THE SOCCI MANIFESTO
I wish to launch an appeal to the world of culture.
In support of a decision of Benedict XVI.
The announcement was given by Cardinal Arturo Medina Estevez, a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission which met to discuss the liberalization of the Latin Mass. The prelate said, “The publication of the Motu Proprio by the Pope which will liberalize the celebration of the Latin Mass according to the Missal of Saint Pius V is close.” It is an extraordinarily important event for the Church and even for the culture and history of our civilization. Historically, lay intellectuals were actually those to realize more and better the disaster, the actual cultural destruction, represented by the “prohibition” of the liturgy of Saint Pius V and the disappearance of Latin as sacred language of the
When, 40 years ago – in contravention to the documents of the Council – the prohibition of the ancient liturgy of the Church (that which had been celebrated even during the Council) was imposed, there was a great and meritorious protest by very important intellectuals who considered this decision as an attack on the roots of our Christian Civilization (the liturgy has always been a center and a fountain of the most sublime art). Two appeals were published in defense of the Mass of Saint Pius V, in 1966 and 1971. These are some of the names which undersigned them: Jorge Luís Borges, Giorgio De Chirico, Elena Croce, W. H. Auden, the directors Bresson and Dreyer, Augusto Del Noce, Julien Green, Jacques Maritain (who indeed was the favorite intellectual of Paul VI, the one to whom the Pope had given the letter to intellectuals at the end of the Council), Eugenio Montale, Cristina Campo, François Mauriac, Salvatore Quasimodo, Evelyn Waugh, Maria Zambrano, Elémire Zolla, Gabriel Marcel, Salvador De
Madariaga, Gianfranco Contini, Giacomo Devoto, Giovanni Macchia, Massimo Pallottino, Ettore Paratore, Giorgio Bassani, Mario Luzi, Guido Piovene, Andrés Segovia, Harold Acton, Agatha Christie, Graham Greene, and many others, incuding the editor of the “Times”, William Rees-Mogg.
They are largely lay intellectuals because the cultural and spiritual value
of the ancient Latin liturgy is a legacy of all, as is the Sistine Chapel, as
is the Gregorian [chant], as the great cathedrals, Gothic sculpture, the
Basilica of Saint Peter also are. Even more so today, when our entire European Civilization risks to cut off and deny its own roots.
Curiously, even “progressive Catholics”, which made the dialogue with the
world and with modern culture their banner, did not give any regard and fought for forty years to keep this incredible prohibition. An unprecedented arbitrariness. In April 2005, at the eve of the election of Benedict XVI, it was a lay writer, Guido Ceronetti, who writes, in La Repubblica, an open letter to the new Pope, in which he asked “that the sinister suffocating gag on the Latin voice of the Mass be removed”. When he was a cardinal, Ratzinger declared that the prohibition of the Mass of Saint Pius V was unprecedented: “throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the very spirit of the Church”. In one of his books, he retold dramatically how he had viewed the publication of the missal of Paul VI:
“I was dismayed by the prohibition of the old missal, since nothing of the
sort had ever happened in the entire history of the liturgy. The impression was even given that what was happening was quite normal,” but, Ratzinger wrote, “the prohibition of the missal that was now decreed, a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries, starting with the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic … the old building was demolished, and another was built.”