5 September 2014

Good News and Good News and Good News

(1) Our Holy Father Benedict XVI has recently granted an audience to representatives of young people attached to the Vetus Ordo. While in no way an interference in the pontificate of his successor, this is not devoid of significance. Benedict XVI is not Pope but he is not nobody.

(2) His Eminence Cardinal Mueller is to meet His Excellency Bishop Fellay, Superior of the Priestly Society of S Pius X.

These two excellent pieces of news will rejoice the hearts of all those who admire one particular strand of the the Ecumenical 'policy' of the last Pontificate: what can be summarised as gathering up disiecta membra of the Western Latin Church. That 'policy' had two main aspects: solving the 'problem' of SSPX; and providing an easy 'group' transition into Full Communion for Anglicans whose Faith and praxis are fully consonant with the Catholic Faith.

Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum coetibus go hand in hand.

Does Rome, or the Vatican, still adhere to that 'policy'?

The problem with this question is that there is no such thing as 'Rome' and there is no such thing as 'the Vatican' in the simple senses which questions like this assume and imply. There are many different bodies in Rome and many different representatives of innumerable different tendencies all jostling to get at the ears of whoever they think might help to advance their own agendas or to obstruct those with whom they disagree. In addition, there are local interests making their own contributions; readers will recall that the scandalously long interval between the adherence to Catholic Unity of the Transalpine Redemptorists and their canonical erection was the result, not of anything that happened or failed to happen in Rome, but of the determined intransigence of the then local bishop. Non-Catholics who talk about the Church as 'monolithic' could not be more wrong.

An obvious example: Archbishops di Noia and Pozzo have maintained their links with Bishop Fellay; and the meeting with Cardinal Mueller is the next logical step in this happy process. But, while Prefect and Superior are shaking hands in the palazzo of the Holy Office, the world of the ordinary people who love the 'Traditional' Roman liturgical rites is seething with a sense, however naive or unnuanced or plain misguided, that somewhere else in Rome a monstrous injustice has been and still is being perpetrated by the Congregation for Religious against the Franciscans of the Immaculate ... firstly towards the friars and now, perhaps, even towards the sisters. Moderate people in this 'Traditional' world (I am not talking about wide-eyed eccentrics who teeter on the edge of Sedevacantism, but about sober individuals who would never even think of frequenting an SSPX chapel) can be heard saying things like "Fellay would be mad to do a deal ... the wolves would be upon him within months". It is good to know that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has been reassured by the Holy Father that the treatment of the friars does not imply a general policy of hostility towards Summorum pontificum; but ordinary people see what they see and draw their own (often very wrong) conclusions.

(3) On the other side of the road, our very own Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham is, this month, upping its profile. I have no secrets to share with you about what's happening in the exalted upper hierarchy of the Ordinariate, but I can tell you that the spirit among the clergy (and in the congregations of which I have knowledge) is tremendously up-beat and positive. At Clergy Plenaries, you would not believe how loud the laughter gets! And Reverend Brethren no longer come along with the nervous worries they had in 2011 ("I go into the local Catholic school and the pp has instructed me to give General Absolution each week ... what on earth am I to do?" etc. etc..). We are now a body alive with parrhesia, with enthusiastic self-confidence and awareness of our settled and very permanent place in the English Church! But I sometimes wonder if the leap from the Anglican Ministry into the Presbyterate of the Ordinariate seems to outsiders as easy and quick and jolly now as it did in the heady, happy days of 2011! I wonder how we can recreate that sense of "Ten Weeks From Altar To Altar! Come on in!" ... together with the feelings of impetus and critical mass that went with it. And impetus and critical mass are things we need ... together with money!

Most important: I hope that all English readers will find an Ordinariate event to go to this weekend! Faveat et suis famulis Deipara Virgo!

1 comment:

Joshua said...

I recently noticed a beautiful prayer pro familia among the Votive Collects that I hadn't noticed before:

Defende, quæsumus,Domine, beata Maria semper Virgine intercedente, istam ab omni adversitate familiam: et toto corde tibi prostratam, ab hostium propitius tuere clementer insidiis. Per Dominum.

May God hear this plea and grant it through Christ at the prayer of His Mother, for the family of the Ordinariates.