7-7-07 at 7

Today marks the 7th anniversary of the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, which gave priests and faithful wider access to Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missal.

Unfortunately, today in some circles will mark a renewal in the kind of complaining I saw recently on a usually very good blog, which was lamenting the loss of Pope Emeritus Benedict, in a most un-Benedictinelike spirit of grumbling. Some people do seem to be complaining quite a lot that we don’t have the Holy Father to whom we had become, quite reasonably, attached.

I have two responses to this grumbling. First, people would to well to honor the Pope Emeritus by following his example of joyful obedience. The Church is always more than one man, thank God. It has room for each of us, thank God, and for Paul and Apollos and Cephas as leaders.

When the temptation to grumble comes, it might be good to ask: what would the Emeritus himself do? What would he say?

Secondly, it helps to remember that the reign of Pope Benedict XVI was a historical anomaly. Nobody ever gets Pope Benedict XVI. We did. We had him for years and years. No one ever gets a Holy Father who is a patristic, biblical and liturgical scholar, with the depth of knowledge of the Church’s needs that can only come from heading the CDF for decades, who asked Santa Claus for a book of liturgical commentary at the age of seven, who made courageous and difficult decisions throughout his career, who is a teacher by nature, and a musician, whose reflective personal style is almost itself liturgical, and whose every word and action reflect the fidelity of a disciple. No one since probably the year 604 has ever had this kind of Holy Father–and we had him for years.

Decades from now, when the elderly Ben Yanke is tenderly sending off his 45th great-grandchild to schola for the first time, he or she will ask, “Great-grandpop, do you remember what Pope Benedict was like?” And Ben will be able to say yes, and he will tell the child the story of Summorum Pontificum, and once again from his heart say, like so many do today, Thank You, dear Holy Father.

11 Replies to “7-7-07 at 7”

  1. Intellectually I know that the Faithful aren't really called to "hitch their wagons" to one particular Holy Father over another for whatever reason. But OTOH, a unique fondness and recognition of the unique charisms of the man who occupies that incredible office cannot possibly be a bad thing. And if such an appreciation for one pope's effect and example to all is shared by some, then the fabric of Christianity itself is the more rich for that.
    EPB16 will always occupy a spot in my heart as "Pope of my lifetime."

  2. Not only did we get Pope Benedict, we got Cardinal Ratzinger too, for years and years when he was the leading intellect of the Pope John Paul's Curia and made himself heard and respected.

  3. Thank you Kathleen and Charles for your tribute to Pope Benedict. He is a marvelous work of God, at once immensely strong and infinitely gentle, a supreme intellect, with a courageous heart who yet radiated profound humility, with an open mind, an open heart and an open hand. He was a holy teacher, a holy father and a sterling Bishop and Pope.

  4. HVO, I think you have entirely missed the point and thrust of Kathy's article.

  5. Sure, that must be why there are now almost 30 EF Masses a week throughout my diocese. That was definitely happening before SP. Not.

    Seriously: it may be more difficult than before, but Pope Benedict has still given a lasting gift to the church.

    Also, you missed the entire point of Kathy's article.

  6. Charles and Ben, thanks for the backup. You guys are wonderful friends.

    I think HV Observer saw the point of my article, but disagrees, which is fair.

    I don't know why New York is so limited in TLMs. Since you can't helicopter to daily Mass in Wisconsin or here in Arlington, the local perception is a real and concrete matter, and I'm sorry to hear that the EF Mass is still locally unavailable for so many.

    Regarding the FFI, as I've mentioned here before, the internal problems of new religious communities these days often, if not normally, require intervention and help. This help will not always please everyone. I don't think we (or at least I) know anywhere near enough about the FFI to make any kind of judgment about the situation.

    Today we celebrate the promulgation of our Holy Father Pope Francis' brand new motu proprio, on a completely different subject, but one of vital importance to the Church. So I think we should all be showing respect and appreciation.

  7. Not at all. The determination to roll back the achievements of SP to zero, and to suppress it even further, remains strong, and (I regret to say) is encouraged by the actions of this pontificate.

  8. I thank Kathy for her kind words, and may I mention my admiration for her work. Her "Hymns" talk from the CMAA a few years back — the one with "Grace and Merit" — has an honored place on my iPod Mini.

    There are only 13 listed TLMs in the Archdiocese, according to WikkiMissa. That's out of 400 or so parishes. Four of the 10 counties in the Archdiocese have no TLMs, and three of the largest in area have only one.

    The main reason for this: Hostility from "Ten Eleven" (the Archdiocesan offices on Second Avenue in Manhattan).

    When SP came out, there was an online petition with a simple request: St Patrick's Cathedral – Christmas Midnight Mass – Extraordinary Form. It got 475 signatures from all over the world. Many of the comments (you can see them at the link) were heartfelt.

    It didn't happen. It is understood that the Rector nixed it.

    Things have not improved since then. The signals that they are getting from Rome (that I mentioned above) only encourage them.

  9. UPDATE: Hat tip to Father Z about this:

    "The Week" has "In defense of Pope Benedict and the Latin Mass" which describes the status of the TLM in the Archdiocese of New York during the reign of Cardinal Egan.

    "In the New York Archdiocese as then ruled by Cardinal Edward Egan, the offense of saying this Mass and publishing tracts in its favor was treated as a far more serious crime and scandal than clerical pederasty. Cardinal Egan suspended my Poughkeepsie priest, and effectively exiled him from the life of the church. Priests who knew about the situation observed darkly that if he had raped children instead of saying this Mass, his career would have been better off.

    "The modus operandi then was that these Latin Mass people — "the crazies," as they were called in the archbishop's office — should be contained in Saint Agnes in midtown Manhattan or in a few obscure parishes along the Hudson River. Egan was all too happy to see that Poughkeepsie parish closed and the building sold. He smudged us out like a penciled mistake."

    I repeat — the determination to roll back SP remains strong, and the actions of the current pontificate encourage it.

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