19 July 2007

Motu mania

In his 5 Rules of Engagement about the Motu Proprio, Father Zuhlsdorf gently admonished conservative-minded Catholics about getting too uppity about the potential return of Masses said in Latin coming to a parish near you. The reaction of these conservatives, IMHO, was measured and polite. Above the background noise all that was heard was, "Ah, finally."

What I didn't understand was the reaction of some Catholics and others outside of the Church.

Those within the church, including priests and bishops, criticized this move by Pope Benedict as taking us back to the dark ages and undoing all the good that Vatican II had brought about. They whined that they didn't know Latin, didn't like that the priest said Mass with his back to the congregation, along with a bunch of other nonsense that didn't always have anything to do with the Tridentine or "Latin" Mass. It is an ignorant position, probably a result of poor catechesis. You can still say your prayers in English. No one is going to come to your house and force you to attend Mass in Latin. There won't be a quiz.

Outside of the Church, an entire spectrum of people criticized the Motu. It was, heaven forbid, an old Mass, a Latin Mass. It was anti-semitic. According to them, it would make the Catholic Church even more archaic, more out of touch with the rest of civilization. These same people who don't believe a great deal that the Catholic Church teaches and daily ignore its message, were the ones up-in-arms and quick to criticize the Church, not for reiterating that abortion is wrong or that homosexuality is wrong, but for wanting to internally make some changes...or more correctly re-establish something it had pushed to the side. The same people who get all hot and bothered about the Church coming into their homes, didn't see the hypocracy of coming into the kitchen of the Catholic Church and criticising how it wanted to go about its business.

Some within the Church even said there was no desire on the part of Catholics for this Mass, despite a growing voice of faithful pleading for it. According to Pat Buchanan:

"Ever since Pope John Paul II issued his 1988 indult, which authorized, but did not require, bishops to allow the Latin Mass, the number of Catholics requesting the Tridentine rite -- and the number attending -- has steadily grown. Indeed, it was the stubborn resistance of some bishops to allow the Latin Mass to be said that brought a rising chorus of pleas to Rome from the faithful for the pope to overrule a recalcitrant hierarchy and order them to permit the old mass."

And, Mr. Buchanan's response to the claims of anti-semitism:

"Liberal European bishops were said to have fought restoration of the Latin Mass. And, according to The New York Times, Abe Foxman, resident theologian at the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, is about to anathematize the whole lot of us. Declared Abe, speaking ex cathedra for ADL:

"We are extremely disappointed and deeply offended that nearly 40 years after the Vatican rightly removed insulting anti-Jewish language from the Good Friday Mass, that it would now permit Catholics to utter such hurtful and insulting words by praying for Jews to be converted."

What is Abe talking about?

Does he not know that Catholics are required to pray for the conversion of all peoples to Catholicism and Christ? Who duped Abe into thinking this requirement was suspended by Vatican II?

Indeed, if one believes, as devout Catholics do, that Christ and his Church hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, it would be anti-Semitic not to pray for the conversation of the Jews. Even Abe."

Like so many, I'm glad the Motu Proprio was released. There is a longing for accessibility to Mass in Latin. Deo Gratias. Dominus vobiscum. Amen.

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