23 July 2021

Der Fuehrerbefehl

 Many of you will be too young to remember the infamous events of 1962. They led to famine and public disorder; to mobs of crazed people jostling in the streets as they struggled in the queues to register for their unemployment benefit and for hand-outs of public foodstuffs. Gaunt and famished, in country after country the hungry men, driven to despair, protested in the only way they knew. The barricades ... the street massacres ...

The cruel decree Veterum Sapientia had ordered the sacking of thousands of men, and some women, from Catholic seminaries throughout the world. Papa Roncalli, "Good Pope John XXIII" as he had ironically been called, in full consciousness of His authority, Decreed and Commanded eight important rules. Rule 5 ordered that the major sacred sciences should be taught in Latin, that the professors of these sciences in universities or seminaries be required to speak Latin and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. "Those whose ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for them to obey these instructions shall be gradually replaced by professors who are suited for this task. Any difficulties which may be advanced by students or professors must be overcome ..."

Hence the world-wide sackings. The Pope had spoken. Petrus locutus est.

Fiat Latinitas, ruat caelum.

S John XXIII ended with the impressive words "In virtue of our Apostolic Authority, We will and command that all the decisions, decrees, proclamations and recommendations of this Our Constitution remain firmly established and ratified, "anything to the contrary notwithstanding, even things worthy of special note". Gosh!! Nobody would disregard something as definite as that, would they?

What a persecution was then unleashed! Spies and informers abounded; Gestapo-like bands of thugs went around seminaries collecting evidence and listing names. Unspeakable cruelties were perpetrated upon these hungry, workless, men; upon their unfed women and their emaciated catamites. Since the elimination by burning of the Cathars, nothing like it had been seen in the Catholic Church.

In Argentina, no bishop was more rigorous than Bishop Bergoglio in enforcing the decrees of S John XXIII. If ever he heard of a seminary professor giving a single lecture in Spanish rather than Latin, he was instantly on the phone demanding that the man be sacked. He had the reputation of being the strictest bishop in Latin America in implementing Veterum Sapientia.

Of course, the relentless pressure of the Bishops and of the Seminary Management Boards proved ... as they  must ... successful. Vernacular teaching totally disappeared from our seminaries; and as the succeeding Popes enforced the same rules, even the memory of Vernacular Seminary Teaching has disappeared. The world feels, somehow, so much cleaner, so much safer.

And how right all this has been. Veterum Sapientia was an Apostolic Constitution, signed, for greater emphasis, on the High Altar of S Peter's. Catholic clergy and Laity know their duty of submission to the authority of the Roman Pontiff. When we hear the Pope's voice, it is S Peter that we hear. This knowledge calls us to unquestioning obedience. "Do all your seminary teaching in Latin", he cries. Our response is "Certainly, Holy Father. Pronto!!".

Our privilege today, in 2021, is that we are being given a very similar opportunity for total and unthinking obedience, Jesuit style. Pope Francis possesses precisely and exactly the same authority as S John XXIII. When he decrees the extermination of the Old Mass, that decree comes to us with precisely and exactly the same force as the requirement of S John XXIII that all Priestly Formation in seminaries should be done entirely in Latin ... er ... except that possibly a motu proprio may not have ...um ... quite the authority of an Apostolic Constitution ... er ... . I wouldn't know about that sort of thing; I'm only a 'convert'.

Just suppose that 1962 decree had been ignored! Just suppose that the Rectors and the Episcopal Boards running seminaries had taken not the slightest bit of notice of those Decrees of S John XXIII!

It just doesn't bear thinking about, does it?


Michael Leahy said...

The difference must be Pachamamma.

PM said...

And, providentially, I have just discovered this very well argued piece


on the need to implement principles in the Council's documents and later papal decrees on the right of the laity to information, by releasing the results of the survey of bishops that supposedly underlies TC.

As a matter of justice, participants in the TLM have a right to know if their bishops have been calumniating them behind their backs.

prince Matecki said...

What a nice piece you have composed, Father Hunwicke.
I just checked the catalogue of the lectures and tutorials at the faculty of roman catholic divinity / theology of the WWU University in Muenster of 1962.
At the time, it was rather famous (remember Volk, later cardinal, Ratzinger and Gnilka and Metz worked there as professors).
It also for some time happend to be the largest faculty of catholic theology at a state university in christendom, with some 3000 students registered. That, of course, was due to the fact that if you wanted to become a teacher in Germany at the time and also teach "religion" you needed courses and examinations at the faculty (and the missio canonica of course from your bishop.
The catalogue for winter term 1962 shows some rather interesting stuff, among others a lecture series by Gnilka on Qumram, the dead sea rolls and the theology of John.
However, nothing was given in latin.
Shall I have to repeat my little test for the 1963 winter term?
(Sorry for the smiley, I just was in the mood)
So that was a deft satire in the best of traditions.

Cus said...

What a style! Maybe I am a bit impertinent, but could you please look around in some old cabinets and find the manuscripts of your unpublished novels?

John Patrick said...

Of course we also have the example of Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI which was unanimously accepted by all in the Church without a single complaint, with the result that every single Catholic now avoids the use of contraceptives. And that was an encyclical.

Sue Sims said...

Worthy of Mgr Knox, Father! And I can't give higher praise than that.

Titus said...

*Cough*not consecrated bishop until 1992*cough*

John Vasc said...

Father, In view of discussions about TC's Art. 3 stipulation for 'readings proclaimed in the vernacular, using translations of the Sacred Scripture approved for liturgical use by the respective Episcopal Conferences' (Art 3 of TC) , there is an interesting view in the canon law opinion gathered by the LMS - who quote the whole 'guidance' on their website:
"It should be noted that the requirement of Article 3.3 that lections be given in the vernacular does not exclude their being proclaimed first in the Latin of the liturgical text, which is generally required under the liturgical law of the 1962 Missal. [OK, this we had worked out already. But NB what follows]. "The congruence of the translation used with the liturgical text, which sometimes varies from the Hebrew or Greek versions which form the basis of most recent translations, should be kept in mind." i.e. The vernacular texts used *should* not slavishly follow NO vernacular versions, as those would not be true translations of the Latin liturgical texts. But this is the nugget:
"In any case, this requirement (vernacular readings) *only* applies in the context of the *provision of the Mass for ‘groups’...." That is because the Pope's requirement for 'readings in the vernacular' was made under Article 3 which deals only with 'groups' organized in 'personal parishes' - so it does not affect the vast majority of public Traditional Masses, which are normally said in a church with an ad hoc congregation, not a 'stable group'. And the guidance points out that under Canon Law any such new restriction as TC must be interpreted 'narrowly rather than widely' (Can. 18) So everything else, Office, Sacraments etc is untouched by TC, as is the unaffected right of the faithful to attend any Mass in the Traditional Rite.

The canonical guidance can be found here https://madmimi.com/p/ee66a21?pact=212267-164102599-7038994874-35f9abd4471237d1e6e6ec92ce4d75f9ce59cdbd

It is quite a heartening read.

prince Matecki said...

I remember when I was young and helping out as aide de camp of a german admiral, when I accomanied him to his US Navy counterpart in the pentagon, I was rather impressed by a long sentence which the US admiral had posted in very large type on the back wall of his office.
It ran:
Regulations are there to be intelligently igenored"
Intelligently underlined.

William said...

I don’t think Veterum Sapientia had been rescinded by then. Indeed as far as I know it’s still in force.

Mike and Michelle said...

is this a real comment

PM said...

Let us not forget that the Father McTrendies of the world have ignored a blizzard of papal admonitions over the last fifty years about abuses in the Novus Ordo, let alone magisterial teaching such as Humanae Vitae, Veritatis Splendor etc.

PM said...

Since the promulgation of TC, I have been expecting to see crazed mins baying 'More Carey Landry. More Estelle White. More Paul Inwood. More clown Masses!' But where are they?

Jeremy said...

I am absolutely sure that F displays the same volte-face as many middle-aged priests in the 70s - once orthodox and 'rigid' they turned themselves into hippy liberals and instantly renounced their former life and came to hate it and anyone else who would not change. They were in the front line of destruction but never lost their ability to be martinets. I rest my case. JB

Sue Sims said...

Father, have you seen the article in today's New Liturgical Movement by Dr Nancy Llewellyn? It's at https://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2021/07/traditionis-custodes-vs-st-john-xxiii.html. She makes the same point as you, though without satire and with more footnotes. I prefer your approach, but her piece is nevertheless very valuable.