My Reality, Your Reality

No not relativism.  Just an update 1.) to apprise the reader of my status, namely, that I did not fall off the face of the earth. and 2.) to disabuse whoever has eyes to see of the unreality of the latest “news” or “reporting” on the status of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.  Just because people say things does not make it true.

First, thanks to all those who have been praying for me. I made it to the end of the semester at the Angelicum still standing.  I have one more final, but most of the stress is now behind me.  I hope to blog at least a couple of times during the break.

Second, Rorate Caeli has posted a video by one of our former friars, which by all accounts is a fairly nice vocation video for the Institute as it stands now, but it has been posted with a predictable interpretation and broadcasted further by others.

Several clarifications: Continue reading

Advertisements

In Defense of XXXXXXXXXXXXXX the Latin Mass

That should be “In Defense of Pope Benedict and the Latin Mass.”

The Week has recently published a hit peace on the new Mass and Vatican II by Michael Brendan Dougherty. Ostensibly it is praise of Pope Benedict and his support of the Traditional Latin Mass–well deserved praise, I must say, of the Pope Emeritus’ promulgation of Summorum Pontificum.

But then there is this:

Benedict’s intervention was not perfect. His intellectual attempt to save the Council and the new Mass from criticism with a “hermeneutic of continuity” was a noble failure. If the council intended continuity, why did it throw every aspect of Catholic worship up for possible revision in its documents? Why was the council swiftly followed by the worst spasm of iconoclasm in the history of the church — a tearing down of altars, images, statues — and a hasty revision to nearly every part of Catholic life?

Interesting rhetorical questions, which Dougherty does not answer.  But the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy is a nice spinning lure that always hooks the fish.

It just illustrates how Benedict XVI is so often used and abused in order to push one agenda or another.  Calling Pope Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity a “noble failure” and brushing it off with a wave of the hand also illustrates why I am not a traditionalist.

State of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

In this post I am publishing two documents.  First, there is an unsigned piece written by a friar of the Immaculate, which has been distributed in the form of a Word document named “State of the FFI.docx”.  Whether this document has been received by a small number of friars only or has had a wider distribution I do not know.  Clearly, however, the document is a concise set of talking points defending the former superiors of the FFI against the Apostolic Commissioner, Most Reverend Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, and the Prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, His Eminence Cardinal João Braz de Aviz.  I certainly do not agree with what is said in this document.  It is is reproduced here in its complete unedited form.

The second document is my commentary on “State of the FFI,” which I wrote with assistance of Fr. Agnellus Maria Murphy and am publishing with the approval of Fr. Alfonso Maria Bruno.  Please read both documents and simply do not bother to comment unless you have read both in their entirety.  Please also bear with my use of emphasis, as from experience I know that points get glossed over or ignored in the heat of the reading.

I am one of the original five friars who appealed to the Holy See concerning the problems within our Institute.  I mention this in the interests of full disclosure.

Comment moderation is on.

Since the establishment of the Apostolic Commission more than eight months ago, disinformation has continually emanated from within the Institute and has been broadcast internationally on the blogs.  It has persisted even until now and this is truly unfortunate. As I have said many times before, this problem would never best be adjudicated in the public forum.  But since the reputations of innocent people are involved, particularly those in the Holy See, and because the current crisis will only get worse in the face of the disinformation, these documents are being made public.

Father Angelo Mary Geiger

Continue reading

What the Fisher More Situation Teaches Us

The current situation with Fisher More College is the new handle on the radical traditionalist axe.  As though an indisputable fact, it is being compared with the restrictions placed on the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy within the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.  The story goes that whatever the problems might have been in these institutions there simply can be no legitimate reasons, or motivations of pastoral charity, that would justify a moratorium on the use of the old Missal.  But I believe a more apt comparison is to be drawn between the way in which the two situations have been used for propaganda purposes by these traditionalists.

In both cases there has been a leaking of documentation to Internet blogger/journalists, whose credentials show them to be, not just advocates for the full implementation of Summorum Pontificum, but also mouthpieces for the extreme side of traditionalism (end of the reform of the reform, the horror of Pope Francis, the impossibility of a hermeneutic of continuity, etc.).  Likewise, in both cases there has been a great deal of prejudicial conjecture, placing the worst possible interpretation on the decisions made by the Church.  In the case of the FI, the problem has been fire-bombed with conspiracy theory and the wholesale destruction of reputations.  It needs to be clear that is has been the traditionalist sources that have made a public spectacle of these ecclesiastical problems.  If any reputations have been damaged on either side, it has been due to the fact that they chose to fight this problem out in the public square. Continue reading

Pope Francis on the Use of the Extraordinary Form

The former prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy has told a traditionalist group that Pope Francis has no intention of restricting access to the Extraordinary Form of the Latin liturgy.

“I met Pope Francis very recently and he told me that he has no problem with the old rite, and neither does he have any problem with lay groups and associations like yours that promote it,” Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos told members of Una Voce International (FIUV), who were in Rome for a general assembly.

Responding to questions from FIUV members about tensions within the Friars of the Immaculate, the Colombian cardinal said that the Pope moved to insist on the use of the Novus Ordo in that religious community only because of internal dissension, and not because of any negative judgment on the traditional liturgy.

At its general assembly, FIUV elected a new president: James Bogle, a lawyer, author, and chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain. “We are very grateful to His Eminence Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, His Eminence Cardinal Brandmüller, and to Archbishop Pozzo for taking part in our General Assembly of the International Federation Una Voce,” Bogle said in a brief statement to CWN. “We are very pleased with the way the celebration of the traditional Mass is now going worldwide. We are obviously very grateful to Benedict XVI and also our present Pope Francis for all the support that they have given us in our right to worship in the traditional Roman rite.”

From the publication…

Quote

From the publication—authorized—of data from the questionnaire it becomes clear that there are serious internal problems in the Institute. It also becomes clear how pretentious is the campaign organized by those who have cried foul on account of the Vatican’s appointment of a Commissioner to the Institute and on account of the decision made at that time by the Pope to limit their faculty to celebrate the old Mass, submitting it to the authorization of the Superior, that is, of the Commissioner. This campaign culminated in public appeals to the friars encouraging them to disobey the directives of the Holy See, and in verbally violent attacks against the presumed small group of “traitors” within the Institute. Finally, one must not forget that the old Mass continues to be authorized in churches under the care of the Franciscans of the Immaculate where there are stable groups of faithful that desire to attend that form of the Mass, as per the provisions of Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum.

—Andrea Tornielli

State the Obvious and then Duck

Dr. Tracey Rowland recently spoke at the “Sacra Liturgia Conference” in Rome to the great approval of those attached the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  But she also made the mistake of suggesting that there are some obstacles to a wider attendance of that form of the liturgy due to problems among those who regularly attend:

Continue reading

Taming the Holy Spirit?

Pope Francis is in continuity with Pope Benedict on the matter of having the Church press forward in the light of Vatican II.  First, Pope Benedict draws a direct correlation between the “traditional innovations” of the Franciscan Order which were misinterpreted by heretical Franciscans and defended properly by St. Bonaventure, and the difficulties of postconcilar implementation:

At this point it might be useful to say that today too there are views that see the entire history of the Church in the second millennium as a gradual decline. Some see this decline as having already begun immediately after the New Testament. In fact, “Opera Christi non deficiunt, sed proficiunt”:  Christ’s works do not go backwards but forwards. What would the Church be without the new spirituality of the Cistercians, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, the spirituality of St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross and so forth? This affirmation applies today too: “Opera Christi non deficiunt, sed proficiunt”, they move forward. St Bonaventure teaches us the need for overall, even strict discernment, sober realism and openness to the newness, which Christ gives his Church through the Holy Spirit. And while this idea of decline is repeated, another idea, this “spiritualistic utopianism” is also reiterated. Indeed, we know that after the Second Vatican Council some were convinced that everything was new, that there was a different Church, that the pre-Conciliar Church was finished and that we had another, totally “other” Church an anarchic utopianism! And thanks be to God the wise helmsmen of the Barque of St Peter, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, on the one hand defended the newness of the Council, and on the other, defended the oneness and continuity of the Church, which is always a Church of sinners and always a place of grace.

Today Pope Francis has reiterated the necessity to go forward, emphasizing that the Holy Spirit is not subject to anyone’s presuppositions.  This is the Holy Father speaking.  It is his business to discern these matters:

Put frankly, the Pope continued, “the Holy Spirit upsets us because it moves us, it makes us walk, it pushes the Church forward.” He said that we wish “to calm down the Holy Spirit, we want to tame it and this is wrong.” Pope Francis said “that’s because the Holy Spirit is the strength of God, it’s what gives us the strength to go forward” but many find this upsetting and prefer the comfort of the familiar.
Nowadays, he went on, “everybody seems happy about the presence of the Holy Spirit but it’s not really the case and there is still that temptation to resist it.” The Pope said one example of this resistance was the Second Vatican council which he called “a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit.” But 50 years later, “have we done everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council,” he asked. The answer is “No,” said Pope Francis. “We celebrate this anniversary, we put up a monument but we don’t want it to upset us. We don’t want to change and what’s more there are those who wish to turn the clock back.” This, he went on, “is called stubbornness and wanting to tame the Holy Spirit.”

The Pope said the same thing happens in our personal life. “The Spirit pushes us to take a more evangelical path but we resist this.” He concluded his homily by urging those present not to resist the pull of the Holy Spirit. “Submit to the Holy Spirit,” he said, “which comes from within us and makes go forward along the path of holiness.”

Pope Benedict and Pope Francis are in complete continuity here, Benedict emphasizing the balance, avoiding the extremes of an attitude of “the Church is in decline” and “spiritualistic utopianism,” and Francis emphasizing the fact that the Holy Spirit cannot be harnessed or stopped by anyone on the pretext of knowing better than the Church.

I think it is also important to point out that the Holy Father is not vitiating the the dispositions of Pope Benedict in respect to the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy, as long as it is perceived in relationship with the Ordinary Form as “mutual enrichment,” and in respect to the legitimacy and intended fruitfulness of the Council and its reforms.  In any case, the idea of “turning back the clock” did not come from Pope Benedict.

Awsome homily from Pope Francis!

Updated: Antisemitism Cloaked in Lace and Brocade

Rorate Caeli is engaging in one huge piece of hypocrisy with its post entitled: “Our supreme priority is love.”  Dawn Eden has taken RC’s reporting to task because of its use of the opinions of an antisemitic blogger, and now RC accuses her of being an uncharitable ideologue.

RC is a clearing house for every spiteful opinion on the postconciliar Church, and no one is exempt as a target, including Pope Benedict, who now RC claims as their great ideal—the man who reached out the SSPX in charity and has been despised by the progressives for doing so. Now RC claims to share in the Pope Emeritius’ persecution because like him, RC is a the promoter of pastoral charity towards those most marginalized.  Like Pope Benedict, RC wants “to educate with love.”

What?

Continue reading

The Spirit of Summorum Pontificum

In this essay I continue to register my thoughts on traditionalism and liturgy, specifically with a discussion of the expressed motives for Pope Benedict’s promulgation of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum.  After this post I plan to take up where I left off with my “Traditionalist Sleight of Hand” essay.

The current biformity of the Roman rite, established formally by the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, is a reality that has existed and has been spoken about as such by Joseph Ratzinger for many years.  He has said numerous times that the old form, that is, the Extraordinary Form, was never abrogated.  However, the Motu Proprio establishes by way of “universal law” this biformal liturgical discipline, presumably, attempting to stabilize, at least for now, this condition as the liturgical status quo:  two forms, one ordinary, the other extraordinary.  The motives for this have been variously interpreted, and it seems to me that something parallel but antithetical to what happened in regard to the interpretation of the documents of the Second Vatican Council has happened in respect to the text of Summorum Pontifcum.   I hope to make this clear as well as suggest a sound alternative. Continue reading