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Ritual Regress

David Wood keeps us up to speed, comparing a few words in the Creed translations (Texas Catholic Herald April 12): “In the new translation those parts assigned to the faithful are changed if greater accuracy is essential to respect the antiquity of the phrases and to more clearly convey the belief and tradition of the Church. God’s self-revelation is given in time and is perfectly and completely communicated by God’s Word, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.”

 

[Having thus declared in terms accepted by almost anyone, Wood immediately applies the modernist twist]: “However, in the early Church, the nature of Jesus and the Holy Ghost was not always agreed upon, resulting in strong disagreements between bishops and even the faithful. The Council of Nicea … sought to address the nature of Jesus Christ and His relationship to the Father.” [Could the fact be better disguised that Nicea condemned the innovative heresy of Arius?] “… Creed expresses our belief in Jesus Christ beginning with His divinity. … not a simple proposition. [?!] As Christians whose faith is rooted in Judaism,” [What has happened to replace our absolute faith in the Revealer?] “we believe in One God. The early Church struggled to explain [!] how we believe in God, the Abba of Jesus AND believe that Jesus was and is God – not another God but One God.”

 

This “struggle” is Scripturally documented. On the first day our faith was ever preached, three thousand converts from Judaism were baptized. (Acts II:41)

 

The Houston Chronicle, April 17, page A19 printed a New York Times article by Laurie Goodstein, which reports wide reaction against projected introduction of improved English translations into “Catholic” ritual. “… thousands of priests in the United States, Ireland, and Australia have objected that the translation is awkward, archaic, and inaccessible.

 

“Although most are resigned to adopting the new missal, some” [unable to accommodate to change] “have mounted campaigns to prevent it from being introduced.”

 

Sean McDonagh, representing 450 Irish clergy, asks the bishops to scrap this text; people will not use it. Nor would he; it breaches everything he knows of theology, anthropology, and linguistics.

 

In the U.S. even those in charge of preparing the way admit that it will require adjustment – “especially for priests, who will have to master complicated new speaking parts” [in the printed text].

 

Benedictine monk Anthony Ruff, head of the music committee of the translation commission: “The problem is not vocabulary … [but] syntax and word order. … sentences too complicated … pronouns so far from their antecedent you can’t even tell what the pronoun refers to.” No such problems attached to the Latin Mass of the ages.

 

The problem may be solved by greater availability in the Houston archdiocese of the Latin mass as modified in 1962. Cardinal Di Nardo has allowed in the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) to establish a parish for which FSSP will raise funds to build a new church on land donated by a local resident.

 

FSSP originated in the departure of six “priests,” one “deacon,” and eight others (seminarians, presumably) from Marcel Lefebvre’s Fraternity of St. Pius X ($$PX or the Congregation of the Acquisition) on his wildcat episcopal consecration of “priests” June 30, 1988. Rome reacted (July 2) with Ecclesia Dei, which reiterates permission to use the 1962 modification, and intends to authorize FSSP.

 

In effect Rome (1) establishes a new haven for those who try to uphold tradition, (2) takes credit for its missionary activity (which violates its own version of ecumenism), then (3) imposes time limits on tradition which it (4) redefines into obliteration. Examine this excerpt from Ecclesia Dei:

 

“Especially contradictory is a notion of Tradition which opposes the Universal Magisterium of the Church possessed by the Bishop of Rome and the Body of Bishops. It is impossible to remain faithful to the Tradition while breaking the ecclesial bond with him to whom, in the person of the Apostle Peter, Christ himself entrusted the ministry of unity in his Church.” (6)

 

So where is the unity? When, in half a century, and where has been a pope eligible by law? Where was Wojtyla’s own respect for St. Pius V’s Quo primum tempore which forbids heedless change in our traditional Missal and guarantees all priests limitless use of that Missal? Is not the offering of that Sacrifice the chief purpose for which they were ordained?

 

What tradition have the five antipopes followed in outlawing and replacing traditional worship of God? In returning to the Tradition of 1962 (valid or not), how have they not also violated the traditional law Quo primum tempore?

 

Now and then we still hear that idiocy: No pope can bind his successor. But for centuries each pope until Montini swore an oath to receive all from his predecessor and pass it unchanged to his successor. All three equally are bound by defined doctrine and Divine Law. Our books teem with both, though many were never formalized until queried.


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