Slate (!!) on the Liturgical Views of the New Pope

I never knew Slate to carry water for Catholic liturgical traditionalists, but maybe I missed it. A certain Michael Brendan Dougherty writes there, in part:

A contentious reading of Pope Francis’ rise is that Benedict’s enemies have triumphed completely. It is unusual for a one-time rival in a previous election to triumph in a future one.

Liturgical traditionalists (myself included) can only be depressed by this election–it is almost the worst result possible for those of us who think the new liturgy lost the theological profundity and ritual beauty of the Tridentine Mass. Benedict’s liberation of the traditional Latin Mass and revisions to the new vernacular Mass have not been implemented at all in Cardinal Bergoglio’s own diocese. Already some of the small breaks with liturgical tradition at the announcement of his election are being interpreted as a move toward the grand, unruly, and improvisational style of John Paul II; an implicit rebuke of Benedict.

Read the rest here.

 

15 comments

  1. After reading this from Vatican Insider (La Stampa), I can see where certain liturgical traditionalists might be upset with this choice [from September 5, 2012]:

    Cardinal Bergoglio raises the alarm: Denying baptism to children born out of wedlock is a form of “pharisaic Gnosticism” that “drives people away from salvation”

    He almost apologised for the strong impact of the chosen image: that of an unmarried mother, a “poor girl” who beat the temptation instilled in her by some to abort, who had the courage to bring her child into the world and who then “found herself on a pilgrimage, going from parish to parish, trying to find someone who would baptise her child.”

    The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, did not hesitate to reprimand the reason that is repeatedly given to justify “denied” baptisms: “I say this with sadness and if it sounds like a complaint or an offensive comment please forgive me: in our ecclesiastical region there are presbyteries that will not baptise children whose mothers are not married because they have been conceived outside holy wedlock.”

    This unique call for an end to the use of sacramental blackmail to subdue the hopes of those who want their children to be baptised, was pronounced Sunday by Fr. Bergoglio in his homily, during the closing mass for the Convention of the ecclesiastical region of Buenos Aires. The convention examined the issue of urban pastoral care.

    In this “hijacking” of the sacrament that marks the beginning of Christian life, the Jesuit cardinal sees the expression of a rigorous and hypocritical neo-clericalism which also uses the sacraments as tools to affirm its own supremacy. . . .

    http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/inquiries-and-interviews/detail/articolo/sacramenti-sacramentos-the-sacraments-17899/

    1. I fail to see why a modern traditionalist would find this (baptizing children born out of wedlock) reprehensible…

  2. From the headline to the last full stop, the Slate article is a bit foamy-mouthed. I’m finding it hard to take seriously, although the woe-is-me and Latin-liturgy-is-about-to-be-shot tones do give me some hope that the vernacular liturgy might (slowly) head back towards the vernacular.

  3. “Benedict’s liberation of the traditional Latin Mass and revisions to the new vernacular Mass have not been implemented at all in Cardinal Bergoglio’s own diocese. ”

    I’m not sure what is meant here by “Benedict’s … revisions to the new vernacular Mass.” If this is a reference to Liturgiam Authenticam – that instruction dates to 2001, well before Benedict’s pontificate. I don’t know where the Spanish-speaking world stands in its implementation of those translation principles, but I don’t think an archbishop of Buenos Aires would unilaterally decline to adopt it – presumably he’d coordinate it with his national conference, right?

    1. @Jim Pauwels – comment #4:
      Leave it to a traditionalist to reject Copernicus and think the whole Church revolves around ICEL. E = English. Not “everywhere.” I don’t think Latin America has a new translation yet. The Germans sent theirs back, and hopefully for them, it’s now a dead letter.

      1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #6:
        From my limited familiarity with the Roman Missal in Spanish, it was already closer to the Latin than the Sacramentary in English was. (It probably helps that Spanish syntax is related to Latin’s much more than English’s is, of course.) “Et cum spiritu tuo” –> “Y con tu espíritu.” “Dignum et justum est” –> “Es justo y necesario.” I think “cáliz” (chalice) was used in the Eucharistic Prayers to translate “calix” instead of something like “copa” (cup). Et cetera. I have no idea what the status is of any new Spanish translation vis-a-vis Liturgiam authenticam.

  4. Dougherty is building a reputation for going off half-cocked (i.e. this is not the first time).

    La celebración se produjo 48 horas después de que el papa Benedicto XVI firmara el decreto (motu proprio) que libera esa modalidad. Hasta el viernes, la misa en latín requería la autorización del obispo del lugar, trámite que ya no será necesario. Desde ahora, ante un pedido de los fieles, el sacerdote deberá acceder.

    Con todo, el arzobispo de Buenos Aires, cardenal Jorge Bergoglio, dispuso una celebración fija en su jurisdicción para ofrecerles a los fieles porteños un lugar específico y esquivar el problema de que muchos sacerdotes no saben oficiarla.

    La parroquia es San Miguel Arcángel, en el microcentro. Su párroco, Ricardo Dotro, es experto en liturgia. Tuvo que desempolvar la última versión del antiguo misal, de 1962, disponer el altar, poner seis velas en lugar de dos y conseguir un organista que conociera los viejos cánticos. (source)

  5. I can see where certain liturgical traditionalists might be upset with this choice

    Yeah, this is completely strange to me. Traditionalists tend to hold more rigorist views about whether children who are not baptized will go to heaven. This makes them concerned with baptizing children in such situations, provided there is some hope that the child will be raised Catholic, and generally concerned with not delaying baptisms.

  6. Samuel J. Howard : I can see where certain liturgical traditionalists might be upset with this choice Yeah, this is completely strange to me. Traditionalists tend to hold more rigorist views about whether children who are not baptized will go to heaven. This makes them concerned with baptizing children in such situations, provided there is some hope that the child will be raised Catholic, and generally concerned with not delaying baptisms.

    Most traditionalists I have met are horrified at the idea of denying baptism to any child regardless of the parent’s situation.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #10:

      Guess Pope Francis has meet a bunch of different traditionalist. I imagine he comes in contact with quite a few more Catholics than any of us.

      Anyway, these next few liturgical days should prove interesting! It will be wonderful to return to the noble simplicity of the Mass and brush aside all the garish accouterments of a past form of liturgy.

  7. Sean Whelan : @Jack Wayne – comment #10: Guess Pope Francis has meet a bunch of different traditionalist. I imagine he comes in contact with quite a few more Catholics than any of us. Anyway, these next few liturgical days should prove interesting! It will be wonderful to return to the noble simplicity of the Mass and brush aside all the garish accouterments of a past form of liturgy.

    Or maybe those denying baptism are not traditionalists at all. I suppose it is easier for you to believe any negative thing you hear about people who have traditional liturgical sensibilities.

    It’s a shame you ignorantly think past forms of liturgy cannot have noble simplicity.

    1. I’m with Jack on this – I think the more “traditionalist” position was to not deny baptism if possible because of the traditional belief that sacraments are efficacious. It is a somewhat new emphasis – which also has arguments for it – that the RCIA emphasizes commitment and one should take greater account of the likelihood of active church membership. This is one of those perpetually difficult issues that doesn’t fit neatly into ‘conservative/liberal’ categories, and I’m sure the Church will struggle much with it now that secularization makes the question so difficult.
      But on noble simplicity… well, the last ecumencial council, when it called for ‘noble simplicity,’ thought the traditional liturgy needed simplifying because clearly it didn’t fit their view of noble simplicity. It’s a real stretch to say that the traditional (preconciliar) liturgy has noble simplicity, this is very hard to square with Sacrosanctum Concilium.
      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #13:
        Perhaps to distinguish between “liturgically conservative” and “socially conservative” might be helpful (these are overlapping but not identical groups).

        Note that the description of the situation by LaStampa/VI was to present this as Francis decrying “the expression of a rigorous and hypocritical neo-clericalism which also uses the sacraments as tools to affirm its own supremacy.”

        When I first read of this, I immediately thought of Cardinal Burke and those who are quick to call for denying communion to various politicians with whom they disagree, or who were upset with Cardinal O’Malley for his participation in the funeral of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. I’m curious as to whether the charge of sacramental hijacker will be raised in situations like these.

        In Cardinal O’Malley’s reply to his critics, he said this:

        At times, even in the Church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the Church. If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness, it will be doomed to marginalization and failure. Jesus’ words to us were that we must love one another as He loves us. Jesus loves us while we are still in sin. He loves each of us first, and He loves us to the end. Our ability to change people’s hearts and help them to grasp the dignity of each and every life, from the first moment of conception to the last moment of natural death, is directly related to our ability to increase love and unity in the Church, for our proclamation of the Truth is hindered when we are divided and fighting with each other.

        http://www.cardinalseansblog.org/2009/09/02/on-senator-kennedys-funeral/

        I think it is not too much of a stretch to say that O’Malley and Francis are on the same page here — and it’s not the same page as Burke.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *