30 April 2020

That CDF Questionnaire!

What a source of Innocent Merriment!!

A friend is suggesting additional Questions such as
"Since the Novus Ordo was introduced half a century ago, has Mass Attendance in your diocese gone up or down, and, if either of these, by how much?"

My own reaction was to suggest two pendant questions:
"How many churches in your diocese make use of the Extraordinary Form of the Eucharist?"
"How many churches in your diocese make use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion?"

Frivolity aside, here is my reaction.

I have no connections or private sources of information. But, having worked in a corporate organisation most of my life, I read this document genre-wise as the sort of thing a middle manager might send out if he thought that Someone Else might ask him questions, and he wanted to be primed to answer them, and he preferred to have his back securely covered. Moreover, the CDF has only recently taken over these liturgical competences, and it is natural for a new boss to want to take stock of 'where we are'. Or perhaps a tiny but noisy group of trouble-makers has been getting at him and he wishes to be able to reply "Well, Your Most Sublime Excellency, I have surveyed the entire Latin Episcopate, and ... " et caetera.

 I wonder what readers who have themselves worked in corporations, whether commercial or academic or religious, might think of such an analysis.

I can't honestly see much in the way of threat in these enquiries. The Liturgy Wars seem mainly now to be in the area of how the Novus Ordo is to be done. You must not turn your back on the People!! The sort of hysteria about the EF which thirteen years ago made poor Cormack wet his galero is far in the past ... surely?

Prelates who ... for example ... have handed over large derelict churches to Traddy organisations are not going to reply saying "The EF has developed in my diocese right under my own eye and my own careful supervision and has been a horrible disaster". (Although, if I were Archbishop of Liverpool, I would complain vigorously that last year the Institute had me celebrating Mass in their Dome of Home and they forgot to put my pallium over my chasuble.) There may even be 'liberal' bishops who are more than happy to sponsor an EF Mass every fifth Tuesday attended by three and a half old ladies and their cats, rather than to have a thriving important church where the Novus Ordo is done in a traddy way with heaving congregations.

Andrea Grillo ... is said to have the Pontiff's ear, although sources rarely speculate on which ear is most favoured. And he is, I concede, a dangerous man. And my eyebrows (both of them) did rise a little when I read the question about whether the EF is being done strictly in accordance with 1962. I wondered if someone had been saying "Actually, these integristes want to go back to a liturgical culture much older and infinitely more dangerous than the comparatively tolerable Rite of 1962".

But this questionnaire is (think about it) not the sort of thing the Grillos of this world really want. True, it would help their political agenda if they could use it to claim that Summorum Pontificum is "still" causing enormous practical pastoral problems. But that's not what actually interests them. They have a rooted and massively ideological objection to traditional Liturgy in itself, irrespective of any practical  questions.

However this Questionnaire business works out, it does not touch upon what the real baddies are really interested in.

Not the time to panic! And, after all, as the trendies kept saying all through the Ratzinger pontificate, we may soon have a new pope. A friend tells me that Austin Ivereigh has recently referred to 'the long winter' of S John Paul's pontificate. How naughty, so Dr Ivereigh must think, our blessed Lady of Fatima was to intervene as she did with regard to that bullet! Why do women always get in the way?

Who knows ... this 'winter' might be even shorter  ... who knows, we may soon be in May, the merry  Month of the Mary. All power to her heel.


Fr Ray Blake said...

I think that the CDF have asked, at least some bishops, about diocesan EF provision since 7/07, the novelty is the question is now on the ad limina questionnaire.

My previous bishop, now deposed, expressed his gratitude to me after the E/W ad limina under Benedict for being able to say something positive about EF provision in our diocese when interrogated by the CDF.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. This is off topic but ABS thinks you will find this blog interesting with its comparisons of current and past flu seasons stats for England and Wales.


Fr PJM said...

Ipsa conteret!

Stephen Morgan said...

The Dome of Home is in the Diocese of Shrewsbury in the Province of Birmingham, within which it would be inappropriate for the Archbishop of Liverpool to wear the pallium.

jack p said...

What about the Mutual Enrichment.
See here and here the total lack of Mutual Enrichment in the Netherlands. Despite a few individual priest saying the TLM as private Mass once a week only. Everything is still in severe decline.

John Patrick said...

Perhaps a silver lining of our current Red Chinese style lock-down would be the number of people who are now able to live stream Extraordinary Form Masses from anywhere in the world. It would be interesting to see statistics on how many people not previously exposed to the Mass of Ages might now have taken this opportunity.

Paulusmaximus said...

Father, I must say that I read this questionnaire in a more sinister light. First of all, while the document may well have been drafted by a middle-ranking bureaucrat, it would not have issued to bishops conferences around the world without the approval of the Pope. Everything done in the Vatican over the past seven years points towards a very "hands-on" pope. The questions are all loaded and the expected responses not very hard to discern.

It is a moot point whether the Pope has any deep interest in the liturgy. What is unqestionable, however, is that he dislikes the type of bishops, priests and lay people who attend and support the Old Rite. To Pope Francis, they are the rigid ones who oppose his reformist agenda. In Francis's eyes the relatively widespread availability of the Latin Mass provides networks wherein Catholics who are loyal to the Magisterium (as the term was understood until 2013) may consolidate their opposition to his brave new world.

The approach being adopted with this questionnaire reminds me strongly of the strategy before the synods on the family. They were preceded by questionnaires. The (filtered?) results of these questionnaires were used as ammunition to drive the change agenda.

I find it hard to see this survey as merely an administrative exercise. Would that it were so.

eulogos said...

Jack- What is ulvaarten?

Fr. Gregory Lockwood said...

It’s not the voters who count but those who count the votes. I agree with Paulus.

Woody said...

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time--
To let the punishment fit the crime--
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment!
Of innocent merriment!

Woody said...

Surely it is unnecessary in this group, but I still should have noted that the text is not mine, but that of W.S. Gilbert, from The Mikado.

jack p said...

Sorry, @eulogos the word "uitvaarten" is the Dutch translation of "funerals". Thanks for your comment, I forgot to translate this word.

David Irwin said...

Erm - why should Archbishop McMahon be wearing a pallium in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, which is in the Birmingham province?

John Vasc said...

I'm reminded of an old Viennese joke set in a pre-war café near the Stephansdom. Four elderly gentlemen are ordering their coffees from the head waiter. Each of the four guests in turn describes in lengthy, abstruse, differentiated detail the precise kind of coffee he desires, from the origin of the beans to the degree of strength, size, and shade of blackness, and the exact type, amount and temperature of the milk or cream. Herr Ober nods deferentially, asks follow-up questions, makes copious notes, then disappears into the kitchen where he mutters brusquely to his underling: 'Alfred, vier Kaffee!'
It's really an observational joke about Vienna and its waiters, but it could also be applied to the Vatican.