13 October 2018

Cardinal Wuerl ...

... has finally had his resignation accepted. Many a blameless cleric would be delighted to receive as extravagant a send-off as PF has given Wuerl. What do we all have to do to earn ...

My own unease concerning Wuerl began with a story I heard the veracity of which I cannot guarantee. So, if I've got this wrong, apologies to the clerics concerned; apologies to my readers for misleading them. I welcome any corrections from anybody who knows the facts more accurately than I do. I would not wish the record to be anything other than straight! The following account is, therefore, provisional. It may well be totally withdrawn, with apologies.

It relates to North America and to the Ordinariate of the Chair of S Peter in the time of the previous Ordinary, Mgr Steenson..

My recollection is of being told that a parish in that Ordinariate had started an Extraordinary Form Mass on a weekday, which attracted quite a congregation. A stop was put to this by Cardinal Wuerl, who instructed Mgr Steenson to explain to his subjects that the EF was not part of the Anglican Patrimony, and should not be celebrated in Ordinariate churches.

If true, this is preposterous. The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus says that Ordinariate clergy may use either the Roman Rite or the Ordinariate Rite. It does not distinguish between the two forms of the Roman Rite, the Ordinary and the Extraordinary. By decreeing that Ordinariate clergy can celebrate the Roman Rite, and making no distinction between its two forms, those Ordinariate clergy are placed in exactly the same position as every other presbyter of the Latin Church, by virtue of Summorum pontificum.

Is the EF "part of our Patrimony"? In one sense, clearly not. The provinces of the Anglican Communion never authorised the Missal of S Pius V.

But, equally, those provinces never authorised the Novus Ordo of B Paul VI. So, by the "not part of our Patrimony" argument, Cardinal Wuerl would prevent us from using that too.

In another sense, the EF clearly is part of our Patrimony. It has been in use by our clegy and Laity for roughly a century. When I was in the Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury, I used it, in Latin, most weekday mornings. It was also used in various Missals such as the English Missal, which provided it partly in Latin and partly in English and with the possibility of interpolating some formulae from the Book of Common Prayer. I knew it as a schoolboy in the 1950s and as an undergraduate in the early 1960s.

The same is not true of the Novus Ordo! That is totally alien both to the elegant but Zwinglian formulae in the 'official' Book of Common Prayer, and also to the de facto liturgical culture which prevailed in 'Anglo-Catholic' circles.

The old Mass is very much an integral part of our liturgical history. Our greatest liturgist and mystagogue, Dom Gregory Dix, used it daily, in Latin, in his monastery at Nashdom, and insisted on doing so in the Lutheran Churches during a lecture tour in Sweden! In the Anglican shrine of our Lady of Walsingham, there still are dozens of examples of the Missale Romanum (well, there were last time I said Mass there about ten years ago), and of the English Missal, surviving in storage from the happy days when the twenty or so altars in the Shrine Church would have been in constant use, during the pilgrimage season, by priests saying their private masses according to what, in those  happy days, we called "the Western Rite"!

So ... can anybody fill me in with regard to this American business?


17 comments:

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father. The subtle indirect humor in paragraph two is smashing.

You are a blast to read.

Woody said...

I was led to believe by those in the inner circle of the Ordinariate that it was a voluntary decision of Msgr Steenson perhaps motivated by the desire that the Ordinariate not be taken over by the EF and lose its more particularly Anglican style. To a certain extent there were grounds for this concern based on precedent in the Eastern Catholic Churches which had seen numbers of disaffected traditional Catholics come to their liturgies and start up, or continue from the past bad old days of Latinization, devotions such as the rosary before liturgy. I recall being there for some of that. Of course, in more recent times broad segments of the Eastern Catholic Churches have been seriously deLatinizing, so one could understand the desire to keep the Ordinariate “pure”, one might say colloquially. Unfortunately, the more recent changes to the older Anglican Usage liturgy seemed to be directed at further Novus Ordoizing the AU, at least in the American context, and I know some who have not gotten over it.

FSL said...

My understanding is that the parish you refer to is St Barnabas of Omaha, Nebraska. Looking on their website, they do not seem to currently offer the TLM. At Incarnation Catholic Church, a copy of the Missale Romanum is kept in the sacristy, and Fr. Holiday the Pastor has learned it, but my understanding is that mass according to 1962 Missal is forbidden in our parish for public worship for the present by Houston.

FSL said...

Incarnation is the Ordinariate Parish in Orlando, Florida. Recently the bishop of Orlando created a bit of a stir in traditionalist circles here in the Diocese by banning *ad orientem* celebration of the Ordinary Form at an FFSP Parish he inherited. The FFSP need their own Ordinariates so abuses like this are prevented. The excuse was that it engenders "confusion" even though this is their longstanding practice since before +Noonan himself became Bishop. Shame on you, Bishop Noonan: *ad orientem* is the historical norm and implied as such by the OF rubrics. It would be only slightly more egregious to ban communion on the tongue. Incarnation gets a lot of people who would rather attend the EF. It would be very popular if it were ever publicly permitted at Incarnation.

Discipula said...

I can only say that this is not the first time I've heard this story (that Cdl Wuerl forbade a TLM Mass in an Ordinariate parish), nor does the story surprise me. I come from Michigan.

Donna Bethell (formerly known as Rose Marie) said...

Why do these bishops oppress us? Why do they forbid what is perfectly valid and licit? Why can't they stand any deviation from the Novus Ordo as it has come to be celebrated,i.e., versus populum, in the vernacular, with Communion in the hand and standing? One is forced to suspect that they are mightily afraid of what is implied by the usus antiquior or even the proper rubrics and norms of the Novus Ordo. They are a reproach to their deformations of the liturgy, as Benedict XVI called them in Summorum Pontificum. And those deformations, along with the intrinsic shortcomings of the NO, are a very large part of the doctrinal and moral as well as liturgical catastrophe that has befallen our Church in the last 55 years.

Donna Bethell (formerly known as Rose Marie) said...

I am not familiar with this particular incident, but Cardinal Wuerl was named a kind of papal delegate to the Ordinariate in the US when it was established, so he would be in a position to to do this. I can say that here in the Archdiocese of Washington he is no friend of the usus antiquior and his priests know it. He tried to stop two priests who were celebrating it privately, with no public notice, but they both stood on their rights, thank God. Otherwise we are confined to a church downtown, never wreckovated, and an old chapel outside the Beltway. The chancery in a letter years after Summorum Pontificum referred to the downtown church as the "designated church for the Extraordinary Form in the Archdiocese." What?

So I can well believe the story.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Well, the good ordinary's reply to W should have been, " right, well, in that case we'll just use the Missale Sarisburiense!", although he could have mentioned that on the morning of the day he died, Richard III would have heard mass at the Franciscan convent at Leicester according to the Missale Romanum.

Fr. Michael LaRue said...

I have know one of the principals for a very long time, and also I was in a position observe a good bit of what was going on. This was certainly my impression of events, and I have no reason to doubt it. Happily there is a much different attitude under Bp. Lopes, whom I have met and like very much.

Feed Room Five said...

My understanding is that it was Cardinal Weurl who forbade the EF in the American Ordinariate but this has been reversed by Bishop Lopes.

Donna Bethell (formerly known as Rose Marie) said...

@A von B: Exactly. It is ludicrous to say that the Gregorian Rite is not in the heritage of any Latin Rite Catholic. And if members of the Ordinariate want it, that is their right under Summorum Pontificum.

Is it fair to say that if the usus antiquior were universally available or if there were no NO, there would be no need for the Ordinariates? In other words, the function of the Ordinariates is to save former members of the Anglican Communion from the NO.

Jonathan Dandridge said...

"Is it fair to say that if the usus antiquior were universally available or if there were no NO, there would be no need for the Ordinariates? In other words, the function of the Ordinariates is to save former members of the Anglican Communion from the NO."

I would say no, the Ordinariate is a legitimate usage with its own unique charisms and is more than just a refuge for those escaping the NO. I suspect that if the iron grip of the Lavender Mafia were loosened so that the UA was more readily available then so would the Ordinariate usage, a happy circumstance.

Donna Bethell (formerly known as Rose Marie) said...

@Jonathan Dandridge: Fair point, thank you. Is the Ordinariate being hindered by the mafia? I thought that the point was to take the members out from under the NO hierarchy.

Dale said...

"Is the EF "part of our Patrimony"? In one sense, clearly not. The provinces of the Anglican Communion never authorised the Missal of S Pius V."

Not completely true. The Missal of S Pius V was authorised in the American Protestant Episcopal Church for small groups of Italians and Hungarians who, mostly because of ethnic problems with the overwhelmingly Irish Roman hierarchy, aligned themselves with the Episcopal Church. These small communities continued to celebrate the Roman rite until the liturgical changes in the Roman Church in the 1970's and at that time changed to the modern rite.

Tony said...

This does not surprise me in the least about Bp. Wuerl. Touching on homeschooling also: Bp. Wuerl, when he was the Ordinary of Pittsburgh, meddled in matters involving TORCH and caused quite a bit of confusion and dissension in Catholic homeschool groups. His position effectively amounted to telling homeschoolers: if the bishop says it, you HAVE TO do it, period. Not surprisingly, this did not fly well with quite a number of homeschool parents, especially many who were well educated, but for those who were not so well educated it made them afraid of not toeing the line. It split my group apart, as it helped break up the effectiveness of some umbrella organizations, like TORCH. That might even have been his objective, for all I can tell. I have known for 15 years now that he is not a friend to those who recognize the crisis in the Church for what it is.

Michael Duffy said...

I am a parishioner at St. Barnabas in Omaha, and I can happily report that Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form is again celebrated here, every Tuesday morning, with the express permission of Bishop Lopes.

Gareth Thomas said...

Have not commented here for a while Father, but just quoted you in a Twitter thread about Brexit, for reasons not entirely clear, but to do with Latin Mass. "It's a good life if you don't weaken," as my confessor Brother Bernard SSF used to say!