Father John Zuhlsdorf recently did a post on his blog in which he criticized the prayers of the Ordinary Form of the Mass (HERE) . In this post, he stated his rejection of official Church teaching that the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are two forms of the same Latin rite. He insists that the Masses are two different rites liturgically and theologically. When I pointed out on his blog that this is in direct contradiction to Summorum Pontificum and the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI, Father Zuhlsdorf had a hissy fit and banned me from his blog. He did not just ban me from commenting. He has actually banned me from even viewing his blog on my IP address. I wrote about this HERE.
Father Zuhlsdorf is not backing down from his position, and has done yet another post criticizing and denigrating the Ordinary Form of the Mass. This post is entitled, "Notes on Eucharistic Prayer II" and can be found HERE. He starts his post by telling us he refuses to use Eucharistic Prayer II on the rare occasions when he celebrates the Ordinary Form of the Mass:
Every once in the while, when I was saying the Novus Ordo far more often than I do today (last Sunday was the first in several months, after the EF and before an EF baptism), why I used the Roman Canon and never Eucharistic Prayer II. [Emphasis original]It should be noted that Eucharistic Prayer II is an official prayer of the Church, completely valid and licit. It is honored by the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and when used, the great miracle of transubstantiation takes place in which bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. And yet Father Zuhlsdorf feels totally justified in rejecting this official prayer of the Mass. In writing about it on his blog, he encourages his many followers to also reject this prayer. And of course, his loyal followers willingly comply.
Why does Father Zuhlsdorf reject Eucharistic Prayer II? As he writes,
First, there’s the fact that the claimed origins of EP2 are thoroughly ridiculous.Father Z then devoted the rest of his post quoting from another traditionalist priest, Father Hunwicke, who wrote a post on his blog in which he quoted from the memoirs of Fr Louis Bouyer regarding his involvement in the composition of Eucharistic Prayer II. (Isn't it odd that those in the traditionalist movement seem to quote each other all the time? They all seem to walk in lock step with one another, never contradicting the party line). You can read all of this in Father Zuhlsdorf's post.
Father John Zuhlsdorf is a Protestant convert. Protestant Christians do not accept the authority of the Catholic Magesterium. The word "Protestant" comes from "protest." Father Zuhlsdorf seems to still have a protestant mindset. He is still picking and choosing what he will and will not accept in the Church. He is still protesting those things with which he personally disagrees, despite the fact that he is rejecting official church teaching which is not up for debate. We, as Catholics, do not have a right to reject any part of the Mass. And most certainly a Catholic priest should never teach others to reject any part of the Mass.
Yet, that is exactly what Father John Zuhlsdorf and other traditional priests are doing. A few years ago I attended an Extraordinary Form of the Mass in which a priest literally yelled from the pulpit, "This is the real Mass!!" He called for the time when the "butcher block in front of the altar" would be thrown out. This was not an SSPX Mass, but in a regular diocesan Church with a Catholic priest. Incidentally, this particular priest is "friends" with Father Zuhlsdorf on Facebook. and I know for a fact that they personally know one another as well.
When Pope Benedict XVI gave us Summorum Pontificum, he did so with the hope that it would unite the Church and help those who were still attached to the Latin Mass to realize that they were as much a part of the Church as those who did not share their attachment to the Latin Mass. This is what he wrote in his letter to the bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum:
I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. 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.It is ironic and tragic that traditionalists have used this document - intended by Pope Benedict XVI to unify the Church - to instead cause even more division and polarization. Traditionalists - as exemplified by Father John Zuhlsdorf - have used Summorum Pontificum as a weapon to beat the rest of us into accepting their belief that the only true Mass is the Traditional Latin Mass, which is in direct contradiction to that very document they claim to love.
As I stated in my last post, as followers of Jesus Christ our goal is to conform ourselves completely to the Will of Jesus Christ. As Our Lord told us, "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." (Luke 9:24). One interpretation of this verse is that we are to be willing to physically die for Christ. But that is actually the least important meaning of this verse. Jesus Christ is telling us that we must be willing to lose ourselves in Him, to give up our own wants and desires and to accept His Will in our lives even when we don't understand it.
The Catholic Church is not just an institution. It is not just a group of like minded people. It is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ - a spiritual organism whose head is Jesus Christ. Although fallible, sinful men are the visible leaders of the Church, they are not actually in charge. The Catholic Church is infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit. And we have the ironclad promise of Jesus Christ that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Mystical Body.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we do not have a right to stand in judgment of the Church. When we judge the Church, we put ourselves outside of her. This, sadly, is exactly what I see happening among traditionalists. When someone like Father John Zuhlsdorf can proclaim to the world that he rejects an official prayer of the Church, something is seriously wrong. I can only imagine the great sorrow that Pope Benedict XVI must feel when he sees how his efforts to unite the Church have been used to do just the opposite.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Feelings of victimization always come from the devil. It is a way for Satan to separate us from one another.
Please pray for Father John Zuhlsdorf and all of those who refuse to accept the teachings of the Church. We are living in perilous and evil times, and our only safety from the storm is to be found in Jesus Christ and His Church.