Sunday, July 08, 2007

Announcement On The Motu Proprio

Here is the announcement I made about the Motu Proprio at all the Masses at my parish this weekend:
Many of you, no doubt, may have seen or heard already about the document just released by our holy father Pope Benedict XVI. I'd like to say a few words about it. This document is a Motu Proprio, which is a Latin phrase meaning "on his own initiative", meaning that the holy father released this document on his own initiative for the good of the whole Church. This Motu Proprio provides for a much wider and more extensive use of the "old" Mass, that is the Mass as it was celebrated before Vatican II.

Many people over the years have been led to believe that Vatican II "got rid of all that." In previous homilies I have already explained that this was not the case, and our holy father makes this clear as well in this new document. Pope Benedict is convinced, as are many other theologians and scholars, and as I am myself, that the intentions of the Council fathers of Vatican II were not fully realized in the "new" Mass that we celebrate today, and that it is necessary to recover the fullness of our Catholic Tradition in order to live the fullness of our Catholic Faith.

I'm not going to go into the document in any detail here and now, as I've only read through the English translation a couple of times, and I'm still digesting the Latin original. I want to be sure I understand the document before I try to explain what it means. But it is already clear to me that the holy father's intent is to enrich and deepen the faith and life of the Church. In our first reading today we heard the prophet Isaiah tell the Israelites about the "prosperity" he would lavish upon Jerusalem. Well, the Church is the New Jerusalem and she lavishes her riches upon us in the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. Pope Benedict is giving us an opportunity to draw even more deeply and widely from these riches, so that our souls may be more truly fed.

I will have more to say about this document and what it means in the coming weeks. I'll give you some points from it in next week's bulletin. As to what it will mean for us here at St. Stanislaus, I'm not sure as of yet. Fortunately, as you know we have been working for the last year or so to implement a wider use of Latin in our liturgies here, so in a sense you could say we're already ahead of the the curve.

I would caution you to take with a grain or two of salt (or even a whole shaker) what you may read or hear about this in the media. A friend of mine once said that when the mainstream media talks about religion you have to deduct 50 points from their IQ. I've seen a lot of misinformation out there already. I'll have more information for you in the coming weeks, and I'll give you some points from the Motu Proprio in next week's bulletin.

As I said, it's clear to me that the holy father is offering us an opportunity to enrich and deepen how we live our faith in the the liturgy. This is a great gift to the Church, and I think we'll have a great deal to be thankful for.