11 February 2009


As one who is exhilarated by our Holy Father's resolute promotion of the Hermeneutic of Continuity, there are few people I deplore more than those sad folk who believe that Vatican II was a sort of SuperCouncil which drew a line under every other magisterial decision of the previous two millennia and started the Church off again with a blank tabula rasa. But there is emerging another sort of Hermeneutic of Rupture, this time on the allegedly 'Traditionalist' side, which is just as dangerous as that 'liberal' Hermeneutic of Rupture which the Sovereign Potiff, despite opposition from the established liturgical and theological hippies of the last two decades, is so courageously facing down. It consists of 'traditionalists' who are fairly ignorant of the actual state of 'Tradition' in the centuries before Vatican II and who seem to me to love 'the old liturgy' a little less for itself than for the fact that in can be used as a big stick with which to belabour the 'liberals'. Example:
(1) The phrase "the Mass of the Ages" is a good one but not if it implies that every tiniest detail of the Books issued by Pius V is sacrosanct and the only possible rite for a real Catholic. Medieval rites such as those of Sarum and Paris and the Dominican Order differed very considerably from the Rite of the Roman Curia (which is what became the 'Tridentine Rite) in three areas: the Preparation at the foot of the Altar (including the text of the confiteor); the priest's Offertory prayers; and the priest's Prayers before Communion. When I was an undergraduate I used to attend Dominican High Masses in Oxford; Pius V explicitly allowed for the continuance of such variants of the Roman Rite provided that their sponsors desired to perpetuate them; and the Dominicans did just that. Yet there are folk around for whom such details as "how many confiteors?" are apparently crucial, and who write as if every syllable of the Roman Missal is almost Apostolic in antiquity.
(2) There are those who rubbish the concept of concelebration because of their horror at some modern goings-on, and their laudable desire that every priest should offer the Adorable Sacrifice, as we Anglicans call it, every day. And they even deny that the concelebration of new priests in the Mass of their ordination really is a real concelebration - contrary to the explicit teaching of the Church for centuries. I dealt with this last October, and I don't want to repeat it all now.
(3) There are those who are so horrified by the 'ecumenical' pranks of liberals that they deny, lock, stock and barrel, the ecumenical precedents set by Ecumenical Councils and Roman Pontiffs during the last six centuries - whereby entire segments of the Christian East were reconciled to the See of Peter on the understanding that, although wounded by their separation, they were still true Churches. When Joseph Ratzinger restated this position with complete (and totally 'traditional') lucidity in Communionis notio and Dominus Jesus, he was not inventing some new, flabby, and liberal heresy, but reaffirming the praxis over many centuries of the Holy See. Such documents do not stand on the Magisterium merely of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but of some fifty Roman Pontiffs.

Benedict XVI is one of the most erudite theologians to sit on the Chair of S Peter since (at least) his homonymous predecessor Benedict XIV. I think it is a shame that there are some in the 'traditionalist' community who have no confidence that he will get things right. I believe he is also one of the most loveable of popes; and I suggest that his personal holiness is guaranteed by the venom with the forces of evil are gunning for him. That's what always happens to Holiness. We should pray for him; and trust him. Those who snipe at him 'from the right': what will they say to themselves if his critics drive him to another heart attack and a premature death?


Christian said...

I think that we have already done to death the concelebration thing. All I can say is that it is was clearly NOT an everyday occurrence.

I would agree with you on the other points. That said why do you name then neo-intergralists? Integralism is a natural and highly traditional reading of Catholic social doctrine. Mainly based upon a idealised recreation of the ancient structure of society in the west. I think that it can hardly be lumped together with these other enthusiasms.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Sorry, Christian, I wasn't trying to irritate you. It's just that I am responsible for a very favourable review of Laurence Hemming's book, in which there is a footnote which is wholly misleading on concelebration (I don't give a book a bad review because of a single footnote); and I see echoes of it occurring in commments on other blogs.

I think I meant the prefix Neo- to have a pejorative sense to it. But perhaps you're right.

Christian said...

Thank you. :-)

Presbyter said...

Indeed you pursue a via media.

george said...

From a person the post and comments to.

I agree with the mysterious Gengulphus: apud tuam clementiam belongs with the verb. The gist is ‘may our Lady intercede before they mercy seat’.

Dr David Daintree

Acting President

Campion College

8-14 Austin Woodbury Place, Toongabbie

P.O. Box 952, Toongabbie East, NSW 2146


David said...

I frankly think tht many people simply don't like concelebration. It came in with the first of the changes in 1965 along with Mass facing the people. As a way of celebrating soecial occasions it soon replaced traditional Solemn Mass and Pontifical Mass with simply a flock of priest in polyester vestments mumbling together.

I think people just don't like it.

Merseymike said...

One more dead 'former' nazi. Something to celebrate - unfortunately, Vatican plc will replace him with soeone equally reactionary and vile.