Readers will be familiar with the document described recently by Professor Roberto de Mattei on the Rorate Blog, designed to intimidate those who work in the Roman Colleges into concelebrating, rather than celebrating 'private' Masses.
Many, including of course the admirable and indefatigable Archibloggopoios Fr Zed, have pointed out that this represents a direct and shameless attack on a right embodied in the direct enactment of an Ecumenical Council, in Sacrosanctum Concilium of Vatican II. This is a particularly unscrupulous example of the practice of citing Vatican II, or its Spirit, when it suits a writer; and of ignoring or misrepresenting its explicit mandates when they are inconvenient. But more about this in a later section of this series.
However, I do urge readers to take courage from this offensive, intolerant, and thoroughly nasty draft Working Paper, because it proves that They are worried. Indeed, They have every reason to be anxious. Young priests, and Seminarians, are overwhelmingly either in favour of Tradition, or are at least tolerant of it. Increasingly, one hears those cheerful gusts of laughter as the younger clergy reflect on the certainty that Age and our Beloved Sister Death will solve the problem of the bigotted generation currently in the ascendancy. As our late Holy Father Pope emeritus Benedict enigmatically pointed out to Bergoglio's new cardinals, God wins in the end. Indeed he does. We may have another decade or two to work and suffer through, until the Cupich generation is itself called to its reward, but it can prudently be predicted that the End is now in sight, that the light can finally be discerned, even if only dimly, at the end of the tunnel.
We should also take heart from the sense of panic manifested in that other recent repressive proposal, that Transitional Deacons, having worked in a parish, should need a positive votum from "the laity" before they procede to the presbyterate. This actually constitutes an attack upon the Sacrament of Holy Order, because it implies that men who felt a call to priestood might be marooned in a diaconate to which they had never felt permanently called. Would their oath of Celibacy be dispensed? Whoever dreamed up this piece of discrimination evidently believes that the Grace of the Holy Spirit for the Order of Deacon in the Church of God is a piece of rubbish that can easily and conveniently be dumped. Of course, saying this does not mean that one mistrusts the Laity. It means that one has the sense to realise that, under the current ascendancy, a faction of the Laity will be used ... abused ... as a manipulative tool for keeping out of the priesthood many young men who believe in priesthood. "My dear boy, I'm terribly sorry ... if it were just left to me ... but the Laity have spoken ... What did you say? How many of them? What percentage? Now really! Be reasonable! You can't expect us to conduct an actual vote, can you ...". Remember what happened at Maynooth last year when the 'formators' tried to chuck out almost an entire year because they didn't like their attitudes.
The last occasion on which I concelebrated a Novus Ordo Mass was a couple of years ago; a keen and hardworking young priest ... not an Extraordinary Form type but what I think of as 'Wojtyla loyalist' ... was hounded out of his parish by a lay faction. Blame me if you will, but I felt compelled, out of priestly solidarity, to go along and concelebrate with him his last Mass in his parish.
It does not take much imagination to guess what such factions would do if given the power currently being discussed. Remember the Irish diocese in which, four or five years ago, even the diocesan Bishop was himself bullied by such people into abandoning his proposal to introduce Permanent Deacons. It was felt that this would reinforce the Patriarchy of the clerical state. The ultimate ambition, of course, is to introduce women priests or, failing that, to ensure that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is replaced by lay-led communion services ... or worse ...
To be continued.
17 July 2017
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I find it so hard to take courage or to take heart. I feel that these developments you speak of today will not be so easily dismissed. I feel they will not be defeated but will crop up again and again until they become canon law. I greatly admire your faith and confidence but mine is shaken once more by successor to St Peter and those around him. I feel it is more and more like the Cole Porter song "Anything Goes" and will only get worse.
This type of action only creates a more unhealthy spiritual environment for the seminarian. Very basically, at least in the US, they often must act as if they are someone whom they are not.
They will then have to act this out rather dramatically when one puts them in front of the parish as a whole.
The notion that "the Laity" are somehow more "Spirit-filled" than the evil male hierarchy is just one more romantic delusion left over from 1968. Anyone who has worked in a parish (and I spent several years doing so, for which time I hope to have my purgatorial sentence sharply reduced) knows that cliques and personality-disordered or just chronically dissatisfied women (and yes, they are usually women) make the papal description of the Church as a hospital ship quite apt. BTW, the domination of the parishes by females is a toxic state of affairs and a major reason why men flee Catholicism, whose internal masculine-feminine balance has been destroyed since Vatican II.
I have a longtime friend who is a Unitarian Universalist minister. They have an obsessively "democratic" and congregational polity, whereby the local "church" chooses their minister, who then must work with a Board. This friend spent several years specializing in Interim Ministry. This means that when a mob...I mean, a congregation...had a meltdown over their pastor or pastorette, the Interim would show up for a year or two to try to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again before "the priesthood of all believers" tried to hire yet another clerical employee. This system, I assure you, does not lead to utopia.
Of course, no system does, or can.
A Mass celebrated by a hundred priests is still only one Mass. This instruction has the effect of drastically reducing the number of Masses which will be said in seminaries and communities. This at a time when the world needs as many Masses as possible. I vaguely recall a saint being quoted as saying that one Mass is worth more than the tears, sighs and prayers of every person in the world.
We've been consoling ourselves for years that the younger generation of priests is more traditional, and that things will improve as the older generation dies out. This is naive. He who selects the bishops and Cardinals can create the Church he wants. JPII and BXVI were supposedly "conservative," but they appointed the Cardinals that elected Francis. Francis is more careful. Every new bishop and Cardinal is more "Francis-like" than the one he replaced, and every new Cardinal increases the likelihood that the next Pope will share Francis' opinions (if not his exact style or temperament). The younger generation of priests is more traditional, but among the hundreds of thousands of priests, Francis and his successors should have no trouble finding 5,000 merciful ones to be bishops, or 200 or so to be Cardinals. At least a few of these young "soutane and saturno" priests will see things the Francis way when they realize that the alternative is a lifetime of no promotions and endless conflict with the bishops. This could result in a whole succession of Francis-like Popes, or at least ones that will not roll back whatever changes he can put in place during this pontificate. Someone please show me how I'm wrong. I see no natural resolution to this, only supernatural.
Every time ABS hears or reads of attempts by prelates to force their personal passions, proclivities, and prejudices upon everyone else who wants no part of that agenda, the cocktail hour is advanced by one hour.
ABS is now considering whether Bloody Lizzies * go better with scrambled eggs or emeritus eggs benedict.
We Christian Catholics, in loving memory of the recusants, would never drink a Bloody - - - - anymore than we descendants from Cork County would drink a Black and Tan.
Kudos, Father. Your work and courage are an example to uncounted numerous of souls.
Pax tecum and keep banging away.
And just think how useful such seminary concelebrations will be in helping to weed out those who have doubts about the Novus Ordo.
'I thought I glimpsed the ghost of a pained expression on your face during the Eucharistic Prayer No. 2, young man. You know, if you have any questions or thoughts about the Liturgy, you can always share them with me in perfect confidence, dear boy. It will go no further, I promise you.'
to Lepanto, above. I understand what you are saying but at the same time one has to acknowledge that there is always 'only one Mass'. Every celebration is a participation in the One Mass which is the unbloody re-presentation of our Lord's Sacrifice. I find in this area that it is significant that in the Traditional Rite of Ordination, the only form of full sacramental concelebratiion permitted in the Western Rites (Carthusian concelebration was not fully sacramental) before the 1960s, the newly-ordained, however many of there there were, were all permitted to accept a stipend for the Mass of ordination. This presumes that they were in some sense at least individually celebrating Mass. Like you, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with it (I don't accept stipends for concelebrations but join my intention with that of the PC) but it's there, and we must acknowledge it.
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