Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Liturgical Continuity

The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal. - Benedict XVI - Summorum Pontificum

I have been finding the discussion on the Motu Proprio (MP) by Benedict XVI rather interesting. I will admit to my excitment at its release while I was in Poland and eagerly read it with joy.

That being said, I think that many people have been taking the norms of the MP too far. It has been a bit to my shock to hear of many people, including many who are rather large names in the Church, now suddenly calling for it to be in place in all places, as if it ought to be the ordinary rite for the Church, as if it is holier then the Pauline expression of the Rite. This has ensued in the seemingly sudden dismissal by many people of the Paul VI missal, as if it has been decided that the Missal has been unsuccessful because of so many abuses done with that Missal.

People are expecting Bishops to implement norms so that it is in place in all parishes and getting all people to learn Latin so that they can all attend the Roman Rite according to the Missal of John XXIII. This is not what Benedict has in mind, I believe, with the MP.

The MP has been issued for 2 essential reasons. The first is expressed in his explanatory letter about the wanting to heal divisions within and outside the Church. Along in that first reason is the fact that many people are simply attached to that older expression of the Roman Rite and wishes to allow people to worship in that manner, for an older expression of the Rite is never forbidden.

The second reason is expressed in the quote from above. It is his hope, I believe, that there is a sort of "dialogue" between the 2 expressions of the Rite so that in the end the Pauline Missal, which is the ordinary expression of the Rite, can come to a true and proper expression according to the intentions of the Council Fathers and Paul VI. The Pope, in the end, sees the Missal according to Paul VI as the means for unification in which, once properly expressed and abuses cease, Parishes can live a Christian life in accordance to the Law of Prayer. Orthodoxy only comes from Orthopraxis.

So, I do hope that there is a Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII in all Dioceses around the world, so long as there is interest within that Diocese. This is not meant to be imposed on the people, as the Pope rightly expresses. I hope that there is one here in Victoria, simply because I wish to experience that Mass and see what riches it has that can still help in the organic growth of the Paul VI missal.

Finally, I would like to make one final note. It seems to me that many people want to go back to the old expression of the Rite because of the abuses that have happened over the past 40 years. This reactionary position is wrong headed according to Benedict in the explanatory letter. He says that the Pauline Missal has a theological and spiritual richness, and, like I said, this will come out througha "liturgical dialogue". You cannot say you want the Johannine Missal because the Pauline one is spiritually inferior. The Pope is saying that this is a position that is not theologically tenable.

So, I pray that the reactions will begin to slow down and that an authentic implementation of these norms will take place when necessary.


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