13 July 2008

The Fight Not Yet Begun

I spent much of the last week or so amidst the arguments of the Universe's forum, and was left with little energy to blog. But the anniversary of the Motu Proprio, and some of the comments on the forum led me to reflect on where we are, and just how far we have to go.
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The Pope's concession is a lifeline to traditional Catholicsm, but, by itself, little else. There are two reasons why.

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First, it isn't 1962 in the world. The world has moved on significantly since 1962, and the kind of parish life, indeed, the kind of parishioner, who was around in 1962 has gone for ever. People are richer and are less used to doing what everybody else is doing, whether that means watching Sunday Night at the London Palladium or going to Church. The idea that the PP in most parishes could get fifty men to Church each Wednesday evening for a Men's Confraternity meeting followed by Benediction and a trip to the Catholic Club is an idea about the faraway past or the distant future.

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It isn't 1962 in the Church either. The ecclesiology of the Catholic Church in 2008 will cope with the odd celebration of the 1962 Liturgy but it cannot allow large communities to live the 1962 Liturgy: that would be an open challenge to those whose world view is expressed in "the spirit of Vatican II". An ecclesiology which admits lay people to the Altar during the Mass to do things proper to the priest in 1962 is so different as to be antithetic.
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This is one way the SSPX have got things so badly wrong: they have tried to organise themselves as though it were still 1962: well, it isn't.
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The second reason is 1962: why the 1962 Liturgy? That 1962 represents the last point at which the Liturgy, however hacked about and mutilated, was still the hacked about and mutilated but recognizably the 1600 year old Gregorian Liturgy is no reason to hold that version as some sort of high point in the History of the Church in the West. When will the competent authorities look at the reforms of Pius XII and wonder whether, after 50 years of experiment, they were perhaps not such a good idea after all.
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At which point, we would be, effectively, back to the time of Pope St Pius X, and the 1911 reform of the Breviary. This reform was the first significant liturgical fruit of the active ultramontanism enshrined in Vatican I, and included the abandonment of the recitation of the Laudate psalms at Lauds, a practice believed to be inherited from the synagogue itself, because le Pape le veult.
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This is only a point of view. But it looks to me that the fight ahead is one of mindset, and we need to realise that the Pope, by reauthorising the general use of the 1962 liturgical books, is buying time rather than answering any of the very big questions that are raised if there is anything at all in my point of view.

6 comments:

FrGregACCA said...

"This reform was the first significant liturgical fruit of the active ultramontanism enshrined in Vatican I, and included the abandonment of the recitation of the Laudate psalms at Lauds, a practice believed to be inherited from the synagogue itself, because le Pape le veult."

Yup.

the mother of this lot said...

I miss Sunday Night at the London Palladium. And the Men's Confraternity. Well, not personally, obviously....Sorry...not in a very erudite mood.....

Moretben said...

I am always amused that the epithet "rad-trad" is applied generally to SSPX and sedevacantist supporters, most often the least "radical" (in the true sense) people in the movement, most of whom barely merit the "traditionalist" description at all. You've seen yourself the adamant refusal to recognise the role of Pius XII in the debacle. There are very interesting things happening in the Catholic Church, but their not happening in the SSPX. It's mainstream, even establishment people like Fr Finegan who are the real radicals - who are prepared to go fearlessly to the roots of the crisis, unconstrained by a monocular, dualistic obsession with Modernism.

And then there's Benedict himself...

John said...

How about this "trad" thing?
We have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament twice a week! There would be at least thirty parishes in the Perth (Western Australia) Archdiocese who have this practice. There are four parishes with 7/24 Exposition. We have more Seminarians than any diocese in England. So has Melbourne and Sydney! I am recently returned from England ( a very cold, wet six weeks ). There they are talking about shutting down parishes because of the shortage of priests! There is no shortage of priests, just a blindness on the part of the Episcopacy! The diocese of Uttapradesh has priests coming out of the woodwork and no parishes to put them in. But, they're Indian and don't understand the English way and speak in a funny sing-song way! Don't they!!!!!?
JARay

Ttony said...

Welcome back JAR!

And if the news I have read is true, it hasn't stopped raining since the Pope left Sydney! While here the temperature is rising by the day!

Ottaviani said...

Hear hear Ttony!