Today the Church observes the second anniversary of the publishing of Summorum Pontificum, the long-awaited motu proprio of Pope Benedict XVI replacing all former "indults" and freeing the Mass of All Times, the Traditional Latin Mass. No longer would a priest have to ask permission of his bishop to say the Mass as the Mass is to be readily offered and available to all of the Faithful.
In honor of this two year anniversary, I offer the following reflections on those individuals who have made such a celebration possible.
The Saintly Example of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
It is at this time that I wish to especially remember Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who resisted the Second Vatican Council's false propositions of ecumenism, religious liberty, and the altering of the Mass of All Times. It is through his witness and the formation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX) that the Mass of All Times has spread. And, I will venture to say that without Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's role, the Traditional Latin Mass would have been at last forgotten and no organized resistance to the change would have existed.
It is Archbishop Lefebvre who has been slandered in recent years. The cause of canonization of his saintly mother has long been forgotten. Instead, in the words of Bishop Bernard Fellay during a sermon in Paris following Archbishop Lefebvre's death said, "Archbishop Lefebvre has gone, but the Mass is saved, the Catholic priesthood is saved..." Because of his resistance to all of changes affecting all of the Sacraments, the Society of St. Pius X is largely responsible for Pope Benedict XVI's issuance of the motu proprio and then the clear declaration that the Bishops of the Society of St. Pius X consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre are not excommunicated.
In the words of Father Franz Schmidberger at the Requiem Mass of Archbishop Lefebvre, "The work of the Archbishop on this earth is accomplished. Now begins his ministry as intercessor in eternity. He has given everything he could give...the miracle of a new generation of priests."
Archbishop Lefebvre only wished to teach that which he himself was taught in seminary. He wished to hand on the Catholic faith as taught and celebrated for the past centuries. And his resistance has directly led to the establishment of the Ecclesia Dei Commission and the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. I highly encourage the reading of Apologia Pro Marcel by Michael Davies as well as Open Letter to Confused Catholics and The Mass of All Times.
"I will finish with my testament. I would like that it be an echo of the testament of Our Lord: a New and Eternal Testament...the heritage that Jesus Christ gave us, His Sacrifice, His Blood, His Cross. I will say the same for you: for the glory of the Holy Trinity, for love of the Church, for the salvation of the world: keep the Holy Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Keep the Mass forever!" (Archbishop Lefebvre, 23rd September 1979)
"Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20)
The Saintly Example of Pope Benedict XVI
The response to Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum shows his wisdom and foresight in freeing the Old Mass in Latin.Our Holy Father has shown us that through his pontificate, the Sacred Traditions of our Holy Faith are being rightfully restored to their former glory. Let's look at some example of restoration by Pope Benedict XVI.
The document was issued 7 July, 2007. Since then, the list of Diocesan Masses offered in the United States in the Extraordinary Form has grown by over 100 new Sunday Masses every week. In 30 dioceses, the Mass is now offered where none were said before Summorum Pontificum
The Old Mass in Latin is said daily at 56 locations in 47 dioceses across the United States.
Source: Pamphlet from the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei (May 2009)
In August 2006, Pope Benedict XVI abolished the Christmas concert featuring "pop" music established by Pope John Paul II. In January 2007, he called on the Vatican Courts to tighten up the annulment criteria, as annulments have exponentially increased following Vatican II.
Pope Benedict XVI has further restored the use of the Pascal Mozetta in the Octave of Easter 2008.
Examine the vestments used by the Holy Father at the 3rd Anniversary Mass of John Paul II's death in 2008 (below). At this Mass the Holy Father has discontinued using the staff of Pope John Paul II featured a bent Christ on the Cross, aesthetically unpleasant, and replaced it with a new beautiful pastoral staff (ferula).
Notice in the above image Pope Benedict XVI is using a papal asteriscus, an item that, in addition to practical applications, symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem. He has restored it to use in the Papal Liturgy at times.
On the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul 2008, Pope Benedict XVI introduced a different Papal Pallium, establishing better continuity with the past than with the Pallium that became used during the pontificate of John Paul II. "This is the development of the Latin form of the pallium used up to John Paul II," explains the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini.
In 2009, the mosaic depicting Pope Benedict XVI in the line of papal portraits in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls has been changed to reflect this shift in the Papal Pallium.(Above Images from St. Paul Outside the Walls by Pope Benedict Forum user "Benodette".)
And remember that in January 2008, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Baptism of the Lord ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel.
In January 2009, His Holiness wore a fiddleback chausible on the Feast of the Epiphany. This was another return back to prior Traditions. Pope Benedict XVI again shows his desire for a restoration of the Sacred Liturgy. And while vestments may seem unimportant, continuity with the past and symbolism is highly important. Each vestment has its own vesting prayer, and each particular garment holds symbolic importance (e.g. the maniple symbolizes Christ at the Pillar of Flagellation, the cincture symbols the rope by which Our Lord was bound and dragged in the streets, et cetera).
Therefore, the exteriors again are an expression of the interior. And, in the past 40 years we have lost not only the interior aspects of the Faith (e.g. lack of knowledge of integral Catholic beliefs such as Transubstantiation, etc) and a decrease in devotion but also exterior aspects of the Faith (e.g. vestments, proper Sacred Liturgy, Rosaries, etc). Coincidence or has the loss of exteriors contributed to the loss of interior Faith?
And of substantial importance, Holy Communion is to be given only to those kneeling henceforth, when Pope Benedict XVI distributes Holy Communion. EWTN reports, "To receive Communion from Pope Benedict at Papal Liturgies one will have to receive on the tongue," which is a fantastic affirmation of the Real Presence of our Lord. And as the Body and Blood of Jesus, nothing is of higher value than the Most Holy Eucharist.
St. Thomas Aquinas: "Out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it but when it is consecrated" - Summa, Pt III Q, Q2 Art. 3
Also from Wikipedia, "Each year a papal tiara is placed on the head of the famous bronze statue of Saint Peter in St. Peter's Basilica from the vigil of the Feast of the Cathedra of Saint Peter on February 22 until the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. Although this custom was not observed in 2006, it was reintroduced in 2007."
Finally in this example, compare the below progression of photos of the Urbi et Orbi addresses given on Christmas Day by Pope Benedict XVI.
2006, Source: REUTERS/Osservatore Romano/Handout
2007, Source: CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters
2008, Source: REUTERS/Osservatore Romano
The photos are from 2005 - 2008, and there is a progression in these photos. Tradition is being restored.
Therefore, on this day, July 7, 2009, we remember 2 years of Summorum Pontificum, in large part due to the saintly wisdom of Pope Benedict XVI as he seeks to reform the Church in Her Sacred Liturgy.
The Saintly Example of the Average Priest and Bishop:
Under "Catholic Categories" in the sidebar is a permanent link to the post Tridentine Latin Mass, which features numerous links that I update as often as possible. In this post is a list of parishes, chapels, etc. which have begun to offer the Tridentine Latin Mass during these past two years. Please take a moment to look through this list and consider the impact of the motu proprio. We have parishes from around the country and the world. Remember, this is not a complete list, but only the list which I currently have collected.
And we must not only remember these priests but the many others who began offering the Mass of All Times despite persecution, rejection, and hostility. At this time I can think of Fr. Robert Altier (Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis) as well as Fr. Scott Archer (Diocese of Peoria). But these are just two of the many priests who encountered rejection from those around them because they sought to make available the Mass of All Times. Let us honor them at this time. Also worth remember, the Faithful in Niafles attached to the Traditional Mass were driven from their Church less than a week before the Motu Prorio was signed.
Of note among the bishops, Bishop Robert C. Morlino responded to the Holy Father’s motu proprio by designating Holy Redeemer Catholic Church as the site for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass for the Madison area. Bishop Morlino inaugurated the use of the Tridentine Mass at Holy Redeemer by celebrating a Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Throne there on the Third Sunday of Advent (December 16, 2007) [Source].
Consider visiting these parishes and/or writing to the pastors to express your support. I have written around half of these parishes, inviting them to share how the Traditional Latin Mass has benefited their parish. If anyone responds with an article, I will publish them on the website as they become available. And do remember to pray for these bishops and priests as well as all priests and bishops who celebrate the Mass of All Times. At this time I also request prayers for the priests and bishop of the Society of St. Pius X, so that they may no longer be slandered and detracted.
Church of the Sacred Heart, Cutchogue, NY
Metropolitan Cathedral, Mexico City, Mexico
Mount St. Francis Hermitage, New York
Our Lady of Lourdes, Massapequa Park, NY
St. Andrew the Apostle, Clifton, VA
St. John the Apostle, Leesburg, VA
St. John the Baptist, Costa Mesa, California
St. John the Beloved Catholic Church, McLean, Virgina
St. John the Evangelist, San Diego, California
St. Joseph Parish, Apple Creek, Missouri
St. Leo the Great, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
St. Maurus, Biehle, Missouri
St. Matthew, Dix Hills, NY
St. Mary, Alexandria, VA
St. Mary of Perpetual Help, Chicago, IL
St. Mary’s By the Sea, Huntington Beach, California
St. Rita, Alexandria, VA
St. Therese in Alhambra, CA
Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Wilmington, CA
Holy Rosary Parish, Sacramento, California
Our Lady of Lourdes, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Holy Angels, Aurora, IL
Sts. Peter and Paul, Naperville, IL
St. Bernard, Joliet, IL
Holy Rosary, Cedar, Michigan
St. Jospeh's Parish, Middletown, NY
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Carmel, IN
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Birmingham, Al
St. Mary of the Visitation, Huntsville, Al
St. Silvia, Tivoli, NY
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Grotto) Parish, Detroit, MI
Immaculate Conception Church 4129 Superior Ave. Cleveland, OH
St Stephen Church 1920 W 54th St. Cleveland, OH
St Mary Church 750 S. Main Street Akron, OH
Immaculate Conception Church 37932 Euclid Ave. Willoughby, OH
Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Lewiston, ME
St. Kevin's Church, Harrington Street, Dublin 8, Ireland
St. Ann's Parish, 125 Richardson Ave., Shohola, PA
Mater Dolorosa Church, South San Francisco, CA
St. Peter the Apostle, Merchantville, NJ
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Swedesburg, PA
Chapel of Windermere on the Mount, London, Ontario, Canada
Holy Family Catholic Church in Seattle, WA
Church of North American Martyrs at St. Alphonsus Church, Seattle, WA
Holy Redeemer Cathedral Parish, Madison, WI
St. Norbert Church, Roxbury, WI
Sacred Heart, Dunn, NC
Sts. Peter and Paul, Palmyra, VA
Benedictine Monastery, Norcia, Italy
St. Paul Parish, Philadelphia, PA
Remember that it has only been two years since the promulgation of the motu proprio on July 7, 2007, which took effect on the Feast of the Holy Cross, September 14, 2007. It was on September 14 that countless numbers of Tridentine Masses were celebrated such as the following one.
Here is a list of some of the many places that offered the Tridentien Mass on September 14, 2007.
Assumption Grotto, Detroit, Michigan
Bishop Finn, Kansas City, Missouri
Brompton Oratory, London, England
Holy Trinity German Church, Boston, Massachusetts
As you watch some of the scenes from this Mass in Honor of the Promolgation of the Motu Proprio at St. Patrick's Cathedral in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, please enter into the spirit of joy event in the Liturgy and the music. Even though this Mass remembered the death of our Lord, it focused more particularly on the Cross as the Instrument of our Salvation.
Let us now move forward, seeking to help the restoration of all things in Christ (i.e. E Supremi, Encyclical of Pope St. Pius X). A Catholic Life Blog is willing to publish any and all photos of Traditional Liturgies and articles concerning them, in an effort to help this Restoration. For all such inquiries, please write me through the email address in my Blogger Profile.