Saturday, January 25, 2014


“What interests the Pope is an overcoming both of lethargy and of resignation to extreme secularization, and bringing to an end the debilitating disputes within the Church between traditionalist and progressive ideologies.”

“'Evangelii gaudium' desires interior reunification in the Church, so that the People of God, in their missionary service, may not be an obstacle to a humanity that is in need of salvation and help.” 
My comment: Doesn't this sound like what Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum, about "interior reunification in the Church?"

These are Pope Benedict's exact words in his Letter:

I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden.  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.

Cardinal Elect, Archbishop Gerhard Müller is clear in what he says and leaves little from for spinning that leads to outrageous interpretations of his words. He uses precise language. He's very German in his engineering!

He's also quite open to the Mass being celebrated ad orientem as is Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict. Like both popes, Cardinal Elect Müller believes that the liturgical reforms have been good but just need some tweaking.  

My own opinion, and I'm not sure it would be shared by the good Cardinal-elect, although the Anglican Use Mass with its options in the appendix had to pass through his congregation for approval, is that our own current Roman Missal needs no radical updating except for some clarification of rubrics, and allowing the Anglican Use options of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, slightly revised order to the Introductory Rites when using these, the EF's Offertory Prayers, the EF rubrics for the Roman Canon, kneeling for Holy Communion as a clear option as well as ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, not to mention the Last Gospel and the Anglican Use revision of the modern Roman Calendar.If this was done, there would be clear continuity between the 1962 Roman Missal and the Modern one. And doesn't the new Anglican Use Missal bring liturgical progressivism and traditionalism together in the use of options and the options clearly showing the continuity between the older Roman Rite Mass and the newer? Doesn't this tie in with the MONEY QUOTE I have above?

But the following report really hits the nail on the head concerning the proper ecclesiology of the Catholic Church and the role of the papacy and reforms that must remain true to our Tradition and with a capital, not a little, "T."

Valencia, Spain, Jan 23, 2014 / 03:52 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- At a Spanish university's canon law conference, the Vatican's head for doctrinal matters spoke this week about collegiality and unity in the Church, emphasizing their orientation to evangelization.

The speech by Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, focused on Church structures and served as a commentary on Pope Francis' Nov. 24 apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium,” in which he discussed a “conversion of the papacy” and “sound 'decentralization.'”

“A readjusting of independence and collaboration with the local Churches, of episcopal collegiality and of the Primacy of the Pope will enable us not to lose site of the transcendent need for the question of God,” Archbishop Müller explained Jan. 20 at the St. Vincent Martyr Catholic University of Valencia.

“The life of the Church cannot be concentrated in this way on the Pope and his Curia, as if what happens in parishes, communities and dioceses were something secondary. An exaggerated centralization in administration does not help the Church but instead impedes her missionary dynamic.”

The archbishop, who will be made a cardinal at next month's consistory, was speaking during the university's 12th annual conference on canon law; his speech was titled “Collegiality and the Exercise of Supreme Power in the Church.”

Calling a “reform” of papal primacy pertinent to the new evangelization, Archbishop Müller said that “a Church which only revolves around her own structural problems would be dreadfully archaic and unconnected to the world, for in her being and mission she is nothing other than the Church of the triune God, the origin and destiny of every man and of the entire universe.”

“Communion and mission are the two elements that constitute the community of the disciples of Jesus as the sign and instrument of the unity of mankind with God and with one another. Therefore, the Church is essential one, as a servant and mediator of that union.”

He clarified, however, that “Evangelii gaudium” is a “corrective,” and has “not given a signal for a change of direction or revolution in the Vatican,” criticizing “superficial interpretations.”

“What interests the Pope is an overcoming both of lethargy and of resignation to extreme secularization, and bringing to an end the debilitating disputes within the Church between traditionalist and progressive ideologies.”

“'Evangelii gaudium' desires interior reunification in the Church, so that the People of God, in their missionary service, may not be an obstacle to a humanity that is in need of salvation and help.”

Archbishop Müller cited civil wars, terrorism, poverty, the situation of refugees, and pornography among the “global and daily tragedies” that give the Church “the momentous task of giving new hope to humanity.”

He emphasized that “separatist tendencies and arrogant behavior will only hurt the Church”, and that it is part of the Church's holiness that bishops are united “with and under Peter,” decrying a “power struggle” between centralist and particularist views of the Church.

The Church, he said, “is not a federation of national Churches or a global alliance of confessionally related ecclesial communities, which respect, by human tradition, the Bishop of Rome as an honorary president,” but is what both “testifies to, and realizes, the unity of peoples in Christ.”

Church unity, Archbishop Müller said, comes from Christ, who established the apostles and their successors, adding that nationality, language and culture are not “constitutive principles” of the Church.

This vision would end in “a secularized and politicized Church, different only in degree from an NGO.”

“The invitation of the Pope to a renewed perception of the Collegiality of Bishops is contrary to a relativization of the service which Christ entrusted directly to him.”

The doctrine chief explained that the college of bishops “serves the Church's unity,” founded on Christ, and that “a bishop can only be pastor of a local Church, and not president of a federation of regional and continental ecclesial alliances.”

He added that national conferences “cannot be a pure objective principle” in the Church, for the office of bishop is essentially one of “personal testimony”: therefore “the principle of the unity of the episcopacy itself is incarnated in a person.”

Bishops' ministry, he reflected, should be seen as “a sacramental reality” and not “confused with the service of a moderator of purely human associations.”

Concluding his talk, Archbishop Müller reminded those gathered that the Church “is not the Light,” but exists to give testimony “to the Light which illumines every man, Jesus Christ,” and that “despite all the storms and strong winds, the barque of Peter must raise again the sails of joy, for Jesus is with us.”


FrJBS said...

Speaking as a convert who was attracted to the teaching authority and ritual antiquity of the Church, I would suggest that the Church has nothing to fear in presenting her truths and sacraments to the world in their naturally complex forms. In other words, don't water it down and expect the world to embrace it.

Speaking as one who in the seminary endured the heightened tensions of modern Catholicism, I suggest that both sides seek a reconciliation that respects all that is worthy in their respective proposals. To simply dismiss one side or the other, as has been the tendency, will only create bitterness and despair. Those who claim to be neutral should bear this in mind.

Anonymous said...

Traditionalism is an affirmation of all the Church has taught and practiced throughout its existence, which our previous pope affirmed was never abrogated in the first place. Progressivism holds the position that we have to create a "new Church" and that teachings, doctrines and liturgical practices must adapt to the changes dictated by the world. These two positions cannot peacefully coexist. These two positions are, buy their very nature irreconcilable. To paraphrase Lincoln, we must either "become all of one thing or all of the other." I'd say this fits the definition of a just war.

FrJBS said...

One can progress a long way in the teaching and celebration of God's mysteries without ever venturing into heresy, apostasy or schism. A certain freedom of experimentation is required to allow us to find the best way to communicate the Gospel to the modern world. And, a certain flexibility on the part of committed Catholics is needed to allow this reasonable experimentation to progress. Of course, there must be limits, especially those provided by general councils of the Church. So, correct what needs to be corrected, and bring back those who've wandered astray, but don't be afraid of those who promote reasonable change.

John Nolan said...

The next German pope will be Athanasius Schneider, and he will restore the Church. I've met him, and he radiates holiness and integrity.

Remember, folks, you read it here.

Anonymous said...

I like Schneider, but he's not likely to be in the running for anything without a Cardinal's hat. Does anyone out there think the current climate in the Vatican makes Schneider's elevation to the college of cardinals very likely? I say no. But I do believe in a God of miracles.