Motumania: 30 Pages to Four, Minus Ecclesiology

Rock has a good bit of information on the motu proprio, as does Boston’s Cardinal Seán, one of the participants in this past week’s “public” showing of the mp to certain bishops. The cardinal first:

The Holy Father was very clear that the ordinary form of celebrating the Mass will be the new rite, the Norvus Ordo. But by making the Latin Mass more available, the Holy Father is hoping to convince those disaffected Catholics that it is time for them to return to full union with the Catholic Church.

So the Holy Father’s motivation for this decision is pastoral. He does not want this to be seen as establishing two different Roman Rites, but rather one Roman Rite celebrated with different forms. The Moto Propio is his latest attempt at reconciliation.

In my comments at the meeting I told my brother bishops that in the United States the number of people who participate in the Latin Mass even with permission is very low. Additionally, according to the research that I did, there are only 18 priories of the Society of St. Pius X in the entire country. Therefore this document will not result in a great deal of change for the Catholics in the U.S. Indeed, interest in the Latin Mass is particularly low here in New England.

And now Rock, who also mentions that the pope believes three years is enough of a period to test and assess:

While the document’s first two drafts — heavily influenced by the president of the indult-responsible Ecclesia Dei Commission Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos — numbered close to 30 pages, the final product is widely reported to be much slimmer, with the Pope’s cover letter to the bishops (tipped at four pages) said to be longer than the three-page motu proprio, itself. The language, too, has reportedly been shifted away from the ecclesiology employed in earlier versions, which sought to portray the pre-Concilar liturgy not merely as a Mass “inter pares” (“among equals”), but restoring its status as the first among them.

That, of course, raised no small amount of hackles as the draft passed through several congregations, and the final product will apparently agree with the qualms, including the reiteration that the 1970 Mass of Paul VI — or, rather, the 2000 editio typica of John Paul II — remains the “ordinary rite” for the faithful of the Roman church.

Pope Benedict mentioned that if enough people wanted it, the 1962 Missal could be used at one of six cathedral Masses. I’m sure that will fill the hearts of traditionalists with anticipation.

I feel encouraged that conciliar theology isn’t being given the cold shoulder. A thirty-page screed on the virtues of All-Things-Tridentine? Parce Domine. Parce populo tuo.

Three reasons are given for the mp. The pope wants the schismatics back into the fold. The pope favors “unblocking” the obstacles some traditionalists face with stubborn bishops. And there’s the “museum” reason: preservation of treasures that aren’t being used otherwise in the Roman Rite.

I suspect most traditionalists will be disappointed with the outcome, at least in this country. Pastoral concessions to schismatics didn’t work in 1984 or 1988, mainly because the reason isn’t one of worshipping taste, but one of obedience and schism.

I feel sympathetic about a detour around stubborn prelates. I think Catholics would prefer a more artistic expression of the Roman Missal translation. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get it. Maybe we need our own motu to express these worthy aspirations.

Preservation of treasures outside the concert hall or the recorded disk: is this a church problem? In classical music circles, it may be that early music tastes are very much in a distinct minority. It might be that the culture within music circles is partly at fault here. Then you have western culture’s overall opposition to certain artistic forms that demand more attention than the physical attractiveness of artists. Classical music has recently resorted to sex to sell itself. Somehow I don’t that that would translate from medieval Latin.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Motumania: 30 Pages to Four, Minus Ecclesiology

  1. Gavin says:

    Given that much of motumania is centered around eliminating or at least heavily changing the Ordinary liturgy, it’s nice to hear that the document will reiterate that it is still THE normal liturgy for the Roman Rite. That was a lot of my issue with the MP, that it confuses the place of the new Mass. Glad the pope paid attention to my blog!

  2. John Heavrin says:

    “A thirty-page screed on the virtues of All-Things-Tridentine?”

    This is how you characterize a document you’ve not only not seen, but never will see?

    Your faith in the veracity of the accounts of a gossip-monger is puzzing. It remains to be seen whether what we’ll see is anything close to what’s being peddled, let alone if the effect of the document and the traditionalist movement going forward over the years and decades to come are as “disappointing” to traditionalists as you hope they’ll be.

    I will only say that I find it hard to believe that the Holy Father would spend the time and effort he has, and the engage the fury that he has, and the ridicule to come, only to issue a document that essentially restates Ecclesia Dei, and doesn’t further matters. I trust he knows what he’s doing. But I don’t know what’s in it, let alone what was edited out of it. Obviously neither do you.

    Which is why I’ll wait until it’s out and able to be read to form a reaction to it. As you should do before you wipe yourself with it, Todd; doing so now, as you’ve done, is like using your hand for the purpose.

    I am amused by your frequent attention to this issue, though, and look forward to the gymnastics to come. Thanks!

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