25 July 2022

Unfinished Business of Vatican II

I hope no reader disagrees with the policy of PF's admirers ... and, indeed, of the Holy Father himself ... that the intentions of Vatican II must now finally become effective throughout the Whole State of Christ's Church Militant Here In Earth. Better late than never.

Here are two examples.

(1) V2 emphasised the role of the Bishops as successors of the Apostles. But yet the corrupt old usage of the word "Apostolic" to mean "Papal" still, more than half a century after the Council, continues.

Mary Pierre Ellebracht, in her erudite Remarks on the Vocabulary of the ancient orations in the Missale Romanum (1963) cunningly noticed a shift in the liturgical use of the adjective apostolicus

In some early texts, it was used instead of the genitive Apostoli ("of an Apostle"). E.g., "Apostolicis Iacobi ... praesidiis": literally, "by the Apostolic protections  of James". But this was later changed to "Apostoli tui Iacobi ... praesidiis". 

Both mean the same. It may simply be that use of the adjective appeared more stylish. (Augustan epic poets would tend to refer to "the Herculean Hands" rather than referring to "the hands of Hercules" with a plain genitive singular). 

My own suspicion is that the adjectival Apostolicus was increasingly being reserved for the See of Rome.

We need to put this trend into reverse. Apostolic Nuncios ... Constitutions ... Palaces ... you name it: they should be deapostolicised.

Would "Papal" do instead? Perhaps; but in the earlier centuries every bishop was a Papa; and His Beatitude the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria is still "papa". We mustn't be anti-ecumenical.

Perhaps "Vatican" or "Lateran" would be a sensible substitute.

(2) Dr Ellebracht's doctoral supervisor was none other than Christine Mohrmann. I think there should be a massive act of penance for the way brilliant Catholic women liturgists and academics were ignored in the Sixties (and since). An Instauratio Memoriae Christinae Mohrmann, accompanied by a lock-stock-and-barrel complete reconsideration of the entire corrupt liturgical settlement of the late Seventies, would be in order. Some Grilloids could be ceremonially eundo et lustrando flogged round the city walls. "From the tyrannye of Bysshop Bugnini and al hys detestable enormities, Good lord, deliuer us" could ... by a deft appropriation of a brilliant idea of Archbishop Cranmer's ... be added to the Litanies ... a contribution from the Ordinariates ....

You know it makes sense.


Zephyrinus said...


Peter Presland said...

"Grilloids" and their ceremonial flogging - Love it!

As for the suggested appropriation of that duly modified Archbishop Cranmer anathema: Reading it and the concluding remark triggered a reflexive chuckle that sprayed coffee over my keyboard.

Thanks anyway. It brightened my day