Friday, November 6, 2009


Una Voce's report upon the second anniversary of Summorum Pontificum

The Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce recently issued a progress report on the second anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The full report extends to 95 pages. FIUV's executive president Leo Darroch personally presented a copy of the report to the Holy Father during a meeting in Rome on Wednesday, Oct. 28. (See FIUV's website for a report on and photographs from the meeting.)Rorate Caeli is pleased to provide excerpts here from a 14-page abridged version of the report prepared by FIUV's executive president Leo Darroch. The report surveys positive developments as well as ongoing challenges and setbacks. One of the more important comments in the abridged report is found on page 7, in the second part of the report:
What is clear from these new reports is that there has been a mixed reception of Summorum Pontificum which includes a serious level of episcopal disapproval in many countries. The good will displayed by many bishops has been offset by concerted and continual attempts by many other bishops to thwart the will of the Holy Father.
Darroch also offers Rorate Caeli the following comment on the growing interest in Catholic Tradition and the traditional liturgy, and on hopeful prospects for Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce:
The interest in the International Federation is growing, particularly in Latin America. We have just admitted new associations from Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. We have recently had requests for help from Cuba and Honduras. We are even getting requests from young men and women who are looking for traditional seminaries and religious orders.
Excerpts from "Tradition Restored," Part 1 of the abridged report (bolded emphasis added):
. . . During His teaching ministry the absolute concern of our Saviour was for the redemption and the salvation of souls – all souls. And for this purpose he left a legacy of epistles and gospels and a teaching authority under Peter and his successors. In this respect our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI is exercising the teaching authority bequeathed to him by Jesus Christ in ministering to all the souls entrusted to his care.Perhaps the greatest reason for the current crisis in the Church is that too many people in the Church, particularly in senior positions, no longer accept the authority of the Pope. Where there is dissent, and where personality and self-interest are uppermost, there is decay and lapsation. Where Christ and obedience are to the fore the traditional life of the Church is allowed to flourish unhindered and the spiritual life of the Church flourishes, parish life flourishes, priestly and religious vocations flourish, and the vitality of the faith flourishes. The evidence for this is becoming more clear as each year passes. Those who refuse to recognise this are allowing their own human rationale and agenda to blind them to the undeniable growth that is taking place before their very eyes. They wilfully refuse to see what is becoming incontrovertible.Since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum the signs, increasingly, are encouraging; tradition is no longer fighting a losing battle, it has been restored to its rightful place in the Church and is now making quite clear progress. It may not be evident in some places but the positive and confident public statements by an increasing number of senior prelates on the Missal of 1962, on a return to the celebration of Mass ad orientem, and on reception of Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling are becoming more widespread.Tradition is the lifeblood of the Church.The iron grip of Modernism is finally being loosened. It is a movement that has no past and no future. It is of the present, selfish and self-centred, with a blinkered vision that does not extend beyond the minds of its adherents. On the other hand, tradition has a secure foundation, a history, a present, and a future; a continuity. . . . We refuse to loosen our grip and abandon the faith and traditions so dear to our parents and grandparents, our great saints and humble sinners. We are adamant that we will not consign their lives, their faith, their liturgy, their fortitude and sacrifice in times of adversity to the fading memory of history. Tradition is a living thing and cannot be cast aside; it is impossible. Tradition is the lifeblood that flows through the veins of the Church and without it the Church will die. Our faith lives in the vibrancy of tradition as it has lived for 2,000 years and we will not dishonour the memory and steadfastness of our forebears by casting it aside in favour of an experimental modern creation; no matter how many times we are told that the new model is better for us. We would not abandon our family in life and we will not abandon them in death. This is our mentality, our driving force, and we cannot, and will not, change it.Leadership, patience, and wisdom.It has been a mark of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI that he is leading, by patience and wisdom, in the example of the Good Shepherd in gathering together a scattered and disenchanted flock. All his actions are guided by one principle: restoration of true Catholic liturgy for the unambiguous worship of Almighty God through the sacrifice on the altar of his Blessed Son. For it is the restoration of true liturgy that will revive the flagging spirits of clergy and faithful and be instrumental in the salvation of souls. By his courageous action in promulgating Summorum Pontificum, our Holy Father has now generated a debate at all levels in the Church about what was actually authorised by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council. For forty years it has been taboo to discuss any aspect of the liturgical reform as though it were to be seen as a sign of disloyalty to Blessed Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI; as an act of disobedience to the Council, and a desire to turn back the great progress we are told, ad nauseam, supposedly has been made under the revised liturgy. Debate has been ruthlessly stifled and the liturgy has deteriorated as the nebulous ‘spirit’ of Vatican II has permeated every aspect of liturgical life.It can be said, with some justification, that a desire for a critical examination of the liturgical reform has been driven, in great part, by the laity. Countless millions of the faithful have given their opinion of the liturgical reforms by abandoning the practice of their faith. This fact is incontrovertible. Others, who have refused to abandon their faith, have fought unceasingly for a restoration of the traditions of the Church and an authentic application of the wishes of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council. Since the end of the Second Vatican Council the essential truths of the Catholic faith have been jeopardised in the headlong pursuit of ecumenism; a pursuit, for some, that desired unity at almost any cost. It is the leaders in pursuit of this all-consuming objective that resist any countenance of a restoration of such clearly identifiable ‘Catholic’ Latin liturgy as enshrined in the traditional Mass. Quite clearly, the Latin language, for example, is not ecumenical in the currently accepted understanding of the word but it is truly ecumenical, and universal, in the fact that:
“It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favour any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all…” [Bl. Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, 1962].
In promulgating the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum the Holy Father has done a great service to the Church in the search for truth. In this respect the new publication, Vatican Council II: An Open Discussion, by Monsignor Brunero Gherardini, is a timely contribution to the debate. Monsignor Gherardini concludes his book by asking that the Supreme Pontiff,
“clarify definitively every aspect and contents of the last Council. Such omnia reparare [reparation of everything] could be accomplished through a great papal document, which would go down in history as a sign and witness of the vigilant and responsible exercise of His ministry as the Successor of Peter.”
Videre Petrum.In recent Episcopal ordinations Pope Benedict XVI said to each candidate:
“The Gospel must penetrate him, the living Word of God must, so to speak, pervade him…. The first characteristic that the Lord requires of the servant is fidelity….He is entrusted with a great good that does not belong to him. The Church is not ‘our Church’, but His Church, God’s Church. The servant must give an account of the way that he has taken care of the goods that have been entrusted to him. ….We know that things in civil society, and often in the Church too, go badly because those upon whom responsibility has been conferred work for themselves and not the community, for the common good.”
To have fidelity to the Lord also requires fidelity to Peter, and things are going badly in the Church because too many bishops refuse fidelity to Christ’s Vicar on earth in favour of temporary self-interest. But to “see Peter” is not a mere tourist, let alone administrative, endeavour. It is all too easy to go to the Pope in audience and be unaware of the tremendous graces attached to physical proximity with the Successor of Peter. That is why the Apostle Paul took great pains to write to the Galatians to assure them that, after three years of contemplative prayers in Arabia, he went to Jerusalem to “see Peter.” Since Paul was the only apostle who did not witness the Resurrection, nor even met Our Lord, it was important for him to prove that he was no less of an apostle. Therefore, he had to establish the moral authority upon which his Pauline doctrine would be based. Sin ce that time Catholics, have always yearned to Videre Petrum.However, Paul went to “see Peter” for an even more important reason, upon which the first reason rests. The Apostle Paul wished to ensure that his doctrine was in perfect accord with the doctrine taught by Peter, Prince of the Apostles. . . .Thus, the faithful bishop, or, indeed, any Catholic, will always have the desire to videre Petrum, to “see Peter”, to refine his faith and discern his role in the Church in the light of the faith. We cannot “see Peter”, beneath what is human in his successors, unless we look, listen and speak with the spirit of faith. On an even more concrete level, bishops must approach the audience of the Holy Father in a spirit of love, which will open the soul, attuning it to the wisdom of what one will hear. That is required both before and after the audience, to better ruminate what one has heard. Those many bishops who fail to act in perfect accord with Peter should think very carefully about their leadership under Peter and the adverse affect it is having on their priests and their flocks. Perhaps, at the second anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, and entering the third year at the end of which they have to provide “an account of the way that [they have] taken care of the goods that have been entrusted to [them],” it is an ideal moment to consider their fidelity to Peter and ensure that their teaching is in perfect accord with that of the Vicar of Christ. Therein lies the “interior reconciliation” and “peace and serenity” so desired by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in his Letter to Bishops that accompanied his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

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