Irish Priests Still Waiting

and there’s talk of boycotting MR3 on theological grounds. The Irish bishops ended their national meeting two weeks ago, but a response to uppity priests isn’t expected until the big feast day on Thursday.

(Fr Seán McDonagh of the Association of Catholic Priests, pictured, left) said if Rome was willing to allow some members of the church to continue to use “the Pius V missal” because they couldn’t in conscience use the new one, he didn’t see why Rome could not accommodate those who say they cannot “in conscience use this new one for theological reasons.”

I don’t like the equating of the two, but you can’t deny that Rome itself has let a big draft into the Church with the 1988 indult. An indult which has yet to achieve the main goal it had.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Irish Priests Still Waiting

  1. Liam says:

    For me, for priests to assert the primacy of their conscience without qualification is a shallow, political game. That Rome is playing a game does not justify a game in return (at least for people who claim to be Christian…).

    Here the problem: priests who expect democracy to begin at the top so that they are free to do what they think best, without doing the necessary cultivation of democracy from below. While there are certainly pastors who consider their pastoral councils to be a necessary evil at best, there are also those who think pastoral councils are truly representative; from what I have seen and heard, there is a considerable problem with selection and confirmation bias in the construction of pastoral councils, unless a pastor and a council work at levels that are unusual in Catholic climes. Pastors who are truly intrepid and prophetic – a very rare breed – have cultivated their flock deeply and broadly, and have laid the foundation for seeking consensus (and consensus is not a majority) feedback from the flock on matters such as this as well as more mundane matters.

    If you don’t start there, don’t pass Go, go directly to Clericalist Jail, do not collect 200 Vatican Euros.

    The good of the flock cannot serve as a rationalization for a pastor to fail to seek out a broad consensus of his flock to guide what he chooses to do. Of course, that consensus has no canonical authority, but the failure of a pastor to engage this is prima facie evidence of self-serving rationalization.

    Pastors come, pastors go. The flock stays, and has to reap the consequences of choices pastors make in the name of their tender consciences, when a newer pastor comes who has a different conscience….

    What we see here are the two sides of the clericalist system. I am not rooting for either of them.

    I take solace in the fact that, if the faithful are exposed to the new Missal translation, they can they have the opportunity to form their own opinions about it. For good or for ill or both. Often, the only way to get past a problem is to go through it, rather than around it. Let’s trust that the Spirit will be with the people in guiding their reaction, and not assume any of us knows that reaction in advance.

  2. David D. says:

    The cover letter accompanying SP suggests that conscience would not provide a justification for avoiding the new translation:

    “Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books.”

    Also, SP is in part premised on the conclusion that the 62 missal was never juridically abrogated. I don’t know if this will be the case with the old translation upon the effective date of MR3.

    Finally, the document introducing the 1988 indult identifies its purpose:

    “To all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition I wish to manifest my will to facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of the necessary measures to guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations. “

    In this regard, the indult was at least somewhat successful in accomplishing its stated purpose as the FSSP was founded by former SSPX priests just a few weeks later.

  3. FrMichael says:

    I’m OK with such priests being able to celebrate the 1973 Missal in private Masses. If that privilege gets abused, then they can always have their faculties suspended. That assuages troubled consciences and allows the implementation of the new translation to go forward with the larger community of the Church.

    Then it will be a matter of said priests’ ego never being in a position to celebrate a Mass in public. That would be the true proof of whether this is a matter of conscience, which after all only binds an individual and not the larger Christian community, or disobedience.

  4. Jimmy Mac says:

    “Insofar as thought could be governed at all, it could only be commanded to follow what reason affirmed anyhow; command it otherwise, and it would not obey. Like any wise ruler, Abbot Arkos did not issue orders vainly, when to disobey was possible and to enforce was not.”

    A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. (1959)

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