Friday, October 31, 2014

The New Mass & "Paschal Mystery"

So what is the deal with traditionalists, the new liturgy, and the "Paschal mystery?" Fr. Zed has recently posted several things that indicate Cardinal Muller and Bishop Bernard Fellay are still talking with some regularity and that hopes for "reconciliation"—whatever that would mean—are not necessarily dashed with Francis' papacy. One commenting reader said on several of these posts that the FSSPX must accept something called "the Paschal mystery" in order to be reconciled. What is the Paschal mystery? 

To the best of my knowledge, Lefebvre's Fraternity does observe the Resurrection on the Sunday after Holy Week. No internet search yields clear results as to what the Paschal mystery is, but it does reveal a few articles from the Fraternity's website and another elsewhere by Fr Peter Scott about the problems of "Paschal mystery" theology in the Pauline Mass. The objection seems to be that the "Paschal mystery" is too focused on God's love and kindness, too little how offended He is by sin and demanding of propitiatory sacrifice to placate Him. The last part of this is a very sore spot for traditionalists whose view of tradition narrowly corresponds 19th and early 20th century Catholicism. Session 22 of Trent was crystal clear that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead. People do seem to forget why. If the Mass is an anamnesis of Calvary, the same sacrifice of the Cross is the sacrifice of the Mass. It was a sacrifice for our sins which is made present again on numerous altars throughout the world daily. Calvary was an act of love. We are not Puritans who are aroused by the likes of Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God, a God so offended by sin that He dangles over the fires of hell as a spider dangles from his thread. The reduction of God's hatred of sin to a debt repayment alone, ignoring the proactive love of God the Father, gives one the impression that God is infinitely offended, that we have an enormous debt to pay, and that Jesus was the only one who could pay it. Why is the need to make reparation to the Father and to do penance in contradiction to God's love? Why are the two exclusive to each other? While certain prayers of the Mass do emphasize propitiation (the Roman offertory, the Placeat tibi at the end of Mass), a greater number of the orations emphasize love, teaching, and forgiveness. Liturgically, the Church's mind is that the two are inseparable, neither contradictory nor separate things.

The Eastern rites are far more Paschal than the Latin rites. In the Byzantine tradition, the troparion and kantikon on most Sundays is about the Resurrection. During the equivalent of the Preface, the celebrant says "You brought us from nothingness into being, and when we had fallen raised us up again, and left nothing undone until You brought us to heaven and granted us Your future kingdom." The nearest thing to propitiation in the Greek tradition might be "We offer You Your own from what is Your own, from all and for the sake of all." If we are to apply St. Vincent of Lerins' test that for something to be a teaching of the Church it must be believed always, everywhere, and by everyone, the idea of the Eucharist as an exclusively, or even primarily, act of propitiatory satisfaction fails. Canons I and III of Trent, session 22, condemn the idea that the Mass is a human act of praise that does not have sacrificial value to God, which is absolutely heresy. To limit our understanding to a condemnation though is narrow if not dangerous.

Again, not knowing much about the "New Theology" in vogue during the Pius XII and Paul VI years, I cannot comment of the "Paschal mystery," but as a Catholic I can say something about the exclusion of love from the focus of the liturgy. Perhaps this "Paschal mystery" idea was a Trojan horse to water down the sacrificial aspects of the Roman Mass and the inconvenient difficulties of judgment, sin, and hell. If so, commentators should write with more perspective.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Why does Halloween give all stripes of Catholics the heeby jeebies? Given the diversity of opinion among "Catholics" on fundamental matters like sexuality, doctrine, and the Sacraments, I am surprised never to have met in person a Catholic in favor of Halloween.

We know Trads do not like Halloween, given the absence of it (All Hallows' Eve) in the 1962 kalendar. Other Catholics do not like it either. I remember in October of 2010, when I was acting as a friend's Confirmation sponsor at University, the feminist who favored female "ordination" who taught RCIA gave everyone a copy of some biweekly flyer as a means of instruction (this was the method of instruction every week.... a four page pamphlet....). That particular week's was about how Catholics should reclaim Halloween by dressing up at St Thomas More and holding a fake head under one's arm!

Personally, I could not care less. Unlike other pagan practices such as Yoga and Hindu meditation, the non-Christian religious aspects of Halloween have gradually disappeared, at least here in the United States. Hindu meditation requires one to get in touch with one's inner "chakra." Dressing up as the Headless Horseman does not. Some stranger practices, like the Mexican Día de los muertos, do retain pagan aspects of ritual. In the Mexican ritual, one builds altars for the deceased and offers them food. This goes much further than lighting votive candles. 

Were I married with children, I am not sure I would be trick-or-treating with my children, but I doubt I would be very bothered by others doing so.

Western Orthodox

One reader asked a while back what my opinion is of the Western Orthodox experiment started some time about a decade ago. The truth is I have no opinion other than that the project is probably aimed at Anglicans and those in groups outside of communion with one of the ancient patriarchates. Liturgically they are quite scattered: there is a Hellenized "Liturgy of St Gregory" (Tridentine Mass with Greek bits popped in), the "Liturgy of St Tikhon" (Tridentine Mass with the anaphora of St John Chrysostom swapped for the Roman Canon), and a Hellenized Sarum rite. Some publishing house called St Hilarion Press also produces less Hellenized Sarum texts that I own and occasionally consult, although there are differences (no prayers for the pope, no filioque in the Creed). In America the Russians and the Antiochians were the primary movers. The project has generally stalled in the USA, although there is a Western Antiochian parish in Fort Worth, TX, ironically named St Peter's. I am acquainted with one former Episcopalian who became Orthodox via the "Western" path, but quickly switched to the mainstream Byzantine Orthodox setting.

If any readers have comments about the Western Orthodox endeavor or any experiences to share, they are more than welcome. I have little to contribute on the topic.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Perpetuis Futuris

John R and the Maestro have offered two articles on the bull Quo primum tempore well worth reading here and here. What they write is a liturgically driven objection to the reason most traditionalists given for opposing the Pauline liturgy, that it violates the Pian bull, and instead they make the case that the older liturgy more perfectly reflects the Catholic tradition and the Catholic concept of tradition. 

Like John R and the Maestro, I rather doubt anyone really thinks Quo primum tempore is an inviolable dogma or irreformable act of legislation that no future pontiff can change. The liturgy has always and everywhere been subject to variation and the pope, as the bishop of Rome, can alter the Roman liturgy. Some other influence must dissuade a pope from fiddling with the Church's worship than a pseudo-dogmatic bull. Does anyone doubt Guiseppe Sarto was pope? He violated the bull Quod a nobis, issued by the same St Pius V two years before Quo primum tempore and which uses the exact same language in restricting alteration and threatening punishment upon agents of change. Every kind of traditionalist from the "continuity" crowd to the sedevacantists accept the 1911 reform and the papacy of Papa Sarto. It would be intellectually inconsistent to reject the Pauline liturgy while accepting the Pian reforms. 

Another issue is that of language. Phrases in Quo primum tempore like "we declare and ordain" are often associated with the language of papal definitions and have been since Vatican I. This is understandable now that such language is restricted to binding pronouncements, but it was not always such. This kind of language can be found in any number of papal and conciliar documents from past times whenever a pope, bishop, or council wanted people to follow a given idea or program. It was not necessarily dogmatic teaching. How can a document publishing a book be dogmatic? Also, phrases such as perpetuis futuris and ad perpetuam are often translated as "forever" and "in perpetuity," which carry a strong weight in English. Could the actual use of these phrases not mean something more like "indefinitely" or "on-going"? Urban VIII, S Pius X, and Pius XII seem to have felt no scruple about making changes to the existing liturgy and often supplemented their changes with additional documents (OK, Pius X tossed Quo primum tempore equivalent Quod a nobis and outright replaced it). The behavior of the popes seems to confirm a weaker understanding of the original text.

Quo primum tempore and Quod a nobis reflect a larger pattern of centralization that I have discussed in my Reform of the Roman Rite series here and in a post reacting to some of Fr Cekada's ideas here. The real reason to support the old rite, of whatever vintage, is that it is tradition. It is a traditio, a passed-on thing from our ancestors in faith. Local rites arose because our fathers in faith received what the Church had given them and they allowed it to flourish within their own culture and with their own enthusiasm for the faith. They took the Roman seed, planted it everywhere, and watered it until a great tree of tradition grew, with the Roman trunk and many unique branches. The horticulturist managing the greenhouse of the Church can erect a sign reading "No one may ever touch this tree ever", but he has no way of ensuring the next person with his job follows suit. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thoughts on Thinking

".... for her own have fallen away and forsaken her, and while they are leading a false and unbecoming life, other unworthy persons, seeing that she has no kinsmen to be her protectors, enter in and dishonor her; and fasten upon her the reproaches which, as you say, her reprovers utter, who affirm of her votaries that some are good for nothing....
"And when persons who are unworthy of education approach philosophy and make an alliance with her who is in rank above them, what sort of ideas and opinions are likely to be generated? Will they not be sophism captivating to the ear, having nothing in them genuine, or worthy of or akin to true wisdom?" —The Republic, Book VI 

Plato was talking about philosophy, but the original thinker's words could just as easily apply to theology, liturgy, or even intelligent thought in our current atmosphere. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Roman Episcopal Consecration

After our post on Pius XII's toying with the Pontificale Romanum, one reader reminded his Traddiness that within the City of Rome there was a variation that involved the speaking of the prayers before 1950. The consecrating bishop would say or sing the prayers while the co-consecrators would mumble them in a low voice off to the side, reading from their own books. I believe Marko pointed out that in the revised Pontificale shown in our post, the instructions were in the singular rather than the plural. This is because, per the Acta Apostoilicae Sedes of 1950, the co-consecrators did the deed in turn one after another rather than simultaneously. In the clip shown below from the film The Cardinal, which takes place during the years of Pius XI, the pre-1950 Curial practice is portrayed.
From the film Becket, a portrayal of an episcopal consecration in English.
Of course, the Curial Pontificale Romanum would hardly have been
used in 12th century England. Does anyone know if Sarum or York
pontifical books survive?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Who Is....

"Who is John Galt?" Ayn Rand asked in the first two parts of her novel Atlas Shrugged, which William Buckley rightly called 1,400 pages of "ideological fabulism." Since the Synod in Rome, many are asking "Who is Bruno Forte?", the archbishop who penned the notorious paragraphs on divorce and homosexuality which the bishops rejected. The blog Athanasius Contra Mundum has written a post answering that very question.

Spark Notes version: he was reared in the Pacelli Church, ordained after the Council, educated by Kasper at Tubingen, fell under the spell of Cardinal Martini, worked his way into Vatican politics through his German background, played ball during Benedict's papacy, and has now found his place working under Francis.

Tip of the biretta to Mighty Joe Young who referred me to this page. 

No more talk of the Synod!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Belated Anniversary: Last Papal Mass

I meant to post on this yesterday, but forgot in my own negligence. October 18th was a memorable day in the long history of the Roman Church. On that day, fifty years ago, Pope Paul VI celebrated Mass according to the unique rites of the papacy for the very last time. Papal Mass, which synthesized the primitive Roman tradition with the international Gallican praxis, remained virtually unchanged since the age of St. Gregory VII. With a stroke of the pen on September 28th, 1964, Pope Paul, through Inter oecumenici, outdated the form of Mass Abbé Franck Quoex called the standard of the Roman tradition. 

Inter oeumenici—which, among other things, implicitly called for Mass facing the people, priests in visible chairs facing the congregation, bare altars, and a "reform of the entire Ordo Missae" (48)—demanded innovations to the liturgy that made papal Mass impossible. Readings in the vernacular would replace the Greek and Latin singing of the lesson and the Gospel. The omission of the prayers before the altar displaced the reception of the maniple. The singing of the doxology made the use of polyphonic music difficult, which in turn limited other musical options like the Silveri Symphony. The demand for "genuine Christian art" in vesture consigned the papal tat to the closet until Msgr. Guido Marini's tenure began some years back. All the demands of Inter oecumenici had to be met by March 7th, 1965, the first Sunday of Lent. Paul VI, perhaps with some persuasion from the Consilium, "promoted" the papal Master of Ceremonies, Enrico Dante, to the College of Cardinals on February 22nd, 1965, thereby removing him from his place of obstruction.

The canonization of the Ugandan martyrs by Pope Paul VI was the last hurrah for the traditional Roman liturgy for quite some time....

The Introit

The traditional practice of offering the Pope loaves of bread and turtle doves at a canonization.
The assistant priest is Cardinal Tisserant, a controversial giant of Pacellian and Conciliar
Vatican politics. The Eastern clergy are seated close to the pope, which would not have been
the case before the Council, when Cardinals—as supposed extensions of the pope—held
higher places of honor.

The Canon of the Mass. The Greek clergy stand on either side of the Roman subdeacon. Tiaras
and statues of Ss Peter & Paul adorn the altar. The Cardinals surround the altar according to rank,
perhaps a relic of concelebration or perhaps a statement of hierarchy.

The Pope communicates at the throne, being been brought the Sacrament and
the chalice by the Latin deacon and subdeacon. He drinks from the chalice
through a gold straw called the fistula. Only the Pope, the Latin deacon, and
Latin subdeacon communicate.
The Pope drinks the ablutions. The obscured face of that of Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani,
head of the Holy Office/CDF at the time.

After the Mass, Pope Paul declares the martyrs to be saints.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lesser Known Fathers X: Shepherd of Hermas Part II

At some point after the initial visions, the Angel of Repentance explains commandments to Hermas, who, it seems, had begun living a life of genuine repentance after the shocking visits from the Church-woman.

The Commandments

The commandments of the Shepherd of Hermas emphasize a spiritual balance, with God at the forefront and a mind focused on the avoidance of excesses which twist the mind and the soul into the weight of sin.

The first commandment is the First Commandment, to love the Lord God as the only god, He Who "comprehends all things, and is alone incomprehensible," He Who "brought all things out of non-existence into being", a phrase which endures in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy.

The second commandment is to avoid speaking or hearing slander. Instead, clothe one's self with simplicity and be generous.

Third, "Love truth, and let nothing but truth proceed from your mouth, that the Spirit that God made to dwell in this flesh, may be found true in the sight of all men." The Angel's third mandate is a psychological version of lex orandi lex credendi. As one prays, one believes; so as one speaks and acts, one thinks. Lying and misdeeds make one "robbers of the Lord" and alienate one not only from the community of believers, but from God Himself. This last point sends Hermas into disconsolate spirits. The Angel strengthens Hermas neither with self-help tips nor with affirmations of his inner good. Instead, the Angel continues teaching, "it behooves you as a servant of God to walk in truth, and no complicity with evil should abide with the Spirit of Truth," as he segues into the fourth commandment.

Fourth, the Angels relays God's demands for absolute purity and fidelity to Him within the bounds of marriage. Hermas' family lost the faith, either through disbelief, fear of persecution, or some other alienation to which the Angel alluded in the Visions. The spirit of fornication pollutes the heart and is death unto God. Hermas asks if a man whose wife is found in adultery is himself guilty of adultery. The Angel replies that so long as the husband lives with her in knowledge of her sin, he himself is an accomplice to her sin. "Let him divorce her," the Angel of Repentance teaches, "and let the husband abide alone: but if after divorcing his wife he shall marry another, he likewise commits adultery." Should the wife repent, the husband is bound under the pain of sin to accept her back into the marital union.

During the fourth commandment Hermas misspeaks in his assumption that the Lord "held me worthy" to receive special revelations about His value of repentance. The Angel disabuses Hermas of this misperception: "to repent is to understand." Repentance, the return to God, is a great understanding of sin and of God which compels the sinner to avoid sin for ever after. For modern readers, we may think of the immediate availability of forgiveness in Confession. Early Christians were not so easily persuaded with regard to forgiveness. Many thought Baptism should be enough to live a flawless life from the immersion in water until death. Forgiveness of sins after Baptism might be impossible. The Angel says that is not so. Remission of sins belongs to Baptism, but repentance and return to God is still possible for the baptized. This repentance is serious and not to be taken lightly. Repeated and abused repentance reflects insincere repentance and a double-mindedness, the stumbling block to God:
"But I say unto you," he said, "if after this great and holy calling any one, being tempted of the devil, shall commit sin, he has only one (opportunity of) repentance. But if he sin off-hand and repent, repentance is unprofitable for such a man; for he shall live with difficulty."
"Be long in suffering and understanding," begins the fifth commandment, "and you shall have mastery over all evil deeds, and shall work righteousness." Suffering purges one from the temptations and proclivities towards sin in the world, freeing one from sin and leaving one in cheer to serve the Lord. The Christian must avoid the "angry temper" of the devil, opting for the "long suffering" of God. Dwelling in both is, again, the troublesome double-mindedness. Suffering insinuates the heart and protects it against the trivialities and superficial concerns of the world for comforts, foods, and vain affairs.

The sixth commandment is a short parable about an angel of righteousness and an angel of wickedness, whose works in men speak for their causes. Hermas is to take their works at face value and, in accordance with the words of the Lord, to judge actions and works in order to understand them. By their fruits you shall know them, indeed.

Fear the Lord, but not the devil. This is the seventh mandate. One should fear and avoid the works of the devil, but for those who dwell in the Lord, there is nothing to fear of the person of the devil.

The eighth command is to show "no restraint" in doing good and severe restraint in luxury, drunkenness, and the works of evil. The unrestrained good's duty is:
"to minister to widows, to visit the orphans and the needy, to ransom the servants of God from their afflictions, to be hospitable (for in hospitality benevolence from time to time has a place), to resist no man, to be tranquil, to show yourself more submissive than all men, to reverence the aged, to practice righteousness, to observe brotherly feeling, to endure injury, to be long-suffering, to bear no grudge, to exhort those who are sick at soul, not to cast away those that have stumbled from the faith, but to convert them and to put courage Into them, to reprove sinners, not to oppress debtors and indigent persons, and whatsoever actions are like these."
"Remove yourself from a doubtful mind," is the ninth of twelve commandments. God does not bear petty grudges as men do, but loves to multiply His blessings upon His servants. Those who waver in their hearts merit little reward in prayer because their prayer is tepid. For "they that are complete in the faith make all their petitions trusting in the Lord, and they receive, because they ask without wavering, nothing doubting; for every doubtful-minded man, if he repent not, shall hardly be saved."

Tenth, put away sorrow, the "sister of double-mindedness." Sorrow is the worst of the passions of the world because it "destroys a man.... and crushes out the Holy Spirit." Sorrow is doubly crippling to the soul because:
"the sad man is always committing sin. In the first place he commits sin, because he grieves the Holy Spirit, which was given to the man being a cheerful spirit; and in the second place, by grieving the Holy Spirit he does lawlessness, in that he doth not intercede with neither confess unto God. For the intercession of a sad man hath never at any time power to ascend to the altar of God."

The eleventh commandment forbids the consultation of false prophets, who answer empty questions according to the emptiness of the enquirers, always mingling his falsehoods with an iota of truth to mask his duplicity and lend credibility to his advice. The Spirit of God speaks for itself and needs no consultation. Of all things other than the Spirit of God, men should be "aloof."

The final mandate concerns wicked desire and good desire. Wicked desire appeals to sex and luxury, yet it flees at the fear of God, which the repentant man inculcates into his heart.

The Angel then tells Hermas that he will depart. Hermas' nerves get the better of him and he pleads with the Angel's commandments. How can anyone really and thoroughly keep these commandments? The Angel's response, again, is very robust: if you do not believe these commands can be kept, then you will not keep them. If you do believe that they can be kept, then you will keep them. The Angel then quiets his consternation and returns to a more gentle approach. God is a God of strength, whereas the devil can only persuade by means of fear. The Lord's Angel of Repentance is with Hermas—and, presumably, with all who repent—that he may
"make you strong in faith. Trust Godthen, you who on account of your sins have despaired of life, and who add to your sins and weigh down your life; for if you return to the Lord with all your heart, and practice righteousness the rest of your days, and serve Him according to His will, He will heal your former sins, and you will have power to hold sway over the works of the devil. But as to the threats of the devilfear them not at all, for he is powerless as the sinews of a dead man."

The message of the commandments is to keep God at the forefront of a temperate mind, by which the faithful servant will abide in the Lord and avoid sin. Those who ignore the commandments of God or deem them impossible to follow weigh themselves down by their sins and make the works of the devil apparent to the faithful. How relevant Hermas remains to us today.

The last installment will be on the parables.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hilarion: Suppress the Uniates! Rad Trad Agrees!

Russian Orthodox Met. Hilarion Alfeyev continues to amaze in his direct and unambiguous attacks on Western moral decadency. In his recent address to the soap operatic synod in Rome, he emphasized traditional values common to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. He also, again, spent time going after the Ukrainian Catholic patriarchate for dividing Ukraine from its rightful master, Mother Russia, and made known the ecumenical difficulties of "Uniatism" in general:
"And we have to state regrettably again that Uniatism does not bring the Orthodox and the Catholics any closer to each other; on the contrary, it divides us.
On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, I would like to address the representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church present in this hall with an appeal to renounce any statements on political topics and any visible forms of support of the schism as well as calls to create “one Local Church of Ukraine”. For standing behind this call is a simple truth, the wish to tear away the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine from their Mother Church, the Moscow Patriarchate, with which Ukraine has been bound by age-old blood ties."
I am in complete 100% agreement with his excellency! I also agree with his excellency's previous calls for an end to Uniatism altogether. I suggest we begin with the suppression of the Greek Orthodox Uniate Church currently called the "Antiochian Orthodox Church"—formed in reaction to Antiochian Patriarch Cyril VI Tanas' decision to enter communion with Rome. The pro-Russian Ukrainian Orthodox Church—there is a non-Russian Ukrainian Orthodox Church in de facto communion with the Ukrainian Catholics—should also be suppressed and returned to obedience to the archbishop of Kiev, Patriarch Sviatoslav, who then can deal with Moscow on his own accord. True ecumenism requires the end of forfeiting obedience to own's rightful bishops in exchange for political expediency. I am glad our Orthodox brethren feel the same way.

It should also be noted that Hilarion is a wonderful composer.

Lesser Known Fathers X: The Shepherd of Hermas Part I


source: wikipedia
The Shepherd of Hermas is an account that answers two fundamental questions: what is repentance and what is the Church? The length and depth of Hermas' story prompts us to break it into three sections so that we may treat each composite part with due dignity. 

The early Church received The Shepherd of Hermas' prophecy with the utmost respect, reading it both for personal edification and during the celebration of sacred rite. So esteemed was the Shepherd, Ss. Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus of Lyon, along with Origen and Tertullian (before he became a Montanist) considered the Shepherd to be worthy of Holy Writ and included the account in their canons of Scripture. As time passed, the Shepherd's apocalyptic and prophetic elements wore thin, gradually depleting the popularity of the ancient text. Ss. Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome still regarded the Shepherd as worthy reading in the fourth and fifth centuries, but the councils of Rome and Carthage saw the text unfit for the Bible. St. Jerome even recounted that the Greek Christians of the eastern empire persisted in reading the Shepherd during Divine services.

Hermas tells his story of sin and repentance, of the drift away from God and the reunion with Him through His Church. The Shepherd is not the Good Shepherd Jesus, nor is it a shepherd in a place called Hermas. The Shepherd of Hermas is the "Angel of Repentance" who guides Hermas through his visions and Divinely revealed allegories.

St. Pius I, Pope and brother of
Hermas. source: wikipedia
Our text itself was clearly written by one man and just as clearly not all written in one effort. The structure of the Shepherd of Hermas betrays the chronology of Hermas' visions and his recounting of them on paper: first "Visions," then the "Commands," and finally the "Similitudes." The last of these represents a maturity of thought and a clarity of vision not entirely present in the more direct early chapters.

Who was Hermas and when did he write? Dr. Brian Fitzgerald reminds us that Origen, born in 185AD, revered Hermas as canonical Scripture, suggest that the text pre-dates him by some time. The Muratorian fragment, one of the oldest extant lists of Scriptural Christian texts, dates to about 170AD and says of the Shepherd:
"But Hermas wrote The Shepherd very recently, in our times, in the City of Rome, where his brother Pius was occupying the chair of the church of Rome. And therefore, it ought indeed be read, but it cannot be read publicly to the people in Church or among the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among the Apostles, for it is after their time."
The notoriously unreliable Liber Pontificalis confirms the other texts in its passage on St. Pius I:
"While he was bishop, his brother, Hermas, wrote a book in which he set forth the commandment which the angel of the Lord delivered to him, coming in the garb of a shepherd."
Hermas does mention an "elder" in the beginning of the Shepherd. Our text was originally written in Greek, the literary language of the time. The Greek words for elder usually come to us as episkopos (bishop), presbuteros (priest), or poimen (shepherd). Hermas, at the end of the second vision, mentions the name of an elder named Clement. This may reference St. Clement, the pope at the end of the first century, or a priest in Rome named Clement. Despite the probable dating of the Shepherd to the mid-second century, it is not implausible that Hermas received his early visions during his youth, under the leadership of Clement of Rome.

The Visions

Hermas' story begins with a series of five visions that reveal a rough draft of sin and repentance within the Church. Hermas one day meets his former mistress and owner, Rhoda, bathing in the Tiber river. He assists her and, in passing thought, thinks to himself that he would like a woman like her for a wife. Some time later Hermas was traversing the road to Cumae, south of Rome, when he saw a vision of Rhoda. His former mistress told him that he had sinned against God and her, that she would accuse him before Lord, but the accusation had not yet come to pass. A despondent Hermas is then visited by an elderly woman who asks him why he is sad. He tells her that he thinks Rhoda will accuse him of lust. The old woman corrects him, telling him:
"God is not angry with you on account of this, but that you may convert your house, which have committed iniquity against the Lord, and against you, their parents. And although you love your sons, yet did you not warn your house, but permitted them to be terribly corrupted. On this account is the Lord angry with you, but He will heal all the evils which have been done in your house. For, on account of their sins and iniquities, you have been destroyed by the affairs of this world. But now the mercy of the Lord has taken pity on you and your house, and will strengthen you, and establish you in his glory."
She tells Hermas to repent with all his heart, as those whose names are written in the "book of the Saints" repent with all their hearts. Hermas agrees to repent, reform, and return to God. His sin was not a violation, but a neglect of his family's loss of faith, a faith which he still held.

A year later Hermas again walks to Cumae and again sees the old woman escorted by six angelic looking boys. She reminds him that his "seed have sinned against the Lord and blasphemed against the Lord." He must make the message of repentance known to his wife and his children and to the entirety of the Church. This last point establishes Hermas as a visionary and a prophet of sorts for the Church's ears. After re-iterating the impending importance of repentance the elderly woman departs. An angel visits Hermas in his dormancy. He queries the angel as to the woman's identity. Is she a pagan oracle? "The Church," the angel replies. "She was created before all things; therefor she is aged; and for her sake the world was framed."

In the third vision the elderly woman shows Hermas a great, square based stone tower being built with stones by the six young angelic boys from the previous visions, stones delivered by other humanoid beings. The angels build the tower not on a foundation over land, but over an islandless water. The outer most stones fit together so snugly that one cannot see a crease or line in the side. These stones were brought from the deep of the water in perfect condition. Stones brought from land can fit inside the outer casing, but only after masonry and cutting. Some stones are rejected for their shape or size. Among these, some are kept near the tower, some are thrown far away, some tossed back to the deep, and others outright burned. She explains that the tower represents the Church and the stones represent people. The watery foundations are the waters of Baptism which save. The angels who escort the Church-elder woman and who build the tower are the same angels whom God charged with care of His creation. The perfect stones are the Apostles, prophets, bishops, teachers, and deacons who exercised their offices blameslessly and without corruption. The stones from the water are those who suffered "for the holy Name" of God. The rougher stones placed within the framework are the youthful and less temperate in faith who, although good, required warnings from angels throughout their lives. The stones rejected and left near the tower are sinners who, although they separated themselves from the Church by sin, can still be saved if they repent. This point would especially have interested ancient readers, who hitherto would have been greatly concerned about the future of those who had left the faith through loss of faith or for fear of death. 

The woman does warn Hermas, "If the building shall be finished, they will have no more place, they will be castaways." Those thrown afar were the lawless in life. Some stones are both white and round. These are those who have the faith, but are similarly disposed to earthly passions and wealth. They can be fitted to the tower, but must have their excess cut away. Those burned have "rebelled from the living God and it entered no longer into their hearts to repent." Those stones outside the tower can not be within it, yet they may still be saved and put within the interior after "they have undergone torments, and have fulfilled the days of their sins." One Orthodox commentator begrudgingly concedes that this might be read as a precedent for the Latin concept of a purgatorial intermediate state. 

Holding up the tower are seven women: Faith and her daughter, Continence, and her successive descendants, Simplicity, Knowledge, Guilelessness, Reverence, and Love. Their power flows from the oldest to the youngest, but are inseparable from each other. She again entreats Hermas to repent and to lead others to repent before the tower the angels complete the tower, at which point the world will end and repentance will no longer be possible.

The angel tells Hermas that the woman appeared in different ways because of his double-mindedness. Double-mindedness is a common theme in the Shepherd. Contrary to the translation, it is not speaking out of both sides of the mouth, but an internal conflict springing from having a foot in the door and a foot out. This internal conflict leads to disparate actions displeasing to God. The fervent Christian does not waiver in his devotion.

Hermas' fourth vision begins like the previous, with him stopping his travels to pray and to confess his sins. A voice tells him to rid himself of his "doubtful mind." Hermas is taken aback. How could he be of doubtful mind when the Lord so clearly engages him? Suddenly a cloud of dust kicks up and Hermas assumes a cattle stampede. Emerging from the cloud was not a herd, but a great beast. In spite of his timidity, Hermas passes the beast unharmed. He notices the beast's head is black, red, gold, and white. On the other side he again see the Church-woman, this time dressed as a virgin with a white turban. She tells the seer that the beast is a "type" of the end times, of the beast of the apocalypse which will wreak havoc. The black on the beast is the world, the red its impending suffering, the gold those who escaped, and the white those purified in the tower. She commands Hermas not to tarry any longer, but to make his visions finally known—he seems to have neglected this task several times.

The last and shortest vision takes place in Hermas' house. While reclining on the soda and luxuriating, a shepherd who claims to have been sent "from the most holy angel" enters Hermas' abode and salutes the resident. Hermas at first wonders if this is a temptation, but relents to the shepherd's veracity. The pastor angelicus then tells Hermas not to be confounded, but to write down the commands and parables that he is about to reveal. You, dear readers, will have to read our next post to find out what the commands are!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pius XII & Episcopal Consecration

A few days ago, someone asked me what Pius XII did to the rite of episcopal consecration after his encyclical Sacramentum Ordinis. Unlike his tinkering with the kalendar or hatchet job on Holy Week, his modifications to the Pontificale Romanum were relatively modest, if unfortunate. In the Acta Apostolicae Sedes for 1950, one can find a decree from Cardinal Micara "mandating the following changes and additions to the rubrics of the Roman Pontifical" to conform with the Pope's letter which "determined the form of the Sacrament of Orders" for Deacon, Priest, and Bishop.

The changes were modest, but did reflect the increasing shift towards receiving liturgy from Papal commissions who ensured the rites of the Church reflected the Pope's theology rather than the older paradigm.

Previously, an episcopal consecration employed one consecrating bishop, who would, with two other co-consecrators, lay hands on the episcopal candidate(s), but would say the prayers of the rite alone. Much like concelebration in the Byzantine rite, co-consecration of a bishop was meant as an act of brotherhood in which each participant did his own part. In the Greek rite, the concelebrants can sing litanies, distribute Communion, participate in the incensations and the like, but only the bishop says the anaphora. Similarly, the consecrating bishop carried out the elevation of the candidate and the other bishops attended as a fraternal sign; psalm 134 Ecce quam bonum was sung during the rite. after all. They laid their hands on the one who would join them among the successors to the Apostles, who Scripture called the "brethren" many times, but that was the extent of their place. In the revised form the co-consecrators carry out all the essentials of the rite along with the [now primary] consecrating bishop.

The revised rite calls for all consecrators to lay their hands on the candidates, say the words Accipe Spiritum Sanctum with the intention of consecration, and to say the preface which includes the words Pius XII decided constituted the absolutely essential form "Complete/perfect in Your priest the fullness of Your ministry and sanctify him with celestial anointing, clothing him with the ornaments of spiritual glorification." In the Roman tradition, anything about to become consecrated or sanctified in a special way is blessed with a preface: the palms on Palm Sunday, the Eucharist (prior to the silent Canon), priestly ordination, the Baptismal font, the Paschal candle, and churches when consecrated. Sadly, this changed people's association of the preface with sanctification and the "form" became the focus as though it is a stand alone prayer. 

Here is a picture of William Cardinal Godfrey's Pontificale Romanum, now owned by the esteemed Mr. Rubricarius, revised according to the Pian changes.

The chanted form was suppressed in favor of recitation by all three bishops

Again, the alterations were not drastic, but they do reflect the imbalance of liturgy and theology that came to a head during the 20th century, the centralization, and the gearing up towards a reform. I wonder, would Paul VI have been able to change the rites had his mentor not limited the essential forms to one line?
"Among the other documents of the supreme Magisterium dealing with sacred Orders, We judge worthy of special mention the Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis, published by Our predecessor Pius XII on November 30, 1947, in which it is declared that "the matter, and the only matter, of the Sacred Orders of the Diaconate, the Priesthood, and the Episcopacy is the imposition of hands; and that the form, and the only form, is the words which determine the application of this matter, which univocally signify the sacramental effectsnamely, the power of Order and the grace of the Holy Spiritand which are accepted and used by the Church in that sense." (9) After this the same document decrees what imposition of hands and what words constitute the matter and the form in the conferring of each Order.
"Since in the revision of the rite it was necessary either to add, delete or change certain things whether to restore to the texts greater fidelity to the ancient texts or to express better the effects of the sacrament, We have deemed it necessary, both to clear up all controversy and to obviate anxiety of conscience, to declare what things in the revised rite are to be said to pertain to the essence of the rite. Hence, in virtue of Our supreme Apostolic authority, We decree and determine the following, with regard to the matter and the form in the conferring of each sacrament....." Pope Paul VI, November 18th, 1968 in Pontificalis Romani 

If anyone wants to read the old consecration rite in English, they can find it here. Interestingly, the translator puts a note within a note (not found in the Pontifical), correcting the notion that the laying of hands "was the essential rite" by citing Sacramentum Ordinis's teaching that the laying of hands is essential matter and the last words of the preface-turned-said prayer are the essential form.

Does it matter? I doubt anyone has used the pre-Pius XII rite of consecration since 1950. The last [canonical] consecration in the old rite was that of Bishop Rifan in Campos by Cardinal Hoyos. Before that was, of course, Archbishop Lefebvre at Econe. Both would have been done according to 1962. The sedevacantist bishops tend to follow Pius XII until he touched Holy Week. Daniel Dolan received his orders from bishop Mark Pivarunas of Pius XII-devout CMRI. Unlike Holy Week or the Office, this is a minor subject in my book and I doubt we will be revisiting it.

Spoken preface/essential form at 11:50

Transformation of the Lateran

As a follow up to our post on Medieval Rome, I would like to bring to readers' attention these two images that depict the slow transformation of the cathedral of Rome. The first shows the change in lay out. The transepts were enlarged to accommodate the Blessed Sacrament chapel in the south and the expanded papal tombs to the north. Along the nave, to the south were added several chapels, including one dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, and the sacristy to the north. The most drastic change was the drastic expansion of the choir behind the altar. The Roman tradition was for the Pope to sit on the throne directly behind the altar, surrounded by clergy seated on semi-circular benches to either side. Cardinal bishops and concelebrating priests would sit towards the top, the seven deacons of Rome on the next step—with the archdeacon closest to the Pope (retained in Papal Mass until 1964), and then the lower clergy. The district subdeacons, lectors, acolytes, and choir would be situated nearer the altar. The expanded, narrow choir reflects the influence of the monastic choir tradition, in which the brethren clergy face each other with the altar of God at the end of their of sight. It might also indicate that the Curia was becoming top-heavy.

The other image is of the archbasilica before the gilded ceiling was added by Pius IV and Pius V, and before Innocent X (the last Borgia, huzzah) made the columns of the nave into niches so he could add statues, completed in 1718. The current arrangement is imposing for its beauty, but I wonder if the older arrangement, with its open spaces, was more imposing in its scale.


Fr. Chadwick has picked up our post on Sarum chant and commented on his own experience running a choir that employed the, dare I say, effete Solesmes method of chant during his tenure with the ICRSS. Here is a comparison of some different interpretations of the Introit for the Mass of the Resurrection.

The Solesmes method

An "Organum" interpretation based on research into
the structure of chant in the Roman basilicas in
the 7th and 8th centuries

A recording from a Paschal Mass in 1978. This follows
the more mainstream method, one which, I think, descends
more naturally in timbre and style from the old
Roman style above

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rite of Lyon in Pictures

From 1993, a celebration by the FSSP in Lyon in the presence of the Primate Archbishop, Albert Cardinal Decourtray.

Reverencing the Primate after the prayers before the altar

The subdeacon brings the pax brede to the Primate during the preparation for
Communion. Most non-Roman rites used the pax brede to spread the pax during Mass.
A rubric does exist for a bishop celebrating a non-Pontifical High Mass to use
the brede.

The gifts are covered by the corporal, not a pall or chalice veil. This was common during
the Middle Ages in northern Europe.

Incensing the clergy, Byzantine style with full use of the chain. The Rad Trad
knew a Roman M.C. who did this, too.
The subdeacon carries the paten with his maniple during the Patern noster, an interesting variation
The ablutions


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Medieval Rome: Forgotten Glory?

Ancient Rome was the capital of the known and civilized world. Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire recalls the power and honor due to the City at the height of her Imperial powers:
"In the second century of the Christian era, the Empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilised portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valour. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury. The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence: the Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority, and devolved on the emperors all the executive powers of government. During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this, and of the two succeeding chapters, to describe the prosperous condition of their empire; and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall; a revolution which will ever be remembered, and is still felt by the nations of the earth."
Gibbon was quite gifted with adjectives. In the modern day, scholars and tourists alike remember and glorify Renaissance and baroque Rome for its humanism, its revival of painting and sculpture, its place at the center of emerging nationalistic politics, and for its romantic ambiance. This is the Rome of Bernini, Michelangelo, Sixtus V, and Urban VIII. One would think Rome was a city in eternal strife, earmarked at opposite of its history with two periods of adroit artistic and political vibrancy. The understanding of Rome is natural, intuitive, grounded in artistic history and a deep appreciation for the ancient City. It is also completely and utterly wrong.

Rome, aside from these two epochs, also enjoyed a period of religious revival, prosperity, and recovery of self-identity during the high Middle Ages. Renaissance Rome sprung forth from the fountainhead of medieval Rome, not from a vacuum of dark illiteracy and religious ignorance.

Rome entered a truly dark age after the sackings and raids of the fifth century, the abandonment by the Byzantine empire, and the waves of plague which sent most of the still-living populace into the countryside. Rule of the city devolved to the Pope, known until Pius IX as the "Lord Pope," a title used even within the Magna Carta. A form of Senate continued to run the daily, micro-level affairs of the City and the old families held some level of authority, but the Popes' spiritual and administrative power over the churches meant that the Bishop of Rome was the Lord of Rome. Unfortunately, [St] Leo III crowned Charlemagne and the various families of Italy sought the papacy so they could play king-maker and live off papal beneficences. In the 9th century, the Mohammadans sacked Rome and ravaged St. Peter's Basilica. The papacy entered its absolute nadir, when the Bishops of Rome descended from Marozia—mistress of the murderous Pope Sergius III. Indeed, six popes (John XI, John XII, Benedict VII, John XIX, Benedict VIII, and Benedict IX) came from her line, with a few elderly men functioning as placeholders in between, murdered if they lived too long.

Finally, the Gregorian reforms emancipated Rome from central Italian politics and the un-Holy Frankish Clan Holy Roman Empire. What emerged was a Rome revived in continuity with its past, aware of its present, and vivacious in faith.

Ancient peoples were not so introspective and concerned with documenting their own ways as we are today. One is often struck by the absence of ritual descriptions or theological treatises on non-Scholastic during this age. The ancient and medieval Christians expressed what they believed in what they did, not in word alone. They manifested their Roman tradition of faith in their church and secular architecture, as well as in their liturgical and artistic endeavors.

Roman art during the Middle Ages derived from the older Roman mosaic tradition. While the Orthodox Greek tradition had long ago transitioned into painted, "written" icons, less and less realistic in their appearance, the Romans, a people averse to change and innovation in religious matters, kept their mosaic tradition and even imported it into new places. The below mosaic outside of Santa Maria in Trastevere looks quite ancient, but in fact dates to the 12th century.

source: wikipedia
Unlike the Norman French and English, who built their new churches along the soaring vertical lines of gothic pillars and arches, the Roman people conscientiously kept in continuity with their received identity and tradition in all matters, especially architecture.

Between 1198 and 1216, one of the great men of the Middle Ages, Lothar Segni, sat atop Peter's chair. Keeping with his own doctrine of the spiritual power's place over the temporal power, he refitted the Lateran palace for the government of the Church and as an example to the world. Sadly, few if any records or reconstructions of the ancient Lateran palace exist for us today. Dante called the Lateran palace a place "above all earthly things." Below are two rare representations of what the palace and adjoining cathedral looked like prior to the tearing down of the palace and the addition of a baroque facade on the Archbasilica.


These views are from the north, not the front entrance to the cathedral, which is to the east. The Lateran palace, built by the Lateran family and given to the popes by Constantine, encompassed a large courtyard—a feature of Roman palatial architecture imitated with the building of the Apostolic palace adjacent to St. Peter's basilica and the new Lateran palace. Until the 9th century or so, the popes were elected by the people of Rome in the field in front of the cathedral. Often violence would break out and whoever won control of the Lateran complex became pope. This author once recalls reading about a victor having difficulty convincing the mob to spare his opponent's life. Next to the courtyard, at the upper left of the above picture, was the Triclinium of Leo III where Innocent III held the fourth Council of the Lateran. This remarkable hall was torn down, its former foundations replaced by roads. Its apse still stands tall in memorial to its previous function.


The revival of education in France and trade with the East incited by the Crusades brought Rome back to significance in the intellectual and economic realms, attracting students seeking theological knowledge and merchants looking for middle-points in their routes of trade between the Continent and the Eastern Mediterranean. The Colosseum returned to use after half a millennium of dormancy as an open market and, what we would now call, an industrial park.

The Colosseum during the Middle Ages
source: wikipedia
Above all, the Romans still realized that they were the ancient City that ruled the world and that they were now, without contradiction, the City that ruled the Christian world. As such, Rome revived many of its more catholic Catholic features. The early praxis of reading the lessons of the Mass and Office in both Greek and Latin returned, as did use of the stational churches by the Lord Pope on great feasts. The ancient, un-gallicanized rite of Mass remained in use by the pope one day a year on the feast of St. Peter's Chair in Rome. This ancient use involved numerous deacons and subdeacons, long psalms instead of simple chants, no offertory or silent prayers, a sung Canon, and concelebration. The Lateran and Vatican basilicas also retained the ancient Divine Office, which uses the same orations, antiphons, and psalms as the pre-Pius X Office, but sans introductory rites, no hymns, and a more communal ritual. Moreover, the canons recited the Offices of the Dead, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of All Saints on ferial days per annum and provided pastoral care to the great many pilgrims. Innocent III himself was a canon of the Petrine basilica before his election and familiar with the observances. These rites remained in use until Franciscan pope Nicholas III squashed everything not done in the Franciscan Order. The Byzantine monastery in Rome also enjoyed a resurgence, with no less that six hundred monks and priests in residence in the 12th and 13th centuries. This also suggests that the Rome-Constantinople schism was not taken as seriously during this period as it would be after 1453. The clergy and people of Rome were the enemies of streamlining. Far from assuming the Church required one way of celebrating Mass, as the capital of Catholicism, they welcomed the catholicity of rites practiced within the City.

Medieval Rome was not the superpower ancient Rome was, nor was it the artistic center baroque Rome would be. But it was once again alive and acting as the center of the Christian world. Perhaps this is why modern historians are unable to see that the period between the Gregorian reform and the Avignon papacy was a glorious one, because they cannot understand how Christianity can be the lifeblood of a people.
Rossellino's proposal for the new St. Peter's basilica
source: studybluecom
Then came the Renaissance. Much would have to be lost and rebuilt because of the neglect of the popes while they lived in Avignon. St. Peter's basilica is particularly flagrant example of the paradigm shift. The roof on the old basilica was wood needed regular replacement, something ignored during those dark French years. As a result, the roof collapsed, fires occasioned the church, as one of the walls warped out by six feet. The basilica, built 1,100 years earlier, was beyond saving. Bernardo Rossellino proposed a new basilica built in the same style and with the same features as the old church, only with longer transepts to accommodate devotions and a longer choir for the new, medieval choir praxis. His proposal was canned by Julius II, who wanted a grand new church to house his tomb. Bramante began the construction of the modern basilica, a significant departure in style and outlook from the previous building. With the new basilica, Pope Julius baptized Rome into the Renaissance and gave precedent for a severe remodeling of many churches of the City along new lines. Rome became a center of baroquerie and its old identity began to fade. Lex supplicandi legem statuat credendi.

The old basilica, along with Cluny and St Paul outside of the Wall, the largest church in the world, is demolished
and covered with the new basilica.
Medieval Rome is gone, but we ought not forget how wonderful a Catholic city it was nor should we neglect its example as a city conscientiously dedicated to God.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


The Rad Trad just saw the strangest wedding rehearsal of his life while in the Confession line. The priest told the people what to do and then told them that he would be "inviting" them to do those same things during the wedding proper: "at this point you sit down" everyone sits "and tomorrow I will invite everyone to sit down at this point." I sat aghast when he said, "Now, we'll begin with 'May the grace of our.... be with you' and you reply 'And with your spirit'." Call me old fashioned, but I would have assumed that they already knew! He also reminded them not to miss the people on the other side of the aisle during the handshake sign of peace. 

We always discuss how the Ordo Missae changed, along with the lectionary and ordination rites. Some, like myself, talk about more specific things like Holy Week. Few think about just how deep the changes went: Baptism and Marriage are really very bare and insipid now. I know a Melkite priest who absolutely loves the old Baptism rite and absolutely detests the new one. I hear nonsense like "as they come to share their love with us" I thought "Strange, I was under the impression God was confirming His love in a Sacrament." The old blessing of the ring was brief and to the point: "Bless O Lord, this ring, which we are blessing in Thy name, so that she who wears it, keeping faith with her husband in unbroken loyalty, may ever remain at peace with Thee, obedient to Thy will, and may live with him always in mutual love. Through Christ our Lord." The new blessing is long winded, self-referential, and vague:
"Lord, bless these rings which we bless in your name. Grant that those who wear them may always have a deep faith in each other. May they do your will and always live together in peace, good will, and love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.."
They clearly are not doing a Mass, but the abbreviated service. I think the groom is not a Catholic. Still, the point stands. And all the little bits and bobs for people to do (readings, bidding prayers, holding the rings, "witnesses"—as though the 150+ people in attendance are deaf, dumb, and blind), it is as if attending is not enough. I have been to a few secular wedding services and none of them were as high maintenance as a wedding according to the Pauline books. I was last in a wedding in 2012 as a groomsman. I escorted a bridesmaid and the bride's mother down the aisle prior to Mass, bought the champagne for the reception, and read from Genesis in a very low key way. The wedding was well done, but the exception in that. Nowadays, most weddings are formalized family pageants and God happens to be in attendance.

I nearly flipped when the priest inserted "You may not kiss the bride" and abjured the groom-to-be for not making it long enough.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Papal Prudence

The ordinary Ordinary
The debate over the concept of obedience and papal encyclicals continues to rage over at Magisterium. I would encourage you all to go over and read J.'s latest offerings. 

I would also like to expand upon J.'s adumbration of the lines from Pastor Aeternus about "ordinary jurisdiction." This does not mean papal rule over a diocese is in any way to be considered normal. What is does mean is that when the pope intervenes in a diocese, he possesses the same power as the local ordinary bishop. An "ordinary" is the cleric in charge of a community, not necessarily even a bishop. Msgr. Keither Newton is just a priest and presides over the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (please do not call it the "Anglican Ordinariate"). The same is true of Msgr. Steenson in America. In large dioceses and archdioceses, there are often multiple bishops, the ordinary and the auxiliaries—whose function is sacramental. The pope has the same power as the local ordinary when he exercises it, but the ordinary rule of a diocese belongs to the ordinary. Get it?

It seems that in both cases of papal intervention and in exercises of ex cathedra teaching, the pope is bound by prudence and respect for the bishops of the rest of the church who possess ordinary ruling and teaching power in their local churches. Were a Roman dicastry to begin issuing directives, programs, daily schedules, and making decisions for each diocese in the world, the pope would be abusing his power severely. Similarly, infallibility must know limits beyond the conditions laid down in Pastor Aeternus. Were the pope to define that 2+3 equals 5, he would do so infallibly, but pointlessly. I for one always wondered what the point was behind Pius XII's non-definition of the Assumption of Our Lady, given that the Assumption was never disputed within the Church. The sinlessness and the conception of Our Lady were in question for quite some time until a lid was put on it during the Renaissance and Pius IX closed the issue definitively. 

It may all be a moot point now. The Roman part of the Catholic Church is in a malaise created, in part, by a wild papacy, but that is no longer the problem. Bad bishops and an overgrown bureaucracy reign now. The pope is a luminary and high profile figure, but less of an active figure in Vatican activities than say Pius XII or Pius X. One could say that the Church was once like a great orchestra, wherein all the talented players were obscured by a strong willed conductor. Now we are more like a rock band: big name, high publicity players mismanaged by an ever growing machine, each gear looking to get greased.