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A place for ''conservative'' and ''traditional'' Catholics to discuss and debate issues, and maybe even find some common ground.

 

Saturday, May 10, 2003

 
I. Shawn McElhinney of Rerum Novarum is making my retirement from blogging difficult. In his most recent entry, Shawn comments on the latest whispers of a universal indult and possible reconciliation with the SSPX. He writes:

"There are of course other problems that remain. If not for the obstinacy of the SSPX this schism would have been resolved some years back."

That's true. But it is also probable that if not for the obstinacy of Rome in suppressing the old rite, permitting widespread liturgical abuse, and failing to enforce sound doctrine, there never would have been a schism in the first place.

"Their brazen refusal to submit to the pope whom they pay lip service to obeying and their constant interpreting of everything in the worst possible light due to chronic suspicion syndrome does not endear them to many people as a result."

Quite right, but it seems that Shawn is once again forgetting the provocation.

"As long as SSPX like the prodigal child they are truly repents and has a change of heart, I for one would welcome they back with outstretched arms."

If reconciliation comes about, it will be because Rome has had a change of heart as well. The granting of a universal indult would be an implicit admission that suppressing the Latin Mass was a prudential error and a provocation for schism. I hope we can expect loyal Catholics like Shawn to follow Rome's lead in recognizing past mistakes.

"As far as the beauty of the liturgy goes, I am afraid that like many others the Mighty One is under the presumption that the manner whereby that liturgy is celebrated commonly today is the manner whereby it was celebrated before Missale Romanum. This perception is gravely erroneous I am afraid."

I think this argument is something of a Red Herring. In the first place, beauty does not consist merely in the way the liturgy is celebrated. There is an inherent beauty in the words and content of the older missal that is, in my opinion, lacking in the Novus Ordo. There is also an undeniable beauty in the Latin language that has been reviewed on this site in previous entries. It is true that the old rite was not celebrated uniformly in the past, but I find it hard to believe that even the most apathetic priest could deform or degrade the Latin Mass in the way that liturgy is routinely degraded today. Pre-conciliar variations existed, but they were extremely modest in comparison with the present situation. In any case, the point is not to return to the past, but to regenerate the liturgy without taking it apart. We argue that such regeneration could have been done 35 years ago in the context of the existing rite of the Church.





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