Friday, August 10, 2007

A Bit of Episcopal Over-Reaching...?

The inimitable Fr. Zuhlsdorf at What Does The Prayer Really Say? has been keeping track of episcopal reactions and statements concerning Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum".

The reactions of the bishops here in Michigan have been relatively guarded and cautious, though, as Fr. Z points out, my own bishop, James A. Murray of Kalamazoo, stood out from the pack with an excellent statement on the Motu Proprio.

But over in the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan, I'm afraid lovers of Tradition are given little prospect for joy by their diocesan establishment.

At a gathering of priests of the Gaylord Diocese in late June (on the eve of the MP's release), the bishop of Gaylord, Patrick Cooney, issued a directive stating:
Until other law is promulgated, all liturgies in the Diocese of Gaylord are to be celebrated entirely in English by the presiding celebrant.

It then goes on to say:
The use of other languages in songs and hymns...can be used occasionally, but must never overshadow the use of English.

Any variance from this policy must be requested on an individual basis from the Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord using the form that can be obtained from the Secretariat for Worship & Liturgical Formation or the Office of the Bishop.

This Policy takes effect immediately. [Bold text in original.]

The form mentioned above asks the person making such a request to explain the "reason for requesting this variance from Diocesan Policy on the Use of the Vernacular when Celebrating Liturgy."

(Scans of these documents can be downloaded here,here, and here.)

My first reaction on reading this was incredulity. Does anyone imagine, given the timing of this policy, that it is directed at restricting, say, Masses in Spanish? I don't think so. Should this be seen as a pre-emptive move against Latin liturgies? It sure looks like it. But surely the bishop must know that the Mass of the Roman Rite (Novus Ordo) is the Latin typical edition? As such, the bishop cannot forbid its use. It is simply beyond his competence. And it seems to me that, after September 14, when "Summorum Pontificum" takes effect, this instruction cannot apply to the Extraordinary Form.

But this directive certainly sends a signal, doesn't it? It telegraphs to every priest "Latin Is NOT Welcome in the Diocese of Gaylord". Given this directive, how many priests would be likely to request "permission" to celebrate Mass in the language of the Church? If any priest is inclined to do so, he is now placed on notice that he risks offending the Powers That Be.

Bishop Cooney also mandated that communion under both kinds must be offered at every liturgy celebrated in his diocese. Which could also be seen as a dig against the Extraordinary Form, seeing as communion under both kinds is never offered to the faithful in liturgies of the EF.

Are some in authority so hostile to our Tradition and patrimony that they are willing to go to almost any length to make sure no one is exposed to them?

Oremus pro eis.

Anna Quindlen Is Clever

At least, that's what she seems to think.

In last week's Newsweek she wrote a column asking "How Much Jail Time" pro-lifers want to give women who have abortions. In it Quindlen refers to a video in which pro-lifers are allegedly "gobsmacked" by someone confronting them with this question.

Now, I can't speak for the pro-lifers in this video, but I too might appear "gobsmacked" if Ms. Quindlen put such a question to me. Not because I would be at a loss to respond to the question, but due to the moral shallowness and vapidity of the question. Quindlen demonstrates, as she is wont, that she is incapable of making distinctions, or indeed, engaging in serious thought.

Over at National Review Online, a number of actual serious thinkers offer an excellent series of responses to her question. I can imagine Quindlen, after writing her column, having thought "HA! I've got those pro-lifers now!" Except she hasn't. Her question is neither very original nor very clever. I can recall dismantling this silly question in dorm-room bull sessions in college 20 years ago.

What Quindlen is unable to recognize, as others in the NRO Symposium point out, is that the law didn't target women seeking abortions because the law recognized that women who felt so desperate that they sought an abortion were in need of compassion and help, not punishment.

But in the feminist pro-abortion ideology embraced by Quindlen and the establishment Left, the woman seeking an abortion is always exercising her "power", and making a self-asserting "choice". No room for woman as desperate, frequently abandoned, victim. Like every ideology, pro-abortion feminism ignores reality - in this case the desperate reality of the vast majority of women who get abortions - and shoe-horns these women into their ideologically prescribed template.

But the fact is that a pregnant woman is vulnerable. Feminists cannot stand to acknowledge such a reality. But a decent, moral society recognizes reality and sees to it that a pregnant woman is supported and protected, ideally, by encouraging and building up marriage and stable family life, and by providing life-affirming options when that ideal breaks down. A decent, moral society does not leave pregnant women so bereft that they see killing their unborn children as their only option.

Pro-lifers are "gobsmacked" by Quindlen's silly question because they understand the pregnant woman's vulnerability, and want to protect the woman and the child in a society like that described above. Too bad that she's too clever to see that.