Saturday, January 27, 2007

Jesuit Commentary on the Universal Indult

A Radio Vatican commentary from Father Eberhard von Gemmingen SJ, Director of German Speaking Programmes. The aristocratic Jesuit is often on German TV and was granted an early exclusive interview with the new Pope, who he studied under at the University of Tübingen.

Weekly Commentary

In all probability Pope Benedict will give the permission to celebrate again the traditional or Tridentine Rite. It would however be completely wrong if Catholics started to quarrel over this, some of them full of joy about this reversal, the others full of anger. It is to be noted that the Pope will not on any account reintroduce the old liturgy or even make it compulsory. He is only of the opinion that the prohibition of the classical Rite after the Council is in contradiction to Church tradition, because according to his conviction, Rites can be further developed but cannot be abrogated.

The whole thing is not about Latin and the celebration with the back to the people. The new Rite allows both. The exact differences between the old and the new Rite are minimal and are hardly recognizable if the new Rite, as permitted and when sought, is celebrated in Latin and with the back to the people.

In my opinion, our actual problem in Europe is that the Faithful find today’s Masses often banal with little mystery and at times also with arbitrary additions to the Rite. Christians with a sense of aesthetics wish for a more classical form and mystery. Behind this is probably also a longing for European language which links all together in a common culture. At that stage, one knew that a Catholic Mass in Lisbon was the same as the one celebrated in St Petersburg. One was spared any surprises. But let’s admit it, at that time millions took part in the Mass diligently and faithfully but have not understood anything and only prayed the Rosary. The German hand Missal, Schott was only known to German intellectuals because in other countries it did not exist (untrue!). The desire to assist at the Mass, actively and with understanding is good and very important. It is my opinion therefore that in todays world we priests should learn again to celebrate the mystery so that Faith, heart and reason are in used to equal measure. If we look at the growing Churches in Africa and Asia, the celebration of the correct Rite is a mere trifle. I can hardly imagine that anyone in these young Churches will want the old Rite.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

"Collegiality" no longer a smokescreen for Disobedience?

Another tip from Fr. Zuhlsdorf here:

"Pope picks up the phone in defence of the Old Rite"


POPE BENEDICT XVI has spoken by telephone to a number of French bishops to persuade them to accept a wider use of the Tridentine Mass, it has been claimed.

The Pontiff brought French bishops who oppose the Tridentine Mass "to a reluctant but decisive change of view", according to the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), an organisation of Old Rite priests that the Pope strongly supports.

It is widely expected that a papal document will soon be released to allow priests to celebrate the Tridentine Mass - using the pre-Vatican II1962 Latin Missal - without the explicit permission of the local bishop, though probably only in the low-key setting of a "private" celebration. The document, which will be released motu proprio, or on the Pope's own initiative, has caused concern among bishops in France, where traditionalist groups are particularly active.

But efforts by the French episcopate to "torpedo" the initiative have failed, according to Videre Petrum, the FSSP's British newsletter.

"It is said that the mild but persuasive words of Pope Benedict, who personally spoke by telephone to many of the most intransigent enemies of tradition among the bishops of France, worked a sort of miracle, and brought them to a reluctant but decisive change of view, or at least to a recognition of the limits of disobedience," the newsletter said. Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, a former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said last month that the Vatican's Ecclesia Dei commission had discussed the document and would pass on its conclusions to the Pope.

The cardinal added that he did not expect the commission, set up in 1988 to oversee Vatican relations with traditionalists, to discuss the document any further.

Commentators say priests will be allowed to celebrate the Tridentine Rite without permission at "private Masses" that would be nevertheless be open to the public.

The proposed reform would put pressure on the bishops of England and Wales to adopt a more welcoming stance towards the FSSP, which currently has only two priests based in London.