Friday, July 20, 2007

Motu Proprio Pamphlet Available For Download

I have prepared a pamphlet explaining some of the main points of the holy father's Motu Proprio liberalizing the use of the Classical Roman Rite, now known as the "Extraordinary Form".

It's titled "The Holy Father’s Motu Proprio On the “Old” Mass: What Does It Mean for Us?"

In it I attempt to summarize what the Motu Proprio does, and some of the reasons why Pope Benedict promulgated it. For example, I wrote:
In this document, Pope Benedict grants any priest who can properly celebrate Mass according to the “old” usage the right to do so, without the need to seek permission from his bishop. Furthermore, it allows the faithful who desire the Mass according to the Classical Rite to request it from their pastors, who are now expected to “willingly grant” such requests.

I also include some concrete advice for people as to "what you can do about this":
Well, firstly, if you’re not familiar with the Extraordinary form of the Mass, or with our Latin tradition, take a little time to start getting familiar with them.

This pamphlet is written for the parish, like mine (and most out there), that does not have any Masses offered, as yet, in the Extraordinary Form or even much use of Latin in the Novus Ordo, where people may be a bit leery about the Motu Proprio because of things they have read and heard implying that this is all about Pope Benedict "turning back the clock" or "going back on Vatican II." I discovered that many people were under the impression that the Church was going completely back to the "Old Mass", so I clear up that misunderstanding.

The Pamphlet can be downloaded free of charge here. It's a PDF document designed to be printed on both sides of a single 8 1/2 by 11 page. The pamphlet is designed to be inserted into a parish bulletin of put in a literature rack. I've written it so that it should be readily usable by most parishes.

You may copy and distribute the pamphlet freely. I only ask that you do not obscure the attribution of it, and that you do not excerpt it, abridge it or edit it without my consent.

So, go ahead and download it! This is the first of what I intend to be several pamphlets on the Motu Proprio and other liturgical matters.

I hope you find it helpful!

An Answer To My Question

...posed below about Zimbabwe and Archbishop Ncube's call to have the British invade.

My old friend from grad school Scott Richert has posted his answer to my question over at the "Taki's Top Drawer" blog.

In his judgment, the question hangs upon the first point of Catholic Just War teaching:

The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain.

He makes a good argument - definitely worth a read.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Even Priests Have Fantasies

So, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to settle priest sex-abuse claims.

Oddly enough, this agreement was concluded just before the trial was set to begin. This trial would, almost certainly, have resulted in Cardinal Mahony being forced to testify. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

This denouement to the Los Angeles situation led me to entertain the following fantasy:

Scene: Cardinal Mahony's office
Time: 9:30 AM


Cardinal's Secretary: "Your Eminence, the Holy Father is on line 1."

Cdl. Mahony: "He is? Well, I'll take it right away." (Picks up phone.) Your Holiness, to what do I owe this pleasure?"

Holy Father: "Pleasure? The pleasure's all yours, I'm sure. Surely you must have some idea why I'm calling?"

Mahony: "Well (sounding sheepish), I suppose I do. About the legal business, right?"

Holy Father: "You're very perspicacious, Roger. 600 million, is that right?"

Mahony: "Yes, Holiness. That's a lot of money, I know, but with this, the whole business is over. The archdiocese is spared a painful, ugly trial, the people are spared the lurid details of these allegations coming out in the press every day, and the Church is preserved from the spectacle of priests and bishops being hauled into court to testify."

Holy Father: "Of course, of course. With you being one of those unfortunate clergy spared from the indignity of testifying..."

Mahony: "Holiness, I assure you..."

Holy Father: "Yes, yes. I'm sure that thought didn't enter your mind. But on to the reason for my call. Now that you've assured your legacy, and, after all, $600 million is a small price to pay for the legacy of such an important man as yourself, I'd like you to do something for me."

Mahony: "Whatever you'd like, Your Holiness."

Holy Father: "I'm glad you're in such a pliable frame of mind, Roger. That's what I've come to expect from you. I want you to know that I am ready to receive, under Canon 401, section 2, your letter of resignation. Please be assured that, upon receiving it, it will be readily granted."

Mahony: "But, Holiness, I've still got three years until I retire. There's still so much I could do."

Holy Father: "You've done quite enough, Roger. Far more than many others could have done. It's time for someone else to lead the archdiocese into a new phase, to 'sing a new church into being', as it were. And I'm going to issue a special instruction to your successor in recognition of your legacy."

Mahony: "What's that, Holiness?"

Holy Father: "Since you have chosen your legacy in this way, I'm instructing, when you pass on to your eternal reward, that your tombstone, under your name and the dates of your episcopate, be inscribed with 660,000,000.00. In this way your legacy will be remembered for all the ages.

Mahony: "But you can't do that!"

Holy Father: "Ah, but I can, and I will. I have it mind to send young Dolan from Milwaukee to take over. He'll do a fine job, I'm sure. I'll make sure he gets all the zeros in.

Mahony: "I'll need time..."

Holy Father: "Of course, Roger. I'll be expecting your letter tomorrow morning. You have my fax number, I take it?"

Mahony: "Yes, Holiness."

Holy Father: "Excellent! 'Til tomorrow, then. Good-bye, Roger."


As I said, that's a fantasy. To understand why that's only a fantasy, and why it won't happen, read my article from This Rock magazine, "Why Doesn't the Pope Do Something About Bad Bishops?".

A Hypothetical Question

A lot of you are aware of the Horrific Mess that Zimbabwe has become. Zimbabwe, a country that used to be one of Africa's few economic success stories, is approaching collapse thanks to the policies and overall megalomania of President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe was, just a few years ago, a net exporter of food - now the populace faces widespread famine. Again, thanks to the insane marxist ideology of Mugabe.

Archbishop Pius Ncube of Buluwayo has taken a major role in condemning and opposing Mugabe, vowing to force him from power, in spite of the danger to his own life.

A couple of weeks ago, Archbishop Ncube went so far as to call for Great Britain to invade and depose Mugabe. He said:
"I think it is justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe," he said.

"We should do it ourselves but there's too much fear. I'm ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready."

So, here's the question:

If Britain were to invade Zimbabwe with the intent of ousting Mugabe and "rescuing" the country fromm his disastrous misrule, would that be justified under Just War teaching?

Also, if Britain were to do so, would Archbishop Ncube's "invitation" be sufficient justification?

Finally, would such a scenario differ from what the U.S. and Britain did in Iraq? If so, how?

I have some of my own thoughts about those questions, but I'd like to see what other people think before I chime in. I'd be particularly interested in what those of you who have been vehemently arguing about the Iraq war (on either side) think. Discuss...