Mary, Untie our Knots in 2014

In his most recent Viewpoint column, Msgr. Francis Mannion said this about the “best new papal Marian devotion”:

When Father Borgoglio was a doctoral student in theology in Frankfurt, Germany, in the 1980s, he discovered a unique 18th century painting of “Mary Undoer of Knots” (Maria Knotenlöserin) in St. Peter’s Church in Augsburg. The picture shows Mary untying a knotted ribbon that symbolizes the many the knots of human anxiety, illness, and distress. Cardinal Bergoglio made devotion to this image popular in Latin America, but it has yet to catch on in the U.S.

In the waning days of 2013, members of the Pray Tell family are sharing what particular knots they hope Our Lady can help untie in 2014.

The knot I (along with Archbisbhop Piero Marini and many others) would really like to see untied in 2014 is the return of jurisdiction over liturgical texts to local bishops’ conferences and groups of conferences, as mandated by Sacrosanctum Concilium, and the restriction of the CDW’s role to that of confirmatio rather than approbatio.

Because it may be uncertain whether some bishops’ conferences currently have the competence, let alone the time, to take the decisions that will be required, a subsidiary knot would entail the provision of additional liturgical formation for bishops, and the greater use by them of competent consultants and consultative bodies.

– Paul Inwood

I have at least one knot for Our Lady to untie: the undoing of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (July 7, 2007) without rancor among the displeased or triumphalism among the pleased. This would be nothing less than a miracle of reconciliation, “the interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church” for which Pope Benedict XVI hoped in promulgating SP and the obligation of which he reminded us: “to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.”

– Paul Ford


  1. The knot I’d like to see untied is the treatment of church musicians and other lay employees, allowing those who work for the church to have fair contracts and work fair hours. Allowing benefits to accrue within a conference (rather than just within a diocese) would reinforce that years of experience and training do mean something (why else would they be hired?).

  2. If these two very constructive wishes by Paul Inwood and Paul ford were to be fulfilled, more than 90% of my parish would be immensely grateful. The 10% unfortunately includes the ultra-trad parish priest who seems to have hitched his whole identity to “living” pre-Vatican II style and substance, psychologically, theologically, (un)ecumenically, liturgically and very publicly, aggressively and exclusively.

    During the pp’s first week in the parish, our gentle, humble deacon had to suggest that it was important to preserve and maintain the unity of this country parish, but his warning was ignored and for 40 months now there has been much quiet suffering among parishioners. Representations to the Dean, the VG and the Bishop have been unavailing; the Bishop has given at least one order which the pp has refused to obey. There is a long story here.

    Meanwhile our church premises have been made the centre of the usus antiquior in the diocese; a smallish congregation drives in. once a week but does not support the life of the parish, nor of the school.

    One knot I would like untied and think would be advantageous at this time is to permit the priestly ordination of suitable married deacons.

  3. This is so beautifully put, Paul Inwood and Paul Ford. Thank you. My prayers for these knots, and for those of others, like Rick’s and Mary’s above, and for all who will grace this page.

    Paul Ford you write, “without rancor among the displeased or triumphalism among the pleased.” How this touches my heart. Despite the great joy I feel concerning Francis’ papacy, I struggle with the poles of triumphalism that I see in my daily life working at a parish. My prayer is for a miracle of unity, the light of reconciliation to shine in the corners of places where either feeling exists. This, by the way, includes my own struggling heart when I cheer most things that come from Pope Francis, and yet feel some inner and unexpressed sadness and disappointment at others.

  4. I would like to see the continuation of God’s plan of mercy and salvation by our Blessed Mother continuing, in union with her son, to untie the knots of sin and division, personally and collectively, in the actual world in which we live with a de-emphasis on liturgical preoccupations and distractions and more emphasis on biblical ethics leading us to the new evangelization at the periphery where the poor, sick, marginalized and possessed are who thirst for God’s mercy, healing and justice.

  5. The knot I would most like to see untied is what Francis has referred to as “the complicity of the laity in clericalism.” It Is the inability of many, perhaps even most laity, to undertake Christian initiatives whether in the parish or in their daily lives without the blessing and approval of pastors and their helpers

    The Gospel of joy, love and mercy has always been with us. When Catholics are asked as in the Vibrant Parish Life study what is most important in parish life, they know that Christianity is all about love of God (that is that good liturgies are most important) and love of neighbor (parish as community is right up there next to liturgy in importance). Yet Catholics also say that these most important things are not the things that are being done as well as they should be. And that it is very clear that pastors and pastoral staff of all ideological viewpoints have their own agendas which are often off the mark of what needs to be done.

    What has generated the breath of support for Francis is that he has come back closer to the center of things and affirmed the basic goodness of Catholics along with reminding us that we are a diverse people of talents and gifts and also all (including himself) imperfect in our own special ways. We all have to learn to live with that diversity of talents and imperfections.

    Increasing the capacity for lay initiative is central to Vatican II and the Gospel of Joy. Yet real lay initiative and empowerment can only come from the bottom not from the top.

    I faced this problem in the public mental health system in terms of the empowerment of persons with severe mental illness. My initiative to do something about the problem was called “leadership development.” I chose the word “leadership” because it was used locally (as well as nationally) for a program that brought potential community leaders together to study the community and how it operates so that they might network with each other on projects. I chose the word “development” because I knew that many mentally ill people like everyone else are very talented. They don’t need to be trained, they simply need the opportunities to become leaders by working on whatever they think needs to be done.

    What laity need most are opportunities to network to discuss issues both in the Church and in Society without the benefit of “chaperones” both clerical and lay. If some of these people want to undertake an initiative then they should do it. If they get the support of a pastor, or some organization that is fine. If not, they should do it on their own.

    What I found with the mentally ill was that as soon as I unleashed the power of the mental ill to do things on their own, including founding their own agencies, all the mental health agencies became far more receptive to consumer ideas,talents, and initiatives.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #6:
      Jack, Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1998 in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Christifideles Laici” laid out a very concrete theology of the laity. It can be read here:

      In this exhortation the Holy Father stated:

      “In this assembly of bishops there was not lacking a qualified representation of the lay faithful, both women and men, which rendered a valuable contribution to the Synod proceedings.”

      He also warned the laity of two temptations:

      “At the same time, the Synod has pointed out that the post-conciliar path of the lay faithful has not been without its difficulties and dangers. In particular, two temptations can be cited which they have not always known how to avoid: the temptation of being so strongly interested in Church services and tasks that some fail to become actively engaged in their responsibilities in the professional, social, cultural and political world; and the temptation of legitimizing the unwarranted separation of faith from life, that is, a separation of the Gospel’s acceptance from the actual living of the Gospel in various situations in the world.”

      And the Holy Father in an “implied” way entrusted this document to “Our Lady Undoer of Knots” when he concludes the exhortation by saying:

      “Since the Synod of Bishops was celebrated last October during the Marian Year, its work was entrusted in a very special way to the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. I too entrust the spiritual fruitfulness of the Synod to her prayerful intercession. Therefore, along with the Synod Fathers, the lay faithful present at the Synod and all the other members of the People of God, I have recourse at the end of this post-Synodal document to the Virgin Mary.”

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #8:
        Jack- prayer that this *knot* (church is made up of laity and clerics) gets untied.

        Allan (and JPII) need this approach from R. Gaillardetz:

        “The laity are to go out into the world. We’re to be a leaven. We’re to transform the world. Now there’s some powerful stuff there; but note that there’s a way of understanding that notion of Church mission in which the laity are sort of the Church’s missionary infantry. We go out onto the battlefield; but who’s staying back at headquarters? the hierarchy, right? And I think that’s the shortcoming of that image. So, it’s interesting, however, that in Gaudium Es Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Modern World, in §40, the Council speaks of the Church, not the laity, but the Church, the whole Church, as a leaven in the world. Does that follow? And that’s the part that, I think, Pope Francis is picking up. Francis, actually, if you pay attention, hasn’t talked a lot about laity. He doesn’t use that word. He uses the preferred word of the Council: the faithful, the Christifideles, the Christian faithful. And so when Francis talks about mission, Francis, first of all, is talking about the People of God – it was a biblical image that emphasized our election, that we don’t deserve anything, that we’re God’s people, not because we are better than anyone else, but simply because God has called us to be a people. And that what we share in common is not rank or privilege, but Baptism, and that is why Francis is interested in recalling, not just the Council’s theology of the laity, as good as that is, he wants to recall the idea that we are all God’s people, that Baptism is the most important bond that establishes us. He’s wanting to carry forward that wonderful passage that we find in sermon 340 of St. Augustine – it’s quoted in Lumen Gentium – when Augustine gets exactly right the relationship between Baptism and Orders. Augustine’s giving a sermon, and he says, “When I am frightened by who I am for you, a bishop, then I’m consoled by who I am with you, a Christian. The first is an office; the second is a grace. The first is fraught with danger, I might think I was better than you; in the second lies my salvation.” Augustine understood that we are first of all baptized followers of Jesus before we are anything else; and Francis puts that on full display, which is why Francis’ preferred language, interestingly, is not; he says it in a kind of perfunctory way to honor his predecessors, who emphasized the New Evangelization; but, in fact, his preferred language is not the New Evangelization. His preferred language is missionary discipleship.” (i.e. we are all baptized; the people of God – we are all called to missionary discleship – within the people of God, some are called to serve a ministery of office…..these are ministries; not separate categories that create an either/or)

  6. Untie the knot of the New Translation and start again from 1998, and with a bit of imagination thrown in. We need to revitalize scriptural and spiritual life, and that means curbing the routinization of the eucharist.

    1. @Joe O’Leary – comment #7:
      Along with loosening the knotty syntax of the 2011 version, may we follow 1998 in moving towards expressing our whole humanity through an inclusive liturgy, pointing to a church which will fully accept and include all contributions, regardless of sex and gender variation, in a renewed ministry.

      I read this Christmas the amazing story of Ludmila Javorova as the first Roman Catholic woman priest of the modern era, and look forward to the untying of rejections of those in ministry who cannot fit an official straitjacket.

  7. Untie the knot of those opposed to SP, but otherwise grant the unity Mr Ford desires. Imagine how much more could be done if those supporting either rite could accept each other and work together instead of praying for the other side to go away or submit to them (even if the prayer is for it to happen without rancor or triumphalism). Let the whole People of God, rather than one side, win. That would be a greater miracle.

  8. I request the intercession of Mary to untie the knot of an unsustainable Roman liturgical unity. May we learn to live in a charitable liturgical diversity. We Roman Catholics are one in doctrine and dogma, but not liturgy. The time for another forced liturgical union has passed.

    I must respectfully disagree with Professor Ford. An abrogation of the EF’s permission to exist would reignite the extremely ugly battles between followers of the Tridentine liturgy and local ordinaries which raged for almost forty years in some places. Please, let us not go back to those very uncharitable days.

    Pope Francis’s call to charity and attention to the materially and spiritually poor can be expressed through both a medieval-early modern liturgical lens and a postmodern liturgical lens. Let’s not forget that the early Tractarians and “ritualists” (now “Anglo-Catholics”) often ministered to Victorian London’s most destitute. The correlation between progressive liturgy and outreach to the poor and marginalized is true in many instances. However, should be poor, materially or otherwise, who find solace in a medievalized-early modern liturgical sphere not be permitted this worship?

    With greatest sincerity, I thank the periti and scholars who have guided the Roman Church through liturgical reform. These achievements must never be belittled. Even so, the small minority who maintain a degree of the older liturgical practices are often not thumbing their noses at the creators of the new missal. Rather, for reasons only known the the heart, the unreformed aspects of the Roman liturgical heritage still speak to them.

    Certainly, all the baptized must critically examine and challenge the moral and ethical meaning of any liturgy. Even so, this lively discourse cannot take place within an artificial act of uniformity. Indeed, to not continually challenge our liturgical heritage is tantamount to a willful ignorance of history.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #9:
      Jordan, I share your sense of the knot of “the extremely ugly battles between followers of the Tridentine liturgy and local ordinaries which raged for almost forty years in some places.” It’s a knot I cannot undo . . . but Our Lady can. May the Spirit and the Bride find the way forward for all of us.

  9. One big knot that begs untying is the quite understandable, but ultimately counterproductive, need of Christians – clerics and laity – to fashion our experience of the Church into something that we feel more at home in. This is true across the spectrum of preferences, my own very much included. We lack the courage to live like Abraham and Sarah and Hagar, and Jesus and the Apostles – relying more radically on dependence on God and less on the tents we try to turn into Temples and fortresses of our faith preferences. Our intramural squabbling and shibbolething are red flags of an unhelpful and unfruitful spiritual self-centeredness.

  10. The knot I would like to see untied is the knot of bitterness tying up the souls of those who dislike the extraordinary form.

    1. @Maximilian Hanlon – comment #15:

      I think this is a caricature, unfortunately. There is no bitterness tying up the souls of those who dislike the extraordinary form. There is, however, a strong dislike of the vitriol employed by those who love the extraordinary form and think everyone else should love it too, and never cease to tell them so.

      The discontinuance of that acidic and insistent but unfounded proselytism is what Paul Ford is dreaming of, and so am I. Then there might be a chance of two different manifestations of the Roman Rite co-existing peaceably.

      Let’s carry on praying.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #16:
        I’ve seen bitterness from those who dislike the EF. It is hardly a caricature. Perhaps your own biases blind you to it. People are less likely to notice when people in their “camp” are being bitter or unChristian while overemphasizing when people in the other “camp” do the same or lesser things.

        Trads tend to more bitter in a verbal way, while those who don’t like the EF show it through actions while putting on a kind face. I left a parish I had loved for almost a decade for that reason.

  11. #8 McDonald
    #17 deHass

    Actually there is a largely ignored document of Vatican II that I think deserves far more attention:


    As you can see from my comment #6 I like the word leadership very much because it worked well for me empowering people with severe mental illnesses.

    Leadership is also an area that has been well researched by my fellow social psychologists, e.g. that there is general agreement that it deals with the broader concept of influence, rather than the narrower concept of management, position holding, and control.

    Also it is very well established that leadership is very situational. There are very few personality variables that predict leadership and they do so rather poorly. Person A who is a good leader in situation X may be a poor leader in situation Y. So I was able to say to people with mental illness that they like everyone else have leadership qualities useful in some and perhaps many situations.

    There is also a very good cross-over book SERVANT LEADERSHIP by Robert Greenleaf that has a lot of good ideas that can be used by both secular and religious organizations. It is equally likely to be found in management or spirituality sections of bookstores. Greenleaf was a high level executive at AT & T in the days when it was the largest corporation. He wrote his book in response to the student unrest of the sixties.

    If one wants to see how the concept of leadership looks in terms of Vatican II simply download the decree on the laity into a WORD document and then use the Find Replace function of WORD to replace all occurrences of the word “apostolate” by the words “Christian leadership”.

    The world “apostolate” is a good technical term for the activity of the baptized, better than the word “ministry” but people don’t understand it and it sounds “too religious” to use in the secular world.

    My retirement interest is in Christian voluntarism. For a long time I was torn between the words “voluntary Christian ministry” and “voluntary Christian service.” Then it occurred to me that the mentally ill had taught me a better word that covers both “voluntary Christian leadership.”

    If one looks at all the occurrences of “apostolate” in the decree in almost all cases the people implied are not paid church workers so one can actually substitute “voluntary Christian leadership” and capture that unpaid character, the baptismal character and most importantly have leadership capture the ACTUOSITATEM of the title which like the “active participation” of the liturgy document is key, i.e. it expresses the joyous dimension of Christian life.

    The Decree was overwhelmingly approved largely because it was written to be very general to cover the great variation in situations all around the world and so therefore reads much like a catelog of possibilites which is fine with me.

  12. I agree with the Pauls. The Church has never been a dual-rite Church. Benedict was completely wrong. Two rites can only bring about further and continued dis-unity. Vatican II, in her wisdom, realized that while venerable, the Tridentine Mass needed to be abrogated. No matter how some try to gussy things up, all the MP has done is create and/or advance division. Contrary to what the MP says, the local EF parish actively recruits. It is NOT a haven for those distressed by the OF. All this does is muddy the mission of the Church, as the liturgy is the source and summit of the Christian faithful, and the source of all the Church’s power. A (unnecessarily) tough decision must be made; either abrogate the rite once and for all, or allow the EF followers to become a different Catholic rite. May our Blessed Mother, untier of knots, Star of the Sea, Mother of the Church, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit – help guide us and keep us true to the vision of the Council Fathers and Vatican II.

    1. @Sean Whelan (#19):

      Vatican II, in her wisdom, realized that while venerable, the Tridentine Mass needed to be abrogated.

      Do you have a citation from the Council documents to that effect?

      Contrary to what the MP says, the local EF parish actively recruits.

      How is evangelism contrary to Summorum Pontificum?

  13. Maximilian Hanlon : …the knot of bitterness tying up the souls of those who dislike the extraordinary form.

    Paul Inwood : @Maximilian Hanlon – comment #15: There is no bitterness tying up the souls of those who dislike the extraordinary form…

    Will the two of you please just stop for a moment?! This “It’s All Your Fault” mentality is the precise knot that needs untying.

    It would sure be a help to Our Lady if the two of you could shake hands for a moment, acknowledge that the other’s perception is equally valid, and come to a resolution. If you two can do that, perhaps others can follow your leadership and make Mary’s task a lot easier, and her Son’s Church on earth a better place.

  14. Typical… interesting post devolves to the usual OF vs. EF endless debate; anecdotal stories that may or may not have any importance; etc.
    Am always struck by the reality that this issue is very much first world; mostly European/US – thus, a very small slice of the catholic world church. If anything, Francis’ South American/second/third world life experience has called us away from this minor liturgical preoccupation and over-emphasis that runs the risk of missing the core of our catholic faith. (liturgy comes out of who we are as church; liturgy does not come first; separated or isolated from who we are; standing alone in its rituals)

    Some other thoughts or wishes to untie knots:

    – “pontifes legibus solutus*……is any pope above church law? this is a dangerous principle. VII did not allow Paul VI to define the authority of the pope using this principle. Popes are bound to observe revelation itself, the basic structure of the Church, the sacraments, the definitions of previous Councils, etc.
    – “…a view that focuses on the so-called “universal Church” and has a strong tendency to see particular or local Churches as simple administrative sub-divisions of the BIG thing, which alone really deserves the name “Church”. You know the schema, in what is only a slight caricature: The Church is an international religious corporation with central headquarters in Rome, branch offices (called dioceses) in many cities, and retail shops (called parishes).
    – yet, VII & SC laid out that episcopal conferences and local bishops are the liturgical *deciders* Rome only recognizes. (one way to untie the knot)
    – thus, papal MPs have often been wrong, over-reached; skewed based upon personal or Vatican based reasons. They reflected a specific pope’s wishes but they were not the wishes of the church
    – JP II did not consult bishops for Divine Mercy, Benedict XVI did not consult bishops concerning SP- two recent post VII examples when popes made liturgical decisions without recourse to episcopal conferences?

    Note – if you believe that the pope is above church law; this approach cuts both ways. It means that SP could be declared but that it can also be *undeclared*. But, this is a dangerous principle – the pope is a servant leader to the CHURCH’s law; it is not the pope’s law.

    From a recent dotCommonweal post from Rev. Komonchak:

    “Would we not like to propose some conditions on Pius XII’s claim that the pope alone has the right to permit or establish any liturgical practice, to introduce or approve new rites, or to make any changes in them he considers necessary? Can we be content with the view that the Pope is not bound by Church law when he does something we like, but ought to be bound by Church law when he does something we don’t like?”

    Finally – PrayTell has been over and over some of these points of contention:

    Summary: Benedict supported his SP by saying that earlier liturgies were never abrogated. This is a point of contention and most liturgy experts, etc. would say that Benedict *invented* something here – Paul VI in 1969 clearly abrogated the 1962 missal and liturgy….as did most other popes after missal reforms (the council of Trent laid out a couple of liturgical changes but left it to the pope/curia to actually do this – two popes later and with the formation of the Congregation of Rites, we eventually got what we now label the Tridentine Rite – all other rites *with some local exceptions* were abrogated. Benedict’s SP violated a number of patterns – after almost 40 years of a reformed liturgy, he tried to bring back and justify an abrogated mass – talk about unintended consequences. Unlike the popes following Trent which allowed *LOCAL exceptions*, Benedict’s SP was *universal* and made over the vocal oppostiion of almost all episcopal conferences.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #24:
      Why wouldn’t it devolve into an EF vs OF debate? The original blogpost is about someone praying for SP to go away. That naturally invites such conversation.

      If those in charge here didn’t want such conversation, they could have asked Mary to untie knots that are actually important and in need of untieing. I personally find it annoying that almost every thread is about how awful SP supposedly is without real evidence to back it up.

    2. @Bill deHaas – comment #24:

      Benedict XVI did not consult bishops concerning SP


      Just as a matter of record, BXVI did consult concernimg SP; Both the French Bishops’ Conference and the England and Wales Bishops’ Conference begged him not to issue it. They could foresee the problems and divisiveness it would cause, as indeed it did. He did not listen to them….

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #28:
        Agree, Paul….but don’t think that this was a question he put to the world’s episcopal conferences? you would know about England/Wales – did it go to every bishop or just the president and those he consulted with?

  15. For what it is worth, I must say with due respect that some of these threads become so odious to me, I just end up staying away, or remaining silent if I am here.

    As ever, Anne Lamott’s wisdom (paraphrased) about refashioning God in our own image when he hates all the same people we do, is well called to mind. Or dislikes all the same liturgical rites, or something like that.

    Mary our Mother, untie the knots in all of our hearts, the ones that blind us in sight and feeling. I am always wondering what the way is ahead, that is neither “my way” or “your way,” but our way. The documents are clear enough to me, and I do have an issue with more than one rite. Clearly what was meant to unite, did the opposite. What is God calling us to? It can’t be this thread, can it?

  16. While I have absolutely no desire to attend Mass in the EF, I similarly have no desire to spend energy on repealing SP. (I do think Paul VI intended to abrogate the 1962 Missal at the very least in the sense that Pope always intended to supersede prior Missal editions when issuing new editions, but B16 deliberately finessed that point to avoid a more muscular use of positive pontifical lawmaking – I can admire his purpose even though I see through it for what it is – his finesse begs the question: what is the status of pre-2000 editions of the Missal OTHER than the 1962? In any event, even if P6 intended to abrogate the prior use, I don’t think that decision would be beyond reconsideration if pastoral needs – considered from the flock level more than the clerical level – advised a reconsideration. You see, I am not interested in defending Vatican 2 in a Vatican 1 way….)

  17. What problems and divisiveness did it cause? Last time I asked, I was simply told I was ignorant of the problems without any further explanation given.

    Even Mary Wood’s parish troubles don’t really have anything to do with SP. Were it repealed tomorrow, I doubt it would make the priest described change his personality. There would instead be a parish that is 100 percent unhappy.

    I guess I wonder what good fruit is expected to come from repealing SP.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #29:
      Mr Wayne, in relation to your remark ##26,29 that remarks about the “awfulness” of SP are not supported by specific evidence.

      I personally do not write here about the distressing and worrying details of the parish priest’s behaviour. There is a member of the praytell contributing community who has heard some of the story, and who has given an evaluation of the situation on such facts as I’ve presented. It is not normally possible to present the pp’s POV as he refuses to account for his decisions to parishioners. To give you an example of that, when he began to say every Mass at the far-wall altar ad orientem, a regular Massgoer, 50 years wife and mother in the parish, asked why he was doing it and said she preferred the use of the free-standing altar with the priest facing the people. She said it helped her to feel more part of the Mass, whereas under his “new” practice she could neither see nor hear the action. He replied, “Not a problem. You can say your Rosary.” Full stop

      More recently when a habited religious sister went to a parish Sunday evening EF mass and, unlike the rest of the small congregation, stood to receive the Host, he refused and ordered her to kneel. She was new to the area and unacquainted with his preferences. She reported the incident to her sister-in-charge, who in turn told the Provincial Superior. Since the priest in question is the chaplain to the convent, rather than risk her sisters getting no Mass at all, the provincial did nothing.

      What would you think about a man who at a deanery clergy-only meeting declares,”The Bishop needs me more than I need the Bishop.” Fraternal spirit?

      The fact is the parish would be happier and better served if the pp were removed, the deacon given full authority for pastoral care and Mass were supplied by visiting outsiders. Removal of this young pp would be a crisis-point for him; as he seems to have hitched his entire identity to his illusion of Tridentinism

      1. @Mary Wood – comment #34:
        You demonstrate that your priest is a jerk who should be removed, not that SP was a disaster. Explain to me why you think the EF at my parish should be discontinued, and why your situation would justify the discontinuation of hundreds of other Latin Masses. What did I do to you to justify such an extreme reaction? What did the EF people at your parish, who you claim do not contribute (very unusual if true), do to justify casting them out? Do you think your situation is universal and that anyone whose parish has an EF is experiencing the same things?

        I’d like to feel sympathy for you, but it is rather difficult when you think I and a million other people worldwide should be punished for your priest’s actions. What evidence do you have that your priest would change his ways or be reassigned were the EF no longer allowed?

        When my parish started having the EF it meant no change to the OF Masses whatsoever. A handful of people at the parish resented the pastor for being nice to the Latin Mass people and discouraged them from participating in parish life. When I became interested in the old Mass, I quickly learned not to tell anyone unless I had first seen them at the EF too because I still wanted to be part of the parish.

      2. @Jack Wayne – comment #35:
        Dear Jack,

        SP didn’t make the priest a jerk, true. But SP empowered him to pursue his plans and it gives legitimacy to his program. SP also makes it difficult or impossible for the bishop to step in and say “enough.”

        SP created a situation in which the priest who claims to have a stable community that wants the older rites essentially is independent of his bishop. No bishop can say no or rein him in for any reason whatsoever. This may not always result in the sort of actions Mary described. But there is an essential connection between the motu proprio and the sort of behavior at issue here.

        And no, before you say it’s the same in the OF, it is not the same at all. The bishop does step in, and does intervene when someone is imposing on a community. It won’t happen here, however, because the motu proprio has set up a situation in which the priest can (and will) bypass the bishop.

      3. @Rita Ferrone – comment #37:
        So you are saying SP gives him the right to celebrate the OF however he wants? The intervention process you describe does not apply if the priest also celebrates the EF at the same parish?

        The problems Mary described apply mostly to changes made to the OF.

      4. @Rita Ferrone – comment #37:
        Rita – thanks for your comment… gets to what many here say – SP had/has *unintended consequences*.
        Yet, the usual replies – #41 & #42, Guess one shouldn’t be surprised. But, in both cases, they appear to have not read what you clearly noted:

        “SP created a situation in which the priest who claims to have a stable community that wants the older rites essentially is independent of his bishop. No bishop can say no or rein him in for any reason whatsoever. This may not always result in the sort of actions Mary described. But there is an essential connection between the motu proprio and the sort of behavior at issue here.”

        So, having a hard time figuring out how the Allan meme in #41 has anything to do with both this post or the valid concerns of Mary Wood. Other than his usual gross over-generalizations that may or may not have happened, bishops can, did, and do address our current rite. Guess he didn’t understand your point?

        Same goes with #42 – in fact, PratyTell has posted many instances of significnat issues within dioceses where a bishop who personally may have liked the EF has influenced and dictated seminary practice, ordinands preferences, etc. resulting in many examples as described by Mary Wood. But, realize that no matter how many *anecdotal experiences* one could post or link to, it would not change what some express here. OTOH, please don’t ask PTB folks to give examples (e.g. #26 “I personally find it annoying that almost every thread is about how awful SP supposedly is without real evidence to back it up.” & #29 “Even Mary Wood’s parish troubles don’t really have anything to do with SP”)

        Some randomn thoughts:
        – as Paul Inwood reminded me and clarified – Benedict did ask some episcopal conferences about SP;; they did not support it (because of experiences that M. Wood is describing here) and yet he issued it worldwide – no limitations; bypassed bishops; etc.with the result of *unintended consequences*
        – PTB has frequently posted on the *two forms of the one rite* phenomenon. Have we really ever experienced this in our history?
        – Some church experts have seriously raised concerns about the last 200 years of papal centralization – SP is an example of this in the liturgical life of the West. Is that a good thing? Doesn’t it fly in the face of what VII fathers tried to do with liturgy being decided by episcopal conferences or by local bishops?
        – Would suggest that most accepted definitions of liturgy is that it expresses the faith of the local community – that liturgy is for the community; not that the community is for the liturgy. So, liturgy doesn’t stand in isolation. Liturgy flows from what we experience as church – it is connected to ecclesiology (sorry, Allan, just a fact) Too often, PTB comments seem to describe (IMO) not a different form but rather a spirituality or even piety rather than a community liturgy. Some then advocate for a separate rite (and yet, rites in the church don’t seem to equate to TLM)
        It concerns me when I read…..”When I became interested in the old Mass, I quickly learned not to tell anyone unless I had first seen them at the EF too because I still wanted to be part of the parish.” Thus, unlike Paul VI who clearly wanted to allow the TLM for certain serious reasons (age, spiritual dangers, etc. but did not intend this to be something used forever, etc.), SP allows anyone to request this. This feels more like a personal spirituality or piety; not a community/church liturgy.

        – finally, in an age where we see rapid parish closures, mergers, use of foreign priests, complaints about lack of priests; lack of priests’ focusing on homilies, poor liturgies, etc. what happens when a small segment of any parish now requests/demands this? We complain about lack of resources, time, going out to the periphery and yet we have this dilemma? To be honest, to do TLM well requires training, time, and personnel. (have often heard the stories of a parish that started offering EF – 150 folks initially attended but after a year, that is down to 50 or 30 in a parish of 1,000 families. Does this really make sense?

      5. @Jack Wayne – comment #35:
        Mr Wayne, it is good news that in your wide experience priests and congregations can comfortably and without strain allow each others liturgical preferences. I have made no suggestion that your parish’s EF arrangements be curtailed or suppressed. My post was made in response to the Two Pauls who specified liturgical knots. Paul Inwood is a fellow-countryman of mine with a far wider experience than I have and he has identified a problem. Certainly in my diocese there is no other parish priest with a similar outlook, repudiating Vatican II as a rubbish Council, and defying the Bishop’s directives in general and in particular. Yet, as Rita Ferrone points out, SP gives those priests who favour the usus antiquior licence to act in defiance of the diocesan guidelines and of the Bishop himself.

        If an attempt were to be made to remove a priest from office in accord with CIC 1741-1 on grounds of distress and disturbance relating a situation resulting from the SP’s implementation, the priest would surely appeal, (as is his right,) to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. I think we can envisage the outcome.

        I wish you a blessed and peaceful New Year

      6. @Mary Wood – comment #40:
        The trouble doesn’t seem to stem from SP.Perhaps I misread. Is the problem that the priest has changed the OF Mass and done other upsetting things, or is the only problem that he now celebrates one late Sunday afternoon EF? Repealing SP would not require him to celebrate the OF towards the congregation or forbid him from condemning Vatican II. Your bishop needs to do his job. Also, I don’t believe Ecclesia Dei addresses the OF.

        Also, when you agree with repealing SP, you are essentially saying you want my and hundreds of other Masses discontinued since that would be the natural outcome.

        Happy New Year to you too.

      7. @Mary Wood – comment #34:

        Mary, after reading your many posts on the plight of your parish, I would like you to consider the following.

        Beforehand, let me say that your parish priest is acting in an entirely inappropriate manner. His pastoral behavior is deplorable. No person, regardless of the parish priest’s judgment of the logic or illogic of his or her statements, deserves to be insulted. Also, charity (and expediency) demands that the parish priest place the host into the hands of a standing communicant.

        Some persons (including myself) are not very adept at social interaction. For persons like us, statements which are not strongly fact or evidence based are often summarily dismissed because feelings are deemed to have no intellectual weight. For strongly analytical types, persons who reason emotionally are regarded as not very intelligent. Charity, the intrinsic dignity of each person, and pastoral duty again requires that the parish priest listens carefully and thoughtfully to every request. However, it is difficult to break the aforementioned thought process.

        I do hope that the parish priest considers leaving the secular priesthood for a traditional priestly institute or order. Until then, he is subject to his bishop. I would absolutely dislike saying Mass facing the people (and I suspect your parish priest thinks similarly), but he must act pastorally and according to the prerogatives of his bishop.

      8. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #36:
        Mr Zarembo, thank you for your thoughtful and understanding comment. This is not the place for a detailed account of my local parish and its priest. I’m sure you are quite correct in saying that this priest finds saying Mass in English (OF) very painful indeed. He has to do so on Sundays, and his undisguised tension when doing so is uncomfortable for everyone, and surely for him also.

        I also have thought he would be better suited to a traditional priestly institute – he makes his retreats and spends his holidays with such communities. Unfortunately for him, he has “history” – I will not expand that statement, but it would make any institute/congregation a bit wary about accepting him. Likewise his extensive disregard of his Bishop (who ordained him and received his pledge of obedience) should prompt questions about his reliability. In these circumstances he seems likely to stay where he is, acting as he does.

  18. We really need to let this dog lie. Mary, Untier of Knots, come to the aid of PT and deliver us from these troublesome debates. Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  19. In no way would I ever condone a priest, not matter his ideology, creating havoc in a parish through his arrogance. Arrogance is the issue, pride also, and this can be identified with any ideology in the priesthood. I would suspect that the greatest pain caused to rank and file parishioners in the Church in the past 50 years has nothing to do with the wrong implementation of SP but the wrong implementation of the “spirit of Vatican II.”

    Why not give balance and focus on what the laity have had to endure with so-called arrogant progressive priests who imposed upon parishes in the most pre-Vatican II way possible, their interpretation of Vatican II? The absurdities that so many have endured at the hands of arrogant “liberal” priests in the past 50 years in the camel’s nose in this room here at Praytell.

    Yes, condemn an arrogant priest who wrecks havoc in a parish in terms of SP and a whole host of other liturgical subtleties but really, is that the problem in most parishes? I think there is quite a bit of evidence to support the fact that it isn’t, that it is something else altogether different that so many here don’t want to discuss.

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