Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Other War

I was ignoring these stories until something definitive broke. I first saw it on Rorate that the Holy Father was going to give approval to the liturgical wackiness of the NW. What a difference seven or so years can make. This is the same group that Pope Benedict chastised a while back for this same weirdness. From the looks of things, they are still doing exactly what got them into trouble before. Only now, they aren't getting sanctioned for doing so.

But are they getting approval? Who knows? In yet another stunning example of the Church's unwillingness to speak clearly about things, we see the following report, again from Rorate:

A moment ago, the Decree was read with the approval of the celebrations present in the "Catechetical Directory of the Neocatechumenal Way", which are not strictly liturgical, but are part of the itinerary of growth in the faith. It is another element that shows to you how the Church follows you with attention in a pacient discernment, that she understands your richness, but also takes care for communion and harmony in the whole Corpus Ecclesiae...

The celebration in the small communities, regulated by the Liturgical Books, that are to be followed faithfully, and with the specificities approved in the Statutes of the Way, has the goal of helping those who walk on the neocatechumenal itinerary realize the grace of being inserted in the salvific mystery of Christ, who makes possible a Christian testimony capable of also assuming signs of radicalness.

I have no idea what any of this actually means. It sounds like something was approved. But what? Fr. Z has tried to parse the language in as positive a manner as possible, focusing mostly on the "which are not strictly liturgical" part and the text of the decree which says that the approved celebrations are those "contained in the Catechetical Directory of the Neo-Catechumenal Way which are not, by their nature, already regulated by the liturgical books of the Church."

Ok, so maybe their liturgy wasn't approved. But something was, and as the folks at Rorate point out, that's all the NWs were really looking for. This will be flung around for years now as an official Vatican thumbs-up for whatever disco liturgies the whack-jobs out there can think of.

If I may, though, this is only part of the story. Consider these other items, also from Rorate, especially that last one. The Extraordinary Form continues to proliferate, with South Carolina having an additional two priests offering it and France being blessed with a fourth personal parish in France that is exclusively for the EF. Look again at the last story linked, though:

For the first time in decades, a cerimoniere pontificio - Monsignor Marco Agostini, an official in the State Secretariat who has also been since June 2009 in the staff of the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, headed by Mgr. Guido Marini - celebrated the Traditional Mass publicly. It took place yesterday in the Personal Parish of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, the parish entrusted to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) in the Diocese of Rome.

This is kind of a big deal. Not on par probably with the NW news, but still a big deal. I think all this points to a major conflict going on behind the scenes among the players in the Vatican. The Pope, unfortunately, looks to be boxed in on several fronts. It's all very Windswept House, I'm afraid. At this point, the Holy Father might not have the energy to keep up with all the different currents going on. I hope it's not true, but I have no other explanation for such radically different initiatives coming out of Rome all at the same time.

Pray for the Pope. Pray for the bishops. Pray for the priests and religious.

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