Friday, March 07, 2014

This our sacrifice, and more


  • From the Anglican History project: This Our Sacrifice. Classic Anglo-Catholicism, fitting the Book of Common Prayer into the traditional Mass, or how to do the Mass in English (It’s Not About Latin™) and what the ordinariates should be like (the British in that have been Novus Ordo for decades). It works even though Cranmer was a heretic (his consecration prayer isn’t allowed in the Catholic Church), because he was credally orthodox and a master of English prose. (Even though he edited and replaced collects because of his Protestantism, they’re not heretical and are gems to read and pray. My diurnal has them alongside the Roman Rite ones.) Benedict the Great’s reform of English Novus, his greatest accomplishment (at last, a church official acknowledged there was a problem with English Novus), is so close to it that the few times a year I’m at Novus I say the BCP things such as the creed from memory. My way of thanking A-Cism for giving me the pre-conciliar ethos. Other than that I don’t miss the Prayer Book because I know where it came from, so I’m not in the ordinariate. I still want to visit Mount Calvary, Baltimore, though. (The only English that Catholics are attached to is the English with a long Catholic tradition: the prayers of the Rosary, the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.)
  • This got Archbishop Robinson and me into a talk about Dom Gregory Dix. I admit I’ve not read The Shape of the Liturgy; he’s one of those people the liberals latched onto like John XXIII but maybe he doesn’t deserve that rap of derailing the liturgical movement and getting the church on the Novus track. He was never a reformer/wreckovator in practice: as an Anglo-Papalist monk of Nashdom he celebrated our Mass, in Latin. (Anglo-Papalists were would-be Catholics but they defended Anglican orders. Now they’re the British ordinariate.) Robinson explained that Dix’s motive was good: he was targeting Cranmer’s Communion service in order to defend our Mass. (Msgr. Barnes: The English experience of BCP could hardly be more different from that in North America. There, Anglo-Catholics would look to the Prayer Book to defend them against the liberal ascendancy. In England, Anglo-Catholics had the Prayer Book used AGAINST them. That’s why Novus was a badge of orthodoxy for British would-be Catholics.) The title comes from his idea that the liturgy’s shape matters even more than the words (one ancient liturgy still in use, the Nestorian, doesn’t have the words of institution, which is no problem), so Cranmer’s service was wrong (well, yes: writing a new liturgy from scratch is un-Catholic even if not heretical); not necessarily bad but of course you can see the problem right away of relativizing content. The liturgical revision in his name, after he died, was blowback.
  • Fisher More College. In Fort Worth, Bishop Olson has suppressed our Mass at a traditionalist Catholic college in the official church. (By the way, almost all American Catholic colleges are private, not controlled by the diocese.) The story as I understand it: the bishop did it because the college had become “extremist,” whatever that means, and, says ex-FMC chancellor Taylor Marshall, financial mismanagement (president Michael King made a real-estate investment that didn’t work out, costing FMC a lot of money). The people defending the bishop say he can do this even under Summorum Pontificum because SP only frees up private Masses. I never heard of that. My first reaction was that SP frees up our Mass, period, so Olson has no right to do this. I don’t think King’s a crook; all investments are risky. He’s explained himself, answering Marshall, and anyway, why is that an excuse to suppress our Mass? The Fraternity of St. Peter were the school’s chaplains and allegedly withdrew due to the “extremism”; the FSSP deserves respect so that accusation, if it exists, has a lot of clout. (And FMC brought in Fr. Gruner* and John Vennari to speak.) So what is “extremism” that would justify a crackdown (again, he has no right to stop our Mass, thanks to the Pope)? I’d draw the line at sedevacantism right now or for the past 50 years or so, saying the council was heretical or not a valid council, and saying that the Novus Ordo is heretical (although the old English paraphrase comes close) or invalid. Saying the council and Novus were mistakes that harmed the church is allowable, and what I believe. Otherwise things like this from the Latin Mass Society (It’s Not About Latin™: allow our Mass in the vernacular and Catholics’ objection to it would fall like a house of cards) are triangulation or divide and conquer: beat the trads by splitting us up (“at least I’m not like those rad trads”). I still think this crackdown is foul. As Modestinus notes, mainstream American Catholic colleges have gotten away with dissent for 40 years. Is this crackdown part of the Francis effect? (He’ll end up like Paul VI and the mainline: the mainstream cheers for him but will push him aside; he’s a flash in the pan, the liberals’ last hurrah in the official church.) Hunker down. Without Benedict backing us, it will be a bumpy ride. (*He says things that need to be said and that official churchmen don’t, but Fátima isn’t strictly speaking part of the faith. I’m about doctrine, tradition-driven papal minimalism based on our doctrine, the Mass, and the office, not chasing even approved private revelations. I also don’t need sedevacantism, the Siri theory, the imposter Paul VI theory from Bayside, or the theory that Benedict is still the Pope to explain the mess in the church. We don’t worship the Pope. No matter who is in the See of Peter, the church is the church.)
  • By the way, IF Pope Francis or someone else retracted Benedict’s Novus and SP, and there were no Eastern Catholic or ordinariate church to go to, I’d go to the SSPX. I’d miss the normality of parish life like 50 years ago but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. We have our Mass because of the SSPX. Fellay for cardinal; Lefebvre for saint.
  • Low-church Francis opens his mouth again, about “civil unions,” a way the state now pretends the same sex can marry each other without calling it that. He admitted the possibility, which isn’t heretical. The Pope can’t change the teachings of the church; he wasn’t suggesting changing the matter of a sacrament to redefine marriage like the secular media wanted to hear. He’s appealing to civil liberties to leave homosexuals in peace, which is fine. That said, in the culture wars, saying what he did was bad judgement, a hallmark of this Pope.
  • Why did the Sixties gut the church? Why did the council, the false “renewal,” happen? It wasn’t the hippies; they were a minority and too young, and not interested in the church. (They were mostly consumers of popular music. All the real work in the ’60s, good and bad, was done by people who looked like me.) It was the generation before them. The golden era’s blind faith in progress did it in: make the church all shiny, space-age new.
  • This old lie from ecumenism grinds my gears. Recently Orthodox Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) repeated it: “Actually, Vatican II in many way brought the Roman church closer to Orthodoxy.” Are you blind and deaf? Witness the Orthodox Liturgy: your Tridentine Mass, to your lasting credit. Witness the Novus Ordo. The reasons for that line about the council and Orthodoxy: collegiality, the vernacular in services, and the chalice for the laity. To which I say so what? The church can’t change teaching on the Pope or anything else; as Benedict the Great suggested before he was Pope, we can envision what I believe in: a loose communion run by tradition (Orthodoxy) but with the Pope’s share in the church’s charism of infallibility. (That part about the papacy is the only thing keeping the two sides apart.) The vernacular is fine (witness Anglo-Catholics’ translation of the Tridentine Mass) but Orthodox often don’t use the vernacular. Everybody develops a liturgical language (for American Protestants it's the King James Bible). Greeks use medieval Greek; Russians Slavonic. And the way the Orthodox (and Greek Catholics) and the Novus Ordo do the chalice for the laity are worlds apart. No sale. That line is left over from when ecumenism was fashionable. The world is less churchy now and everybody in the churches knows they won’t get back together. Still, you are an estranged part of us, not Protestants, so corporate reunion is our goal, with your rite intact (because of our true-church claim, we accept individual converts and unias, but they’re not our main goal). (The archbishop was a vagante whom the OCA graciously took in as a retired bishop, but they’ve made it clear his liberalism doesn’t speak for them.) Reminds me of this gem from Fr. Hunwicke (in which he also rubbishes the Celtic Christian myth in time for St. Patrick’s Day): Remember those happy heady days when “Orthodoxy” was the “sexy” version of Christianity? Eastern Christianity had more romance and less menace and “rigidity” than Rome ... because it came from further away. Sadly, when we got to know them better, we discovered that the Orthodox were, if anything, distinctly more “rigid” than Rome, particularly on questions like “Intercommunion.” As a friend once put it, if the liberals took Orthodoxy seriously it would be an embarrassment to them, because the liberals can’t blame the Pope for the Orthodox being Catholic.
  • For the foreseeable future, the best we can expect with the Orthodox is common charitable work and witness against abortion and homosexualism. Like how I understand all the churches, official Orthodox, nationalist breakaway Orthodox, and Greek Catholic, have tried to keep the peace in the streets and minister to the wounded in the Ukraine.
  • Jesus saves, Mary prays; save souls; happy Lent and feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas.

8 comments:

  1. Michael J. Miller writes:

    "The first thing anyone needs to know about Summorum Pontificum is that it gave permission to any priest to celebrate a private Mass (only) in the EF, any time. Public Masses remain, per SP, the Accompanying Letter and the subsequence Instruction, subject to many other regulations and the Ordinary's generous discretion. Next, your point about the clout of the FSSP and the significance of their withdrawal is right on. The situation repeated itself with the Fathers of Mercy: signing on to a chaplaincy and withdrawing well before the expected date. Something is foul in Fort Worth, but it is certainly not in the chancery. Bishop Olson stepped in promptly and courageously after a long, unfortunate interregnum (vacancy in the Diocesan See)."

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    1. Re: SP
      What about the bit about a stable group (of laity) approaching the bishop and requesting the EF? I thought SP pretty much required the Ordinary to accommodate them, not that this would give this "stable group" carte blanche to cause trouble, subvert the good order and discipline of the local Church, preach schism and/or heresy, etc.

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  2. I remember being shocked at my first Orthodox liturgy at how similar the "feel" and pacing of the service was from my traditional Episcopal experience in contrast to the one or two Catholic Masses I had attended at that point, which were all in unfortunately modernist parishes. The aesthetics of the Liturgy and the architecture really are important. BTW, Orthodoxy has a few of its own sad monuments to 1970's architecture.

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    1. I had a similar experience. My first traditional Catholic liturgy, not counting Anglo-Catholic services, was 29 years ago at a Ukrainian Catholic church with a World War II exile priest who'd been pastor there since 1951.

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  3. Most 'Anglo-Papalists' were received into the Church in the mid 1990s

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    1. That makes sense, women priests in the Church of England being the last straw: "This is not and never will be part of the Catholic Church."

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  4. "...in the culture wars, saying what he did was bad judgement, a hallmark of this Pope."

    I think this is old hat...our Archbishop said ten years ago the Church had no problem, per se, with state civil union laws. They just set up a number of default property arrangements for those who apply for them. Once again, Francis says something that's not particularly novel, and the mainstream media imagines that some revolutionary new course has been taken.

    I'm very sorry to hear that, if you don't keep your mass your way, it's off to the schismatics. I know it's a common attitude, but I'm still sorry it is so common.

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  5. Our dear Pope Benedict believed that the Pope did not have the authority to abrogate the ancient Roman Mass. And I agree with him. But I don't expect any Bergoglian attempt to abolish it while the SSPX is there, ready to receive the diaspora.

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