14 October 2016

A courageous Cardinal

I can understand brother priests who feel that, admirable though the views of Cardinal Sarah are, now is not yet really quite the right moment to stick one's head above the bullet-scarred parapet and to begin the gradual, gentle, pastoral, catechised move to restore ad Orientem worship.

But I urge them to read the extracts available in translation on the internet (Fr Z; Chiesa ...) from his latest book. And to consider the simple courage of this wise and godly man. And to remember that the dissuasions of some other hierarchs have been based on a mistranslation of Latin and bad advice from somebody about the Law.

After Sarah's London paper on the subject, his appeal was immediately subverted, publicly, by other cardinals and bishops. Yet he now reiterates his call and points out that no priest needs any permission from anyone to celebrate facing the same way as the people. (Compare the very similar appeal to Subsidiarity in Summorum Pontificum.) In other words, attempts by prelates cuiuslibet dignitatis to give the impression that they can inhibit their subjects from doing this are quite simply extra-legal ... pressures. If they do invoke 'law', they are ill-informed (not, I hope, mendacious).

Clergy might, I most humbly suggest, ask themselves how they will feel if ... just for the moment, of course ... they ignore Sarah's appeal ... and the forces pitted against him then succeed in getting him hung out to dry.

The possibility of this is suggested by his own hint that the Holy Father (as well as the Vatican Press Office chappies) might not like his return to the topic of reforming the reform; and his insistence that the Pope "must" prevent arrogant intellectuals from stealing the patrimony of authentic Catholic worship from God's poor.

In practical and pastoral terms, I will pass on a point someone made at the Ordinariate Plenary Meeting only yesterday: if you do the Liturgy of the Word at the Seat, and return to the Seat for the oratio post communionem, facing ad Orientem simply for the Eucharistic Prayer, Our Father, and Fraction, you will actually not have been "turning your back on the people" for very long. Also from the Patrimony: remember that in a transitional period you could face the people at some Masses and not others; on some Sundays of the Month and not others.

And I beg brother clergy not to listen to some fiercely hard-line traddies, who actually prefer the Novus Ordo to be done in a certain sort of way, including ad populum, and as badly as possible, so that the Extraordinary Form is left as the only solution still on offer to the the crisis facing Catholic Worship (as Cardinal Sarah recently described it). This attitude is quite simply (IMO) sectarian and divisive and elitist.

Readers from the Anglican Patrimony will also recall the persecutions, more than a century ago, unloaded upon our own clergy who were restoring worship ad Orientem; and the trial (and trials) of the saintly bishop Edward King of Lincoln. (To think that the same battles, apparently, now have to be refought in the Catholic Church! How persuasive the Enemy is!)

Since the Cardinal's latest book is on the subject of Silence, the Anglican Patrimony can also offer the following supportive words from C S Lewis's Screwtape Letters.

The devil Screwtape says: Music and Silence - how I detest them both! ... Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless and virile - Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. ... The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. ...

Cardinal Sarah, dear Eminence: this poor Ordinariate member, at least, offers his prayers for you; and admires your courage as much as he does your wisdom.

The Universal Church is very much in your debt. God bless you.


Nicolas Bellord said...

What I find extraordinary in the response to Cardinal Sarah's suggestion (and it was nothing more) that priests celebrate ad orientem was the sheer rudeness of that response.

tradgardmastare said...

Excellently put Father.

M. Prodigal said...

Amen to what you say. Cardinal Sarah would make a wonderful pope. He would not leave the faithful in confusion and distress. May the Lord have mercy on His poor ones floundering in a world of confusion.

Ever mindful said...

Amen, amen, and amen.

A whole lifetime is necessary to study the Word of God, and to acquire the wisdom that leads to love

Cardinal Sarah