Monday, July 09, 2007

Thank You, Papa

I couldn't pass up mentioning the hottest topic on the Catholic blogosphere of late...I am, of course, talking about the long awaited motu proprio, Sommurum Pontificum. (That's an unofficial translation).

What really touched me was part of the letter to the bishops accompanying the motu proprio, which can be found here.

The more I see Pope Benedict's gentle way of guiding the Church, the more deeply I come to appreciate and love him. The way he so succinctly summed up the core issue in all of this is just beautiful.
This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.(Emphasis mine)
Isn't that the heart of it all? If you believe what Christ said, that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church, then you must make room in your heart to accept whatever the Church says is allowed.

To those who worry that the rad trads are trying to take over and do away with the Novus Ordo, he says not to worry, no one is trying to get rid of it at all.

To those who think that the Novus Ordo is invalid and bad, he says nonsense, what the Church has allowed you must allow yourself.

The Holy Father reminds us that there are not two masses or two rites pitted against each other, there is one mass with different forms. These do not contradict, but enrich each other.

As often as I feel stuck in the middle between two extremes, constantly defending and explaining myself to both sides, reading this was like a breath of fresh air. I wish I could hug him for it!

Thank you, Papa.


Kasia said...

I am so with you!

I don't prefer the Tridentine Mass myself, but nor do I think it's somehow 'backwards' or RadTrad.

Likewise, I don't care for Charismatic worship styles. But I don't see how Charismatic spirituality is somehow un-Catholic.

I hope we all listen to Papa on this!!!

jdavidb said...

So when are they going to provide a website where I can punch in my zipcode and find the nearest Tridentine mass?

Stephanie said...

Hehe, good luck with that jdavidb! No idea! ;-)

jdavidb said...

If I believed the church was supposed to be consolidated under a single bishop, the first thing I'd want that bishop's office to do is come up with a serviceable website that lets me enter a zip code and find local branches. :)

(The second would probably be a universal church directory encompassing all countries not presently facing governmental persecution, but that'd probably never go over, either. ;) )

I don't think I realized just how strongly this proclamation was worded until I read Pat Buchanan's words this morning:

the Latin Mass must be said in every diocese – on the request of the faithful. Dissenting bishops must comply.

I think I thought it just said the locals had permission to ask, and that someone would be found for them to provide the Mass if possible. I didn't realize that it actually said that if there are any Bishops who really feel that the Tridentine mass is a bad idea they still have to do it.

I've always been fond of Ratzinger's stern image, including the jokes here:

jdavidb said...

Hmm, all my regular libertarian columnists seem to have taken a day off from politics to talk about the "new" old Mass:

Stephanie said...

Ummm...jdavidb, where did you get that quote from? I don't see that at all in the motu proprio!

Yeah, the jokes about B16 can be funny...but I also think people are focusing so much on his firmness that they're missing his gentility. He really balances them well, but the media (and people who want the "smack down" on "liberals") are happy to pull his quotes out of context and make him sound worse than he is!

jdavidb said...

The quote comes from the article I linked to, not the motu proprio.

Stephanie said...

Lol, silly me I read the article and totally missed it!

Well, I think he's putting it in much stronger language than the motu proprio does. It sounds like he's saying there HAS to be a Latin mass in every diocese, and that isn't true at all. He's just saying if it's requested, he encourages the bishops to grant the request if possible.

jdavidb said...

Well, I think he's putting it in much stronger language than the motu proprio does.

Having skimmed an English translation, I think you're right. I think Buchanan's explanation goes a little further than the document itself did. It does sound like if a local bishop doesn't feel he can accomodate the request, though, he has to refer it to a commission.

Kasia said...


I think you're correct, and I think the reason for that is that some bishops (not mine!) have been unwilling to offer the Tridentine Mass under any circumstances. My guess - and this is a very uneducated guess, mind you - is that the Pope thought it would be best to have the local bishops have to provide a really good reason why they should refuse to allow it. To put it into legal terms, no peremptory challenges allowed any more. Challenges for cause only! :-)

And my archdiocese's web site has a search function that's not dissimilar from what you're describing, but it sure would be nice to have it for the whole Latin Rite, eh? ;-)

jdavidb said...

Did you see this news item? It's being reported that since he became Pope, Benedict has been privately celebrating the mass using the old form every day.

By the way: I seem to have some vague recollection that when he was selected Benedict either said at the time that the old mass form had always been permissible and could exist side by side with the new, or a document where he said that as cardinal was published/cited in the news. Am I remembering correctly? Because if so, the recent declaration shouldn't really have been that surprising to the world.

Stephanie said...

It's true that the Traditional Latin Mass was never actually officially stopped...there was nowhere that said it could no longer be celebrated. But, people seemed to forget that, and now Benedict is rectifying the situation. So you're right, it really shouldn't be that surprising...go figure! :-P

jdavidb said...

More fun quotes about the "new" old Mass:

This comes from a point of view where I can be glad about the Latin Mass simply because it makes some people mad. :) Good Catholics may not be allowed to feel that way, but I'm not Catholic, so I can giggle a bit, at least. :)

Stephanie said...