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Online Edition: October 2008

Vol. XIV, No. 7

News & Views

Pope Explains Summorum Pontificum to French Bishops | PCED Cardinal Comments… | Gregorian Chant and Polyphony Workshop | ICEL Reports Work on Missal Completed | Pro Orantibus: A Day “For Those Who Pray”

Pope Explains Summorum Pontificum to French Bishops

Pope Benedict XVI, in his address to French bishops on September 14, explained the reason for issuing Summorum Pontificum, extending the use of the 1962 Missal.

The matter of celebrating the “old form” of the Mass has been especially controversial in France because of the radical Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), founded in 1970 by the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

In 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre ordained bishops in direct defiance of Pope John Paul II — which led to his excommunication, and to the pope’s Ecclesia Dei Adflicta (The Church of God afflicted), by which he established the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED). The SSPX founder died in 1991, but the group continues its dogmatic rejection of the Second Vatican Council and papal authority. In France the “old Mass” is associated almost exclusively with the SSPX, though several other “traditionalist” associations that were organized later (some formerly affiliated with the SSPX) express loyalty to the Council and to the post-Conciliar popes.

Pope Benedict addressed the French bishops exactly one year after Summorum Pontificum took effect. He explained:

Liturgical worship is the supreme expression of priestly and episcopal life, just as it is of catechetical teaching. Your duty to sanctify the faithful people, dear Brothers, is indispensable for the growth of the Church. In the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, I was led to set out the conditions in which this duty is to be exercised, with regard to the possibility of using the missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) in addition to that of Pope Paul VI (1970).

Some fruits of these new arrangements have already been seen, and I hope that, thanks be to God, the necessary pacification of spirits is already taking place. I am aware of your difficulties, but I do not doubt that, within a reasonable time, you can find solutions satisfactory for all, lest the seamless tunic of Christ be further torn. Everyone has a place in the Church. Every person, without exception, should be able to feel at home, and never rejected. God, who loves all men and women and wishes none to be lost, entrusts us with this mission by appointing us shepherds of His sheep. We can only thank Him for the honor and the trust that He has placed in us. Let us therefore strive always to be servants of unity!

Pope Benedict’s message to the French bishops took place at Lourdes during his apostolic visit to France, September 12-15, in observance of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions at Lourdes. (His addresses to audiences in Paris and at Lourdes during this visit are accessible on the Vatican web site:

www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/travels/2008/index_francia_en.htm.)

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PCED Cardinal Comments…

Two days later, the president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED), Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, addressed a conference observing the first anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. The PCED oversees relations with groups using the older form of the Mass, and has now drafted a document of instructions about how to implement Summorum Pontificum. (The document awaits papal approval.)

In his September 16 comments, the cardinal expressed concern about some people who make what he termed “insatiable” demands for the Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missal. He noted that when their demands are not met, they “go directly to the Internet” with their complaints. “They do not know the harm they are doing”, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos said.

Father Camille Perl, secretary of the PCED, also addressed the conference that took place September 16-18, sponsored by the PCED and an Italian organization, Giovani et Tradizione. Other speakers included Father U. M. Lang, and Father Manfred Hauke, both of whom had addressed the St. Colman’s conference in Ireland (reported in September AB).

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Gregorian Chant and Polyphony Workshop

Discover the timeless treasury of the Catholic Church’s sacred music this October 17-18 at St. Peter Church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This workshop is ideal for music directors, choir members, clergy, teachers, parents, or anyone interested in experiencing our rich heritage of sacred music.

Beginning on Friday, October 17 at 1:00 p.m., Kurt Poterack, a Gregorian Chant expert and choir director from Christendom College, will give you the tools to unlock the “square notes” of chant notation and learn some Gregorian chant, then sing what you have learned together with your fellow workshop attendees at St. Peter’s Vigil Mass that weekend.

You’ll also sing sacred polyphony — motets written with a number of voice parts in harmony — recommended in Church documents after Gregorian chant. Events conclude with a sacred music concert by organist Patrick Burkhart on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Cost is $80 per person including a text, music and some meals. Lodging and other information available online at www.saintpetercatholic.com, or contact Darcy Bunn at 715-343-9007 or e-mail jdbunn@charter.net.

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ICEL Reports Work on Missal Completed

The eleven bishops of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) have completed their translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, September 8-12, the bishops considered texts from the Proper and Common of Saints, Votive Masses, Masses for the Dead, Antiphons, Introductory Documents and Appendixes, and revised these texts in light of comments received from bishops from English-speaking conferences. The completed texts will now be forwarded to the countries where English is used in the Mass, so that the bishops’ conferences can proceed with their procedures for discussion and approval. The end of this procedure is to send the approved (possibly amended) texts to the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) for recognitio (official approval).

At their meeting the ICEL bishops re-elected Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, as chairman, Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, Australia, as vice-chairman, and Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, as treasurer. Bishop Denis Browne of Hamilton, New Zealand was elected secretary. (Bishop Serratelli is chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee for Divine Worship.)

Several guests attended part of the ICEL meeting, including Archbishop Raymond Roussin, SM, and Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, of Vancouver, Bishop Gerald Wiesner, OMI, and Father William Burke, both of the Liturgy Commission for Canada.

Also participating in the discussions at this meeting were Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra, Australia, Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, England, and Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, of Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

Source: Press release from ICEL
e-mail: ICEL@eliturgy.org

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Pro Orantibus: A Day “For Those Who Pray”

The feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, November 21, is the Church’s annual Pro Orantibus Day — “for those who pray”. It is an opportunity for all Catholics to offer special prayers and material support to express gratitude to those men and women who consecrate their lives to prayer in the cloister.

Pope John Paul II established the worldwide observance of Pro Orantibus Day in 1997 as a way to provide support to “the Church’s vanguard on the road to the Kingdom”, and to stimulate interest “in this silent, separated life as a leaven of renewal and of the presence of the spirit of Christ in the world”.

In a 2006 message for Pro Orantibus Day, Pope Benedict compared contemplative monasteries and their silence and meditation to “oases”, and said that such places are “indispensable, like the green ‘lungs’ of a city: they do everyone good, even those who do not visit them and may not even know of their existence”.

The Chicago-based Institute on Religious Life is providing materials to publicize this annual event in parishes.

For information, visit: www.cloisteredlife.com.

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