instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, July 09, 2007

The view D+2

There was a somewhat confused announcement at Mass yesterday, to the effect that we will await direction from Archbishop Wuerl in regards to Summorum Pontificum, but that the whole thing seems to hinge on having a priest who knows enough Latin, and at the moment we're fresh out of those in our parish.

One person clapped, which I thought was an odd reaction. Were they expecting mandatory re-education camps?

But odd reactions to all this aren't exactly extraordinary, if that's the word I want. If, as has been suggested, those who feel the attraction of the 1962 Missal "may not be treated any longer like the nutty aunt in the attic," that doesn't mean none of them are nutty. Within hours of its release, the motu proprio had been weaponized by what I can only call "Spirit of Summorum Pontificum" types, who have proven as adept as anyone at imposing their own preconceptions in place of what the documents really say.

For myself, I am not as sanguine as the Pope on how unfounded the fear is of division within parish communities -- though perhaps a more founded fear is of the legitimization of a division that already exists, as Michael Liccione suggests. I suspect it will be a rare problem, but a very serious one for those parishes where it does occur, and I don't envy the parishioners, pastors, or bishops who have to deal with it.

The Pope writes that such situations will be improved by the "charity and pastoral prudence" of the bishops. Which... well... I suppose no human enmity runs so deep it can't be filled in with the help of prayer and fasting.

Be that as it may, I think this statement by the director of the Vatican press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, is a nice summary of the Pope's broader hope:
The Pope wishes that the coexistence of the two forms of the rite will lead both, not to oppose each other, but to mutually enrich each other, on one side through a greater depth of sacrality, and on the other side through a greater variety and expressiveness of elements.
Taking a cue from what the Pope wrote about "omissions on the part of the Church [having] their share of blame for the fact that ... divisions were able to harden," I'd say the important thing is not whether those who might object to a greater depth of sacrality or to a greater variety and expressiveness of elements are nutty aunts, but that they be treated like aunts rather than nuts. That calls for wide hearts indeed.