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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Standard Measure of Catholic Liturgy

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Translation of original article on the universal indult for the Latin Mass.



Benedict XVI has achieved it. The Pope who came from Luther’s country will re-permit the Latin Mass. The re-permission of the old Latin Rite of 1570 by Benedict XVI is due. There is hardly a paradigm for such a reversal in the whole history of the Catholic world. This step will change the Church. The sovereign decision has been accomplished by the rather shy Pope, almost single-handedly, against enormous resistance. Many did not reckon on it, that he would not avoid such a conflict, but that he would unwaveringly decide with only a few Cardinals included in the decision, Cardinals who had thought they had wanted to electing a transitional Pope.

Furthermore, many Vatican staff and clerics of the Roman Curia have not reckoned that the German would plant such a dramatic sign. A catafalque on which the body of John Paul II was laid out in St Peters from 4th-8th April 2005, has not been removed even after two years. The bier was, instead, placed to the front on the right of the Basilica in a side aisle near the tomb of Clement X, behind the organ. Next to this bier, there are plastic chairs stacked up which can be used for placing in rows in the Cathedral if too many people have arrived. The catafalque has been covered with plastic sheeting, as if it is waiting behind the organ only to be taken out again to offer the German Pope his last resting place on earth. The bier behind the organ is, of course, not waiting, but what do those wait for who have hidden it in this baroque junk-room.

This is a question which perhaps irritates only a few of the initiated. There is much more concern on the observation that the Vatican has newly the Apostolic Camera last December. The latter had limited itself to activities in the period after the death of the Pope and the election of his successor. What should the new staff actually do, except to twiddle their thumbs and use the phones on which nobody calls, only for internal gossip?

The self-conscious culture of the Italian “menefregismo” (don’t give a jot!) can be evidenced with many examples of legendary activities, why the powers of insistence which do not wish to change anything are so extraordinarily strong in the Vatican, because what is more Italian than the Vatican. Ex-State Secretary Sodano refuses sternly to leave his service apartment. Tarcisio Bertone to whom this would be allocated as his successor must put up with an stand-by. And on Sunday, three Canons actually elevated quickly once more the Veil of Veronica in silver frame from the plinth of the Veronica column on Sunday at Vespers and everyone knows in the meantime in Rome that it cannot show the old true picture, because it is too large, is not transparent and in no way corresponds of the “Vera Ikon”.



Even Dante would not have dedicated a single line in his Divine Comedy to this piece of material. But what does it matter? Small pieces of evidence are seldom given a chance against age-old traditions in the Eternal City. One could have misconstrued such happenings as a sovereign contempt for reality but this is only conditionally true. There are apparently conditions, as in the old Rome. So it is lamented in the Cantus Firmus and this is in many ways true.

Because the power of the old Rome is in actual fact also in a tenuous and pure adherence. In this milieu, even Joseph Ratzinger had been a foreign body. He was always a preserver and mover, a true conservative and he has become this, even more so, as Benedict XVI. The Pope from Luther’s country resists passionately every firm adherence which in Rome today, as much as in the rest of the world church, is often and paradoxically not conservative, but instead an adherence to the liberal zeitgeist of the last 40 years. The power test was not on staffing decisions, which had been long overdue, but a passionate concern for the old Rite of the Tridentine Mass, which had been forbidden by the reformers and which has now emerged in a big ideological wing of the Church.

Benedict XVI frees the dignified, old Liturgy which Paul VI had abolished and replaced with the stroke of the pen (a Mass that had been developing over many centuries). Benedict has not allowed himself to be influenced by neither the objections of the French nor of the German Cardinals and Bishops, and especially not by the various debates in European newspapers.

He will free the use of the old Mass everywhere and it no longer needs the approval of the local Bishops, who had been the restricting hand, up to now and where a minimum of thirty faithful ask for the Mass, as stated in the Corierra del Siera. This is the sovereign revision of a cultural revolution which the Pope has unwaveringly carried out in the two years he has been in office. If nothing happens to him, his Motu Proprio on the Tridentine Mass will be published as certainly as the amen in the Church, probably in the Easter period.

An accompanying letter to all Bishops is already in preparation. It has been decided. This is not a systems reboot, as is due with a defunct computer. Benedict XVI returns to the Catholic Church her own standard with this liturgy, a standard which from now on can be compared to the 1969 Novus Ordo decisively. The decision has opened the way to a finger-wrestling full of surprises. After all finger wrestling is a Bavarian speciality.


This picture explains as much as anyone needs to know about finger-wrestling
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