Saturday, July 21, 2007

More from Archbishop DiNardo on Summorum Pontificum

From the Texas Catholic Herald:
On July 7 the Holy Father issued an Apostolic Letter accompanied by a personal letter concerning the use of what has become known as the Tridentine Mass or the Tridentine Missal. The Pope does not use that terminology; rather, he emphasizes the unity of the Roman Rite. In doing so he seeks to clarify the continuity in the Roman Rite, particularly with the publication of the Roman Missal by Pope Paul VI in 1970. He writes that both Missals are expressions of the one “law of Prayer” (lex orandi) in the Church. The Missal of Paul VI in 1970 is to be regarded as the ordinary form of the law of praying while that of the Missal of Pope Paul V in 1570, whose last edition was in 1962 under Blessed Pope John XXIII, is to be considered the extraordinary form of that same law of praying. It is a two fold use of one and the same rite.

In doing this the Holy Father has permitted a more generous use of the older Missal particularly for those who have been and remain attached with love and affection to that previous liturgical form. In his personal letter accompanying his “Motu Proprio” the Pope mentions that John Paul II had already granted use of the older form of the Rite in 1988 but had not given any detailed prescriptions or precise canonical norms on its use. Pope Benedict is supplying such norms by his new decree and also supplies norms to avoid divisions within parish communities. The Pope also hopes that the use of the older form will allow the new Missal, still the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, to be celebrated with great reverence in greater harmony with the liturgical directives contained in the new Missal.

The Holy Father also explains that his positive motivation for doing this was to come to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. He wants to offer a way to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity within the Church so that divisions do not harden on these liturgical matters. “In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too…..It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

The Pope’s decree contains 12 articles on the use of the 1962 Missal. They are given in this issue of The Texas Catholic Herald on page five. As the local Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, I certainly want to see the law and spirit of the Pope’s decree upheld. We already have a weekly celebration of the older Rite at Annunciation Parish in downtown Houston. It must be admitted, as the Holy Father himself writes, that there are not many who have the formation in Latin to understand the older forms. That would also include many of our priests. Further, a large number of our priests have never celebrated the older rite. Finally, the multiple celebrations of the Eucharist on Sunday in our parishes already due to our growing population and the number of Masses on weekends that our pastors and priests are already celebrating creates a series of “logistical” issues for many, if not most, of our parishes. We will have to see how requests for the older rite from a “stable” group of the faithful will work out in practice. I am also not opposed to the possibility of the erection of a personal parish for celebrations of the older form of the Roman Rite.

Mass is already celebrated in 14 or more languages each weekend in our archdiocese. In addition, there are 5 different Eastern Rites in our archdiocesan territory: the Ruthenian Byzantine, Ukrainian Byzantine, Maronite, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara, plus a chapel of the Melkite Byzantine Rite as well as occasional celebrations of the Ethiopian Rite by one of our priests for some members of that Eastern Rite community. Finally there is a parish of what is called “Anglican Rite Usage,” for those Catholics who have come to us from the Anglican communion. We have incredible variety. This is why the unity of faith, the “handing on of what we have received,” as St. Paul states it, is so crucial and so much a part of what I see as my own responsibility in this magnificent local Church of Galveston-Houston. The unity of our Catholic Profession of Faith and our communion with the Holy Father is all the more crucial given such rich diversity in this part of God’s Kingdom in southeast Texas. May the ancient “law of believing” (lex credendi) and “law of praying” (lex orandi) be both so saturated by charity, witness and outreach, especially to the poor and the stranger, that we will be a most credible sign of the Catholic Church.
Thank you, Archbishop!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Niko Niko's

We met some friends I have never met before in my life for dinner tonight at Niko Niko's Greek and American Cafe on Montrose in Houston. Anybody familiar with this joint? The Retsina (wine flavored with pine resin) was flowing steadily as our topics of conversation ranged from Harry Potter to Alexander the Great, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity to Judaism and Islam, Greek and Latin, Copts and the St. Thomas Christians of India... oh and buried Spanish treasure in Mexico.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sleeping Dragon

Taken last November at Brazos Bend State Park, near Houston, TX:

Courtesy of my brother-in-law.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Classic Josemaría Escrivá

1974 in Chile

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

St. Augustine on ad orientem

From Ch. 5 of De Sermone Domini in Monte.
... cum ad orationem stamus, ad orientem convertimur, unde caelum surgit; non tamquam ibi habitet Deus, quasi ceteras mundi partes deseruerit qui ubique praesens est, non locorum spatiis, sed maiestatis potentia; sed ut admoneatur animus ad naturam excellentiorem se convertere, id est ad Deum...
In English, courtesy of CCEL.
... when we stand at prayer, we turn to the east, whence heaven rises: not as if God also were dwelling there, in the sense that He who is everywhere present, not as occupying space, but by the power of His majesty, had forsaken the other parts of the world; but in order that the mind may be admonished to turn to a more excellent nature, that is to God...
One Rite, Two Forms: The Liturgical Life of St. John Cantius

Interview with Fr. Dennis Kolinski, S.J.C., an associate pastor of St. John Cantius Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois, courtesy of the Church Music Association of America:
"Bi-ritual” is what these parishes have been called. Here the 1962 Missal and the 1970 Missal live side by side, precisely as Pope Benedict XVI envisions in Summorum Pontificum, the Moto Proprio liberalizing the use of the 1962 Missal. But the term bi-ritual is now problematic. The Motu Proprio clarifies a long-standing issue: there are not two rites but one rite with two forms.

Can the two forms live coexist in peace, even in the same parish? The Pope writes: “the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded.”

The first attempts at two-form parishes came about in response to John Paul II’s first round of liberalization of the Missal of 1962, and they have been working their way toward the cultivation of serious scholas and an active liturgical life in both the new and old forms of the Roman Rite.

No parish in America has taken this model as far as St. John Cantius in Chicago, Illinois. Their Sunday Mass schedule is itself the evidence:
6:30 a.m.—Matins (Office of Readings) & Lauds (Morning Prayer)
7:30 a.m.—Tridentine Low Mass (Latin)
9:00 a.m.—Missa Normativa (1970 Missal in English)
11:00 a.m.—Missa Normativa (1970 Missal in Latin)
12:30 p.m.—Tridentine High Mass (Latin)
2:00 p.m.—Rosary, Solemn Vespers (Evening Prayer), Exposition and Benediction
6:00 p.m.—Compline (Night Prayer)
This model is not only on display on Sunday. Every weekday includes Mass in the old and new forms, plus regular praying of the Divine Office.
Read the interview!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Vatican II and the Harmony of the Faith

My parish pastor's recent sermon on the motu proprio as well as the recent CDF statement on the nature of the Church is available online.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Language of Sacrifice

I've been reflecting on this subject over the past few days since the release of the motu proprio. When I was in RCIA, and indeed later, I knew plenty of folks, particularly at my university parish, for whom understanding the mass as a sacrifice and not just a meal was very difficult. The "meal" dimension of the mass was clearly emphasized. It made sense, then, that folks might be scandalized at the suggestion that mass should be celebrated ad orientem, and that the role of the ordained ministers should be distinguished from those who, while they also participate in the one priesthood of Christ, do not do so in the same manner. As many note, this was part of the attempt of some to minimize our differences with other Christians. But clearly that was not wise. Why should we ignore what makes Catholic worship distinct from that of other Christians if our dialog with other Christians is to have any type of meaning? We certainly have nothing to be ashamed of. Our worship is certainly biblical and clearly historical.

We know the mass is so much more than merely a re-enactment of the Last Supper. Indeed, the Last Supper is itself inextricably linked to the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Christ Himself reveals this to us, when he tells his disciples:
This is my body, which will be given for you... This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.
Indeed, the elements seem to take on a character that is sacrificial in nature, as in the language that is used here, Christ's body and blood are presented in a state of separation with clear reference to His Body, which will be given, and His Blood, which will be shed.

So why is the action of the priest so distinct? It is because, in that context, the priest acts in persona Christi, in the person of Christ, who is our High Priest, who offers Himself. In this context, Christ is both priest and victim. He is Christ, as the Catechism (1137) teaches, "crucified and risen," the one who "offers and is offered, who gives and is given." And this Christ commands us to do in commemoration of Him, which is another reference to how our observance of His command involves us in that One Sacrifice on the Cross, as St. Paul confirms in his letter to the Corinthians:
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
There is certainly evidence that the early Christians understood the sacrificial nature of Christ's command (as well as its connection to the sacrifice of the "first-fruits" of creation, the celebration of the Passover, and the consumption of the Paschal Lamb). Volumes have been written about this. One well-known account comes from 4th century father St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in Lecture 23 of his Catechetical Lectures (Mystagogical Lecture, 5):
7. Then having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual Hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth His Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before Him; that He may make the Bread the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ; for whatsoever the Holy Ghost has touched, is surely sanctified and changed.

8. Then, after the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless service, is completed, over that sacrifice of propitiation we entreat God for the common peace of the Churches, for the welfare of the world; for kings; for soldiers and allies; for the sick; for the afflicted; and, in a word, for all who stand in need of succour we all pray and offer this sacrifice.

9. Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayers and intercessions God would receive our petition. Then on behalf also of the Holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great benefit to the souls, for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awful sacrifice is set forth.

... we, when we offer to Him our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, though they be sinners, weave no crown, but offer up Christ sacrificed for our sins, propitiating our merciful God for them as well as for ourselves.
Who, according to Cyril, is offered? It is "Christ sacrificed for our sins." He also remembers those who have "fallen asleep", "believing that [this service] will be a very great benefit to the souls."

About 100 years prior to St. Cyril's lectures, 3rd century father St. Cyprian of Carthage also makes note of the sacrificial overtones in his 62nd epistle (Epistle to Cæcilius) (concerning the usage of real wine):
But if we may not break even the least of the Lord’s commandments, how much rather is it forbidden to infringe such important ones, so great, so pertaining to the very sacrament of our Lord’s passion and our own redemption, or to change it by human tradition into anything else than what was divinely appointed! For if Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, is Himself the chief priest of God the Father, and has first offered Himself a sacrifice to the Father, and has commanded this to be done in commemoration of Himself, certainly that priest truly discharges the office of Christ, who imitates that which Christ did; and he then offers a true and full sacrifice in the Church to God the Father, when he proceeds to offer it according to what he sees Christ Himself to have offered.

... And because we make mention of His passion in all sacrifices (for the Lord’s passion is the sacrifice which we offer), we ought to do nothing else than what He did. For Scripture says, “For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord’s death till He come.” As often, therefore, as we offer the cup in commemoration of the Lord and of His passion, let us do what it is known the Lord did. And let this conclusion be reached, dearest brother: if from among our predecessors any have either by ignorance or simplicity not observed and kept this which the Lord by His example and teaching has instructed us to do, he may, by the mercy of the Lord, have pardon granted to his simplicity. But we cannot be pardoned who are now admonished and instructed by the Lord to offer the cup of the Lord mingled with wine according to what the Lord offered, and to direct letters to our colleagues also about this, so that the evangelical law and the Lord’s tradition may be everywhere kept, and there be no departure from what Christ both taught and did.
And almost 100 years before that, 2nd century father St. Irenaeus notes the sacrificial nature of Our Lord's command in the Last Supper in Book Four of Against Heresies, particularly chapters 17 and 18:
Again, giving directions to His disciples to offer to God the first-fruits of His own, created things—not as if He stood in need of them, but that they might be themselves neither unfruitful nor ungrateful—He took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and said, “This is My body.” And the cup likewise, which is part of that creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His blood, and taught the new oblation of the new covenant; which the Church receiving from the apostles, offers to God throughout all the world...

The oblation of the Church, therefore, which the Lord gave instructions to be offered throughout all the world, is accounted with God a pure sacrifice, and is acceptable to Him...

... our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.

Now we make offering to Him, not as though He stood in need of it, but rendering thanks for His gift, and thus sanctifying what has been created. For even as God does not need our possessions, so do we need to offer something to God; as Solomon says: “He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord.” For God, who stands in need of nothing, takes our good works to Himself for this purpose, that He may grant us a recompense of His own good things...
Irenaeus proceeds to connect our sacrifice with the heavenly liturgy recorded in Revelation. Be warned, however, that in what little I have quoted from Irenaeus, I am not doing much justice to the rich teaching he is giving or why he is even discussing the issue. Mike Aquilina, in Ch. 11 of his book The Mass of the Early Christians, elaborates on Irenaeus's commentary a bit more:
Central to Irenaeus's theology is the idea, drawn from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, of "recapitulation." By taking on human flesh, Jesus Christ recovered what Adam had lost through original sin. Thus, Christ restored and rehabilitated the human race and renewed the whole world. Christians, then, represent a new creation.

In this context, Irenaeus discusses the meaning of the Eucharist. In the world before Christ, God had commanded man to offer a pure sacrifice of the "first-fruits" of the earth. Sinful man, proved unable to offer with a pure heart. So Christ established the Eucharist as "the new oblation of the new covenant." In the Eucharist, Christ himself is the offering (the "first-fruits" of the new creation), and Christ himself is the one who offers.

For Irenaeus, the sacrifice of the Church is the fulfillment of all the sacrifices of ancient Israel. Consistent with the Didache and with St. Justin [Martyr], he invokes the prophecy of Malachi; but he also goes on to recall the sacrifices reaching back to "the beginning," to Abel. In the Eucharist, however, Christ offers himself under the same appearances as the old sacrifices: bread and wine, the first-fruits of the earth...

Furthermore, the Eucharist is the pledge of the resurrection of the body. Finally, for Irenaeus, the Mass is the earthly participation in the liturgy of heaven, which is unveiled in the Book of Revelation. The altar of the Church and the altar of heaven are one.
The traditional mass, what we now refer to as the "extraordinary" form of the Roman Rite, or the Missal of 1962, is indeed very old. Through the centuries, it has absorbed much in the way of accretion, particularly during the Carolingian period, and also various reforms (notably Pope St. Pius V, and later Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII, as noted in the motu proprio). In its simplest form, it can be said to trace to Pope St. Gregory the Great (late 6th century), who, as I understand, was really the first to standardize the liturgy of the Roman Rite, including the Roman Canon and the lectionary.


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