My Beautiful Wickedness

Maybe I no longer have any right to opine about this…
June 28, 2007, 9:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

But Pope Benedict appears bent on undoing as much of Vatican II as he can. He’s now lifting restrictions on celebrating the Latin/Tridentine Rite Mass, a rite that was made discretionary by Vatican II.

I am trying to see all sides of this. Honestly. The Latin rite is, I’m sure, comforting to some older Catholics. There’s the “catholic” bit of having all priests/parishoners doing the same thing…but I just can’t get behind it. I accept that I cannot, in good conscience, be Catholic any longer. I do not believe key aspects of Catholic theology, after much study and contemplation and struggle to do so. I respect the Church sufficiently to take myself out of the pool, though remaining open to the workings of grace that might return me someday. However, it seems like all the things that I treasure most highly in my early religious education have either been explicitly attacked (liberation theology), curtailed in drastic measure (greater inclusiveness for women in the Church), or undermined for the comfort of cultural conservatives (stepping away from Vatican II).

The immediate post-VatII church was an energetic, positive place to be. Instead of trying to be outside of history (sort of a Sabbath Colonial Williamsburg), the brilliance of John the 23rd’s initiatives was to offer the 20th century something it deeply needed. But now it seems that this retrenchment (maybe reestablishing a “brand identity” — hey, y’all, no worship band here!) seeks to deny that human history bears any relationship to worship practice. Maybe I’ve gone too far down the Protestant road now. I guess I think that worship is not just for the Glory of God, but also to understand oneself and one’s life-worth and to bring one into comforting communion with the Divine. Is it really possible to do that while looking at some guy’s back as he mutters (with incorrect pronunciation) a language that you don’t speak? I guess it is for some people. But it isn’t for me.

And then there is the aggressively bigoted bits of the Tridentine Rite, the parts that bait Judaism and Islam particularly (“perfidis”) . I know that Benedict is peevishly uninterested in ecumenicalism and thinks that if there is to be One Church, it’s by hell going to be his.

This just seems like a wrong-way dictate. The Tridentine Rite has been viewed by conservative US Catholics as a poke in the eye to liberal bishops…if Benedict was looking to strengthen the hand of the bishops (as he has in other rulings), this isn’t the way to go about it. More than that, the US Catholic Church appears to be in freefall. There’s a lack of priests, especially in rural areas. Churches are closing left and right. There are the obvious moral, ethical, and legal problems stemming from the sexual abuse of parishoners. Catholic schools are shuttering. Is now really the time to dig in one’s collective heels and say “yes, YES, by cracky! Now we revert to the Latin Mass on demand!”


8 Comments so far
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perfidis??? dare I ask?

Comment by Nick Dupree

The introductory phrase of the prayer used at Good Friday services in the Tridentine Rite is Oremus et pro perfidis judaeis (or “We also pray for the perfidious Hebrew”).

In the 1962 edition (the one that is most commonly said in the US), here’s the full translation”

Let us pray also for heretics and schismatics: that our Lord and God would be pleased to rescue them from their errors; and recall them to our holy mother the Catholic and Apostolic Church. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise. Almighty and eternal God, Who savest all, and wouldest that no one should perish: look on the souls that are led astray by the deceit of the devil: that having set aside all heretical evil, the hearts of those that err may repent and return to the unity of Thy truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, through all endless ages. Amen.

Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that our God and Lord may remove the veil from their hearts; that they also may acknowledge Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray. (‘Amen’ is not responded, nor is said ‘Let us pray’, or ‘Let us kneel’, or ‘Arise’, but immediately is said:) Almighty and Eternal God, Who dost not exclude from Thy mercy even the faithless Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of Thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, through all endless ages. Amen.

Let us pray also for the pagans: that Almighty God take away iniquity from their hearts: that leaving aside their idols they may be converted to the true and living God, and His only Son, Jesus Christ our God and Lord. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise. Almighty and Eternal God, Who seekest always, not the death, but the life of sinners: mercifully hear our prayer, and deliver them from the worship of idols: and admit them into Thy holy Church for the praise and glory of Thy Name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, through all endless ages. Amen.

Got to remember that the Council of Trent put this thing together in the 16th century, so it’s a real biggoty piece of work.

Comment by bridgett

OY…. This will certainly be interesting….

Comment by Nick Dupree

You were expecting anything different from a guy who chose the papal name Benedict? Reaction is what Benedicts have been doing for a few centuries now.

Comment by nm


Comment by bridgett

It could have been worse. He could have gone for Innocent or Alexander.

Comment by nm

Purely from an outsider’s standpoint the “Innocento” name always cracked me up…

I was glad, as I studied, that the Borgia Pope did not choose it…

Comment by imfunny2

No, he chose Alexander. That’s a sign of territorial ambitions. ‘Innocent’ indicates a desire to play power politics and the intention to control the lives of non-Catholics. Totally different things.

Comment by nm

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