Returning Corpus Christi to Thursdays
Pope Benedict XVI – Ad Multos Annos
Details of Fra Freddy Crichton-Stuart's Funeral
Selective Reading From the Tablet
Solemn High Mass and Corpus Christi Procession in Leeds
Three Major Occasions
Fra' Frederik Crichton-Stuart, RIP
One Step Forward, One Step Back
Padley Martyrs to be Honoured by Pilgrimage
Another Initiative from the ‘Pope of Surprises’?
Holy See Confirms That Female Altar Servers Are Not Permitted in the Extraordinary Form
When Liberals Disobey Church Authority, Can They Get Round It By Appealing to Conscience?
Corpus Christi Mass Listings Now Available
As the English and Welsh bishops consider the extremely destructive consequences of their decision a few years ago to transfer several Holy Days to the nearest Sunday – which has simply resulted in the corrosion in many parishes of any awareness of these great Feasts and has certainly not resulted in any greater attendance at church on those Sundays – news comes from Rome in a story from the news agency, Zenit, of a forthright intervention by Cardinal Canizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, in which he calls for the Feast of Corpus Christi to be returned to its Thursday throughout the universal Church. It is unthinkable that Cardinal Canizares would have made this intervention if he did not think he had the approval of the Pope. And, of course, the Pope himself continues to celebrate Corpus Christi on the correct day.
The English and Welsh bishops took their disastrous decision in great secrecy and – let us be frank – strained popular credulity when they claimed the decision was made as a result of insistent lobbying for the change by priests and people. The claim did not square with the evidence then and, in light of the negative consequences of the move, does not square with the evidence now.
Given that Rome is signalling so strongly what it feels about transferred Holy Days, we assume that it will not be long before the English and Welsh bishops announce the result of their consultation by calling for a speedy return of all the transferred Holy Days to their proper days – to the great relief of many of the laity and the strengthening of the Faith in our secular and confused islands.
(Note: of course, in the Extraordinary Form, Mass of the Holy Day continues to be celebrated on the correct day.)
You can read the cardinal's interview here.
The Feast of SS Peter and Paul, Wednesday 29 June, was the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict’s ordination to the priesthood. He marked the occasion by preaching yet another extraordinary sermon, full of wisdom and humility, during a celebration of Holy Mass in St Peter’s Basilica in the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I of Constantinople.
The LMS was able to celebrate the Feast of SS Peter and Paul in the Extraordinary Form at over 30 locations throughout England and Wales.
Here is the text of Pope Benedict’s sermon:
'Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"Non iam dicam servos, sed amicos" - "I no longer call you servants, but friends" (cf. Jn 15:15).
'Sixty years on from the day of my priestly ordination, I hear once again deep within me these words of Jesus that were addressed to us new priests at the end of the ordination ceremony by the Archbishop, Cardinal Faulhaber, in his slightly frail yet firm voice. According to the liturgical practice of that time, these words conferred on the newly-ordained priests the authority to forgive sins. "No longer servants, but friends": at that moment I knew deep down that these words were no mere formality, nor were they simply a quotation from Scripture. I knew that, at that moment, the Lord himself was speaking to me in a very personal way. In baptism and confirmation he had already drawn us close to him, he had already received us into God’s family. But what was taking place now was something greater still. He calls me his friend. He welcomes me into the circle of those he had spoken to in the Upper Room, into the circle of those whom he knows in a very special way, and who thereby come to know him in a very special way. He grants me the almost frightening faculty to do what only he, the Son of God, can legitimately say and do: I forgive you your sins. He wants me – with his authority – to be able to speak, in his name ("I" forgive), words that are not merely words, but an action, changing something at the deepest level of being. I know that behind these words lies his suffering for us and on account of us. I know that forgiveness comes at a price: in his Passion he went deep down into the sordid darkness of our sins. He went down into the night of our guilt, for only thus can it be transformed. And by giving me authority to forgive sins, he lets me look down into the abyss of man, into the immensity of his suffering for us men, and this enables me to sense the immensity of his love. He confides in me: "No longer servants, but friends". He entrusts to me the words of consecration in the Eucharist. He trusts me to proclaim his word, to explain it aright and to bring it to the people of today. He entrusts himself to me. "You are no longer servants, but friends": these words bring great inner joy, but at the same time, they are so awe-inspiring that one can feel daunted as the decades go by amid so many experiences of one’s own frailty and his inexhaustible goodness.
'"No longer servants, but friends": this saying contains within itself the entire programme of a priestly life. What is friendship? Idem velle, idem nolle – wanting the same things, rejecting the same things: this was how it was expressed in antiquity. Friendship is a communion of thinking and willing. The Lord says the same thing to us most insistently: "I know my own and my own know me" (Jn 10:14). The Shepherd calls his own by name (cf. Jn 10:3). He knows me by name. I am not just some nameless being in the infinity of the universe. He knows me personally. Do I know him? The friendship that he bestows upon me can only mean that I too try to know him better; that in the Scriptures, in the Sacraments, in prayer, in the communion of saints, in the people who come to me, sent by him, I try to come to know the Lord himself more and more. Friendship is not just about knowing someone, it is above all a communion of the will. It means that my will grows into ever greater conformity with his will. For his will is not something external and foreign to me, something to which I more or less willingly submit or else refuse to submit. No, in friendship, my will grows together with his will, and his will becomes mine: this is how I become truly myself. Over and above communion of thinking and willing, the Lord mentions a third, new element: he gives his life for us (cf. Jn 15:13; 10:15). Lord, help me to come to know you more and more. Help me to be ever more at one with your will. Help me to live my life not for myself, but in union with you to live it for others. Help me to become ever more your friend.
'Jesus’ words on friendship should be seen in the context of the discourse on the vine. The Lord associates the image of the vine with a commission to the disciples: "I appointed you that you should go out and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide" (Jn 15:16). The first commission to the disciples, to his friends, is that of setting out – appointed to go out -, stepping outside oneself and towards others. Here we hear an echo of the words of the risen Lord to his disciples at the end of Matthew’s Gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations ..." (cf. Mt 28:19f.) The Lord challenges us to move beyond the boundaries of our own world and to bring the Gospel to the world of others, so that it pervades everything and hence the world is opened up for God’s kingdom. We are reminded that even God stepped outside himself, he set his glory aside in order to seek us, in order to bring us his light and his love. We want to follow the God who sets out in this way, we want to move beyond the inertia of self-centredness, so that he himself can enter our world.
'After the reference to setting out, Jesus continues: bear fruit, fruit that abides. What fruit does he expect from us? What is this fruit that abides? Now, the fruit of the vine is the grape, and it is from the grape that wine is made. Let us reflect for a moment on this image. For good grapes to ripen, sun is needed, but so too is rain, by day and by night. For noble wine to mature, the grapes need to be pressed, patience is needed while the juice ferments, watchful care is needed to assist the processes of maturation. Noble wine is marked not only by sweetness, but by rich and subtle flavours, the manifold aroma that develops during the processes of maturation and fermentation. Is this not already an image of human life, and especially of our lives as priests? We need both sun and rain, festivity and adversity, times of purification and testing, as well as times of joyful journeying with the Gospel. In hindsight we can thank God for both: for the challenges and the joys, for the dark times and the glad times. In both, we can recognize the constant presence of his love, which unfailingly supports and sustains us.
'Yet now we must ask: what sort of fruit does the Lord expect from us? Wine is an image of love: this is the true fruit that abides, the fruit that God wants from us. But let us not forget that in the Old Testament the wine expected from noble grapes is above all an image of justice, which arises from a life lived in accordance with God’s law. And this is not to be dismissed as an Old Testament view that has been surpassed – no, it still remains true. The true content of the Law, its summa, is love for God and for one’s neighbour. But this twofold love is not simply saccharine. It bears within itself the precious cargo of patience, humility, and growth in the conforming of our will to God’s will, to the will of Jesus Christ, our friend. Only in this way, as the whole of our being takes on the qualities of truth and righteousness, is love also true, only thus is it ripe fruit. Its inner demand – faithfulness to Christ and to his Church – seeks a fulfilment that always includes suffering. This is the way that true joy grows. At a deep level, the essence of love, the essence of genuine fruit, coincides with the idea of setting out, going towards: it means self-abandonment, self-giving, it bears within itself the sign of the cross. Gregory the Great once said in this regard: if you are striving for God, take care not to go to him by yourselves alone – a saying that we priests need to keep before us every day (H Ev 1:6:6 PL 76, 1097f.).
'Dear friends, perhaps I have dwelt for too long on my inner recollections of sixty years of priestly ministry. Now it is time to turn our attention to the particular task that is to be performed today.
'On the feast of Saints Peter and Paul my most cordial greeting goes first of all to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I and to the Delegation he has sent, to whom I express sincere thanks for their most welcome visit on the happy occasion of this feast of the holy Apostles who are Rome’s patrons. I also greet the Cardinals, my brother bishops, the ambassadors and civil authorities as well as the priests, the confrères of my first Mass, religious and lay faithful. I thank all of you for your presence and your prayers.
'The metropolitan archbishops appointed since the feast of Saints Peter and Paul last year are now going to receive the pallium. What does this mean? It may remind us in the first instance of Christ’s easy yoke that is laid upon us (cf. Mt 11:29f.). Christ’s yoke is identical with his friendship. It is a yoke of friendship and therefore "a sweet yoke", but as such it is also a demanding yoke, one that forms us. It is the yoke of his will, which is a will of truth and love. For us, then, it is first and foremost the yoke of leading others to friendship with Christ and being available to others, caring for them as shepherds. This brings us to a further meaning of the pallium: it is woven from the wool of lambs blessed on the feast of Saint Agnes. Thus it reminds us of the Shepherd who himself became a lamb, out of love for us. It reminds us of Christ, who set out through the mountains and the deserts, in which his lamb, humanity, had strayed. It reminds us of him who took the lamb – humanity – me – upon his shoulders, in order to carry me home. It thus reminds us that we too, as shepherds in his service, are to carry others with us, taking them as it were upon our shoulders and bringing them to Christ. It reminds us that we are called to be shepherds of his flock, which always remains his and does not become ours. Finally the pallium also means quite concretely the communion of the shepherds of the Church with Peter and with his successors – it means that we must be shepherds for unity and in unity, and that it is only in the unity represented by Peter that we truly lead people to Christ.
'Sixty years of priestly ministry – dear friends, perhaps I have spoken for too long about this. But I felt prompted at this moment to look back upon the things that have left their mark on the last six decades. I felt prompted to address to you, to all priests and bishops and to the faithful of the Church, a word of hope and encouragement; a word that has matured in long experience of how good the Lord is. Above all, though, it is a time of thanksgiving: thanks to the Lord for the friendship that he has bestowed upon me and that he wishes to bestow upon us all. Thanks to the people who have formed and accompanied me. And all this includes the prayer that the Lord will one day welcome us in his goodness and invite us to contemplate his joy. Amen.
Monday 27 June
• Reception of remains and Vespers at 5 p.m. at St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh.
Tuesday 28 June
• Lauds at 10:30 a.m.
• Solemn Requiem Mass on Tuesday the 28th of June at 11:15 a.m. (immediately after Lauds). Celebrant Fr. John Emerson FSSP. His Eminence Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien, His Grace Archbishop Mario Conti and Knights of Malta will be in choir. Cardinal O’Brien will preach the homily.
• A reception will be held in the Cathedral Hall after Mass.
• Fra’ Freddy’s burial will take place at 3 pm at Mount Vernon.
Please do try to attend if at all possible and do feel free to pass this notification on to others.
The Tablet has published a letter in this week's edition from Annie Mackie-Savage, the LMS's Representative in Arundel and Brighton Diocese, on the subject of female altar servers in the Extraordinary Form. You can see it here (scroll to the second page). This is a matter on which the Holy See has ruled clearly and authoritatively, of course; not that that stops the Tablet from running articles calling for and defending the practice. What is interesting is that Annie's letter had part of it 'left out' by the Tablet. Now what could possibly be the reason for that?
Here is Annie's letter in full. Compare it with what the Tablet actually published.
'As a woman who acts as a local representative in Arundel and Brighton of the Latin Mass Society, I find your claim (Leader, 18 June) that not allowing female altar servers at the Extraordinary Form insults me is quite absurd.
'I challenge you to provide your readers with evidence for this bizarre claim that the tradition of male altar service has anything to do with “ritual uncleanliness” (sic). On the contrary, this tradition is quite obviously a reflection of the fact that only men can be ordained as priests, and it is because male service at the altar emphasises the different roles of the sexes in relation to the sacrifice of the Mass that it has special value. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass represents the preservation for future generations of this and many other venerable traditions, and it is for this reason described by Pope Benedict as a “treasure” for the whole Church.
[The following part was left out by The Tablet] 'Before you reject these traditions as ‘insulting’ you should reflect on the fact that they formed the basis of the liturgical life of women, as well as men, for countless centuries. Is it not more insulting to women to picture us as helpless and passive oppressed victims of a misogynistic Church for nineteen centuries? Give us a little more credit than that.
'Annie Mackie-Savage, Eastbourne, East Sussex'
There will be Solemn High Mass for Corpus Christi at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (Parish of St. John Vianney), 294 Harrogate Road, Moortown, Leeds LS17 6LE on Saturday 25 June at 2.00pm followed by procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Confessions available. The Leeds Schola Gregoriana and Wakefield's St. Austin's Choir will sing at the Mass and Benediction.
This is a wonderful opportunity to express your love and devotion to Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament in a public way. Please do attend the Mass and Procession if you are in the Leeds area.
Three significant days in the life of the LMS will be on us shortly.
Feast of SS Peter & Paul Apostles
Firstly, the Feast of SS Peter & Paul falls on Wednesday 29 June. This is a Holy Day of Obligation. As usual our hardworking volunteers around the country have pulled out the stops to ensure as many Masses as possible are offered in the Traditional Rite. This year there will be over 30 such Masses. You can find a full listing here. Please do all you can to assist at these Masses – it is an important way of thanking the priests, servers and musicians who make themselves available for the faithful attached to the Extraordinary Form.
LMS Annual AGM and High Mass
Secondly, on Saturday 2 July the LMS holds its AGM at 2.00 pm in Amigo Hall, next door to St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, London. Only LMS members may attend. Apart from the usual formal business there will be an address given by Fr Andrew Southwell, LMS National Chaplain.
In the morning, our annual AGM High Mass will be celebrated in St George’s Cathedral at 11.00 am by Fr Andrew Southwell. The choir of St George’s Cathedral will sing. This Mass, of course, is open to all. The LMS is establishing a new tradition of having regular Sung and High Masses in St George’s Cathedral and we are grateful to Archbishop Peter Smith and the cathedral authorities for their help in making our arrangements.
LMS National Pilgrimage to Holywell
Thirdly, on Sunday 3 July we have our annual national pilgrimage to Holywell. This is always a wonderful occasion and well-supported. This year there are coaches going from London, Birmingham and South Wales.
The venue is St Winefride’s Church, Well Street, Holywell, North Wales. Ceremonies commence at 2.30 pm with High Mass celebrated by Fr Simon Henry assisted by Fr Agnellus Murphy FI and Fr Ian O’Shea. After Mass there will be a public procession to St Winefride’s Well for Devotions and Veneration of the Relic. The events will be concluded by Solemn Benediction back in St Winefride’s Church.
This pilgrimage is always a highlight of the LMS’s devotional year and we very much hope that as many people as possible from near and far will travel to assist at our spiritual offerings made to St Winefride.
Contact details for the coaches are:
London: the LMS office on 020 7404 7284
Birmingham: Dr Matthew Doyle on 0121 533 9049
South Wales: Andrew Butcher on 07905 609770
We have learned with great sadness of the death of Fra' Frederik ('Freddy') Crichton-Stuart, Grand Prior of England of the Order of Malta and a great friend of the Traditional Mass. He also served as Chairman of Una Voce Scotland and, for a while, as President of the International Federation Una Voce.
Fra' Freddy was well known for his extensive charitable works both through the Order of Malta and with other organisations, and for his spirited defence of Holy Mother Church and Her teachings. By profession a Chartrered Accountant, he also served as an officer in the Territorial Army.
A tireless worker for the Catholic Faith, he died at his home in Edinburgh yesterday, 14 June, after a long illness.
Requiescat in pace.
UPDATE: The Solemn Mass of Requiem will be in Edinburgh Cathedral on Tuesday, 28 June at 11.15am preceded by Lauds at 10.30am (but subject to confirmation).
Father Tim Finigan reports on his blog that:
'The Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) has recently given its recognitio to a request from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) to have a norm inserted into the England and Wales edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) regarding the reception of Holy Communion by the faithful. The text reads as follows:
'"In the Dioceses of England and Wales Holy Communion is to be received standing, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling. However, when they communicate standing, it is recommended that the faithful bow in reverence before receiving the sacrament."'
Father Finigan then comments:
'For the life of me, I cannot see what good this new clause is supposed to do, though I can predict a consequence that may not have been intended. With the publication of this norm it will be clearly set down in black and white for England and Wales that people may kneel for Holy Communion if they wish to do so. (Many of us already knew that, of course: the CDW has responded to cases in the USA, saying that if people kneel down, they must not be refused Holy Communion for that reason, despite the US Bishops' general norm of standing.)
'In the GIRM (n.160) it is stated that when the faithful receive Holy Communion standing, they should make "an appropriate sign of reverence." Hence the recommendation in the new norm that they should bow. It is interesting that this new norm contradicts the official CBCEW "Pastoral Guide" Celebrating the Mass which spoke about the ‘Communion procession’ and said (with a reference to GIRM n.160): "In England and Wales it is through this action of walking solemnly in procession that the faithful make their sign of reverence in preparation for receiving Communion." (n.209) I guess the CDW just wouldn't buy that.
'In view of the approval of this new norm, the Archbishop's Council in Westminster has decided that it can see no place for the re-introduction of altar rails in the Diocese, and has informed the Historic Churches Committee of this decision.
'Tongue-in-cheek, I suggest that this contravenes accessibility provision. The norm says that people may choose to kneel, but they may have difficulty doing so without something to lean on. If there are no altar rails, would they be within their rights to demand that the altar server go and fetch a prie-dieu? (That was a joke - please don't do that.)
'In case it needs to be spelt out to anyone, Universae Ecclesiae n.28 means that this new norm does not apply to celebrations of Mass in the usus antiquior. At such Masses, communicants should kneel unless they are physically unable to do so. In Churches without existing altar rails, it seems that the ‘shifting the front bench forward’ strategy is set to be needed for the next few years'.
John Medlin, Editor of Mass of Ages, in a personal comment, said:
'It seems that the Bishops of England and Wales are developing a marked strain of schizophrenia. On the one hand they are making a public effort to reflect the mind of the Holy Father in their approach to reintroducing an appreciation of Catholic practice and discipline in the spiritual life of the Church in England and Wales – e.g. reintroducing the Friday penance and recommending a greater visibility for the Faith in the public arena, perhaps by frequently making the sign of the Cross. On the other they seem determined to continue with the outdated and psychologically shallow ideas of the 1970s and 80s in their provisions for liturgical discipline in the ordinary form.
'It needs to be stressed, as Fr Tim Finigan has done, that the faithful have a universal right to kneel and receive on the tongue at ordinary form Masses. This, in fact, remains the default position in the Universal Church and receiving standing is only reluctantly granted by Rome as an indult which can be withdrawn at any time. It would have been useful if the English and Welsh bishops had made this clear.
'Their new decision also suggests that they are giving very little thought to the necessity of making sensitive provision for the growing number of faithful attached to the Extraordinary Form. In fact some might suggest that this new provision is an attempt to nip the resurgence of the Extraordinary Form and the devotional practices associated with it in the bud: that, surely, would be too cynical. However, organisations like the LMS will have to increase their efforts to bring the needs of those attached to the Extraordinary Form every more visibly before the bishops so that it will be impossible for them to overlook the fact that post-Summorum Pontificum the Extraordinary Form is to be regarded as a Form of the Roman Rite of equal standing with the ordinary form and ‘is to be maintained with appropriate honour’ and is to be ‘considered as a precious treasure to be preserved’ (Universae Ecclesiae, Arts 6 and 8.a).
'It is also obvious that everything the English and Welsh bishops do in relation to liturgical propriety in the ordinary or Extraordinary Form should be ‘always in agreement with the mens of the Holy Father’ (Universae Ecclesiae, Art. 13). In this respect it is appropriate to point out that the Holy Father only gives Communion to those who are kneeling and only on the tongue. It would have been encouraging to find a sign that the English and Welsh bishops took the Holy Father’s very pointed public practice into account before making their request to the CDW.
'Finally, it is very sad to think that so many of the historic churches in the Diocese of Westminster will have to continue in their semi-denuded state for several more years, i.e. with their communion rails ripped out, thus destroying the architectural harmony of these churches, solely to accommodate the controversial liturgical theories of the 1970s – already forty years out of date and growing staler by the minute.
'There is truly a major task to be performed in the Church in England and Wales by those attached to the Extraordinary Form – to present the Usus Antiquior as a standard and as a beacon to all those dissatisfied with the unchallenging worship which still obtains in large swathes of the Church. We are fortunate indeed that so many young people and young families are now discovering the Extraordinary Form and, together with the newly erected Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation of Europe, are forming the new cadres under Pope Benedict’s direction for the re-evangelisation of Europe and the resacralising of the Church’s liturgical practice'.
The Latin Mass Society will be holding a pilgrimage to Padley Chapel, Grindleford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S32 2HN on Sunday, 17 July to honour Bl. Nicholas Garlick, Bl. Robert Ludlam, Bl. Richard Sympson, known as the Padley Martyrs. The three priests were hung, drawn and quartered in 1588 under Elizabeth I.
The Pilgrimage will begin at 12 noon at Grindleford Station with a Rosary Procession to Padley Chapel, followed by Sung Mass at 12.30pm at the Shrine.
For further details, please contact Anthony Fitzpatrick on 0114 233 2801.
Further to yesterday’s post giving an update on the state of negotiations between Rome and the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), the story below has appeared on the Rorate Caeli website. The LMS has no information as to whether the story is accurate or not, but its implications are well worth considering and the offering up of prayer for an unambiguous return of the SSPX into full communion with the Holy See may well be a worthy exercise this Pentecost.
'The signs seem to point to delicate times in the weeks and months ahead. Following the words of the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, and of the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Monsignor Guido Pozzo, we join ourselves to the following appeal launched today by our friends at Messa in Latino.
'It is a different kind of appeal: no signatures, no writing, no complaining... It is an appeal for Masses and prayers, so that the Almighty may provide what is best for His holy Church.
[Source - Messa in Latino:]
'"The Pope is about to propose to Bp. Fellay the institution of an Ordinariate, in order to regularize the situation of the SSPX and their allied communities [communautés amies], granting them full (and indispensable, considering certain episkopoi currently in circulation) autonomy regarding diocesan bishops. [Nothing revolutionary, we might add: e.g., the military ordinariates are in place in most nations, the Ordinariates of "Anglican Patrimony" are being established, and Vatican II explicitly mentions the possibility of "peculiar personal dioceses", see Presbyterorum Ordinis, 10.] Some members of an "Ecclesia Dei" community have been able to specify to us that this canonical proposal will be made to Bp. Fellay during the present month of June.
'"Pentecost 2011. The current Pontificate has made immense and generous overtures in order to lead to pacification: the address of the Pope to the Curia on the interpretation of Vatican II, in 2005; the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, for the liberalisation of the celebration of the Traditional liturgy, in 2007; the gesture, whose price was perhaps too high for the Holy Father, of the removal of the excommunications of the four Bishops of the SSPX, in 2009. The moment seems now to have come of reaching a new milestone: that the Society may move from the irregular situation of "illegitimacy" to a canonical position of recognition. It is a win-win situation, in which all would find much to gain: from its side, Rome would close a painful rupture and find fresh and determined troops that could fight the battle for the recovery of much that has been dissipated in the past decades; from its side, the SSPX would wash off the stigma of rebellion and "schism", being thus able to develop a much more efficacious apostolate, without facing the numerous preconceptions that follow it in the mind of the average Catholic, while preserving fully its current liberty of movement and of action.
'"A great hope fills us. Yet we are also filled by the fear that a decisive, perhaps a unique, opportunity may be missed. All Catholics (including those who most love Vatican II - or, rather, a certain idea of Vatican II) cannot but desire it."'
It is a busy time for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Contacts are ongoing with the Orthodox Churches, the workload to do with the new Ordinariates is considerable, the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ – which these days is part of the CDF – is busy with the implementation of the recent Instruction ‘Universae Ecclesiae’ on the application of the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, ‘Summorum Pontificum’. On top of all that the current round of confidential discussions with the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) is reaching a stage at which both sides will ‘pause for thought’.
Monsignor Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’, in an interview with Nouvelles de France has provided a snap shot of the current state of the discussions:
'Does the Society of Saint Pius X recognize this missal [of Paul VI] as valid and licit?
'It is the Society of Saint Pius X that should be asked that.
'Does the Holy Father wish the Society of Saint Pius X to reconcile with Rome?
'Certainly. The letter of removal of excommunications of the four Bishops illegitimately consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre is the expression of the desire of the Holy Father to favour the reconciliation of the Society of Saint Pius X with the Holy See.
'The content of the discussions that take place between Rome and the Society of Saint Pius X is secret, but what points do they touch and in what manner do they progress?
'The essential point is of a doctrinal nature. In order to reach a true reconciliation, it is necessary to move past certain doctrinal problems that are at the basis of the current fracture. In the ongoing talks, there is a confrontation of arguments between the experts chosen by the Society of Saint Pius X and the experts chosen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the end, conclusive summaries of the positions of both parties are written. The themes under discussion are known: primacy and episcopal collegiality; relations between the Catholic Church and non-Catholic Christian confessions; religious liberty; the Missal of Paul VI. At the end of the talks, the results of the discussions will be submitted to the respective authorised levels for an overall evaluation.
'It does not seem conceivable that a call into question of the Second Vatican Council may happen. Therefore, where do these discussions lead? To a better understanding of this?
'They concern a clarification of points that detail the exact meaning of the teaching of the Council. It is what the Holy Father started to do on December 22, 2005, by interpreting the Council within a hermeneutic of renewal in continuity. Nevertheless, there are certain objections of the Society of Saint Pius X that do make sense, because there has been an interpretation of rupture. The goal is to show that it is necessary to interpret the Council in the continuity of the Tradition of the Church.
'Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge of these discussions for nearly 20 years. Does he still follow the progress now as Pope?
'First, there is the role of the secretary, which is that of organising and taking care of the good development of the discussions. The evaluation of these is the responsibility of the Holy Father, who follows the discussions, with Cardinal Levada, is informed of them, and gives his opinion. The same goes regarding all points with which the Congregation deals.'
Readers of this post will notice that, despite all the guarded language from both sides, Mgr Pozzo has publicly noted that “there are certain objections of the Society of Saint Pius X that do make sense”. This is, perhaps, an indication that Rome and the SSPX are closer to reaching a common position than is sometimes thought.
The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED) has confirmed in a letter that it is NOT permitted to use female altar servers in the Traditional Latin Mass. The letter can be viewed here.
The recent Instruction Universae Ecclesiae on the correct application of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum makes its abundantly clear in para. 28 that any changes made to the law concerning the celebration of Mass after 1962 do not apply to the Extraordinary Form:
Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.
This includes matters such as Communion in the hand, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and female altar servers. However, following a challenge to the clear law of the Church, the PCED has issued a letter explicitly stating that female altar servers are not permitted at the Extraordinary Form. It refers to the Circular letter issued in 1994 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments that forms the legal basis for allowing altar girls in the Ordinary Form of the Mass and stipulates that this does not apply to the 1962 Missal.
Also of interest is the date of the letter (19 May 2011); merely six days after the release of Universae Ecclesiae. The PCED has acted with remarkable swiftness to deal with this matter, seemingly signalling the seriousness with which the Holy See views breaches of this law.
For years of course, Traditionalists were told, by liberals, amongst others, that merely insisting on the legality of the Traditional Mass was an act of disobedience in itself, whilst liberals, when confronted with Church teaching that they disliked resorted to 'the conscience clause'. The former has now been definitively resolved with the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum and the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae.
But Catholic liberals are still claiming 'conscience' lets them off the hook when it comes to the Church's liturgical laws, or Humanae Vitae, or whatever they take a personal dislike to. But do they have a point? LMS Chairman Dr Joseph Shaw has written an excellent article today on this very relevant subject in his Chairman's Blog. You can read it here.
Listings of Traditional Masses across England and Wales for the Feast of Corpus Christi on Thursday, 23 June can be downloaded here.
One or two Masses are awaiting confirmation of starting time - we will update the listing as soon as we receive further information.