Skip to comments.The Road to Restoration (Msgr. Barreiro of HLI on the Possible Tridentine Mass Indult)
Posted on 11/10/2006 1:59:11 PM PST by Pyro7480
In these last months we can see a growing series of events that indicate that the Holy See is moving on a clear route of doctrinal and liturgical restoration. Without discussing the recent leadership changes in some of the main offices of the Holy See, nor the important process of doctrinal clarification that continues to move ahead, I limit myself in this article to analysing some of the events that mark the trend towards liturgical restoration.
Beginning in mid-March there were a growing number of reports that the Holy Father was ready to grant the so called universal indult, a general permission for priests to use the Rite of St Pius V publicly without requiring the permission of their bishops. Some were expecting a formal announcement after the second meeting of Curial Cardinals convened to debate this issue on 7 April. The fact is that the announcement was not made. We do not have any official confirmation of the intention of the Holy Father to issue this document, but we have several indirect indications that a document of this nature was being considered. First was the public announcement that two meetings of cardinals were convened to study this issue in a general fashion: the first on 13 February and the second on 23 March. Second, the statement issued by the French Bishops Conference at their meeting at Lourdes on 7 April. In this paper the French bishops acknowledged by their opposition the existence of a draft document on the Traditional Liturgy of the Church. In the second section of the paper, The Reception of the Traditionalist Groups in Our Dioceses, the French episcopate express the desire to receive Traditionalist groups but on their own terms, even denying them the right to criticise the new Mass.
We can sense their opposition to the establishment of juridical structures that would serve as a guaranty for the Traditionalist movement. As experience has shown, there is a need for these juridical structures. Some bishops have applied the provisions of the motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei with generosity, but regrettably many others cannot be praised in a like manner. It is not a question of establishing parallel Churches; it is a question of how to recognise a complementary diversity within the Catholic Church. If complementary diversity is recognised, the unity of the only Church will be strengthened. If there is a legitimate diversity, the particularities have to be recognised by juridical structures that will strengthen the symphonic unity of the Church. A true unity is guaranteed by precise and clear juridical structures that avoid ambiguity and divisions.
The French bishops then went on to signify their desire to continue their reflection on these issues and to consider at the meeting of their Permanent Council this November, the outcome of the deliberations of a task group. It is evident that the French bishops are playing a delaying game that underlines that sooner or later the Holy Father might make a decision on this very important matter. However, this opposition should be seen against the background of the well-documented decline of the Catholic Church in France.
Another important event was the launch in Rome on 27 April of the Italian translation of the book Turning Towards the Lord by Fr Michael Lang of the Oratory, London, with a foreword by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. It is known that Benedict XVI encouraged the publication of this translation. This gives fresh attention to the strong concern of the Holy Father on the need to reform the reform and preserve a sense of the sacred in the Liturgy. Archbishop Albert Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, in his presentation at the book launch underlined that, The book demonstrates how the direction of the liturgical prayer in the post conciliar reforms does not reflect the former praxis, and this is surprising. And he pointed out: In fact, in the Foreword to this book, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, at that time Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, affirms that to the ordinary churchgoer, the two most obvious effects of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council seem to be the disappearance of Latin and the turning of the altars towards the people. Those who read the relevant texts will be astonished to learn that neither is in fact found in the decrees of the Council. The use of the vernacular is certainly permitted, especially for the Liturgy of the Word, but the preceding general rule of the Council text says, Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36.1). There is nothing in the Council text about turning altars towards the people; that point is raised only in post-conciliar instructions. This presentation has been seen by some in Rome as the opening shot of the expected reform of the reform. (The full text of Archbishop Ranjiths lecture was published in Mass of Ages, August 2006.)
This statement was followed by an important interview which Archbishop Ranjith gave to I-Media in French on Thursday 22 June. After noting the importance of the liturgy in the life of the Church, he underlined that regrettably, after the Council, certain changes were made rapidly, without reflection, in a burst of enthusiasm, in a rejection of some exaggerations of the past. The result, he noted, was quite different from the Councils intent. Giving some examples of the negative results, he mentioned the abandonment of the sacred and the mystical, the confusion between the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ordained ministry, and the concept of the Eucharist as a common banquet rather than a re-presentation of Christs Sacrifice. He even noted a Protestant influence. These changes, he stated, have produced negative consequences for the Church even beyond the liturgy. In the face of a growing secular trend in society, he said, the Church urgently needs to cultivate a deeper sense of the sacred and a more active interior life. Fortunately, he said, there is a growing sense among Catholics of the need to recover the sense of the sacred. The work of the Congregation for Divine Worship entails helping bishops and episcopal conferences to refine the liturgy by incorporating the strengths of the past.
Asked whether he was hinting at approval of the use of the Missal of St Pius V, Archbishop Ranjith stated that requests for the use of the pre-conciliar liturgy have become more common, but the question is in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI. He said, The Pope knows all this
he knows the questions, he is very conscious of the situation, he is reflecting, and we are waiting for his indications. At the same time Archbishop Ranjith underlined that the use of the Tridentine rite has never been abolished or banned. However, he said, because of the split in the Church caused by the Traditionalist followers of the late Archbishop Lefebvre, the Traditional Mass has taken a certain identity that is not fair. Whether Pope Benedict will now encourage the use of the Missal of St Pius V or call for a reform of the 1970 Missal what some people call the reform of the reform is not yet known, the archbishop said. What is established, however, is the need for a liturgy that is more beautiful, more transcendent. He cautioned that it is imprudent to press for quick decisions, running the risk of falling into new errors because of haste. We have to reflect a great deal, he stated, and above all, we have to pray for the Holy Father and the Church, and listen to what the Lord wants of us. Even if, wisely, Archbishop Ranjith is calling for time to reflect, this second public intervention is a clear indication that something important is in the making.
As a follow-up, in another interview with I-Media on 13 July, Archbishop Ranjith underlined the many problems that exist with the post-conciliar liturgy, both in itself and with the way in which it is celebrated. After indicating some positive aspects of the new liturgy he mentioned that several positive aspects of the tradition of the Church had been abandoned, like the use of the Latin language and the eastward orientation of the altar, quoting in this regard important comments made by the then Cardinal Ratzinger. In a very significant way he stated: It is our duty to be vigilant
because, in the end, the people will assist at the Tridentine Mass, and our churches will be empty.
FSSP and SSPX Superiors
On Friday 7 July, at its seminary in Wigratzbad, Germany, the General Chapter of the Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) elected Fr John Berg as Superior General for a six year period, replacing Fr Arnaud Devillers. Father Berg is an American, a graduate of St Thomas Aquinas College in California. He studied theology at the seminary in Wigratzbad, and then obtained a licentiate at the University of Santa Croce in Rome. He has been a seminary professor and a pastor. His most recent assignment was as pastor of St Stephen the First Martyr in Sacramento, California.
In his first sermon to the General Chapter as Superior General he spoke with absolute clarity about the particular charism of the FSSP and the direction that the Fraternity should take. He remarked how the Fraternity is faithful to a theology grounded upon the perennial philosophy, a theology based upon St Thomas Aquinas. He emphasised how this theology is the proper answer to the Modernism which continues to menace the Church. He underlined how the Mass of St Pius V and all the disciplines connected with this liturgy are the truly identifying mark of the Fraternity. The election of Fr Berg is particularly significant because it indicates that the FSSP is recommitted to its original charism, which is to preserve the Traditional Rites and disciplines of the Church, leaving behind certain ambiguities that some observers had detected in the recent past.
What Fr Berg is underlining is that the central charism of the FSSP consists in the preservation of the Mass of St Pius V, so that members of the FSSP should not either celebrate the new liturgy or concelebrate it, as regrettably some members had shown themselves open to doing. It is not a question of doubting the validity of the new Mass, it is a question of being faithful to the constitutive charism of the FSSP.
The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) at their chapter meeting held on 11 July at Écone in Switzerland re-elected Bishop Bernard Fellay as Superior General for a further term of twelve years. Fathers Niklaus Pfluger, the former district superior of Switzerland, and Alain-Marc Nély, who was the district superior of Italy, were appointed respectively as First and Second Assistants, also for a twelve year term. Taking into account the constitutions of the SSPX, the re-election of Bishop Fellay was not surprising.
It is evident that the SSPX is divided as to the way in which the conversations with the Holy See regarding a reconciliation should be conducted. A respected priest of that Society told me that the re-election of Bishop Fellay could be interpreted in a broad way as a mandate to continue these conversations, even if the subsequent public statement of the chapter could have given the impression of a hardening of the positions of the Society. He noted that some members of the SSPX are in favour of a pragmatic approach that would lead to an institutional agreement; others insist that before an agreement is reached with the Holy See it will be necessary to reach an accord on doctrinal issues. The priest told me that many members of the SSPX see their current situation as something that has to be resolved. They perceive that what they call an extraordinary situation cannot be maintained for ever. At the same time it is evident that the Holy See will need to promulgate the so-called universal indult to obtain credibility with most members of SSPX and to strengthen the position of those priests in the Society who sincerely desire to reach an agreement with Rome.
Good Shepherd Institute
On 8 September, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, signed the decree of erection of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, which will be located in Bordeaux under the leadership of Fr Philippe Laguérie who had been expelled two years previously from the SSPX for raising questions about the training in the seminaries of the Society. He is joined by four other priests who have recently left the Society (including Fr Paul Aulangier who collaborated closely with Archbishop Lefebvre in the early years of the SSPX) and by several seminarians, some of whom will be ordained in the near future by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. It is thought that several more priests of the SSPX and some diocesan priests might join them.
This is clearly an important development for the following reasons:
1. This action clearly shows the will of the Holy Father to restore the use of the Traditional Liturgy of the Church. It provides a juridical structure to bring into union with the Church several prestigious French priests and a substantial number of laymen. The Good Shepherd Institute is established as a Society of Pontifical Right in such a way that it depends directly on the Holy See. Importantly, the Church of St Eloy is granted directly to the Institute by the decree of erection without a juridical decision by the local ordinary. This is an interesting move towards the exemption of Tradition from the control of local ordinaries. The Church of St Eloy will be the second personal Traditionalist parish in France. The first was established in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon by the current bishop, Mgr Dominique Rey.
2. The Traditional Rite is not granted to this new institute as an indult or a permission but as the proper rite of the institute. It will have this rite in an exclusive way. As Fr Laguérie stated, the Church is giving the members of his institute an order to celebrate the Traditional liturgy and nothing else, in such a way that the members of this institute could not be required to offer the new Mass or be pressured into concelebrations. This is important because some prelates have been of the opinion that to show full communion with the local ordinary a priest has to be ready to concelebrate the new Mass on special occasions like the Holy Thursday Mass or the Mass for the Blessing of the Holy Oils. This is clearly an innovation that has no foundation in tradition; a priest shows communion with the local ordinary by obeying his lawful commands and paying him due respect.
3. With regards to certain elements of the Second Vatican Council which have caused ambiguities, the members of the Good Shepherd Institute have the right of engaging in a serious and constructive criticism with the objective of arriving at a correct interpretation of the documents of the Council in conformity with Tradition.
4. As the founders of the Institute noted in a press release, the Institute is not an end in itself but a beginning. So the establishment of this Institute might mark the beginning of other much needed concessions to the Traditionalist movement.
5. Some have seen in the creation of this Institute a signal that for the time being an agreement is not possible with the leadership of the SSPX. But we should not be pessimistic: everything is possible with God. Also if a universal indult is approved, that would create a positive climate that might be conducive to the re-launching of the conversations with the SSPX. The SSPX is currently offering a multitude of Rosaries for this intention, and the Lord hears our prayers.
After the Good Shepherd Institute was erected many dissenting voices were raised. It is of particular concern that a heavy attack was launched by the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bordeaux and by the members of its priests council. These criticisms show that if those priests could have done so, they would have blocked the creation of the Institute. The dissenting voices speak about the good fruits obtained by the way in which they implemented the decrees of Vatican II. But the statistics of the Archdiocese of Bordeaux do not seem to be in agreement. Bordeaux is a rapidly shrinking archdiocese, as is happening in most of France. Let us use the official figures from the Pontifical Year Book: In 1996 Bordeaux had 290 diocesan priests; in 2006 it has 208. In 1996 Bordeaux had 97 religious priests active in the archdiocese; in 2006 it has 80. To that numerical decrease we should add that the average age of these priests is growing rapidly. Last year the archdiocese was able to ordain only one priest. Other figures can be used to show the very unhealthy state of the Church in France. In the 1960s the vast majority of French people were baptised; today less than half of the population have received this sacrament. In this same period the numbers of newly ordained priests have been dramatically reduced.
What can we expect?
It is reasonable to finish by assessing what we can expect in the near future. From different very credible and serious sources in Rome and elsewhere we can reasonably expect that in the next couple of months or even earlier the so-called Universal Indult will be promulgated. At the same time it is important for us to reiterate that the Mass in accordance with the rite of St Pius V has never been abrogated and so it is urgent that the document which we are expecting should clarify this issue, showing that it is perfectly legitimate to offer this rite which has never been abrogated nor fallen into desuetude. There is also a question of justice: that the right of public celebration of the Mass of Ages cannot be limited to small groups of priests that belong to this or that religious institute; it should be extended to all the priests of the Latin Rite.
The constant prohibition of this rite by some ordinaries is grounded in what the Holy Father denounced in his address to the Roman Curia of 22 December 2005 as the hermeneutic of discontinuity an interpretation of the documents of the Second Vatican Council that is not in conformity with the tradition of the Church. We know that there is strong opposition to the promulgation of this document by some members of the Curia, by many ordinaries who have been ungenerous with the Traditionalist movement and even, in a way that is difficult to understand, by some proponents of the so-called reform of the reform. Even if we have serious assurances from reliable sources that the indult is ready, we cannot be certain that it will see the light of day until it is actually promulgated, so let us offer our prayers and Rosaries for this important intention.
The heavy criticism that I noted above regarding the establishment of the Institute of the Good Shepherd from important priests of the Archdiocese of Bordeaux demonstrates that it is very difficult for the Traditional movement to co-exist within the same ecclesiastical structures with priests who have a different interpretation of the tradition of the Church. Also, we have to consider that the establishment of St Eloy as only the second Traditionalist personal parish in France shows that the French bishops have not been particularly generous in implementing measures in favour of the Traditionalist movement. Here we should remember that there are archdioceses like Rheims that continue to refuse permission for the celebration of the Traditional liturgy at all.
Also, in the United States I must report the cancellation of the Traditional Mass in the Diocese of Cleveland. As one of his final acts, Bishop Anthony Pilla appointed a liberal pastor to St Rose of Lima parish. The new pastors first official act was to end the Latin Mass at St Rose from 14 May. The Church of St Rose used to have four Masses, but the Latin Mass used to draw more people than the other three combined and had a bigger collection than the other three. The Traditional community was able to find another parish where the Traditional Mass could have been offered, but the new ordinary of Cleveland, Bishop Richard Lennon, refused permission, stating that the Latin Mass is too divisive. So all these facts provide eloquent evidence that new canonical structures are necessary for the Traditional movement.
[Taken from "Mass of Ages" November 2006, The Latin Mass Society's quarterly magazine]
As someone who is now certain that he is being called to the priesthood, this makes FSSP even more attractive to me. :-)
We know that there is strong opposition to the promulgation of this document by some members of the Curia, by many ordinaries who have been ungenerous with the Traditionalist movement and even, in a way that is difficult to understand, by some proponents of the so-called reform of the reform.
That last part sounds like some people here on the FR Religion Forum. ;-)
Ya think? ;)
Our very own Freeper vocation? Wow, that's wonderful news, I'm really happy to hear that!
It's THOMAS AQUINAS COLLEGE!!!!!! There's no St. in front of it. (not yelling at you, just have this conversation a lot :))
We've got quite a few alumni in the Fraternity, it seems to attract very holy young men.
I would love this. It would be even better if they could do it with or without permission from the bishop. Our priest doesn't speak Latin but he speaks French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish so I don't think it would be that hard for him to learn the Mass in Latin.
Why? Or rather, Why Not?
It would be wonderful news indeed. And it would separate the sheep from the goats on BOTH sides of this issue.
Because that's the way the founding fathers decided it. Wasn't at the meetings so I can't say for sure. I would guess because it is a great books program and Aquinas is studied both for his theological contributions to western culture and his philosophical.
D'oh, thought about your question more and realized that I can name three other St. Thomas Aquinas Colleges, one in NY, one in TN and I can't remember the other one.
Probably wanted to avoid as much confusion as possible, so went with a slightly different name. But like I said, I wasn't there, never asked why.
If you want on (or off) this Catholic and Pro-Life ping list, let me know!
FWIW, it seems to me that B-16 is moving hard towards a restoration of "normative Latin" for the NO.
How else explain his arm-wrestling with multiple other high-ranking churchmen over this apparently innocuous document? In other words, WHY would he pick a fight? He certainly doesn't need one.
Also, as Mgr B. points out in the article, Cdl.R/B-16 has been very clear: Article 36 of the Const. on the Liturgy says LATIN!!
"Bishop Richard Lennon, refused permission, stating that the Latin Mass is too divisive."
This kind of thing makes me even more proud of Bishop Lennon as I am of his mentor Cardinal Law.
I would not put a nickle in this guy's collection basket.
It seems to me that he is working for the other team, like Mahony and his minions.