Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What Did Summorum Pontificum Really Say?

Blessed Paul VI celebrating Mass in the vernacular
Credit:  rorate-caeli.blogspot.com
I recently did a post [HERE] in which I discussed Father Z's reaction to the "whoopdeedoo", as he referred to it, regarding the 50th anniversary of the first celebration of a Mass in the vernacular. His response to this "whoopdeedoo" was to re-post his article satirically criticizing the New Mass and the one he names as the architect of that Mass, Msgr. Annibale Bugnini. Father Z feels the salvation of the Church lies in the Traditional Latin Mass.

Most other traditionalists agree with Father Zuhlsdorf. I recently came across an article from Crisis Magazine regarding this very same subject entitled, "Spiritual Renewal Paul VI Spoke of Has Not Yet Materialized" written by Christian Browne. The only information we are given about Mr. Browne is that he is a New York attorney who got his J.D. at Fordham University in 2004, which probably means he is fairly young, in his 30's. Mr. Brown is also a board member of the Nassau County Catholic Lawyers Guild. This is his only article to date published by Crisis Magazine.

Mr. Browne quoted from the homily of Blessed Paul VI from that first celebration of the vernacular Mass:
The welfare of the people demands this care, so as to make possible the active participation of the faithful in the public worship of the Church. It is a sacrifice that the Church has made of her own language, Latin; a sacred, sober, beautiful language, extremely expressive and elegant. She has sacrificed the traditions of centuries and above all she sacrifices the unity of language among the various peoples, in homage to this greater universality, in order to reach all.
And this [also] for you, faithful, so that you may know better [how to] join yourselves to the Church’s prayer, so that you may know [how to] pass from a state of simple spectators to that of participating and active faithful, and if you truly know how to correspond to this attention of the Church, you will have the great joy, the merit and the chance of a true spiritual renewal.
Blessed Paul VI is saying here that he loves Latin, describing it as "a sacred, sober beautiful language, extremely expressive and elegant." However, he says the Church has "sacrificed the traditions of centuries and above all she sacrifices the unity of language among the various peoples, in homage to this greater universality, in order to reach all." By using the word "sacrifice", Blessed Paul VI makes it very clear that he has a definite attachment to the use of Latin and it is not easy for him to let it go. However, he sees a greater need, and that is "greater universality, in order to reach all."

Instead of seeing this statement as coming from one who loved the traditional practices of the Church, including the use of Latin, and yet was willing to let go of his own desires "in order to reach all", Mr. Browne sees "a man divided against himself." Mr. Browne makes the same argument that all traditionalists make:
It is an extraordinary statement, for it seems an utter absurdity to claim that a spiritual renewal could flower from the destruction of the Church’s Sacred Tradition. It is an axiom of the Church’s understanding of herself, so critical in its theological response to the Reformation, that Revelation depends upon Scripture and Tradition. When we say that the Church is a “traditional” institution, we mean it in a literal sense—Tradition is a pillar of the Church, a part of its fundamental essence.
As such, the Church at war with her Sacred Tradition is the Church at war with herself. To sacrifice Tradition is to contradict the Church’s divinely ordained nature. The “sacrifice” of Sacred Tradition cannot lead to “spiritual renewal”—and the half-century that has passed since the Italian Mass proves it.
Mr. Brown is completely misinterpreting Blessed Paul VI's statement by saying, "The 'sacrifice' of Sacred Tradition cannot lead to 'spiritual renewal'."  

Nowhere and at no time did Blessed Paul VI or any other Pope ever "sacrifice Sacred Tradition." Mr. Brown makes the error, as do most traditionalists, of defining the use of Latin as "Sacred Tradition." That is where traditionalists go completely off the rails and disqualify the rest of their arguments.

The Latin language is NOT a "sacred (capital "T") Tradition" of the Church.  It is a (small "t") tradition of the Church.  Yes, it goes back many, many centuries, but that still does not make Latin a "sacred Tradition" in the Church.  As I have previously pointed out, Latin was incorporated into the Church's liturgy at the time she moved her headquarters from Jerusalem, where Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew were spoken, to ancient Rome, where the vernacular language was Latin.  We aren't told, but I wonder how many people raised a stink when the Magesterium of the time made that decision.  

If Blessed Paul VI had changed the meaning of the Mass, no longer defining it as the bloodless sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the Father, or if he had decided that communion was no longer to be offered in the Mass, then we would have some big problems. Those are major Traditions (capital "T") of the Church which cannot be altered.

The rules and rubrics of the Mass have been tweaked and changed down through the centuries. For most of the Church's history, daily reception of the Eucharist by the laity was not allowed. Pope Pius X finally allowed daily reception of communion in 1905. There were probably people at that time who felt the Sacred Tradition was being changed by this action.

However, the rule regarding the frequency of receiving Holy Communion was not a Sacred Tradition, even though that tradition went back hundreds of centuries. It was a (small "t") tradition of the Church which could be changed without sacrificing any of the foundational beliefs of the Church.

Celebrating the Mass ad orientem is not a Sacred Tradition. Our salvation does not depend on which way the priest faces in the Mass. I understand the arguments in favor of celebrating ad orientem, and they are good arguments. However, this practice is not a foundational belief of the Church.

The number of times a priest genuflects or makes the sign of the Cross during Mass is not a foundational belief. Male altar servers is not a foundational belief. Forbidding women into the sanctuary during Mass is not a foundational belief. Gregorian chant is not a foundational belief of the Church. Fiddleback vestments are not a foundational belief. Even the ringing of bells is not a foundational belief.

And the exclusive use of Latin in the Mass is NOT a foundational belief.

All of these items are good and can definitely lend themselves to the spiritual welfare of people. However, none are essential foundational beliefs of the Church. None are Sacred (capital "T") Tradition. They are traditional practices.

Traditionalists need to learn the difference between "practice" and "belief."

After making the obviously erroneous argument that Blessed Pope Paul VI believed in sacrificing Sacred Tradition, Mr. Browne makes this statement:
For some time now, Catholics disturbed by the diminishment and degradation of the liturgy that followed the Vatican II have stressed that the council itself did not mandate the Novus Ordo Mass, but gave only a general instruction with an eye towards modest liturgical reform, noting, for example, that Sacrosanctum Consilium expressly requires that “use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” So, many wonder, how is it that the Novus Ordo of 1969 was born of, and implemented according to, the commands of the council?
The kernel of the answer, it seems, lies in Paul’s Angelus statement. It appears that, perhaps with some misgivings, Paul had already adopted a “hermeneutic of rupture” regarding the liturgy before the council had even closed its final session. Indeed, at the outset of his homily for the Mass, Paul deems “extraordinary, today’s new way to pray, celebrate Mass” and speaks of the “new form of the Liturgy” he inaugurates at All Saints Church. With these words, the pope himself declared the Mass of the Ages dead. He heralded an innovation.
Mr. Browne is obviously too young to remember the Church before the Mass was changed. He is looking at the past through the same rose colored glasses that most traditionalists use. They seem to believe that back in the good old days, most Catholics were expert theologians who understood all of the nuances and rubrics of the Mass. They knew why the priest moved his hands in a certain way. They knew why he made the sign of the Cross so many times during Mass. Even though they couldn't see what the priest was doing, and most had no idea what he was saying, traditionalists believe that most Catholics in the "good old days" understood the Mass perfectly.

Think again, my friend. I remember the days before 1969. I remember as a child being in very crowded churches, standing way in back. There was no amplification, and I could not see the altar at all. I had no idea what was going on. The only thing that gave me any clue at all as to what was happening at the altar was when the bells were rung, and when people would sit, stand and kneel. Very few people responded to anything that was said at the altar. Why do you think a lot of ladies would pray the Rosary during Mass? I have a book from around 1908 that gives alternative prayers to say during Mass. Why? Because most people could not read or understand Latin and did not know how to pray along with the priest.

Traditionalists often talk about the beauty and sacredness of the TLM. And a high Mass is very beautiful, with the chant and all of the smells and bells. However, back in the "good old days", very few Masses were High Masses. Most people wanted to get in and out of Church as quickly as they could. The Low Mass was much quicker and was used the majority of the time. However, the problem with the Low Mass was that it basically sounded like the priest and altar servers were just mumbling to one another, and the people in the pews were nothing more than bystanders.

This is what Blessed Paul VI was talking about when he said:
And this [also] for you, faithful, so that you may know better [how to] join yourselves to the Church’s prayer, so that you may know [how to] pass from a state of simple spectators to that of participating and active faithful, and if you truly know how to correspond to this attention of the Church, you will have the great joy, the merit and the chance of a true spiritual renewal.
Mr. Browne obviously has no understanding of any of this, or he would not have written the following:
It is no surprise, therefore, that Paul gave approval to the radical re-working of the liturgy that is the Novus Ordo, often rightly called the Mass of Paul VI. The words of March 7, 1965, formed the foundation for the enthusiasms of the Modernists and, rolling over Lefevbre and Ottoviani, for decades the faithful were taught to tear down or ignore the liturgical and devotional life that existed on the day before Paul went to All Saints.
As an aside, I am always amazed that Traditionalists will bring up the name of Archbishop Lefevbre as someone to admire. Archbishop Lefevbre deliberately and intentionally disobeyed a direct command from the Vicar of Christ. St. John Paul II had every right to forbid the Archbishop from ordaining bishops. If Lefebvre really felt that he was following God's Will, then he should have trusted that God would work it out for him. Instead, he took matters into his own hands, decided to do things his way, and now there are hundreds of priests and thousands of people who are no longer in communion with Rome. Traditionalists do nothing to bolster their arguments by pointing to someone who was lawfully excommunicated from the Church.

Blessed Paul VI made it very clear in his homily that he loved the Latin Mass. He called Latin "a sacred, sober, beautiful language, extremely expressive and elegant." It is quite obvious that if there had been a way to have continued with the use of Latin, His Holiness would have done it. But Blessed Paul VI was very aware that Mass had become little more than a ritual, a routine that far too many Catholics endured with no idea of what was actually happening at the altar. The Mass held little meaning for most people. The priest was just a guy who mumbled up at the altar, moved things around, was constantly making the sign of the cross and did a lot of genuflecting.

This doesn't mean that the average Catholic did not understand that the bread and wine were changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Certainly Catholics understood that. But the average Catholic did not understand the process of the Mass and the great meaning behind everything the priest did because they were not involved in it. They couldn't see what he was doing and they didn't know what he was saying.

Mr. Browne then makes a tiny concession:
None of this is to say that the Missal of 1962 should have been fixed for all time. The liturgy can be, and needs to be, reformed from time to time. But true reform respects the Sacred Tradition—the ancient form of Christian worship, developed over the centuries—of which the Church is promoter and guardian.
So Mr. Browne does agree that liturgical reform is necessary "from time to time."  However, he again goes off the rail when he defines "Sacred Tradition" as basically the rubrics of the Mass, because that is what was changed.  As Summorum Pontificum told us, the OF and the EF are two forms of the same rite.   They are the same Mass done differently.  By saying that Sacred Tradition was done away, Mr. Browne and all traditionalists are rejecting Summorum Pontificum, which they consider their Holy Grail that justifies everything they say and do, as can be seen in this last paragraph from Mr. Browne's article:
With the proclamation of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict at last paid to the ancient liturgy the respect that is its due. He longed for the “mutual enrichment” of the two forms of the Roman rite, a means, perhaps, to graft the best elements of the Novus Ordo to the Missal of John XXIII, and thereby finally realize the original vision of the council. This work of true reform awaits the next generation of leadership in the Church and, when it is accomplished, we pray, the Church will truly experience the “spiritual renewal” Paul envisioned but never witnessed.
Credit:  www.internetica.it
Mr. Browne tells us that Pope Benedict XVI "longed for the 'mutual enrichment' of the two forms of the Roman rite, a means, perhaps, to graft the best elements of the Novus Ordo to the Missal of John XXIII, and thereby finally realize the original vision of the council."  

Mr. Browne is inferring here that Pope Benedict XVI wished the "mutual enrichment" of the two forms of the Mass to result in one form, to "graft the best elements of the Novus Ordo to the Missal of John XXIII, and thereby finally realize the original vision of the council."

No, that was not the intention of Summorum Pontificum at all.  I wonder if Mr. Browne realizes what he wrote.  Below is the passage which he is citing about "mutual enrichment."
[T]he two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.
This confirms Mr. Browne's statement that Pope Benedict XVI hoped that the 1962 Missal would start to incorporate new saints and "some of the new Prefaces".  

However, according to this statement, Pope Benedict XVI was not looking to incorporate any of the elements of the EF into the OF, but that "the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage."  Pope Benedict XVI was not looking to change the Missal of Paul VI, but to encourage more reverent celebration of it.  As he states earlier in the document "it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy."

There is nothing in this statement which infers in any way that Pope Benedict XVI meant to abrogate the Missal of Paul VI.  In fact, the next paragraph makes it very clear that the reason for SP was to satiate those who desired the TLM:
It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. . . . This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.
The division between traditionalists and the rest of the Church was something Pope Benedict XVI felt very deeply.  This can be seen in his many overtures to the SSPX, who rejected everything he offered to them.  Pope Benedict rightly stated that the TLM had never been abrogated.  His hope was that by lifting restrictions on it, this would bring those attached to it more fully back into the Church.  Through Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI hoped to remove any animosity Traditionalists felt towards those who didn't share their affection for the TLM, as well as to remove the suspicions of the "Novus Ordo" Catholics towards the "Traditionalists."  As he wrote, "Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows."

Sadly, Pope Benedict did not realize the intense hatred that many Traditionalists have for the Missal of Paul VI.  They see it as the root of all evil.  As Mr. Browne has shown, traditionalists see Summorum Pontificium as vindication of their feelings, and the hope that one day there will be only one form of the Mass with the TLM predominating.  Traditionalists have turned this document, written with such love and hope for unity, into a weapon to cause even more animosity and division in the Church.  A quick look at any traditionalist blog bears this out in spades.

Traditionalists need to come to the realization that the Missal of Paul VI is as valid and licit as the TLM, that Christ is as present in the Ordinary Form of the Mass as He is in the Extraordinary Form.  Traditionalists need to start seeing things as they really are.  They need to understand the real reason for Summorum Pontificum.  They need to rid themselves of their prejudices.

Yesterday I quoted a passage in a post from St. Catherine of Siena's Dialogue which I think traditionalists would do well to read.  The New Mass is the Mass of the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ.  Our Lord would not allow His Mystical Body to celebrate His Sacrifice with an inferior and even invalid Mass.  It is a Holy Mass and must be accepted as such.

I apologize if the following passage seems harsh, but these are not my words.  They are, according to St. Catherine of Siena, the words of God the Father, and they should be taken seriously.
They make wicked judgment on my hidden judgments and every mysterious way of mine. They judge with hatred what I have done in love. They judge with lies what I have done in truth, and with death what I have done for the sake of life. They condemn and judge everything by their own sick vision, since they have blinded their mind's eye with their own selfish sensuality and covered over the pupil of holy faith so that they might neither see nor know the truth. [Section 73]

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