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A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

September 18, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things.
First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in Vatican II. When it comes to all matters Vatican II there are the documents of the council itself which can easily be read in the light of tradition. But there are also other documents issued by committees which took matters a step further and opened the way to what some call “the spirit of Vatican II.”
This so-called “spirit” is in some cases an initiative for rupture from tradition. Pope Francis’ support for Vatican II causes some ambiguity because in his comments and actions it is sometimes hard to tell whether he wishes to adhere to the documents of the council itself or whether he intends or allows the rupture in the name of Vatican II to continue to spin out of control.
In recent years, under the leadership of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, there has been an attempt to make a distinction between tradition and rupture in the process of implementing Vatican II, and to make clear that anything done in the name of Vatican II must also respect certain principles of tradition.
Yes, the Church must always read the signs of the times and the changing needs of, and challenges facing, men and women in every age. The word of Scripture in the teaching of Christ charges us with doing this. But the Church accomplishes her mission in Christ by shedding light on the changing things of the world by proclaiming the unchanging truth which Christ is and who comes through the Church in word and sacrament. This is the particular service which the Church of Jesus Christ renders to the world until the end of time.
A confusion between being “in the world” but “not of the world” can result in the inversion of the Church’s life and mission. We are saved by grace through faith. Betrayal of the faith is not only a betrayal of Christ but also of our own eternal salvation.
Magnum Principium furthers Pope Francis’ stated objective of decentralizing the Church. He does so by giving approving authority to local bishops over crafting the language into which liturgies are translated from Latin and prayed in various places around the world. This accelerates his dedication to furthering ideas promoted as part of Vatican II, including vesting more authority in local bishops and furthering the project of using languages other than Latin for Mass and other rites.
Vatican II created the concept of conferences of bishops. While this way of coordinating the efforts of the bishops has enabled the doing of great good, it has also served to create an inimical climate for the traditional role of each bishop as a teacher in his own right.
The hesitancy of some bishops to speak out in situations of danger for their flocks, such as in the case of self-proclaimed Catholic politicians who both manifestly persist in promoting abortion, the redefinition of marriage, and other moral evils in violation of God’s law and still receive Communion, has caused untold damage to the Church and jeopardized the salvation of souls through the scandal condemned by the Lord Himself.
Bishops who atypically and incautiously spoke out as teachers without waiting for the USCCB apparatus to grind out a document through its bureaucratic process have at times been ostracized and punished.
One need only study the abruptly aborted American career of Raymond Cardinal Burke to observe how bishops who vigorously and courageously take up the pastoral staff to unhesitatingly defend their flocks from evil can be very quickly expelled from the episcopal “Sanhedrin.”
Many good men and women dream of an ecumenical future where all who believe in Christ can come together in the most important aspect of unity: the prayer of the Lord Himself in the Mass and reception of the Eucharist. Annibale Bugnini and his fellow travelers were evidently so blindly committed to this cause that they promoted numerous errors in their leadership of the effort to refashion the Mass.
The change agents understood well that it would not in fact be the documents of Vatican II that would determine the direction of the Church, but how the people pray that would determine what they believe and do.
If the people of the Church were to become ecumenically minded as change agents for the unification of all Christians, well, then the liturgy itself had to be re-crafted to be itself ecumenical. “Lex orandi, lex credendi,” the saying goes, that is, “the law of prayer is the law of belief.” Dusty documents on library shelves that people may or may not read will not have nearly the same influence over their lives as will the words of their prayers in their books, or casually published on a copy machine, for their use at weekly worship.
The dream of an ecumenical future where we pray and worship together with our separated brethren “that all may be one” animated the spirit of the Second Vatican Council for so many. The necessity of truth as the bedrock of any authentic unity was sometimes conveniently overlooked. The desire to find unity among all who call themselves Christians was the tail that wagged the dog. A committee of outsider ecumaniacs allied around Bugnini positioned themselves to become the voice of the council. They did this by seizing control of the liturgy.
As secretary of the Council for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, Annibale Bugnini went about changing the prayers of the Mass. It isn’t primarily for the reason that we now have four Eucharistic Prayers that error entered into the liturgy. The method was more subtle than that.
Perhaps the Prayers of Intercession, which must be used at every Sunday Mass of the new rite, and which can be written by just about any person in the parish who manages to talk himself into the position of doing so, is the most dramatic example of the ways in which Bugnini’s reforms enabled the proverbial camel’s nose of ecumania to get under the tent. Because of these sometimes home-brewed orations the people can now be forced in church at Mass to pray for any cause, whether Catholic or not, possibly even support for gender ideology.
The further Balkanization of the body of Christ through bowdlerization of Mass is the rock upon which the dreams of the ecumenists will break. They took for granted that the unity of the Church upon which they presumed to build was itself nourished by a unifying liturgy offered in a unifying language. The Traditional Latin Mass was the sign and source of unity as promulgated by the Pope who is charged with the task of “strengthening the brethren,” commissioned to do so by the Lord Himself. See Pius V’s Quo Primum for more on this.
Can a Church which no longer models unity in her greatest charism and public work of the Holy Mass be an effective catalyst for ecumenical unity among all Christians?
Let us pray that Pope Francis’ efforts to decentralize the authority of the Church and to further localize the language of worship will not further cost the Church credibility as both the harbor of truth and unity of faith for all mankind.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

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