divine Worship seems to be at odds with the attitude of the Supreme Pontiff gloriously reigning....

The former Cardinal Ratzinger has declared on several occasions that bishops should be less niggardly in granting approval for the "old" rite. The legitimate liturgist recalls, for instance, the words uttered by the then Prefect of the Holy Office on the tenth anniversary of the Motu proprio "Ecclesia Dei adflicta" on 24 October 1998.

At that time the eminent Prelate recalled a statement of John Henry Cardinal Newman ( +1890) to the effect that in the course of her long history the Church never simply did away with orthodox liturgical forms, or forbade them : "that would have been completely foreign to the spirit of the Church."

An orthodox liturgy is never a mere conglomeration of ceremonies assembled for purely pragmatic reasons which one could then, in a positivistic sense, re-arrange one way today, and differently tomorrow. Orthodox forms of a rite are living realities which have grown out of the loving dialogue between the Church and her Lord; they are forms of the Church's very life in which the faith, the prayer and the life of many generations has been distilled and concentrated, and in which the mutual interplay of God's action and man's response has taken shape and form.Depending upon changing historical situations, the Church has authority to restrict and regulate the use of such rites, "but the Church never simply forbids them."

Those who follow the press reports on Cdl. Arinze's comments are a bit surprised by all this.

No comments: