Wednesday, 12 August 2009

More on Archbishop Nichols' Foreword

The New Liturgical Movement has published the full text of Archbishop Nichols' Foreword to the booklet for the Merton training conference. They also offer some sensible observations on the Archbishop's words. Having seen the full text, there is nothing I would particularly change in my post Catching up on the latest Tablet nonsense. The Tablet have used the Archbishop's text to attempt to enlist him to their own opposition to the usus antiquior.

James Preece disagrees, seeing the Archbishop's words as throwing his weight around and putting the smackdown on traditionalists. He particularly points to the part where the Archbishop says:
In both the teaching and law of the Church it is the bishop who has responsibility for the provision and oversight of the Liturgy.
But not only is that true, it is actually to be found affirmed in Pope Benedict's letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum which says:
In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese
The Holy Father goes on to say,
Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.
There is one point the Archbishop's Foreword that is open to discussion and clarification. He says:
The view that the ordinary Form of the Mass, in itself, is in some way deficient finds no place here.
Shawn Tribe compares this with Pope Benedict's point in the letter quoted above: order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.
We cannot totally exclude celebrating according to the new books as a matter of principle. Nevertheless there are communities who, with the approval of the Holy See, exclude using them in practice.

If Archbishop Nichols' words are taken to mean that nobody may make any criticism of the newer form of the rite, then that would have to be put against some well-known passages of the writing of Cardinal Ratzinger, for example:
The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication.They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.
But Cardinal Ratzinger always recognised the validity of the newer form and its value and holiness, and so must we. In that sense there is no place for finding the newer form deficient.

With regard to Archbishop Nichols, both James Preece and Jackie Parkes have consistently drawn attention to the problems inherent in the PSHE programme "All That I Am" which was approved by him when Archbishop of Birmingham. James has now posted a video clip from the programme on YouTube and commented on it. Jackie has offered her own comments with quotations from the magisterium:

Post from Catholic and Loving It
Post from Catholic Mom of 10 Militant

I agree with them both that there are problems with "All That I Am" and I understand their grave concern as parents. I hope that an alternative Catholic PSHE programme might be produced in the near future that is fully in accord with "The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality."
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