Some hostile reactions to the Motu Proprio

Source: FSSPX News


In Le Monde of July 7, Henri Tincq set out to explain the attraction of France to Tradition by an analysis, more political than religious, of the situation, for “with the traditionalists, the rite is never far removed from politics.” Faced with “the nostalgia for the rite in the old way” who consider “‘the Rome of Neo-Modernist and Neo-Protestant tendencies’ and popes like Paul VI and John Paul II as the gravediggers of Catholic tradition, the journalist of Le Monde set himself as the defender of those “who, since the 19th century, have tried to attune Catholicism to modern times.” – It seemed to us that the Church should first of all be attuned to her founder, Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever! And what can we say for a Church attuned to a modern world in crisis? She herself can only be in crisis!

 “This is why,” Tincq wrote, “the Church of France, whose working-priests and avant-garde theologians had been reduced to silence by Pius XII, was ready to welcome the prodigious renewal of Vatican II. And the very ones who had been censured became the inspirers of the reforms, changed the Catholics’ outlook on the modern world, made possible a more collegial functioning of the Church, admitted the right of every man to religious liberty and freedom of conscience, opened an era of dialogue with the other Christian denominations, with the Jews and the Muslims.”

 And he concluded: “No one will reproach Pope Benedict XVI for desiring to bring back to the fold the “lost sheep”, yet, how can we not fear that a fraction, even if only a minority, of the traditionalists – ‘the Catholic Resistance’ – may try to regain places of authority in Rome, in the French clergy, and to twist the best Catholic decisions of the last forty years?”

 On July 7, the on-line editorial of Golias under the title: The Return of the Mass in Latin, was running along the same lines. “The Negro in the Woodpile” as it defines itself, proposed the critical analysis of Christian Terras and Romano Libero who see in the Motu Proprio the clear desire of a “pure and hard-line Catholicism which the Pope is imposing on all”: “The text amounts to a condemnation, of a rare severity, of the “abuses” which followed the Council. In Joseph Ratzinger’s mind, obviously, the Paul VI Missal in its present state, if it is not heretical, is nevertheless not satisfactory. The pope has not forgotten his long-cherished project of a reform of the reform in a traditional sense. (…)

 “From the viewpoint of the history of today’s Church, this day is as significant if not more significant than the day of the election to the throne of Peter of Joseph Ratzinger. Catholicism is definitely entering a new era. The sovereign authority seems to be breaking definitively with the policy of compromise of Paul VI, and partly also that of John Paul II, even though a desire for restoration was looming more and more clearly on the horizon. (…)

 “Thus is end put to an end a debate on the post-conciliar period, and maybe also the utopia of an innovating and audacious ecumenism. We will not go so far as to speak of a posthumous victory of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. But, we are now convinced that the door to a certain spirit of the Council is definitely closed in Rome, and it will require a veritable miracle for it to open again.”

 Favoring also the thesis of a traditional plot, the weekly Témoignage Chrétien, on July 5, published its editorial in Latin with the title: “Ite, duæ missæ sunt!”. With contempt, bitterness and irony, it strove to prove the maneuver of the Vatican, and more precisely of the traditionalists, to close today the window opened onto the world by the Council.

 “In plain words: what worries the conciliar faithful, to whom we belong, is neither the Latin, nor the censers, nor the altar bells, but the outlook on the exterior world of most of the defenders of the traditional rite. The rite of Pius V was that of a Church which thought she was the only one to possess the Truth. 40 years after Vatican II, such a position is untenable. Unless we want to relativize – what a paradox this is for Benedict XVI – the fundamental contributions of this same council: positive outlook on mankind, recognition of the role of the laity, openings towards other religions, all that is gone… Whatever may be said, whatever conditions may be laid down for the establishment of this bi-ritualism: the traditionalists have won the day. They are in the stronghold. They already find a hearing in Rome. Tomorrow, they will lord over the French bishops. Good luck to all those who, like Témoignage Chrétien, will resist!”

 In Italy, Bishop Luca Brondolini of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorso, and a member of the liturgical commission of the Italian Bishops conference, answered the questions put to him by the daily La Repubblica of July 8: “This is a day of mourning not only for myself but for the many persons who labored for the Second Vatican Council. This reform for which many worked at the cost of great sacrifices, and inspired only by the desire to renew the Church, is now buried. (…) I cannot hold back my tears. This is the saddest time of my life as a man, as a priest, and as a bishop. (…) The pastoral ring I wear was that of Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the father of the conciliar liturgical reform. During the council, I was his disciple and collaborator. I was close to him when he worked on that reform and I can remember how passionately he labored for the liturgical renewal. Now all his labor is made void. (…) I will obey, because I love the Holy Father. I have for him the same sentiment as those of a son for his father. And, as bishop I am bound to obey.”

 In Canada, Le Journal de Montreal of July 8, published an article entitled “A turning back?” The author, Vincent Larouche, challenged the faithful – through the declarations of two priests – to understand Latin, and consequently the parish priests to fill up their churches:

 “Outraged by the pope’s decision to rehabilitate the traditional Mass in Latin, yesterday the “bloquiste” MP and ex-parish priest Raymond Gravel warned Québec Catholics against this concession to the religious ‘fundamentalist and traditionalist’. Yesterday, Benedict XVI published a text authorizing a wider recourse to the traditional Mass in Latin, whose usage had been severely restrained after the Council in 1965. ‘The return of Latin is not right, that is, a Mass which is said facing a wall rather than facing the people in the church… It is the Mass of my childhood’, deplored the MP of Repentigny. (…)

 “According to him, the pope’s new document is born of a conception of the Mass too addicted to the past. It is a negative vision which concentrates only on the death and sacrifice of Jesus, he said, when we should rather be speaking of the resurrection and the celebration of this resurrection.

M. Gravel, well-known as a rebel and a protestor within the Québec Church, added that the new measures taken by Benedict XVI would not help priests to fill their churches. “Instead of wasting our energy on that, it would be better to improve our celebrations because at times they are really not worth much,” he exclaimed. (…)

 “According to Maurice Vanier, priest and ex-parish priest of Saint-Marcel at Pointe-aux-Trembles, the new measures announced by the pope are especially aimed at a minority of Catholics who have never accepted the change to the vernacular in the Mass.

‘It is meant for people who had been troubled by the change of language and by the fact that the priest started to talk to the people instead of talking to the wall,’ he said. ‘For new Catholics it does not mean much, and that is why this will not go very far’, he said.”