Weary from Within

Robert Mickens, in his column “Letter from Rome,” in the Tablet, quotes this expression of concern over divisions within the Church and the undermining of Vatican II, from Father Enzo Bianchi:

“There’s no denying it. Many people involved in the Church admit they are tired out, or in any case without hope.” Thus begins a disturbing article in the latest issue of the Italian monthly Jesus.  The author is Enzo Bianchi, prior of the Monastery of Bose near Turin. For decades he has been one of the best-selling spiritual authors in Italy and a nationally recognized symbol of mainstream Catholicism. His recent article should make Catholics everywhere stop and think.

“This is not an easy moment for the Church, because the Church itself is lacerated and divided,” writes Bianchi. He says this is partly because various groups of Catholics are at odds over how to respond to the changing “cultural climate”. “But I believe we must recognise that there are also aspects of the inner life of the Church that are helping to making us weary. Many Catholics are working against Vatican II by criticising it and distancing themselves from it; by working against ecumenism and the liturgical reform.”

Those Catholics who “struggled to change” nearly 50 years ago, and obediently followed “the directives of the Council and the Pope”, are now filled with “confusion” and even “frustration” by this suspicious attitude towards Vatican II. And he says he is personally tired of opposing church factions waging their “wars” through blogs.

“I am nearly 70. I have worked my entire life for church unity and communion within my Church, but today I see many contradictions,” writes Bianchi. “And I ask with many others: where is the Church heading? This, our Church, that we have loved so much, and want to continue to love, as members that are loyal – not ones who are adulterous or who are looking for privileges and promotions.”

Something to think about, and pray about, on this Good Friday.

155 comments

  1. Thanks, Rita. Ties in with some of Fr. Anthony’s comments in his analysis and response to Wuerl’s reply to the committee report on Sr. Johnson’s book.

  2. Also ties in with comments on St. Michael prayer being implemented by those devoted to their new bishop, probably “looking for privileges and promotions” as might be the bishop himself with the imposition of the prayer.

    Allow me to repeat and emphasize:
    Those Catholics who “struggled to change” nearly 50 years ago, and obediently followed “the directives of the Council and the Pope”, are now filled with “confusion” and even “frustration” by this suspicious attitude towards Vatican II.

    1. There’s struggle and there’s struggle. “Struggle to change” can mean struggle to accept change or it can mean struggle to learn something new. The first implies disapproval of the change, the second at least strong interest. My impression is that we tried a lot of things at least once, then kept the good and dropped things that didn’t quite work out. That’s only my impression, of course.

    2. It is frequently difficult for people, especially those who are considered to be “mainstream”, to accept the challenges brought about by contemporary change in the Church with which they disagree because it may mean that one’s considered opinion about ecclesiastical matters may not be as widely shared as one presumed it to be. It can be difficult to recognize and accept the “signs of the times” – where the Holy Spirit is calling today’s Church. This call for renewal & reform challenged many in the wake of the post-conciliar reform and it seems to be happening again today. Concern about division in the Church does strike me as self-evident but also late if the concern is new. There has been significant division in the Church since the implementation of the Pauline missal. The only thing new about this kind of division is that many of those pleased with the renewal of the “70s are displeased with more contemporary renewal. This is regrettable but also highly familiar.

  3. I think those of us who are tired of the shenanigans going on in the Church are mainly older — in their 60s, products of Vatican II.

    The generation John Paul II knows little about Vatican II and love Rome’s current fundamentalism. Then, of course, you have a lot of younger folks who cannot stand the sex abuse in the Church, no longer trust priests, and focus on other things (for the moment at least).

    As to those who support ‘pelvic morality’ vs the social structure of sin, they seem to have a field day.

    What will happen to our Church… No idea.

    1. Just wanted to let you know, Claire, that there are also many younger people that are “tired of the shenanigans going on in the Church”. We are tired of people “mainly older–in their 60s, products of Vatican II” who can’t get with the program and realize that you guys have already had your chance. The Church didn’t get any stronger when you guys were in charge. Mass attendance has gone down and many of your ilk have done nothing that actually brings people back into the pews (or the sanctuary for that matter).

      “Pelvic morality”??? Further evidence of the condescension and haughtiness that you showed and I called out in your comments in another thread.

      1. Sorry but this tired talking point, about oldies who can’t get with the program, is making the young fogies who trot it out sound like wizened dyspeptic old men. The Church did in fact get stronger in the 1960s thanks to Vatican II. Vatican II people have not been in charge since 1968 and the Church has obviously gotten weaker from decade to decade since then. The young fanatics (now in their 40s or 50s) who claimed that papolatry would fill the ranks of laity and clergy have been proved wrong; if anything they have emptied the church more effectively than their despised predecessors.

      2. As to pelvic morality, it does seem that the JP2 brigade devote ALL their moral attention to the issues of abortion, gay marriage, contraception, and sexual permissiveness; they curiously ignore the justice & peace teachings of JP2 and Paul VI as well as teachings against capital punishment and unjust war. Of course there are exceptions like Mark Shea, but generally speaking the neocaths are prolifers and pelvicists and nothing else.

      3. The language of some of these exchanges e.g. ‘you guys in charge’ ‘your ilk’ saddens me. On this Holy Saturday why is it that the message of Good News is lost. I have made a decision though that I am giving up on these blogs as there is too much unChristian comment about what are essentially different personal opinions. Pride is still a deadly sin.

      4. Joe O. wrote “Vatican II people have not been in charge since 1968…..”

        I guess that depends on what one means by “Vatican II people” I’d put Cardinals Burke, Pell, Ranjith and Mother Angelica in that “people of Vatican II” category. I’m not certain that you would. Problem is that your perception of Vatican II is not the same as many others including the people just mentioned. This is why dialog is so difficult unless people first “define their terms”.

      5. Burke, Pell, Ranjith, and Mother Angelica are Vatican II people? As one who was tuned into Vatican II from day 1, I can confidently assert that this is not what Vatican II was about.

      6. “As one who was tuned into Vatican II from day 1, I can confidently assert that this is not what Vatican II was about”

        And this returns us to the problem, your assertion is only emotive. You’ve not defined anything making your assertion empty.

  4. Easter Blessings!
    Enzo Bianchi is tired!
    So am I!
    Maybe I am one of the few left who were at the Vatican Council!
    I vividly remember the votes at the last working session on 7th December, 1965 and the exuberance the following day, 8th December, 1965, at the Formal Closing Session of the Council.
    I went home that day filled with hope. We had a charter for the world of 1965 going on 1966. We had “Gaudium et Spes” in our luggage!
    The dream of Pope john for aggiornamento had seemingly been realised.
    At least had a road map to travel forward to encounter the modern world.
    Yet not everyone was happy.
    Later that same day, 8th December, I was in a lift with four Australian Bishops who had all voted for the many Council Documents. One of them said to me, “Well, Eugene, thank God all that bull…. is finished! Now we can get back to the real world.”
    I didn’t know what to say. I managed to say something like, ” Well, the Council Documents have been approved by Paul (i.e. Paul VI) and they are now the teachings of the Church whether you like it or not.”
    Now 46 years later, we are being taken back to the pre-Vatican Council Church, though the Council Constitutions, Decrees etc., have never been abrogated.
    Where are we going?
    There was that joke told during the final Session of the Council in 1965 about the late Cardinal Ottaviani, former prefect of the now defunct Holy Office. He got into his car over at the Vatican Offices at John Lateran’s and said to his chauffer, “Get me to the Council quickly. I’ve got to stop the nonsense.” He then put his head in his papers preparing his speech. Time passed. He looked up and saw they were on the Autostrada del Sole. He asked the driver, “Where are we going?” The driver replied, ”Straight to the Council!” “You fool ‘” rejoined Ottaviani. The driver was not to be dissuaded. “You asked me to take you to the Council and I’m taking you straight to Trent!” were his last words.
    Now we are on…

    1. “Maybe I am one of the few left who were at the Vatican Council!”

      I think Pope Benedict was there too.

      “I vividly remember the votes at the last working session on 7th December, 1965 and the exuberance….”

      Of course this was long before the still existing ICEL translation of the Mass. We can realize that the new and improved English translation will be bringing us back to what we knew in 1965. The Ottaviani story is a rather unfortunate progressive myth often repeated but probably unfair. Ottaviani was reported by those who knew him to be both generous and a man with a deep love for holy Church. History seems to show that his caution was well advised.
      The RofR crowd is deeply attached to the council and the conciliar text which many progressives seem to find to be a somewhat unfortunate burden. It is not the council that the more traditional Catholic (RofR) rejects but the progressive spin put on topics ranging from liturgy to the hierarchical structure that V2 retained in Lumen gentium chapter III.
      And Joe O., we do see a great deal of Scripture opened up in the EF, in some ways more than the OF considering the Prayers at the foot of the altar and its psalm, the epistle, Gospel, the Gradual, the antiphons (entrance, offertory, communion) – all Scripture, and the last Gospel. Without the antiphons, gradual, tract, and psalms we still have two full Gospel readings and the epistle at every Sunday Mass as opposed to one OT reading, an epistle, and only one Gospel in an OF Sunday Mass-that means three readings in both forms of the Mass. Including the antiphons and psalms we probably come out with a bit more Scripture actually read/sung in the EF. If it is the one year as opposed to three-year cycle of readings you reference we must also recognize that the Eastern Catholic Churches and the EO Church retain the one year cycle and that the one year cycle has proven to be rather successful pastorally. SC #51 does not necessarily call for the three-year cycle of readings that we know today anyway. Additionally, SC 51 is no more authoritative than SC # 54 so consistency would compel us to implement both directives from SC equally.

      1. Daniel McKernan, the US bishops do not agree with you about the scriptural openness of the EF — it obviously seeks to close down the scriptural openness of Vatican II. The oddity of the Last Gospel just shows how clueless the EF folk are in their handling of Scripture. They are happy with a drastically reduced selection of Scripture texts made in the distant past, which serves as a screen against any fresh encounter with the word of God. That a wider openness to Scripture can be pastorally effective is confirmed by 5 centuries of Protestant experience as well as 50 years of ours (though we should have had the humility to ask instruction of the Protestants on how to create a scriptural culture). Your method of reading Vatican II makes it a charter for NO CHANGE.

      2. Joe O. wrote “the US bishops do not agree with you about the scriptural openness of the EF”

        I’ve never discussed my opinions on this with their Excellencies. Maybe you can explain this broad assertion more fully.

        Your seeming dismissive toward the one-year cycle sidesteps its continued effective use in the Eastern Rites and the dynamic parishes/monasteries/religious orders making regular use of the EF in our own Roman rite. Ecumenical sensitivities also deserve considered attention here with the EO who also use the one-year cycle of readings.

  5. Fascinating anecdotes from Eugene Ahern.

    The new culture of Catholic bloggery and also of Anglican bloggery has a shadow side — too much talk can deplete vibrant church life — can adulterate it. I love the opportunities for open discussion the blogosphere presents, since I believe open discussion is the medicine a sick church needs, and I also relish the opportunities to respond to conservatives. But can something be done to make blogging contribute to building up the Church instead of becoming a distraction from it? I think it was Albert Camus who said that modern man has replaced morning prayer with the newspaper. Some have replaced church participation with blogging — a sad comment on the lack of opportunities for meaningful participation in the church just now?

  6. In my opinion, the battle over liturgy is merely a proxy for more grave ecclesiological, social justice, and theological issues.

    I strongly suspect that the movement in some traditional Catholic circles to “revisit the Council” is more akin to a hostile rejection. In particular, some traditional Catholics harbor hostility towards the Conciliar acknowledgement of religious conscience and a call for justice towards Judaism and the Jewish people. I am also convinced that there is a strong desire in some sectors of the traditional community for a return to a tiara triumphalist papacy. I am utterly convinced that the advances of the Council and the model of a shepherd-bishop are intrinsically bound. I do hope that we must never return to a fortress monarchial Church which rejects dialogue and blinds itself to historical injustice.

    Can Catholics of good will who love the older liturgy embrace the great advances in justice and charity typified by the Council? I will not cease to advocate for this position. The EF must be continuously renewed by the moral and ethical prescriptions of the Council. This renewal permits the EF to enter into a greater ecclesiological and theological closeness with the OF despite liturgical differences. I share a progressive disquiet over the fundamentalist tendencies behind traditional Catholicism. All Catholics of good will should recognize this potential calcification and work towards just liturgy rather than dig trenches of reactionary hostility.

    He is truly risen! Alleluia! Happy Easter PT.

    1. The battle over the new translations (whatever about the wider liturgical conflict) is sparked by the bad, unprayable quality of what is being offered. Many would not worry at all about the process and the ideology behind it if the result was acceptable.

      The liturgical reaction is anti-Conciliar, yet the patron of that reaction, Benedict XVI, is not anti-Conciliar on other fronts, especially Judaism.

      I don’t see the EF being infused with Vatican II spirit, since it excludes the opening up to Scripture that is the most striking feature of the OF.

      1. What would have to happen to make the EF “infused with Vatican II spirit” in your opinion?

        What about the other rites that only have one-year lectionaries?

      2. Jack Wayne, to infuse the EF with the spirit of Vatican II would be to destroy the EF. That is the very reason why the Church replaced the EF with the OF. Summorum Pontificum is a monstrous regression from Vatican II. Why not have the OF in Latin, including the Scripture readings? — I would be happy to celebrate that.

      3. That seems rather extreme to me, perhaps you should go into more detail. From my point of view, I honestly don’t see how Vatican II and the EF are really that much at odds, or how the OF as we now know it is the only possible outcome of the liturgical reform called for by the council.

        Also, Latin isn’t rally the main thing I (and a lot of other people) like about the EF. If you poke about traddy blogs and message boards enough, you’ll find that a lot of EF adherents have a surprising fascination with the (Anglican) English/Knott Missal and the “1965 missal.” I also personally know people for whom the EF in English would hold great appeal since they tend to like everything about the EF other than the Latin.

      4. The main difference between EF and OF is the diappearance of the scriptural menu of the OF. This was pointed out by the American bishops, hardly “extreme” in their views. Since one of the great achievement of Vatican II was the renewal of Catholic scriptural culture, the EF is profoundly at odds with Vatican II. Now I agree that the OF is not the only possible out come of V2 reforms, and indeed I would urge a far more creative attitude to liturgy than the OF countenances. But the EF is in no sense an offshoot of Vatican II, since it is a reversion to the Mass as it was in 1962, before the Council began. It think it is horrible that young seminarians and priests are being taught to feel superior to their elders because they enjoy the archaism of the EF. This is sowing division in the Church and it augurs ill for the future success of their ministry.

      5. I would say the main difference is symbolized by the end of the silent Canon, even more than the changes in readings. The end of the silent Canon was the vital token of communal worship and FCAP, rather than the legalistic idea that all was OK if the priest up there was offering worship on the PIPs behalf merely by doing the red and mouthing the black.

        And there are plenty of traditionalists and wannabes who want to revive the silent Canon, at least on permission basis. The arguments used are typically a-historical (post-hoc) rationalizations for the practice. The development of the silent Canon was resisted for centuries, but became fait accompli during the Carolingian era when the popular vernacular diverged significantly from Latin and there was less and less reason for priests to say too loudly what the people did not understand as well as they used to,

      6. Joe O’Leary. Widening the scripture offered at the EF wouldn’t “destroy” it, though, which is why I felt and still feel your view is too extreme. Even allowing the Canon to be audible wouldn’t “destroy” it (though, truth be told, I think the silent Canon has value).

        Also, how can one advocate for “far more creative liturgy than the OF countenances” while not allowing anything too much like the EF?

        You never answered my question about other rites that use one-year lectionaries. If the EF is at odds with the council for its one year lectionary, are the Eastern rites also at odds? What about the Orthodox and other Christians who use EF-like lectionaries?

      7. Jack

        The Council was reforming the Roman rite, not the those of the Eastern churches.

      8. Jack Wayne, I have the impression that Scripture is far less opened up in the Russian and Greek Churches than in our own since Vatican II. That is because we have at last taken to heart the rediscovery of Scripture by the Protestant Reformers. The ET could hardly accept that without forgoing its entire pre-conciliar ethos, which chimes so well with rancid sectarianism.

      9. I noticed that Jack’s reference to the one-year cycle in the Eastern Catholic liturgies was left unaddressed. The fact remains that the EF has already responded to V2’s SC which no-where prohibits the silent canon, quite the contrary. We should remember the many forthright directives of SC that are better addressed in the EF than in many celebrations of the OF including SC #s 36 and 54. We already see widespread use of dialog Masses and vernacular readings. The prayers of Good Friday have been reformed as well. It may be that the “spirit” of V2 is very much alive in the EF.
        Lastly, the council never calls for the three-year lectionary as we now have it.

      10. Daniel

        You read SC like the American Constitution. While they share the word Constitution, they are not alike. SC did not (and, in an irony lost on many, could not without risk the charge of “conciliarism” being hurled at someone somewhere) limit Paul VI’s hand in reforming the liturgy and those to whom he delegated or permitted implementation discretion at the local level. The telling thing is that the overwhelming majority of Council fathers ended up fairly eagerly implementing what evolved after the Council.

        It’s hard nowadays to understand that fear that had constrained the Council fathers at first – many of them had seen a few generations of denunciations, and some of those had been aimed at liturgical reformers. It’s this reason why the more conserving statements in SC tended to be discounted after the Council. SC arose in a context, and while it can be interpreted outside that context (and eventually will, when we are several more generations removed from living and second-hand memory), the context is quite relevant in understanding why things that seem equal as a matter of text are not equal as a matter of subtext (which is the all-important Roman dimension, traditionally, btw).

      11. I respect the preceding comments. However, I wasn’t addressing the specifics of liturgical division. I am more concerned with the ecclesiological and doctrinal attitudes of a number within the traditional community. Perhaps some of these views are contradictory with the ethical, moral, and social justice prescriptions of the Council. Any conflicts require further investigation and discussion between all Catholics.

        Summorum Pontificum and the Roman “liturgical diglossia” is here. A future pope could overturn the motu proprio, as SP is not a magisterial statement. While I respect the sentiments of those who do not think that SP should have been enacted, or wish for SP to be abrogated, SP is legislation today.

        Perhaps the “EF question” now must shift from particulars of liturgical differences towards an incorporation of the traditional Catholic movement into all of the documents of the Council. This integration should pay particular focus to the non-liturgical constitutions of the Council. While the EF movement vocally rejects most of the Concilium liturgical directives, the EF movement can and should conform to the documents of the Council. This inclusion also incorporates Sacrosanctum Concilium, even if the EF interpretation of SC is not synchronous with progressive liturgical change. No one benefits when the EF movement is excluded from the post-conciliar hemeneutic simply because it is not in full union with the peri-conciliar liturgical reforms.

      12. Karl, I realize the council was mostly concerned with the Latin Rite, but I still feel there are far reaching implications when one decides a practice is unacceptable for our rite when that same practice is a hallmark of other rites used not only by people within our church, but the churches of other Christians. Why is the one year lectionary a major shortfall when I attend the EF, but not when I attend a Byzantine Divine Liturgy? Personally, I see immense value in both types of lectionaries and don’t see this as an “either/or” situation where only one must be declared “best” and the other abandoned.

        Joe O’Leary, even the Protestant reformers retained one-year lectionary cycles until pretty recently, as far as I know, so I fail to see how doing so in the EF closes us to scripture. I don’t believe we were copying any sort of long-standing mainline Protestant practice when the new lectionary was devised.

        I think resistance to allowing the EF to flourish is what is truly divisive. I honestly don’t think the EF will ever be more than a minority in the Church, so it’s up to people such as yourself to decide whether it will be a healthy minority that will spread the Gospel in a different way and strengthen the People of God, or an unhealthy minority with a ghetto mentality and extremist tendencies because it has to struggle to exist.

      13. Jack,

        Because one of the unique features of the Roman rite is that has been the subject of positive legislation at various levels for centuries; unlike the liturgies of the other rites, it evolves deliberately. The EF is trying to pretend this feature of the Roman rite does not exist; in that sense, the EF is anachronistic in the non-pejorative sense of that word. The EF, to become unanachronistically Roman, must eventually be reformed with the conciliar mandates in mind.

      14. While Protestant Churches may have had one-year lectionaries until recently, their openness to Scripture put us to shame for 500 years (Catholics had been forbidden to translate or read the Scripture in the vernacular for long centuries). At Anglican Matins the entire Scripture is read, and bible reading at home as well as bible study at Sunday school maintained a scriptural awareness over the centuries that went far beyond listening to snippets in the liturgy.

      15. It seems that so many progressive presumptions about the liturgy are grounded in a sort of group-think only tangentially related to anything prescriptive.
        a. Karl implies that the Roman rite is unique in being subjected to positive development. This overstates the issue IMO. The Maronite liturgy has similarly been “reformed” but no one should get the impression that either liturgy is subject to legislated change on a regular basis as the above could imply. Pope Benedict wrote about this very issue and about how destructive this impression can be to any liturgy.
        b). Karl, the only way to read SC is to focus on the text-that is, what the council documents actually say after being debated and vetted by the Council Fathers. The “council as an event” perspective turns the council into something nebulous that any authority can turn into what it wants it to be. The late A. Dulles wrote on this in the pages of “America”.
        c). What Joe O. writes in repeating a mantra of presumed Catholic disregard for the Scriptures, something right out of 19th c. anti-Catholicism, could be easily addressed through basic apologetics. Responding to them would risk be deemed highly insensitive and in violation of the comments policy. Catholic love for the scriptures is found primarily in our celebration of and respect for the sacred liturgy. The Liturgy of the Hours are unfamiliar to most Protestants yet retains a privileged place in Catholic devotion. The “given-ness” of the liturgy and the Scriptures read remain foreign to most Protestants but are a point of convergence for Catholics and Orthodox.

    2. Karl: The EF, to become unanachronistically Roman, must eventually be reformed with the conciliar mandates in mind.

      I and some others attracted to the EF are not adverse to changes that follow the prescriptions of Sancrosanctum Concilium but not necessarily the prescriptions of the Concilium. As Jack has noted, there is great interest in the EF community in the revival of the “interim missals” and the development of the Anglican Use. I, and perhaps Jack, are members of an emerging moderate EF movement which is willing to apply SC principles towards a more conservative reading of liturgical conciliar mandates.

      Jack also remarks that so it’s up to people such as yourself to decide whether it [the EF movement] will be a healthy minority […] or an unhealthy minority with a ghetto mentality and extremist tendencies because it has to struggle to exist. (my additions) His point is succinct and important. The Concilum/MR 1970/progressive liturgical hermeneutic does not need to be the absolute liturgical hermeneutic in order to maintain its position as the predominant Roman liturgical school. The progressive hermeneutic is now the establishment perspective. It is now time to prevent the reactionary and even bigoted minority in the EF from overtaking a minority liturgical school in the Roman Rite. We moderate EF Catholics need help from other Catholics to steer the EF towards a healthy expression of postmodern Catholicism. Otherwise, expect a permanent crypto-Lefebvrist fragment to float about the Roman Rite.

      The EF cannot be supressed any longer. Now it must be integrated with the Council in charity and justice, unless bigotry and reaction prevail.

  7. Bianchi: Those Catholics who “struggled to change” nearly 50 years ago, and obediently followed “the directives of the Council and the Pope”…

    Who is this guy kidding? He’s probably just another one of the guys who was, in fact, all too happy to change and followed only the directives of the Council and the Pope that suited him.

    I hope that he did follow all of the directives of the Pope because that would mean that he accepted Humanae vitae. Oops! That doesn’t seem likely since he is big buddy of Cardinal Martini.

    1. I think it is not just or charitable to attribute motives to other people. What fact or opinion is being presented here? What did he do to deserve such a judgment? Who is this commenter to judge, what does the commenter know, rather than suppose?

      1. Tome Poelker said: I think it is not just or charitable to attribute motives to other people. What fact or opinion is being presented here? What did he do to deserve such a judgment? Who is this commenter to judge, what does the commenter know, rather than suppose?

        I seem to recall you doing much the same thing with regard to Cardinal Burke on another thread several weeks ago. You didn’t have much trouble with it then.

  8. Most Catholics welcomed the conciliar changes and struggled to put them into effect. Most Catholics felt betrayed by Humanae Vitae. And in fact it turned out that Humanae Vitae was the first shot in the battle to suppress Vatican II.

    Snide remarks about the eminent and holy Cardinal Martini, who has done more that anyone to break the bread of Scripture with the faithful, are distasteful.

    If you really think the ban on artificial birth control as intrinsice inhonestum is wonderful (despite its legacy of death in Africa and elsewhere) your fellow-Catholics will give your case a respectful hearing. But don’t talk as if it makes you a more orthodox Catholic.

    1. “And in fact it turned out that Humanae Vitae was the first shot in the battle to suppress Vatican II.”

      Would that be the same council that taught the following?

      “For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.” (GS 51)

      “But don’t talk as if it makes you a more orthodox Catholic.”

      One’s view on HV and the Church’s teaching about birth control necessarily effects one’s view about the sacrament of marriage. Both Vatican II and HV make this quite clear (e.g. GS 47-52; HV 4, 18, 25-26), as well as John Paul II’s theology of the body. So if one rejects HV, one rejects the Church’s dogmatic teaching about the sacrament of marriage, consciously or not.

      It is not a question of being “more” or “less” orthodox. It is about simply being…

      1. I always thought that Vatican II repeated the stricture on artificial birth control as a sort of status quo statement, since the Pope had taken a postive determination out of the Council’s hands. Now reading the text I see that it does NOT contain the prohibition of birth control found in HV. Rather it says that sons of the Church should follow church teaching, leaving open the possibility that church teaching might change. So if Humanae VItae had allowed artificial contraception it would have been in harmony with the letter of the Council!

      2. “So if Humanae VItae had allowed artificial contraception it would have been in harmony with the letter of the Council!”

        Technically, this is true.

        However, as I said previously, the Church’s teaching on contraception directly effects its teaching about the sacrament of marriage. What Vatican II teaches about marriage in GS is what the Church has taught since its foundation–the two are not different. Neither the Council nor Paul VI were ever going to say that contraception was suddenly okay: “It could never be right for her [the Church] to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man” (HV 18).

        The Church is not ever going to allow contraception. It doesn’t matter how many Catholics disagree, as if truth and the natural law can be changed on a ‘democratic’ whim. HV was/is unpopular. So what? One’s dislike of something has absolutely no bearing on whether that same something is true or not!

        It all, I suppose, comes down to the hermeneutic of rupture you apply to the Council documents. Your description of the Council’s teaching in this particular regard as “a sort of status quo statement” marginalises all the teaching of the Church before the Council, as if everything in the 1960s was up for grabs and nothing before the Council matters. The reality is that what the Church taught as true before the Council, it taught as true after the Council; indeed, the Council itself taught this truth! It is this hermeneutic of continuity that is espoused by Paul VI in HV, by John Paul II in his theology of the body, by Benedict XVI throughout his papacy and previous cardinalate.

        Rather than railing against the Church’s teaching, rather than viciously and ignorantly describing it as “pelvic morality”, you would do better to humbly accept her teaching as true (cf. HV 18).

      3. Most of the teaching of Humanae Vitae is true. Only the drastic condemnation of the use of contraceptives in one or two paragraphs is false. The Church’s vision of marriage would not be undermined by recognizing the licitness of contraceptives, as Vatican II, by leaving the question open, implicitly recognizes. I would also suggest that blessing of gay unions would enrich rather than undermine the teaching on marriage. The huge difference between the teaching on marriage before and after Vatican II is that the unitive dimension is recognized as co-equal with the procreative, and it is on that basis that I would argue (though not a moral theologian) for recognition of contraceptives and gay unions.

      4. “Rather than railing against the Church’s teaching, rather than viciously and ignorantly describing it as “pelvic morality”, you would do better to humbly accept her teaching as true” M. Hazell.

        This type of intemperate railing is out of place here. Joe O’Leary’s postings are the antithesis of vicious and ignorant writing. You may not like what he says. And you are entitled to that opinion. But to let your resistance descend into vitriol persuades no one of the reasonableness of your position.

        Belief is the articulation of what the church understands its position to be at any one point in time. As that understanding increases, belief has to change to accommodate fresh understandings and new insights made available by the human sciences, among other branches of learning. Newman’s understanding of the development of doctrine is probably the best known paradigm in this regard. This is not the indulging of what you describe as a whim, but the exercise of a God-given faculty.

        Those who critique current positions on any branch of theology and in any area of belief are performing a valuable service to the church.

        Your belief that the church is not ever going to permit contraception indicates a lack of that humility which you are quick to recommend for others.

        The split Infinitive in your final sentence is the least offensive feature of a rather offensive posting.

      5. Joe: Can you really not see that the Church’s judgement about contraception necessarily follows from what the Church teaches about marriage? She declares contraception to be unlawful precisely because of her teaching on the sacrament of marriage; it cannot, then, be declared lawful (HV 18).

        It may be that after Vatican II, the Church recognised that the unitive and procreative aspects of the marital acts are co-equal. I don’t think that recognition is missing from before Vatican II, but that’s not really the point here. What is the point is your very vocabulary: “co-equal”. To legitimise contraception, the unitive dimension (and a false notion of that, I might add) would have to be privileged above the procreative, which no longer makes the two dimensions co-equal in any sense. Part of the Church’s point in HV (and subsequent papal teaching) is that neither can be above (or below) the other; they both work together in her teaching about the marital act.

        Gerard: I am no more guilty of “vitriol” than Joe has been in his snide description of the Church’s teaching as “pelvic morality”, or his descriptions of the new translation as a “crime”. If Joe feels that I am being rude, I am happy to apologise.

        Newman’s exposition of the idea of doctrinal development is not exactly what you claim it to be. He spent his life fighting liberalism in both the protestant church of England and the Catholic Church. I doubt he would have recognised your notion of belief involving “change” and effective capitulation to science and fashionable thought. Neither do I see exactly where the lack of humility is in encouraging people to submit to the Church, because, as Paul VI tells us in HV itself, she cannot change falsehood into truth.

        Finally, if Star Trek is allowed a split infinitive, then I think I’m OK with the odd one now and then! 🙂

      6. I did not introduce the phrase pelvic morality, but there is some justice in it — the contraception teaching was understood by some priests in my diocese in terms of not letting the semen fall outside the vas debitum — this is what no less a figure than Yves Congar called “the morality of the sacrosanct semen”. You can argue that HV stems from the church’s teaching on marriage, but the argument is unconvincing to those who see the unitive-procreative project as a long-terms one rather than as meaning that every individual sexual act must be open to the transmission of life.

    2. Joe made some very general observations:

      “Most Catholics welcomed the conciliar changes and struggled to put them into effect”
      Too broad Joe, we would need to break this down a bit. The recent offering of a poll involved the 1965 missal with a still Latin canon. You’ve given us your poin-of-view but this is not evidence.

      Joe also wrote: “Most Catholics felt betrayed by Humanae Vitae.” How do you know? Did a scientifically verifiable poll of Catholics of all rites and nations give you a reason to make such a broad claim?

      1. Daniel, the polls all showed that Catholics supporting the reform very broadly, in 1967 as well as 1969 and later. And the polls that I’ve seen all say that most Catholics rejected HV. So did a number of bishops and cardinals at the time. Cardinal Suenens said we’ve already had one Galileo, we don’t need another one.
        If you hvae polls showing otherwise, I’d very much like to see them.
        awr

      2. I once argued with my bishop about Vatican II and he replied, “I was there”.

        I was there for Humanae Vitae too, and remember the very steep gap between the reception of that document and the reception of the Council. One could go so far as to say that HV was as unpopular as the council was popular.

        You really believe polls can measure this? You seem to have a very positivistic attitude both to the council texts and to the movements of opinion or of the Spirit among the People of God.

        You want to persuade us that the EF breathes the spirit of Vatican II — though it reverts to the pre-Vatican II liturgy — and you want to prove by atomistic reading of the council documents, with no attention to the process they reflect as charted in the History of Vatican II, that the Council intended to change nothing in the preconciliar church. I call this obstructionism and obscurantism. It is currently very fashionable, but it has no future.

      3. Fr. Ruff, you mention polls expressing support for the reform without mentioning what aspect of the reform was under consideration. Polls in 1967 and 1969 were taken long before Rome authorized the all-vernacular Mass. We have polls today showing widespread interest in and support for the EF
        even after many years of the OF. I am not familiar with any poll showing that the majority of practicing Catholics suggesting that artificial birth control was not a sin. Local polls were taken here and there but they did not measure what the majority of practicing Catholics held then or today.
        The overwhelming majority of bishops conferences all expressed their reception of HV – not sure why you would bring up one seemingly hesitant bishop without acknowledging that the bishops’ conferences, including the Americans, expressed voices of appreciation for the papal teaching.

      4. What HV did to undermine the church’s credibility to teach in matters of morality the new “English” translation looks set to do in the area of liturgy.

    3. You say that snide remarks about Cardinal Martini are distasteful? Is not Cardinal Martini know for his opposition to Humanae vitae?

      What’s really distasteful is the condescending expression “pelvic morality” and implying that the Church’s teaching on birth control has left “a legacy of death in Africa and elsewhere”. Distasteful indeed.

      1. C.M. Martini may be opposed to HV. That is not an excuse for ad hominem attacks on him.

        Birth control is an issue of belief. Beliefs are statement of what the church holds to be true or valid, at any one time. Beliefs change. Indeed they must be reexamined in every succeeding generation to see whether they speak to the women and men of that time. The articulation of disagreement with the church’es current position on an issue of belief is one of the ways to facilitate this change.

        If you object to Martini’s doing so, what is your model for the development of doctrine?

        Joe’s comments on pelvic morality and Africa are the epitome of lucidity. Do you deny that they are true?

  9. One of the characteristics of the conservative Catholics is their propensity to “play the man” as we have seen with Michael Barnett.

    His attacks on people (Martini, Bianchi) whom he wouldn’t know from a bar of soap if passed them on street seems to unfaze him.

    Its all a game with winners take all. People like Michael Barnett display the most basic disregard for Christian charity.

    They fool themselves if they believe their self righteous bravado is in any way at all attractive, let alone befitting a follower of the humble and crucified Christ.

    1. Elias, you wouldn’t know me from a bar of soap if I passed you on the street. So what gives you the right to attack me? It goes both ways you know.

      1. Peace, Michael, peace.

        Indeed I wouldn’t know you if I met you on the street.

        But to the point: you launch an unjustified ad hominem attack on two men who have given their lives to the Catholic Church and you complain about being attacked??

        You cannot hurl grenades such as these and expect this slander to be met with silence.

      2. Elias, I am making a simple statement: I don’t believe Bianchi. Perhaps you should read my original post again. If that is an “unjustified ad hominem attack”, it sure isn’t the first one ever written on this blog.

  10. Weary indeed from going over the ground won at Vatican II, the ground of a renewed Church rooted in Scripture, building collegiality, open to the world, committed to active engagement for justice and peace, enthused for ecumenical and interreligious sharing, cherishing freedom of conscience, anxious to have a joyful and creative liturgy in which all the arts of today would have a place, etc. etc.

    Where did that Church vanish? It didn’t! It still survives quietly in our midst. It is the Church, and the pomps and deceits of restorationism cannot prevail against it.

  11. It is wonderful (to me) to see so much open, honest talk by so many well informed people. Then, too, it is wonderful (to me) to talk with those I know who simply want to “do the right thing.” One such person asked me about intinction. He has a sore on his lip and wants to use intinction and some people will not allow him to do it. Another wants to know when to stop giving up what was being given up “during Lent.” That person, I’m so pleased to know, remembered when “Lent ends at Noon on Holy Saturday.” That person, I’m also happy to say, was willing and pleased to take responsibility for ending the “offering up” when HE believed it should be ended. I do thank God for all the deep discussion and for the simple concerns of brothers and sisters. Let us PRAY.

  12. Joe O’Leary :
    Jack Wayne, to infuse the EF with the spirit of Vatican II would be to destroy the EF. That is the very reason why the Church replaced the EF with the OF. Summorum Pontificum is a monstrous regression from Vatican II. Why not have the OF in Latin, including the Scripture readings? — I would be happy to celebrate that.

    Now people want the OF in Latin? That is a good question for local Priests and Bishops. Why did we not have the opportunity to celebrate the OF Liturgy in Latin at least once during Mass schedules from the very day the NO was introduced. Why chastise people for wanting the Pauline Missal as was written. Or at least one Traditional format. They missed the boat. Indeed why not……

  13. There is a common attitude that liberals had their turn, and now it’s the turn of the conservatives. “We had to put up with English, and clown Masses, and sisters discarding their habits. Now we’re making the changes. It’s your turn to struggle to obey.” An example of this attitude is the concept that the imposition of the new English translation is a mirror image of the change from Latin to the vernacular. While both are examples of change, they are based on different attitudes toward God, toward liturgy, toward the role of the priest, etc. etc. Another example is the concept of ecumenicism. One side is still waiting for Protestants to recognize the wisdom of Trent. The other side is wiling to learn from the Protestant experience, and to see the Roman Church grow into something more inclusive.

    1. Brigid,

      The problem with your perspective here, at least for this Catholic, is that it is not grounded in the council’s teaching. There is nothing in SC to support: (a) an all vernacular liturgy in the Roman rite or (b) the still existing ICEL translation. Additionally, there is nothing in UR to suggest the Catholic Church “grow” into something more “inclusive”. I can’t find the word “inclusive” anywhere in UR (Decree on Ecumenism). Do you see the problem, we look at V2 and do not see what you suggest is there.

      1. Daniel,
        Daniel, you’re misstating some things. We know what SC says in 36.1 and 54. But SC also says that territorial bishops decide how much vernacular and Rome approves their request, so this provides the basis for bishops requesting entirely vernacular liturgy. The legal basis is found in SC itself.
        I don’t know what you’re talking about with SC supporting the current translations or not. There is nothing whatsoever about translation theory in SC – only the directive that territorial bodies of bishops approve translations. If anything, the coming translations are clearly in violation of SC because Rome has taken over revision and approval of vernacular texts, something not foreseen in SC. Those defending the coming texts admit that it’s not the procedure SC had in mind, but they appeal to the experience of the past forty years as a reason for changing the procedure of SC.
        But there is no doubt whatsoever that the current translations do not violate anything in Vatican II.
        awr

      2. You’ve moved outside of SC….SC itself does not call for an all-vernacular Mass. Legal frameworks growing out of SC – that’s not the topic at hand and remain a matter for debate. One could suggest that permission for an all-vernacular Mass violates SC in a way similar to other post-conciliar decisions are thought by some to violate the council’s directives. This issue remains muddled anyway because the same Pope who gave permission for vern. mass lauded Latin. My understanding is that territorial bishops did approve the current translation, I don’t know of any bishops conference bringing a canonical complaint about the process or suggesting otherwise.

      3. No Daniel, either you misread or willfully misunderstood what I wrote. I have not moved outside SC. The legal basis for all-vernacular is found in SC, whether that was envisionsed at the time or not. That is the topic at hand, since we’re talking about faithfulness to SC. SC does not need to call for an all-vernacular Mass for the bishops and Pope to have followed SC in approving it, according to the procedures explicitly laid out in SC.

      4. there is nothing in UR to suggest the Catholic Church “grow” into something more “inclusive”. I can’t find the word “inclusive” anywhere in UR (Decree on Ecumenism). Do you see the problem, we look at V2 and do not see what you suggest is there.

        “All Catholics must therefore aim at Christian perfection and, each according to his station, play his part that the Church may daily be more purified and renewed…
        If they are true to this course of action, they will be giving ever better expression to the authentic catholicity and apostolicity of the Church…
        Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments from our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brethren. It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood. For God is always wonderful in His works and worthy of all praise.
        Nor should we forget that anything wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren can be a help to our own edification. Whatever is truly Christian is never contrary to what genuinely belongs to the faith; indeed, it can always bring a deeper realization of the mystery of Christ and the Church.
        the divisions among Christians prevent the Church from attaining the fullness of catholicity proper to her, in those of her sons who, though attached to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all her bearings.” UR 4

        How can you not see “inclusive” in UR? The word “Catholic” is used instead of “inclusive”, but the concept is the whole point of the document.

      5. Daniel, a friendly fraternal message from someone who’s in your camp (albeit a bit more liberal than you are.)

        A repetitive rehashing of SC cannot roll back the now-dominant liturgical hermeneutic. Your tactic of beating the constitution to death won’t “defeat” the OF. Besides, there’s much about the OF that can, and should, enrich the EF. Our Holy Father has said as much. I could name many things about the OF that are great advances. However, so many in the EF movement do not want to even countenance that the OF got “some things right”. This obstinacy will be the EF movement’s great downfall if a detour is not soon taken.

        I’m not very good at listening to fellow PT respondents, so I have no grounds to critique your argumentation. Yet, what worth is there in walling off the EF movement only to find out that one is unable to even sympathize with the (equally legitimate) desires of other Catholics?

      6. Fr. Ruff,

        I continue to find it strained to sidestep the actual proscriptions for the maintenance of Latin in the Roman rite found in SC by appealing to the authority given bishops to determine the extent of the vernacular as a means to disregard a proscriptive in its entirety. It is a point-of-view and apparently is yours so we will have to agree to disagree.

        I suppose we could also argue that the legal framework for
        SP, that is the continued existence of the EF alongside the OF, is found in SC because SC gives the Holy See the authority to regulate the liturgy and the caveat that no rigid uniformity is to be maintained etc…is clearly stated in SC. Others here have argued that the EF does not respond to one or two directives of SC but we can still argue that it is the legal framework found in SC that permits SP, therefore, SP is in complete harmony
        with SC and Vatican II.
        Jordan, you are mistaken if you presume I seek to (as you wrote)
        “beat the OF”. I actually love the OF and look forward to the new and improved translation. I do, however, have great appreciation for the EF and the way the OF and EF enrich one another. I look forward to the inevitable reconciliation between the two forms. I’m the one who has pointed out that most of the actual directives in SC have already been implemented in contemporary celebrations of the EF and that many of the few specific directives found in SC are typically better implemented in many contemporary celebrations of the EF than in many contemporary celebrations of the OF. I think the reactions frequently on display here show that the dominant hermeneutic toward the council is not what we may presume it to be. As mentioned above, the late Cardinal Dulles pointed this out years ago.

  14. Joe O’Leary :
    The battle over the new translations (whatever about the wider liturgical conflict) is sparked by the bad, unprayable quality of what is being offered. Many would not worry at all about the process and the ideology behind it if the result was acceptable.

    Joe, I agree with you wholeheartedly with your last sentence. That is why I have always thought that many people who complain about the translation process are being a bit disingenuous.

    1. Did you misinterpret me? I think everyone who complains about the new translations does so because the new translations are bad. But the reason they are bad is because of the outlandish process that produced them. If, by some miracle, the process had produced a gem, most people would not worry. Actually most Catholics are still happy with a rigid monarchical church; even the disgruntlement with the new texts will not alter that.

  15. Daniel –

    I am not at all conversant with the actual documents of Vatican II, so I am speaking with the point of view of someone on the ground. As near as I can tell, every diocese in the world switched to a vernacular liturgy in the late 60’s, early 70’s. As near as I can tell, most Catholics will respond ” Vatican II” when asked about this. My specific point is that changing from Latin to the vernacular is not the mirror image of changing from the current vernacular to a Latinate style vernacular.

    My comment on Ecumenecism is also based on personal observation. On one hand I see a group determined to bring all Christians to a model based on an idealized pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church. For this group, ecumenecism amounts to Protestants admitting we were right all along and coming back to Rome. There is a certain tolerance for elaborate Eastern rite and Orthodox liturgies. On the other hand I see individual Catholics studying Scripture, previously largely a Protestant tradition. I also see individual Catholics working and praying together with Protestants. The prime example of this was at a Lutheran friend’s wedding. When the time for Communion, every Catholic there went up and received. I know this is in blatant disregard of current Church teaching. In this case, the sensus fidelium was that it was right and proper to act as a single community of believers. Again, a sense of ecumenecism that at best suggests that some Protestants may reach heaven is not a mirror image of an ecumenecism that is working toward unity if not uniformity.
    I would say that while the reformers of the past 40 years have had some notable successes and made many mistakes, great and small, they are headed in the right direction. I would also say those who have resisted the premise that reform is needed are headed in the wrong direction.

    1. Fundamentally, it’s this question: Were the Council Fathers correct in declaring overwhelmingly that the liturgies of the Roman rite were in need of reform? I say yes, without hesitation.

      1. Obeying a correct order is not the same as obeying an incorrect order. It’s not a matter of which side wins, it’s a matter of all of us being honest in searching for the correct path. What I come away with after reading conservative blogs is a sense of religion that praises God while ignoring others (unless the others fail to follow the rubrics, in which case they are condemned!) The old ways can be beautiful, but when they lead us to the wrong attitude, they can also be harmful. I think liberals face the problem of trying to walk the right path without getting angry or feeling superior to those who think differently.

    2. Saying ‘Amen’ to the anaphora and consuming the elements over which the anaphora was prayed are two ways of expressing the same conviction. The only difference is that the first is verbal, the second, ritual action.

      Walter Kasper has said that if a christian can do the former in any denomination, there is very little reason, if any, why they should not be able to do the latter.

  16. Michael Barnett :

    Tome Poelker said: I think it is not just or charitable to attribute motives to other people. What fact or opinion is being presented here? What did he do to deserve such a judgment? Who is this commenter to judge, what does the commenter know, rather than suppose?
    I seem to recall you doing much the same thing with regard to Cardinal Burke on another thread several weeks ago. You didn’t have much trouble with it then.

    You remember wrong. Burke was here in St. Louis. I know very well what he actually did and said. I know he equated doctrine and discipline, for example. There is no need to impute motives to him.

    Once again, though, you attack me rather than prove any point or support any opinion.

    1. I was in St. Louis, too. I know a few things about Burke and know him personally. You claim that I only attack you rather than support my opinion? You asked me on a threat a couple of months ago to actually say something that Burke did well when he was Archbishop of St. Louis. I responded with facts to support my opinion. I’m still waiting for your response.

      I’m also waiting for Bill deHaas to retract the claim he made in that same thread that Burke became a bishop because of some relationship to Cardinal Law. He never gave any evidence that even begins to support such a claim.

      1. I don’t think I am required to respond to every thing you say not are you entitled to hold a grudge because one of the many things you say was not answered.

        Certainly I throw things out here which get not response.

        So what?

        I will say a little prayer that you harbor less anger and resentment.

      2. The process of appointing (note: not ‘electing’ bishops) is so Byzantine and shrouded in such secrecy that it would be impossible to confirm or deny claims relating to how someone became a bishop.

        In the absence of documentary evidence, circumstantial evidence is as much as one can hope for.

  17. Greetings,

    There have always been struggles within the church. After the counclil of Trent there was a 50 year period where much of the church did not accept the council. The Liturgy from Trent was not even accepted in France until 2 centuries later. There were struggles between Jesuits and Jansenists. We human beings do a lot to mess the entire church up. If we can stay focused on God: In our worship, our service to others and in our moral lives, if we love god and love our neighbor the church will keep going. Dorothy Day compared the Church to the cross: Horrible, but necessary. She loves the cross and she loves the church.

    1. I think we need to stay focused on the teachings and commands of Jesus.

      I know he said we should take and eat and drink. I know that he told us how to pray a single short prayer. I know that he told us to wash feet.

      Does Jesus actually tell us to worship? Or is that a theological conclusion derived from other things?

  18. Gerard Flynn :

    Joe’s comments on pelvic morality and Africa are the epitome of lucidity. Do you deny that they are true?

    I wholeheartedly deny that they are true.

  19. Missionaries in the Philippines used to say to me, “You never saw anyone starve in this country, did you?” They were NFP fans. But I did see children scavenge for a living on a huge rubbish heap in Manila, and I saw the dates of death on gravestones. Meanwhile the Church was organizing condom-burning ceremonies and today threatens ecclesiasical sanctions against the President for distributing condoms. While conservative Catholics scoff at over-population as a delusion of the sixties and even worry about the extrinction of the human race by failure to reproduce, I cannot but notices that the population of the Philippines has shot up astonishingly in recent decades and that its younger population are often obliged to survive by prostitution. As to AIDS in Africa and the Church’s obstructionism (when it should be at the forefront of AIDS education) I refer to the material gathered here: http://josephsoleary.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/05/a-lethal-game-pope-african-bishops-and-the-aids-epidemic.html

  20. When people say that if everyone practiced NFP there would be no population problem and that if everyone practiced abstinence cum fidelity there would be no AIDS epidemic, I say they are heartless.

  21. Daniel McKernan is correct that the Scriptures were accessible to priests and religious thanks to the Divine Office. But given the repeated strictures of the highest church authorities against vernacular translations of Scripture, this was always presumably in Latin; the laity received only crumbs. To call this anit-Catholic polemic is silly — and an attempt again to erase the novelty of Vatican II Catholicism. To say the process perspective on Vatican II makes it nebulous would undercut most history. There is a whole discipline of hermeneutics of the Councils — none of them are so simple that you can read off the meaning by confining yourself totally to the text of the final documents. Trent for example is far better understood since the proceedings were released, and historians of Vatican II likewise take account of the discussions in the basilica (which has been published). The desperate effort to make sure that nothing happened at Vatican II ends up in bizarre claims like that of Cardinal Dulles that the Church still teaches today as in 1866 that slavery is part of divine and natural law.

    1. Joe,

      I’m looking at my great-grandfathers Catholic prayer book published in the late 19th c.(1888) by JW Wentworth. Paging through this “Catholic Prayer Book” explicitly designated for the laity I see Prime, Compline & Vespers in better English translation than the ICEL version we see in today’s Liturgy of the Hours. The book is just loaded up with the Scriptures given with the benefit of the liturgy, preserving the “given-ness” so important to liturgical prayer. As we’ve been reminded here – the facts are important. The laity were encouraged to pray the Scriptures within the liturgy long before the most recent ecumenical council.

      1. I do remember a time when the Church had prayer books and their current absence is one of the worst failures of the contemporary church. I also remember the Office of the BVM with the psalms in English, more fragrant and beautiful than the psalter we’ve been using for the last 40 years — why the monotonous monopoly?

  22. Even when Scripture was accessible in Vernacular translation, as in the Douai BIble, lay Catholics were not as far as I know encouraged to use it, even in the form of the DIvine Office — seen as a clerical specialty. Spiritual guides like Francis de Sales drew imaginatively on Scripture — but the presence and influence of Scripture was generally filtered and muted compared with the Reformation churches. When Catholics tried to catch up with modern study of Scripture they were hampered by terrifically reactionary proclamations from the Pontifical Biblical Commission against denying the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and the unity of Isaiah etc., as well as by impossible claims about the total inerrancy of Scripture.

  23. As far as I can tell there were no rubrics in the first Mass at Emmaus. Nor do I know of any rubrics when the Jerusalem Christians gathered in each others home for the breaking of the bread. Back then there was no distinction between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, and may I add, clergy and laity. By the middle of the 4th century, however, a highly stratified liturgy had been fashioned by clergy mainly for clergy. Certainly the non-ordained were welcome to these grand celebrations but it would be many more centuries before they would be obligated by clerics to “hear” Mass on Sundays and Holy Days; and to confess their sins and receive Holy Communion at least during Easter-time.
    I am not thus advocating liturgy without rubrics but only pointing out that such directives ought not to be in the service of a formal, stultified, and uniform worship in every place at every time among every people. The Fathers of Vatican II in union with the successors of Peter knew what they were doing when they called for a reform of the liturgy in the Roman Rite. They could never have envisioned an EF and an OF. It is one thing to allow for idiosyncrasies in things like the Ambrosian rite, but to have a reformed rite alongside an unreformed rite–what sense does that make. Had the Popes decreed that the reformed rite was to be celebrated in Latin in every parish at least once each Sunday, the result would have been better than what we have now. Now we have an unreformed rite in Latin and we shall soon have a reformed rite in English that looks, sounds, and pray like Latin.

  24. Daniel, let me see if I got it:

    There are “one or two” things in SC suggesting adjustments to 1962 missal, but today the 1962 form is closest to what V2 had in mind. The dialog Mass (already done in 1920s, BTW) pretty well fulfills V2’s intentions for liturgical renewal, so 1962 in dialogue form is closer to V2 than the reformed liturgy.

    It’s illegitimate for the hierarchy to use V2’s legal prescriptions to approve an entirely vernacular liturgy, but it is in accord with V2’s giving exclusive right to the Holy See (which it didn’t) that the Pope reintroduced 1962 without restriction. The reform principles and directives from the beginning of SC to the end, then, in effect have no meaning, or don’t exist, or were already fulfilled in the 1920s. The council deliberations, discussions, controversies, breakthroughs… if we understand what SC really means, there was no need to bother.

    And so, eg, we can say (as if making a significant point) that V2 never called for a 3-yr lectionary… since the Council called for a greater use of scripture spread over more time without specifying further, and the Holy See applied this by approving a 3-yr lectionary.

    Similarly, no poll from any year could ever show that the vast majority of Catholics support(ed) the liturgical reform, because we already know that it was forced on them against their will. Every poll cited here, then, is irrelevant, and there is no need to cite polls supporting any other view.

    Similarly, no poll cited here could ever show that the vast majority of Catholics reject(ed) HV, and one need not cite polls in support of the alt. view. Similarly, every bishops’ conference supported HV. The bitter attacks of conservatives, eg. Msgr. Kelly, that the bishops failed to support the Pope never happened.

    You have a right to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

    I won’t be replying to your further comments in this vein. I see no point.

    awr

    1. It is intriguing to me that you see the legal framework in SC for an entirely vernacular liturgy despite SC’s explicit directive for its opposite but cannot see in SC the legal framework for the EF and OF coexisting.

      My point was that SC leaves room for an application far removed from what happened and even further removed from what some progressives imagine happened then or hoped would happen in the future. Additionally, the frequent remarks that this or that move by the current Holy Father is contrary to V2 has been shown to be unsubstantiated by the council itself and usually by the actual legislation made after the council.
      When I look at what I’ve written and when I compare it to what I’ve seen others post it amazes me that my contribution would seem the most controversial.
      1. re. SC and dialog Mass: the dialog Mass was already in place in some areas but not in most areas in 1962. My guess is that you know that. Considering that SC clearly calls for the retention of Latin it is entirely conceivable that the dialog Mas fulfills SC’s requirements in this area. If not, show why from SC.
      2. The two forms of the Roman rite coexisting facilitates the development of the EF in accordance with those few specific reforms mandated by SC. Similarly, it permits the authentic development of the OF in a manner that brings it into conformity with SC in those places where it has not done so (e.g. #36, #54).
      3. The call for a greater use of scripture spread over time does not necessarily equate to the existing three-year lectionary. If you can show that it does, show us from SC.
      4. The issue I’ve shown with the polls you’ve brought up are legitimate. You mention polls that state Catholics generally supported the reform without stipulating what aspect of the reform(s) they were said to be supporting. The poll you posted a few days ago dealt with the 1965 RM – something closer to the EF in most respects than to the existing OF.

  25. Jack Feehily, you are entirely right,

    I am told that the old Roman Canon provided hundreds of occasions of mortal sin because of its rubrical complexities. It is amazing that people are hankering after the spectacle of a priest silently putting himself through rubrical contortions, in their fastidious horror at anything resembling a communal celebration, which they outrageously characterize as the community worshiping itself!

  26. Fr Ruff raises a very good point – apart from its logical absurdities, Summorum Pontificum is quite possibly an illegal document, going against the prescriptions of the Council. Ratzinge’s attitude to the Council became sniffier and more condescending every year from about 1970, and it is poetic justice if this boomerangs on him, putting him in a position of manifest illegality. Meanwhile, whatever happened to the report bishops were to send back to Rome after 3 years about the reception of Summorum Pontificum? I guess if any reports were received the Vatican had no intention of hearing them, and just barged ahead with ridiculous efforts to implement SP by making seminarians everywhere learn Latin and the old rubrics, What a lovely way to waste the time and energy of young Asians and Africans, who should be joyously and creatively developing an inculturated liturgy. And the EF is calculated to attract the wrong sort of young men to the priesthood.

    1. How can the pope issue an illegal document? According to Canon Law, he has full supreme, universal, and immediate jurisdiction over the whole Church. Provided he doesn’t speak against the doctrine of a Council, he is totally in the clear. He can change disciplinary things all he wants.

      Perhaps you mean that canon law in this case is incorrect? But please, don’t accuse me of being an ultramontanist again. It doesn’t actually help the discussion.

      1. I am not well versed in Canon Law, but the idea that a Pope can never issue an illegal document does sound like an extreme vision of papal primacy, In the absolute monarchies of the past, would it be said that the King by definition can never issue an illegal document?

      2. Well, Joe, you better get some understanding of canon law. The role of Petrine ministry in the Church is not analogous to absolute monarchies of the past in this regard.

        They did offer Canon Law at Maynooth didn’t they? You are entirely too well-educated and intelligent to hid behind the “I don’t know canon law very well” argument. This point is too basic.

        It’s a simple fact: the pope cannot issue an illegal document; therefore, Summorum Pontificum cannot be illegal.

      3. John XXII taught a heretical version of the beatific vision for many years and his views on this matter were condemned by Benedict XII.

        Clement V’s bull Regnans in caelis, summoning the Council of Vienne at which the Templars were unjustly condemned, was produced under extreme pressure from the French king.

        So, bad apples and good apples.

      4. Apples and oranges, Gerard.

        Joe and I are discussing the possibility of a document like Summorum Pontificum being illegal. (Read my previous post where I exclude doctrinal decisions from the discussion at hand.)

        There is absolutely no comparison here to the case of Pope John XXII. (But I suspect you knew that.)

      5. Canon Law I studied the night before the exam and promptly forgot. But you seem to have a very postivist view of law — for you the question of conscience that arises when a Pope makes an unjust law never arises. In this you are in tension with Benedict XVI’s well known statement on freedom of conscience even over against the Pope. You would have had not problem obeying the unjust edicts of, say, Innocent IV in Ad Exstirpanda, urging the torture of heretics, or Pius V deposing Elizabeth I (Edmund Campion apparently thought that this was an illegal papal act). Or perhaps you would say that these papal monstrosities were not in accord with the doctrine of the Church so they don’t count. BUt in fact they were in accord with the doctrine of the Church at the time, whcih brings us back to Ger Flynn’s point. And again, your appeal to papal primacy misses the point that Vatican II secured rights and responsibilities of bishops that the Vatican tramples on in its appropriation of the translation process into its own hands — illegally according to Bp Maurice Taylor. Papal primacy does not prevent a Pope from doing illegal things. That is why popes should work in close collaboration with canon lawyers. Summorum Pontificum seems to have been inadequately vetted — unsurprising in a Church that has cheapened canonization by abolishing the advocatus diaboli. The ongoing destruction of collegiality, dialogue and consultation within the fabric of church life is a form of corruption and abuse that will be greeted by ambitious little Eichmanns but deplore by all who remember Vatican II.

  27. Joe O’Leary :
    And the EF is calculated to attract the wrong sort of young men to the priesthood.

    Just out of curiousity…

    What Missal was being used at Mass when you were growing up? In your younger years it was what we now call the EF. Was it calculated to attract the wrong sort of young men back then, too?

    1. Of course not.

      That was then. This is now.

      A major problem in liturgically conservative agendas is the tendency to ignore culture and history. We see this here when MB writes as if the old Mass could have meant the same thing then as now. But think for a moment about all the social, cultural, spiritual, historical factors changing the context. Before Vatican II, there couldn’t possibly be nostalgia for what once was, with the emotional charge of belonging to a small zealous faction, and with the emotional baggage of being in rather sharp distinction to (and generally critical of) the practice of most of the Church. All of these factors, and many more besides, would figure hugely in who is attracted to the old liturgy, and why.

      awr

      1. I’m in my 20s. I have an attraction to the EF. I don’t have any nostalgia for it (not being alive at the time). I happily serve for my parish priest at the evening OF Mass. I am actively involved in the parish community. I don’t consider myself part of some super-holy, “zealous” group within the Church.

        Surely, Father, stereotyping and casting rather negative assertions about others based purely on their liturgical preferences is beneath you…?

        (BTW, liturgically liberal agendas also ignore culture and history. It’s a common problem with agendas generally.)

      2. It would probably also vary from place to place who is attracted to the EF. A church were the EF is treated as normal will probably attract a different set of people than one that is treated like the red-headed stepchild of the diocese.

        Personally, I think SP and the further liberalization of the EF will make the communities healthier and more “normalized,” and undo the damage that the oft-abused indult created.

      3. Sorry, Matthew, you misread what I wrote. I gave examples of things the old Mass couldn’t possibly have meant when it was in normal use, but could possibly mean now. I didn’t say it means these things for everyone, much less for you. My point was that history matters. We’re at a different point in history now than the 1950s, therefore the old Mass has different meanings.

        Lots of 20 year olds (at least in things liturgical) are nostalgic for things they never experienced. I have no idea whether you are.

        The conservative tendency is to absolutize external forms without being aware of changed social location. I see plenty of mistakes among liturgical liberals, but not this one.

        awr

      4. I think keeping in mind that “history matters” should be remembered by those who criticize the EF using thier experiences of 1950’s/60’s Catholicism. I notice people who grew up with the EF look at “ad orientem” in a totally different way than people (such as myself) who grew up seeing the priest behind the altar. To me it’s a huge communal gesture and emphasizes that the priest is more “one of us” than liturgy facing the people is.

      5. Fr. Ruff, given that you have almost no experience praying in and with extraordinary form communities, it’s rather astounding that you can write so confidently about their characteristics and tendencies.

        (Yes, I know you read books and blogs, but it’s just not the same.)

      6. “The conservative tendency is to absolutize external forms without being aware of changed social location. I see plenty of mistakes among liturgical liberals, but not this one.”

        I regularly see liberals absolutizing external forms: Mass facing the people, insisting on communion under both species, omitting the sacring bells, the ordinary use of extraordinary ministers, banishing Latin, standing for holy communion, avoiding the use of the thurible as much as possible, and limiting the EF. The minimalistic tendencies of progressives often manifests themselves in absolutist ways “we don’t do that here” mentalities.
        The “emotional charge of belonging to a small zealous faction is with the emotional baggage of being in sharp distinction and general critical of the practice of most of the Church” is well represented among progressives IHMO e.g. Call to Action, FutureChurch, women’s ordination groups, certain academic circles and so on….. quite well.

    2. The EF invites young men today to identify with a romanticized past and turn their back on a living present, that is the point.

      And yes, the old Latin Mass in its aesthetics appealed to men who identified with or were fixated on their own imago as altar boy — Eugen Drewermann wrote shockingly about this in his book Kleriker — long before the abuse scandal broke.

      Half of young French priests, I am told, prefer the EF, in contrast to their faithful. What trip are these priests on, I wonder?

      1. The EF invites young men today to identify with a romanticized past and turn their back on a living present, that is the point.

        My understanding is that you live in Japan and have little or no contact with EF communities there or elsewhere, right? So how do you speak so confidently about how this liturgy affects young men?

        Men (and women) I’ve known who serve or attend the extraordinary form are in their apostolic, professional, or vocational work parish catechists (in normal territorial parishes), work as doctors and lawyers, academics, professional artists, chefs, computer programmers, bankers, law enforcement officers, professional and amateur musicians, and diocesan and religious seminarians in a variety of dioceses, orders and congregations. They serve at or attend rich parishes and poor parishes. They’re white, Hispanic, Asian, African, and more. They’re converts and cradle catholics. Many are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Many have spouses who aren’t Catholic. Many of them devote a huge amount of time and energy to working to promote ordinary form liturgy. Etc. Etc.

        They very much live the present world. They may have opinions you don’t agree with, but you don’t really have any reason to portray them as “out of touch”. You provide no justification for saying that the liturgy causes them to turn their backs on the living present.

        Today at the parish where I served, I talked after Mass to women in their twenties who had stumbled upon our parish’s Missa Cantata according the 1962 Missal, were excited by what they had seen, and wanted to know more about what they had experienced.

  28. I did not know that Leo XIII had encouraged bible study among the laity. I guess that initiative was buried in the Modernist scare that followed soon after.

  29. Leo XIII wishes in #2 of Providentissimus Deus: “to give an impulse to the noble science of Holy Scripture, and to impart to Scripture study a direction suitable to the needs of the present day…. that this grand source of Catholic revelation should be made safely and abundantly accessible to the flock of Jesus Christ… It is Our wish and fervent desire to see an increase in the number of the approved and persevering labourers in the cause of Holy Scripture; and more especially that those whom Divine Grace has called to Holy Orders, should, day-by-day, as their state demands, display greater diligence and industry in reading, meditating, and explaining it.”

  30. “Fr. Ruff, given that you have almost no experience praying in and with extraordinary form communities, it’s rather astounding that you can write so confidently about their characteristics and tendencies.” S.J.H.

    So, only physicians who suffer from cancer can treat it, or comment on it.

    Yes, they read books (and blogs!) but it’s just not the same.

    1. So, only physicians who suffer from cancer can treat it, or comment on it.

      With the additional premise that the extraordinary form liturgy is like a cancer, that would follow from my argument. But I deny the additional premise, for which you offer no evidence.

      Even if, for the sake of argument, the extraordinary form liturgy is, in a limited sense, like a cancer, doctors don’t actually treat cancer from knowledge they acquire just in books and blogs. They see hundreds of cancer patients in person. Since the E.F. isn’t in and of itself dangerous (it has, after all, the approval of the Church), it would seem reasonable for those liturgy experts who want to inveigh against it, or write about the tendencies of those who are attracted to it to spend time with those people.

  31. Joe O’Leary :
    And yes, the old Latin Mass in its aesthetics appealed to men who identified with or were fixated on their own imago as altar boy — Eugen Drewermann wrote shockingly about this in his book Kleriker — long before the abuse scandal broke.

    All of the priests that I’ve known that were “fixated on their own imago” and put on the most narcissistic of displays were celebrating the OF. That doesn’t mean that the problem is the aesthetics of the OF.

    Eugen Drewermann?!? An ex-priest who left the Church. Is he the best authority on this topic that you can cite?

    1. Drewermann was rather hounded out of the Church. The Diocese of Regensburg produced a book justifying their treatment of him. It ends up with a sermon of his that is claimed to be a travesty of what a sermon should be. The sermon was given at the time of the 1991 Iraq war. It ends up with the prophetic words: Let us make sure that this never happens again…

      Drewermann is a prophet, but also a psychotherapist, so his diagnoses carry a certain weight; especially in light of what we have since learnt about the prevalence among the clergy of the psychology he described.

      To be sure the EF may have many healthy adherents — but its entire tendency is backward looking. Summorum Pontificum is one of the most unconvincing documents ever to emerge from the Vatican. At best it can be seen as a confession of failure of the liturgical reforms of Vatican II — but the answer to that failure cannot be a return to the status quo ante, or the impossible hybrid of old and new imagined in the notorious Ratzinger letter to Lothar Barth: http://josephsoleary.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/11/a-frightening-l.html Rather we need more creativity, more inculturation, more unsealing of the contemplative gifts of the faithful, and a warmer spirit of community.

      1. Joe O’Leary said “To be sure the EF may have many healthy adherents — but its entire tendency is backward looking”

        Reviving something old for modern use isn’t necessarily backward looking.

        In my experience, most younger EF adherents are “healthy,” as are most in general. Most of the harm that supposedly comes from the EF is actually caused by those who work to limit and suppress it rather than by those who adhere to it.

      2. Reviving something old for modern use isn’t necessarily backward looking, of course. We revive old music in our liturgies all the time. But the EF is based not on reviving but on exhuming a corpse, preserved in aspic. The whole idea of the EF is to refuse the changes since 1962. You may say that changes can be integrated into the EF, but I don’t see how its adherents could be persuaded to accept such. The whole thing is based on the illusion that the Mass was perfect at that particular moment and that it’s been downhill ever since. It is as if you revived Gregorian Chant or Lassus or Spohr with the implication that all modern music is cacophonous trash. That is not the way true revival works — rather the old things are seen in a new light and brought into a new constellation (cf. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent).

      3. I suppose I simply just don’t see it as you do. The EF, in my experience, isn’t an exhumed corpse at all – and one can find many adherents to it that do not feel the liturgy was “perfect at that particular moment.”

        Also, I just don’t see how reviving the EF implies a rejection of the OF, or that one considers it “trash” because they attend or prefer the EF. That seems like a false dichotomy to me.

        Maybe it has to do with our individual experiences, but none of what you say (regarding it being “backwards looking” or based on an illusion) rings true for me, and I’d like to think I’ve attended enough Latin Masses to form a decent opinion on the EF as it is celebrated today.

      4. I was an altar boy for 6 years from 1960 to 1966 so I know quite well what the EF was.

        Reviving the EF is an extraordinary confession of failure of the Vatican II reforms. But it is not a solution to that failure.

      5. I would say you know well what the EF was in the early 1960s, but not what it is now. I don’t live in the 1960’s.

  32. Joe O’Leary :
    Most of the teaching of Humanae Vitae is true. Only the drastic condemnation of the use of contraceptives in one or two paragraphs is false. The Church’s vision of marriage would not be undermined by recognizing the licitness of contraceptives, as Vatican II, by leaving the question open, implicitly recognizes. I would also suggest that blessing of gay unions would enrich rather than undermine the teaching on marriage. The huge difference between the teaching on marriage before and after Vatican II is that the unitive dimension is recognized as co-equal with the procreative, and it is on that basis that I would argue (though not a moral theologian) for recognition of contraceptives and gay unions.

    If you think gay unions should be accepted by the Church and that such acceptance would actually enrich the Church’s teaching on marriage, then I cannot possibly take anything you say/write seriously.

    We obviously do not have the common ground necessary to have fruitful dialogue.

    Next you might argue that eliminating the Principle of Non-Contradiction would enrich our understanding of truth.

    1. “If you think gay unions should be accepted by the Church and that such acceptance would actually enrich the Church’s teaching on marriage, then I cannot possibly take anything you say/write seriously.” M.B.
      Argumentum ad hominem.

      “We obviously do not have the common ground necessary to have fruitful dialogue.”

      If one wishes to dialogue only with those who see the world as they do, they run the risk of having their prejudices massaged, and of not growing with their dialogue partner, of either sex, in mutual understanding.

      It is difficult to argue that vigorous dialogue between people of the same gender endangers dialogue between people of different gender.

      1. Gerard Flynn: “It is difficult to argue that vigorous dialogue between people of the same gender endangers dialogue between people of different gender.”

        Please do not insult my intelligence.

  33. The interviewer: Preparing htis interview I was besieged with people urging me to get from you for a statement on female ordination. For a time it was said that we shouldn’t discuss it.

    The bishop: Yes the pressure is enormous. But it is easier to talk about priests marrying than about a tradition that never existed in the Roman Catholic Church. But we must seek steps that lead there. I could imagine that the female diaconate would be such a step. We must be understanding if this question is not solved overnight. Perhaps we need a perseverence like that of WIborada about questions that cannot be quickly resolved.But we cannot avoid the question.
    But that’s very difficult in today’s society. We can’t force ourselves to do that anymore.

    Im Vorfeld dieses Interviews wurde ich geradezu bestürmt, ich müsse Ihnen eine Aussage zur Frauenordination entlocken.
    Ja, der Druck ist riesig. Aber es ist einfacher über eine allfällige Heirat eines Priesters zu diskutieren als über eine Tradition, die es in der römisch-katholischen Kirche noch nie gab. Aber wir müssten Schritte suchen, die dahin führen. Ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass der Diakonat der Frau ein solcher Schritt sein könnte. Wir müssen Verständnis haben, wenn diese Frage nicht gleich morgen gelöst ist. Vielleicht braucht es eine gewisse Beharrlichkeit, wie sie Wiborada hatte, auch in Fragen, die nicht von einem Tag auf den anderen gelöst werden können. Aber wir können dem auch nicht ausweichen. Eine Weile hat man ja gesagt, darüber dürfe man nicht diskutieren. Und das ist etwas vom Schwierigsten in der heutigen Gesellschaft. Das können wir uns nicht mehr leisten.

  34. Joe O’Leary :
    And the EF is calculated to attract the wrong sort of young men to the priesthood.

    And yes, the old Latin Mass in its aesthetics appealed to men who identified with or were fixated on their own imago as altar boy — Eugen Drewermann wrote shockingly about this in his book Kleriker — long before the abuse scandal broke.

    The whole idea of the EF is to refuse the changes since 1962. You may say that changes can be integrated into the EF, but I don’t see how its adherents could be persuaded to accept such. The whole thing is based on the illusion that the Mass was perfect at that particular moment and that it’s been downhill ever since.

    Someone recently related the following quote from Mahatma Gandhi to the current liturgical struggles surrounding the EF: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    Well, Joe, I guess I’m one of the “wrong sort of…men” who was attracted to the priesthood and loves the EF. (I loved it even before it was known as the EF.) I find hope in the fact that we’re no longer ignored. Now you’re ridiculing us. It won’t be long before we win.

      1. Do you mean the EF will oust the OF, or a la Ratzinger-Lothear Barth that the OF will be restructured to be more like the EF? Or that the EF and OF will blend to form a new reuinited Roman rite?

      2. Does “winning” for EF adherents have to imply the demise of the OF?

        I don’t know what Michael Barnett meant, but I would consider winning to mean that those who desire the EF and who have the ability to celebrate it may do so without trouble and for it to be seen as “normal” by most Catholics. Most people my age, regardless of their own interest in the EF, don’t have any real hang-ups about it, so I would say we eventually will “win.”

    1. This is exactly the attitude which you need to improve!

      Theological discussions within a denomination are not about winning or losing. They are about seeking understanding.

      If it is “we” and “you” rather than what is best for “us”, then you are not having a discussion, you are having an argument. You are fighting for control rather than seeking a solution.

      If you assume this stance and assign the motivation to win to those you oppose also, then you abandon hope of either understanding or convincing others.

    2. Judging from your attitude, Joe (for some reason this got stuck after Tom’s post), and that of other people who have power over parishes, I would say we haven’t “won.”

      1. I already answered that above. But to restate it in a different way – I think “winning” is peaceful coexistence. That hasn’t been achieved where I live.

        And I don’t really see things as a battle – other people came up with that.

        I didn’t ignore your comments above since they were not addressed to me (nor do I think they apply to me) – for some reason my response to Joe was put after your post.

      2. Jack Wayne :
        I already answered that above. But to restate it in a different way – I think “winning” is peaceful coexistence. That hasn’t been achieved where I live.
        I didn’t ignore your comments above since they were not addressed to me (nor do I think they apply to me) – for some reason my response to Joe was put after your post.

        Using “peaceful co-existence” as a synonym for “winning” reveals quite a lot. It supposes opposed camps, not real unity.

        It also means that winning still means winning. There are terms you want for yourself rather than seeking the good of the church community. It means arguing rather than discussing. Seeking to win is very different from seeking to solve problems or resolve difficulties.

        Please re-read your own posts. If you do not see how the following applies to you, I pity you.
        “Theological discussions within a denomination are not about winning or losing. They are about seeking understanding.”

      3. Peaceful co-existance can mean a lot of things – I feel allowing the OF and EF to exist side by side is what is best for “us,” and have flat-out stated that I don’t want to conquer the other side, but rather live with and as part of it. Right now, different expressions of the OF peacefully coexist and don’t cause division – different rites peacefully coexist too. I want everyone to “win.”

        Perhaps it is you who should re-read. This time without reading into it something that isn’t there to make yourself feel so superior that you pity people who don’t agree with you.

  35. Daniel McKernan :
    “The conservative tendency is to absolutize external forms without being aware of changed social location. I see plenty of mistakes among liturgical liberals, but not this one.”
    I regularly see liberals absolutizing external forms: Mass facing the people, insisting on communion under both species, omitting the sacring bells, the ordinary use of extraordinary ministers, banishing Latin, standing for holy communion, avoiding the use of the thurible as much as possible, and limiting the EF. The minimalistic tendencies of progressives often manifests themselves in absolutist ways “we don’t do that here” mentalities.The “emotional charge of belonging to a small zealous faction is with the emotional baggage of being in sharp distinction and general critical of the practice of most of the Church” is well represented among progressives IHMO e.g. Call to Action, FutureChurch, women’s ordination groups, certain academic circles and so on….. quite well.

    Leaving aside the unchristianizing effects of whatever it is you’ve been doing over the Easter Triduum, Daniel, have you booked yourself in for the anger management course yet?

    1. Isn’t the “guilt trip” associated with the “old Church” Chris?

      This is an academic discussion, it should not be made personal.

      1. I had no idea there were two churches until people like you started to show them to me, Daniel.

        It’s hard NOT to appear personal when people like you get on blogs, all guns blazing, taking out your perceived “opponents” with a ferocity that would make anyone wonder what you’ve been up to since Holy Week began (if the answer is “religious observance” – it’s NOT working!).

    2. “Leaving aside the unchristianizing effects of whatever it is you’ve been doing over the Easter Triduum, Daniel, have you booked yourself in for the anger management course yet?”

      Just to make sure that I have plagued both houses, I find this unjust and uncharitable, too.

      1. Tom, seeing as you don’t seem to be able to resist replying, neither will I: I don’t care that you think it’s unjust and uncharitable, for it’s neither – just don’t tell me it’s not accurate, for it is!.

  36. I perceive here opposing camps in battle with each other. Worse, I see each camp eager to categorize anyone posting here as to which side they are on. I see a very few people who acknowledge that they can be perceived as being on a particular side but who make many efforts to see where there is overlap or agreement.

    I do not think battles of opposing camps are good for the church. I particularly dislike people who assign me or others to one camp or another then attack us for things which others in the assigned camp are charged with having done. I see this here from both camps.

    One of the conflict resolution techniques many of us have been taught is the insistence on using “I” statements. State one’s own position or feeling without attributing cause or fault or opinion or motivation to others.

    I would like to see people respond to this post with such I statements regarding the following.

    It seems to me that there is a perception by the majority on this list that those in sympathy with the continued use of the EF are associated with some who want to restore things, go backward, to the way they were before Vatican II. I think many of this majority are strongly opposed to the 2010 translation, among other things, because they perceive it as part of that attempt to “go back” which threatens many things which have existed in the interim and which they treasure. I have seen some statements by patrons of the EF that indicate they are not trying to go back, yet they support the older style language of VC2010.

    I would like to see “I” not even “we” statements from both supporters of and those not interested in EF as to
    1. what each wants individually regarding the future of EF and OF, and
    2. what the individual thinks about the strengths and weaknesses of VC2010, and,
    3. as individuals, could it be desirable to have two Western rites, a Latin EF rite and a vernacular and continually evolving OF rite, both in union with the pope?

  37. Daniel McKernan :

    I regularly see liberals absolutizing external forms: Mass facing the people, insisting on communion under both species, omitting the sacring bells, the ordinary use of extraordinary ministers, banishing Latin, standing for holy communion, avoiding the use of the thurible as much as possible, and limiting the EF. The minimalistic tendencies of progressives often manifests themselves in absolutist ways “we don’t do that here” mentalities.

    Do you not see that this list itself is an example of the conservative tendency to absolutize external forms?

    That is, you see these external things as absolutely important rather than as liturgical options which may or may not apply for different cultures or communities.

    I want to see all the options of the 1969 GIRM kept open, including doing EP1 in Latin.

    I suspect that pastors and ordinaries do not consult sufficiently widely or often with the PIP. I see the authoritarian statement of what “we” do or do not do “here” as a clericalist abuse of authority through subjective decision making regardless of which positions it supports or opposes.

    1. Hey Tom – I guess we agree. I also want to see all these legitimate options respected. I recognize these things are important because holy Church sees them as important (just see SC or RS). Re. the “what we do or don’t do here” I saw a laywoman say “we don’t do that here” to a new young pastor who sought to use the “Gloria” during Ordinary Time. Fortunately, the young pastor gently insisted that the “Gloria” is a part of the Mass that must be included when the rubrics call for it.

  38. Michael Barnett :
    Wow, Chris Grady. It doesn’t appear to have worked for you either.

    Nor you, Michael Barnett!

    But, as it happens, I didn’t do anything of a “religious” nature this past week, so, unlike you, Daniel McKernan and the other ideological nasties on here, I’ve got an excuse!!!

    Now how about you go and mind someone else’s business, and if you still feel you must involve yourself in every conversation on the internet, make sure you know the facts before you venture an (incorrect) opinion.

    Happy Easter (or should that be Divine Mercy Novena?).

    1. I do not appreciate being called a princess. Please refrain from using this term in reference to me.

      Thank you for subsequently editing your comment to remove the word “princess.”

  39. There are many reasons why someone would not do anyting ‘religious’ over the past weekend. They include being otherwise engaged, the exercise of choice, illness or indisposition, distance, demoralisation at the comments on the internet of those who don’t miss a service, a sense of not belonging to a church whose administrative wing wreaks such havoc with the translation of texts.

    None of these disqualifies a person from commenting here. PT would be the poorer without Chris’ razor-sharp contributions.

  40. I don’t get this fight, which I only know about because a local priest posted a link to this on his Facebook page. So maybe I’m coming into this late, and ignorant of the fracas, but….

    “Those Catholics who “struggled to change” nearly 50 years ago, and obediently followed “the directives of the Council and the Pope”, are now filled with “confusion” and even “frustration” by this suspicious attitude towards Vatican II. And he says he is personally tired of opposing church factions waging their “wars” through blogs.”

    What I don’t get: being filled with confusion and frustration by the suspicious attitude towards Vatican II, as well as giving such importance to blogs against (or for) Vatican II.

    I think so what if somebody blogs, rants, freaks out against Vatican II. If they love the Latin Mass, they can have at it. I won’t be there. My personal opinion is that divisiveness is very harmful to a church body and that there should be one Eucharistic Mass. When one puts one’s hands to the plow, don’t look backwards. Vatican II is the plow, don’t look backwards.

    But I’m not in charge. The fellow in charge allows other Masses. So be it. I’ll continue to worship in the churches I worship. I don’t see anyone forcing me to attend a Latin Mass. The day someone does – IF EVER – is the day I leave the Roman Catholic Church, because if it were not for Vatican II, I would never have considered the RC church when I left the Anglican church and began looking for another one.

    But, that’s me.

    I do not like such focus on these divisions because, I believe, the focus needs to be on Christ. Christ, bodily resurrected, living today, the Holy Spirit living in us, showing God’s love through practical, concrete ways to all people, especially to the outcasts and ‘unloveable.’

    Focus on that, and that rest will not be nearly as important to you. Focus on knowing Christ through daily reading his word in the Bible,…

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