Friday, July 20, 2007

Reactions to the Motu Proprio (3)

Earlier this week, I promised to do a further analysis of the Catholic weekly newspapers to gauge the range of reactions to the MP.

The Catholic Leader's headline "POPE REAFFIRMS LATIN...but its not for the masses" pretty much sums up the rest of the article. Much of the article is sourced from the National Liturgical Office executive officer Fr Peter Williams who stresses (my comments in italics):

  • since 1969 Catholics had used the Missal of Pope Paul VI (well -dah)
  • the Mass used at the time of the Council was never legally abrogated
  • The Holy Father stresses that above all the unity and cohesion of parish communities should be the primary outcome of the celebration of any form of the liturgy (got to make sure that we keep that emphasis on community above God)
  • it is not expected that there will be any considerable change to the pattern of worship established in most Catholic parishes in Australia (got to give comfort to the communities and liturgical elites that things will remain the same no matter how badly the liturgy is celebrated)

The reaction of the Liturgical Commission education officer Elizabeth Harrington was actually quite well balanced, but then goes into a lot of barriers that would prevent the older rite being used. That is true, but there is enough of the pre-Conciliar church around that could put these things back into use again. Considering the the Liturgical Commission has tried its best like 20th century William Dowsings to wipe out all this heritage. I note her concern that "...marriages, baptisms and funerals might be celbrated according to older ritual. They are a wonderful outreach opportuity for the Church that could be lost" mmmmm - most weddings and baptisms that I have been to in the modern rite were not particularly good advertisement for the church either (ie. all the emphasis was about looking good in church rather than any reference to God).

The sentiments of Fr Peter Williams was reported in the Catholic Weekly of last Sunday as well. However in this newspapaer Fr Williams was given a small article on page 6. Both articles were sourced from the Austrlain Bishops Conference website http://www.acbc.catholic.org.au/bc/liturgy/20070707507.htm.

A much better and informative article was given by Fr Tim Deeter Director of the Liturgy Office of the Archdiocese of Sydney. This article is in the form of 8 FAQs, and appears not to betray any biases, and is quite supportive.

Elizabeth Harrington has a further article on the matter in this weeks Liturgy Lines published in the Catholic Leader. First the article's actual title is incorrect "The Pope's Statement on the Use of the Tridentine Rite" Of course we all know that there is no such thing as a "Tridentine Rite". After brushing over the tradition stuff (no we wouldnt be interested in any of that would we), she makes this strange statement:

As in the terms extra-ordinary and ordinary ministers of communion, ‘ordinary’ here means usual or normal, while ‘extraordinary’ means outside the usual or normal.

Now in her previous articles on ministers of Communion (the latest being 14 March 2004) the tack was quite different.

They are call extra-ordinary or special because the ordinary ministers of communion are bishops, priests and deacons, that is, those who have been admitted to holy orders. At most celebrations of Mass there is only one priest and no deacon. Now that most people receive communion every time they come to Mass and communion is usually under both kinds, special ministers are needed so that the time taken for communion is not disproportionately long in comparison with other elements of the liturgy. Special ministers are not used for the sake of speed or efficiency, however, but to ensure that sharing communion is a genuine experience of eating and drinking together.

The statement is very clear that extra-ordinary means "special", but does not refer to the frequency of use. This must be why extra-ordinary ministers have developed into the norm, and Masses celebrated without them are considered unusual. However when it comes to the Missal of bl John XXIII she is clear that this meaning of extra-ordinary is quite different; that it means, not special, but that it is outside the normal.

So already within two weeks we are being given local interpretations of Summorum Pontificum. depending how some people in unique positions are trying to sway the public. Most of these interpretations appear to be damage control exersizes, with the role of the Motu Proprio being downplayed, as it is clearly at odds with the way the more liberal liturgy commissions want to see liturgy.

My hope is that the extra-ordinary form of the Roman Rite is interpreted the same as the ministers of Communion ie. that it does become regular, and a "special" experience for all who attend.

5 comments:

Summa Theologica said...

Elizabeth Harrington never learns. How clear does the Church have to be that extraordinary ministers are NOT to be called "special ministers"? Let's hear it again from Redemptionis Sacramentum:

156 This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not “special minister of Holy Communion” nor “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist” nor “special minister of the Eucharist”, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.

Well done for spotting her duplicity, Stephen.

Stephen said...

Yes I overlooked the confusion of "special" and "extraordinary".

I always thought that Extra-ordinary Ministers were to make Holy Communion faster (as well as permit holy Communion under both species). Apart from that they had no theological significance whatsoever.

Now it appears they are there to make it more of a meal sharing experience. Although from time to time I have to manage EMHCs, that symbolism never got through to me. Where did she make all this stuff up from?

Fr Reginald Wilson said...

"Where id she make all this stuff up from?" How true of her and of many others including some priests.

Summa Theologica said...

Not to mention on the whole subject that they are well overused. We need more extraordinary Masses and less extraordinary ministers. That would be a change for the better.

Fr. Reginald Wilson said...

A Parish Priest of my acquaintance refused to allow his parishoners to read the Catholic Weekly that announced the MP and withdrew it from circulation. Is he the only one to do this? Could we get an indication if this happened in other parishes?