23 May 2011

I Haven't Finished With Universae Ecclesiae

I feel uneasy about the suggestion that UA would have been better or stronger if it had embraced the Ambrosian, and other, Latin rites. Subject always to correction, my view is that this would have been improper and an improper exercise of papal authority.

The Bishop of Rome necessarily and logically determines what the Roman Rite is. The Bishop of Milan, Successor of S Ambrose, determines what the Ambrosian Rite is. The Dominican and other such usages are, to use Adrian Fortescue's felicitous term, 'dialects' of the Roman Rite (and the usages of the Anglican Ordinariates will themselves have the same status). As such, they come within the natural liturgical ambit of the Bishop of Rome*. Rites such as that of Milan, in my view, do not (unless they contained flaws which might damage the Communio of the Universal Church; in which case, of course, the duty of the Roman Pontiff to strengthen the fellowship of his brethren would come into play).

In my piece of April 28, 4th in my Ratzinger-and-liturgical-law series, I dealt with Cardinal Ratzinger's thought about the Papacy and its limitations. My concern was to demonstrate that he had a nuanced and sophisticated view of papal authority and its limits. He is concerned to emphasise that the Pope is not some sort of omnipotent despot but a person who works within limits which are inscribed in the life and in the very nature of the Church Militant.

Cardinal Ratzinger made clear his view that the immediate post-conciliar period was profoundly in error in its view that a pope (especially if claiming the mandate of an ecumenical council) can do anything. In my view, he was absolutely right. It is a strange age we live in: both those on the 'left' ("The pope should allow the Ordination of Women") and the 'right' ("The pope should interfere in the details of the rites of other churches") seem to be united in holding a crude and maximalising view of the papacy which neither Papa Ratzinger nor I could easily swallow.

I am neither on the 'left' nor on the 'right' ... nec dextera nec sinistra sed ubi Petrus.

I wonder why it is that I sometimes feel that I am part of a despised and ridiculed minority ... even a persecuted minority.


*Para 34 makes clear that the Rites of the religious orders may be used by their members. It is unfortunate that the English "translation" fails to translate the words sodalibus ... licet ... .The same principle of subsidiarity according to which individual secular clergy have the right of using the EF without needing any hierarchical approval is also enjoyed by each individual religious.


Fr. J. said...

Father Hunwicke,

First, "welcome home." Second, I'm interested in your opinion on the difference between a use and a rite and how this distinction applies to the various western rites. To me the distinction makes sense theoretically, but breaks down as one looks at the actual terrain. Clearly, most of the Eastern Rites are derivative of the original Chrysostom liturgy. It appears to me that what has made Eastern Rites is the independence of ecclesiastical authorities which have resulted in a variety of derivations called rites which might actually be called uses.

Also, some of the western rites seem to me to be actually uses, like the Dominican. Through time, especially in the Medieval era, differences were granted approval as favors. Those minor differences were in time elevated in parlance as rite, but are actually derivative.

I don't know about the Ambrosian history, but I rather doubt that it is coeval with the Roman or Chrysostom liturgies.

Anyway, the distinctions are all as clear as mud.

Patrick said...

Father Hunwicke

Sorry to post off subject, but I thought you might be pleased to know that I obtained two books by E.L.
Mascall at a Library sale here in
Pensacola, Florida: He Who Is and
Christ, the Christian, and the Church. Of course I wouldn't have known anything about him without having read your blog...thanks

JamesIII said...

Father J,

The riddle of Rite versus Use will probably never be solved until there is a clear definition of both terms. Most rites are certainly derivative but that place where they stand on their own as a distinct liturgy is rather debatable. Most of the monastic Eucharistic liturgies are referred to as rites but are clearly variants of the basic Roman rite. Sarum and Lindisfarne used a variant of the Gallican which is most probably rooted in Antioch. Things get murky when one tries to draw a line.

My professor of Liturgical Studies while I was at university started the year by setting definitions for the terms as they were to be used in the lecture series. I have retained his distinctions in my own thinking since that time. A Rite is a liturgy, derivative or not, that is predominant and in practice within a given see. A Use is a Rite celebrated in a location other than its home territory or see. A “Use” may simply be a minor variant of a Rite. Thus, if we see Sarum as a derivative Rite, its celebration at York would be the Sarum Use at York.

Clear as mud. Father H. may see it, quite legitimately, in another light.

Joshua said...

The Sarum rite is not derived from the Gallican, but from the Roman. The Gallican (and its brother, the Mozarabic) is very obviously non-Roman, in a way the Sarum is not.

The Ambrosian is the most difficult to classify, since it uses a variant of the Roman Canon, and its prayers, chants, etc. bear a strong resemblance to Roman texts and chants - but have their own distinct qualities.

Fr. J. said...

Thank you, JamesIII. Yes, it is clear as mud, but I am glad to learn that I am not the only one who has wondered about the distinction.