This post is in response to Jayne, a traditionalist who has commented that I am not being fair to traditionalists by painting them all with the same brush. We have gone back and forth on a prior post [HERE]. I was ready to end our debate, but Jayne wants to continue, so here goes.
OK, Jayne, You really want to continue this discussion, so we will. First, I think we need to go back and assess just what our disagreements are because it is becoming somewhat muddled. I, therefore, return to your original comment.
You came here to tell me that not all traditionalists are as radical as I have experienced. Your comment was:
I think your criticisms against traditionalists would be more reasonable if you were clearer that your comments only apply to some rather than to all trads. As a traditionalist I feel unfairly attacked by what you said about us.In your second comment to me, you clarified your positions in regard to the post-conciliar church, your point being to show that, even though you identify as a traditionalist, you do not fit into my experiences with traditionalists.
Like all traditionalists, you believe the EF is superior to the Ordinary Form of the Mass, which you say is theologically detrimental to the faith. Despite that, you accept the validity of the OF Mass. To quote you: "Because Christ is truly present there, it deserves a certain respect."
Jayne, I must ask you to think about the words you used: The OF deserves a "certain" respect? The presence of Jesus Christ deserves a "certain respect"? How would you feel if someone said that about the TLM? Don't you see, Jayne, how condescending that statement is?
If I am understanding correctly, you are now trying to tell me that, contrary to your first statements, you do not consider the EF to be superior to the OF. You now say that the problem with the OF is just that it is not clear in its theology. and that is what makes it "detrimental". But I really can't accept that because you are only protesting after I pointed out that such positions are contrary to the teachings of the Church. Are we suppose to just ignore your initial statements which indicate your clear disdain for the OF even though you feel it deserves a "certain respect"?
You initially wrote that you "do not question the faith of people merely because they attend it [OF] and I am sure that there are many good Catholics who do so." I am somewhat amazed that you cannot see the patronizing, condescending nature of that statement. But at the same time, you certainly do separate yourself from many other traditionalists who feel that anyone who does not attend the EF cannot truly be Catholic.
You also wrote: "I make no claims about what proportion of priests and bishops are heretics because I have insufficient information." Again, I do have to admit, Jayne, that I do not hear other trads make such an honest statement. Most trads I have known - and certainly those who blog - do not hesitate to declare the vast majority of priests and bishops are heretics who are intent on destroying the faith. It is refreshing to hear a traditionalist who does not make such an accusation.
Still, I have some questions. You wrote: "There are certainly some [priests and bishops] who have made heterodox statements and I consider this a very serious problem. I place a high value on doctrinal orthodoxy." That is a very general statement. As I have written, there have always been wayward bishops and priests, starting with Judas. As St. Thomas Aquinas has told us, there are times when the laity should question individual priests/bishops. But in order to understand your statement, I need to know what you consider "heterodox" and who are these priests and bishops who trouble you.
I am also curious as to your opinion in regard to Pope Francis. Almost every traditionalist I know and read has basically condemned him. You have not mentioned the Holy Father at all.
You also wrote that you are troubled by Vatican II documents because they "have a tendency to ambiguity which is a serious flaw." Just what ambiguities are we talking about? If you wish to discuss this, I need specific examples.
As Pope Benedict pointed out, this [ambiguities] allowed for a hermeneutic of rupture that has been a destructive force in the Church. Vatican II must be interpreted in light of Tradition. I think it needs clarification so that it will only be interpreted this way. I would like to see such clarification rather than rejection as heretical.
Just where did Pope Benedict point this out? Can you give me his exact words? The speeches I have read by Pope Benedict completely contradict your assertion. As I said, I once felt just as you do about Vatican II, but it was Pope Benedict's praise of Vatican II that made me see how wrong I was. Everything I have read makes it clear Pope Benedict taught it was wrong to say Vatican II "allowed" for any kind of rupture.
This is what Pope Benedict said in December 2005:
On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture"; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the "hermeneutic of reform", of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.Pope Benedict explains the erroneous view of the hermeneutic of discontinuity:
The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless. However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts.
Pope Benedict explains the true nature of the Council as taught by Pope St. John XXIII:
The hermeneutic of discontinuity is countered by the hermeneutic of reform, as it was presented first by Pope John XXIII in his Speech inaugurating the Council on 11 October 1962 and later by Pope Paul VI in his Discourse for the Council's conclusion on 7 December 1965.
Here I shall cite only John XXIII's well-known words, which unequivocally express this hermeneutic when he says that the Council wishes "to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion". And he continues: "Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us...". It is necessary that "adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness..." be presented in "faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another...", retaining the same meaning and message (The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, S.J., p. 715).
Pope Benedict defends the integrity of the Second Vatican Council with these words:
The Second Vatican Council, with its new definition of the relationship between the faith of the Church and certain essential elements of modern thought, has reviewed or even corrected certain historical decisions, but in this apparent discontinuity it has actually preserved and deepened her inmost nature and true identity.
The Church, both before and after the Council, was and is the same Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, journeying on through time; she continues "her pilgrimage amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God", proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 8).
So, Jayne, please give me the links to read Pope Benedict's contradiction of his own statements in regard to the Second Vatican Council.
I now go to your latest comment. You start out by writing:
I do not think that I have everything figured out. Leading the Church is not my job. I am responsible for the duties of my state of life, while depending on prayer and the Sacraments. And I am not doing this anywhere near as well as I ought to be. I am more concerned about that than about how anyone else is doing his job. I do not condemn the hierarchy of the Church. I pray for them.If you truly mean these words, I can only say, 'Bravo!!" That is exactly the point I am trying to make. If this is what you truly believe, then I can only say we are in total agreement on the fundamental issues.
But you then wrote:
I do not have an attitude of willfulness and rebellion. There is no point talking to you about blogs when I see how ready you are to judge me. You are not capable of recognizing it when a trad does not fit your image of trads.Ah, Jayne, You know that's a copout. You don't talk to me about traditionalist blogs that support the Magesterium of the Church because no such animal exists, and you know it. So please be honest about that.
You then wrote:
I think that Cardinal Sarah, the Pope Emeritus, and various other prelates would agree with my assessment of the OF. Acknowledging that it has serious flaws is not a rejection of the Magisterium. And, yes, adding the traditional Offertory would go a long way toward allowing a clearer expression of Eucharistic theology. That is the one change that would do the most good.Certainly Cardinal Sarah, Pope Benedict and others have talked about changes and corrections to the Ordinary Form as it is now practiced that they feel would be helpful. They are part of the Magesterium of the Church, and we should always be willing to listen to them.
But you, Jayne, are going too far when you claim that they see "serious flaws" in the Church. As I have shown both Cardinal Sarah and Pope Benedict have talked about the validity and sacredness of the OF. I suggest that you once again read Summorum Pontificum, which praises both forms of the Mass equally. I suggest you once again read the article about Cardinal Sarah's suggestions. This is in complete contradiction to your assertions.
I am saying, just like Cardinal Sarah, that the theology of the Mass has not changed. The OF is a valid Catholic Mass. The problem is that it is not sufficiently clear that it has not changed. The problem should be fixed. Somehow you get from this position of mine to claiming that I have condemned the hierarchy.You may be saying now that "the theology of the Mass has not changed." But that most definitely contradicts your first statement in which you said,
The creators of the NO made a deliberate decision to downplay themes that might be problematic for Protestants and so it is less clear on such subjects as transubstantiation, propitiation, and sacrifice. While I am willing to concede that this was well intended as a form of outreach, I think that hindsight shows it did not succeed and the shift in emphasis has been detrimental to the Faith.Please tell me where Cardinal Sarah, Pope Benedict or any other non-traditionalist cleric has said the "shift in emphasis" has been "detrimental to the faith?" Only hardcore traditionalists make this claim.
You then wrote:
There are several books on the process of creating the OF, at least one of them by a member of the committee which worked on it. My "terrible accusation" is a well-established fact. One of their goals was to make the Mass more accessible to Protestants. It is no secret that this was the reason they had Protestant observers. There is nothing terrible about saying that a well-intentioned attempt at outreach had a bad side-effect. Can you honestly not see that certain ideas have been downplayed in the OF and there was a shift in theological emphasis?You are going to have to tell me specifically which books these are and who wrote them. The only ones I have ever seen making this accusation are, again, hardcore traditionalists such as Michael Davies, who was a strong supporter of the SSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre. When did Pope Benedict, Cardinal Sarah or any other non-traditionalist cleric make any statements even alluding to this accusation?
The OF was created at the request of Blessed Pope Paul VI and given his approval. As Pope, he was infallible in faith and morals, and that most certainly includes the Mass. Your accusation must include Blessed Pope Paul VI as much as it includes anyone else. Are you saying that the Holy Spirit allowed Pope Paul VI to create a Mass which would be harmful to the people? Did the Holy Spirit somehow fall down on the job? Did Christ lie when he said the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church? Did God the Father give us snakes when we asked for fish (Matthew 7:10)? That is what your statement is implying.
I spent almost four decades in a protestant church. I can tell you that as long as Catholics claim the Eucharist is the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, there is nothing that will make the Mass acceptable to them. This claim that the Mass was changed to be made acceptable to protestants is completely ludicrous on its face.
There is a very interesting defense of the Pauline Mass which can be found HERE. The author talks about the specific charges you, Jayne, have made.
In the foreword to the General Instruction on the Roman Missal states:
The Sacrificial character of the Mass was solemnly defined by the Council of Trent in accordance with the universal tradition of the Church (Session 22, Sep. 17, 1562). The Second Vatican Council has enunciated this same teaching once again, and made this highly significant comment: "At the Last Supper our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross until he should come again;" (Constitution On the Sacred Liturgy #47).
This foreword describes the New Order of the Mass as a sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, propitiation and satisfaction, thus affirming doctrines that Protestants specifically deny. The Pauline Mass affirms these things; it was not designed to please Protestants by compromising Catholic doctrine whatsoever (Whitehead, p. 80).Jayne, you next wrote:
What about the charge of the Mass being Protestantized? After all, there is more hymn singing, vernacular liturgy, a greater emphasis on the Scriptures, etc. The fact is that "the early church had some of the same things-hymn singing, vernacular liturgy, greater emphasis on the Scriptures- and that, finally, the fact that the Church has adopted these particular things today means that they are really compatible with Catholic worship." (Whitehead, 82).
One thing that must be noted of the input of Protestant observers at Vatican II. On July 4, 1976, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship unequivocally declared: "The Protestant observers did not participate in the composition of the texts of the new Missal." (Documentation Catholique #58, 1976, page 649). What is clear in the Pauline Rite Mass? It reflects the Eucharistic Sacrifice as a propitiatory work offered for the living and the dead; concerning the Transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ; concerning the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints; concerning prayer for the dead- are all points on which Protestants continue to disagree with the Catholic Church but all of which are explicitly present in the Pauline Rite Mass. (Whitehead, p. 85).
For those who say the Mass is Protestantized, there is one question to ask?
Do you know of one Protestant church who celebrates the Pauline Rite liturgy and any of the 4 Eucharistic prayers? No, the proof is in the pudding. No Protestant services recognize any of these distinctly Catholic doctrines.
"But the trads are saying that our worst enemy is the Magesterium. They are telling us that Pope Francis wants to destroy the Church, and most bishops and priests are just as bad."
Why are you telling me what trads say instead of listening to me? I am a trad and I am not saying that or thinking that. That you infer such things from my comments on the Mass shows that there is a problem with your judgement.Jayne, I am listening to you. You do not use the harsh and condemnatory language I am so use to getting from traditionalists. But you are still making the same accusations, as I have shown. The more I challenge you, the more you try to soften your tone, but you are still saying the same thing.
The Mass is the source and summit of our Faith. It is not some trad idiosyncrasy to believe that; it is a basic Catholic teaching. Problems involving the Mass have serious repercussions. Lack of theological clarity, liturgical abuses, poor translations (only corrected recently for English) are problems that need to be addressed. The TLM needs to be widely available so that all the faithful who wish can have access to it. The OF needs its problems dealt with. I am really grateful that Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Sarah who appears to have such a good grasp on the situation.Yes, there were problems that had to be corrected in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. It is interesting that the translations that were corrected involved only the English translations. Spanish, French and most every other language did not have to be corrected. So it was not a problem with the Mass itself but with the translations that were being used. And yes, most certainly, there have been terrible liturgical abuses. But does that mean that the Mass is inherently "detrimental" to the faith? Abuses mean that the Mass was not being celebrated as it was intended. That is the problem with the celebrants, not the Mass.
I love the TLM and would love to see it made widely available. However, contrary to the views of traditionalists, there are really only a small number of people who are really interested in it. Here in Brooklyn we have many, many tens of thousands of Catholics who attend weekly Mass. We have one TLM which is attended by about 60 people at best. Those in charge publicize it constantly, but no one else is interested. Even in Manhattan, a huge metropolitan community, there are only a few Latin Masses at which maybe a total of 1000 people attend, and that is being generous. Most of those people do not even live in Manhattan. The Ordinary Form of the Mass is called the "Ordinary Form" because it is the primary Mass of the Church, and it will remain so.
Yes, I also believe Cardinal Sarah has a "good grasp on the situation." One thing we have not mentioned is that Cardinal Sarah, like Pope Benedict, feels that "It is entirely consistent with the conciliar constitution, it is indeed opportune that, during the rite of penance, the singing of the Gloria, the orations, and the Eucharistic prayer, everyone, priest and faithful, should turn together towards the East, to express their will to participate in the work of worship and of redemption accomplished by Christ," I think this would be wonderful. And as you will note, this has nothing to do with making the OF more like the EF. As the Cardinal states, "It is entirely consistent with the conciliar constitution." Cardinal Sarah is looking to remain true to Vatican II, not to the Traditional Latin Mass.
I really don't know what more I can say to you, Jayne. As I said, I'm not sure we are accomplishing anything here. You are telling me things I once believed with all my heart and have since disproven, so there is no way you are ever going to convince me. I am trying to get ideas across to you that you reject because it does not fit in with what you want to believe. It seems to be we are pretty much at a standstill.