His Eminence Card. Egan, Archbp. of New York on the Motu Proprio [Fr. Z]

His Emnience Edward Card. Egan, Archbishop of New York made a statement last month on the Motu Proprio summorum Pontificum. It is a surprisingly chatty. His Eminence is a canonist of note and his Latin credentials are very fine indeed.

**Emphases **and comments are mine.

In the Holiness of Truth – July 19, 2007

Room for All

On December 4, 1963, the bishops who participated in the Second Vatican Council in union with Pope Paul VI issued a document entitled “The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.” In it, they called for a revision of the prayers of the Mass which would, of course, “preserve their substance” but also make adjustments in them so as to increase the participation and devotion of the faithful.

In addition, in the same “Constitution,” the bishops with the Holy Father noted that “the use of the mother tongue (the vernacular of a particular area), whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, may [may] frequently be of great advantage to the people” and, accordingly, proposed a translation of the Latin texts of the liturgy into the vernaculars of the world and their appropriate use under the direction of ecclesiastical authorities.

All of this was done for no other reason than better to assist the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ in their prayer. Unfortunately, however, some felt that what the bishops and the Holy Father had decided was either mistaken theologically, disdainful of ancient uses or uncaring as regards the sentiments of those who had been reared in the established liturgy and both revered and loved it. Indeed, a community of clergy, religious and laity under the leadership of a French Archbishop who had been a missionary in Africa rejected the liturgy that was developed after the Council and separated itself from the Church because of it and other Conciliar teachings and directives.

Thus it was that in 1984 the Congregation for Divine Worship published a document with the Latin title, “Quattuor Abhinc Annos,” making the traditional liturgy more available and Pope John Paul II in 1988 published another with the Latin title, “Ecclesia Dei,” making it even more available. It was hoped that these measures would put an end to the various feelings of discontent and especially to the aforementioned separation, and to some extent they were successful. [To “some” extent, maybe, but a very small extent. The SSPX has grown. The numbers of their followers have grown… except in those places where bishops were very generous with the older form of Mass.] Still, our present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, was convinced that something further needed to be done; and this is the origin of the document that he issued regarding the liturgical prayer of the Church this past July 7th.

In briefest terms, here is what the document, which is entitled in Latin “Summorum Pontificum,” provides: [Keep in mind that Card. Egan is a noted canonist and his Latin skills are very strong indeed.]

 I. There is one Eucharistic liturgy for members of the Roman Catholic Church of the Latin Rite. It has two forms ("expressions")—an "ordinary" one that is to be found in the Missal of Pope Paul VI published in 1970, and an "extraordinary" one that is to found in the Missal of Blessed John XXIII published in 1962.

  II. The "ordinary" form (usually identified as the Missal of Pope Paul VI) is the one to be used regularly.

  III. The "extraordinary" form (usually identified as the Missal of Blessed John XXIII) may, however, be used—

  A. in Masses where the priest does not have a congregation, except on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday,

  B. in Masses of religious communities in their chapels and oratories and

  C. in parishes where a group of the faithful requests it, **but only once** on a Sunday or feast day.

There are, though, three more provisions in the new norms which are of interest mostly to the clergy. All the same, it might be well to at least mention them here.

  I. **Pastors are to agree "willingly" to the "extraordinary" form in their parishes.** If, however, there is a problem in this regard, the matter should be referred to the local bishop; and if there is a further problem, to the Holy See.

  II. Pre-Vatican II rites may be used for Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Matrimony and the Anointing of the Sick, "as the good of souls suggests."

  III. When Mass is celebrated in the "extraordinary" form, **the Readings may be in the vernacular.**

And to all of this our Holy Father, in a letter to the bishops of the world, added three further points.

 I. The changes in the liturgy do not in any sense detract from the authority of the Second Vatican Council.

 II. Priests who choose to celebrate Mass in the "extraordinary" form must have a **sufficient knowledge of the Latin language to pronounce the words correctly.  ****[Excellent.  The priest does not have to be an expert Latinist.  He must have sufficient knowledge to pronounce the words.  That is what *idoneus **is all about: it is minimum qualification, not expertise.]

 III. The changes in the liturgy must not be the occasion of divisions in the Church. They are rather to strengthen the unity of that community of believers for whom the Lord prayed on the night before he died that "they may be one as You, Father, in Me and I in You" (John 17:21).

Concerning this last point, perhaps it would be well to conclude what may seem to be a rather tedious lesson in Church Law by recounting two recent events in my life that might be helpful in thinking about the new liturgical norms. [Here is where the chatty part starts.]

This past June 6th I was in the Sheraton New York Hotel on the dais for a dinner sponsored by the Building and Construction sector of the Cardinal’s Committee for Charity to raise funds for Archdiocesan schools that educate children who are physically or emotionally disabled. One of the more than 600 guests approached the dais toward the end of the dinner and began in jest to recite the responses of the altar server to the opening prayers of the traditional Latin Mass. [This happens are the time to priests who are warm towards traditional liturgy, btw.] On my right was one of the most prominent labor leaders in the nation and on my left one of the most successful construction company executives in New York. Together they joined in with the man who had approached the dais, reciting every word with remarkable accuracy. And when they were done, the man on my right launched into the longest of the altar server’s prayers in the Latin liturgy, the so-called “Suscipiat.” Both got even the most difficult pronunciations correct, and it was clear from the looks on their faces and the sound of their voices that what they had recited by heart had a very special place in the heart of each of them. Nor are they alone in this. Many feel a strong attachment to the Mass before the Council, and this we must understand and respect—from the heart. [Aside from the obvious respect for the feelings of these men, His Eminence seems to be suggusting that this is not all that mysterious. Learning the Latin prayers is just not that hard. My conclusion: If these men could do it, surely priests can do it, right? Even bishops! GD&R]

This past July 8th I was in Rome at the conclusion of a week of meetings. Early in the morning I received a telephone call from the new superior general of the Conventual Franciscans, a priest from Boston. One of his priests from Spain who had worked with me in the early 1960s when I was on the faculty of a Roman seminary was in town and would like to see me. He had come to the Eternal City to direct the recording of new musical settings he had composed for the Mass in Spanish. I had a 3:30 appointment with a mother general on the outskirts of the city and a 6:30 appointment with an official of the Holy See in the Vatican. Nonetheless, taking a chance on the Roman traffic, I fit a third appointment in between the other two and arranged to visit the priest where he was staying at the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian on the edge of the Roman Forum.

The superior general met me at the door and brought me in to see the priest whose musical compositions are performed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and across the world. After a brief exchange of niceties, the priest began to tell me in remarkable detail about what he was composing and recording in order to make the singing of the prayers of the post-conciliar Mass more devout and compelling in Spanish. He conceded that it would take a good deal of time to achieve all he had in mind. “But I am only 94,” he observed jokingly, as he tapped out for me the rhythm of a responsorial psalm of his creation. The superior general did not dare even to smile. Nor did I. For I knew this immensely gifted artist is but one of **millions upon millions who have come to love the new liturgy in the vernacular, and indeed, love it with fervor. **[Okay, there are people who love the old ways, but “millions upon millions” who like the new way. Is that the point? Note that in this second case, the old guy was probably older than the fellows who were reciting the Latin prayers (above).]

“Ours is a big Church,” I mused to myself as I walked to my car after the meeting. "There is room within it for all expressions of what is Catholic, noble and holy; and for this each of us, whatever our tastes and inclinations, should be grateful to the Lord."

With prayerful best wishes, may I remain
Very truly yours in Christ,
Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York

Here is a statement from a man far closeer to the end of his ecclesiastical career than the beginning. He succinctly presented the provisions of Summorum Pontiticum, with the sharpness of a canonists mind. He spoke of respect for the older ways but also the newer ways. He seems to lean to the newer Mass and the vernacular, but he is no wy belittled the older form or Latin.

Full entry…

in Masses where the priest does not have a congregation, except on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday,

Hmm…

It said “private” masses, which is not necessarily the same thing as “without a congregation”

But as the motu proprio said, members of the public can of their own free will attend these private celebrations.

I am entirely skeptical of the statement that millions upon millions have come to love the New Mass, and love it with fervor. I tend to think of it as a liturgy you assist at because for most, it’s the only choice (and many after the liturgical changes stopped attending at all).

Almost all the statements of love towards the liturgy I have ever heard have come from people who have assisted at the old liturgy.

I wholeheartedly agree.

I love and treasure the “new” liturgy. I’ve experienced both and I give the “old” the reverence it’s due, but I would always pick the “new” over the “old,” given a choice. The old liturgy is not the only one capable of inspiring love, the predjudicial views of some “traditionalists” notwitstanding.

I don’t. Most people who love the Liturgy do not express a love for one form or rite, and a disdain or dislike of the others. The substance of the Liturgy, no matter what approved use of the Church, is always the most worthy and deserving of our love.

If you mean by substance the Holy Eucharist, I’d agree; if you mean the liturgy itself, I don’t, and would expect a person to prefer one form or another.

Genesis wasn’t speaking of preference but of disdain. It is possible to prefer one but not disdain the other. This would be the majority view. Both are equally worthy even if most (naturally) prefer one or the other.

Like myself. I love the Ordinaria. That doesn’t mean I dislike the Extraordinaria. In fact I’m rather fond of the Extraordinary Mass. I just personally prefer the Ordinary.

I would agree that it would not be helpful to express an attitude of disdain towards one form or another. And certainly one can prefer one form over another. However, I don’t think it can be said one form is equally as worthy as the other since they are significantly different forms. Or, at the least, they emphasize or deemphasize certain things.

In fact, it can be said that the Novus Ordo was intended to be superior to the Tridentine since it was supposed to (according to the Constitution on the Liturgy) make the meaning of the Mass clearer (along with other aims).

Why? Numerically, Roman Catholicism has flourished world wide in the decades since Vatican II. I know it is sometimes hard to empathise with tastes different from one’s own, but even if only a small percentage of Catholics (and several of us have popped up here) love the ‘new’ Mass, you are still talking about millions of people.

Granted, the emotion I feel for the Pauline Mass is not what some people evidently feel for the Tridentine Mass. For example, I can imagine feeling a great sadness if the new Missal were no longer available, but I cannot envision my rejecting that I am part of an Apostolic Church in reaction to its removal.

My own fondness for the new Mass has grown tremendously since I began studying early Latin tradition in earnest. For example, when I hear “In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread…” I know I am hearing essentially the same Eucharistic prayer that St. Hippolytus used around 200 AD, in an effort to reach people in their own language.

Similiarly, my personal fondness for the Tridentine Mass has greatly diminished the longer I read and study Latin. When I was a small boy the Tridentine Mass seemed very mysterious, like I was participating in something secret. But once you have reached the point where you can read, say, Tertullian, and catch some of his sarcasm and humor across two millenia, Church Latin can seem a little crude and stilted. My daughter, who has only studied Latin for four years - but who is much more gifted in languages than I, put it best, “I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but when you drop all the endings, doesn’t it sound a bit like a Roman Tonto?”

Again, just as my strong affection for the new Mass does not seem to be emotion on the same level as what some feel for the old Missal, my feelings about the old Missal clearly pale when compared to what some people evidently feel about the new Missal. Like others have said, given a choice I would readily select ‘new’ over ‘old’, but I do not question the legitimacy of a Tridentine Mass, provided that it is done in accordance with the current guidelines from Rome.

Well, I can certainly see your logic here. Still I don’t think that Church intended the Ordinaria to be “superior” as much as they wanted a liturgy that could take advantage of a membership that was now sophisticated enough to become more directly involved in the liturgy. Still you might be right this is just my take on it.

Also I want to clarify my above statement. When I mention sophisticated above I’m not trying to imply that those who have a personal preference for the Extraordinaria are less sophisticated. I was meerly aluding to the fact that current experience and education amongst the general population today are such that the Church can assume that it can interact with congregations in ways that would have been difficult in ages past.

I can see your point. However, I do think there’s a difference between what the Council Fathers wanted and what the committee that reworked the liturgy actually gave them (see Karl Keating’s latest E-Letter).

Also, a more sophisticated laity with the ability to have things like bilingual missals argues even more strongly for the retention of the Traditional Latin Mass as they have even better means to follow it.

Further, it seems as if the actual committee on the liturgy headed by Archbishop Bugnini wanted a liturgy that was not a hindrance to Protestants in any way (at least that’s the gist of what Bugnini said in an interview).

So I would agree that members of the laity can read in greater numbers or have access to more missals than in the Middle Ages. But I wouldn’t call the laity around the 1960’s more sophisticated; actually I think we as members of the Church have probably managed to do more dumb things in regards to liturgy, art and architecture than all the “less sophisticated” people in generations past combined.

[FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman]SoCalRC,[/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman]Thanks for your post.[/FONT][/FONT]

Really? Actually, particularly in Western countries, Mass attendance has plummeted along with conversions, baptisms, weddings, etc. See Kenneth Jones interviewed on this here:

unavoce.org/articles/2003/interview_with_ken_jones.htm

I know it is sometimes hard to empathise with tastes different from one’s own, but even if only a small percentage of Catholics (and several of us have popped up here) love the ‘new’ Mass, you are still talking about millions of people.

I’m not a mathematician so I guess I would have to know what the total numbers are of Mass attendees and what general percentage you are talking about. I was merely saying that in my real life experience the comments of love toward the liturgy have all been toward the Traditional Latin Mass.

Granted, the emotion I feel for the Pauline Mass is not what some people evidently feel for the Tridentine Mass. For example, I can imagine feeling a great sadness if the new Missal were no longer available, but I cannot envision my rejecting that I am part of an Apostolic Church in reaction to its removal.

Nor should anyone as the New Mass is valid.

(Cont.)

(Cont.)

My own fondness for the new Mass has grown tremendously since I began studying early Latin tradition in earnest. For example, when I hear “In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread…” I know I am hearing essentially the same Eucharistic prayer that St. Hippolytus used around 200 AD, in an effort to reach people in their own language.

Here is a perspective on the Canon of Hyppolytus by Fr. Joseph Fessio from his article “The Mass of Vatican II” at:

[/FONT]http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/fessio_massv2_1_jan05.asp

"One problem, both at the time of the Council and after, is rationalism, which the Holy Father has spoken against. This is the idea that we can do it all with our own minds. The liturgists after the Council tried to construct a more perfect liturgy. But you know something? When you’ve grown up in a house and a room is added on and a story added on, a garage is added on, it may not be architecturally perfect, but it’s your home. To destroy it and try to construct a new one out of steel and glass and tile because that’s the modern idea, is not the way you live a human life. But that’s what’s happened to the liturgy.

[FONT=Times New Roman]Look at the other canons. First of all, when I celebrate Mass with the Roman Canon, I’ve often had people come up and say, “What canon was that, Father?” I say, “Well, that was the Roman Canon, the one that has been used for about 1600 years.” “Oh, I haven’t heard that.” Generally, you get Canon Two. Why? Because it’s the shortest. So, you can spend all kinds of time with singing, and the commentators explaining things, and a long homily, with big processions and greeters coming in and whatever else. But for the Sacrifice of the Mass, the attitude seems to be “Let’s get that over as soon as we can with Canon Two.”

Now, where did Canon Two come from? From what’s called the Canon of Hyppolytus, composed by a theologian who became a heretic, later was reconciled to the Church and died a martyr. Around the year 215, he wrote an outline of how Mass was celebrated in Rome. It was probably never used as a liturgical text because in the early days of the Church there was no final, written formalization of the liturgy, so this was an outline to be used by the celebrant.

Thus, the Canon of Hyppolytus was perhaps never used as a canon. If it was, it ceased being used at least 1600 years ago. Yet from the Council, which says changes ought to come through organic growth and there should be no changes unless necessary, we come to liturgists saying, “Oh, let’s pull this thing out of the third century and plug it back into the twentieth.” That’s not organic growth; that’s archeologism, specifically criticized by Pius XII in Mediator Dei."

(Cont.)[/FONT]

(Cont.)

Similiarly, my personal fondness for the Tridentine Mass has greatly diminished the longer I read and study Latin. When I was a small boy the Tridentine Mass seemed very mysterious, like I was participating in something secret. But once you have reached the point where you can read, say, Tertullian, and catch some of his sarcasm and humor across two millenia, Church Latin can seem a little crude and stilted. My daughter, who has only studied Latin for four years - but who is much more gifted in languages than I, put it best, “I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but when you drop all the endings, doesn’t it sound a bit like a Roman Tonto?”

Have to completely and totally disagree on this point. While certainly older Latin can be more difficult and complex than ecclesiastical Latin, the phrasing of the Traditional Latin Mass is quite memorable and poetic:

Introibo ad altare Dei
Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta

sacred-texts.com/chr/lmass/ord.htm

Now that is magnificent. And to even begin to compare that with what passes today for a vernacular translation of the New Mass, well, I’ll be kind and not go there.

Thanks for writing, God bless.

You are putting words in my mouth (or my quote) which has now spread to other responses which I don’t appreciate.

Loving one rite does not mean that a person “disdains” (your word, not mine) the other. I happen to “love” the old liturgy but this does not mean that I disdain the new liturgy. I do however disdain the many innovations and improvisations that I have experienced from “progressive” or “free-thinking” parish priests. But the liturgy itself I have complete respect and appreciation for.

I also have found from personal experience that there are many individuals like those cited by Cardinal Egan who fondly remember and can still recite lengthy sections of the old liturgy. I have personally encountered very few individuals who fondly remember and can recite lengthy sections of the new liturgy. And that was the reason for my wholehearted agreement.

“Really? Actually, particularly in Western countries, Mass attendance has plummeted along with conversions, baptisms, weddings, etc.”

I said ‘numerically’. Mass attendance has been on the decline, even as individuals identifying themselves as Catholic has grown (something like 38% world wide).

I would readily agree that there are some very troubling trends - our greatly diminished charitable giving stands out for me, but it seems a little risky to assign the changes to particular causal factor.

My own Parish has seen explosive growth over the last 8 years, both in membership and Mass attendance. I would personally attribute that to our current Pastor and the ‘Sunday pool’ of celebrants. Alas, after decades one has recently had to retire. Quite the reminder that our growing shortage of priests is going to change the face and nature of our Church rather we like it or not.

Regarding St. Hippolytus, I don’t have any strong feeling as to the fit with the VII council’s wishes, I personally just find it moving. Just as “Amen” and “Hosanna” touch on our deepest roots in Hebrew and Aramaic and “Kyrie eleison” serves as a reminder of the Greek tradition that followed, St. Hippolytus does take us to the very roots of Latin tradition. Given his writings, it seems quite fitting to me to have his Canon translated into the vernacular of the people. No rehashed Tridentine/Pauline debating point, just an observation of personal emotion.

A reference to Hippolytus as a “heretic” is not the least bit shocking to me. Disagreement and friction in the first few centuries of the Church was common. It prevented Tertullian from becoming a saint, but, as Pope Benedict recently noted, the importance of his writings, particular his work as an apologist, is not diminished. And, of course, St. Paul’s friction with the other apostles seems to have been quite extreme as well.

Regarding Church Latin, it is simply a matter of personal taste. You certainly would not be alone in your appreciation. I can recall that Pope John Paul II described a prayer as having ‘special beauty’ in several writings.

Best Regards,
-jjf

Eucharistic Prayer II isn’t a translation of Hippolytus. It’s a newly composed text that uses some phrases from the fragments that survive of what MAY have been an anaphora written by Hippolytus.

It’s also not meant to be used on Sundays, according to the rubrics of the 2002 Missal.

That was my original point (see a few posts back). The prayer is essentially based on one of the oldest prayers in Christiandom. We attribute it to St. Hippolytus because he was a good deal more than Fr. Fessio’s curt description of “a theologian who became a heretic”.

He was a theological titan in the early church. The Catholic Encyclopedia puts it bluntly, “Hippolytus was the most important theologian and the most prolific religious writer of the Roman Church in the pre-Constantinian era.” His influence on a number of Doctors of the Church is hard to overstate. He is hardly a common name among Catholic now, but when a marble statue of him was discovered in 1551, there were pilgrimages.

If he did not write the fragments, he almost certainly influenced them. Until the discovery of “Philosophumena” in the 19th century, we new very little of him, except through the annecdotes of others. Again, as I enjoy the connection to our earliest Aramaic traditions, and references to the language of the New Testament, I, personally, enjoy the connection to the deepest roots of our Latin tradition and man who influenced so many who came after him.

Unfortunately, that is correct. I have heard some people complain that it does not properly reference sacrifice, but it reminds me of a time when followers of Christ could only do so at great peril.

-jjf

The Roman Canon has a far more distinguished pedigree than a prayer that was composed in the 1960s under the inspiration of a few rather scanty fragments that MAY have been written by Hippolytus.

I am well aware of who he was; he was certainly important, though calling him a “theological titan” is a bit of a stretch on a good day. Not enough of his work survives to accord him that title.

In any case, the second canon barely links anyone to Hippolytus’ time, since the one phrase most reminiscent of what MAY be his work, name the “dew of the spirit” phrase, has been mucked up in the English translation, ironically.

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