Australian bishops support Benedict XV's liberalising of the Latin Mass

Australian bishops support Benedict XV's liberalising of the Latin Mass

AD2000 Report

Benedict XVI's motu proprio, 'Summorum Pontificum', of 7 July 2007, liberalising celebrations of what the Pope called the 'extraordinary' use of the Latin Rite has been well received by many Australian bishops with several celebrating Masses according to the 1962 Missal of John XXIII in their cathedrals (see following presentation).

Fr Glen Tattersall FSSP of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in Melbourne, says that several priests have expressed an interest in learning the extraordinary use - 'we have been running intensive workshops to assist priests, and intend to have more in the new year (we also have sent materials out to interested clergy.'

In some parts of the world bishops have sought either to ignore or frustrate the Pope's intentions. This was referred to scathingly in a recent interview (see below) by the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige.

Partly as a result of this, the Ecclesia Dei Commission has indicated that it will shortly publish an authoritative commentary and clarification on certain aspects of 'Summorum Pontificum'.

From Cardinal George Pell's homily at the Solemn Pontifical Mass at St Mary's Cathedral on 3 November 2007.

With the frenetic pace of modern life and the somewhat dangerous times in which we live, we are fulfilling the explicit desire of the Church by coming together this morning for this Holy Mass in honour of the Mother of God.

Let me add that we are also fulfilling the desire of the Church, and the wish of the Holy Father as expressed in his recent Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum by offering the Sacrifice of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal.

This rite nourished my own childhood and young adulthood, as it has nourished the lives of many here today. I was raised in a cathedral parish, and grew up with this rite. Countless saints gave worship to God by using the same words and singing the same melodies that echo in Our Lady's Cathedral this morning.

Of course, the 1962 Missal was the result of centuries of liturgical evolution. It is a direct descendant of the Roman Missal of Pope St Pius V, published in 1570. That, in turn, was a revision and renewal of the liturgy found in the Sacramentary of Pope St Gregory the Great, which dates back to the 6th century. Those Mass texts, in turn, found their origin in a variety of liturgies and prayer forms that came from Syria and Egypt, Greece and Rome - particularly Rome - and all points in between, and in all the languages of those peoples.

Today we find ourselves still on the journey of liturgical development and renewal. The dignity and beauty of today's celebration, with its timeless Latin and uplifting music, remains a vital part of our Catholic tradition. It is celebrated with regularity in several places in the Archdiocese, and I am especially pleased to celebrate it here today.

May the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Patroness of our Archdiocese, assist us in our worship with her prayers, and help us by her own example to be ever more obedient disciples of her Divine Son,our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

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From Archbishop Denis Hart's homily at the Mass of thanksgiving for Summorum Pontificum, St Patrick's Cathedral, 25 August 2007.

The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, and the Holy Father's accompanying letter, have occasioned great joy in many parts of the Church.

The Holy Father wishes that everyone in the Church should be inspired to a deep, personal encounter with the Lord, a loving reverence for the manner of celebration, and he did speak quite strongly about the lack of reverence which has been a cause of scandal, and a cause of pain - to me, and to many others of the Church, as well as the ability to profit from the Church's 2000 years of experience in celebrating Mass as the high point of the worship of God the Father, in union with Jesus Christ, our Lord Redeemer.

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An interview on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum with the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, the Sri Lankan- born Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige, by Bruno Volpe of Petrus (English translation from the Italian by Fr John Zuhlsdorf).

Your Excellency, what kind of reception has Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio - which liberalised Mass according to the Tridentine Rite - had? Some, in the very bosom of the Church, have got their noses out of joint.

There have been positive reactions and, it's pointless to deny it, criticisms and opposing positions, also on the part of theologians, liturgists, priests, bishops, and even cardinals. Frankly, I don't understand this distancing from, and, let's just say it, rebellion against the Pope. I invite all, above all shepherds, to obey the Pope, who is the Successor of Peter. Bishops, in particular, swore loyaly to the Pontiff: they must be consistent and faithful to their commitment.

In your view, what are these demonstrations against the Motu Proprio due to?

You know there have been, on the part of some dioceses, even interpretative documents which inexplicably aim at putting limits on the Pope's Motu Proprio. Behind these actions there are hidden, on one hand, prejudices of an ideological kind and, on the other hand, pride, one of the gravest sins. I repeat: I call on everyone to obey the Pope. If the Holy father decided he had to issue the Motu Proprio, he had his reasons which I share entirely.

The derestriction of the Tridentine Rite by Benedict XVI appears to be the right remedy for the many liturgical abuses sadly recounted after the Second Vatican Council with the 'Novus Ordo'.

Look, I don't want to criticise the 'Novus Ordo'. But I have to laugh when I hear it said, even by friends, that in a some parish, a priest is a 'saint' because of his homily or how well he speaks. Holy Mass is sacrifice, gift, mystery, independently of the priest celebrating it. It is important, indeed rather, fundamental that the priest step aside: the protagonist of the Mass is Christ. So I really don't understand these Eucharistic celebrations turned into shows with dances, songs or applause, as frequently happens with the Novus Ordo.

Your Congregation has repeatedly denounced these liturgical abuses.

True. However, there are so many documents which have sadly remained dead letters, winding up on dusty shelves or, worse yet, in waste baskets.

Another point: one often hears very long homilies.

This is an abuse too. I'm against dances and applause during Masses, which aren't a circus or stadium. Regarding homilies, they must be about, as the Pope has underscored, the catechetical dimension exclusively, avoiding sociologising and pointless chatter.

For example, priests jump onto some political point because they didn't prepare their homily well, which really ought to be scrupulously worked on. An excessively long homily is synonymous with poor preparation: the right length of time for a sermon should be 10 minutes, 15 at most. You have to remember that the high point of the celebration is the Eucharistic mystery, without of course intending to downplay the liturgy of the Word, but rather to make clear how to carry out a correct liturgy.

Returning to the Motu Proprio: some criticise the use of Latin during Mass.

The Tridentine Rite is part of the tradition of the Church. The Pope has duly explained the reasons for his provision, an act of liberty and justice towards traditionalists. As for Latin, I would underscore that it was never been abolished and, what is more, that it secures the universality of the Church. But I repeat: I urge priests, bishops, and cardinals to obedience, setting aside every kind of pride and prejudice.

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