Sunday, July 15, 2007

Vatican News

... In which I explain to you recent news from the Holy See in terms that non-Catholics will understand.

First, let's consider this Latin Mass thing. After the Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic Church translated its liturgy into local languages. On the one hand, it was great that some bishops and cardinals realized that despite their best(ish) efforts at education, many of the planet's Roman Catholics couldn't make heads or tails of Latin. Attending masses in one's own language meant that even if one still didn't understand what was going on, one could at least understand the words being used (ha ha). In addition, the move from Latin to whatever vulgar alternative language was in many cases forced upon clergy and laity from the top down, which was apparently a pastoral disaster that ranked a 8.5 on the Righter Scale (Episcopalians will get my little joke).

Rules of liturgical revision:

1. Don't.

2. No, really. Don't do it. Put the pen down.

3. If you really really must absolutely, unavoidably revise a liturgy because the very voice of our Lord is entreating you, do it slowly and carefully.

So up to this point, the celebration of Masses in Latin has required the special permission of diocesan bishops. I understand that many would not permit this, which makes old people very sad. And everyone knows that bishops should not make people sad.

Now the Pope has said that priests can say Latin Masses if they want. Traditionalists hope that this means hippie folks masses, or masses said while in a Barney costume, will decline. One can only hope. Stupid traditionalists are relieved to know that they can go back to praying in a language that Jesus will actually understand.

Some Catholic liberals fear that English Masses will disappear overnight. I doubt that.

Watch this video Fr. Richard passed onto me for an idea of what this is about:

Now, as for this whole "Protestants are outside the Church" thing. It's probably not what you think.

What people (and stupid media people) think the document said: "Protestants are not Christians." If you think that, smack yourself on the nose. Right now.

What the document really said: "Ecclesial communities out of communion with Rome are indeed instruments of salvation, but not Churches in the fullest possible sense, because to be Churches in the fullest possible sense requires communion with Rome."

Ecclesial communities? Instruments of salvation? That language is very loaded with good things, theologically, and it is much, much more generous than what I hear many Protestants say about each other or the Roman Catholic Church. If you don't get that, smack yourself on the nose right now. Then read Peter and Alan's take on it.


Anonymous said...

The motu proprio is not primarily about Latin. The Novus Ordo Mass can be said in Latin without any special permission -- this has been the case ever since that missal was promulgated in 1970.

What Benedict has done is free the old (Tridentine, pre-conciliar, Pius V, John XXIII, pick your label) missal for wider celebration. Unlike the NO Mass, it must be said in Latin. However, it's the richer, more traditional text, tighter rubrics, and the tradition of celebrating the Mass more reverently that draws people to the pre-conciliar liturgy. It's not primarily old people who are attracted to this Mass -- actually, it's older Catholics who are often most vehemently opposed to it. The motu proprio comes out of a hope that this older liturgy will help make celebration of the ordinary form of the Mass more reverent, as well as providing a place for liturgical traditionalists to worship.

But again, it's not about Latin, and it's not (primarily) about old people who are simply nostalgic.

Garrett said...

And besides, who would ever expect the Hitler Youth pope to try to bring back the anti-Semitic mass!

*don't take me seriously*

Anonymous said...

Don't take Garrett serioiusly, but I'd almost be serious if I had written the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kyle. I've been a little surprised at all the Protestants scurrying around and waving their hands as if this is something new. I've been petting many a fevered forehead, whispering, "Hoc nihil novum. Semper Sancta Mater Ecclesia sic docuit."

James H said...

I think that is correct as to the "old Liturgy" with the comments clarfying it. Froma American Episcopal viewpoint I gather I gather it like changing the old prayerbook controversy 100 squared. It was done all rather badly and the hope is that having this form of the rite said will benefit the "new mass"(oh how I hate that phrase"

I have been busy but I really was interested in yalls viewpoint on the latest Vatican statement. I follow the blogs that "Historical Christian" blog has under the Emerging Church Category with much interest and enjoy visting them. SOmething truly wonderful here is happening and insights gathered here have helped me in my Catholic Spiritual life.

One reason I was interested in your point of view is that you and many of your readers are part of the Anglo Catholic tradition. In fact, the only people I think might have a gripe are those that consider they do have Legitmate Apostolic Tradition just as much as the Eastern Orthodox..

I know the "validity of orders" question opens a whole different can of worms.

However I do hope people realize that the document was not a proper place to go into that. Especially because of the state of the Anglican Communion. It would have caused a major rift with some major playors and really make the letter something it was intended not to be.

ON that subject, I think the Churches that are often mentioned on here that being St Patrick and Vineyard have put themselves under the jurisidction of the African Bishops instead of Episcopal USA. I believe I read that someplace on here. Forgive me if I am wrong on that matter. Perhaps it the TEC or another Anglcan body. But I get the impression that the Church that the Churches often discussed here are under different juridiction than main Anglican Church in the USA.

Anywho to the Anglican Brothers and Sisters that believe in the Euchurist and the real presence and the Anglo Catholic Tradition let me post this short letter. Years ago(2003) there was a important meeting of American Anglicans in the Dallas area. They came togther because they were concerned about the directions things were going in. It was groundbreaking for good or for worse depending on your point of view. Well the meeting , that included hundreds if not thousands from around the USA started when the presider said he had a important letter to read. IT was a letter from what I hear caused a standing ovation and many tears.

"October 9, 2003

From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

The Vatican, on behalf of Pope John Paul II

I hasten to assure you of my heartfelt prayers for all those taking part in this convocation. The significance of your meeting is sensed far beyond Plano, and even in this City from which Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to confirm and strengthen the preaching of Christ’s Gospel in England. Nor can I fail to recall that barely 120 years later, Saint Boniface brought that same Christian faith from England to my own forebears in Germany.

The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is a unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcend the borders of any nation. With this in mind, I pray in particular that God’s will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself.

With fraternal regards, I remain

“Sincerely yours in Christ,

“+Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger”"
For the some reactions of people who were there please go here

Now, the Vatican knew the trouble it was casuing with that letter and the "Diplomatic trouble" it would cause. However, I think the heartfelt senitment and the interest it conveyed was true. Might I suggest that Cardinal Ratzinger and the Pope would not have sent this letter to just any Christian community that was in the situation as those meeting at Plano. In fact I found it very unusual Take that for it what its worth and the Catholic Churches view of the importance of the tradition some of you practice that post here.. That letter as well as other actions should be taken into consideration as to the whole picture.

For those that want too look at the Catholic view of the Anglo tradition might I suggest the Pope's own book

"Church, Ecumenism and Politics: New Essays in Ecclesiology* by Joseph Ratzinger (1988: ISBN: 085439-267-X). It is 278 pages in length and consists of three divisions, Part I: "The Church's Nature and Structure" (3 essays); Part II: "Ecumenical Problems" (3 essays); and Part III: "The Church and Politics" (8 essays). In Part II there is "Anglican-Catholic Dialogue: Its Problems and Hopes"

Again, I hope I am not stepping on any toes here but I think what yall are doing is important. IN fact, if the truth be told you are ahead of us "Orthodox Catholics" that are trying to get the Church on the right course here in the USA in some ways. What many people here are doing in the total "emerging Church movement" is very similar to what Orthodox Catholics and especiallly young Orthodox Catholics are doing in Europe in my view.

There is something afoot going on here and the media I find either "Protestant" or Catholic media has failed to pick it up. When it does it appears to put it in some kind of "liberal" political stance for some reason Anyway, sorry for taking up this much space.


Bobby J. Kennedy said...

I loved that video. I-emailed it to several people. Great stuff!

I am happy that Pope Benedict XVI did this. I think it will strengthen the Catholic religion. Strengthening his flock will only serve to see other traditions grow in strength as well. I look forward to the results of this action.

Anonymous said...

I have issued a reply of sorts in regards to my own time and place, Twin Falls, ID. I disagree with the Holy Father in what exactly constitutes true churches but I admire his principles and have done my best to mimic them inside of my own theological framework.

I am ruthless and intolerant. Like the Pope. Just different.

Anonymous said...

well first off....did any one see a resemblance between the pope and seniter palpatean from star wars.....focus on the eyes and the insidios smile opon his face....witch would explain y bobby thinks that the pope is trying to gather popularity in the mass's for something along the lines as a zealot army hell bend on starting a new crusade!!....any way i think its funny that the hard core traditionalist's would be happy becaos they can finaly pray in if jesus could not understand them in any other language...and in that case if he could not...then he would have u speak in toungs...would he not?.......and as for the fear of english sermans disapearing over night.....mmm dont think not trying to say they are lazy or not into tredition...but it is alought easyer speaking sermans in english than in the sence that the mass's only imediant responce in the serman...the only one they the ringing of the bell for comunion!....any way great point kye and i agree to a degree.....o and (james h) i found your comment a little long and boring...i ended up fading out upon reading it and picking my nose =)

Anonymous said...

insidius is probly how its spelled but means....evil...sceaming...ploting...and just evil i dont know how else to explain it...and i ment ( hell bent )* not srry kyle if i cut down your authority figure =).

James H said...

Random Guy

Just sho wyou know the Sermon/Homlies were never in Latin in the rite. They were in the ordinary common lanquage of the people

Anonymous said...

srry but i also forgot to explain that i ment seniter palpatean "After" he fought mace windu.....and if u dont know who that is....samuel L. Jackson...A.K.A....the token black guy in the movie :O....srry if that afendid any one...and yes i a poor speller :(

Anonymous said...

ok james h...w/e that means....and what has that to do with any thing i said?....o and im not cathelice so...i dont cair =/..srry...but not realy =)

Anonymous said...

catholic* srry....some religios tight a** probly just sh*t a brick....srry =/

James H said...

Random Guy

Sorry I misunderatood your post I guess. :)

Anonymous said...

well maby.....your "not" forgiven =/...i mean come on how can i just let a thing like that go...its...its...just so insulting...i dont think i can find it inside of me to let it go...o wait yes i can...becaos if i dont im just as "Horible" as "You"....

#Debi said...

Random Guy: don't take offense, I'm merely curious--is English your first language?

Kyle said...

Okey dokey, where to start?

Thanks for the clarifications, Fr. Chris. I wonder if you or Alan or James H or anyone else can answer a few questions for me:

1. When was the Latin Mass standardized; i.e. when did the RCC do what Cranmer did by pulling all the diverse liturgies together and creating one authorized Mass?

2. Tell me if I'm sorting this out properly: "Some English Masses are reverent, and some are not. All Latin Masses are reverent, so a resurgence of same might change some attitudes." Yah?

3. Why do my contemporaries in the Roman Church prefer Latin? I have a friend who prefers them, but I've never really understood, because the answer I've gotten is something to the effect that in English Masses, priests do what they feel like. I don't think that's possible, so I'm not sure I understood. It was also explained to me that in English Masses, the music is often crap, but I don't know what that has to do with anything.

Garrett and Antony, smack yourselves on the nose. :0)

Jared, don't the Protestants always scurry when someone turns on a light? Oh, I better smack myself on the nose now.

James H, thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to offer your thoughts in such a helpful way.

Oh, check this out.

Thanks for reminding us of Benedict's 2003 letter to the Plano Gathering. It really was encouraging for the folks there as I understand it, and it gives a good idea of what "ecumenism on the ground" looks like for B16. I wonder if it goes to far to suppose that the whole "null and void" thing isn't the way the 21st papacy will respond when and if it chooses to consider the question of Anglican orders again; indeed, there are a lot of questions around that issue.

And I have to say, the "Latin Mass Scenes" in the above video could have come from any Anglo-Catholic parish; maybe that's part of why I do and don't understand what's goin' on with you guys. In my Anglican context, it's about the theology and practice, and not the language that determines the reverence.

I didn't know that the essay on A-C Dialogue exists; I'll check it out soon. Thanks for the heads-up.

Oh, and don't worry about Alex, clearly all that Instant Messenger and MySpace that the kids are into have destroyed his typing skills. Ha!

Kyle said...

And to clarify on Anglican matters: yes, a number of priests, parishes and bishops have decided that TEC on the whole (except for a few dioceses) no longer believes, teaches or practices the Apostolic Faith, and will suppress those who do. Some existing parishes have departed from their bishops (and often their buildings) and placed themselves under the jurisdiction of foreign prelates. Others, like St. Patrick's Church, were formed as a missionary enterprise of foreign churches, such as Rwanda.

+ Alan said...

OK, let's see what I can do with this...

1. When was the Latin Mass standardized; i.e. when did the RCC do what Cranmer did by pulling all the diverse liturgies together and creating one authorized Mass? Well, it was first standardized and universalized at the Council of Trent. One Rite was instituted and exceptions were made for other Rites which had been in use for at least 200 years in their particular locations. So, the Mass we're sort of talking about shouldn't necessarily be called "the Latin Mass" because the Novus Ordo Mass (Paul VI) can also be said in Latin, always could be. It's the Tridentine Mass, referring to that one Rite standardized at Trent. THEN Blessed Pope John XXIII re-worked the Missal for that standardized deal in 1962 - that's what's authorized as far as the Tridentine Mass is concerned, now known as the extraordinary form of the one Roman Rite. Wheeew.

2. Tell me if I'm sorting this out properly: "Some English Masses are reverent, and some are not. All Latin Masses are reverent, so a resurgence of same might change some attitudes." Yah? Not exactly. Some may see it that way but that would be a preference thing I think. Actually, any Mass can be said in an irreverent way, a careless or even mechanical way, as opposed to being said as unto the Lord, for real, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, reverent, sacred, etc. Novus Ordo Masses, in whatever language they are said, can be very reverent (and I don't think culural types of music are an indicator either). And as well, Tridentine Latin Masses can also be done reverently and carefully. They can also be done mechanically and sloppily and thus, irreverently. There are probably elements of orientation, etc. of the "old Mass" that can be seen as inherently reverent (I suppose) and to honor that is good and will, hopefully, add to the overall spiritual worship life of the Church.

3. Why do my contemporaries in the Roman Church prefer Latin? I think to assume that this is true of the majority of those in your age group is a big assumption. I think some people make this assumption, and I believe they are wrong. It would be interesting to hire a truly un-invested Anthropologist or Sociologist to do a study about this. My guess is that you'd find a very small minority of people in that age group in the American Catholic Church who would prefer the old Mass. There are some for sure, and they are vocal to some extent. I think there may be something about "spiritual novelty" there in some of these people. They are drawn to it because it's different. That can be fine if it doesn't go too far ONLY because of that reason. They may, along with anyone, be drawn to a sense of mystery and the mystical in this liturgy. I do understand that a bit more. It's harder to explain but nonetheless, real. I hope any of that helped at all. Just sharing what I've gleaned from all this. Peace. I mean Pax vobiscum. :)

Anonymous said...

Alan has hit most of the points I would have mentioned in response to your questions, Kyle. But again, I want to reiterate, it's emphatically not about Latin, for the most part.

The rubrics of the 1962 Missal are pretty strict, unlike the new Missal. There are essentially no options. The options in the new Missal (along with the prevailing liturgical culture in the Roman church) seem to give priests the idea they can make things up and start Masses with "Good morning!" rather than "In the Name of the Father..." Fr Fessio and some of the other reform of the reform folks who are committed to the new Mass are hoping that sustained exposure to the extraordinary form will lead RC liturgists to pare down the number of options in the Paul VI books.

Latin Masses do tend to be more reverent than your average English one, but that's because a) people seeking reverent liturgy tend to like Latin in the RC church, it's an accident of their history, and b) for reasons similar to the 1962 rubrics issue, it's hard to ad lib inane prayers and talky interjections in Latin. :-) I am not a huge Latin fan — for daily Masses, I use an English translation of the 1962 Missale.

There were and still are some abuses of the old, extraordinary form, and of Latin Masses said using the 1970 books. But the abuses are different -- it's mumbled low Masses, not ad libbed prayers and jokey intros. The work of the Church's sanctification is always ongoing, but I'm hoping some of the old Mass's strengths can inform the new one.

Like you, I prefer English, but I do think on most of the merits, the 1962 Mass is superior, when celebrated using some of the insights gained during Vatican II (like using the vernacular, drawing the people more deeply into the eucharistic mystery by speaking the Canon aloud, etc.). But then, I'm a liturgist, so the usual joke/caveat applies. :-)

Anonymous said...

hey debi...last time i hecked we were debating on the rights of mass in latine or english...ovesly u cant bring up a good point about that so maby u should keep your tick tack sized comments to your self...maby go read some...that way you wouldent seem so ignorant...cuz it seems you are incabible of doing so..instead you make rather shallow and pedatic remarks =)....and can only attack my spelling? the way no one answered me if they could see a resemlance between the pope and setintor palpatean after fighting mace windu...i know that has to mean something =/

Anonymous said...

checked* srry for not menchuning this in the previos post have to disagrea with alan on a part of his coment saying that mass could be exersized the sence that "technicly" you can preform mass sloppely...but i dont think it would sit over very well with god...sence god only ask's you to praise him for aproximety 2 hours on 1 day out of the week...and if you cant take it serios enuff to do so for just 2 hours and give him your love and thank him for all that is posible for just "2 hours" then maby you shouldent even go to mass...maby you shouldent even call your self a christian...cuz if u cant do that for him after all that he has giebn you...then your no more than a selfish ugly ingrat...who does not diserve the grace of the one who goes by "I AM".

+ Alan said...

Well, this is becoming not the slightest bit helpful. Oh my.

#Debi said...

Random Guy: please reread my comment. I did say that I was merely curious. I meant that in an almost scientific sort of way, unrelated to the content of your comments. The fact that you are (as you say elsewhere) 16 explains much.

As to the content of my comments, I come here to learn from Kyle, since, even though he is several years my junior, he is far better versed in these areas than am I. Since I am in fact fairly ignorant of Latin vs. English masses, I wisely remained silent on that subject, preferring instead to read and absorb the information. I try to follow the advice of Mark Twain, namely: to remain silent and be thought a fool rather than to speak and remove all doubt. I wish I had thought of something so meaty as to compare the Pope to a character in a science-fiction movie.

Anonymous said...

what ever your intecnhuns may have did not keep u "did" remove dought of you being a fool...besides we are hear to argue against one anothers ideas "not" to argue over what languege we speak?..and u did not mean it in a questioning maner as to ferther educate ur self on my did it as pure ignorant remark seeeing as how u can not find any weakness in my mearly attack my grammer...i find you to be rather...shallow and pedantic...keep your 2 cent remarks to your self if they serve no meaning as to just nit pick at some one =)

Kyle said...

Alex, mate, play-time's over. You're not even making any sense, just making ad hominem attacks. Take a cold shower or something, and leave my friends be.