Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ratzinger's Private Latin Mass?

Le Barroux, 1995
source: Una Voce, Venice
We kept hearing from wishful thinkers that Benedict XVI either privately celebrated the 1962 Mass or assisted at it in his chapel (cf. Bishop Fellay) when he sat on St. Peter's chair. There was even some aspiration that he might deign to offer the Vatican II Mass is public, which would give traditionalists ammunition to fire upon everyone else and South American bishop license for open schism. It never happened. In fact, did he even celebrate the EF of the Novus Ordo privately? Fr. Lombardi says no, but Thomas Woods says yes.

On the whole it seems extraordinarily unlikely. Joseph Ratzinger was a reformed theologian and "Vatican II man" through and through; his Introduction to Christianity would have had him before the Inquisition in the days of S. Pius V. Ratzinger, however, favored organic liturgical development and also had some modicum of compassion for traditionalists after he botched negotiations with the FSSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre died under canonical interdict. If anything his description of the Pauline Mass as a "banal fabrication" suggests he wished something less mediocre evolved through the traditional means of changing the liturgy, but he still wanted a different liturgy.

His interest in the welfare of traditionalists and in the [impossibly post-Modern concept of] hermeneutic of continuity may have motivated his half dozen or so celebrations of the 1962 missal prior to his papal election, among them with the nascent FSSP, a conference at Fontgambault, at the monastery of Le Barroux, and a few times for diocesan seminarians in Weimar.

Francis is the modern antidote to Ultramontanism, so why weaponize a past papacy?


  1. When you say that Francis is the modern antidote to Ultramontanism, do you mean to say that he shows us how wrong can a pope go and thus he shows us not to put our trust in him but in Christ?

    1. Dear Marko. Do you mean to say a Pope is unnecessary?

    2. Absolutely not. I'm just inquiring what The Rad Trad mean with the last sentence.

      If he meant what i asked him, i would agree so i will clarify what i mean now.
      Many people today are basically papolaters. They think that the pope cannot do any wrong and they almost forget about any objective standards of faith, or even forget about Christ himself and his Gospel.

      So, when Francis goes of the rail very much, people, hopefully, see that more clearly, and stick to the Gospel, in spite what Francis incessant commentary might be.

    3. Actually, what history seems to show, is that early papacy, while respecting individual rights of bishops, functioned as the highest court of appeal, against whose decisions no recourse was possible.

      To me, this is foreshadowed in Exodus 18, 13-27.
      There's a perfect balance between "leave me alone to do the right thing" and "i need your help to do the right thing".

    4. What I meant is that Francis is disillusioning those who assumed the pope is necessarily a living saint on a two-way radio with the Holy Spirit who must always actively govern the universal Church.

    5. As i thought, and i wholeheartedly agree.
      First thing attributed to the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit is the election of the current pontiff, and then, after that, it is his governance. As you said, there is this opinion that he must always actively govern.

      What do you think of the "highest court of appeal" or the Exodus 18 model of papacy? Do you think there is any difference between early papacy and the Exodus scene?

    6. So, when Francis goes of the rail very much, people, hopefully, see that more clearly, and stick to the Gospel, in spite what Francis incessant commentary might be.

      Or, more to the point, "stick to the Gospel, as the Church has always read it."

    7. Well, of course. There is only one Gospel. A Gospel which is not in line with how the Church reads it, is an "another gospel" and the proclaimer of that Gospel is under anathema.

    8. I think Exodus 18 and Isaiah 22 (the gatekeeper passage) are proper Old Testament types to what Our Lord meant when he established Peter and his successors as the "rock" of the church (and foundational rocks don't move, lest the building collapse).

      You may recall a few years ago I reviewed Dr Adrian Fortescue's book "The Early Papacy", which is really little more than a series of citations from theological and administrative Patristic documents about the behavior of the papacy prior to 451. He found abundant evidence for what he called the central claims of Vatican I (universal jurisdiction and infallability), but also that the pope was generally approached as a final judge. I read the book as Fortescue attempting to provide a Patristic antidote to the excessive centralization of his own by providing examples of how the popes used their authority in a deferential, reserved manner while respecting local ordinaries.

    9. To quote/paraphrase dr. Fortescue: "Does it really mean that one cannot be a member of the Church of Christ without being, as we are, absolutely at the mercy of an Argentinian lunatic?". Lord, forgive me...

    10. I've always used "Peronist lunatic" in conversation.

  2. References to Isaias are used when sourcing the authority 22:119-22 of The Keys, but exodus?

    Here is one way for a layman to think about Popes - it is from the Catholic Encyclopedia and references the essence of the Pope's job:

    He is to be the principle of unity, of stability, and of increase. He is the principle of unity, since what is not joined to that foundation is no part of the Church; of stability, since it is the firmness of this foundation in virtue of which the Church remains unshaken by the storms which buffet her; of increase, since, if she grows, it is because new stones are laid on this foundation.

    ABS has to say that he is not doing too well on the pop quizzes but there is always hope he will do better on the final.

  3. Aside from the liturgical snark about the Requiem Mass, the only part of Introduction to Xtianity which is problematic is the final section on the resurrection. For all that is true about the Greek, I can’t help but think that “Benedictus Deus” is suspect to him, for it depends on separation of body and soul, which is the definition of death, something that the Fall broughy about. That passage was also used to tell me that Christ, being glorified, is no longer incarnate, because he lacks flesh, even in the eucharist. That implication seemed incorrect to me.

    1. I don't get why are modern theologians so afraid of separation of soul and body. They'll have a knee-jerk reaction and say: "We're not gnostic dualists.". Sure enough we aren't. But what in the world is the Church doing when she says: "Ora pro nobis." if the corpse is all there is to a dead person?

    2. They also have a point in emphasizing unity, but Ratzinger makes no sense in saying that the Greek speaks not of flesh in the life to come and not of bodies at the resurrection but of persons. I don’t think the church agrees with his assessment.

    3. Oh yes i know about that part. I really don't know where he gets that from.

      He maybe means un-glorified bodies as opposed to the ones glorified when he says that the r. of the bodies isn't r. of the physical bodies but of persons. Because our bodies will not be bound by laws of physics but laws of spirit, and will be spiritual.
      Also, physis in Greek is "nature", and surely our bodies will not be merely natural then, but elevated above it. IT would be a metaphysical body.

      It will be a real body, whatever a body is.

      So, he doesn't speak about bodies not being resurrected, but of quality of bodies resurrected.

  4. If anything his description of the Pauline Mass as a "banal fabrication" suggests he wishes something less mediocre evolved through the traditional means of changing the liturgy, but he still wanted a different liturgy.

    Actually, I think this puts it quite well.

    Ratzinger seems to have been unhappy with numerous aspects of the Pauline missal, usually for sound reasons. But he pretty obviously desired a Reformed liturgy - not just in 1962, but to the present day - and "Reformed" here clearly entails some major changes, if we're to take all of his public commentary on the subject at face value.

  5. Long before his election, the great Pope Saint Pius X used to read, and re-read, the writings of the great French Cardinal Pie who issued this 1864 caution in a sermon:

    Hear this maxim, O you, Catholics full of temerity, who so quickly adopt the ideas and the language of your time, you who speak of reconciling the faith and of reconciling the Church with the modern spirit and with the new law. And you who accept with so much confidence the most dangerous pursuits of what our age so pridefully labels "Science," see to what extent you are straying from the program set out by the great Apostle, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so-called" (I Tim. 6:20). But take heed. With such temerities, one is soon led farther than he first had thought. And in placing themselves on the slope of profane novelties—in obeying the currents of so-called science—many have lost the Faith.

    Have you not often been saddened, and taken fright, my venerable brothers, on hearing the language of certain men, who believe themselves still to be sons of the Church, men who still practice occasionally as Catholics and who often approach the Lord's Table? Do you still believe them to be sons, do you still believe them to be members of the Church, those who, wrapping themselves in such vague phrases as modern aspirations and the force of progress and civilization, proclaim the existence of a "consciousness of the laity," of a secular and political conscience opposed to the "conscience of the Church," against which they assume the right to react, for its correction and renewal? Ah! So many passengers, and even pilots, who, believing themselves to be yet in the barque, and playing with profane novelties and the lying science of their time, have already sunk and are in the abyss.

    And now read this declaration from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger:

    Let us content ourselves here with stating that the text [of Gaudium et spes] plays the role of a counter-Syllabus to the measure that it represents an attempt to officially reconcile the Church with the world as it had become after 1789. On one hand, this visualization alone clarifies the ghetto complex that we mentioned before. On the other hand, it permits us to understand the meaning of this new relationship between the Church and the Modern World. "World" is understood here, at depth, as the spirit of modern times. The consciousness of being a detached group that existed in the Church viewed this spirit as something separate from herself and, after the hot as well as cold wars were over, she sought dialogue and cooperation with it.

    Yes, owing to his weltanschauung, Ratzinger did desire a reformed liturgy because they (he and his ilk) have become friends with the world, our ancient enemy. and they want to chat with it and be its friend and be accepted by it.

    And what, pray tell, do these men think the world wants from us, our friendship or our death?