Thursday, 19 February 2009

Questions and Answers reflecting on Blackfen's "little spot of bother"

To read first hand about Blackfen's "little spot of bother", go here and here.
Updated: The Tablet article and comments are now here.
Updated again: I rather like Tigerish Waters observations here and here.

Q1: What is the significance of the language of "extraordinary form" and "ordinary form" in Summorum Pontificum?
A1: Explicitly, Summorum Pontificum speaks of "one Roman Rite" with two forms. From a juridical point of view, one should not consider one of the two forms as being in any way more "traditional" than the other form. [One might discuss in academic journals the historical development of the texts, but that is a completely different sort of question.] In a similar vein, a particular form of spirituality should not be seen as attaching to the celebration of one form rather than the other.

Q2: Should there be more celebrations of the extraordinary form in parishes as a result of implementing Summorum Pontificum?
A2: No, not necessarily. Summorum Pontificum makes it easier, from a juridical point of view, for celebrations of the extraordinary form to take place. This is intended, on the one hand, to help create a situation where groups who are not in a proper communion with the Holy See can be helped to regularise their situations, and, on the other hand, to ease the situation of those attached to the extraordinary form who take part in what one might call the ordinary life of parishes and dioceses. Nowhere in Summorum Pontificum, or in the accompanying letter to Bishops, is there envisaged the campaign to promote celebration of the extraordinary form that can be seen in some Catholic blogs, and associated with coverage of events such as the Latin Mass Society's training conferences.

Q3: Are there situations where celebrating Mass according to the extraordinary form should take precedence over celebrating according to the ordinary form?
A3: Two observations here. Pope Benedict XVI's letter to Bishops that accompanied Summorum Pontificum explicitly contains the expectation that the ordinary form of celebration will continue to be precisely that, the ordinary form. The letter bases this on the fact that appreciation of the extraordinary form arises from a particular liturgical formation that is not commonly found among ordinary Catholics, and on the "juridical norms". So my first observation is that the ordinary form remains the ordinary form, remains the ordinary form and remains the ordinary form. In the majority of pastoral circumstances, the presumption should therefore be in favour of celebrating in the ordinary form, and not allowing it to be in a certain sense "displaced" by the extraordinary form. As a second observation, Summorum Pontificum permits one celebration of the extraordinary form on Sundays and Holy Days, with, in my view, the intention that this permission should be used to respond to the situation of those attached to the extraordinary form; it should not, in my view, be used to promote the extraordinary form. In my view, the arrangement of such celebrations should take place in such a way that there is no appearance of the celebration of the extraordinary form "displacing" a celebration of the ordinary form - that would be to offend against the notion of the ordinary form remaining the ordinary form. One way to achieve this, but not the only way, might be for such celebrations to be seen as celebrations at deanery level, rather than individual parish level, with collaborative arrangements for celebration of the ordinary form in nearby parishes.

Q4: Does Summorum Pontificum have any implications for parishes where no celebrations of the extraordinary form take place?
A4: Yes, and one should not underestimate the importance of this for having a complete perspective on Blackfen's "little spot of bother". Pope Benedict's letter proposes an idea of "mutual enrichment" between the celebrations of the two forms, and this is clearly relevant to every celebration of the ordinary form wherever it takes place. The relevant passage from the letter follows, with my own emphasis added:


The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.

The ordinary form can, in my view, contribute to the development of the extraordinary form in areas of participation by the congregation and a wider range of texts such as prefaces. But the extraordinary form can contribute to the celebration of the ordinary form a real sense of the sacredness of liturgical celebration and an attitude of faithfulness to the rubrics. This aspect of the phenomenon that is Summorum Pontificum has, frankly, been almost totally ignored in parishes and dioceses. And yet, it appears to me an essential part of the intentions of Summorum Pontificum with regard to its two directions of glance: both towards those outside proper communion with the Holy See (they will the more readily be reconciled if they can see the ordinary form being celebrated properly, in addition to their access to the extraordinary form for their own use) and towards those attached to the extraordinary form in normal parish and diocesan situations (there will be a real possibility of a kind of "mutual respect" between those attached to the two forms of celebration, that would avoid the occurence of "bother"). It is also the aspect of Summorum Pontificum that is relevant to most ordinary Catholics; it is in my view much more important pastorally than arranging for more celebrations of the extraordinary form.

Q5: Do I think Summorum Pontificum was a good thing?
A5: I have no attachment to the extraordinary form, so the juridical provisions of Summorum Pontificum with regard to the celebration of the extraordinary form do not directly affect me. I suspect that this is true of the vast majority of ordinary Catholics in the UK. I have no dissatisfaction with the Motu Proprio and accompanying letter in themselves. However, I am disappointed by the almost complete failure to implement the idea of "mutual enrichment", both in terms of the celebration of the ordinary form as discussed above and in terms of the development of the extraordinary form. Among the proponents of the extraordinary form, for example, I have tended to see a resistance to any development in the liturgical form (though I do recall an observation once about it being again a living liturgical form in the Church!). Another thing I am unhappy with is the feeling of being forced into "taking a stance" with regard to the extraordinary form, something that has happened, not because of Summorum Pontificum itself, but because of the promotion in favour of the extraordinary form that has taken place since. I am also disappointed in the continued use of the term "Traditional Latin Mass" (for example, in the title of a recently published CTS pamphlet) to refer to the extraordinary form, for reasons which should be apparent from my answer to Q1 above. It fails, in my view, to reflect the juridical status of the extraordinary form established by Summorum Pontificum.

21 comments:

big bertha said...

Agood commentary offering a different interpretation of SP than (for example) the infamous Fr Z. I would agree with your viewpoint. It's nice to hear someone offer a more cautious consideration which i think is a more faithful rendering of the actual text.

alban said...

I agree with Big Bertha that your commentary is much more balanced than what I have read on other blogs, as well as a more accurate reading of the text.

There is a certain hysteria afoot regarding the EF, and it doesn't take long to see that there is definitely a push to extend its use at the expense of the Missal issued under Paul VI. What is sadder still is that Paul has come in for insults from those professing to be Catholic. (Clearly, it is not only the 'liberals' who pick-and-choose.)

On one blog several people advocated mandatory use of the EF throughout the world: these folk have obviously no appreciation of Catholic culture other than what exists in the UK, and their blinkered mindset is shocking.

Like you, I have no affinity for the EF, but I've always regretted its virtual demise simply because the change was so swift for many people that it must have been bewidering. My concern is that there are some who see this as a turning back of the liturgical clock (which it is not), and are quite happy to promote the EF cause even if it means creating division (which is surely the very opposite of Pope Benedict's intention).

I'm particularly glad that you pointed out the section in the pope's letter which mentions that the OF + EF are not in opposition but different expressions of the one Roman Rite.

A good post. Balanced and accurate.

Anonymous said...

An excellent commentry, Joe.
I think you are reflecting the views of the vast majority of Catholics in the country.
I live in the UK and have associations with three dioceses and nine parishes to a greater or lesser degree. Only one of these parishs shows any vocal support for a return to Mass in the EF and that is probably down to the elderly ages of most of their parishioners.

big benny said...
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Richard said...

As someone too young to have known the Old Rite the first time round (indeed I only discovered it in my 30s), I have a question.

You say that
"in my view, the intention [is] that this permission should be used to respond to the situation of those attached to the extraordinary form; it should not, in my view, be used to promote the extraordinary form"

That may indeed be your view of the best approach, but it does not appear to be the Pope's view or the intention of Summorum Pontificum. In the Pope's letter accompanying SP he makes it very clear that he welcomes the spread of the extraordinary form, and sees advantages in that:

"young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them"

BasilR said...
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An expert in liturgical law said...

I would suggest to the writer of this Q&A series to study the authoritative pronouncements of the President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", which is the only organ empowered to give an authentic interpretation of the text of the Motu Proprio. The above observations, however balanced, seem to be at odds with them at several points. It is interesting to see private individuals disregard the views of the highest Churc officials who were the material authors of the papal document under scrutiny here. Is it the author of a text (especially if it is a law) who is to be asked what he exactly ment, or is it rather the reader who is free to create any interpretative context? The latter, I am afraid, applies only to art and literature, while in law there are certain rules of interpretation to follow, which usually requires a high level of technical expertise.

Joe said...

Richard:

Thank you for your comment. I have just carefully re-read Pope Benedict's letter that accompanied Summorum Pontificum, in the light of your observation that the letter makes it very clear that Pope Benedict welcomes the spread of the extraordinary form. I think the letter is absolutely neutral with regard to the spreading of the celebration of the extraordinary form; the letter communicates more clearly the two directions of glance to which I refer in A4 of the original post.

Joe said...

Expert in Liturgical Law;

Thank you for your comment.

During his visit to England, Cardinal Hoyos was very clear in suggesting that Pope Benedict wished to see the extraordinary form being more widely celebrated, indeed suggesting that he would wish to see it celebrated in every parish.

I am sure that Cardinal Hoyos has a basis for this; but I would suggest that that basis is not the text of Summorum Pontificum itself nor the text of the accompanying letter.

In so far as I have been able to review the contents of the website of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, I can find nothing that contradicts the view expressed in my original post. However, again there may be individual responses to dubbia with which I am not familiar.

An interesting "aside" arising from my visit to Quebec to take part in the International Eucharistic Congress in June 2008 was the realisation that not every member of the College of Cardinals sees the issue of the extraordinary form in the same, high profile way as Cardinal Hoyos.

Verity Szukam said...

Good to find an orthodox Catholic blog that isn't devoted to the EF. I found it through HoC and hope to explore what you have posted before.

Keep up the good work. God bless.

bigus benedictus said...

Joe - Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos's London comments are taken out of context by Damian Thompson (who reports them) and are widely disputed . Certainly they are not a judicial interpretation rather 'off the cuff' comments. There is some suggestion that Cardinal Castrillon was not pleased at Damian's mischevious attempt to use what he said to try to publically undermine Cardinal CMO'C in public. Shortly afterwards Cardinal Castrillon said at a Rome conference that 'these people' (ie so called 'traditionalists') are insatiable, they are never happy always demanding more. This is widely interpretated as a direct rebuke to Damian Thompson's attempt to place an unintended meaning to what he actually said.

An expert in liturgical law said...

Thank you for your answer which is frank and to the point. The PC Ecclesia Dei did, in fact, prepare an official document in form of an instruction (CIC, can. 34) to answer all the doubts you partly addressed above. It has been sitting on the desk of the Holy Father for more than a year now, awaiting his approbation - which Fr Zuhlsdorf reported would come "in forma specifica", giving the instruction the force of law, i.e. making it equal to the motu proprio itself. Why has it not happened to date? Perhaps beucause of what you just mentioned: that still too many Cardinals are opposed to it. Until such an act of authentic interpretation is promulgated, we can but rely on the - certainly lower - authority of personal pronouncements by the official interpreter.

Joe said...

Thank you for the further comments.

I used the text published on the Latin Mass Society website as my source for Cardinal Hoyos' press conference during his visit to London; the suggestion that Pope Benedict would like to see the extraordinary form celebrated in every parish is explicit in that transcript.

geds said...

Perhaps the "expert in liturgical law" could comment on the language used by Paul VI when he established the Novus Ordo, and his comments in speeches afterwards, that the NO replaced the former rites.

Anonymous said...

From someone who isn't an expert on Liturgical law or anything else.

What will happen if the next Pope doesn't agree with the spread of the EF and wants to just have Ordinary form?
At the moment a person can attend Mass almost anywhere in the world and have the same "Form" even if it in a different language-no one feels excluded.
What about clergy who want to say Mass in the Extraordinary form saying Mass on their day off-probably of an evening to allow people who want this forn to attend- without disrupting and alienating the rest of the Parish?.

Ottaviani said...

An interesting "aside" arising from my visit to Quebec to take part in the International Eucharistic Congress in June 2008 was the realisation that not every member of the College of Cardinals sees the issue of the extraordinary form in the same, high profile way as Cardinal Hoyos.

Of course, not every other Cardinal would see it that way because:

1. They have nothing to do with the Ecclesia Dei Commission and so do not see it in their capacity to comment or promote the use of the liturgical books of 1962

2. They frankly are not supportive of the motu proprio at all and prefer to see the status quo preserved.

Your interpretation of the motu proprio is unduly narrow and dare I say, one that would be welcomed by opponents of the Benedictine reform such the "The Tablet" magazine (however much, I am sure, you distant yourself from the latter's viewpoints)

Joe said...

Ottaviani:

Thank you for your comment.

I find it difficult to respond to a description of "unduly narrow".

If you can point to anything that I posted that is incorrect with regard to the texts of Summorum Pontificum and the accompanying letter from Pope Benedict, I will be quite happy to "engage", as one might say.

The Tablet is, for me, rather like television. As I do not normally see it, I am not able to take much of a view about it one way or another.

Anonymous said...

When a member of the Clergy is moved on to another parish does he take his EF Mass with him?If the next Priest doesn't want it, it causes more unrest-surely the there were reasons for the change to Ordinary form which were well thrashed out at the time-what's changed?

Ottaviani said...

Joe - thank you for your response too. I think this piece which you wrote is slightly problematic:

Nowhere in Summorum Pontificum, or in the accompanying letter to Bishops, is there envisaged the campaign to promote celebration of the extraordinary form that can be seen in some Catholic blogs, and associated with coverage of events such as the Latin Mass Society's training conferences.

If this were the case, then there would be no real reason for bringing out the motu proprio in the first place. The pope might as well have kept the old indult in place, with an additional requirement that every diocese must have at least one or two centres where the mass is celebrated every Sunday and Holyday. In his letter to the bishops on this matter, Pope Benedict says:

"Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them."

The fact that he notes that young people, who had never grown up with the old rites, have come to experience a sense of sacredness and attachment to them says something. These young people would never have experienced the traditional rite if it wasn't either by luck or promoted to them (probably by their parents or by people/organisations dedicated to preserving the old mass). I therefore find it a bit hard to reconcile when you say that Rome does not anticipate the promotion of the older rites being celebrated more frequently, when it cleary goes on to say in the next line:

"Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio."

It implies it quite clearly here that:

a. The celebration of the older rites have have increased somewhat since 1988

b. And for that reason, in order to contain this increase within proper canonical norms, the motu proprio is offered.

And if it was not the Holy Fathers intention to allow an increase in the celebration of the older rites, he would have said so quite simply there and then.

It is for this reason, that those who say that the motu proprio does not allow for the fair and legal promotion of the older rites fall into the same error that they frequently accuse traditional Catholics off: reading into something that is not there.

Joe said...
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Joe said...

Ottaviani:

Thank you for your contribution.

My view is that, yes, and, as you point out, particularly in the view of the attachment of younger people to the extraordinary form, the motu proprio does allow an increase in the numbers of celebrations in the extraordinary form. It also gives that increase, in terms of both actual realisation and the principle of access, a permanent status, which is particularly relevant for those who are younger.

It allows. And where I think we differ is that I would not see this allowing as being the same thing as suggesting advocacy for the extraordinary form over the ordinary form, an advocacy which I feel has been taking place. A quite careful line exists between the allowing and the kind of advocacy that I do not feel to have been part of what Summorum Pontificum intended. Whilst the allowing of the motu proprio might be expected to give rise to an increased number of celebrations in the extaordinary form in some situations, my view is that this is not necessarily the case in every situation (see A2 of the original post).

Pope Benedict's letter clearly expects the ordinary form to remain precisely that - the ordinary form, celebrated most widely.

Since writing the original post, I have been increasingly struck by the implications of Pope Benedict's suggestion that the Missal of Pope Paul VI can, if celebrated reverently and in accord with the rubrics (="mutually enriched" from the extraordinary form?), unite parish communities. See the quotation I used in the original post.

Thank you again, Ottaviani, for contributing to the discussion.