Friday, January 25, 2008

Salve Regina!


End of the nave altar

Translation of article by Alexander Kissler that appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. German text not on web.
Every year, the Pope sends invitations on the Sunday after Epiphany to the Sistine Chapel. There, on the occasion of the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, he baptises about a dozen newborn infants. Pope Benedict XVI yesterday continued this tradition and broke with another: Unlike his predecessor, and in contrast to his own Masses of 2006 and 2007, Benedict did not allow the painted wooden table into the chapel. The nave altar remained locked away. Instead, Joseph Ratzinger celebrated on the main altar, originally designated for the purpose, directly beneath Michelangelo's "Last Judgement", with the Cross in view and not the congregation.

The Pontiff thereby nourished rumours that he will soon celebrate a Mass in the "extraordinary form", in the Tridentine rite. This is characterized by Gregorian and Latin prayers, Communion on the tongue and the absence of the intercessions - and by the direction of celebration "versus Deum" instead of "versus populum. The community, including the priest looks at the Cross of the High Altar, with the result that during the Eucharist from the benches one sees the back of the celebrant. In interviews and essays, Ratzinger as Prefect of the Congregration for the Doctrine of the Faith supported the idea that this "common orientation of the priest and the people to the Lord". It was "an expression of the cosmic and historical dimension of the liturgy. We orientate ourselves to the future of the world and our history ".

This "tradition of apostolic times" (Ratzinger), Benedict XVI in the Sistine Chapel now integrated into the new Rite, dominant since 1970. into the so-called "ordinary form". This he did, almost exactly half a year after the rehabilitation of the "old Mass" by adopting " Summorum Pontificum "- anyone who understands the post-Conciliar reformed Mass to be modernistic, must not completely return to the Tridentine form, a cautious renewal in the rite of 1970, being possible when one is open to these traditional elements.

Second, Benedict had decided, as said the Communiqué of the Office for Papal Ceremonies in favour of architectural "beauty and harmony" - in a conscious departure from John Paul II. That the Sistine Chapel gained clarity and elegance by the banishment of the wooden table struck one immediately; it would also be in line with Benedict’s understanding, if elsewhere the nave altar disappeared when it disfigured a historical building . And thirdly, the appreciation of the High Altar gives further evidence of the fresh wind of the new master of ceremonies Guido Marini. Since his inauguration last September, he continues the renaissance of the classical liturgy at a pace that under his predecessor Piero Marini would have been unthinkable.

Benedict has placed stakes in a heated debate: particularly in Germany some bishops have given much effort through complicated implementing provisions to go contrary to the meaning of the decree "Summorum Pontificum" . They defend themselves against those spiritual renovations, that Benedict in the decree wishes to put in place through the equality of the Masses. These forces of conservatism, would remove from sight the Mass for the Baptism of Our Lord, a mere liturgical “carry on as before” seen as the wrong solution. To them is also addressed a letter whose publication has been announced for the next few days: The Vatican will in ecclesiastically binding way outline the conditions to be fulfilled for a regular Tridentine Mass and when they are not.

German bishop slams liturgical abuse


Cathcon translation of – Ekelhaft: Moralin in der Epiklese- Disgusting: self-righteousnous at the epiclesis

Whoever has to deal with liturgy everyday, wallows in a swamp - said the Bishop of Eichstaett and that prayers according to the "knitting bobbin model" make him full of rage


Since his time as a young student, the Benedictine bishop of Eichstätt, Monsignor Gregor Maria Hanke, has experienced liturgical abuses when he was outside his monastery to attend church services. Vatican Magazin reports in its January issue.

"Eucharistic prayers using the knitting bobbin model (Cathcon- where threads are drawn together) made him especially angry" - that is to say: prayers written on the evening before, the theological language of which was well beneath the liturgical requirements.

"If you mix self-righteousness into the epiclesis, I find it simply disgusting" - said the former English teacher (Cathcon- he said Disgusting in English to emphasise his point!)

Bishop Hanke finds behind such liturgical experiments “a misdirected endeavour to be as close as possible to the people and the desire to introduce everyday language into the liturgy. " Nothing could be more full of error.

Thereby liturgy is degraded into a mirror, "in which I always consider my own misery."

Moreover, heaven is no longer open. The descent of God "is hampered or prevented”.

Another problem of the "easy messing about" with the liturgy is that the long chain of tradition, in which the priest is joined in the Canon is broken.

So worship and spirituality are ousted through a bad sociology.

Monsignor Hanke was the only German Bishop who welcomed the Motu proprio 'for the re-admission of the old Mass and issued no restrictions for his diocese.

He will not be a darling

Immediately after his appointment as bishop of Eichstaett, Monsignor Hanke called himself a conservative.

At the same time, he is a "green bishop" - as earlier he was a "green abbot" - a favorite of the liberal press.

A determined Christian must not be "the darling of the contemporary world", warns Monsignor Hanke.

The price for a genuine way of life of the Christians was they were marked out from the world.

Liberalisation of the Latin Mass

A valuable aspect of the current papacy, says Moscow Patriarch

Ten years ago Pope John Paul II ordered an exit from pregnancy crisis counseling in Germany.

Cathcon translation of Ein Riss durch die Kirche- a split in the Church

Article by Stephan Köhnlein

Frankfurt / Main, Germany (AP) The issue of abortion is a topic that irritates- especially in the Catholic Church. As part of the legally required pregnancy crisis counseling Catholic institutions issued for years certificates that allowed for abortion free from prosecution. Ten years ago - on 26 January 1998 Pope John Paul II asked the German bishops to exit from this system - the beginning of a lengthy debate, in which the German bishops ultimately had to full into line with the Vatican.

Since 1995, the amended “Abortion” Clause 218 of the Penal Code has applied. This allows for an abortion without legal sanction, if a prior consultation of the pregnant women in an emergency and crisis situation had taken place. The advice is expressly to protect the unborn life.

In his heatedly discussed letter the Pope declared in January 1998, that the issuing of certificates was a shadow over the witness of the Church. In tone, the head of the church at this time notably did not go as far as some such as the Fulda bishop, Johannes Dyba, who lashed out at the certificate as a mere "license to kill" or the then Head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, who accused the German bishops of assisting in murder.

But there were also among the bishops supporters of remaining in the state counseling system such as Hermann-Josef Spital from Trier or from Freiburg, Archbishop Oskar Saier. As an argument for a continuation of the provision is that with the advice many women could be moved to carry their children to full term. Specific advice, even if the result remained open, was thought the best way to protect unborn life. If the advice was not given irrespective of outcome, the women would seek out other advisory bodies.

Even one day after the papal letter, the German bishops agreed that Catholic institutions expected from 1999 to no longer issue licences, but remain in the legally prescribed advice system. The national and regional govermments stressed that the abortion law will not be changed. Some German states said without the certificates, the church counseling bodies would no longer receive state subsidy.

The Chairman of the Bishops' Conference, Karl Lehmann, proposed a counseling letter. This would lay down the advice to pregnant women via one of the church institutions. In early February 1999, in Rome Lehmann submitted his report on the possibilities for further counseling practice, but without personally speaking with the Pope.

A few days later, at the Bishops' Conference in Lingen, Lehmann stressed that he wanted to avoid a split among the ranks of the Faithful. The bishops agree on an advisory and assistance plan for pregnant women. Catholic laity organizations called on the Pope to accept the plan. Also, the Prime Ministers of Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Thuringen sent the Pope a letter, seeking support for the state system respectively.

On 20 May Lehmann held talks in Rome with the Pope, but almost four weeks later, John Paul II invited the German Bishops, from the end of 1999, no longer to issue advisory certificates. The Bishops' Conference then announced that church advisory certificates will be marked that they could not be used for an abortion. The church hoped to continue within the state’s pregnancy crisis counseling.

Regardless of the official Catholic church, laity wanted to continue a pregnancy crisis counseling issuing certificates in conformance with the law. This is why, on 24 September 1999 the association Donum Vitae (Gift of Life) was formed . Today Donum Vitae is found at over 180 locations in the Federal Republic with advice or field centres. Women, men and couples are advised regardless of their nationality or religion

On 20 November, the Pope told the German bishops again in a letter that in the future pregnant women should no longer be issued with any certificate. Three days later, the German Bishops' Conference after a two-day consultative period finally left the pregnancy crisis counselling - with transitional periods of sometimes more than a year.

After 1 January 2001, the Catholic Church did not issue anymore certificates - with one exception: only one German Diocese - Limburg remains following a compromise with the Vatican that they can provide pregnancy crisis counseling until the end of the year.

But on 7 March 2002, the Pope also told this Diocese unequivocally to issue no more certificates. A day later, a visibly drawn Bishop Franz Kamphaus followed this instruction. He had fought with Rome and lost. The Catholic Church has thus completely removed from the German pregnancy crisis counseling scheme.